I've heard several of my patients commenting that they expected to have acne as teenagers, but are puzzled as to why they should suddenly be breaking out as adults. Often these folks don't have a history of skin problems but now find themselves dealing with deep painful pimples, and they wonder what has changed? Most put it down to 'hormonal imbalance', and while that is part of the problem, it could also be a red flag for two other health issues:
- Glucose conversion problems and insulin resistance? It seems that individuals who struggle with glucose conversion, possibly due to low-grade insulin resistance, can be more susceptible to acne. When the cells are less responsive to insulin, the body keeps producing more, and the extra insulin in the system leads to higher levels of sebum, which clogs pores and can cause acne. This situation can be a precursor for Type 2 Diabetes, and will need to be monitored carefully. Testing A1C levels, increasing exercise, and starting on a diet low in carbs and sugar will be important to keep insulin levels low.
- Food sensitivities? The other factor could be that they have developed some food sensitivities which are leading to gut inflammation. The result of this inflammation is that the digestive lining becomes more porous and toxins and molecules which have not been fully digested, enter the blood stream. The liver will have to work extra hard to process these molecules and toxins, but whatever is not cleaned up, could end up 'detoxing' through the skin. If this is a problem, then there will likely also be digestive issues, fatigue, brain fog or joint pain. Running a food sensitivity panel to identify the offending foods and eliminating them from the diet, are essential steps to protect your liver and overall health from the damaging effects of long term inflammation.
If you are suspecting any of these problems, please contact me for a health evaluation, and a consultation of your treatment options. Acupuncture and herbal medicine offer a natural, holistic approach beyond trying to treat acne with creams and lotions, and will address the underlying imbalances creating your symptoms.