Do you suffer from acne as an adult? The good news is that there are ways you can begin naturally reversing adult acne!
Guest post by Erin Josefchak
Are you frustrated by frequent breakouts in your adult life? You are NOT alone!
According to the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, 54 percent of women older than age 25 have some facial acne.
I was among that 54 percent for much of my adult life. Two years ago, at 33 years old, I finally found the answer to my problem that had eluded me for much of my teenage and adult life – inflammation!
Great skin comes from the inside out and the outside in
Scientists have long believed that the P. acnes bacteria triggered acne. However, recent research now suggests that acne is an inflammatory disease (source).
Scientists are now suggesting that the key to clear skin is to prevent local inflammation in the skin and lower general inflammation in the body.
The cure to blemish-free skin is two-fold. Reduce and eliminate (as much as possible) inflammation from the outside in and inflammation from the inside out.
Don’t believe everything you read! The beauty industry has made a fortune on “oil-free” products by leading us to believe that oil is bad for our skin. This is a total myth! Sadly, most of us have been fooled, including me!
The truth is that our skin needs oil, rich in essential fatty acids, to stay moisturized. A lipid barrier prevents dehydration by helping the skin retain moisture. Most “oil-free” products are mostly water (along with lots of mold-preventing preservatives!) that contain petroleum-derived oils, harsh drying agents, silicones, and wax that give us the illusion of moisturized skin. But, in fact, these products are doing just the opposite – they are actually making your skin vulnerable to bacteria, dryness, acne, AND causing inflammation! It becomes a vicious cycle.
Don’t even get me started on all the chemicals, preservatives, toxins, dyes, and fragrances that have contaminated our beauty and personal products. These ingredients can cause further irritations and inflammation.
The key to beautiful blemish-free skin is to go back to nature: vegetable oils!
But … not all oils are created equal. Some oils are heavier (think castor) and some are lighter (think grapeseed). Their composition of fatty acids (oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, lauric acid and so on) determines the type of oil. Oils with a high proportion of oleic acid are heavier – olive, macadamia, avocado, etc. On the other hand, oils with a high proportion of linoleic acid make a lighter oil – hemp oil, grapeseed oil, rosehip oil, etc.
Some oils have very unique oil composition profiles that make them essential in our natural beauty care routine. Broccoli seed oil is high in vitamin A and has a unique composition of fatty acids including approximately 50 percent eruric acid. This fatty acid is a natural silicone which makes it the perfect makeup primer! Broccoli seed oil also contains another essential fatty acid, arachidonic acid, which combats inflammation.
Tamanu is another amazing oil. Not only is it rich in essential fatty acids, but tamanu oil also contains unique anti-inflammatory phytochemicals which improve skin cell integrity, improve moisture retention, improve cell renewal, promote elasticity, and reduce inflammation.
Believe it or not, some oils even have UVA and UVB absorbing properties, like red raspberry seed oil (Oomah et al, 2000). Not only high in linoleic acid, this oil also contains powerful antioxidants that have free radical scavenging capabilities making it an excellent anti-aging oil.
Of course there are many other amazing oils (like pomegranate, argan, borage, etc.) to discover. The ones I’ve specifically listed have been, from my experience, generally good for those with adult acne due to inflammation and offer the most benefits without having to buy too many oils.
See my serum recipe below if you decide to make the switch to oils. You will be happy you did!
Facial Serum Recipe
Anti-aging, anti-blemish, anti-inflammatory, makeup primer
- 3 parts broccoli seed oil
- 3 parts grapeseed oil OR, if you want added sun protection, red raspberry seed oil
- 3 parts tamanu oil
- 3 parts AHA natural fruit acid
- 1 part lavender essential oil
- 1 part seabuckthorn oil
Make a bottled serum and measure out drops each morning and night.
Note from Erin O.: You can find many of the ingredients for this DIY on Vitacost.com. If you use my referral link, you get $5 off your first order of $30 or more!
