Saving face can literally happen when approaching acne holistically.  The American Dermatologist Association reports that 60 million people suffer from acne. Of the 85% of teenagers with the condition, 25% will have permanent scarring. It is also reported that 20% of American adults suffer from active acne. Going back to school or a job may be wrought with enough stress than having to deal with something as conspicuous as pimples, pustules and infected skin on your face.

There are two types of acne: inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Inflammatory acne presents as pustules (swollen pus filled sacs), papules (cone shaped eruptions) and cysts (a hard sac containing a liquid, gaseous or semi-solid substance.). The popular white head or black head pimples are considered non-inflammatory. Usually reaching its peak by eighteen years of age, acne may affect some men and women well into their forties. Although it is not a serious health disorder it can represent other underlying issues such as depression, stress, allergens such as cosmetics, nutritional deficiencies or a toxic diet to name a few. Following its modus operandi, western medicine attacks acne by prescribing powerful drugs either topically or internally. These medicines act as an army, wiping out most traces off acne without ever ‘capturing the flag’ or finding the root cause.

In turn, some side effects you may experience when using a pharmaceutical approach could be: impaired liver function, headaches, tooth discoloration, photosensitivity, decreased hearing and muscular pain. A naturopathic doctor will attempt to pinpoint specific triggers that may indicate the origin of your acne outbreaks by using natural, non-invasive remedies.  However, before any solution is attempted, a simple intake of your daily routines can be the best jumping off point for your treatment. Lack of adequate, clean, filtered drinking water is often one of the most apparent causes of clogged and inflamed pores. Dehydration triggers the body to go into crisis mode and capture as much hydration from anywhere in the body to keep the organs functioning properly. This means that your skin can retract and become brittle by being sucked dry for the more important organs thus making it unable to properly hydrate, rejuvenate and cleanse itself. By keeping hydrated you can also maintain a low acidic blood level. Too much acid in the system can become a breeding ground for many systemic problems including acne and skin bacteria. One twelve ounce can of soda has so many acid causing properties that it takes approximately thirty-two ounces of water to neutralize it.

Water is also vital in flushing poisons and pollutants from your system through sweat. If there is not enough water to produce sweat then pores become clogged and infected. Lack of water can cause constipation. When you become constipated your vitamin and mineral intake slows down causing toxins to build up. The body attempts to excrete some of these toxins through your skin when the plumbing is backed up. However, you are dehydrated causing this attempt to stop and simply exacerbate potential skin eruptions. It is a ruthless and unnecessary cycle that can simply be remedied by consciously drinking water. Remember, when you are thirsty you are already dehydrated.

Other culprits of acne are: Refined White Sugar – showing up in everything from your harmless looking scone to your daily morning cup of Joe, white sugar has been linked to the hormone androgen which is showing to be a possible cause for oily skin outbreaks. Dairy – residue from animal fats in milk and cheese can line the intestines causing challenged nutritional permeation into the blood stream thus weakening the skins capability to fight infection. White Flour: – similar to dairy, the digested version of this can take on the consistency of glue. Mix a white bread sandwich with a cold glass of milk and you have got the perfect storm for intestinal strain.

Stress – A naturopathic doctor will delve into your stress factors. Just like the body’s mercurial physical system the mind is just as fragile. When stress slips in the back door it can tip the scales just enough to act as if you have ingested the aforementioned culprits. Overall, the digestive system is ground zero as stress can cause, amongst many other things, constipation, stomach ache or headache which, essentially can be three in the same inasmuch that the immune system, which resides in the gut, is thrown into overdrive. This causes the skin to take the first hit and when you look in the mirror it is as if the body is holding up a billboard that reads, ‘Something Is Wrong, Fix It’.

A naturopathic doctor may use classical Chinese medicine (CCM) as another option. Approached as a heat or damp-heat issue, the CCM line of attack is to release blocked meridians the use of cooling, herbal remedies and/or acupuncture. Stomach heat and lung heat are the two most common causes of acne. Stomach heat is usually affected by a diet of spicy and/or greasy foods. Although the foods can create an adverse chemical reaction possibly causing skin reactions, the actual heat that is manifested in the stomach can cause a meridian disharmony and imbalance.

Some herbs that may be effective, depending on your specific condition, may include: flowers of the honeysuckle plant, chrysanthemum, fruit of the forsythia plant, licorice, leaves of the loquat plant, roots of scutellaria and red sage. Foods can also diminish acne outbreaks such as: carrots, cucumbers, squash, lettuce, cabbage, potatoes, celery, raspberries, pears and watermelon. Along with the aforementioned white flour, sugar and dairy, other foods to avoid include: coffee, alcohol, red meat, shellfish and white mushrooms.

Find your inner skin and schedule your naturopathic or acupuncture appointment with Dr. Fred Lisanti of Integrative Med Solutions (IMS).  It’s with the intention of inspiration and integrity that our highly trained doctor creates customized health plans that synergize the best of healing arts with contemporary natural medical science. IMS is located in Eastchester, Westchester County, New York with close proximity to New York City (close to the Metro North railroad Tuckahoe stop), Southern Connecticut, and parts of New Jersey. Please call us at 914.337.2980 to make an appointment or feel free to email here for appointment queries.

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