I created this guide to help people understand that acne cannot always be treated with only topical products. Here you will learn the importance of what you eat and how your lifestyle impacts your skin. This is a collection of proven techniques and information that is backed by science, as well as experience, to allow anyone to achieve their goals in clearing their acne.
Getting rid of acne
There is usually something in a person’s diet that causes them to suffer a negativity. Whether this negative is minute or severe, everybody has what I like to call a “trigger”. This trigger(s) in relation to acne and problem skin usually comes down to two things; sugar, and dairy. Both of these things have a strong and direct effect on an individual’s hormones, and hormonal imbalance is the leading cause of acne. This is why a lot of teenagers have some form of acne, they are going through puberty. It is worth noting that many people go through puberty without developing problem skin. These people simply have a genetic structure that benefits their skin.
This also correlates with why some people can consume as much sugar and/or dairy as they want with no consequence to their complexion. Just like people can go through puberty with no acne problems, there are many people who can eat whatever they want without developing acne as well.
If you are a person who has seemingly tried every product for your skin, there is a good chance that your acne is primarily being influenced by what you are putting in to your body. In a study found on Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology’s website, it was concluded that there is “…a positive association between intake of skim milk and acne. This finding suggests that skim milk contains hormonal constituents, or factors that influence endogenous hormones, in sufficient quantities to have biological effects in consumers.” This was a study done on over 4000 people, and it had a 95% confirmation rate. That is more than enough proof. And although it mentions “skim milk” in particular, it is more than likely that all milks influence the body in a similar, if not identical fashion. In my personal experience, all milks influence my skin in the same way.
As for sugar affecting the skin, in a 2007 study it was found that “The improvement in acne and insulin sensitivity after a low-glycemic-load diet suggests that nutrition-related lifestyle factors may play a role in the pathogenesis of acne.” Now although this is not definitive in terms of a direct causation, what it does tell us is that high glycemic foods influence our insulin sensitivity. What this means is that when you regularly consume high glycemic foods (sugars), you are directly influencing a change in your hormones, and like I mentioned earlier, hormonal imbalances are direct causes of acne breakouts. Therefore, it is safe to assume that consumption of sugars regularly are influential to the well-being of your skin.
Based on the above information, it is recommended to anyone struggling with acne to at least limit their consumption of the two biggest dietary triggers; sugar and milk, and by extension, dairy. I need to mention that not all sugars are created equal, and some sugars actually HELP your insulin levels. Fresh fruits and unpasteurized honey not only have a bunch of antioxidants and vitamins, but they are also shown to not increase insulin levels nearly as much as cane sugar and its by-products. What this means is that a chocolate brownie with 60 grams of sugar, and a fruit smoothie made with only fresh fruits that has 60 grams of sugar are not the same despite having the same amount of sugar.
My personal experience regarding this information is positive. I have eliminated most processed sugars out of my diet (excluding those special occasions where stevia just will not cut it), and limited my milk intake to just once or twice a week. Dairy is occasional and in smaller amounts, usually in the form of cheeses. This brought on a significant and positive change in my skin, however it wasn’t enough to completely clear it.
Treating a pimple or breakout:
There is typically a two or four step process in dealing with your irritating acne. The two-step process involves tackling a single pimple when it starts to come out of the skin. The very first moment you notice a pimple, it is important to freeze the affected area as soon as possible. Use an ice pack, or ice cube wrapped in paper towel. Do NOT freeze the skin with direct application of ice, or apply the cold for too long. 10 to 20 seconds is more than enough, we don’t want to damage our skin from the cold.
Next, you need to dry the pimple out. Small amounts of rubbing alcohol, or lemon juice will do the job (or for a less aggressive and skin irritating treatment, JDSnaturals Spot Cream), applied directly to the pimple, . The goal of this combination is to reduce the swelling and blood flow to the pimple, reducing its size, and by drying it out, the pimple will be unable to grow, and the antiseptic properties of the Spot Cream, lemon or alcohol will help kill bacteria that is causing the pimple in the first place. Repeat as often as possible, giving at least a 45-minute break in between treatments. This method has a very high success rate.
The four-step method is for tackling breakouts. Because breakouts are spread across the face, it indicates a wider problem than just getting a single pimple. In this case, we first want to wash the skin with the most effective face wash (check out our Dark Wash), available. After we clean the skin, we moisturize (See our Golden Moisture). After the moisturizer has dried, we take the two-step process and apply it to the breakout. Even though we have more acne to deal with, it is still important to apply the Pimple Stopper, lemon or alcohol to each blemish individually (using a q-tip works well), we only want to dry out the pimple, not the surrounding skin.
Healing your skin from within
As important as a good skin care regime is, most people fail to realize that what you put in to your body has just as much of an effect on their skin as what they put on it, if not more. Vitamins, minerals, water. These all have a huge impact on how your body regulates its oil production, how effectively it removes dirt and bacteria from the skin, and how well your hormones are functioning in terms of balance.
Over production of oil (or lack thereof), and ineffective clearing of pores leads to acne. We use products on our skin to aid our natural cleansing system in keeping our skin oil and dirt free, but sometimes it just isn’t enough, and our efforts cannot keep up with how often our pores are getting clogged up. This is why it is necessary to allow our body to work in harmony with our topical efforts in cleaning our skin. Water will help flush out toxins that would otherwise be pushed out through our skin (and cause acne), while getting the proper vitamins and minerals everyday will help keep our hormones in balance, and prevent over, or lack of, production of oil in our skin which causes acne.
Conclusion: Ensuring your success with clearing your skin
- Find and decide how to handle your “triggers”- dairy is a common one. You don’t need to completely remove your acne triggers, just find a balance to where it isn’t causing you problems.
- Follow the necessary steps when treating a pimple or breakout. DON’T over freeze your skin, and NEVER pop a pimple or squeeze a blackhead or whitehead.
- Get adequate amounts of water and vitamins in to your body every day. Proper nutrition for your skin is just as important as treating the skin directly. You get an added bonus of becoming a healthier person overall, along with your clear skin. It’s a win/win!
After applying all of these steps in to your daily routine, it is highly likely that you will notice a significant improvement in your skin. Couple this with a good face wash and moisturizer, and you can expect a 90-100% reduction in acne.
With all of that said, the MOST IMPORTANT thing is to stay consistent with your objectives. Don’t stop eating well, or drinking water because you don’t notice a big change in a week. Don’t continue changing face washes or moisturizers until you’ve given them at least a month to take effect. Everything takes time, and clearing your skin is just as much a healing process as it is a beautifying one. Consistency is key!