On The Spot: Acne Part 1

Acne and bad skin can be extremely distressing for anyone who suffers with it. There are a range of acne treatments commonly prescribed by doctors, but there are also natural alternatives too that really work. First in my On The Spot series, find out how you could clear up your skin through your diet…

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Image Credit @ Camilla Akrans for BON Magazine

I was recently watching a programme on the BBC called Me, My Spots and I, in which YouTube and blogging star, Katie Snooks, talked about her own journey with acne and spoke to other acne sufferers about their experiences. It was quite an emotional documentary and I really felt for people she spoke to who experienced distress with their skin, especially when it seemed like nothing was working and they were having to spend lots of money searching for a solution.

Apparently, in the UK there aren’t actually enough Dermatologists to deal with the amount of referrals for acne at the moment. It must make things even more stressful to have to wait ages to see a specialist when you’re in crisis. I had spots myself when I was in my teens and at the time, I just wanted to try anything to get rid of them asap!

WHAT IS ACNE?

Acne occurs when the body over-produces oil and the pores in the skin get blocked. Excess oil leads to a build up of dead skin cells, blocking the pores and trapping dirt and bacteria under the surface. What then happens, is that it all builds up in the hair follicle and unfortunately, the end result is spots and they can be red, sore and painful.

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Image Credit @ Camilla Akrans for Eat Beautiful

WHAT CAUSES ACNE?

Acne is the body’s way of saying that something is out of balance. It can often be hereditary, and usually, it’s brought about by hormonal change in the body – either during puberty, pregnancy or due to excess stress hormones. Poor diet and the wrong skincare can often be to blame too so it’s worth trying to get that right before spending lots of money on expensive treatments or taking a course of aggressive medication.

HOW TO TREAT ACNE?

Unfortunately, there is no single cure that works for everyone who has acne, which can make it super frustrating when you’re desperately seeking a magic skin turnaround. Skin cells take on average, around 27 days (nearly a month) to regenerate, so you have to be patient before you will see improvements in your skin.

There are a range of options out there – acne specific skincare, professional therapies, facial treatments and diet tricks, which do work, so I hope some of these suggestions might help if you are currently suffering with your skin.

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DIET:

The good news is, it doesn’t cost anything to try eliminating well-known bad skin culprits from your diet as a first port of call. There are also some things that actively help promote good skin too that you can try including in your diet, so give these tricks a try to see if you can help balance your body naturally from the inside out.

ACNE ENEMIES:

Sugar, Gluten, Caffeine, Dairy, Wheat and any processed food can all lead to hormonal imbalances and over production of oil. Cut back or eliminate these things from your diet for at least a month to see if it helps. Replace sugar with Organic Manuka Honey, which is a natural antibacterial and start to make your meals from scratch using fresh, seasonal ingredients.


ACNE FIGHTERS:

Ingredients such as Pumpkin Seeds, Brazil Nuts and green leafy vegetables like Spinach all contain vital minerals and vitamins that help to protect against acne. Fresh Basil for instance has antibacterial properties, so try adding it to your meals – it tastes amazing too.

Make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D, B Vitamins, Omega oils, Zinc, Magnesium and Selenium in your diet. It sounds complicated, but in my book, Eat Beautiful, I’ve made it all super easy to understand and incorporate your daily life. There are lots of easy to make, delicious recipes and simple skincare tips I’ve even included a herbal pharmacy section with natural remedy suggestions to help fight spots. A lot of people have told me that the tips in Eat Beautiful have really helped clear up their skin, so give it a try and let me know how you get on.

GUT CLEANSING:

The gut is a really important part of maintaining the delicate internal balance in the body. If your digestive system isn’t working efficiently or you haven’t been drinking enough water and you’ve had a tendency to eat the wrong sorts of foods, then over time, toxins can build up in the gut and it can mess with your system. Externally, this can show up in the skin as acne – the body’s way of telling you it’s not happy!

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If you are experiencing bad skin, it’s worth trying to cleanse your digestive system. Something as simple as including a glass of hot water with lemon, or with apple cider vinegar at the start of the day will help to kick start the digestive system and keep it clean.

Organic probiotics are also a great way to promote “good bacteria” in the gut which help the body to absorb all of the useful nutrients from food and boost the immune system against infection, which really helps to calm inflammation and treat the external side effects of acne.


Stay tuned for On The Spot Part 2 coming next week, where I give my advice on the ultimate spot fighting skincare, the therapies that work and my little black book of Industry Specialists…