Part of becoming your own acne detective involves understanding contributing factors. The more you know, the more you can drill down on the specifics of your life, make smart choices and get to the bottom of your acne problem.
Below are some angles that a lot of people may not think of.
1) Your Products
If you’re someone who has been dealing with acne for awhile, you may actually be bringing more acne on by using products that do not play well with your skin.
Most of us who have been dealt the “acne card” have very temperamental skin. It’s finicky and doesn’t like the ingredients in most products. The skin reacts to these products by breaking out. The problem is that the common solution to fighting acne is to use products, so we keep slathering them on. Inadvertently, we bring on a lot of our own pimples simply by using something our skin doesn’t like.
The first thing I have most of my acne clients do is give up traditional moisturizers. By the very natural of how moisturizers are made, they have to have quite a few ingredients. And these are ingredients that often “gum up the works” inside our pores.
I always tell my clients to try natural oils for at least 30 days. I know, if you have acne, you usually have plenty of oil and the thought of adding more probably doesn’t appeal to you. I understand, but the right oil can do wonders if all you’ve ever used were lotion like moisturizers.
It may take a bit of trial and error to find the best oil for you, so always buy in small amounts. I suggest starting with jojoba oil, as that tends to play the nicest with most skin types. Safflower oil is also nice. Apply just 4 – 5 drops to your skin after cleansing and toning. It’s best to apply when skin is still slightly damp.
I buy most of my oils from Mountain Rose Herbs. They are a great company with high quality ingredients at reasonable prices.
2) Your Job
Several new studies are showing that sitting around all day is pretty bad for our overall health, and that extends to the health of our skin. Unfortunately, that’s what most jobs these days require. But in addition to sitting in front of a computer for 8 hours a day, we sit in cars to and from work, then sit in front of the TV when we get home. Most of us are pretty sedentary.
Constantly sitting decreases circulation. Proper circulation is essential for getting nutrients to cells, and is responsible for “cleaning skin from the inside”. Being sedentary can also lead to problems with blood sugar regulation, which can indirectly lead to breakouts.
If you exercise regularly, that’s great (if you don’t, you definitely should. It’s not just great for your overall health, it’s fantastic for your skin.) but unfortunately not even regular exercise makes up for all the sitting we do the rest of the day.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to move more throughout the day.
If possible, walk or bike to work. Ask if you can change your work station so that you have the option to sit or stand. Walk down the hall to ask someone in your office a question, rather than calling them. Go for a walk after dinner. Get off and away from your computer as much as you can. Go play with a pet. Try the “park far away and walk” trick when you go out. Take the stairs. Anything you can to get some movement into your day.
3) Your Indigestion
A large percentage of people with acne or other skin problems often have digestive problems. Chris Kresser, a well known integrative medicine practitioner, says it’s actually pretty rare to find someone with a skin condition who doesn’t have some sort of digestive issue or history of gut problems.
Interestingly, it’s often the case that if digestion improves, skin improves as well. The exact connection is not clear, but the correlation between digestive problems and skin problems is definitely there. They’ve called it the gut-skin axis, the relationship between the digestive system and the skin.
To help, kill two birds with one stone. See someone who specializes in healing digestive issues. Whether it be a nutritionist, dietician, naturopath, or another type of specialist, working with someone to heal your insides will also help heal your outsides.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to healing your skin is that it’s not likely that any one change is going to drastically improve your skin. It will be a combination of small changes that will add up to healthy skin. So start today. Make one or two small changes, and build from there.
Let me know what you’ve been doing and what else you plan to do in the comments below. I love hearing from you and helping when I can!
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net / graur razvan ionut