Diet and the Acne Beast

Our skin is our largest organ and is a reflection of what’s going on inside. Yes, some people are blessed with phenomenal genes (we don’t have to like those people) ha! Seriously, though, consider this, if you’re sick, stressed, malnourished, allergic… sooner or later these things show up on your skin. Your skin becomes a map of and a reflection of your health.

Years ago an esthetician friend and I had a high school senior meet with us to discuss acne and skincare. She was doing her senior project on something like the emotional impact of having acne. The girl mentioned some young people struggling with acne have contemplated suicide. The other esthetician thought this was ridiculous and could not possibly be true… but… that esthetician, while lovely and amazing, has never had any personal skin issues in her life – no teen or adult acne, no stretch marks, etc. She had never experienced these skin “afflictions” so she was not aware of the emotional toll they can take.

I remember a time when dermatologists would say that the foods we eat have no impact on acne. I have never believed that! I also know that while a healthy diet is important for a healthy body AND healthy skin, what we’re talking about here takes a little work and a little patience. The man in this video began experimenting with cutting out one dietary item at a time that he thought might be a trigger for his acne – firstly dairy, and he began adding in more vegetables and healthy foods. His results are nothing short of UHHH-MAZING!!!

Dairy and caffeine are a couple of big triggers for me. As a teen and young adult, my acne was pretty mild, but still annoying (I was a milk fiend). Then as an adult AND as an esthetician (humiliating), I went through a phase where I was getting painful cysts on my jawline. I had slowed down on dairy, but I had not given up caffeine. Even though I only consumed 1-2 coffees a day, that was enough. I also had started getting canker sores all the time. Once I cut out caffeine, the jawline breakouts and canker sores went away. Next on my list is to give up sugar. But that’s another story!

Achieving great skin is a multi-pronged approach that includes the following elements: a healthy (for you) diet, regular exercise, adequate water intake, a good home skincare regimen (including daily SPF), stress management, and regular facials/peels/skincare treatments. Your esthetician can help you with in-office treatments and can recommend a good home care regimen for you, but the rest is up to your own personal efforts. It’s a partnership!Pimples-on-chin-face-jawline-meaning

chin and jaw*** Disclaimer *** Of course, some people do need medical intervention for their acne, but I know from personal experience as well as from clients’ and friends’ testimonies that the prescriptions and even the Accutane usage doesn’t always yield the desired results. With Accutane, in particular, beware that it is a powerful drug with many warnings and side effects. I know it has been a godsend for some, while others have been on it more than once and still have acne. Either way, Accutane should be a last ditch effort after you’ve tried everything else.

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