A Guide to Adult AcneFebruary 8th, 2014 by David
When you hear the word acne, an image of your awkward teenage self might spring to mind. Raging red pimples attacking
your complexion and confidence, rendering eye contact with peers an aching struggle… Sound familiar!? If you’re lucky, this is all a thing of the past, but for many adults – both young and old, the struggle with skin breakouts isn’t limited to their school days.
It would seem pretty unfair that many individuals have to contend with adult stresses, fine lines and wrinkles… and still spots?! Unfortunately this is a reality for many, thanks to hormonal fluctuations, stress, dietary triggers, digestive complaints and allergies.
Because acne is associated with teenage angst, some adults will suffer in embarrassed silence rather than facing the problem and addressing the issue. But today we’re here to help with a few words of advice.
Hormones – Often adult acne is a result of hormonal upheaval. Women in particular fall victim to this at certain times of the month, and only a very lucky few will sail through the calendar without a single hormonal foot print on their face. If breakouts are localised to the jawline and chin area, this is indicative of hormonal imbalance.
Take a look at your diet – if there is a lot of dairy and inorganic red meat, this could exacerbate the problem, as animal products often come with a hefty splash of their own hormones (whether natural of synthetic) which join the rave of yours for further imbalance. There are herbs that you can take to help balance your hormones – Vitex Agnus Castus is one which works to redress equilibrium between oestrogen and progesterone. Red Clover is another hormonal help. Ensure that you are getting enough magnesium and calcium – eat plenty of leafy greens like kale, spinach, rocket and cabbage, and invest in a high quality multi nutrient which is designed for women.
So you’re due to give the presentation of your career, and you wake up with a great honking zit pulsating on the end of your nose, sound familiar?! Stress is another major cause of acne. Stress opens the gate for a surge of cortisol in the bloodstream which switches your testosterone levels up a notch – this can be characterised by acne breakouts. Unfortunately, to avoid stress completely we’d need to quit our jobs, give away our children and migrate to a retreat in the mountains – not always possible! So it is all about finding ways to manage stress. Try to sleep more, eat a balanced diet with plenty of protein and vegetables. Take a look at how to build your plate here (*insert link to the ‘Perfect Plate’ blog) Exercise is a great stress management mechanism – Yoga is particularly centring. Try meditation and reading before you sleep rather than watching TV or staring at your computer screen.
It is important to understand that all the body systems are interlinked, and if the skin is breaking out this is often a sign that something is not functioning as it should. The digestive tract is closely linked to the skin, and commonly acne breakouts can occur during bouts of constipation or bloating. Wheat and dairy can exert an inflammatory effect in the digestive tract, which in turn can express as inflammation on the skin. Alcohol is another culprit here. Addressing the underlying, root cause of acne is often the only way to prevent it in the long term, as opposed to topical treatments.
Insulin fluctuations in the body are widely believed to promote acne breakouts. Cinnamon naturally works to balance blood sugar levels. Balance all meals and snacks with adequate protein sources, fibre and essential fats – this will assist in your internal balancing act.
Of course, this article is merely a drop in the ocean when it comes to the possible causes and indeed prevention of acne. If this is a problem that plagues your life and dents your confidence, seek advice from a certified nutritionist or health care provider.