#34 ACNE - Causes & Our Natural ACNE Cures
The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast
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In Episode 34 of The Holistic Nutritionists Podcast, Natalie Douglas and Kate Callaghan discuss what foods help with acne and a holistic diet for acne treatment.
- What is Acne + types
- Causes of Acne
- Foods that can worsen Acne
- Foods that help heal acne
- Supplements for treating acne
- Essential oils for acne and acne prone skin
- Red light therapy for acne
- Lifestyle hacks for helping acne
Welcome to the holistic nutritionist podcast where he’ll find inspiration and answers to how you can become the healthiest, happiest version of you. Do you think whole food nutrition, smart supplementation, movement and lifestyle hacks, your host Natalie Burke and Kate Callaghan, a degree qualified dietitians and nutritionists, certified fitness instructors, speakers and authors with extensive knowledge and clinical experience in the wellness industry. So sit back and enjoy the show.
Natalie K. Douglas 0:41
Hi, guys, and welcome to another episode of the holistic nutritionist podcast. Kate, what’s happening this morning? I am just surviving the heat here and Monica. It is ridiculously crazy. And we’re in a heat wave at the moment, but it’s kind of cool down tomorrow. And then there’s going to be some snow
What do hate life and like what’s
Kate Callaghan 1:01
hot? Like 35 degrees? Wow. Okay, then I just
Natalie K. Douglas 1:04
thought Oh, that’s gonna be like, have you changed? Are you calling like 25 degrees hot now?
Kate Callaghan 1:08
No, no, it’s 35 degrees, which actually appeals five degrees hotter than it is. So if we were in Australia, it would feel like 40 degrees in Australia because the hole in the ozone is closer here or something like that. Yeah, right.
Natalie K. Douglas 1:21
I like like, I love like, I don’t like really, really hot weather. But I like like that warmth of summer. But then I can’t stand hot nights. We actually got an air conditioner this summer. And I swear to god best decision of my life because everyone everyone I talked to is like I had such a bad sleep because it was so hot. And I was like oh my god. I’m so grateful for my air conditioner. It’s loud as anything but kind of like you get used to the sound and then it’s then when I don’t have it on I’m like, oh my god. My thoughts. I can hear the wall. Do you have anything to do you have an air conditioner or fan or anything top sleep at night?
Kate Callaghan 2:03
Oh, we’ve got fans but in struggling really struggling Polo man. Oh, yeah. But anyway, other than that, it’s beautiful weather for going and jumping in the ice cold like,
Natalie K. Douglas 2:16
I can’t, I’m gonna do you think I’ll be able to jump in it when I come in May? Or will like I die of hypothermia.
Kate Callaghan 2:23
You could do that.
Natalie K. Douglas 2:24
I’m going to do it. Are you gonna do it with me? I’m coming to visit you. Maybe we can jump in the lake together.
Kate Callaghan 2:29
I have jumped in the lake in May before.
Natalie K. Douglas 2:31
Excellent. That means you’re Steve signed yourself up. I look forward to it. It’s
We’ll see when it comes to.
Kate Callaghan 2:43
Oh, well, that’s okay.
