Sharing with you how to heal acne naturally on the blog today. I'm so excited to be collaborating with Nadia from Body Unburdened on this post! Nadia not only has a thriving blog but also knows her stuff when it comes to healing acne. I'll be sharing in this post specifically about external things you can do for acne and she'll be sharing about nutrition and food as it pertains to acne. Check out Nadia's post on 7 Steps To Healing Your Acne From Within here! You get the best of both worlds! Healing acne isn't just about products, it goes much deeper into nutrition and finding the root cause.
As an esthetician I've seen my fair share of acne. Whether it's a teen struggling with their skin or a middle aged women who suddenly gets an onset of adult acne. Most people come to me and want to know what products they can use on their skin to heal it. While products play a role they aren't the whole equation as I mentioned above.
In this blog post on how to heal acne naturally I am going to dive into products and share what you want to look for, avoid and think about when it comes to choosing the correct skincare products. I'm also going to be sharing some supplements you may want to consider as well and what it looks like to have a skincare routine. Then you'll want to head to Nadia's website for the rest of the story on acne and how to heal it.
First I want to talk about the different stages of acne and why they're happening in the first place.
As teens the body goes through an array of changes. Acne forms mostly in the teen years because of hormonal changes in the body. This type of common acne is known as Acne Vulgaris. Often if your parents had it in their teens you're more likely to get it. Our pores have sebaceous glands and these glands make sebum. Normally they make the correct amount of sebum but when you're going through your teen years, often the hormone fluctuations cause your glands to make more sebum. This results in clogged pores and leads to blackheads, whiteheads or pimples.
Here are some factors to consider when dealing with teen acne-
- Are they playing sports and letting the sweat sit on their skin or washing it off right away
- Do they consume a diet full of inflammatory foods(dairy, sugar, packaged foods)
- Is their bedding being washed several times a week with a natural laundry detergent
- Are they stressed or anxious or worry a lot
- How is their gut health
- Do they use comedogenic ingredients on their skin
Just like Teen acne, hormones can play a role in adult acne. Often it might not be the initial trigger but can be brought on by environmental factors. We live in an estrogen dominant world now. From the food we eat, to stressors and contraceptives. These all play a role in our overall skin health. If you think about an adult they usually have more stressors in their life than a teen. Stress actually produces more androgens in our body and therefore causes the body to produce more oil which can cause acne flare ups.
Here are some factors to consider when dealing with adult acne-
- Stress levels
- Comedogenic ingredients
- Dairy and meat sources- are they organic? Grass-fed? Dairy might be something to avoid all together.
- Major life events happening
- Household products such as laundry detergents, soaps, shampoos and conditioners
- Do you suffer from gut issues
What I've found with teen and adult acne is there isn't always a one size fits all approach. Like most skincare conditions it's individualized. Maybe you just have one trigger or maybe it's a combination of several things. I think it's best to really take a look at your life and see where you might be needing to a little clean up.
Nadia is going to dive deeper into the connection between nutrition and acne. As an esthetician I wanted to share some of the common topical culprits you might not realize are causing you to breakout.
The first large one as I mentioned above is comedogenic ingredients. Most people don't realize how this plays such a role in causing acne in people. Let me first explain what a comedogenic ingredient is.
You might be wondering what comedogenic even means. Allow me to explain. Comedogenic ingredients are ingredients that can clog pores, cause blackheads and ultimately worsen acne or trigger it. Non-comedogenic would be ingredients that would do the opposite.
No one is regulating comedogenic ingredients, so as the consumer- we need too! A product label may claim to promote clear skin but the ingredients might contain comedogenic ingredients. Even if you see the label read non-comedogenic that doesn’t mean anything. It could still have pore clogging ingredients. Always make sure and read the label first.
I think you will be surprised how many comedogenic ingredients are often found in natural products. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t use comedogenic ingredients on your skin. I still do but I’ve found ones that I’m ok with. However, if you suffer from acne or consistently clogged pores, then you may want to reconsider what products you are applying to your skin. Some people handle comedogenic ingredients better than others.
