Our skin can represent the relationship we have to ourselves and the rest of the world. It is our protective layer that can easily be threatened, eruptions can be symbolic of war or conflict.
What is acne?
Acne is a chronic inflammatory condition of the skin which produces the formation of papules (small bumps), pustules (bumps with pus), nodules & or cysts (bumps deeper than the skin).
- An excess of sebum (oily excretion from the sebaceous gland)
- An abnormal amount of keratinocytes (skin cells)
- Disruption in skin microbiome (skin bacteria)
Potential causes of Acne
- Hormonal imbalance/changes
- Digestive disturbance
- High stress/emotional imbalance
- Inability to excrete toxins effectively
- Increased toxic exposure (environmental & lifestyle)
- Dietary choices (inflammatory foods)
- Lack of nutrition
- Poor skin hygiene
- Chemical makeups/face wash (a skincare routine that disturbs the balance of the skin)
- Prescription & recreational drug use
Be kind to yourself
If you have ever blushed from embarrassment, you will know that skin can reflect your emotional state. Biochemically it is shown that stress and other psychological factors can activate or worsen a skin condition. When we are in a state of high stress cortisol increases, which can impact other hormones, promoting inflammation of the skin as well as sebum/oil production.
On a more energetic or spiritual level, our skin can represent the relationship we have to ourselves and the rest of the world. It is our protective layer that can easily be threatened, eruptions can be symbolic of war or conflict. The correlation between our emotional health and skin conditions has not gone unnoticed and has led to the development of a field called psychodermatology, which specifically aims at addressing the impact of an individual’s emotional state as it relates to skin. The emotional aspect of skin conditions has been noted throughout ancient times and is an important area to support when healing the skin.
Repair the gut, support the immune system & reduce inflammation
The gut is a major immune organ which holds immune cells and bacteria that send messages to other areas of the body, and provide defence mechanisms to ensure that our bodies are protected from harmful pathogens (microorganisms that can cause disease). If our gut bacteria is imbalanced due to chronic stress and/or poor diet and lifestyle practices, we have a higher chance of being exposed to pathogens and materials that may pass through the cells (our defence cells) of the gut wall, creating an inflammatory response.
Inflammation is an early defence process by which the body signals white blood cells and there substances to protect us from harmful materials. Acute inflammation is a protective process, however if it’s ongoing and chronic it can be detrimental to our health.
Our skin, like the gut is another major organ in which is in direct exposure to our external environment. Skin regenerates itself with the help of cells to form a 15 layer barrier which has the ability to preserve skin moisture, limit evaporation & protect us from harmful substances. Our gut bacteria communicates to our skin cells via a pathway which regulates cell metabolism, growth, proliferation and survival (all necessary in the skin regeneration process). If our gut bacteria and gut integrity is compromised, skin balance can become compromised.
Support your pathways of elimination
Our skin is an excretory organ that promotes the elimination of waste through sweating. If our other organs of elimination are not optimally functioning such as the digestive system, liver, kidneys and lymphatic system, then the skin may carry the burden of excess toxins, waste and debris.
Support hormonal health
Our hormones can be considered to be part of a delicate dance, where any changes due to diet and lifestyle alterations can create hormonal fluctuations and contribute to health imbalances, including skin issues.
It is important to address any underlying hormonal imbalances such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, high androgens (male hormones) and menstrual irregularities as these all play a role in increasing inflammation and oil production, along with disrupting skin cells and bacteria.
The contraceptive pill shuts down the ovaries, meaning that it switches off naturally occurring hormones and replaces them with synthetic ones. The pill can suppress skin oils to childlike levels which is why it is an intervention used in the treatment of acne. Post – pill acne is common due to the sudden surge in suppressed natural hormones and the increase in skin oil production, making it another consideration when looking at skin imbalance.
Addressing diet and lifestyle
- Removing aggravating factors that contribute to your presentation of acne is always something that should be addressed first.
- Implementing food and drink as medicine to support digestive functioning, decrease inflammation and improve the removal of waste, along with correcting nutritional deficiencies.
- Addressing lifestyle factors like underlying stress and emotional imbalances, movement practices, toxic exposure and skin care rituals.
Acne is multifaceted and differs for everyone, therefore it’s important to note that like any imbalance, it should be treated accordingly with your own, individual presentation.
If this is an area that you are struggling with, consider booking in a Naturopathic consultation with us for an individualised treatment. We conduct consultations both online or in-person at The Greenhouse Bathhouse.