1. Love and Acceptance
I couldn't start this off by not first stating the most important thing when it comes acne, which is knowing you are worthy, beautiful, valued and loved no matter what your skin looks or feels like. Your skin does not define you as a person and the great thing about that is you determine how you feel about it. In most cases, your skin may be screaming out and communicating for you to love and accept it - instead of feeling frustrated and rejecting it.
To start this process it may involve looking into the mirror with vulnerability, putting aside 'fake it till you make' nonsense and having an honest conversion with yourself on where you are at. Advocate for body acceptance. An example is "I dislike the way my skin looks today, but I honour those feelings and know that I am still worthy of love no matter what I have done or not done".
Another productive mindset tool is to ask yourself 'how is this acne serving me in my life right now?'.
Life always presents us circumstances of Yin and Yang. We don't give without a gain or gain without a give - so where can you shift your mentality to see the other side of how your acne is presenting in your life? If it wasn't there, what would be different and how would that negatively impact your life?
Remember you are exactly where you need to be
2. Eliminate sugar and processed foods
Sorry guys and gals but I'm pretty sure you saw this one coming. Acne doesn't mix well with sugar or processed foods. You skin is like your large and small intestine flipped inside out, so anything you place in your body that is synthetic alters your gut micro biome and generally causes an internal immune reaction. This generally leads to inflammation which then presents on the skin. See the list of ingredients below to avoid
Refined sugars such as:
White or brown sugar
High fructose corn syrup
Pre-made muesli bars
Processed foods such as:
All preservatives - anything with a number on it... don't eat it!
Artificial flavours, colourings and additives
Pre-packaged foods such as biscuits, cake mixes, white breads
Greasy and deep fried foods
Rice bran oil
Other ingredients such as:
Modified corn starch
Modified soy flour / soy protein (found in many plant based food alternatives)
Preservative 220, 221, 223, E320
3. Eliminate dairy
I know cheese is delicious BUT they are a big 'damp producer' in the body.
Think of it this way.
The gut is lined with mucosa and certain foods can increase the permability of this mucus. In excess, this mucus produces dampness, phlegm and stagnation through the digestive tract, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies and altered immune defences. Another factor is that if there is lingering bacteria in the body, it likes to hide in mucus which can make it harder to treat low- grade infections.
All of this can make acne worse. Interestingly, cow’s dairy (A1 casein) stimulates mast cells, which are immune modulating cells that release histamine - which can worsen acne.
Butter. Butter and butter blend, Margarine
Cheese. Natural and processed cheese products.
Cultured Dairy. Yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, dips and other cultured dairy foods.
Whey, Milk Powder.
4. Increase your anti-oxidants, anti-microbial foods in your diet to support your liver function
A compromised immune system increases your susceptibility to bacteria and low-grade infections of the stomach, intestines, gallbladder or liver which are common in acne cases. The skin is sensitised too, so even the outer barrier of the skin is susceptible to pathogens in the environment.
Your liver plays a large role in acne as it's job is to
a) metabolism hormones
b) metabolise substances from your food
c) eliminate toxins
d) supports digestion
In Chinese Medicine, acne produces lots of heat so using cooling foods is helping to combat the inflammation is crucial. Heat consumes water, so these cooling foods are generally very hydrating and moisturising to the body as well.
Sour foods contain naturally high antioxidant activity and are recommended to support the livers breakdown of substances and fight free radical damage. Bitter foods are pertained to supporting the heart (fire element) but they are good at draining heat from the liver too!
Anti-Microbial foods are strong but boost the immune's system ability to kill bacteria off. They are called 'damp clearing foods' in Chinese Medicine.
SOUR / BITTER FOODS FOR THE LIVER: Chicory Root, Kale, Asparagus, Rocket, Pomegranate, Vinegar, Lime, Lemon, Fermented Foods, Burdock, Parsley, Dandelion Greens, Mustard Greens, Collard Greens
COOLING FOODS FOR THE SKIN: Watermelon, Cucumber, Aloe Vera, Asparagus, Apples, Cabbage, Broccoli, Basil, Papaya, Lettuce
ANTI-MICROBIAL FOODS: Garlic, Onion, Shallots, Spring onions, Mushrooms, Cauliflower, Fennel, Leek, Chicory Root, Kelp, Celery, Radish
5. Don't pick at your skin!
Its hard. You want to pop the damn thing that's been sitting on your face for half an hour. I get it. But scarring is a huge factor, especially when it comes to cystic acne. Sometimes its better to suffer short term but gain long-term. Optimise your skin care routine here to replace popping and picking your acne.
6. Start your Chinese Medicine Journey
Somewhere along the way, there has been a dysfunction in your bodies way of eliminating inflammation, toxins, mucus and bacteria. Hormones may even be playing a role here. Lifestyle factors, Environmental factors or even Genetics could be playing a role.
All of this is contributing to your acne and its time to seek some professional help.
One of Chinese Medicine's strengths is Dermatology. Eastern Medicine has been treating skin conditions working for thousands of years. So we know whats up. Asian skincare is the most advanced in the world and rightfully so due to these ancient principles of refinement and holistic approaches to wellness.
Herbal Medicine is prescribed by a Chinese Medicine Practitioner (Herbalist) that will assess your body and diagnosis the root cause. From there you will receive a customised herbal formula that works as your medicine!
In my clinic I organise a nutrition plan, skin care routine, lifestyle recommendations, herbal medicine, personalised herbal skincare and cosmetic acupuncture treatment. The full works.