All forms of acne can take a toll on self confidence but adult acne is uniquely distressing. Your skin is truly a mirror that is externally reflecting the health of your internal body. The main causes of nearly all skin issues lay in your digestive system and your hormone balance. Acne is a perfect example of this. For a long time we viewed acne as a topical issue with a bacteria known as P. Acnes. This is where the motivation to use topical antibiotics and topical creams came from. With new research we now know that although killing the bacteria in the area or supporting skin cell turnover to ‘unclog pores’ can help with acne short term it does not fix the issue in the long term, and it does not correct hormonal acne. For this we need more targeted treatments.
The location of your acne can tell us a lot about the cause. If acne is located along the jawline, chin and upper back it is often due to an imbalance between your male and female sex hormones. Acne on the cheeks can be related to digestive health and whole face or upper back acne often has a relationship to insulin levels and blood sugar management.
Remember, even if you have been told that your blood work is ‘normal’ this doesn’t necessarily mean that you are perfectly healthy or that there is no clear cause to you acne. Your Naturopathic Doctor will review your labs looking for different patterns then your MD might look for. We also order specialized testing that will give us a deeper look into your personal causes.
Did you know…?
Outside of acne, conditions such as eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, boils and tinea (or yeast) have all been linked to bacterial imbalances in the gut and immune issues in academic research. It is no longer viewed as fringe medicine to explore digestive issues in these cases and now targeted food elimination and probiotics have become standard of care for all professions!
The Advanced Women’s Health Acne Program
At AWH we realize that you are unique and therefore you need a plan that is customized to your individual needs.
Insulin resistance and inflammation can affect your ability to improve and therefore we assess and customize your nutrition and supplement plan to those factors in our three phase plan.
Phase 1 – Understand and Customize
Insulin resistance, gut imbalances and high androgens are at the root of acne. Research has made it clear that addressing these factors is what helps to reduce acne and skin issues. It also supports weight regulation, mood and period problems.
In the first appointment you can expect that your Naturopathic Doctor will take time to hear your unique symptoms. We will also help you to understand what is happening in your body so that you can understand what we will do to fix it. We don’t just tackle your PCOS symptoms though, we are always looking for thyroid hormone issues, digestive issues, underlying infections, stress hormone imbalances, liver dysfunction and much much more!
At the end of this appointment you can expect to leave with:
- Basic diet and lifestyle recommendations
- Personalized herbal and nutrient recommendations
- Topical skin care recommendations that are gentle and effective
- Where appropriate, in house testing for your adrenal health, gut health, and/or bioelectrical impedance analysis
- Lab test recommendations may include insulin and glucose testing, FSH, LH, androgens, female sex hormones such as Estradiol and progesterone, gut bacterial testing, inflammation investigations and liver and cholesterol testing. We use both functional tests and standard blood tests to come to understand your health better.
After we receive the results of your testing your ND will explain all of the findings. No blanket normal statements here, we want to ensure you understand what it all means. From that point we will customize a meal system and supplements to your specific needs.
Phase 2- Tweak and Monitor
After supporting insulin sensitivity and using herbal medicines to help with adrenal and hormone balance it is time to tackle residual symptoms and continually treat the gut. Many digestive issues such as SIBO, candida overgrowth and dysbiosis can take long to remedy, as they have been present for a long time! We will also continue to work on other key areas that affect many women with acne. These include:
- Fertility support: help coming off of the birth control pill with minimum symptoms
- Inflammation resolution
- Liver and gallbladder concerns including fatty liver, gallbladder pain
- Thyroid hormone balance
- Rashes and hives
- Yeast infections
Some or all of these concerns may have been taken care of by this phase but any remaining issues are tackled head on!
Three months after embarking on your plan we will also be retesting insulin, inflammation markers and any other important tests. This allows us to make sure that you are improving as expected and making your way into Phase 3.
Phase 3- Flourish and Maintain
Adult acne can take a huge toll on self confidence and even hinder a women’s willingness to put herself out there in work and social situations. By this point in the journey though, you are likely to feel more hopeful and more confident! In Phase 3 the goals of our treatment include working to reduce the appearance of scars and ensuring that you are on track with diet and lifestyle. Although many of the issues causing your acne and skin issues will have been corrected, a healthy nutrition plan will be essential to remaining as symptom free as possible.
But life happens, right? We all fall off and experience setbacks so this phase helps to keep you on track, judgement free! For some this is a semi annual check up and for others they may continue with our many community programs. No matter what this looks like for you we are here 100% of the way!