Natalie K. Douglas 2:44
Anyway, on to today’s podcast. So today we actually chatting about acne. So we did do a skin health general podcast a little while back, but we thought we’d actually touched on acne specifically, because it is something that comes up a lot, I think it’s a good thing to chat about and give you guys a bit of understanding about what causes it what it is, and some of the strategies we actually use when people come to us and suffering from acne. So I think we will start is just explaining what acne is. I mean, most people know what I can use. But in terms of a more scientific version, basically, acne or the technical term would be acne Volk, ours is the term for a group of skin conditions that cause most acne pimples. So it’s further breaking down into categories, which is either that it’s inflammatory, or non inflammatory. And then it’s also described as mild, moderate, or severe. And then there’s a whole grading system as well, that we don’t need to go into. But just be aware that that’s there as well. There are a few different types as well. So we’ve non inflammatory acne, there’s usually the presence of white heads and blackheads, but not those kind of system nodules, then with inflammatory acne, the causes usually infectious. So basically, it’s caused by a particular type of bacteria. Then next, you’ve got the cystic acne, which is as unpleasant as it sounds, and that’s characterized by cysts and nodules. And there are a couple of other types of severe inflammatory acne as well that we weren’t going to they’re less common
in terms of what causes acne, so there’s quite a few contributing factors. And not, it’s not always isolated to just one because we, unfortunately, are not that simple, or fortunately, depending on depending on how you look at it. So some of the most common causes would be bacteria, as I mentioned before, hormonal fluctuations or imbalances. So an example might be in pls, where there’s often an excess androgen production, which can increase oil production as well in the skin. clogged pores which can happen when see boom, which is the type of oil that’s actually released into hair follicles becomes trapped beneath the surface of the skin. And that’s how it kind of blocks those pores. They’re poor diet, of course, so eating you know, inflammatory foods like refined grains, sugar, industrial seed oils, etc. stress and depression, anxiety as well, poor sleep, some medications, friction and irritation to the skin as well can cause it. Genetics do come into play to a certain extent, and smoking or other kind of inflammatory, I guess lifestyle choices can also contribute to it. So that kind of sets the scene for what causes it and also what it is, but what we wanted to actually go through more. So what is practical recommendations or practical sides of, of treating acne as well. So the first thing I thought we’d touch on would be, what kind of food can actually work worse than acne. So the two that come to mind for me first cake would be sugar differently. Firstly, it’s inflammatory in nature when it’s excessive, which is a risk factor for acne as it is. And secondly, it can increase something known as insulin like growth factor one or IGF one for short. And it’s this IGF one that has been identified to positively like been identified as positively associating with acne or at least contributing to its development. And the way it does this is a little bit complex, but kind of to simplify it would be to say that it increases or it can increase androgen production. So male sex hormone production, and that increase production in androgens can increase the production of Sabin, which was the type of oil released in the hair follicles that blocks pores and contribute contribute to acne. And then there was actually a study done on male acne patients that found that following a low glycemic load diet, so essentially, just something that’s lower in sugar is what it would kind of translate into resulted in a shift in skin surface triglycerides or skin surface fats, reduce even outflow, and it correlated with reduced acne lesion counts as well. And then the second food that I would red flag, he would be dairy. And I see this a lot clinically. And it’s often the first thing I remove when someone presents with any kind of skin condition. And the reason for this is again, to do with the insulin a Mick. So insulin spiking effect. So again, looking at that kind of IGF one increase. And again, those downstream effects that I just mentioned, of course, is research to back that up, too. So an example is that women who consume two or more servings of skimmed milk per day, every day were 23% more likely to suffer from severe acne, and 44% more likely to develop this cystic or Nigel Lackey, then those who consumed only one lots of skill, not per day. So not that we’re telling you to drink one glass of skim milk, but interesting research and pointing case I guess, but for me, I don’t know about UK, but I just see removing dairy really helpful in clinic a lot when someone has skinny shoes.
Kate Callaghan 8:22
Yeah, 100%. That’s the first thing that I do as well. And I love that I can hear the rainbow locates in the background. They are just going at it.
Natalie K. Douglas 8:29
Just start buying some background music kind of dry. Yeah.
Kate Callaghan 8:36
You’re welcome, everyone.
