Is your probiotic actually helping you?

Is your probiotic actually helping you?

IS YOUR PROBIOTIC ACTUALLY HELPING YOU?

Probiotics 101:

Probiotics have become extremely mainstream in the past few years. It’s expected that you can simply pop a probiotic pill every day and feel right as rain!

But do you know exactly what you are taking, and what the specific bacteria in those probiotic pills are doing to your body?

No? Well you aren’t alone.

In all my years working in a pharmacy, health store and clinical practice, I stopped being amazed by how many people were on a probiotic “just ‘cause”. Customers’ would stare wide-eyed and shocked at what taking that probiotic supplement was doing to their body. Because for those 6 months of taking a probiotic to help with diarrhoea, the bacteria in that probiotic were known to speed up transit time and help with constipation. *face palm*

Now I have a question for you

Hands up how many people have bought a probiotic off the shelf purely because of its claims to be “multi strain” and with super duper high “40, 50, even 60+ billion CFU (colony forming units)” on the label?

I bet you’re sitting there thinking: that’s me! Well don’t worry, that was me too.

But I’m sorry to say, there is a very high chance you just bought yourself really expensive poo.

 

So how the heck do you know if you need a probiotic and that you’re choosing one that’s right for you and for your body?

 

Well, let’s clear the air of some common misconceptions and highlight the truth behind probiotics and your friendly gut bacteria.

 

1. Probiotics don’t change your microbiome.

Holy moly, this is a big one! When you take a probiotic, the bacteria in the probiotic only stays in your gut on average 2-14 days. The bacteria generally won’t colonise your gut and stay there for life. What they do is exert a beneficial effect as they are floating through. They can produce chemicals, fight off against pathogenic microorganisms, interact with your immune cells, etc, which can all improve your health while taking the probiotic. But generally the symptom relief wears off a few days post taking the probiotic as those particular bacteria are then found in your poo and are no longer in your intestines.

 

2. Any old probiotic won’t help, you need a specific strain.

The bacteria or yeast found in probiotics don’t all do the same thing. Nor are they all beneficial to your health. Every bacterial strain is as unique as you are. The therapeutic action of a bacteria all comes down to its strain. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus is a common bacteria found in probiotic supplements, but the different strains help you with different symptoms.

Lactobacillus acidophilus W37: helps with bacterial vaginosis.

Lactobacillus acidophilus DWM 24735: helps with constipation, IBS symptoms, ulcerative colitis achieving and maintaining remission, and viral gastroenteritis.

Lactobacillus acidophilus CL1285: supports diarrhoea prevention with antibiotic use and atopic eczema treatment.

Lactobacillus acidophilus La-1: helps with depression, migraines and liver cirrhosis.

 

Imagine if you suffered from diarrhoea and you grabbed one off the shelf that contains Lactobacillus acidophilus 24735. This guy helps with constipation, so you are unknowingly making your diarrhoea worse. Grabbing a ‘multi-strain’ probiotic won’t be effective if the strains in the probiotic aren’t right for you. I often opt for single or a probiotic with 3 bacterial strains because I can make sure every single bacterial strain is essential for my client and their health.

3. The CFU only matters for individual species, not overall.

Ignore when a probiotic states 40, 50 or 60 billion bacteria. In this case bigger does not mean better! The important number or CFU to pay attention to is per bacteria. You need enough of the little guy to be therapeutically effective. Take for example Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938. You only need 200 million CFU to be therapeutically beneficial for constipation. Whereas Lactobacillus helveticus Rosell-52 needs 1 billion CFU to be clinically effective for anxiety. The number of bacteria really depend on what they’re being used for.

 

So here’s the big question:

do you need to take a probiotic?

For the general population, my answer is no.

I only advise taking a probiotic for a specific health condition or symptom if it’s warranted, and generally not for long term use (eg. Constipation, diarrhoea, eczema, anxiety, depression, thrush, bacterial vaginosis, etc). I don’t advise taking one for everyday well-being because there are more effective strategies.

 

What do I recommend?