As the saying goes – “One man’s food is another man’s poison.” It may come to surprise you that 30 percent of us will experience one or more food sensitivities in our lifetime. In my case, I’m allergic to melons, of all things, and highly intolerant to lactose!
Inflammation is our body’s natural response to attack from bacteria, toxins, chemicals, histamines, and/or any food that your body doesn’t like. Your immune system is constantly in overdrive trying to rid itself of what it thinks is “poison” when we constantly eat (or expose our bodies) to things it doesn’t like.
In the case of a food sensitivity, the toxic food particle(s) can cause digestive symptoms but also can travel via the bloodstream to other parts of the body and can cause a number of systemic (whole body) diseases and conditions.
The most common conditions associated with inflammation are: eczema, dermatitis, acne, asthma, and joint pain. And any continuous systemic inflammation may cause more serious conditions and disease such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, etc.
The best way to determine what your food sensitivities are, if any, is to follow an elimination diet. In a nutshell, you remove certain food and/or food categories from your diet for a period of two to three weeks. You then reintroduce each food back and monitor any symptoms. The common culprits are: dairy, gluten, sugar, eggs, nuts, corn, soy, citrus, fish/shellfish, and artificial additives. I followed the JJ Virgin diet, but there are many elimination diet guides available today.
You may even consider following an anti-inflammation diet(*) once you discover your food sensitivities.
I have never followed an anti-inflammation diet but I have tried to incorporate as many anti-inflammatory foods, and those that prevent inflammation, as I can into our family’s diet such as: chlorella, red rooibos and honeybush tea (2-4 times daily), fatty fish like salmon, dark leafy greens, berries (especially blueberries), whole grains, nuts, quinoa, chia, dark chocolate, hemp, sprouts like alfalfa, and lots and lots of fruits and vegetables.
My skin immediately started to clear up when I completely cut out dairy from my diet after my elimination diet results, started to follow a whole foods diet (eliminating as much as possible processed foods, refined sugar/artificial sweeteners, artificial additives/preservatives/dyes/flavoring), started green smoothies for breakfast, and started using oils in my beauty routine.
See my green smoothie recipe below if you want to kick-start your healthier lifestyle (and clear up your face too!). It is full of anti-inflammatory foods (and super foods!), essential vitamin and nutrients (including micronutrients), and foods that help your body detox and lose weight, to boot!
Breakfast Green Smoothie Recipe
Makes ¾ of a blender, or 2 servings.
If you want to switch up the recipe once in a while, I like this guide or this guide
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup coconut water
- 1 large handful spinach leaves, raw (~2 cups)
- 1 small handful parsley, raw (~1/2-1 cup)
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- 1 apple, peeled and cored
- 1 banana
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 tbsp chlorella powder,
- ½-1 tablespoon hemp protein powder,
- 4-6 tablespoons chia mixture (1 tablespooon chia seeds in 1 cup of water. Keep in fridge. Stir or shake before use.)
- Any other superfood powders you would like to add like beet, flax, acai, maca, etc.
Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately! If you are not sharing with someone else, keep the second serving for the next day.
Note from Erin O.: You can find many great superfood powders on Vitacost.com!
Although called a diet, the anti-inflammation diet (and elimination diet) are actually a lifestyle change and not a true “diet” in the sense that we think of a diet.
What steps have you taken to reverse your adult acne?
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, dentist, dermatologist, allergist, nurse, or licensed healthcare practitioner. Information obtained from this website is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by any health agency (FDA or Health Canada). Products and information are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult your physician before making any health decisions for you and your family. Thank you!
Erin Josefchak is a wife to Marc, mommy to Tyler and Sierra, saved by Jesus Christ, amateur writer, and aspiring herbalist living in rural Quebec, Canada. She is committed to leading a faith-filled, frugal, and chemical-free life. Erin’s passion is discovering the healing powers of God’s amazing creations – plants! She wants to bring glory to God and bless others with her knowledge of plants to increase their faith, improve their quality of life, and help them heal naturally with plants and prayer. She loves reading the Word, doing research, coffee, writing, baking, and making memories with her family.
