Let’s set the scene. It’s the morning of your big presentation. You wake up early, go to the bathroom, and see…3 new pimples have popped up on your face overnight. We’ve all been there (well, most of us). Acne can be a pain to our faces, chests, backs, and our self-esteem. But it is treatable.
The naturopathic approach to treating acne
There are 2 ways to target acne: you can treat active breakouts, or you can prevent new breakouts from forming. Both are used in comprehensive naturopathic treatment plans.
Tips to prevent breakouts
A great acne regime starts with prevention. Acne prevention can be targeted from a topical level (through skincare), or on an internal level.
Topical prevention – aka a skincare regimen – is something most of you are probably already doing. Proper skin hygiene, plus targeted skincare actives, are great tools to reduce breakouts. Not sure what products to look for or what ingredients to avoid?
In general, aim to use one product with a gentle chemical exfoliant (like salicylic acid, lactic acid, or glycolic acid) to prevent dead skin from building up and trapping sebum underneath it (a recipe for pimples). These ingredients can be drying or irritating to the skin, so keep everything else in your routine free of fragrance. Still not sure what to pick? Ask a naturopathic doctor, or book in with a dermatologist.
Preventing acne on an internal level
There are so many variables that can affect the state of our skin; stress levels, hormones, and diet are just a few. Not all acne sufferers are affected by all of these variables. Some of us (ahem, me) consistently get a pimple every time they ovulate; for other (lucky) folks their menstrual cycle doesn’t affect their skin at all. A naturopathic doctor can help investigate, assess, or uncover factors that may be contributing to acne, through a thorough intake.
But if you’re looking to target these at home, start with the basics. Eat a low-glycemic load diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Develop a stress reduction strategy to help lower cortisol (stress hormone) levels. This can include meditation, exercise, counselling, social support, etc. It can be a lot to start all at once, but small changes overtime can add up and contribute to the overall health of our skin.
Tips to treat active breakouts
Pimples themselves are small bacterial infections in our skin follicles. So, to target active breakouts antibacterial treatments are used. Benzoyl peroxide, an over-the-counter acne treatment, is an antibacterial compound that targets the specific bacteria that is responsible for acne (p.acnes). For a natural alternative, mix a few drops of tea tree oil in a neutral carrier oil (such as jojoba oil) an apply to active breakouts.
If you've been struggling with acne and want some support, you can book a free 15 min introductory consultation with Dr. Elena Moore, ND to learn more about the naturopathic approach.