September is here and with it…stress! There’s lots of change to handle – be it new teachers at school, professors at college, a new boss or new colleagues at work – our stress levels are raised and our skin tells it all. It starts with a tiny spot on our cheek, which of course seems huge to us, and our day suddenly revolves around this pimple. We will it to disappear – or try a thousand ways to get rid of it – but of course, it only grows. Sounds familiar?
I dedicate this article to everyone out there fighting pimples. We can overcome acne, trust your coach!
Although growing teenagers are the most prominent acne victims due to their changing hormones, they’re not the only ones to suffer from this condition. Approximately 10-15% of adult men and no less than 40% of adult women (aged between 25 and 40 years old) are affected by acne – whether on the face, back or shoulders. It is worth noting that women develop more acne during their menstrual cycle, since the progesterone they produce during this time further stimulates the sebaceous glands. Arghh! Nature ain’t always fair!
The skin is composed of sebaceous glands which produce sebum – an oily substance that helps stop the skin from drying out. When the sebaceous glands become clogged, the sebum collects in a small cyst under the skin which then opens to the surface, forming either a black dot or a red bump.
Firstly, acne is hereditary. If someone in your family has acne, you have 70% chance of developing it yourself. Secondly, certain medications (corticosteroids, antiepileptics), and some birth control pills and steroids can cause acne. If you’re suffering from acne due to medication, discuss it with your doctor to ensure appropriate treatment.
That said, when it comes to acne, the summer sun is your skin’s enemy. Although after sun exposure, the skin is dry and it almost seems as though the sun has “healed” the pimples, a few weeks later, the skin hardens thus obstructing the little cysts that were not properly released, and you’ll likely break out in pimples.
Finally, let’s remember that stress aggravates acne. If you don’t want to see those little nasty pimples, consider integrating some of the breathing exercises that I recommend in my LeBootCamp program on a daily basis.
Rule of thumb: the more you know about how your enemy works, the better you can fight the battle! (Same rule with cellulite!) Now let’s take a look at the link between diet and acne.
Individuals who are sensitive to gluten will experience uncomfortable symptoms whenever they consume it. This can manifest in digestive system disorders or skin problems such as eczema, acne, or even psoriasis. Why? Because the skin is an emunctory, meaning it is one of the body’s natural routes for eliminating toxic waste. So, for people who are sensitive to or intolerant of gluten, these proteins are considered toxic, and the body will try to eliminate them…in part via the production of pimples!
If your skin is prone to acne, it is important to remove gluten from your diet as much as possible. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, kamut, oats, rye and spelt. In reality, the food industry creates many food products with wheat flour as a main ingredient, so going gluten-free would include limiting many breads, pastries, biscuits, pastas, pizzas, etc. Fortunately, there are many similar products out today which are based on rice, buckwheat or corn instead, so gluten-free foods are readily available at health food stores and even your local supermarket.
It can take a few weeks to see an improvement in the appearance of your skin after making this change, but it’s highly possible that you’ll already feel benefits within just a few days, since your body will already start to heal itself…
Note: even people who don’t have any allergy, intolerance or sensitivity to gluten have discovered that going gluten-free helped improve the appearance of their skin. It’s why I recommend all my celebrity clients and BootCampers to limit their gluten intake!
As with gluten intolerance, people with an intolerance or sensitivity to cow’s milk will experience digestive or skin problems as the body attempts to get rid of this “poisonous food” through the skin. Pimples are one of the inevitable results!
While the media and dietitians recommend us to consume at least 3 dairy products per day, why is it that so many of us are simply unable to digest milk? Because cow’s milk contains lactose and in order to digest it, we need an enzyme called lactase. However, in most mammal species, the activity of this enzyme is dramatically reduced after weaning; humans typically stop producing lactase between 2 and 5 years old. It’s therefore impossible to digest lactose in adulthood (except for certain lucky individuals who manage to retain the enzyme!)
Let’s take a moment to talk about the cow’s milk of today. First of all, milk production has dramatically changed from what it once was: today, in order to produce more milk, cows are given hormones for maximum efficiency, and antibiotics to prevent them from getting sick! Of course, these molecules are found in the cow’s blood, but also in the milk they produce; they act as endocrine disruptors and can cause significant endocrine disorders in humans. Knowing that hormonal changes are one of the causes of acne means limiting any external endocrine disruptors is essential! The same is true for antibiotics, which, as we all know, should not be taken carelessly, because they disturb our immune system and thus our ability to defend ourselves against foreign attacks! All of this makes the battle against acne only more challenging…
So, if you do suffer from acne (face, back, shoulders, etc.) replace all your dairy products with vegan alternatives such as products based on rice, almond, soy, cashew, coconut, etc. Again, these products are widely available whether at your local supermarket or health food store.
High GI (Glycemic Index) foods
Lastly, you may not have any food intolerance and yet still find you are prone to breakouts thanks to a common enemy of your skin…sugar!
How does sugar cause pimples?
When we consume sugar, blood sugar (called glucose) rises. Eating sugar on its own (not within a meal) creates a state of hyperglycemia. This rise in blood sugar levels triggers the body to secrete hormones called insulin and androgens in order to restore balance. However, these same two hormones stimulate the production of sebum…and we thus create pimples!
The rule is simple: to avoid pimples, avoid consuming foods with a high glycemic index (GI) because they disturb blood sugar levels. Opt for low GI foods which do not imbalance the body’s glucose levels.
So make the effort to avoid and replace:
Of course, this list is non-exhaustive: sugar is hidden in many foods you’d never suspect! Make it a habit to look at food labels :). You can also use the table with the Glycemic Index of foods to guide you, so that you can create balanced meals that don’t result in your skin breaking out. Finally, remember that no food is forbidden and that you can indulge in a high-GI food from time to time. Just enjoy it together with other low-GI foods so that the overall glycemic index of your snack remains more balanced.
Example: 2-3 candies together with some almonds, or a good dessert after a meal where you’ve eaten vegetables…etc.
Yes, fortunately some foods can help us fight against acne. Here they are:
So, now that you’re well-informed about acne and all the factors that contribute to it, it’s time to implement these tips to get rid of those pimples for good!
My killer tip for when a bad pimple has already reared its head:
Dissolve an aspirin pill in water and freeze the mixture to always have at hand in case of an emergency pimple. When a pimple rears its head, place the frozen aspirin mix on top – it will significantly reduce the inflammation!
Another technique that works very well: the combination of garlic + milk! Soak 1 clove of peeled garlic in a little milk for 1 hour. Drain the garlic and pat dry. Cut the clove in half. Apply the cut part, to release garlic juice, directly on the pimple’s head. The high sulfur content will calm the inflammation. 2 minutes later, apply some milk on the pimple and let dry. Repeat up to 3 times per day.
Tell me how my anti-acne program works for you, in the comments section below this article. I’d love to hear your feedback, plus a winner will be randomly drawn to receive Biore products! It could be YOU!