But yeah, sorry, back on track. Yes, I 100% agree, definitely dairy taking that out. And you want to take it out for at least three months, just in case of these hormonal II related. And so I would say, along with that get tested for polycystic ovarian syndrome to rule that out. But yeah, these changes that we’re going to talk about and we are talking about, you want to take them out for at least three months to see that change in the in hormones, which often cause or contribute to the acne? Would you agree? Absolutely. Yes. And so some other foods that I would add the converse and acne, and definitely your industrial seed oils, or your what we know as your vegetable oils, so sunflower, safflower, corn, canola, all those hot healthy vegetable oils and really healthy at old. So they are rich in what they promoted, because they rich in these polyunsaturated fats, and they shouldn’t be promoted because of that. So the polyunsaturated fats that they reach in is often omega six fatty acids. And it’s these omega six fatty acids that contribute to the pro inflammatory pathway in our body, whereas the omega three fatty acids contribute to the anti inflammatory pathways in our body. Now, we do need some inflammation, but we don’t need to actually consume a lot of omega six fatty acids, we get it, you know, diet anyway, from you know, avocados, chicken, nuts and seeds. And we don’t need to have these vegetable oils that not only contribute to the Omega six that we’re getting in and that pro inflammatory pathway, but they are also really, really highly processed. And those fatty acids sceptical to damage through heat lighting, air, and we often buy them in their plastic bottles that have been told to hate them. So we’re going to be consuming some rancid oils, which is going to fear them mess with your cellular health and overall inflammation in the body.
Natalie K. Douglas 10:33
Yummy to life will send me
Kate Callaghan 10:36
the DH those if you got them in your house, relocate them to your garage, use them to oil up joints, what do you call him? just just just rub them on your joints? Just one you know don’t I wouldn’t even try and get through osmosis. And know and garage hinges mechanic stuff. activity here. That’s very sexist things I know it’s but I really don’t like
Natalie K. Douglas 11:06
I’m sorry, retarded when it comes to like fixing stuff. The other day, my job was just to put water in the car like the windscreen wiper things, I managed to find the right like water whole thing. But then like I didn’t know how to put the boot thing down and are standing there and like the petrol station waiting for my partner to come back. And I’m like, looking everywhere. Like,
I want to like blow myself up. Does that happen?
Kate Callaghan 11:29
I can do this thing Emily should never open up the cars been running.
Natalie K. Douglas 11:34
See, that’s why I don’t, I don’t I don’t Yeah, I just stay in the car. I’m not a princess, but I’m not a I just, I just I just, I just I break things all the time when I try and fix them.
Kate Callaghan 11:47
Anyway, moving on. So a couple of other things that I would say to remove gluten can potentially be an issue for people with acne and via the disruption that it causes to your gut. So it can tend to disrupt your bacterial balance, that it also can create inflammation in your gut, it can open the tight junctions in your intestines by increasing the release of something called Sunderland, which can make your gut a little bit more leaky, which creates again, that inflammation it can disrupt the absorption of vitamins and minerals which are important. And to overall health, especially skin health. And, and then alcohol as well. So alcohol, did you say I didn’t I didn’t. I alluded to it, but I didn’t actually say it. So alcohol, alcohol, because again, it’s inflammatory a lot of the times we’re having with sugary drinks, and it’s going to kill off all the beneficial bacteria, which is so important for skin health.
Natalie K. Douglas 12:43
Yes, he What’s your opinion on soy?
Kate Callaghan 12:47
Soy I would take out as well. With sound like Debbie Downer that way.
Nobody just eat it.
And we’ll talk about it as we get into, especially process. So he says tofu, soy sauce, soy milk, they can be highly estrogen. In not a good way, and, and again, can create inflammation in the body that can be quite allergenic for many people. And so I would take them out. Yeah, every time
Natalie K. Douglas 13:19
I do say that sometimes like, especially if, you know, patients have previously seen another practitioner and the practitioner has said, you know, yes, take out dairy. But then the patient has replaced that we saw in the issue continues. But then once we take out the soy, it definitely does improve. Sorry, look, it’s all just experimentation and self experimentation, these are the most likely things that are contributing, contributing to it. And really, by not having any of the things we’ve mentioned, you’re not going to become deficient in anything provided that you know, you’re replacing them with other nutrient dense food. And it’s definitely worth ago, and you’ll know whether it’s working or not. And often, like in my experience, making changes like that, especially if you’ve been consuming a lot of dairy or a lot of soy or a lot of gluten produces changes quite quickly. And now that’s not to say that that happens in everyone. So that’s, and again, it can be hormonally based, as Kate said, so taking it out for about three months is a really good idea. But often you’ll see that it does make it does improve quite quickly if it’s just kind of food based. Now, as Kate mentioned, we don’t want you to feel like you can’t eat anything, and you’re stuck with just water. And I don’t even know. But so we won’t actually go through what foods should you be eating? Or are there any foods that can actually help promote skin helpful healing acne? So Kate, what what foods would you recommend that people focus on consuming if they are trying to improve their acne will maybe just improve their skin or inflammation in their body as whole.