Your gut bacteria are uber important. They influence soooo much, so making sure you have the right bacteria and a great diversity are one of my biggest concerns with every client. To achieve this, I recommend prebiotics which are the food for the bacteria. Your bacteria need to eat in order to survive and proliferate.

I stand by the principle and evidence, why not feed the beneficial bacterial strains already in your gut rather than add in a probiotic that only floats through temporarily? Your beneficial bacteria need food to proliferate and carry out their tasks in your gut, so feeding them with select prebiotics is the most effective method.

I highly recommend speaking to a qualified health practitioner who will be able to really guide what probiotic and prebiotic is needed and will be beneficial for YOUR unique health. Choosing any old probiotic supplement for the sake of it, isn’t doing much for your health, well except increasing the price tag on your poop.

The Naturopathic Approach

The Naturopathic Approach

THE NATUROPATH APPROACH

Ins & outs of seeing a Naturopath

So you’ve heard of a naturopath, and maybe you’ve even heard that naturopaths have helped people in amazing ways.

But what exactly does a naturopath do – and how?!

Lately I’m finding myself asking clients at their first appointment not only if they’ve ever seen a naturopath before, but if they have any idea what a naturopath does. Usually the answer is a chuckle and a resounding “no”.

(Luckily at this point I reassure them they’ve made an excellent choice and we’ll get their health back into tip-top shape)

I often forget that I live in my little ‘naturopath’ bubble and I expect everyone to be showered in health & support by their own naturopaths.

But the thing is, I didn’t even know naturopaths existed until I was 22 and only saw my first one when I was 24 – even then I was hesitant like crazy because I had zero idea what to expect.

So I wanted to take this opportunity to be 100% transparent with you and share with you what I do as a naturopath, what happens during an appointment and the Wellness Plan I put together for my clients to get them exactly where they want to be. So you can walk into a consult knowing 100% what lays ahead.

 

 

what kind of naturopath am i?

Yes, I love nature & plants (I wish my clinic was an inside jungle), but I also adore science.

I use evidence-based research about how your body works at a systemic and cellular level to understand your health condition and explore ways to enhance your health so it can operate like a total boss – long term.

My aim during your wellness journey is to support all aspects of your health, and work alongside other health professionals to give you the best results possible – physically, biologically, psychologically and emotionally.

This means looking into & addressing your root causes.

Those nutritional, genetic, biological factors that are causing your symptoms. Once we have identified your root causes, we can choose treatment options unique to you & those causes to restore your health for the better. Because no two people are exactly the same, so no two treatment plans will ever be the same.

This is where testing comes in. I use testing to help us get some definitive answers, but will always opt to work alongside your doctor first and get standard tests completed before branching off into functional tests not covered by Medicare. Usually I kick-start your healing journey, and if we are not getting the results you’re after then we can go down the path of functional testing – and this decision is always 100% yours to make in the end.

  

the ‘wellness haven’ approach

The way a naturopath practices is as unique as they are, so you could see 5 different naturopaths and will receive 5 different treatment plans.

This is how I help my clients:

THE WAY I PRACTICE NATUROPATHY INVOLVES A TWO PRONGED APPROACH.

Symptomatic I want you to start feeling good NOW because life isn’t made to be suffered.

Root causewe will investigate and address the big players (your root causes) and restore your health for the long term (this part can take time and depends on how your body responds).

For example: We treat your health like a random non-healing wound on your skin.

The symptomatic approach is the band aid & topical soothing cream that protects the skin and makes it feel good again on a surface level so you can carry on day to day.

The root cause is figuring out what’s causing the wound on your skin and addressing all those factors, providing the cells of your skin with the right nutrients to start the repair process, enhancing elimination pathways to remove any toxic build-up at the wound site, and controlling chronic inflammation and stress so that your body has the opportunity to heal.

Once the root cause has been fully addressed, all those cells have the perfect environment to replicate & repair and the damaging factors have been removed so the symptomatic band aid can come off and your health remains wound-free.

That is your body on a bigger scale.

Because until we address the root causes, your health can’t improve entirely.

 

 

your first appointment

This goes for 1.5 hours. Yes, 90 whole minutes. And let me tell you, time will fly.

