1. Keep Your Insulin in Check: avoid processed carbs and dairy.
Insulin is an anabolic hormone (it builds molecules up). Eating processed foods (mainly carbs) affects blood sugar and causes insulin to spike, which is linked to acne. Loren Coradin has long shown that even though dairy is “low glycaemic” it paradoxically promotes insulin signalling. So it’s best to avoid dairy if you suffer from acne.
2. Give your Stomach Acid a Boost: research shows that many acne sufferers have low stomach acid
There are a few ways to increase stomach acid production naturally. First, if you’re on acid-suppressing medications, you may want to taper off or use zinc carnosine as a substitute. Taking deep breaths and introducing light walks before meals are great ways to increase the parasympathetic tone of the nervous system and promote digestion. Try supplementing with betaine HCl during meals. Old mentors of mine have taught me that you should increase the dose of HCl by one capsule per meal until you feel a slight burning in your stomach.
3. Heal Your Leaky Gut
The link between increased gut permeability and poor skin health is supported by many recent scientific studies.
Improving digestion and avoiding alcohol, anti-inflammatory medications, acid suppressants, and top allergenic foods (corn, wheat, soy, diary, and eggs) are the best starts to healing a damaged gut. Throwing in extra herbs, glutamine, probiotics, and fermented foods helps the vast majority of folks get their gut back on track.
4. Rebalance Your Gut Bacteria
Leaky gut also means leaky sphincters. As Dr. Steven Sandberg-Lewis taught me, the ileocecal valve can lose its tone from opiate-based medications, stress, and popcorn. This loss often leads to excessive leakage of colonic bacteria into the small intestine and can create small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
Many individuals with acne also have SIBO. A low FODMAP diet and a combination of herbal and non-absorbable antibiotics may be the best approach for SIBO.
5. Reduce Your Exposure to Endotoxins (gram-negative bacteria)
We all have five grams of bacterial endotoxins residing in our guts. When we drink too much alcohol, or eat fried foods and grain products, more of these inflammatory bacterial fragments make their way into our circulation, rev up inflammation, and lead to acne. The best way to prevent endotoxins from creeping into our systems is simply to eat more colourful foods (purple blueberries, yellow curcumin, white garlic, red onions, green chard, etc…) and fibre.
6. Get over the Blues
Depression, anxiety, and feelings of malaise are linked with acne. While these feelings certainly have a biochemical basis, it doesn’t mean that we are off the hook from improving our mind sets and outlook on life. As best-selling author Brendon Burchard said, “Depression and hopelessness are just feelings…we can choose to feel these feelings as easily as we can choose to feel happy.”
7. Reduce Stress
There are many tricks to hack the stress response, but paced breathing or Heart Math is a favourite. Since stressors ramp up the hormonal signalling hub called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and prompt the release of adrenal hormones, which among other things pivots the nervous system out of the rest-and-digest mode of the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) into that of the “locked and loaded” fight or flight sympathetic nervous system (SNS) mode, we need to make a conscious effort to engage in regular stress-reduction behaviours.