Also, comedogenic ingredients vary depending on how bad they are. They usually rate from a 1-5. 5 being the worst. It’s important to note how much of a comedogenic ingredient is in the product as well. If it’s within the first seven ingredients and you’re skin is constantly getting clogged, it might be good to stop using the product. However, if the ingredient in the product is more towards the bottom of the ingredient list, then the manufacturer only used a small amount in the formulation.
If you want to test a product out to see if it is causing you acne or not, the best way to go about it is to test it on your back or chest. These two areas have quite a lot of pores. It’s nice to not have to test it right on your face. Apply it for 4 weeks and watch to see what happens. If it’s fine then probably safe for your face.
If you want a list of comedogenic ingredients and non-comedogenic ingredients, as well as some non-comedogenic product recommendations in natural beauty- download my comedogenic guide here.
Also, check out my friend Marissa Gossett's Instagram page- @grittybeauty. She is a skin therapist and a wealth of knowledge when it comes to healing your skin of acne. Follow her here.
Other Things To Consider-
There are other factors to consider as well. Sometimes you can be doing something and not even realize it's causing your acne. For example, I find a lot of people just don't cleanse their skin properly. They either don't get all their makeup off at night, or dirt/debris from the day. This builds up especially as you lay on your pillow each night. Creating a recipe for bacteria to grow and cause an acne flare up. Proper facial cleansing is really important to make sure your skin is actually clean when you go to bed. Some people may need to double cleanse, especially if they wear heavy makeup. One test I like to do is grab a cotton round after washing your face, if you get it wet and rub it over your skin and still see dirt or makeup your face isn't clean enough. Make sure your hair is pulled back at night as well, so the oil from your hair isn't touching your face.
Also, stick to a skincare routine. I find a lot of acne sufferers jump around a lot and aren't consistent with a skincare routine. One night they wash their face and then the next they don't. Being consistent with a skincare routine can make a world of difference for seeing results when it comes to clear skin.
Some other things to consider:
*I am not a doctor, these are simply suggestions from my own experience. Please always seek the help of a medical professional on specific supplementation or dosing.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids- These are great for supplementing with if you suffer from acne. Omega-s 3's are essential fatty acids for our body and help to calm inflammation from the inside out. Most people get an abundant amount of Omega-6 fatty acids but not enough Omega-3. Since these are not synthesized within the body, you have to get them from food or supplementation. Some foods high Omega-3's are wild salmon, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, grass-fed beef and eggs. I like this Omega-3.
- Zinc Supplement- You may need to supplement with zinc. Many people who suffer from acne are deficient in zinc. Zinc has been proven to be effective at reducing inflammation in the body. (Source) Some common signs you are deficient in zinc are white spots on your nails, dry skin, hang nails, hair loss, frequent colds, acne and low sex drive. A lot of common foods pull zinc out of our bodies because they contain phytates. These bind up minerals and keep you from absorbing them. Zinc helps vitamin A to your skin and also helps by regulating hormone balance. It also helps to aid in omega-3 absorption which as I stated above is also huge for acne. Zinc is also naturally anti-bacterial which is great for the skin. It also helps with apoptosis, which is cell death. So essentially it helps your cells to turnover quicker. Here is a zinc supplement I would recommend. I like this zinc.
- B Vitamins- Particularly pantothenic acid(B5) and niacin(B3). B5 helps reduce inflammation in the skin, and redness. It also can help with skin texture and elasticity. Niacin(B3) is a rockstar when it comes to acne. Often you might hear of people using a topical treatment called Niacinamide to treat acne. When you take niacin it is converted in the body to niacinamide. This helps with overall sebum production, hyper-pigmentation, and has anti-aging benefits too. Biotin(B7) is great too for the skin. You often hear of this one more. When you're deficient in biotin you may notice a rash, or acne on your skin. A B complex supplement may be a good option if you suffer from acne because you would get many of the B's all in one. I like this B Complex.
