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A Holistic Guide To Body Acne

Updated: Jun 25

Body acne is often overlooked compared to facial acne but can be just as annoying and hard to get rid of. Whether it's back, chest or neck acne, each type can tell you something about what's going on inside your body. Just like facial acne, body acne is almost always a result of hormonal imbalances, gut imbalances and detox issues within the body. So let's take a deeper look into the different reasons why body acne happens and natural solutions that can help you get clear skin all over.

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Three Main Triggers of Body Acne

Knowing the hidden drivers of body acne for you specifically is the first step. Quick fixes might make it go away for a bit, but if you don't tackle the root cause, it's likely to come back even worse. So what are some common imbalances that cause body acne?

Hormonal Imbalances: 

When acne appears on your body, it can sometimes indicate a hormone imbalance (just like jawline acne). These imbalances can occur during periods of hormonal fluctuations, such as puberty, coming off the birth control pill or just the highs and lows of your monthly menstrual cycle. It's also worth mentioning that stress plays a major role here too. When you're stressed out, your body kicks into high gear and releases a hormone called cortisol. This stress hormone plays a big role in your fight-or-flight response, but when cortisol levels are elevated for a prolonged period, it can interfere with the production and function of other hormones. For example, high levels of stress can increase estrogen and too much estrogen can cause testosterone to convert into DHT (androgen that resides in the skin) at a fast rate. We see this to be the case for a lot of our male clients suffering with acne and women with insulin resistant type PCOS. Any spike in androgens can trigger the sebaceous glands in your skin to produce more oil. This excess oil (sebum) mixes with dead skin cells and can block pores, creating a prime environment for acne to thrive anywhere on the body. Additionally, when your androgens are elevated this can create some blood sugar dysregulation which can also be part of the picture when it comes to body acne. To learn more about how to balance your blood sugar, see last weeks blog post!

Gut Imbalances: 

When it comes to addressing back acne, it's essential to consider the role of gut health and digestive issues. In my opinion, back acne is almost always associated with conditions like small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), parasites, candida overgrowth, and leaky gut syndrome. These issues can disrupt the balance of bacteria in your gut and show up on your skin. Remember there is a massive connection between your gut microbiome and skin microbiome. Since the root cause of back acne can vary from person to person, it's crucial to identify the specific underlying factors. In my practice I'll often recommend GI map testing to clients presenting with gut symptoms like loose stools, bloat, excessive gas, acid reflux etc. By analyzing stool samples, GI map testing can reveal hidden stressors such as bacterial imbalances, pathogens, parasites, and markers of gut inflammation and immunity. This information allows for a more targeted protocol tailored to each individual's unique needs. Just as your gut serves as your main elimination system for toxins and waste products, your skin also plays a role in detoxification. When toxins and excess estrogen are not effectively eliminated through the stool, they can be reabsorbed into the bloodstream and ultimately expelled through the skin, contributing to acne.

Detox Pathways:

When your body's detoxification pathways are sluggish, it's hard to eliminate toxins and excess hormones which can lead to body acne. Your body detoxifies mainly through sweating, urine and pooping. If you're constipated or not sweating, toxins will build up in your body and push out through your skin! Heavy metals, endocrine disrupters, and environmental toxins are all things that can put a burden on your detox organs! Heavy metals like aluminum and mercury, which are often found in our everyday lives, can be a big contributor to acne. So you may be wondering where you're coming into contact with these heavy metals? A few examples of Aluminum sources are things like deodorant, processed cheese, tap water, dry shampoo and some cookware! Mercury can be found in dental fillings, high mercury fish or canned fish, vaccines, bleach, and tap water to name a few! I like to filter my tap water with ta high quality filter like the one from Live Pristine in my shop (with discount) to reduce my heavy metal exposure!

It's important to focus on the foundational things like adequate minerals and amino acids, proper light exposure, good sleep, low stress, clean water and air etc. There are also additional things you can do to give your liver (primary detoxification organ) an extra hand! If you want to learn more about reducing your toxic load to support your liver, read our pervious blog post on toxins! You can also help your body by making sure your lymphatic system, which helps clear out waste, is working smoothly. Going in a sauna, having a hot bath or doing a low impact workout like hot yoga can help you sweat out toxins. If you find that's not enough, I suggest trying the CellCore HM-ET Binder or Drainage Activator, which you can access in my shop! The HM-ET binder is specially made to grab and remove heavy metals while the drainage activator can help remove other nasty toxins from your body. If you're unsure whether you're facing challenges with detoxification, I've found Dutch tests to be highly beneficial for my clients. They offer valuable insights into phase1and phase 2 detoxification which shows us how well you're breaking down estrogen.

Understanding Body Acne

Body acne can show up in various places on your body, and each spot has its own reasons why it happens! So what does acne mean on each part of the body?

  • Back Acne: Gut and hormones! Remember, mineral rebalancing is key when addressing hormone imbalances.

  • Chest Acne: Hormones and fungal acne! Fungal acne occurs when a type of yeast called Malassezia grows out of control in the hair follicles, resulting in inflammation and acne-like bumps on the skin.

  • Neck Acne: Stagnant lymphatic system! Your lymphatic system and your skin are like best friends – they're super connected. Things like exercise, sweating it out in a sauna, or even getting a massage can help get lymph flowing again.

  • Arm/Armpit Acne: Insulin resistance and lymphatic system! Insulin resistance happens when cells stop responding well to insulin, causing high blood sugar levels. This can lead to increased insulin levels, which can trigger the production of androgens, leading to more oil in the skin and acne, even in the arms and armpits. To help the body remove toxins and reduce acne, try techniques like dry brushing, massage, exercise, and staying hydrated to improve lymphatic function.

