WHAT IS ACNE?
Acne is the most common inflammatory skin disorder. It occurs when pores become clogged with sebum, dead skin cells, and colonized with P.acnes bacteria. Acne may be inflammatory (papules, pustules, and nodules) or non-inflammatory (blackheads and whiteheads) in nature. Acne lesions commonly occur on the face, neck, chest, and back, as there is a higher concentration of sebaceous glands.
Naturopathic treatments for acne:
- Hormones: Androgens are known for increasing sebum production, stimulating the growth of skin cells, hindering the separation of dead skin cells, and increasing inflammation resulting in increased acne lesions. Proper hormonal balance can not only help to improve acne prone skin but also improve other symptoms such as PMS, heavy periods, irregular periods, weight gain, thinning or excess hair growth.
- Insulin: A high intake of sugar in the diet will increase the body’s production of insulin, which promotes sebum production thus leading to blocked pores and acne. Reducing insulin levels may therefore lead to a reduction in acne lesions.
- Food sensitivities: Identifying and eliminating food sensitivities is important in any acne treatment plan. It will help to reduce inflammation in the skin, which can contribute to acne lesions. In particular, dairy seems to be the most common aggravator of acne in patients.
- Stress: Stress is inevitable in our fast paced society however lifestyle factors and supplements can be used to help regulate cortisol release. Moderating stress levels may subsequently lead to a reduction in acne lesions on the skin.
Why seek advice from a Naturopathic Doctor for acne:
- An ND will investigate the cause of acne and determine the most important treatment.
- Hormone testing can be ordered through a ND to identify imbalances that may be contributing to symptoms.
- ND’s may help reduce acne through all factors discussed including hormonal and insulin balance, identifying and eliminating food sensitivities and reducing stress.
- Treatment will focus on the person, not just on acne. Treatments may include supplements, acupuncture, and necessary dietary or lifestyle changes. An ND will check supplement interactions with current medications before prescribing to ensure there are no interactions.
- Treatment recommendations will be both internally and externally focused. Topical treatments may help reduce inflammation and clear the skin, while the root cause of acne is being identified and addressed.