In Chinese Medicine face diagnosis acne presenting on the cheek area is related to the functioning of the digestive system, acne presenting on the forehead area is an indication of liver congestion. It is therefore recommended that you concentrate on improving these systems in order to improve the appearance of the skin, cleanse the blood, eliminate wastes and reduce inflammation. Acne is caused by congestion of the skin follicles due to bacteria, dried sebum (oil) or dead skin cells. The health of the reproductive system (hormones – androgens and progesterone), liver function, digestive function, skin hygiene and bowel elimination can all affect the health, vitality and appearance of the skin.
SIGNS OF ACNE
- Greasy, shiny skin – increased sebum production, increased size of the sebaceous glands
- Blackheads – hyperkeratosis of hair follicles enclosing the dried sebum
- Open pores
- Papules and pustules – white blood cell activity in damaged hair follicles
COMMON CAUSES OF ACNE
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Substances which block the skin pores (grease, oils, cosmetics)
- Use of synthetic hormones or the oral contraceptive pill
WHAT CAN HELP REDUCE ACNE?
To address complaints of skin congestion and inflammation the internal environment of the body first needs to be cleansed so that the skin receives a good supply of nourishing nutrients and better elimination of wastes. Treating skin conditions is often a slower process and it is recommended to persevere with a cleansing program for at least 3 months before you judge its effectiveness.
It is recommended to address the functioning of your digestive system, especially if you suffer from any other symptoms relating to digestive dysfunction such as bloating, constipation, nausea, flatulence, reflux or indigestion. By improving the way that the body absorbs and assimilates nutrients from the foods in our diets we can help to improve the health of the skin. This is because by absorbing more nutrients, antioxidants, minerals and proteins from foods our skin benefits.
It is suggested that it may be beneficial to take a liver detoxification supplement which may help to remove excessive wastes from the liver and improve lymphatic circulation.. Liver herbs also act as anti-oxidants, promote liver and lymphatic function (waste removal), improve digestion and are anti-inflammatory, helping the body to expel excess wastes via the kidney and bowels instead of through the skin.
DIET TIPS TO REDUCE ACNE
- Ensure you drink plenty of liquids, at least 2 litres per day
- Start the day with a small warm glass of water with ½ lemon squeeze into it. This promotes digestion and cleanses the liver and bowels
- Reduce high fat and high sugar intake in the diet
- Reduce foods which can trigger outbreaks such as saturated fats,chocolate and sugars from the diet and this will contribute to dirty blood and skin.
- Increase fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet to help alkalise and clean the blood.
- Have a vegetable juice each day, some suggestions are carrot, celery, beetroot, ginger, parsley and apple. Vegetable juices nourish the blood, contain anti-oxidants and help to detoxify wastes
LIFESTYLE FACTORS TO REDUCE ACNE
- Dont pick the pimples as this can cause the bacteria and inflammation to spread
- Ensure healthy skin hygiene and dont use synthetic facial products. Using witch hazel, tea tree oil and calendula on the skin is a basic beauty routine when used with water
- Consider doing a liver detoxification program to help cleanse the blood
- Manage stress as nervous system tension creates a deficiency of the nutrients required to maintain healthy skin
- Avoid greasy face creams and heavy make up as these will create bacterial issues and stop the skin from cleansing and releasing toxins
- Address any underlying digestive disorders (Candida, maldigestion, constipation, indigestion)
NATURAL REMEDIES TO HELP REDUCE ACNE
- A fish oil supplement due to its anti-inflammatory effects, fish oil also moisturises and corrects skin oiliness and imbalances. Increase the amount of essential fatty acids in your diet by increasing your intake of fish, flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil, nuts and seeds and avocados
- Zinc is helpful to reduce inflammation and improve wound healing. Other nutrients specifically for the health of the skin are Vitamin A, Vitamin C, B Vitamins and Betacarotene. Zinc deficiency in skin causes elevated dihydrotestosterone DHT which creates the inflammation
- Vitamin A deficiency causes hyperkeratosis of hair follicle horn cells
- Vitamin B deficiency creates elevated sebum production
- Specific herbs to cleanse the blood and skin are Red Clover, Dandelion, St Marys Thistle, Burdock, Rhubarb, Yellow Dock, Calendula and Blue Flag. Speak to a Herbalist who can tailor make a herbal tincture specific to your needs
- Probiotics are beneficial for ensuring adequate amounts of healthy bacteria in the body
- Micel A & E oil applied to the skin at night to reduce inflammation
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