For the first 40-60 minutes we are discovering everything to do about you.

  • the nitty gritty’s of your main health concerns
  • how your guts behaving
  • how your mood is
  • what your menstrual cycle is like (that is, if you have one!)
  • how often you get sick and how it affects you
  • along with every other body system…
  • as well as breaking down what a general days diet looks like and all about your lifestyle – your job, what you love, how you relax.

This is followed up by conducting select in-house tests such as blood pressure, bio-impedance analysis, tongue/nail/iris analysis, skin integrity, dehydration and circulation checks, and any questionnaires that relate to your health.

Essentially, I want to know how your body is operating inside and out.

In the final 20 minutes we will be discussing what you want.
Your priorities.
Your aims.
What you want out of this journey.

Then we put together your first treatment plan – together.
Maybe one dietary suggestion, or a lifestyle tip, or even a herbal or supplement if it seems suitable and all of this depends on what changes you’re ready to make and how fast you want your health to get better.

Remember, this is your health. You are 100% in control. I am here to guide you, and you let us know how fast you want us to go.

And finally, I get you to do one piece of homework. This part constitutes what I believe is THE most important part of your entire wellness journey:

To think about what your life would look like if you no longer had these health issues.

What you want it to look like. Where you will be once you have finished your wellness plan.
This can range from not needing to know where a toilet is all the time, to running a marathon, to leaving the house anxiety-free.

It’s your life and you’re in control now.

 

your follow-ups

Depending how much information there is still to gather (I know! Sometimes 1.5hrs isn’t enough) will depend if we’ll go through your Wellness Plan in your second or third follow-up (outlined below).

Your follow-ups are to check how your health is progressing, how you’ve reacted to the diet/lifestyle/herbal/supplemental changes and to see if we are on the right track.

Ultimately to guide you through each stage of your Healing Plan and be able to assess how far you have come each step of the way.

The number of follow-ups varies for each person. A health issue that is more clear cut and has only been present for a short time usually requires far less (maybe 3-4) than a health issue that has been affecting you your entire life or is more complicated.

Naturopaths do generally work from the rule of thumb that it takes 1 month for every year you’ve had the health issue.

Your follow-ups will progressively get further apart, with the first follow-up generally occurring 1-2 weeks post the initial and then either 2-4 weeks thereafter until you are where you want to be.

 

 

your wellness plan

I am 100% for transparency and education. I want you to know what is happening with your body, why you may be experiencing what you’re experiencing, and what our plan is to rectify this and why.

Because we are in this journey together and you’re holding the reigns.

Your Wellness Plan outlines our plan going forward so you know what to expect and includes:

  • Your priorities & aspirations
  • A holistic assessment of what I believe to be happening – outlines your root causes
  • The stages involved in your Healing Plan – how long each stage may take and what we will be doing in each stage to address these root causes
  • Reassess & review – we will see how far you’ve come and discover if there may be an underlying issue that needs more attention to get you where you want to be

 

 

This journey focuses 100% on you

Our consults together will give you the chance to tell your story, and provide us with the time to figure out what’s going on so we can set you on the right path to rectifying or supporting your health for the better.

I will only ever provide suggestions of what will improve your health and life. We work together to find solutions that suit you – because this is your journey, my expertise is simply here to guide you down the right path. 

So if your health feels stuck or seems to be getting worse, try a naturopath out. They may have the tools you’re missing to get you the answers and results you desire.

If you’d like to explore the Wellness Haven approach, make an appointment today! I can’t wait to meet you and see you achieve the life you’ve always wanted!

It's never too late to find your wellness.

MAKE YOUR APPOINTMENT TODAY

The Truth Behind Detoxing

The Truth Behind Detoxing

THE TRUTH BEHIND DETOXING

& HOW TO DO IT THE SMART WAY

‘Detox’ is always the in word for January. You may be seeking a way to shed some of that extra ‘heaviness’ and ‘grit’ you accumulated over the Christmas and New Year binge?