Kate Callaghan 15:01
The first thing I think you want to look at is reducing inflammation, as you said, so eating lots of anti inflammatory foods. So as I mentioned before, those omega three fatty acids, so you want to get some good quality, wild caught salmon, sardines, they’re going to be the best sources of omega three fatty acids as well as vitamin A and D which are really important for skin health, and loads and loads of colorful veggies so they are rich in your antioxidants and those beneficial beneficial phytochemicals this plant chemicals and polyphenols, which are really wonderful for reducing inflammation high in antioxidants to say antioxidants.
Natalie K. Douglas 15:36
Yes, sorry. That’s bad.
Kate Callaghan 15:41
Sense. RD who?
Natalie K. Douglas 15:47
Maybe you’re too young. Yeah. Forget it.
Kate Callaghan 15:57
reducing inflammation, loads of veggies and making free fatty acids. grass fed meat is actually a really good source of omega three fatty acids as well. So grass fed red meat. And so when people say don’t eat red meat, it’s going to kill you. It’s not necessarily true. Damn, people calm down. I think the sourcing of those of the red meat is something to keep in mind. But if your animal that you consuming has been raised on pasture, grass fed red meat that is going to contribute to the overall fatty acid profile in that meat and lean more towards your omega three fatty acid content and probably getting some fermented foods in there as well to help nourish you’ve got which is going to have a huge impact on your skin. There’s a lot of research around about the gut skin access now. access my accents just going wonky something I don’t even I don’t even know anymore.
Natalie K. Douglas 16:53
You said plot before and I was like that’s so beautiful.
Kate Callaghan 16:56
I like I say that now I love and dance. I don’t
Natalie K. Douglas 17:01
know. I wish I could I just sound like I don’t know. I really yeah. I was trying to be good. But I really love it when people say it. There’s a one of my friends at work. She has a strong English accent and she says like Woods so nicely and I just like to listen to her on the phone. I’m just like,
Kate Callaghan 17:29
I have emerged XM, Australia and New Zealand everyone laughed to me the like the other day because I said we fell oh my god just getting so distracted. Okay. So basically keeping your diet is kind of cold and processed and packaged as possible. And not some things in moderation. If you do have a lot of acne don’t go to go home on the net. Because again, they can be a source of omega six fatty acids. You’re going really hardcore nuts and you wondering why your acne is not getting any better. And maybe think about slowing down a bit on the nuts and choosing maybe more seeds. So your your pumpkin seeds, flax seeds that are on ground. Ground them fresh if you want to but don’t buy ground flax seeds. And they would be my main pics healthy fats as well. So coconut oil, olive oil, and ghee if you tolerate it. Avocado oil, macadamia oil.
