5 More Natural Hacks for Managing Acne
“Dear Pimples – if you’re going to live on my face, I need to see some rent!”
If this quote was true and you’ve struggled with acne, you may be thinking that you would be a wealthy landlord by now, right? LOL.
Breakouts and blemishes are tough. Sometimes it can feel like you’re doing everything right, yet you still find new whiteheads or clogged pores cropping up. Because your skin is sensitive to so many factors – your diet, environment, sleep hygiene, and more – it’s important to maintain a balanced lifestyle, while also seeking out triggers specific to your body which may cause acne.
Previously, we covered five basic steps to clearer skin. In this blog, we’re going even deeper with five more ways to manage your acne, specifically focusing on how you can adjust your diet to achieve clearer, healthier skin.
The gut-skin connection is complex. Essentially, when you take in high carb, high sugar, or highly processed foods, it increases the load on your digestive system. Within your digestive tract, there is a whole community of healthy bacteria that assist with breaking your food down and properly digesting its nutrients. When the system becomes overloaded with sugar, trans fats, and highly processed food, it negatively affects the bacteria in the gut biome, decreasing the healthy bacteria and increasing stress on the overall system.
(image taken from drjockers.com)
For those prone to acne, off-kilter levels of gut bacteria often lead to excess sebum (oil) production, which then causes breakouts on the face. When we can nip the bacterial imbalances in the bud with dietary changes, skin often improves. Below we’ve outlined five ways you can modify your diet and gut health to achieve clearer skin, as well as a few final lifestyle tips to help with acne!
Shift to a low-glycemic diet
Glycemic refers to the rate at which food causes your blood sugar to rise. A high glycemic diet includes foods that spike your blood sugar, causing it to rise and crash quickly, while a low glycemic diet includes foods which promote sustained blood sugar regulation over time.
Common high glycemic foods include processed, sugary snacks as well as high-carb foods. Pretzels, cookies, and candies are all classic examples. Low glycemic foods, on the other hand, typically will be whole foods like apples, wild caught fish or protein, vegetables, and more. Shifting to a low-glycemic diet boosts overall health; one study even found a correlation between starting a low glycemic diet and improving acne.
Aim for an anti-inflammatory diet
In the gut-skin connection mentioned above, inflammation is one of the key factors overloading the digestive system and contributing to its inability to process nutrients correctly, eventually leading to acne. Certain foods can contribute to inflammation; as you may have guessed, sugary, processed foods are major players here.
Thankfully, there are foods that are not just healthy, but also actively contribute to reducing inflammation in the body. Common examples are antioxidant rich foods like berries and dark leafy greens, wild caught fish, ginger and turmeric, and eggs. These can decrease the inflammation which causes acne over the long term!
Add probiotics to your supplement regimen
As mentioned earlier, acne is often caused by mismanaged levels of good and not-so-good bacteria in the gut. Taking probiotics, or live microorganisms taken to improve the gut biome or bacteria levels in other parts of the body, can be immensely helpful in managing your acne.
Probiotics help neutralize unhealthy bacteria and replenish the levels of healthy bacteria in your gut. With more good bacteria, your digestive system can more effectively break down food, decrease inflammation, and move waste out of your system. When this process happens as it needs to, there is less overload on your system that would otherwise lead to breakouts.
If you’re looking to try out some probiotics for your gut, check out the Triple Therapy Probiotic Powder Sticks.
Improve your sleep
You probably know that stress plays a huge role in acne development. When we have increased stress levels, our body is swimming with excess hormones, and isn’t in a state for repair and rejuvenation. This stress often comes out on our skin!
Improving sleep quality and quantity is a key way to combat stress and improve your acne. Improved sleep helps decrease the inflammation which comes with stress and a highly processed diet; consequently, better sleep leads to better skin. To improve your sleep, consider the following:
- Meditating before bed
- Avoiding food / snacking 3 hours before bedtime
- Use an eye-mask at night to sleep in complete darkness
- Or keep your room dark at night with black-out curtains
- Avoid caffeine after lunchtime
- Incorporate exercise into your regular routine, but avoid exercising late at night
If you’re looking for a sleep meditation to get you started, try out this short meditation from Calm below:
Find an exercise routine that suits you
The benefits of exercise are truly endless. When it comes to your skin, physical activity can provide benefits which touch on each issue area we’ve covered so far in this blog series. Exercise helps reduce inflammation, which puts unnecessary load on your system and is often expressed in acne. Exercise can also improve insulin function. So, if you’re weaning off of a high glycemic diet, exercise can help your body process blood glucose more effectively, leading to less inflammation and stress on your system.
Exercise also helps with stress levels too, especially if you find a form of physical activity that is genuinely enjoyable for you. Give yourself permission to be creative and find a form of exercise that you can look forward to. For some people that’s going for a run, for others it’s gardening, and some people like to do Zumba or a dance class. It’s all about finding what feels good for you.
If you want some simple tips to bring more exercise into your routine, check out our recent exercise blog, linked here.
The solution to unhealthy skin typically isn’t a fancy new toner or the latest 10-step skincare routine. Healthy skin begins and ends with your lifestyle, and is especially influenced by your diet. Start making these changes today to find clearer skin and improve your overall health – opting for whole foods, sleeping more, and exercising regularly. This not only leads to better skin, but supports your overall health!