You’ve browsed 100 different ways to ‘detox’ from juice fasts, water fasts, ‘magic pill’ detoxes, laxatives…but how do you know which one’s right for you or if any of them actually work?

 

The truth is: none of them will work if your own body elimination processes aren’t working.

In fact, you may be making yourself worse.

 

Here’s the snitch: we are always detoxing.

  • Your liver is constantly activating both phases of detoxification to eliminate toxins.
  • Your lymphatic system is always circulating to remove build up of toxic waste in bodily tissues.
  • Your kidneys are always filtering and excreting water soluble toxins.
  • Your gut is always housing those brilliant bacterial workers who assist in detoxifying incoming toxins and help to excrete them all out.

 

But your liver, lymph, kidneys and gut aren’t always working at their absolute best.

So if you try to detox your body while one of these systems is out of whack or exhausted, then you have lost one of the key methods your body has to get rid of toxic & damaging metabolites.

So now you have liberated toxins or damaging metabolites from your bodily tissues as part of your detox….but they can’t be eliminated…so where else do they have to go but continually recirculate throughout your body, all the while continuing to inflict damage?!

Definitely not the result you were after.

 

As a naturopath, I don’t encourage ‘detoxing’ as such.

I encourage supporting your eliminatory organs (aka. your emunctories: your liver, lymph, kidneys and gut), because if they are all working at their best, then they can (mostly) handle whatever toxins or grit you are throwing at them and get them out of your body automatically.

If you want to ‘detox’ the smart way, then gently nourishing your emunctories is the way to go. It will support your overall health, as well as be a sustainable and longer-term solution with long-lasting results (without those nasty side effects). Because it isn’t a detox, but a new way of living.

 

1. liver

Your liver is the big powerhouse, the head macho, the one who can have the biggest effect…and cause the most damage too.

Your liver has 2 phases of detoxification.

Phase one takes metabolites in your blood and starts to break them down into their new metabolites (usually more toxic than they were before). Phase two then grabs these metabolites and makes them inactive through various different detoxification channels to then be eliminated either via your stool or by your urine.

Where the liver goes wrong is phase one works brilliantly getting all these new toxic metabolites ready for phase two. Unfortunately, phase two can be very sluggish meaning these new toxic metabolites start to build up and inflict damage.

Phase two can be sluggish due to various reasons such as genetic variations, lack of nutritional cofactors, etc. So the best thing you can do is provide your liver with all the delicious and nourishing foods it needs to help these pathways along – the main ones being cruciferous (liver loving) vegetables such as brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, dark leafy greens (caution in thyroid issues); and herbs that chelate to toxins such as parsley and coriander.

 

2. lymph

In my opinion the lymphatic system is one of the most underrated systems. It follows alongside your blood vessels and is the king at mopping up waste products to bring them to your main detoxification organs to be properly eliminated.

But if your lymph doesn’t have it’s own system moving it around  – it relies on you. So if your lymph becomes stagnant, then those mopped up toxins have no other way to get to your eliminatory organs to be detoxed and removed.

The easiest way to move your lymph is to move your body. The contraction of your muscles are the main way your lymph is pushed throughout your body. If you need an extra push, try dry skin brushing before your shower by brushing your skin in the direction of your heart to encourage full elimination.

 

3. kidneys

Water soluble toxins have one main way out and that is through your urine. So if you aren’t drinking enough fluid to be urinating regularly enough (and so that your urine is closer to transparent rather than dark yellow), then you will be retaining a lot of those toxic metabolites.

The solution is easy: up the fluid intake to 2-3L per day, and include wet sloppy foods, watermelon etc to boost incidental intake.

 

4. gut

Your gut has two influential factors: the fact it pushes out your stools and it houses your powerful community of microbes.

For one, if you aren’t passing a stool at least everyday (if not more), then your stool (filled with all toxins and wastes) is moving too slowly through your bowels, giving your digestive tract the chance to reabsorb some of those toxins back into your body for recirculating.

Two, you need a good diversity of the beneficial microbes to help with detoxifying, neutralising and eliminating your wastes and toxins, as they can reactivate toxins & metabolites for reabsorption and slow down transit time.

