About 12 years ago, siting in a botanical medicine class and listening to a Master Herbalist give a talk on acne, I had my first eye-opening experience as to how intricately the gut and skin are connected. She was discussing a case that involved a young women with severe acne – the red, sore, deep an painful kind – that came to her for help. She told our instructor that she had tried every skin care product and antibiotic that she could find but to no avail. As in naturopathic medicine, herbalist also take a detailed medical history and review of current symptoms. When asked about digestion, she said hers was normal, with bowel movements about every week. Our instructor was shocked to here that to this woman, it was normal to eliminate weekly. With prompt work on digestion – herbs to decrease inflammation and promote regularity, diet changes, and a re-balancing of gut bacteria and yeast not only did she become regular with bowel movements but her acne totally resolved.
Acne is complex. It can be a mixture of digestion, detoxification, hormones and particular foods that combine to create the perfect storm. Most people with acne know that the worst offending foods tend to be dairy products and refined (and sometimes natural!) sugars. But it can also be made worse with low stomach acid, candida, imbalances in gut flora such as SIBO, SIFO or dysbiosis and other hidden food triggers. If digestion is not completely normal, meaning 1-3 bowel movements per day that are formed and easy to pass, no excess gas or bloating, no heartburn or reflux and no difficulties processing fatty foods then the gut is a potential contributor. This actually also extends to other skin concerns such as rosacea, eczema, psoriasis or yeast rashes/infections. If the removal of dairy and sugar doesn’t help to clear your skin, come see one of the naturopathic physicians at Vitalia to determine the route cause and get on your way to beautiful, glowing skin.