Understanding Acne (Part 3): What To Do About It

Understanding Acne (Part 3): What To Do About It

This is part 3 of a 3 part series. The goal of this series is to help you understand your acne in a whole new way so you can take the health of your skin into your own hands. Before reading, check out part one and part two.

Alright, it’s the part you’ve all been waiting for. Let’s talk about clearing your skin for good!

In part one we learned what’s really causing your acne, and why using products to help your acne is like using a bandaid at best, and actually causing more acne at worst. In part two we learned that genetics is responsible for much of our acne – but that it only means we’re prone to breakouts. There is plenty that we can do to keep the pimple switch off.

For that, we need to remember that acne is a symptom. It’s the check engine light. So let’s peak under the hood.

There are three things that most contribute to the acne process. Let’s take a look at each one individually.

Hormonal Imbalances

When certain hormones are either too high or too low, some of the side effects can lead to your skin producing more oil. The oil can become more fragile and more likely to oxidize, and inflammation within skin can become harder to control. In addition, hormonal imbalances can cause skin cells to shed faster within the pore. All this leads to pores more easily being blocked and skin becomes even more prone to breakouts.

While technically all acne is hormonal, you can usually tell that this is a major factor for you if your acne tends to be mostly along your jaw line. That’s because we have more hormone receptors in this area of our skin.

Hormonal imbalances can be caused by changing birth control, stress, diet, poor sleeping habits, and certain conditions such as PCOS, diabetes, thyroid problems.

Systemic Inflammation

Systemic means there is inflammation throughout your body. When you have inflammation in other areas of the body, it leads to lower levels of antioxidants in your system. Think of antioxidants like firefighters, they help put out inflammation. Systemic inflammation means your body has a lot fires but not that many firefighters. If the firefighters you have are already busy trying putting out inflammation within your body, there aren’t going to be enough left over to help fight inflammation within your skin. And if there is too much inflammation in your skin, it won’t be long before pimples appear.

Systemic inflammation can be caused by various things, but most common are digestive problems, illness, food allergies or sensitivities, and also stress.

External Factors

Finally, sometimes, some acne can be caused by external factors – especially if other systems within the body aren’t functioning properly and the skin is left vulnerable. I mentioned in part one that the very products you use to treat your acne can actually cause inflammation and if the inflammation cannot be controlled, acne forms. Other external factors can similarly trigger inflammation such as air and water pollutants or UV rays. Because of this, external skin care is still important. If you’re using the wrong products, or products in the wrong way, you may be harming your skin more than you’re helping.

In addition to these factors there is one last thing we need to understand when dealing with acne. It is rarely ever just one factor. It is usually a combination of things – a compounding affect leading to your skin problems.

For example, if you have a lot of stress in your life, that may be causing about 30% of your acne. That means even if you found ways to effectively manage your stress in a healthy manner, your acne will only get 30% better. Perhaps something about your diet is causing another 15% of your acne. That means that even if you ate “perfectly” (perfect eating doesn’t exist), that will only improve your skin by 15%.

In reality, it’s practically impossible to know which factors are causing how much of your acne. That’s why to finally, truly heal our skin – we have to look at the whole picture – your total health and wellness, inside and out. We have to understand what is preventing you and your skin from operating optimally. Because if everything is working as it should, acne will only be a minor problem at most.

It takes some time and patience to get there – but I promise you can. First, you have to let go of the idea that there is a cream you can apply, a pill you can take, or one change you can make and everything will be all better. You have to let go of guilt, let go of perfection, and love yourself enough to start being kind to your mind, body, soul and skin. Healing your acne is a journey that starts by healing yourself. It doesn’t happen overnight or all at once – but that doesn’t mean you don’t take the first steps.

What is the first step? I suggest that you ask yourself, what’s not working? What needs attention in my life? Can I feed myself more nourishing food? (Reduces inflammation). Can I get more movement into my life? (Reduces inflammation, increases circulation). Can I better honor my body’s need for sleep? (Balances hormones). Can I manage stress better and make my well being a priority? (Reduces inflammation, balances hormones). Can I be kinder to my skin, rather than attacking the acne? (Reduces inflammation, prevents external problems). Can I be kinder to myself and get in touch with my sense of self worth regardless of the condition of my skin? (Balances hormones, reduces inflammation).

If you need more help knowing where to begin, click here and let’s chat. I can either work with you one on one, offer you some other great resources, or point you in the right direction.

Thanks for tuning into this series. Let me know if you found it helpful in the comments below. Did you learn something new? Change your perspective about acne? Feel ready to make changes? Is there anything else you need? I would love to hear it.

Until next time!

Much love,

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  1. 1
    Katie Lagergren

    Thank you, Brianne!! I always learn something new and helpful from you. I have begun implementing several of your tips to healing the skin and it’s working!! Understanding the root causes of acne is extremely helpful. Your articles always give practical steps for us to take in order to head in the right direction. Thanks again!!


    • 2
      Brianne Grebil

      You are so very welcome Katie! I’m so glad you’ve been able to take the right steps and see improvement. Let me know if I can ever be of more help!

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