Acne is typically described as a chronic skin condition that usually appears on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders. Acne is most common among teenagers, though it affects people of all ages. It occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. It often causes whiteheads, blackheads or pimples. There are several causes which need to be confirmed but the most common causes can include:
- Excess sebum or oil production
- Bacterial infection of the follicle
- Changes in hormonal levels as noted during puberty or pregnancy
- Certain medications such as corticosteroids, contraceptive pill and lithium
- Diet causing inflammation due to food intolerances and allergies.
- Common offenders include: dairy, gluten, chocolates, chips, and where there is excessive use of inflammatory omega 6 fats in the diet (canola, soya, margarine) and not enough omega 3 fatty acids (flaxseed, fatty fish, walnuts). This leads to excess inflammation, which can precipitate acne. Interestingly, any food that has an antigen antibody reaction in the body can lead to inflammatory disorders if the immune system is unable to control it or if in excess.
- Chronic stress, which leads to low adrenal function and a rise in androgen levels (testosterone like substances) can also precipitate acne.
At the best of times acne can be difficult to treat, and it is my opinion that the simple skin infection caused by bacteria, which leads to acne, should never be addressed with an antibiotic, as tempting as it may be. The long-term effects of antibiotic use are chronic and far reaching and not given the recognition it needs in acne and general disease causation, precipitating more chronic disease and damage to the microbiome.
Rather look to change or alter the bowel flora naturally, so that the pathogenic bacteria leading to the acne cannot survive in the human body. This can often be achieved with probiotics and upregulating liver detox. The use of fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi are well indicated and effective.
Liver function is paramount to a good skin as it clears hormonal residue which can lead to hormonal acne. If your liver is functioning at optimum, you will struggle less with the allergic type responses and food intolerances, which drive the inflammatory pathway leading to the infected lesions.
Often your face gives clues to the cause of the acne by the location of the acne, and indicates the organ that is causing the acne to manifest. This is seen in the chart below indicating organ face diagnosis.
Once you can determine the cause for the acne via this chart it is encouraging to either start stimulating the diseased organ, i.e. the intestines (if you have acne on your forehead or back) or / and the hormonal system (acne on the cheeks and jaw). This can be as simple as ensuring your bowel movements are regular and your diet does not contain allergic type foods and dairy products with its hormonal component.
In my practice I always make sure of the rule of 3’s to ensure success. By that I mean collating the information from the patient to be able to make sense of the case history symptoms and confirm findings and symptoms with either iridology studies and or functional medicine lab testing.
An example of this can be explained in the following case history:
18 yr. female presenting with acne of long duration (popular with occasional cystic presentation) since beginning of menses at age 13.
- Menses were always irregular and acne was aggravated close to menses time.
- History of inflammation and allergic type symptoms in the digestive tract.
- Chronic history Lyme’s disease infection.
Previously attempted homeopathic treatment for acne with limited results.
- Check which organ is potentially affected via the facial diagnosis chart.
- We see acne on the cheeks, chin and jaw (HORMONAL AREAS) as well as shoulders, back and forehead (INTESTINAL AREA)
- Collate these areas to the case history using a homeopathic prescription
- Menses have always been irregular and acne aggravated around menses time, indicating hormone imbalance
Let us look at this practically:
- Try to explain or link the organ according to the above chart with a homeopathic case taking. This gives you further insight to deeper causes besides just hormone imbalance via considering the fact for example that since puberty there were always hormonal problems or late periods etc. This would tend to indicate the remedy Pulsatilla, which will be able to rebalance the hormones by going all the way back to puberty and releasing the block. (even though the patient may be several years past puberty. That is the absolute beauty with homeopathy.
- Sometimes miasmic treatment is needed to push the body’s defense mechanism into action by prescribing a nosode such as Meddorhinum if it fits the symptom picture, i.e. maybe the patient has had exogenous hormones via the contraceptive pill, or maybe an ovarian cyst has formed leading to the problem. By giving this remedy the case is ‘opened up’ and the body starts to heal.
- When it comes to teenage acne, which is chronic and the problem has not only affected the physical body in the form of a skin lesion, but the emotional body and possibly the mental body, causing the sufferer to feel shy, leading to a lack of self-confidence – you may consider the remedy This remedy deals on this level and does wonders to get rid of infected lesions and swollen glands. Should there be mental ‘damage’ due to the child been teased by their fellow pupils or bullied due to having acne, you may even consider the remedy for humiliation, Staphasagria, or Natrum Muriaticum if a big rejection has been felt.
- A wonderful over all remedy that is clearly indicated in skin conditions is Sulphur and it also acts as a brilliant centrifuge, throwing the poisons and unmetabolized substances out of the body via the skin. It is a detoxification stimulant of note, indicated where lesions are red, and patient might appear dirty and lesions heal with difficulty. Patients are typically aggravated by water and have a dirty smell to their body.
- Let’s look into cases where the patient may be very nervous, and suffer with acne pustules on the face, shoulders and chest with itching. They have loss of sexual desire and tendency to depression. In this case, consider Kali brom, esp. in teenage acne, often in conjunction with
- Last, but not least, we look to Natrum Muriaticum who has acne predominantly at the margins of the forehead. They are dry lesions, but the complexion is a greasy one. Patients crave salt and often suffer with weakness.
- Symptoms of allergies and food intolerances to dairy and wheat/gluten indicate potential inflammation and liver dysfunction which is part of the digestive/intestinal tract
- When there is acne and you find the condition to be mainly from an intestinal cause, namely food intolerance or allergy, look to the bowel nosodes to re-establish bowel integrity and hence reduce inflammation. If you have a clear indication try the remedy Gaetner, otherwise a course of poly bowel complex works well.
- Collate these areas to an iridology study of the eye
- Colon area indicates ballooned bowel relative to the lungs and liver area. White area of iris shows inflammation
- Should there still be doubt, request functional medicine hormonal testing.
- All of the human population is exposed to synthetic hormonal stimulation from contraceptives whether they actively take them or passively through the water supply or via inheritance from the mother who has taken them prior to pregnancy- it has an effect on the fetus, hormonally – later in life .
- For quickest results and effective treatment, it always is better if you can prescribe a homeopathic remedy that fits the totality of symptoms, and to do this you need the skills of a professional homeopath.
A lot of lay people have been semi trained to always apply external medication and moisturizers to the skin to ‘clear up the acne’. This would seem to make sense from the point of view of a bacterial infection on the skin causing the infection, but holistically speaking, the microbiome of the GIT (gastro-intestinal tract) and face, once balanced, will help to ensure the acne improves speedily. In the event that you really desire to use an external product on your face, try using calendula ointment or some ozone oil.
Should your body be in a high inflammatory state, from the overuse of rancid oils and transfats, like canola, soya and margarine, add some omega 3 fatty acids to your diet. If you have a lot of oxidative stress (fatigue, memory loss/brain fog, muscle aches and pains) I would also include some supplemental vitamin C in your diet.
IF YOU FOUND THIS USEFUL AND WOULD LIKE TO BOOK AN APPOINTMENT FOR YOUR CONDITION THEN MEET ME FOR A 15 MIN COMPLEMENTARY CONSULTATION TO SEE IF I CAN HELP YOU .