Updated: Nov 20
WHY YOU HAVE ACNE
There are a zillion reasons why you could have acne and skin problems. Most people fall under one or more of these categories.
DAIRY PROTEIN INTOLERANCE AND BREAKOUTS
Researchers found a high correlation between dairy consumption, especially skim milk, and teenage acne. One reason why is that conventional dairy products contain enough hormones to have an effect on your body. You can see the effects of excess hormones on your skin.
IRRITATION FROM HARSH SKINCARE
If this is your first experience with acne, you might be tempted to go nuclear on it, and wind up buying the most drying, highest-strength stuff on the shelf. Though intuitively it feels like the right move, there are a few problems with that strategy.
First, your skin has its own microbiome, an ecosystem of microscopic organisms living on its surface. A healthy level of oil on your skin helps support beneficial microorganisms that keep your skin clear, calm, and happy.
Second, when your skin oils are in balance, your skin’s oil production is a supply and demand system. If it’s dry, you make more oil. Oily, you make less. Things like hormones, insulin, and toxins can disrupt the balance. If you intentionally dry out your skin, thinking that removing oil is good for you, your skin will respond by ramping up oil production. Then you get more acne. If you’ve ever broken out after a really intense exfoliation regimen, you likely went too hard on your skin. That’s your complexion trying to restore order after disrupting the skin’s lipid barrier.
Same goes for harsh chemicals. Your skin may react to products you use, giving you acne, or something that looks like acne but is actually irritation. Avoid heavy fragrances, strong astringents, allergens, and other irritants to keep skin smooth
HORMONE IMBALANCES AND ACNE
Your acne may signal a hormone imbalance if:
You get acne along your jawline, chin, or cheeks You're a woman and you break out around the same time every month The acne is deep and inflamed
SLUGGISH DETOX SYSTEMS OR TOXIC BURDEN
Your sweat, digestion, urinary system, and especially liver all play a role in how your body deals with everyday toxin exposure. When one system slows down or gets overburdened, the other systems jump in to pick up the slack. It’s a beautiful arrangement when toxin levels are manageable and no system is severely compromised.
When other systems have too many toxins to deal with, or a major slowdown of other systems (especially the liver), the extra toxins come out of your skin. On the way out, these toxins (which include excess hormones) can cause damage and inflammation to surrounding cells, and that’s what you see as acne, rashes, and redness.
HOW TO TREAT ACNE
As a major detox mechanism, your skin takes a beating from the inside out. As a defense mechanism from the elements, your skin also takes a beating from the outside in. So, that’s how to approach skincare. Address your inner systems that might not be working, while treating your skin topically.
TREATING ACNE FROM THE INSIDE OUT
HYDRATE, THEN HYDRATE MORE
Drink as much water as you think you need, then double that. Your urinary system is a detox machine that runs constantly as long as it has enough water to flow freely, picking up impurities along the way. Water also leaves your body as sweat, which will sweep toxins away much more efficiently the more you dilute them. While you’re at it, exercise and sauna help you sweat nasty things out, too.
Cates explains, “If you eat a lot of sugar or foods that turn to sugar, things that are high on the glycemic index, they’re going to increase your blood sugar, which causes a spike in the hormone, insulin. That increase actually triggers excess sebum production, the oils in our skin, plus it increases androgen activity. That combination is one of the big triggers for acne.”
Aside from insulin, too much sugar wrecks your gut, and a lot of skin problems originate in the gut. There’s no shortage of reasons to stop eating sugar.
TOPICAL ACNE TREATMENT: SAMPLE SKINCARE ROUTINE FOR ACNE
If you're someone who appreciates having options when it comes to skincare, this facial cleansing brush provides 4 brush heads that address the skin on your face and your body and help prevent and treat acne and clogged pores. There's a brush for removing makeup, a latex sponge attachment for cleansing and hydrating, a short-bristle brush for cleansing pores, a longer, fine brush for mild exfoliation, an exfoliating brush, pumice pad for removing calluses, and a rolling massage head to increase circulation.
The magic of this acne-fighting mask comes down to two key ingredients: hydroxy acids and soy. “This mask combines hydroxy acids to remove excess oil and exfoliate dead cells from the surface of the skin with soy to help even the complexion,” says Dr. Zeichner. Plus, it’s super easy to use. Just wait for it to fully dry on your skin, then peel it off (and take that acne along with it).