Discover how to clear acne and get healthier skin
In this blog, I’ll share some advice on how to clear acne and get clearer skin. I’ve also attached a ‘Cheat Sheet’ pdf document for you to download and refer to, to give you quick access to helpful information.
Acne is complex and there are a number of factors that can affect the quality of your skin. The most common triggers for acne are hormonal imbalances, food intolerances, and believe it or not – stress! I am a firm believer that this is one of the biggest reasons why we are seeing an increase in adult acne.
Your stress hormone, cortisol can wreak absolute havoc if it’s out of balance. Cortisol is your ‘fight/flight/freeze’ response when you’re in danger. That’s right – danger! Expect in modern society, we have a malfunctioning ‘danger’ trigger and many of us live in a permanent state of low-level stress – with micro stresses occurring throughout each and every day. We’ll talk more about this later.
And then there’s food. So whilst you may LOVE your best friends Ben & Jerry, they may not be loving you back. The most common food intolerances that trigger acne breakouts are dairy, soy, and wheat/gluten. Although any food intolerance will show up on your skin, as it causes imbalances and inflammation. As your skin is the largest organ in your body, it’s no wonder it’s a book cover, telling the world that your insides are less than happy.
The good news is that there are a number of things that you can do to help identify and minimise your outbreaks. There are also some very effective treatments for acne scarring, which you can read about HERE.
My approach is to treat you ‘Outside In and Inside Out’. This means that we look at the internal and external factors that are contributing to your skin, as well as managing your outbreaks with treatments and products. For me, this is the ONLY way to treat your skin. There is very little point in treating the outside if your inside is responsible for your issues. Hormones and Diet are the main culprits with acne breakouts, which is why I bring in my experience as a Nutritional Therapist to my skin treatment programs. And if I can’t provide the right level of support with nutrition and hormones, I can refer you to a specialist Nutritionist and/or a Hormone GP Specialist.
STRESS.....lets talk about it's relationship with your skin.
I can’t give you advice on how to clear acne without bringing up stress. And I’m not talking major stressful events or a full-on recognisable stressful situation. Low level continuous stress is even more damaging than one off large events, when it comes to your skin.
As I mentioned, your stress hormone cortisol is a little monster when it’s out of balance. Your stress response is very important in some instances, but mostly, in today’s society, it is not helpful at all.
Back in the days when we lived in caves (not you and I, just humans in general), your stress response was SUPER important. You needed it to run from the lion or defend your babies and home. Along comes a threat and ‘BANG’ a huge wallop of adrenaline and cortisol and you could quite literally have slain that dragon (or lion).
Well, we still have that stress response today. Although how many times have you been chased by a lion in the last 12 months? No? Me either! The problem is that our bodies still respond to stress in the same way that it did in cave times, even though we don’t need it. I mean, I agree – it’s annoying when we miss the bus, get stuck in traffic, or our other half/kids are being particularly challenging – but we’re not actually in any danger!
To make it worse, our lives are packed with micro stresses throughout the day, that all add up. How many of these do you recognise:
- Overslept/hit snooze too many times.
- Forgot kids lunches, had to go back and get them.
- Arrrgh, traffic jam ahead, running late for a meeting.
- Disaster – forgot a friend’s birthday.
- Left work late and missed gym class.
- Nothing in the fridge to eat, beans on toast it is then!
- OMG – totally forgot to reply to that really important email.
- Missed an important deadline.
- And my all-time favorite – the middle of the night ‘wide awake’ moment when you realise you forgot to call your mum!
So no life threatening moments there, but they are all micro stresses that affect your body and how it releases cortisol into your system. Over a long period of time, you will see these effects play out in your whole body, including your skin.
When you’re running from the lion, you don’t need perfect skin, glossy hair, balanced hormones, or good gut health – no, you just need to RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN! So basically cortisol interferes with other systems in your body, as it’s a top priority is to keep you safe. It thinks you’re in danger, you’re not.
So, what has this got to do with how to clear acne, I hear you ask. Good question. By reducing your stress levels, you will be balancing your stress hormones and allowing your body to rebalance it’s other systems and resume normal, healthy functioning. In turn, this helps to improve gut health and your skin, not to mention your sleep, concentration and overall health.
And it doesn’t need to be complicated. You do not need to rush off to India and complete a 3 month meditation retreat (although be my guest if you want to, that sounds like bliss to me!). You can start with a few simple exercises:
- Spend 10 minutes in the morning with a relaxing guided meditation. If that’s too much for you, just do 2 minutes of breathing exercises. Repeat this during the day if you feel stressed and again in the evening before bed. ‘Bookend’ your day with relaxation.
- If you’re feeling stressed then find somewhere to go for 2 minutes and practice this breathing exercise: breathe in through your nose for a count of 4 seconds, hold for 3 and breath out for 4 seconds. Repeat the cycle for 2 minutes, or as long as you need.
