What is causing your Acne?

Acne is an issue that a number of my vegan clients suffer with. In this blog, let's discover the 5 main channels of toxin elimination and how to naturally work with your body to address acne issues. 

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When it comes to acne, the number 1 consideration is whether your body is successfully clearing (eliminating) toxins. The presence of acne is a very clear indication that this is not happening properly. There are 5 main channels of elimination that we need to pay attention to when looking to clear acne issues.

The simplest way that I like to explain it to my clients is... if one channel of elimination is not working properly, then the toxins will find another way to come out. If your channels of elimination are all working beautifully, then there won't be remaining toxins that need to come out through your skin. The channels that I look at as a Naturopath are the liver, the colon (gut), the lymphatic system, your kidneys and then of course, your skin.

Of course, there are a number of other factors that play a role in acne, such as hormone imbalances and insulin sensitivity. But the first place I always start with when looking to clear up acne in my clients is these elimination channels. 

Long country road with some beautiful pine trees on either side.

If you are experiencing acne for however long a period, here are some things to check in with to get you started:

Caring for your Liver

The livers' role is to remove toxins through two phases of detoxification. Phase 1 turns the toxins in your body into less harmful toxins. Phase 2 pairs the toxins up with substances to remove them from your body. 

You can naturally support Phase 1 and Phase 2 of a liver detox by including the right foods in your diet. Of course, I would always suggest working with a health professional such as a naturopath to support and guide you through a proper detoxification for your acne issues. 

To support Phase 1 of your Liver Detoxification you should include in your diet:

  1. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, bok choy and turnips.
  2. A good amount of plant based protein. You need approximately 0.8 grams of protein per kg of your body weight per day.
  3. Oranges and tangerines. 

To support Phase 2 of detoxifying your liver, you should include in your diet:

  1. Garlic, shallots and onions. Raw if possible.
  2. Cruciferous vegetables (as above).
  3. Grapefruit, citrus peel and papaya.
  4. Asparagus, avocado and beetroot.
  5. Blue green algae (spirulina) - I would recommend checking with your Naturopath before self-prescribing this one.  

Wooden plate with a piece of bread, avocado, beetroot and lemon. A good meal for liver detoxifying.

Caring for your Lymphathic System

The lymphatic system is a complex network of vessels that help to move lymph fluid around the body. Lymph fluid is similar to plasma that you find in blood. It's job is to search out immune compromising issues and rid them from your body. You might know this as lymphatic draining. The lymphatic system is an integral part of your immune system.

Ways to support your Lymphatic System when dealing with Acne:

  1. Introduce herbs such as nettle, echinacea and calendula into your diet. These herbs are great at cleansing and detoxifying the lymphatic system. You can purchase these as loose leaf teas, use them as fresh herbs in your salad, or make a delightfully green nettle soup!
  2. Incorporate dry brushing into your day. Before taking a shower, use a natural fibre brush and brush long, slow strokes up your arms, legs and torso. Always use a dry brush in movements towards your heart. This will stimulate the lymphatic system and help to remove toxins naturally.

A dry brush, towel and salt on a tray 

Caring for your Colon / Gut

This is often the first thing I ask clients when they book in an online Naturopathy consult to address their acne issues... How are your bowel movements?
Having a healthy, regular bowel motion will ensure you are removing toxins through your colon. A regular bowel motion will also remove cholesterol and excess hormones which your body does not want or need. If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. If you are not removing toxins properly this way, then acne may be a very clear sign that this area of elimination needs to be addressed. 

To support health bowel motions, ensure you are consuming adequate amounts of fibre in your diet.

Include these good sources of fibre in your diet to assist with your gut health:

  1. Wheat bran, wheat germ, oats and lupin.
  2. Ground flaxseed (linseed) and sunflower seeds.
  3. Garlic
  4. Chickpeas, french lentils, green lentils and red lentils. "We love lentils!"
  5. Kidney beans, broad beans, navy beans, mung beans - you get the idea.
  6. Rye flour and chickpea flour.
  7. Chestnuts, almonds and hazelnuts.
  8. Quinoa.
  9. Dried fig and dates.
  10. Psyllium husks are also very high in fibre, but it is ESSENTIAL that you drink a good amount of water when including these in your diet, otherwise it can result in constipation.

Other ways to support bowel health:

  1. Drink lots of water. You need adequate water to move your stool through your colon. If you are not consuming enough water each day, you may begin to experience constipation. This can result in acne showing up as your body is struggling to eliminate these toxins in other ways.
  2. Exercise. Even if you can only leave the house for 30 minutes - 1 hour a day, try and do so. Exercise helps the bodies natural process of peristalsis - muscle contractions that move food/waste along the digestive tract. 

Large glass jug of water with lemon pieces in it

Caring for your Kidneys

While the colon is used to remove heavy food waste from the body, your kidneys are responsible for eliminating liquid or water-soluble toxins. So it should make sense that the number one way to care for your kidneys and support the elimination of liquid toxins is to drink enough water! I always recommend aiming for 2 litres of water everyday.

Herbal teas such as nettle, dandelion and corn silk will also assist with kidney function, as well as introducing diuretic herbs (prescribed by a naturopath) into your diet. 

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So, if you're struggling with acne, your body will thank you if you are able to incorporate the above into your lifestyle. The first steps to working with your body to fix acne issues are diet, exercise and hydration. 

If you require more help with acne, or believe that your acne could be because of hormonal issues, stress or something else, I would love you to book in an online naturopathy consult with me. Let's get to the bottom of this! 

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