I’ve struggled with acne since I was 16 (I’m now 34) and unfortunately got caught up in using birth control pills and Spironolactone for 7 years with very minimal success…once I realized how much havoc these meds were wreaking on my body (they totally eliminating my menstrual cycle after 6 years on the pill + I suffered from chronic migraines which my doctor said could be exacerbated by the Pill), I quit cold turkey. Since then, I learned that drinking diluted apple cider vinegar (1-2 tsp in 1/2 bottle of water, or in grape juice to mask the taste) helps keep breakouts at a minimum as does using ACV as a toner (1 part ACV to 2 parts water). My breakouts aren’t completely gone, but the ACV works wonders! I’ve also dabbed coconut oil on blemishes at night, but it makes my pajamas and bedding greasy so I only use the coconut oil for very bad flareups.
Bentonite Clay and also have used Tea Tree oil. For quicker results would do the bentonite clay mask. And of course drink plenty of water and eat healthy! 🙂
Breakfast Green Smoothie Recipe is so wonderful. I mean everyday when I wake up, I always drink water or lemon water plus a little honey. It makes me feel so good and makes my skin beautiful and brighter. And I think to have a beautiful skin we also do exercise too 🙂
Yes, a dermatologist I went to recently even told me that acne is an inflammatory disease. Unfortunately, she wasn’t very helpful, aside from telling me that I have severe inflammation. No kidding. I don’t just have acne, I also have rosacea. So along with pimples, my face is irritated, very red, yet dry and flaky, too. She prescribed retin-a. I’ve heard that that is only a temporary help, then can cause it to worsen, so no thanks! The other thing she usually does for acne is antibiotics…again, no thanks.
Currently, I use jojoba oil to cleanse my face and also as a makeup primer. Call me vain, but there’s no way I’m leaving my house without makeup! I do use mineral makeup with only 3-4 ingredients.
I really do think that food is the culprit, but I have no idea what! I’ve tried eliminating the common ones, including wheat, all grains, dairy, sugar, etc. But nothing makes any difference. I’m planning on doing the GAPS diet. It’s a gut healing elimination diet of a sort. It can even reverse food sensitivities, so I’m hopeful…
Try ‘oil pulling’ an ancient Ayurveda technique. Google search on it. That’s the only thing that helped me from the curse of acne.
In our city (Auckland, New Zealand) there is a naturopath who takes hair samples by post, analyses them in a similar way to a blood test, and determines what food/environmental sensitivities are causing your issues. I used this service for my daughter who suffered severe eczema from birth, despite being EBF for 6 months. Turned out the dairy I was eating was causing it. Saved me wasting time on elimination diets.
Perhaps a naturopath near you may provide a similar service?
The one I used was www.allergenics.co.nz
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Try ‘oil pulling’ an ancient Ayurveda technique. Google search on it. That’s the only thing that saved me from the curse of acne.
But be honest when you do it by following the steps correctly and do it everyday without fail only if you want a clear face.
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I always have fresh fruit and milk every morning. Green vegetables are healthier than the others. You can also use the banana peel and rub it to your face according to my mom you can have a smooth skin with it and paired it w/ tomatoes. Our skin is very sensitive and need to take care a lot.
I am 35 years old and I have suffered with acne since I was a teenager. They were deep under the skin and extremely painful. I have tried every treatment out there, you name it, I have probably tried it. I have finally found something that works called Dermalmd Acne Serum! I have been using this acne serum for a couple of weeks now. I am already noticing a marked improvement in the appearance of my skin.
At its root, adult acne is caused by the same things that cause teen acne: excess skin oil and bacteria. Any changes in hormones, including those brought on by pregnancy and menstruation, can trigger excess oil. Women who smoke also seem to be more prone to acne