One of the most embarrassing symptoms for a woman at any age, let alone in her 40's is the sign of unwanted acne.
Such a simple symptom can affect confidence, social interaction and often may lead to depression. Women are also so desperate to find a solution they are left taking a cocktail of harmful drugs, just to manage the symptoms; but in reality, these often contribute to the underlying causes compounding the chronic nature of this condition.
Adult acne is a complicated condition because there are often multiple factors contributing to the final symptom of acne. This is why a solution to the problem is often not singular and needs a comprehensive approach to treatment.
The chronicity of the condition also hampers improvement; with inflammation triggering further inflammation and deep-seated causes which take time to respond.
Often in complex and difficult to treat conditions, the best solution is to simplify the approach and take it back to basics.
Here is a solution that works in most cases. If you can make these changes you will definitely see an improvement in your acne and over a time period of 3 months have vastly improved skin, which should only improve further over time. There will always be the odd break-out, but this protocol is designed for adult acne which has been present for many years.
It's often said that all health starts and finishes in the gut, but for adult acne, this is particularly true for three reasons:
- Hormones are metabolized and excreted in the gut. Sluggish digestion leads to resorption of hormones and compounds an existing hormonal balance.
- The gut is involved with food intolerances, and adult acne is very closely linked with IBS and food intolerances.
- The digestive system is linked to the lymphatic system, with food intolerances congesting the lymph system leading to congestion in the skin.
So working to balance the GI tract ecology is an important first step in treating adult acne.
Here are two steps that need to be addressed:
Firstly is eliminating foods which trigger inflammation in the digestive tract and congest the lymphatic system. These common foods are dairy, wheat, gluten and sugar.
These 3 food groups are found in most processed and commercial foods and must be eliminated. I commonly hear, "Oh, I tried stopping dairy and it had no effect."
The mistake here is often not enough time without dairy, and not stopping the other common food intolerances. It really needs all 3 to be removed, for a minimum of 3 months.
And only after 4 - 6 weeks will you start to see an improvement, because it takes time for the digestive inflammation to subside and then the lymph system to clear.
Secondly is to rebuild the gut ecology. Our beneficial bacteria are under constant assault from antibiotics, GM foods, sugar, alcohol and processed foods.
There are many forms of probiotics on the market, however, in my experience fresh, live ferments are a much more effective way to restore the right ecological balance.
Nowadays, there is a wide range of fermented foods available; and the information is freely available on how to make your own fermented foods inexpensively.
European countries have known about the benefits of fermented foods for many years - as a method of storing foods - as well as getting vital nutrients during colder months when fresh fruits and vegetables were not available. Sauerkraut is a common example.
Asian cultures have also been fermenting for centuries with fermented soy, such as miso, and also kimchi, which is fermented vegetables.
We recommend the Coconut Water Kefir as one of the easiest ways of getting beneficial bacteria that is inexpensive and easy to make at home.
Another example of a fermented drink is rejuvelac. Both these recipes are in our free 8-Week Program.
After regular consumption of fermented foods and drinks over at least a month, the bacterial microflora change and start to work for you rather than against you.
Also, understand that our bacterial balance is determined by what foods we feed it... Feed it sugar and processed foods, and bad bacteria develop. Healthy, fresh and live foods lead to a healthy digestive tract ecology; reduces inflammation in the digestive wall; lowers the immune response, so reducing food sensitivities as well.
We've already discussed the significance of lymphatic congestion in the development of mature acne. When the lymphatic system is congested, then the skin needs to take over as a mechanism of detoxification and cleansing. This leads to the skin becoming congested, which leads to the development of acne.
To improve lymphatic congestion - obviously digestive health and diet is important; paying special attention to avoiding dairy and gluten products.
The lymph system can be stimulated via regular steam and saunas; daily skin brushing; hot and cold showers; regular exercise; jumping on mini-trampolines; drinking enough water during the day; and limiting diuretics like tea, coffee and alcohol.
Having a green juice every day is also a wonderful way to get the lymphatic system clearing.
Hormones clearly play a role in the development of adult acne, as seen with breakouts and exacerbation of symptoms around ovulation and prior to the period. But is it the cause?
It's part of it. It's digestive, it's lymphatic, and it's hormonal. Hormones cause an overproduction of sebum in the skin, which then easily gets blocked in congested skin and acne results.
We often see with just Happy Hormones (HH) alone, the skin clears. Without treating the underlying causative factors, however, then any improvement is fleeting once you stop HH. This is because we are only dealing with one part of three.
Happy Hormones works by regulating hormone levels in the brain. Not by raising or lowering hormone levels, but via the hypothalamus/pituitary axis in the brain. So the body actually does what it needs to balance itself.
We call these herbs adaptogenic because they adapt to do what is necessary. It's the ultimate in personalised prescription, because the body knows what it needs to do. HH just acts as the catalyst.
Finally, a couple of other supplements can assist in the recovery process.
- Zinc is essential to modulate testosterone levels and boost immunity and improve healing time.
- Silica helps to bring out the toxins and bring cysts to a head.
- Evening primrose oil is specific for hormonal conditions and helps to reduce inflammation along with turmeric as a good all-round tonic.
- And lastly, Vitamin B6 can help with further hormone modulation specific to the skin.
You may be wondering about skincare and I have deliberately left it out because I believe that the cause of the problem lies internally and any external treatments will only ever be temporary.
One consideration, however, is your skin ecology is just like your GUT. Don't get over-zealous trying to kill bacteria externally, as you only create an environment for bad bugs to grow back. Use a gentle non-toxic cleanser should be enough externally.
If you really want to beat adult acne then here are the guidelines. Everyone is a little different and I actively encourage you to experiment with different approaches; however, make sure it's not fleeting and give it the time to work.
The above protocol will work for many conditions, as it's a basic cleansing and rebuilding protocol. This, in turn, cleanses the system which removes the acne.
It's definitely not the easiest protocol to follow, but the results will come if you can stick with it.
And if you're wondering if hormones might be your issue, we also have a free online symptom profile assessment you could complete, to further understand your Hormonal Profile.