Understanding the Acne Problem

Waking up to the sounds of morning traffic on the street below, I stretched and with a heavy head, got up and walked towards my bedroom door. My blurry reflection in the mirror grew closer and edged into focus. All I could see was acne. I leaned in closer, to examine each and every lesion. Painful bumps spread all across my forehead, down and around my cheeks and even reached my chin. I sighed in frustration and looked away…

Having acne is an unhappy reality that many of us find ourselves in, whether it be for a few days around that time of the month, or for weeks, months and even years. I suffered from chronic, stress induced acne for the best part of 5 years. I had my first breakout in 2011, triggered by what I can see now in hindsight was a dramatic change in diet and environment. You can read more about my journey in this post.

What is acne?

Understanding the root issues behind any dis-ease is an essential step. If you are experiencing chronic breakouts of acne, then your body is telling you that your lymphatic system is stagnant, and that congestion is finding it’s way out of your body through your pores.  We often refer to the skin as the third kidney for this reason.

Conventional Western medicine explains that each pimple is the result of a clogged pore. Let’s examine what is happening on the surface before digging deeper and looking at the underlying causes. While there are different types of acne, it usually forms as a whitehead or a blackhead. The difference between the two is that a whitehead (otherwise known as a closed comedo) has only a microscopic opening to the skin’s surface. Since air cannot reach the follicle the matter inside the pimple does not oxidise and remains white. Blackheads are simply open comedos where that same matter has been oxidised.

This ‘matter’ that is clogging your pores is usually a mixture of pus, a naturally occurring oil called sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria. When you pop a pimple, you will notice that two fluids are released. One is pus, whether clear, yellow or white and often it will be accompanied by blood. This is because the lymph and the blood are our body’s transport systems that carry nutrients to our cells, and also clear out our cell’s waste.

What are the underlying causes of my acne?

People who experience chronic acne typically have a stagnated lymphatic system, especially around their head, neck and chest. This is even more obvious if they often have sinus problems, as I did. Chronic acne is a sign that the kidneys are not filtering effectively and thus the skin is being used to filter out that toxicity.

It is also important to understand what you are doing to exacerbate the congestion in your lymph, so that you can adjust your lifestyle accordingly.

Dairy products create an extremely acidic environment in the body, which means that your body will form even more mucus than you already have. For me, in the early stages of my detox, any oily foods were also problematic. Even coconut oil.

Anxiety and stress can also play a significant role in causing acne. This is because stress stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, and for women this is especially problematic because these glands produce much of the male hormones, like testosterone. Testosterone specifically stimulates the development of sebaceous follicles and the attached oil glands. This increase in oil production makes clogged pores even more likely.

I also took the contraceptive pill on and off, as an effort to control my breakouts. The effect of taking any pharmaceutical to remedy acne is only to further suppress the lymphatic system so that your symptoms diminish. But, of course, it will always come back and worse every time.

This was my experience. Every time I came off the pill, the acne returned worse than ever before. The reason doctors will often prescribe the pill is because increased estrogen generally relieves acne, by artificially bringing your hormones back into balance. It took me an entire year, almost to the day of being off the pill for my skin to begin to show outward improvement.

What can I do to remedy it?

Acne must be treated both internally and externally. Let’s start with what you can do to treat the underlying causes and detox the internal congestion, as that will end your acne for good.

Simple lifestyle changes of drinking more water and exercising regularly is helpful and healthy, but used in combination with a herbal protocol and a high raw vegan diet, will transform your body and eliminate your acne.

Your herbal protocol should have at least three main components. Firstly, a Kidney and Bladder tincture to get them filtering efficiently and increase the lymph cleaning. Secondly, an Adrenal Glands tincture to strengthen and regenerate the adrenals to their optimal function. Thirdly the GI Broom to clear your bowels.

This protocol, coupled with a clean diet, plenty of water, sleep and exercise will not only clear the acne problem, but protect you from more serious health problems in the long term.

So, let’s talk now about what you can do externally. It is important that whatever you put on the affected area does not further inflame it. Applying only gentle, anti-bacterial products on the skin is imperative. Keeping your skin free from harsh chemicals and sulfates is very important as this will allow your skin to reach it’s own natural balance.

I love slathering my skin in aloe vera about once a month after opening my pores in a herbal steam. Using our Healing Salve is another great option and is the only topical ointment I use on my skin.

You should also be careful with any cosmetics you use. I never put foundation on my face. Anything you put on your skin will enter your bloodstream, so eschew the use of make up as much as you can.

Bodily acne can respond well to salt baths as it will draw some of the redness out of the affected area if you are seeking temporary relief during the worst of it.

So, in conclusion, I hope this has helped and inspired you on your health journey. Remember the importance of accepting and being gentle with yourself. Acne is not disgusting, it is not a failure on your part. It can and does clear up in time when you take care of yourself and give your body the environment and time to heal.

Please leave any comments or questions you may have in the comments section below, I’d love to hear from you!

Love, Hannah