Five Ways To Get Spots Under Control
Everyone gets the odd spot from time-to-time but often it can feel like a continual onslaught. This is especially the case with cystic acne which can be persistent, painful and distressing; and try as you might, finding the culprits and solutions isn’t always easy.
As always with these things it is about delving deep and trying to figure out what your own underlying issues are. That being said, below I have listed five of the things I get the fastest results with in clinic so if you have struggled in vain, it might be worth trying these to see if they make a difference.
Have a go and let me know if you get any success!
- Top Up Zinc
Immune booster, energiser, mood elevator, you name it; zinc tends to be involved with anything important in the body. The skin is no exception and uniquely, zinc works to both prevent spots coming and to get rid of them faster. One of the biggest causes of cystic acne and bad skin is an elevated testosterone level. Some types of testosterone are more problematic than others, and zinc helps to prevent these types being formed, which prevents spots coming in the first place.
Zinc is also essential for the production of collagen, which ultimately is what heals the skin when we have spots. Often people complain that spots and small scars heal slowly, or leave discolouration or pigmentation and zinc can really help with this as well. If you have white spots on your nails then this is a sign you’re low, but even if you don’t it might be worth trying to top up.
Eat: Salmon, poultry, sunflower/pumpkin seeds
Take: 25-30mg Zinc picolinate daily for 2 months and then. It’s always ideal if you can test levels first.
- Vitamin A+
Often spots develop because our sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, blocking pores and causing inflammation and low-grade infection. Vitamin A plays a crucial role with skin health by preventing these glands from over secreting, thus discouraging spots from developing. Vitamin A also helps prevent dead skin cells shedding and further clogging pores, whilst also protecting the cell structures by acting as an anti-oxidant.
Eat: Liver (calves, chicken, fish and good quality pate made from these though avoid if pregnant!), egg yolk, all colourful fruit and veg, especially butternut squash, kale, broccoli (florets and leaves) cavolo nero and dark berries. I also like algae’s such as organic spirulina and chlorella, which are a great source of beta carotene.
- Deep Clean
Though people always say they clean their skin properly, in my clinic I often find that upon further questioning its turns out they probably don’t. This is likely to be more of an issue for women wearing make up but whether you do or don’t it’s vital to keep muck off, especially when sleeping. Wash with a decent cleanser and then always run over an all-natural toner on a cotton pad after which takes off remaining residue and closes pores. In my opinion the best thing to put directly on spots directly is pure tee tree oil, which is potently anti-microbial – apply this to infected areas alongside a good quality light oil-free lotion/moisturizer. Often people think moisturiser will make their skin oily but actually pores can over-secrete oil to compensate if you let it get too dry – so try to find that balance.
I also recommend a face mask each week to cleanse more deeply – clay ones are good a
s they draw out impurities from the skin. I also love making my own by blending avocado, spirulina, flax oil and oatmeal. Good enough to eat and ensures nourishment with no added chemicals.
- Balance Flora and Fauna
There aren’t really any ailments that don’t benefit from a top up of good bacteria. Though you may not think it the skin relies on digestive health in many ways and imbalances in the gut micro-flora can be a contributing factor to skin problems. Not only does it weaken the immunity, it makes us more prone to inflammation, infection, hormonal problems and deficiencies – all things that can cause flare ups.
Often a course of antibiotics is prescribed for problem skin and for some it can make a difference, however whether you do or don’t, taking probiotics is fundamental and can really help target the underlying problem.
Eat – Natural sugar-free yoghurt (coconut for DF), sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh. Stay away from yoghurty drinks, which don’t supply enough bacteria and are high in sugar/sweetener.
Take – A good quality probiotic capsule with breakfast, always ensure it’s away from hot drinks. If you have IBS then it’s a good idea to speak to a nutritionist first.
- Get Inflammation Under Control
Redness, soreness and itching skin is caused by inflammatory reactions in the skin, and prolonged problems can be a sign of systemic inflammation. Certain foods can make this worse with sugar, fatty and processed meats, dairy and white carbs being major culprits.
A healthy diet should generally be made up predominately of plant-based foods (as per the pyramid shown here) and clean foods like vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, legumes with white meat, eggs, fish, alongside healthy fats all promote anti-inflammatory reactions.
If you are really getting bad issues, I would consider cutting all gluten and dairy completely (no mean feat) for at least 1 month as this can yield quite a quick result for many even if you don’t have an allergy to them.
Eat: Colourful vegetables, ginger, garlic, turmeric and omega 3’s from oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) which are all potently anti-inflammatory and can help calm inflamed, angry skin.
Take: Good quality omega 3 fish oils to support skin and reduce inflammation, turmeric capsules to support systemic inflammation and digestive health (both are especially good for eczema and psoriasis). Always speak to a nutritionist or GP before taking these or any other supplements.
For more information or guidance with skin conditions (acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, dermatitis) contact Alice at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7792 6720
Disclaimer: Certain supplements are used for different reasons and a one-size-fits-all approach shouldn’t be adopted. In addition, pregnant women and anyone on medication should always consult a doctor before embarking on a supplements programme. As with all articles on www.alicemackintosh.com, this is no substitution for individual medical or nutritional advice.