Are you struggling with adult acne? Or, maybe you’ve started a new supplement routine and your skin is acting up so you want to know why. Whatever your concern, in this article we’re discussing acne, what causes it, and how to get clearer skin ASAP.
First, what is acne?
Acne vulgaris, commonly known as acne, is a skin condition marked by inflammation, blackheads, whiteheads, rashes, and red skin. It usually appears on your face, back, chest, neck, and upper arms. While most common during teenage years, it can continue into adulthood.
What causes acne?
There are a number of factors known to contribute to acne.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one main cause is hormonal fluctuation. For women, this can be particularly acute around their periods, during pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause. Fluctuations in hormones can lead to excess oil production which can clog pores and form pimples.
Another common cause is stress. Studies indicate that higher stress levels are associated with exacerbated breakouts. When your body is under stress, it produces more androgens, a type of hormone that stimulates the oil glands and hair follicles in the skin. This overproduction of hormones can also lead to excess oil production, clogged pores, and breakouts.
Your diet could also be at fault. Studies indicate that there may be a link between dairy intake and acne. Researchers believe that consuming milk and other dairy products might promote the production of hormones that are known to be a contributor to acne development. A review of 14 studies with 78,529 participants found that consuming any dairy products, no matter the frequency or amount, was associated with a greater risk of acne.
Another culprit could be sugar. Some studies show a connection between acne and high sugar diets. One NIH study found that diets with a high glycemic index might contribute to acne production. Glycemic index refers to how quickly or slowly food spikes your blood sugar levels. A high GI diet includes lots of high sugar foods like soda, white bread, candy, and ice cream, and causes dramatic fluctuations in your blood sugar. More sugar in your system leads to more insulin and hormone fluctuation, leading to excess oil production and exacerbated acne.
Lastly, B vitamins. Starting a new vitamin regimen can bring a lot of changes to your body. If you’re introducing B-complex vitamins into your system for the first time, you might experience breakouts as a side effect. B12 vitamins have been linked to increased acne production in some studies. These are typically a result of your liver breaking down the supplements for the first time and should subside after six weeks or so.
How do I get clearer skin?
There are a number of steps you can take to make sure your skin is in the best shape possible.
Eat whole, nutrient dense foods.
Make sure you’re prioritizing fruit, veggies, whole grains, healthy fats, plant-based dairy alternatives, beans, and high quality protein. Avoid dairy, processed food, and overly sugary foods and drinks. These are known to contribute to acne production
Try to reduce your stress levels.
Stress is not only bad for your skin, but your whole body. If you are trying to get pregnant, you can read more here about how stress negatively affects fertility. To reduce stress, you can try practicing mindfulness with an app like Headspace or Calm. And, remember to stay active! We recommend trying Nurse Suzie’s yoga routine for stress relief.
Take your supplements!
In particular, make sure you are getting enough:
Omega-3. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to help reduce acne levels. This study found that taking omega-3 fish oil-based nutrients reduced marked inflammation and redness of pimples, and also improved participants’ mental outlook.
Zinc. Studies also show that zinc can help decrease oil production and might have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.
Probiotics. People often forget that your skin is an organ that needs to be taken care of like any other. As an organ, it is a part of your microbiome and can benefit from a regular probiotic regimen. Studies show that taking a probiotic can help reduce levels of P. acnes, the bacteria that causes acne, as well as reducing the number and redness of pimples. As a part of the microbiome, probiotics can also help skin health in general.
If you are experiencing breakouts as a side effect of adding B vitamins to your diet, this is usually the result of your liver detoxing as it processes the new supplements and breaks them down. As your body gets used to a new supplement, it can sometimes break out, but these flare ups should be gone after about 6 weeks. If you can push through for a few weeks until your body gets used to your new supplements, not only will your skin calm down but your body will be healthier!
What products should I use?
If you’re looking to switch up your skincare routine, we’re loving Osmia Organics lately. This incredible line of skincare products is made from all natural high quality ingredients and packaged in the most environmentally friendly way possible. Not only are the products amazing, but they're also good for the environment! Osmia partners with One Tree Planted, and for every order placed on their website, they plant a tree.
Products we love:
If you want to learn more about Osmia, you can check out the latest episode of our podcast where we sat down with Osmia founder, Sarah Villafranco.