Natalie K. Douglas 18:30
Awesome. Yes. Instead, no actually think he covered all that I don’t have any other foods to add to it. Though, I think probably, I would say that the next kind of thing to address once you’ve kind of taken off like you changed your diet, you’re incorporating all the foods that Kate just mentioned, and you’ve removed all the ones that we’ve mentioned before, then I think that that’s when you can start to look into supplementation. And and there are a few different supplements that can can be beneficial. I mean, there are lots of can be beneficial, but I thought we’d just go through a few of our favorite. So one that I often use is zinc. So zinc levels in people with acne have actually been shown to be lower than people without acne. And once this those people are supplemented with zinc, it appears to actually improve their acne quite significantly. So just an interesting side note on that is that even if your zinc levels in a blood test are normal, the levels at the surface level of your skin can can still be low, and supplementation is still recommended provided there’s no other country indication. So making sure that’s prescribed by a practitioner, the dosing the research is is usually around about 30 milligrams of elemental zinc. So and that’s a pretty standard dose of zinc, I’d say as well. Usually the supplements anywhere between 20 to 15 to 30 milligrams is usually what they are. So having a chat to whoever you’re under the care of that whether that’s okay for you is a good idea, but it can definitely improve things quite significantly. And the way that zinc is working or the primary ways it is working is basically that allows vitamin A to be released from the liver and to have its positive effects on skin such as decrease even production, reduced bacteria causing acne and contributing to our role skin health and integrity. Another supplement that I often use is probiotics. So of course, we want you to be eating fermented foods. But if you aren’t getting enough, or there’s just a need for a higher dose or therapeutic intervention for a period of time with probiotics, that can be really really helpful because it actually has been shown to improve the skin barrier and affect skin hydration as well and also decrease water loss from the skin all things that can actually help with improving skin health and healing acne as well. Fish Oil is another one that can be beneficial. If you’re not like I would always encourage someone to be eating fatty fish first. Actually, cod liver oil would probably be an even better option because that way you’re getting the vitamin A in there, you’re getting the vitamin D and you’re also getting a PANDHA and they all have anti inflammatory effects. So particularly if you’ve got that inflammatory type of acne or there is an inflammatory component to your skin condition then definitely that is indicated and as I mentioned, the benefit of cod liver oil in there is also that it’s got those other nutrients in there vitamin A and vitamin D that is going to be helpful. There is actually another top of a mega called omega seven which is primarily from sea buckthorn oil. And that one is also really beneficial because it works by hydrating the skin and improving its as the less diversity and that can be gotten in supplemental form as well. But I would start with kind of zinc probiotics and some cod liver oil, see how you go and then go from this. Okay, is there anything that I didn’t mention that you often recommend in the way of supplements?
Kate Callaghan 22:09
Well, you stole my vitamin AD recommendation Sorry.
Natalie K. Douglas 22:15
Kate Callaghan 22:17
So I would recommend those Yes, wonderful. Well done. Lee adding maybe some curcumin, curcumin and in chimeric and that is a potent anti inflammatory and maybe your acne is more related to polycystic ovarian syndrome to maybe look at something like and also told my own also tells a healthy insulin metabolism and and then collagen, which we done a podcast on a bit I need to post it on social media.
Natalie K. Douglas 22:49
Yes, you’ll see that soon
Kate Callaghan 22:50
everybody taking some collagen hydro isolate, which is really wonderful for the skin, as is vitamin C to help your body produce collagen in
Natalie K. Douglas 23:01
good additions. I like it today go you’ve got lots of different things. All right now on a slightly different nodes. What about essential oils for acne? Is there anything that can be beneficial in the way of essential oils?
Kate Callaghan 23:16
Yeah, definitely. So for management for support of healing, healing the skin naturally, I’d be more looking to things like tea tree, lavender, frankincense and geranium and use these to make up your own skincare. So using some healthy carrier oils rather than buying toxic skincare especially like you and your written goals. No I mean right now
Natalie K. Douglas 23:43
with your results.
Kate Callaghan 23:51
Rather than going you’ve written those in your toxic really heavy duty skin products make your own with some beautiful essential oils officially business tea tree which is great for acne lavender for healing Frankincense for again healing and that youthful glow geranium for balance of the skin as well. And get rid of all of your toxic ingredients. It is more hormonally related and look to the dough Tara Clary calm women’s monthly blend for hormone support. And you supply that to the inside and outside of your right ankle, which corresponds with your ovaries and uterus. And just in general, I would use the essential oils to replace all the with the toxic stuff in your house and cleaning products. Anything in that clean production as medicine cabinet skincare, because the more of the toxic chemicals they get into your body, the more inflammation you’re going to have in your body, the more everything’s going to be thrown out of balance, and the more inflamed just given going to be as a result.
