Why Do I Still Have Acne?!


Whether you call them pimples, blemishes, or zits, acne a common skin condition that can be a source of discomfort, frustration, and embarrassment for those who experience it.

But, Kelly, why are we talking about this on a health coaching blog?

Well, there’s quite a lot of behind-the-scenes action happening in your body that contributes to the development of acne, and it’s a way to start remedying it, too (big shout out to quality skincare and facials, though!).

What Is Acne?

Acne can occur at any age, but is often experienced during distinct phases of hormonal shifting, like adolescence, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. This is because fluctuating hormone levels can increase the amount of oil produced by the skin.

A bout of acne or even the appearance of a single pimple is the result of a buildup of oil, skin cells, and/or bacteria in the pores of the skin.

Causes of Acne

Studies have linked acne to:

  • Inflammation – the root cause of all disease

  • High blood sugar and unstable insulin levels

  • Hormonal imbalances

The foods you eat don’t usually directly cause breakouts, but can contribute to acne by promoting inflammation and spiking blood sugar and insulin levels.

Inflammatory foods include those high in refined carbohydrates, sugar, and unhealthy fats, like:

  • White breads, pasta, and rice

  • Candy, baked goods, and other sweets

  • Sweetened drinks, like soda

  • Fried food

  • Hydrogenated oils, trans fats, and saturated fats found in margarines, processed food, and many animal products

Refined carbohydrates (many of which are high glycemic index foods), contain little fiber and protein, which helps slow digestion and prevent blood sugar spikes. Instead, these sugary foods are quickly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, causing blood sugar to climb and lots of insulin to be released.

Excess insulin can affect other hormones and cause too much oil to be made by the skin, resulting in those dreaded breakouts.

Typical Acne Treatments

Most people deal with breakouts on the surface, relying on topical cleansers, creams and lotions to treat their blemished skin as fast as possible, and that’s great! However, relying solely on these types of treatments can result in a cycle of continuous breakouts and can delay complete healing of the skin. It can also be really hard on your skin. 

“Spot treatments” are just that – they treat the symptom (the acne), but never address the underlying root cause. Instead of just reaching for the harsh topical treatments and concealer, try healing your skin from the inside out.

Treating Acne from the Inside

It’s important to consider any foods you may be sensitive to and to try avoid or minimize those. Your immune system can react to certain foods, causing even more of an inflammatory response. This isn’t an issue for the majority of us, but for those who suffer from allergies and sensitivities, it can be a significant pain in the butt.

Common food triggers include sugar, wheat, soy, and dairy (cow’s milk). If you suspect your breakouts may be caused by a food sensitivity, consider testing or trying an elimination diet to identify the food trigger. This is best done under the guidance of a nutrition professional or healthcare practitioner. 

To heal skin and prevent future breakouts, focus on food that contains plenty of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats like:

  • A variety of fruits and vegetables – the more colorful your diet, the better!

  • Nuts and seeds, especially flax & chia for the extra dose of omega-3 fats

  • Wild-caught salmon

  • Lean, grass-fed meats

  • Whole grains and seeds, like quinoa, oats, and brown rice

BONUS: When a breakout occurs, you can use the same healing foods topically to help soothe, hydrate, and cleanse irritated skin. The foods that are health-optimizing for your insides can also be soothing and calming for the outside!

Treating your skin well with consistent, quality skincare and setting your body up to produce naturally glowing, clear skin will make you feel like a million bucks.

The 5 Most Important Health Concerns for Women Guide

Do you feel overwhelmed by all of the health concerns and screenings you hear you should pay attention to?

Do you need a quick and simple low-down on what you should be concerned about?

I used to put off health screenings and finding out about my risk levels. In an effort to make sure you don’t behave like the old me, my guide highlights the health concerns you should be monitoring and give you risk factors for them. Get my guide to learn about your risks for:

  • Breast cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Colon cancer
  • Type-2 diabetes
  • Cervical cancer
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