Zits are the pits, I’m sure we would all agree. Starting at puberty and, for some, sticking around through adulthood.  How does it happen?  Well, hormones from puberty, then there’s menopause, andropause, stress, poor eating habits, and using the wrong products to clean yourself.  That’s a lot to think about it isn’t it, when all we want is a fresh clear layer of skin to move about it and feel comfortable about.

Skin is an interesting organ, I’m sure you’ve heard it’s the largest organ in the body, and it has multiple functions:

  1. It PROTECTS the body (think UV rays, trauma, or bacterial invasion).
  2. It aids in IMMUNITY (creates an unfriendly environment for microbes that would invade).
  3. REGULATES TEMERATURE (can release heat depending on outside temperature)
  4. EXCRETES (water, uric acid, ammonia, all components of sweat of which some are waste.)
  5. Provides ENDOCRINE function (synthesis of vitamin D)
  6. Provides for SENSATION (receptors for touch, heat, cold, pressure, pain)

So how do we take the best care of it that we can?  Here’s where it gets tricky. In Chinese medicine acne is not the same on everyone.  There are different types and presentations, some are more yang, while others more yin.  Just like having it caused by stress or diet is different.  So here are some helpful tips on managing acne.

  1. Eat a variety of WHOLE FOODS. Since the body needs a variety of macro and micronutrients a clean well rounded nutritional eating plan will assist it getting what it needs to stay and maintain health.
  2. AVOID GREASY FOOD. Enough said, don’t make it a habit to eat deep fried Twinkies and corn dogs. This is partly how some acne creates a clogging of the pores.  Best analogy? Ever eat something greasy and waited for it to cool down?  You know how the little pools of grease conglomerate?  Think about that happening on your face or back, the little pools of grease causing your body to conglomerate and form those little cysts because it’s sealing things in and not allowing them out.
  3. MINIMIZE SUGAR. Sugar is in everything, and I mean everything. Ever look at your ketchup bottle? If you stick to the whole foods, this gets easier.  Fruit is good and sweet, stick to that for a while.  Maybe a little honey in your tea?  Or real maple syrup on your PB sandwich instead of jelly?
  4. DECREASE CHEMICAL LOAD. There are so many products on the shelves to choose from that claim to treat acne.  Let’s think about this, if your skin is trying to help you excrete waste and toxins, do you really think putting more on is a great idea?  Try organic and chemical free products.  There are so many options to choose from.  I love Keys brand as they use the least amount of natural alternative possible to give you what you need without overloading you.  Essential oils are great, natural oils like jojoba, rosehip, coconut, or even olive oil.  Decreasing chemical load goes for more than just cleansing.  It also encompasses choosing organic food, home cleaning supplies, staying out of environments that are filled with toxic air, and more.
  5. BALANCE HORMONES. This one is a little more involved, it does include making all the above things on this list a priority.  It does not mean you have to go to the doctor, get your blood drawn, and be put on medication.  It involves lifestyle choices that will, over the long run, create a balanced environment internally.  Perhaps there are supplements involved, perhaps a specific diet for your personal needs, and maybe some herbal medicine.  Yet, over time, if you are imbalanced it will be beneficial in all areas of your health.
  6. CLEANSE REGULARLY. Simple enough, wash twice a day with a non-chemical cleanser and moisturize.  This process might be a step in which you speak to a professional about what that looks like for you.  What type of cleanser or topical that will assist you in your acne free goal?
  7. Move your LYMPH. Your lymph destroys bad things in your body and helps filter waste and toxins.  Get a lymph massage, use dry brushing on your body (love this), exercise, and drink water.
  8. SUPPLEMENT. This is a broad statement.  Remember how I said people have acne for different reasons?  Well, this one you will want to speak to your healthcare provider about.  There are supplements for tissue healing and developing connective tissue, enhancing immune system, some for hormone balance, some to help relieve inflammation and some to clear your liver (which also moves toxins out of the body so they aren’t all trying to escape from your skin), just to name a few functions.
  9. Get ACUPUNCTURE. Not just acupuncture, but possibly cupping, or herbal medicine.  Acupuncture is great for working toward the root cause of acne.  It balances yin, yang, and hormones, as well as, decreases the presentation of the acne while assisting you in making the life changes to be acne free.  Kind of gross, but some acne in Chinese Medicine is caused by dampness, think about your body holding onto little phlegm balls in different areas, this is basically what it is.  Similar to the idea of the grease congealing in your face.  (Pleasant thoughts huh?)  Acupuncture drains the dampness so that doesn’t happen anymore.
  10. DECREASE STRESS. Some of this may seem redundant, however stress causes your hormones to freak out in the first place.  So, if you can keep it down you are more likely to be internally balanced.  Stress is also caused by toxins in the body and the environment.  So be aware of your surroundings, toxic people in your life, and how you are reacting or responding to situations around you.  Do you need to be elevated to a 10 in any given situation or will elevating to a level 4 freak out suffice?  Be mindful of letting yourself get set off.

Acne is not a life sentence, there’s always a reason it’s happening.  If you’ve tried things and haven’t seen the results you are looking for maybe it’s time to seek assistance from someone else.  You can achieve long and lasting results, if you are willing to put in your own time and effort.  Leave zit popping in the past.