Natalie K. Douglas 24:47
Yes, good point. I think we should do a podcast on like, Where’s the holding your home with essential oils? Yeah, good one. Yeah. Anyway, no, they’re great tips. I agree with all of those lessons, soils that you mentioned. Just a question if people aren’t aware what carrier oils would be good options for those essential oils that you mentioned in case people aren’t aware of? What you mean by a carrier oil.
Kate Callaghan 25:13
For carrier oil. Are you thinking about like apricot kernel oil? avocado oil? Whoa, whoa, ba rose hit but looking for more the lighter ones? with acne?
Natalie K. Douglas 25:26
Yeah. Okay. Cool. Excellent. And any kind of particular dilution that needs to happen? Is there a guide to that somewhere that people could find?
Kate Callaghan 25:38
Yeah, I think it’s my mommy moms, moms mo Ms. And it’s so dilute this, this dilution calculator will change your life, I think it’s called. Okay. Basically, less is more. So there’s so much information out on the internet that is just too strong when using essential oils. Really cut back with his mole and make sure your essential oil that you’re using is pure essential oil. It’s free of all UV synthetic chemicals and fillers. And that’s why I chose Tara because they are tested and make sure that they are free of all the toxic crap. Because you don’t really want to be putting toxic crap in with your essential oil, that defeats the purpose.
Natalie K. Douglas 26:17
That is correct. And that is a technical technical term toxic crap is going to wreak havoc. All right. They’re really good tips. And that’s great. We’ll try and link to that dilution calculator as well in the show notes. And just a final note is that one additional thing that I’d like to mention that I think can be really helpful, is actually red light therapy. So basically, is just to talk with light therapy. And the way it works is it actually impacts even production, which contributes to acne. And addition to that, it also helps to reduce inflammation and the research shows that you only really need to do, I think it’s about Well, it depends on the strength of the light that you’re using. But just to put it out there, I actually have a Jewish light therapy device, I’m not in. I don’t like get any kickbacks from saying this, but I bought it because my mom had some skin issues, and I really wanted her to be using it and the recommendation using that particular light, which you can purchase online, they are quite expensive. But there’s a if it’s something that you’ve suffered from for quite a while, and it’s going to make a huge difference to your health. And I think it’s a worthwhile investment. But basically, you only need to sit in front of it for like, I think it’s six minutes a day to see improvements in your skin and have those positive effects. You’ll you’ll notice that a lot of beauticians these days and dermatologist and whatnot, also use red light therapy in their clinics as well. And it can definitely make a huge difference. But you know, if that’s not in your kind of, I guess, reach in terms of cost or anything else, it’s not the be all and end all there are, as you’ve heard lots and lots and lots of other things that you can do to help with healing acne. If you’ve tried all of the above, and still nothing has improved, then I would be looking deeper into seeing a practitioner and looking into Are there any kind of gut health issues going on in terms of parasites or Seaver or despite viruses, or looking into, as Kate mentioned, more underlying hormonal conditions, so PCs, all those kind of things that can go wrong hormonal dysregulation, as well, because these can all contribute to, to acne as well. Kate, was there anything else that we haven’t chatted about that you wanted to add? Before we wrap up,
Kate Callaghan 28:45
just get your stress and your sleep on point. Because both of those can if you’re stressed out, or not sleeping, that’s going to create that inflammation in your body, the stress as well is going to disrupt your gut bacteria and have that flow and effective messing with the skin. So daily stress management, deep belly breathing, 10 minutes of meditation, if you can, I love the one giant mind app. I don’t get kickbacks, like it’s actually free app. And it’s fantastic. And yes, get some sleep. Yeah. Ideally, seven to eight hours.
Natalie K. Douglas 29:17
Yes. Good. I like that. All right. Well, that’s all from us today, guys. Thank you for tuning in. And we will see you all next week or the week after because we do this fortnightly. Okay, have a lovely day. Bye. Bye.
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