  • Inner Thigh Acne: Sweating and lymphatic system! Sweat can mix with bacteria and dead skin cells, clogging pores and leading to acne breakouts. Friction from tight clothing or prolonged moisture in sweaty areas can exacerbate this effect, especially in the inner thigh area where skin-to-skin contact is common.

  • Anywhere: Acne anywhere on the body is a sign that you're lacking essential nutrients and there is inflammation somewhere you just got to find it. Your skin is your body's largest organ and it relies on a steady supply of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to stay healthy. Nutrient deficiencies can weaken your skin's defences. For example, low levels of zinc, magnesium, vitamin A, or calcium can impair your skin's ability to heal and regenerate, leaving you more prone to breakouts. There are certain nutrients that also play crucial roles in regulating hormone levels and supporting detoxification processes in the body. For instance, adequate intake of vitamin B6, magnesium, and selenium is essential for hormone balance, while antioxidants like vitamin C and glutathione help neutralize toxins and free radicals that can contribute to acne.

Holistic Treatment Approaches for Body Acne

Taking a holistic approach to treating body acne involves addressing the root causes while promoting overall health and well-being. Here are some holistic suggestions for managing body acne:

Skincare Tips: 

  • Choose the Right Moisturizer: Heavy, fragranced body creams can clog pores and worsen acne, especially on areas prone to breakouts like the back and chest. Some of my favourite moisturizers are high quality beef tallow like the ones from Fatskn and Fancy Farm in my shop (with discounts)!

  • Watch out for hair products: Hair products containing harsh chemicals and pore-clogging ingredients like silicones can transfer onto your skin, contributing to acne on your back and shoulders. Look for gentle, natural hair products like the Mito Life shampoo or Zuma hair care line available in my shop with discount!

  • Try Manuka Honey Masks: Manuka honey is known for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, making it an excellent natural remedy for acne-prone skin. I like to apply a manuka honey mask before showering which allows the warm water to help the honey penetrate deeply into your pores, where all the natural enzymes can work their magic. Simply leave the mask on for a few minutes before rinsing off.

Dietary Adjustments: 

In my practice, I put a focus on eating easy to digest diet rich in whole foods to ensure your body is getting and absorbing as many natural vitamins and minerals as possible! So what can small changes can you make to improve your gut health?

My first tip would be to start your day by eating a balanced breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up to ensure you are fuelling yourself. Throughout the day, aim for balanced meals/snacks every 3-4 hours, consisting of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Remember to eat slowly and in a calm, relaxed environment to aid digestion and promote mindful eating. When it comes to food choices, prioritize organic and clean options, including grass-fed and pasture-raised animal products, raw dairy, and wild-caught seafood. It's also important to diversify your diet by consuming a wide variety of foods and to pay attention to ingredient lists rather than nutrition labels. Your gut will also benefit from switching to cooking with fats like coconut oil or grass-fed butter rather than unsaturated fats like canola oil which can inflame your body (see our previous blog post to learn more about this).

While I never recommend cutting out a bunch of foods, everyones healing journey is different and sometimes its essential to reduce your intake of gluten, soy, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fortified or enriched foods that can irritate your gut lining and are harder for your bodies to digest. It's also important to be mindful of additives and preservatives by avoiding chemicals, fillers, artificial sweeteners, and seed oils. Overall, making informed dietary choices and focusing on whole, natural foods, is the best way you can start your journey to a happier gut.

Work On Your Minerals:

Minerals play a crucial role in your healing journey, especially the big four: calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. They help control all the chemical reactions that keep you healthy and functioning properly. One of my favourite ways to get more natural minerals is with the Mitolife Panacea Shilajit tablets, available with a discount in my shop. Vitamin E and retinol are also key nutrients to get in your diet. Retinol helps produce protective hormones like progesterone and pregnenolone, while also regulating thyroid hormone levels. When you don't have enough retinol, the skin's strength can weaken, leading to more acne. Studies show that many people with body acne have low levels of retinol. That's why treatments like Accutane, a strong medication derived from vitamin A, can help temporarily, but it's not meant for long-term use because of the harsh side effects on the body. A better alternative to would be to increase retinol rich foods in your diet such as beef liver, egg yolks, salmon, and cod liver oil! My clients typically do well with supplementing the Rosita cod liver oil, found in my shop with a discount, if they are extremely lacking in natural retinol!

Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant, protecting your cells from damage caused by oxidation, and also supports liver health and has anti-estrogen effects. If you want to get more natural vitamin E in your diet, some of the best sources are avocados, kiwi's, wild caught salmon, or grass fed butter/ ghee! Its important to remember that supplementing synthetic vitamins in order to get these nutrients and minerals in is not the best route!

Overall, imbalanced minerals and hormones, gut issues, and sluggish detoxification can all contribute to body acne, highlighting the importance of addressing the root cause. Understanding these triggers is crucial for effective treatment and permanent results. By adopting a holistic approach that encompasses non toxic skincare, dietary adjustments, and mineral optimization, you can work towards clear skin from head to toe. Remember, consistency and patience are key, and consulting with a holistic practitioner can make the process a lot more efficient. If your lost on where to begin, book a free call with me to discuss the best options for you!

P.S. Watch my FREE Clear Skin Masterclass to learn exactly how to get to the root cause of your acne. This is a must watch if you are starting your natural skin healing journey! You will learn the steps I take to get my clients life long results. 

None of this is medical advice.

Love Katie


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