Acne is not only a skin ailment, but an expression of internal imbalance.
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Zits, pimples, pustules, blemishes, whatever their name — we hate them. In this age of high stress, pollution + junk food diets, acne is widespread. For some people, acne is a minor annoyance, for the less lucky, it lowers self image + self-esteem.These people are prime victims for the false promise of beautiful skin from makers of deep pore cleansers + oil absorbing creams. I was one of these people.
“I couldn’t even look people in the eye,” a friend once told me.
“I feel people talking to my blemishes when they are talking to me”, another friend shares.
Usually, acne begins as a minor frustration caused by hormones, bad products/regimes or stress. It is when the obsession over break outs + we start to pick + squeeze that the problem is made much worse + much deeper.
What is Acne?
In short, a break out is a clogged pore which has become infected. It is a comedone which becomes a pustule due to many factors discussed below. This is why the minimization of blackheads decreases acne.
Causes of Acne
1. Clogged pores due to product + make-up
As explained previously, synthetic products have pore clogging ingredients. This causes a comedone which is a component of a break out. Often, acne sufferers will be dependant on cover up cosmetics to hide their blemishes, only worsening the problem. Even if good skincare is used, the clogging effect of commercial make-up lines prevents the skin from fully clearing up. A pressed powder natural mineral make up is beneficial for a good cover-up without clogging.
A quick + relaxing way to unclog pores + get a start on great skin is a Pure + simple Facial Treatment. The Urban Renewal Facial is specifically designed to clean up stressed out city skin with enlarged pores.
2. Excess oil
Excess oil is the commonly blamed culprit of acne prone skin. It is generally believed if the skin is stripped of its oils, it will help prevent + clear up blemishes. This is not true. While excessively oily skin has a propensity to break out as pores are more easily clogged etc, oily skin can the most beautiful + healthy of skin types if properly maintained. Oily skin does not need to use oil control products despite popular belief. This may actually induce acne by dehydrating skin, which more often than not results in clogged pores. Oily skin must make sure hydration of the skin is maintained so that oils do not dry +/or solidify in the pores before flowing onto the surface of the skin to keep it dewy.
A great way to reduce oil production is to use a high quality oil blend. The body will produce less oil when the body no longer detects a need for it. Some excellent + proven oil moisturizers are Dr. Hauschka Normalizing Day Oil, Jurlique Daycare Face Oil+ Pure + simple Pure Skin Face Oil.
Dehydration is actually the most common cause of acne in my experience. Because oils will harden in a dry environment, clogged pores will result. Often people break out during the seasonal change to winter or if moving to a drier environment. Most people believe it’s the humid environment that would cause breakouts but this is a less common case. While the sun may be a factor, it is usually the absence of moisture which causes acne. Internal dryness (the need for more water in the body +/or more oils to retain the water) is one cause. But aiding dehydration topically is just as important if not more. We cannot control how our body disperses the water we ingest, or which areas are being hydrated, so using products which will give us more moisture is the most direct way to fight dehydration. Oil based products will also help seal in water. Cigarette smoking, caffeine + alcohol are dehydrating as well as taxing to the liver.
One of the best ways to hydrate the face is Collagen. Hydrating Serums like the Algae Serum + Vitamin Enzyme Serum. Act as the hydrating base under a moisturizer in cold dry weather + can be used a light moisturizer for oilier skin types in summer.
Sun exposure can cause acne as it stimulates the sebaceous glands. It can also cause eurythema (burning) which weakens the skin by traumatizing it + acne results from the reduction in the skin’s immunity.
The Ayurvedic Acne Solution: An Interview with Dr. Suhas (with Dr. Manisha) (43.52)
This is a long one, but its worth it. I conducted this interview while in California making a special stop in Aptos to speak with Dr. Suhas – the US head of Kerala Ayurveda. We also had the pleasure of being joined (by surprise) by his wife, Dr. Manisha at their charming cabin-style clinic. Both of them are fantastic Ayurvedic Doctors with a wealth of knowledge. While Dr. Suhas has served as Chairman of the Department of Medicine, Maharishi College of Vedic Medicine and in conjunction with many Ayurvedic giants including Deepak Chopra, Dr Manesha is an Ayurvedic Doctor who also has a background in esthetics. My talks with both of them were quite different from other interviews I have done before. Despite having mapped out questions and points I though were important, Dr. Suhas (who teaches extensively) took off like a race horse and began on this lovely lecture-like session… which made my job even easier! It was a truly enlightening experience.
Have a listen as the doctor discusses:
- The concept of Acne and Beauty from an Ayurvedic perspective
- Specific organ dysfunction which causes acne
- How the seven dhatus (tissues of the body) relate to each layer of the skin
- Hormones in Ayurveda
- The importance of diet and eating foods with proper prana
- The affected areas of acne and what they mean
- Ayurvedic herbs and treatments for blemishes (based on dosha)
Ending Acne through Hormonal Balance: An Interview with Dr. Natasha Turner (21:39)
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Natasha Turner, hormone expert and author of best-selling book “The Hormone Diet”. I spoke to Dr. Turner at her clinic Clear Medicine. And let me tell you, it was pretty fun to play interviewer.
The session is packed with useful, applicable information – it spans 21 minutes and 35 seconds, but I do find the most interesting facts are in the heart of the interview. I loved how a lot of her points coincided with the points outlined in my book Beauty: Pure + Simple – while I use Ayurveda, she uses Naturopathy – and its wonderful how you can see the same themes of holistic health with whichever lens you want to see it through.
Have a listen to this enlightening interview in which she outlines how:
- hormones relate to our complexions
- the role of estrogen, testosterone and the birth control pill in acne
- potential detriments to our health when using the birth control pill long-term
- dietary advice for hormonal balance
- supplements for hormonally-related acne
- popular food sensitivities which contribute to break outs
- the influence of emotional stress
Eating to be Acne-Free
A tub talk with Joy McCarthy, holistic nutritionist, about the best food for fighting acne breakouts.
Acne and Hormonal Balance for Healthy Skin
A Holistic Vanity tub talk all about hormonal balance. Healthy hormonal system combats acne, inflammation and signs of aging. Watch for Naturopathic Doctor, Makoto Trotter’s insights to doing this holistically.
Stress Reduction for Balanced Skin
Stress Counselor Natalie Shay shares stress reducing secrets with us so we can avoid stress breakouts and other skin ailments.
Holistic VaniTEA – Clarifying Tea
Clarify your skin with this detoxifying tea. Based on an ancient Ayurvedic recipe, this tea cleanses your tissues and G.I tract. Its fights breakouts, cysts and blackheads by gently removing toxins from the body. Watch this short video to learn more about its ingredients, directions of usage and anti-acne benefits.