What Causes Acne ?

As a student naturopath, looking into the reason behind the illness or health issue is one of my main tasks. Generally speaking, there are usually many different potential causes, some may overlap, and sometimes there may only be one cause. These factors can be external and controllable factors such as diet, and lifestyle choices, or intrinsic factors such as genetic 'snips' and predispositions. For this reason please take this post with a grain of salt, this is not to say these are the only causes of acne, nor that these are the causes for YOUR acne. It is always important to seek out a healthcare practitioner that can take a look into your specific case, and determine what needs to be done.

Regardless of this, I myself use to struggle with acne for many years and was forever looking at YouTube videos, reading blog posts and random internet articles on 'how to have clear skin' - often times finding information only about the external practices we can do. For this reason I want to provide a post that I would of found informative myself back then, in the hopes that others struggling will perhaps gain some clarity as well.

Acne occurs when the sebaceous glands become inflamed, some of the top causes for this are related to the following factors. 

Hormone Imbalance / Fluctuations

This may be a 'natural' occurrence when we are talking about puberty, however once this stage is over normal hormone cycles should not result in excessive acne. High androgen levels ( testosterone and androsteneione ) causes enlargement of sebaceous glands, and stimulates sebum production ( skin oil ). This affects the hair follicles of the face, chest back and butt. The causes of increased androgen levels can be from underlying issues such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), as well as range of other female reproductive issues. If you experience irregular menstrual cycles, painful periods, excess facial hair as well as acne - it may be beneficial for you to take a visit to your gp and ask if they think testing your hormone levels could be of use. The good news here is, if you do have higher than normal androgen levels, we have herbs that can actually balance these out - naturally; as well as a range of dietary factors that can be very helpful!

Poor Skin Hygiene 

Improper cleansing of your face each day could be the cause of your acne. Oily cosmetics such as foundation, sunscreen and other beauty products we use on a daily basis - if not removed thoroughly; can cause the skin cells to become 'hyper-keratinised' and not shed properly (that is, the dead skin cells bond together and cause blockages). Ensuring you remove your makeup, and then cleanse the skin is the best way to ensure everything is being properly cleaned off (ie. 'double cleanse' method). 

Gut Dysbiosis

There are many studies showcasing the potential link between intestinal microbe dysbiosis and acne. In relation to our gut health, stress and anxiety are thought to alter the guts microbiota, as well as increase intestinal permeability (ie. create "leaky gut"), which can all lead to inflammation - which plays a large role in acne. The effect of our gut health is not only due to inflammation, but also the gut - brain - skin axis, which is a whole topic in itself regarding the vagus nerve that connects these three aspects of the body. If you'd like to read more on gut health, I have a section on the blog here, with a couple of posts to help you support this area. 

Again I just want to note, that these are not the only causes, but definitely some of the most common. Often times there may be all of these factors at play, and a multi factorial treatment plan will be needed to resolve the acne. If you are wanting some personalised help with your own skin - send an email to lavenderandcobotanica@gmail.com and I'll get back to you with some details on the clinic I'll be in over the next year and a half. 


I hope you liked this little overview post on a few of the potential causes for acne. If you'd like to read ways to possibly help fix these issues, leave me a comment below and I'll put it together for you. :) 

Hope you are all staying well. 





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