So this is a two prong approach: increase your fluid intake to promote regular bowel habits, and consume enough dietary fibre and a variety of it to feed all the beneficial microbes so they can effectively do their job.

In terms of fibre, aim for all colours of the rainbow in vegetables and wholegrains, and a variety of 40 whole foods. This is easier than it seems with red, white and black quinoa counting as one each (so 3 all up), red, purple and orange carrots are individually counted (so 3 all up), etc. Each new variety is a new wholefood.

 

5. extra love: skin

When you sweat you are effectively eliminating wastes through your skin, so having a good sweat can help to detox your body.

Go sit in an infrared sauna a couple of times per week to give your body all the support it needs.

 

Detoxing doesn’t have to be this intense 3-10 day hit, because if your eliminatory pathways aren’t prepared for it then you won’t be getting the results you’re after. Try to support each of these pathways, and watch as your health blossoms.

 

Your perfect detox plan is as individual as you are, so if you need help to kickstart your health for the new year, seek out a Naturopath to tailor the perfect treatment protocol for you and get you feeling fabulous for this new year.

 

Bloating: Are Your Eating Habits To Blame

Bloating: Are Your Eating Habits To Blame

BLOATING: ARE YOUR EATING HABITS TO BLAME?

Do you eat on the run? Do you chuck your food down? Are you multitasking while you gobble your food down? Answer YES to any of those? Then your bloating may very well be because of your eating habits.
We need to be in a parasympathetic state when we eat. Rest and digest.
This means you’re calm, blood flow is being directed to your gut and your digestive enzymes are being produced and secreted at an excellent rate, ready to digest all the food thrown its way. This needs to happen so that you can properly digest all of your food and absorb all the liberated nutrients – your body relies on them to function, otherwise your body is scrounging up what it can and does the best with the minimal tools it has at its disposal. It’s excellent at making do short term to keep you functioning like an apparent well-oiled machine. Long term though all those short cuts are not doing you any favours and that’s when chronic disease creep in. Unfortunately these days, we eat on the run or eat while attempting to multi-task. Although this is time saving, you aren’t getting the most out of your food.
This is because you’re in the opposite mode – sympathetic state: fight, flight or freeze.
  During a sympathetic response, blood is shunted from your gut and sent to your heart and muscles so they’re ready to run, your breathing and heart rate increases, and digestive enzyme production is shut down – because hey, eating isn’t a priority right now, running away from that scary monster is. These factors are brilliant when it comes to running away from a tiger. Just not when you want to eat. The problem is, your body gets a one-stop stress response. Meaning it produces the same stress response no matter if the stimuli is you running late for work or if a lion is chasing you. Stress is stress – cortisol gets produced and it has the same physiological action on the body every time it gets spewed out by your adrenals – it doesn’t care if food is just sluggishly sitting in your bowels being left to ferment and fester.
When you are chucking down your food, or watching TV and not paying attention to eating, you are bypassing that first vital step: turning off the sympathetic switch and turning on your parasympathetic mode.

No parasympathetic mode: no digestive enzyme production.

