Acne naturopath
How does Acne form? 

Acne is a common skin condition that includes pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads, which can appear on the face, back, and chest.  Pimples that contain pus are known as pustules. Those without pus are called papules. Blackheads and whiteheads are together known as comedones.

Usually acne is seen as a hormonal condition or one associated with poor skin hygiene but there’s much more involved beneath the surface!

What is causing my acne? 

Acne develops when the hair follicles get clogged with oil, dead skin cells and bacteria. Sebum, in glands under the skin surface, travels up the hair follicles to moisturise our skin and hair. Sebaceous glands get their cue to produce sebum from our hormones called androgens.  An increased level of androgens can cause excess sebum production which along with dead skin cells, clogs our pores. Pregnancy, menstruation, PCO/PCOS, and some contraceptives can cause flare ups.

But wait… there’s another thing at play here!

Cutibacterium acnes, or C. acnes, is a type of gram-positive bacteria that normally lives on the skin. When the sebaceous glands produce lots of sebum, C. acnes thrives and reproduces, which further clogs the hair follicles and leads to skin inflammation. (1)

Your gut health is an important consideration when it comes to acne as an imbalance in gut bacteria can lead to an increased risk of developing acne. Gut support is essential in managing acne presentation and proliferation.

Risk factors for developing acne
  • Poor diet of high GI and inflammatory foods cause insulin-like growth factors that stimulate follicular epidermal hyperproliferation (1)
  • Genetic predisposition can increase your chances of developing acne especially if family members have severe acne.
  • Endocrine disorders such as PCO/PCOS can raise androgen levels and exacerbate acne especially around the jawline.
  • Medications and drugs can flare up acne by increasing systemic inflammation and altering digestive capacity
  • Stress can raise your inflammatory markers and contribute to acne flare ups and studies have shown that stress impairs the normal gut microflora, most importantly Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species (2)
  • Poor digestion and excretion of toxins can lead to increased acne through increased systemic inflammation presenting as breakouts around the cheeks and jawline (2).
  • Skin care products that are low quality or incorrect for your skin type can contribute to the blocking of hair follicles and exacerbation of blackheads and acne (2).
How can Naturopathy and Nutrition help acne? 

Your acne journey is individual, and a one size fits all approach is simply not going to cut it. What has worked for someone else may not work for you.

Luckily, as naturopaths and nutritionists, we have the tools available to help you get your acne under control. Through herbal medicine, high quality supplements and individual diet and lifestyle advice we can target the underlying drivers of your acne such as digestion, immune system, lymphatics, nutrients, and product recommendations.


Written by Lucy Moores, Naturopath and Nutritionist at The Melbourne Apothecary

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