Tried every ointment, cream, and cleanser to cure acne? If you're no longer a teenager but still popping pimples, you might feel exasperated – won't this ever end? It's important to realize you're not alone – adult acne is common. So are antibiotics for acne or topical agents to “dry it out.” But these methods often fall short of fixing the underlying problem.
Both prescription and over-the-counter remedies to cure acne never really get to the root of why breakouts happen in the first place. Which means acne sticks around, in spite of your efforts and frustration.
What gives? Acne over the years
Even though acne often looks the same for teenagers and adults, the underlying cause is slightly different. Still – to cure persistent acne, you need to take roughly the same steps.
Teenagers tend to get acne because of an overproduction of sebum, the oily secretion produced from the glands on the face. It is more common in boys and is found on more surface of the face, including the forehead and cheeks and can move down the neck and chest.
Adult acne is usually linked to fluctuating hormones, inflammation, and stress. This type of acne is found around the chin, mouth, and jaw line.
In both cases, the best way to cure acne is to reduce inflammation.
Sometimes, something as simple as oil cleansing can dramatically improve the texture of your skin and minimize the appearance of acne. But if you've had acne for several years or if oil cleansing isn't working, try these easy remedies for acne – they’re practical and they really work.
7 steps to cure acne
As it turns out, there's a wildly intricate connection between your gut and your skin. This means that in order to get to the root and cure acne, you must begin with food. Good food. If you're not sure what this means, I go into the details below.
In addition to food, stress has its own dance with your immune system – and like the wrong kind of food, the wrong kind of stress can stir up inflammation and make acne worse.
#1 – Break up with sugar
Sugar in any form, whether it's natural or processed, will elevate blood sugar. In turn, elevated blood sugar stifles the production of one special hormone in the layer of fat just beneath the skin. This hormone is called adiponectin and it's incredibly good for you and your skin. Adiponectin:
- Controls inflammation
- Fights oxidative stress
- Controls blood sugar
Instead of sugar, use stevia in moderation. Snack on good balance of macronutrients: protein, fat, and complex carbs. And since the microbes in your gut have a say over which food you crave, safeguard against a rebound love affair with sugar by bringing more fermented foods into your life.
#2 – Zero in on the troublemakers
Some foods trigger an immune response – meaning they're inflammatory. These are the foods you want to avoid. The trouble is that each person is unique. There is no one-size-fits-all diet to cure acne. Zero in on your troublemakers by eliminating the most common culprits:
- Gluten – found in wheat and other grains
- Casein and whey, found in dairy
- Nuts and seeds
Inflammation tends to “settle” in a specific place. If acne is how your body deals with inflammation, you might want to try a grain-free, dairy-free diet – like the paleo diet.
#3 – Fall in love with fermented foods
The craze over fermented foods is for good reason. These foods offer impeccable probiotic benefits that support smooth, healthy skin. In fact, all types of skin disorders (eczema, psoriasis, and dandruff) have their root in the gut, which is exactly where many of your unique tribes of bacteria are housed.
While there are lots of types of fermented foods, steer clear of fermented dairy (yogurt, kefir, lassi) until you've seen your skin improve and you have ruled out any sensitivity to dairy.
If you love kefir, try coconut water kefir instead. Also, raw goat dairy tends to be less inflammatory than cow dairy.
#4 – Bring in B vitamins
There are eight B vitamins that collectively work together to support healthy skin. Some foods are good sources of just one B vitamin, while other foods contain several B vitamins. When using diet to cure acne, include the entire spectrum of B vitamins.
Luckily, B vitamins are widely distributed throughout the food supply. In addition to supplementing with a high-quality B-complex vitamin, these foods that contain B vitamins:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Pasture-raised chicken
- Pasture-raised beef
#5 – Use nutrition to give your immune system some support
Many popular remedies for acne contain vitamin A. This is because vitamin A decreases oil production and helps to prevent dead skin cells from sloughing off and clogging pores.
Vitamin D is also good for the skin. It supports your immune system and calms inflammation, both which are essential when getting rid of acne.
If you're looking for vitamins A and D in real food, look no further than cod liver oil. Just one teaspoon gives you 3000 – 5000 IU of vitamin A. And in that same teaspoon, you'll find up to 500 IU of vitamin D.
#6 – Make fat count
Besides boasting robust levels of vitamins A and D, there's one more benefit to cod liver oil: It's an excellent source of long-chain omega-3 fats.
Omega-3 fatty acids do glorious things for your skin, including reducing inflammation. Work in long-chain omega-3s as often as possible by eating oily fish. This includes:
In addition to omega-3s, an omega-6 fatty acid found in evening primrose oil works well to balance hormones, which is one reason why acne develops in the first place. Evening primrose oil also supports cell structure and skin elasticity. It can be taken either as a supplement or put directly on your face.
#7 – Belly breathe and repeat
Whether physical, mental, or emotional – stress makes acne worse. Some surprising remedies for acne include some sort of technique to manage stress. Reducing your perceived levels of stress will not only help you feel better, it will help your skin look amazing.
One of the easiest techniques to manage stress is belly breathing: watch your belly expand as you inhale and compress as you exhale. That's it. This simple exercise has been shown to reduce the biochemical markers of stress in the body. Neat, right?
In addition to belly breathing, you might want soothe your nerves with yoga, mediation or prayer, and laughter.
What have you done to cure acne?
Let me know in the comments!
I cut out sugar and gluten and replaced with fresh foods. It cleared completely in about 6 weeks.