Leading nutritionist Dr. Simoné Laubscher (WelleCo; Rejuv Wellness) shares her advice on how to reduce acne naturally.
How your skin looks and feels directly reflects your inner world, so getting your inflammation under control healing your gut and balancing your 7 Pillars of Wellness is essential.
The Internal Causes of Acne
When your internal system is too acidic and your inflammation markers are raised, it is harder for the body to heal. I have treated all sorts of skin conditions successfully by caring for clients holistically – from the inside out.
As a naturopath, I work in the lane of my expertise and balance the internal environment, rather than like a dermatologist who focuses on the skin.
Over the last ten years of clinical practice, I have seen a considerable rise in Adult Acne. I see direct links between the digestive, endocrine (hormonal), nervous systems, and the skin.
As our lives have become more stressful, our inflammation has increased, with many living in emergency mode. Our digestive and endocrine systems have shifted out of balance, often leading to various ski conditions such as acne.
Hormones and Acne
The main hormones that can cause adult acne are the reproductive hormones like oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone and stress hormones such as cortisol.
Adult acne can affect both women and men. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, it’s more common among women because it’s commonly tied to menstrual cycle changes and menopause and pregnancy.
This can be the fruit rather than the root cause of the issue, so I like to look upstream before treating downstream symptoms. By restoring the foundations of your health, balancing your seven pillars of wellness, reducing inflammation and supporting the gut and nervous systems, the hormones tend to follow suit and shift back into balance, and the acne clears.
Acne and The Biofeedback System
The skin doesn’t work alone, but it belongs to the beautiful biofeedback system like all body parts. Like any skin condition, Acne is the body simply communicating with you that something is out of balance.
Acne can affect your mood and self-esteem and give your inner critic a whole list of things to judge and be unkind to yourself about. So let’s fast track your healing, embrace the journey, help you find your feminine flow, and support you to live with optimum health and have beautiful glowing skin as a natural result.
My Top 10 Tips to Clear Your Skin and Reduce Acne Naturally
1. Support Your Gut
One of the first places I start with any skin condition is the gut. Simply helping the body absorb nutrients from your diet makes a tremendous impact, allowing the body to heal itself.
To support your digestive system, chew each mouthful 20 times, eat more warm foods, boost your veggies to improve your prebiotic culture, and eat foods naturally high in probiotics such as sauerkraut organic kefir, kimchi, cloudy apple cider vinegar and aloe vera.
Boost your anti-virals & anti-bacterial, too, like pumpkin seeds, garlic, ginger, cayenne, lemon, grapefruit & cloves. Probiotic-rich foods also help line and heal your gut and create a healthy, sealed barrier that prevents inflammation that can trigger acne.
2. Opt for an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
The best diet to balance hormones is a Low GI, Anti-Inflammatory and whole-food diet, eating more plants and fewer animal products. This doesn’t mean you need to be vegan, but I would try a pesca vegan diet for a month to see how you get on.
Choose a good clean protein like wild fish to balance your blood sugar levels, organic vegetables and salads and good fats like avocado, olives, nuts and seeds.
Essential fats are high in omega 3 and are also very healing. Try using oils from coconut, avocado, hemp, evening primrose, borage and extra virgin olive oil. These Omega-3 oils also help reduce inflammation and support hormone balance.
If you are vegan or eat little animal protein, it is critical to get your essential amino acids each day, so choose a good vegan protein powder such as the WelleCo Nourishing Protein that I formulated. Add in Zinc-rich foods to support wound healing, such as organic eggs, chickpeas, and pumpkin seeds. Pine nuts and almonds.
Vitamin A and C-rich foods are also anti-inflammatory and great for your skin; add berries, kale, spinach, sweet potatoes, lemons, limes and carrots to your diet.
With over-farming & environmental toxins, it isn’t easy to get all the nutrition you need, so I complement with whole-food plant-based supplements such as The Super Elixir™ from WelleCo.
3. Boost Electrolytes
I love to use infused waters to improve hydration by adding lemon, lime, ginger, cinnamon & fresh mint. Mix up a 2L jug of infused water each day and take this to a whole new level by creating a natural electrolyte by adding 1/2 teaspoon of unprocessed sea salt.
This will also flush out your kidneys, for, after all, your skin is like your third kidney and whatever the kidneys can’t filter out is dumped into your skin.
Two litres minimum of good clean infused filtered water is ideal, and increase that to 3L if you are a coffee/caffeine drinker.