- Before you go to bed at night, think of 3 things you are grateful for from your day. I always find this helps me sleep and means that I wake up in a positive mood. Gratitude is magical.
Reducing your stress levels will help to bring the rest of your body back into balance. It really is super important.
How to clear acne with diet & nutrition.
In this section, we will look at how to clear acne through diet, nutrition, and lifestyle. In my Cheat Sheet, you’ll see some advice on foods you can eat to boost your skin quality and help with the healing process, after a breakout. There’s some really simple changes you can make to your diet that will help you.
I’d also recommend taking a pre and probiotic supplement. 70% of your immune system is in your tummy, so carefully balancing the bacteria in your gut will boost your immune system, as well as improve your skin.
Food intolerances are very often a factor when it comes to breakouts. Too much sugar messes up your insulin levels, so try to limit foods that are high in sugar and swap your starchy carbohydrates for brown versions. I know this is stuff you’ll have mostly likely heard elsewhere, so I won’t get all preachy! Think 80/20 balance when it comes to healthier choices, and you won’t go too far wrong.
Now, food intolerances are another thing altogether. When we are looking at how to clear acne, we really need to pay close attention to how your skin responds to food. It’s not just the day you eat foods either, look at what your skin is doing up to 5 days afterward. Food intolerances cause inflammation in your body and your body does it’s best to get rid of the ‘toxins’. This is why you may have breakouts after you’ve had a sugar binge, drunk alcohol, eaten dairy, soy or wheat. Any food allergy will show up on your skin, in reality. It may be acne, or it could be dermatitis, rosacea, or sensitivity. Some clients also experience swelling or rashes. Keep a diary and make note of any triggers you find.
If we are working together to treat your skin, we will look at whether food is playing a part in your skin conditions. I can help you with simple, sustainable changes that may help you. If we feel that there is a food allergy, or something more significant going on, such an allergy, I can refer you to a specialist Nutritionist to help you.
So without further ado, here’s the Cheat Sheet, with some top tips on how to look after your skin at home. Just click on the link below.
If you’d like to find out more about treatments and products that could help you, then you can either book a consultation or keep on scrolling down.
How to clear acne with treatments & products.
If you would like to know how to clear acne with treatments and products, then this section is for you. What I will say, is that in order to achieve the best possible results, you will need to look after your skin from the inside out too.
When it comes to products for acne, many people are using incredibly harsh products that are doing more harm than good. Acne-prone skin needs to be treated with sensitive products and products that help to reduce inflammation and boost the skin’s natural barrier function. I always recommend a very simple skincare routine that helps to balance and repair your skin. It’s a myth that all acne-prone skin is oily and another one that you don’t need moisturiser! I’ve actually treated acne-prone clients with very dry skin, naturally. Once we moved them to a simple and sustainable skincare routine, they noticed a real difference in how their skin looked and felt.
In terms of treatments, I use the Lynton 3 Juve machine for laser acne scar removal and also for treating active acne. This is a specialist medical grade skincare laser system that is designed to target almost all common skin concerns. If you’d like to read more about it, you can click HERE.
It is a fantastic, highly effective, and safe system. Lynton is the most respected laser provider in the industry, supplying the NHS and private clinics nationwide. It’s the reason I chose them for my clinic, combining exceptional results and safety.
The first thing we will look at is how to treat active acne. The most effective form is IPL, where precisely controlled short pulses of light are released into the skin, causing a minor controlled trauma, this targets the bacteria responsible for acne and also induces fresh collagen production, which is essential for skin repair and wound healing. The light results in the stimulation of the fibroblast cells, leading to increased production of new collagen and elastin. This improves the texture of the skin, evening out lumps and bumps (whilst also reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles).
Now we will have a brief look at treating scarring. Whilst the IPL laser will provide great results on lower level scarring, the fractional laser is very effective at resurfacing your skin and improving pitted scarring. Tiny sections of the skin are targeted with laser light, which penetrates into the tissue, causing small columns of thermal damage which in turn stimulates significant collagen renewal. The surrounding non-affected areas of skin aid the body’s natural recovery
process, allowing dramatic results without significant downtime. Click on the button below to find out more about acne scarring treatments.
Are acne treatment results permanent?
Acne is very complex and as we have discussed, it’s often influenced by other factors such as diet and hormones. The key to managing your acne is to work from the outside in and inside out. Not only will this help with your short term outbreaks, but it will also strengthen your skin in the long term.
The results that you achieve will depend on the cause of your breakouts. If the cause is hormonal or food-related, then it’s important to address these issues. In some cases, it is simply a case of managing symptoms, whilst patiently waiting for your body to come back into balance.
Are you ready to take the next steps?
I hope that you have found my blog helpful. Acne is indeed a complex condition! If you’d like to have a chat about how I can help you, then please get in touch. I offer a free consultation. We can then discuss the best course of action for you.
I look forward to helping you transform your skin! Nikki