27 June 2013

Plagued by acne and acne scarring?

Over the last few years I noticed I have been getting outbreaks on my face. Yes, I am talking acne. It was becoming really annoying because I thought I would have out grown something like that. However, these spots were different. They itched like crazy and leave awful scars. Acne scarring is unpleasant and can really knock your confidence. It did mine.

So here I am, a nutritional therapist and my face looked worse than ever! Not a good advert for what I practice.

It kept on for roughly 3 years, with each year getting worse, I had to do something about it so I started my own investigations. If I was to get to the bottom of it, I needed to know what was causing it because as with anything health related, there is always a cause. Negative health symptoms, whether it be high blood pressure, PMT or high cholesterol, there is always a cause and as such, a great place to start is by looking at what you eat.

After a while, I discovered I was reacting to nuts, seeds and chocolate. These are healthy foods (I am talking about quality dark and raw chocolate here). When I consume these foods, the next day, my face breaks out. Its always my face, no where else is affected and its highly irritating and did I mention itchy?

I would not advocate not eating nuts and seeds if you can tolerate them. Nuts and seeds are loaded with healthy fats and will not hinder health and any way shape or form (as long as you don't over eat them). They are perfect for snacking and cooking with and if I didn’t have a problem with them, I would continue eating them. Nuts and seeds are a great way to curb cravings as the fat content will keep you feeling full. This is because they help keep your blood sugar levels stable thus preventing the mid morning craving or post lunch energy dip.

When nuts and/ or seeds to slip into something I eat I soon know about it. I have seen many clients who have similar issues. Many choose to use creams or lotions but this is only one way out of several in how to tackle acne outbreaks.

The scarring however is another matter. Whilst many of my clients are able to cope with the spots (just about), it’s the scarring that leaves them feeling miserable. If the scarring is mild, it will eventually fade on its own. On the other hand, if the scarring leaves raised thickened skin, particularly if its on your back or chest, this can really knock confidence to the point where you don’t want to undress in front of people or avoid having intimate relationships. Psychologically speaking, its more damaging than one can imagine.

The way to tackle bad acne involves not only long term dietary changes, but to look at the functioning of the organs responsible for detoxification; liver, kidneys and intestines. If any of these pathways are blocked or are not working as efficiently as they could be, your skin which is also an organ will take the brunt of it. You also needs to consider food allergies or intolerances. Many who have food intolerances think they have an allergy. Both are different. An easy way to know is an allergy happens within moments of consuming food. The reaction to an intolerance tends to be over a period of 12-24 hours, perhaps days.

Even as I write this, I have an mild outbreak with one itchy spot under my chin. Its my fault as I ate a few raw crackers that contained flax seeds plus a spoonful of raw ginger ice cream that was made with cashew nuts. In this instance, I knew what would happen so I take full responsibility for my actions.

If you are having similar issues but have no idea what could be the cause, its worth doing a food diary for a few days and scrutinise it for all possible triggers. If you have checked everything and don't know what food could be causing your outbreaks, you can opt for a comprehensive IGg test.

Food allergy and intolerance tests are worth doing if you just want to find out what the trigger food or foods are. Tests can make the difference between suffering or knowing what (food) to leave out of your eating patterns and having clear, radiant skin.

I would love to hear what you have to say about this article so feel free to post a comment.