Most of us know that our skin is the largest organ in our body yet often still separate our skin disorders from the rest of our system. Langerhans cells, which are often more noted for being present in our pathogen-fighting lymph nodes, are also found in the skin, making it a part of our adaptive immune system. No wonder we notice how our skin takes an instant hit if we are not taking care of ourselves!
Acne occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. This plug may develop into a “whitehead”, “blackhead”, “pimple” or cyst, depending on whether the plugged hair follicle bulges, is open to the surface, becomes inflamed or is found deep in the hair follicle. The cause of increased sebum production is generally due to hormones, nutritional deficiencies, bacteria, gut health, food intolerances and certain medications.
Symptoms of Acne include
- Whiteheads (raised, skin-coloured bumps)
- Blackheads (dark, flat “plugs”)
- Papules (raised, red, possibly painful bumps)
- Pustules (raised, red, possibly painful, white pus containing bumps)
- Nodules (painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin)
- Cysts (painful, pus-containing lumps beneath the surface of the skin that may cause scarring)
The goals of acne treatment and management are to reduce acne symptoms, heal acne scars and correct any underlying hormonal, gut and food imbalances that may be contributing to acne recurrence.
Conventional treatment for acne may include laser therapy or chemical peels, and a variety of medications including topical vitamin A derivatives, antibiotics or oral contraceptives. These treatments may have short- or long-term side effects.
Natural Acne Treatment
As a naturopathic doctor that specialises in skin therapy, I address the internal components that are contributing to acne reoccurrence as well as the external components and how they may be affecting the skin’s immunity and healing capabilities.
In a naturopathic skin consultation I work through:
- Identifying and addressing underlying factors in your lifestyle (e.g., incorrect hygiene, medication use, stress) or general health (e.g., PCOS, Endometriosis, Blood sugar imbalances) that may be contributing to your acne symptoms
- Identifying and removing dietary triggers using either a food elimination protocol and or functional laboratory testing
- Preventing or reducing acne recurrence by “balancing” hormone levels using metabolic detoxification protocols and botanical and nutritional medicines.
But the most overlooked part of what I address in the management and prevention of acne is our skincare routine.
Effective treatments for acne topically are very different depending on whether the acne is dry acne (acne tarda), or a wet/oily acne. All too often people think all acne is produced from oily skin, however, many cases of acne are actually caused by the skin being ‘dried out’. Sadly, this is generally caused by the inappropriate use of cosmetics for the true skin type. When the natural lipidic balance of the skin is out of shape, the skin produces an over-abundance of sebum. Simple mistakes such as this can send the sebaceous glands into overdrive, which can result in more aggressive acne, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and scarring.
Natural Skincare Products
Here at Vital Chi Wellness, we stock an amazing skincare range called Dermaviduals that encompasses skin and its cellular function at its core level. The active ingredients are encapsulated in skin-identical ingredient – phosphatidyl choline – this means the serums fuse with the bilayers, penetrate the skin barrier and make the cellular change!
Depending on the type of acne, specific concentrates are blended to make bespoke serums, base creams and cleansers that help prevent acne, acne scarring and maintain healthy proper functioning skin.