At any age in life, acne can be a devastating condition to deal with. There have been an extensive number of studies showing that acne is a manifestation of many underlying root causes such as nervous system dysregulation, gut inflammation, hormonal imbalances, sensitivities to certain foods, and even nutritional deficiencies.
I wanted to highlight the effects of stress on the health of our skin. When we experience stress in our life, our brain goes and releases a hormone called corticotrophin releasing hormone. This signals to our brain that we need to release cortisol to help combat the high levels of stress we may be experiencing. We actually have receptors for corticotropin-releasing hormone in every single one of our skin cells, so when we experience stress CRH, it actually binds to its receptor on the skin cell which in turn promotes oil production and ultimately results in acne breakouts on the skin. It’s also important to note that we must understand that stress is not only psychological, but it can also include all the physical stress we encounter such as toxins, and UV radiation which all promote the same stress response in the body and result in acne and other inflammatory skin Issues.
We also have to link the other stress Hormone DHEA which further drives acne. This is a hormone that is produced in our adrenal glands and when our adrenals are overtaxed because of stress we will produce too much! High levels of DHEA sulfate are turned into androstenedione and then testosterone. This means high level of DHEAS has an androgenic effect in our body system. Androgens cause changes in the skin and directly drive-up inflammation. We can see this hormonal acne connected to conditions such as PCOS and insulin resistance but understand they all have a connection to a Stress and inflammatory response that’s happening in the body.
Another system we can’t forget about is our gut microbiome. Stress has the ability to modulate our microbes and leave us in a state of bacterial dysbiosis. Our gut microbiome plays a huge role in conducting all our hormones- a major one being estrogen. We have this specific bacteria in our gut that actually secretes an enzyme called Beta-glucuronidase that will actually cause estrogen to recirculate in our bodies instead of clearing it out. When this happens less estrogen is excreted by the body and all the extra estrogen we have circulating will create a state of estrogen dominance in the body that promotes inflammatory skin issues like acne.
If you believe that stress may be at the root of your acne issues- here are a few tips:
- Optimize your diet by eliminating inflammatory food triggers that put stress on the body such as sugar, dairy and gluten.
- Balance your blood sugar levels by eating a whole foods anti-inflammatory diet. You need a good protein, fat, fiber combination with every meal to stabilize blood sugar and eliminate any insulin surge. Look into a Paleo type diet!
- Eliminate all caffeine! Your adrenals will thank you.
- Add fermented foods to your diet for an extra dose of beneficial flora. These include things like kimchi and sauerkraut.
- Make sure to top up your essential nutrients depleted by stress which include B vitamins, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin C and Vitamin D. Also looking to nutrients that support clear skin such as Vitamin A and Vitamin E.
- Consider supplementing with adaptogens that can help bring stress hormones into homeostasis. I love my holi (youth) formula which has holy basil as one of its main ingredient’s. Holy basil helps lower elevated cortisol levels and can even regulate our blood sugar levels.
- Be aware and avoid environmental toxins linked to acne such as BPA, Polychlorinated biphenyls, dioxins, and phthalates. These are all physical stressors to our skin and body.
- Try to make an effort every day to consciously de-stress. Some of my favourite ways to do this are taking time to reflect and pause, meditation, deep breathing techniques, setting boundaries and learning when to say no and put myself first and even things like spending time with good friends and a supportive community.
- Rebalance your circadian rhythms by going to bed and waking up the same time every day, getting sunlight exposure on your eyes in the early morning and at sunset, avoiding large meals at night around bedtime and Turning screens off at least 1 hour before bed.
- Use Skincare that’s targeted to support oxidative stress on the skin. This is where the combo of Holi(c)and holi(water) really come into action. Holi(c) works as a potent antioxidant that works Wonders to neutralize free radicals supporting the strength of skin cells to fight against everyday stressors coming from our Environment such as pollution and UV rays. Emulsifying holi (c) in our holi (water) offers the additional benefits of calming potent antioxidation ingredients such as rosa damascena oil, lavender water, and a very special ingredient called pitaya. With Pitaya’s high levels of bioavailable vitamin C and minerals -pitaya prevents oxidative damage, reduces inflammation, and strengthens the skin’s moisture barrier. It’s a Perfect Combo to combat Stressed out, acne prone skin!
***THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED OR REGULATED BY THE FDA. WE ARE NOT DOCTORS, THEREFORE ALWAYS CONSULT WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST*