Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Acne and Rosacea: Only Skin Deep?

Guest Writer: Amy Kroeker (ND candidate 2013) 

Everyone loves a pale rosy glow on the cheeks but persistent redness and frequent breakouts are something we try to eliminate or hide. But what do these symptoms tell us about our health? Are they genetic or are there environmental triggers? Most commonly, acne and rosacea are treated by face washes that contain antibacterial ingredients or, if more severe, with antibiotic medications. Although these treatments are effective for many people, others see no difference or have side effects such as dry skin and skin irritation. So why are skin conditions so stubborn and what other therapies can help?

Naturopathic medicine seeks to investigate and understand the underlying causes of any condition and skin conditions are no different. Acne and rosacea are rarely seen in children and often begin in the teenage years with puberty as hormones begin to change. This indicates that hormones and hormone dysregulation are factors in skin health. However, many people do not begin to experience acne or rosacea until later in adulthood. Breakouts can occur not only on the face but also the neck, back, chest, arms, or legs. 

It is commonly said amongst Naturopathic Doctors that the skin reflects the health of the gastrointestinal tract or gut. Food allergies and sensitivities can cause a significant amount of inflammation in the body that often appears as skin redness and pimples. Since the skin and the gut are also two important routes of elimination in the body, symptoms in these two organ systems are often correlated to each other. Common symptoms that accompany acne and rosacea are gas, bloating, constipation, moodiness, and fatigue after eating. Other signs of inflammation in the body can even include joint and muscle aches. These symptoms, when combined with acne or rosacea, indicate that what is going on is more than skin deep. 

Treatment of acne and rosacea from a natural perspective often involves testing for food sensitivities and allergies using diagnostic laboratory testing and then treating the gastrointestinal tract using diet change and botanical plant-based formulas or supplements. In this way, acne and rosacea can be treated from the inside out to prevent the recurrence so common with treatment that is only skin deep. For more information on natural treatments for acne and rosacea that address these underlying symptoms consult your local Naturopathic Doctor.


Jeffrey said...

Great info about the connection between the health of our skins and our gastrointestinal tracts. So many disorders can be traced back to our diets and the allergies and skin conditions we develop depending on what we eat. Fascinating!

Unknown said...

Your article is really informative. Can you please site an example of foods which merely cause these acne so I can avoid eating them? Thank you.

Dr. Richard Mountain said...

Hi Iya,

Identification of trigger foods is different for every person. It is usually best done by an elimination diet after matching clinical symptoms with specific foods (nearly 100% accuracy) or IgG blood testing is another relatively accurate way as well (more accurate than electrodermal testing etc.). One food that usually aggravates acne is dairy but this is not true for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Wow. It seems that I have all of those symptoms, including the acne. My family has a long history of gastrointestinal problems and inflammation. Recently, I had my allergies tested. I am allergic to a lot of foods. In the initial two weeks, I stayed off of those foods, and my skin did not become better. Then I began to cut major foods from my diet in order to try and fight my acne. Nothing helped, and now I have an addiction to eating foods that are not good for me, and more specifically, I am allergic to.

Anonymous said...

I am living proof of this! I suffered from severe acne and digestive issues my entire life. The acne was severe and cystic all around my mouth and jawline. I started seeing a Naturopathic doctor at age 25. She tested me for food sensitivities which revealed I was sensitive to a large variety of foods from wheat and eggs to almonds and cranberries. I removed the foods from my diet and did some supplementation to help heal the lining of my gut. Within six months my skin was crystal clear and has continued to be clear ever since. My digestive issues and some anxiety that I suffered from have all vanished as well. said...

This is a great article with load of accurate information on it. I have been facing acne problem since my childhood. i thought acne is just a skin problem and can be cured by taking right care to my skin. i tried taking care of my skin by various methods but it never helped. Then i found that this is because of ingestion, stress, depression. I have been taking supplements for quite sometime and everything seems to be cures and feeling a lot healthier then before. Thank you for spreading this information to the world.

Jonathan Maxwell said...

I enjoyed this post. Many times we focus only on the symptoms rather than the underlying cause. I think solving the underlying issue is a strength of naturopathic medicine. Prescription medications may not be needed as long as lifestyle changes and natural remedies are implemented. I write about natural remedies on
The more information we have about viable alternatives to mainstream prescriptions the better off we will all be.

Keep up the good work!

Unknown said...

I started having break outs of rosacea a few months ago, but when I use Foderma serum a few times a week, my face clears up. I think it works really well. It's easy to use and doesn't smell bad or anything. I recommend it for anyone with skin problems.