Standard dogma from your medical doctor is that your oily skin and acne has nothing to do with the foods you eat. Next time you hear this message, ask for the evidence. Although often denied by American scientific establishments, chronic skin conditions are linked to less than ideal diets. Simple diet modifications focusing on real whole foods including varying fruits and vegetables with good fats can help to clear skin problems after 6-8 weeks. This would mean trading in the acidic and inflammatory foods like highly processed meats, refined oils, foods high in additives, dye, GMO’s and fast food.
Everyone knows that acne is related to surging hormones during adolescence, but to blame acne on puberty is like blaming heart disease on old age. People get more heart disease as they get older, but only when they eat the wrong diet. Heart disease does not exist where people eat healthy, such as in rural Africa and Asia. Heart disease is also cured when sick people change to a healthy diet. Same story with acne.
I struggled with what is considered hormonal acne since I was a teenager. Let me caveat that by saying that I was also a heavy meat eater, I would not eat a meal without meat nor was I willing to give up whole milk. For years I used over the counter acne creams, cleaners, serums, Rx eczema steroid creams. In retrospect, I was being really harsh to my skin, inside and out…between the overly acidic diet, super-hot showers and skincare bottles full of chemicals, my skin was overwhelmed and inflamed to say the least. I dried my skin out, covered my face with makeup & the rest of my body with chemical laced water (store bought lotion). I popped, picked, over-scrubbed to no avail! It wasn’t until I finally admitted that my methods, products and diet was not helping and that it was time to just do something completely different.
I also have sensitive skin and am prone to hyperpigmentation (dark spots) whether I pick an imperfection or not. I didn’t figure that last bit out until I actually took a full step back and started researching & educating myself. I started making my own skincare products, changed my skincare routine as well as my diet. Although it was tough at first… with these changes, only then did I begin to see positive lasting effects that didn’t revert back when I stopped using product….Due to the extra hormones my body was use to receiving from animal products and meat, my acne became so unbearable before things changed for the better. This taught me another valuable lesson; I detox through my skin.
Fast forward, I stuck it out and became even more committed to the changes that I was making. I even challenged myself to go makeup free at that, ha! Looking back, I probably could have put some concealer on, but I was tired of covering up and kept the long-term goal in mind…better, healthier skin. Some of the most important information that I came across and personally experienced was the ways that diet causes acne:
Ways Diet Causes Acne
1) A high-fat diet increases the amounts of fats in and on the skin (sebum). With extreme changes in food intake such as almost total avoidance of fat or inclusion of fat as the sole source of food the amount of sebum production has been found to be greatly altered. Please note that it does not take much fat on the skin to plug the pores, feed the bacteria, and cause acne in susceptible people. Also note the bacteria eat vegetable oil as well as animal fats.
2) The rich Western diet increases sex hormones causing precocious puberty (girls mature at 12 rather than 16 – boys mature earlier too). Earlier maturation of women is known to be associated with more severe acne. Excess male hormones (androgens) in men and women are well known to cause acne and increase production of sebum.
3) Growth hormones adversely affect the sebaceous glands causing them to become easily plugged. Insulin-like growth hormone-1 (IGF-1) is known to be increased by dietary protein (meat, poultry, etc.), and especially by dairy products. Research shows elevated IGF-1 levels are associated with more acne.
Other factors that may play a lesser role are:
4) Acne is promoted by lack of antioxidants and other plant-derived nutrients that keep the skin healthy.
5) Poor circulation to the skin from a high-fat diet allows the skin to be more susceptible to acne.
6) Fat and oils, brought to the skin by hands picking up greasy French fries and burgers, cause acne – this directly-applied grease plugs the pores and feeds the bacteria.
Multiple studies of people living on their traditional native diets – almost all of which are low fat-diets, based on starches, vegetables, and fruits – have found these people have little or no acne. When these healthy people learn the Western diet, acne becomes an epidemic – as do the other diseases of modern civilization (obesity, heart disease, diabetes, prostate and breast cancer).
Whenever I eat something that I should not eat, I notice that I will get a pimple or two. When I wear a full face of makeup, I am 100% certain that my forehead will breakout. However, when I’m sticking to my skincare routine with my Farmhouse Organic products, eating more of what I should be eating, drinking enough water and taking my multivitamins/herbal supplements, I could possibly go a full day or two without even washing my face. I usually don’t, but the point is everything is better when I exercise patience, get the proper nutrition that I need and am gentle on my skin.
Everyone is different and we all have to find what works for us. Are you getting what you need from your food? Are you really what you eat? Think about this for yourself.
As always I encourage you to do your own research!
Peace & Love!
Medically PMS is defined as:
“Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a common disorder in women of reproductive age that is characterized by the cyclic recurrence of physical, affective, and cognitive (or performance) symptoms. The symptoms occur in the latter half of the menstrual cycle, resolve after menses begins, and are absent during the early phase of the menstrual cycle. A diagnosis of PMS requires that symptoms are severe enough to negatively impact a woman's ability to function at home, in the workplace, or in personal relationships. As many as 85% of menstruating women experience one or more symptoms of PMS. Approximately 5% to 10% of women have symptoms severe enough to be debilitating.”
OK, where does that leave the rest of us who do not quite have enough symptoms to obtain an official medical diagnosis but are well aware that something just isn’t quite right????
The exact cause of PMS is not fully understood and may be related to a number of factors. The current theories on the underlying causes focus mostly on levels of sex hormones (e.g., estrogen, progesterone) and neurotransmitters (i.e., brain chemicals that control mood), as well as regulation of fluid balance by the kidneys and hormone balance by the liver.
Ok enough technical stuff …on to the good stuff!
Show of hands for those who have been to the doctor for PMS, menopause symptoms or hormone imbalances and your options were birth control pills or some form of synthetic hormone replacement therapy. We now know that those synthetic treatment options can cause adverse side effects that we really don’t want or care to deal with. But it’s left on us, the patients, to find “alternative” treatments.
Please conduct your own research and talk to your healthcare provider before starting any herbal supplements as they could interact with prescription drugs and/or illnesses that you are already experiencing.
First things first, reverse nutritional deficiencies by taking a quality multivitamin and maintaining enough vitamin B6, magnesium and calcium. Secondly know that a variety of herbal approaches have successfully been used to help manage PMS symptoms, many with a history of use dating back centuries. These natural interventions include herbs that support hormone and neurotransmitter balance, fluid balance, and liver health.
There are many however through my own personal experience and intense research, I’ve found the following herbal supplement approaches to be very helpful…although not all at the same time of course!
And just in case you wanted to read some highly technical medical jargon, check out the sources below...
In my free-time I enjoy studying skincare, Herbalism and reading/researching scholarly & scientific literature on various topics.