- Probiotics- These are also something to consider when dealing with acne. Most people these days have a compromised gut in some way. Probiotics help to bring back balance to the gut. We know that often those that deal with acne also have a compromised gut. Remember whatever is happening on the inside is a direct reflection of what's happening on the outside. If your skin is inflamed, chances are your body is as well. Love this probiotic.
Also, stress plays a large role in how to heal acne naturally as I mentioned earlier. When we are stressed our bodies release cortisol, when we have more cortisol the body produces more serum production. This whole domino effect can trigger acne. Managing stress is one of the biggest things you can do for your overall health, but also for your skin health as well. Figure out where your stress is coming from and address it. Also, allow for some margin in your life. So many people are SO busy. This is the world we live in today. Start accessing what is worth your time and what isn't.
Some products I love for acne-
When I started to write this post on how to heal acne naturally I knew I wanted to have some products I could recommend. It is hard to find completely non-comedogenic products in the clean beauty scene. However, there are a few that are pretty low on the comedogenic scale.
- Marie Veronique's Pure + E.O. Free Oil Cleanser- This cleanser is free from essential oils and many comedogenic ingredients. Some Some people may still have issues with it. Oils and ingredients affect everyone differently. However, I have seen this cleanser be successful with many people.
- Marie Veronique's Soothing B3 Serum- This serum contains 10% Niacinamide which as I mentioned earlier in the post is a vitamin B that can really help to calm inflammation. I really love this serum! It is power packed and can help reduce redness and inflammatory breakouts.
- Marie Veronique's Intensive Repair Serum- This helps to gently exfoliate the skin if you have acne, but ever so slightly. It also helps to control oil and alleviate congestion. It helps give the skin some micronutrients that help it naturally heal.
- Zyderma HS Clarifying Cream- This cream has the skin clearing benefits of silver. It moisturizes the skin but doesn't leave it oily.
- Indie Lee Squalene Oil- Helps with texture and appearance of skin tone. It nourishes the skin without feeling greasy. Has a comedogenic rating of 0-1. I love that the only ingredient in the oil is squalene!
- Agent Nateur Holi (Oil) Refining Youth Serum- This has barely any ingredients and scores a 2 when it comes to comedogenic rating. Which means it’s most likely not to cause clogged pores in people, however it could still in some.
- Skin Owl Mauqi Berry Beauty Drops PM- This is another low comedogenic oil. Scoring a 2. It feels so nice on the skin, very hydrating and smells amazing!
- Argan Oil- Very hydrating oil that’s also non-comedogenic. Help reduce fine lines and scars. It has a rating of 0 on the comedogenic scale.
- Leahlani Skincare Champagne Serum- Helps with redness and inflammation. Helps to bring balance to skin while moisturizing at the same time.
- Leahlani Siren Serum- This will help to brighten your overall complexion while at the same time nourishing it.
- Leven Rose Rosehip Seed Oil- This oil has a rating of 1 on the comedogenic scale and it’s a steal on Amazon! I still love this oil for all over moisture- from face to body.
- Beauty Blend No. 2- by Nadia from Body Unburdened- It's formulated to be high in linoleic acid, which studies have found the sebum of acne-prone people to be deficient in, and this deficiency opens the door to inflammation and hyperkeratinization and so breakouts.
I've also had many people have success with True Botanical's Clear Line. They have done so many clinical trials as well and the results speak for themselves. Check out their Clear Line here! Also, you can read my full review on True Botanical's here.
Also, always consider why you are using a product. I find a lot of people just want to blast their face with products. It's best to stick to a simple routine and add in products 1 by 1 to see how your skin reacts. Often are skin is inflamed because we are over exfoliating, and over working it. The skin will heal itself when give the right tools!
Check out some other posts that may help you:
- How To Create a Natural Skincare Routine
- 5 Ways Your Anti-Acne Skincare Routine May Be Making Your Acne Worst by Nadia from Body Unburdened
I would love to hear your successes on how to heal acne naturally- share them below.