4. Do A Parasite Cleanse
We all have a degree of parasites, fungus and candida in our bodies, and they are only an issue when they overgrow and get out of balance.
I always see these as one of the primary drivers of skin issues. The body becomes too damp and inflamed when your good bacteria levels are too low and your harmful bacteria levels are too high.
Using the Lunar Cycle to do a parasite cleanse is the most effective way to have long-lasting results for parasites hatch over a full moon (crazy, I know).
The week before the full moon and the week after, you can take herbs such as oregano oil, cloves, wormwood, grapefruit seed extra, rosemary and caprylic acid to kill off these bad guys and put your gut back into balance.
5. Reduce Toxic Load From Skincare Products
When using skincare, keep in mind to purchase vegan, organic products. Skin prone to acne tends to be sensitive. So be sure to use products that don't contain fragrances, dyes, refined oils and synthetic chemicals that can irritate your skin and make acne worse.
Exposing your skin to sunshine will boost your vitamin D levels, and swimming in the sea has a substantial balancing effect on your skin’s pH.
When it comes to household cleaners, you must remember that your home has a microbiome. Of course, we need to have clean homes, but using vinegar and natural products instead of chemical ones is always the way to go to eliminate bacteria & viruses.
It would help if you also were discerning when it comes to dishwashing liquid and clothes washing products. Dry cleaning should be avoided and only used for special occasions.
6. Reduce Stress
Living under high stress increases inflammation, reduces the body’s ability to heal and can cause skin issues. Since your skin is not essential to life compared to your heart or brain, the body will reduce blood flow to organs that are not vital for survival in a fight or flight situation.
Your body will experience vasoconstriction if you face real danger and get cut to prevent you from bleeding to death. Your adrenal glands also release more cortisol when stressed and sleep-deprived, affecting how much oil your skin produces. Increased oil production can cause cysts below your skin, leading to painful acne. Stress reduces healing blood flow to your skin and shuts down your body’s unique ability to heal. I have found that starting your day with mindfulness, gratitude, visualisations, and affirmations is terrific for both mind and body.
7. Embrace Beauty Sleep
Beauty sleep may be an old cliche, but there is some science behind it. Sleep allows you to detox from the day you have just had and supports a healthy flow of your essential pathways and organs.
During deep sleep, blood flow is increased to your skin-supporting healing, repair and collagen production, facilitating repair and reducing wrinkles, age spots and breakouts such as acne. Deep sleep supports growth hormone release, creating new cells that help heal damaged skin cells.
I take the WelleCo Sleep Welle Calming Tea each night (2 tea bags, in fact), for I’m not the best sleeper; this allows me to get into deep restorative sleep and not spend an hour or so tossing and turning trying to fall asleep.
8. Use Herbs to Balance Your Hormones
Once you have done all of the seven steps above, and if your acne is still not clearing, it is time to balance your hormones. If you have irregular periods, period pain or PCOS driving your acne, I would use the new formula I created with WelleCo, The PMS Elixir. If you are perimenopausal or menopausal, I suggest The Goddess Elixir from WelleCo.
These formulas use herbs and botanicals such as Vitex Agnus Castus to balance your hormones and provide the vitamins and mineral cofactors you need to balance out your hormones based on the season you are in.
9. Sweat to Reduce Acne
Your skin loves to sweat, which helps your body remove toxins, bacteria and even heavy metals. Sweating is a great way to reduce inflammation but always make sure you wash your skin, especially before exercise, to unblock your pores. You don’t want any dirt or makeup to block your pores, especially if you are prone to acne. You can use a regular sauna or your exercise of choice to get your sweat on. Don’t forget that when you use a sauna, having a cold shower afterwards is fantastic for healing
10. Support Your Liver
The liver and your hormones are directly related, which results in hormone-related acne. The liver does not make hormones itself but plays a significant role in hormonal imbalances as the liver breaks down or metabolises the hormones once they have done their work in the body. Supporting your detox pathways and liver function has an indirect but consequential effect on your skin.
Eating liver-supportive foods can therefore help clear up acne. Eat more cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and cauliflower, leafy greens, beetroot and antioxidant-rich fruits, such as berries, pears and apples. The liver also loves garlic, onions and lots of wellness water. You can also take herbal supplements with milk thistle, nettle, artichoke, dandelion etc., to cleanse your liver. Regular exercise is another way to support your liver, improve detoxification, balance your hormones, and it is excellent for your mood and mental health.