  Without the necessary digestive enzymes to break down your food, your still intact food happily carries on throughout your digestive tract, passing your stomach undigested and your small intestines undigested and reaches your happy little gut microbes sitting in your large intestine. With a properly functioning gut, only resistant starches found in fibrous food should reach your large bowels and feed your happy little microbes. So when these other food particles that should have been broken down way back in the small intestine reach your gut microbes, your gut microbes go crazy and thank you for their feast by munching away on all this foreign food and produce a by-product such as hydrogen gas.
The problem with hydrogen gas?
For starters it is a large molecule so it takes up a lot of room in your bowels. It’s healthy to produce some (when your gut microbes eat their normal fibrous foods) but if they keep producing more and more, your bowel has to expand and ta-da! You now have bloating. Hydrogen also has a propensity to speed up your transit time, so this means you may need to be rushing to the toilet to empty your bowels 3+ times per day. More prone to sluggish stools? Well you may have an excess of methane-producing bacteria. They gobble up four hydrogen molecules to make a much smaller methane molecule. This may seem great when they’re gobbling up all those extra hydrogen molecules from your poorly digested food, and help to create more room in your gut and effectively reduce your bloating….but methane does have a propensity to reduce your stool transit time, ultimately clogging you up.
And clogged bowels can also then lead to bloating.
  Your gut bugs are pretty fussy eaters and primarily only want fibrous food, so when all this non-fibrous food reaches your large intestines, the wrong type of bacteria end up having the feast and proliferating instead. This then potentially leads to a dysbiotic gut, which is a story for another day. Long term, this can start to produce ongoing gut issues and the poor absorption of all your nutrients ends up impacting energy and neurotransmitter production (happiness, calmness and motivation) leading to depression, anxiety and low drive, and essential nutrients for glowing skin and hair aren’t there, let alone every other enzymatic reaction in your body. Now this isn’t all doom and gloom, there are super simple ways to promote that parasympathetic state, switch on digestion and get those foods fully digested so you can reap all the nutritional benefit and feel amazing long term!  
So if you are guilty of eating on the run, shoveling your food down or basically multitasking while food is going in your gob – then try these 4 easy hacks to getting those digestive juices flowing!
 

1. EAT MINDFULLY

This is as simple as sitting down with your food and being mindfully aware of every spoonful going into your mouth. The taste, the texture and chew thoughtfully. You will be amazed at how much more you can taste and as a bonus all your digestive enzymes start flowing!

 

2. SMELL YOUR FOOD

That’s right, take a big waft of those delicious aromas. Have you ever found you can smell something delicious and suddenly your mouth is watering in saliva? That’s because the receptors in your nose pick up the scent from food and kick start your digestive enzymes, ready for the feast it’s about to consume.

 

3. MUNCH SOMETHING BITTER

This may make you scrunch up your nose, but bitter receptors on your tongue are like the golden key to getting those digestive enzymes flowing. This is why some people feel less indigestion with apple cider vinegar before meals. You can simply munch on dark leafy green prior to a big meal which activates the same pathways. Or grab some of that super tasty bitter herbals from your naturopath if you’re feeling lazy or need to kickstart your own digestive enzymes again – but don’t say I didn’t warn you! At the very least those around you will get a kick out of watching your face scrunch up in disgust.

 

4. SING

That’s right, I’m giving you full permission to bellow out a tune. Singing has been found to stimulate the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the main nerve responsible for receiving the stimuli that its time to eat and sending out a signal to your digestive tract to start pumping out all of your digestive enzymes. But you need to be reaching different pitches: so go smooth with a low baritone before hitting that high note.

  If you are someone who often gets to the end of their meal and then struggles to remember what they ate or how they even got there, than start to include some of the above tips into your daily eating routine. The long term benefit of digesting all of your food and reaping off the nutritional benefits out of them won’t just help with your bloating and indigestion, but with the optimal function of your body too. Still being haunted by your gut? The gut can be a mysterious and wondrous thing, with many avenues for dysfunction to occur – it does hold 2kg of microbes after all which are all doing very specific and important tasks to keep your body tip-top! A Naturopath may be what you need to provide you with an individualised gut plan to rid you of your bloating, control your bowels, and get you feeling pretty fabulous!
How to Conquer the Acne Monster

How to Conquer the Acne Monster

HOW TO CONQUER THE ACNE MONSTER

Acne affects 85% of teenagers, but did you know that it will continue to haunt nearly half of men and women all the way into their third decade of life.

Acne is such a common condition yet is somehow so poorly understood in society.
Today’s acne treatments focus on ‘strip away all that excess oil’ or ‘tighten those pores’ and even scrubs that feel like they peel away an entire layer (or 5) of skin cells. But do any of these ‘acne solutions’ ever have long lasting effects?

The answer is usually no.

The problem is, most treatment companies don’t tell you what acne is or how it’s even formed. And how are you expected to successfully treat your acne when you don’t even know how it started or why it keeps coming back?

Especially when some of these products can potentially be causing more harm than good in the long run.

 

SO WHAT IS ACNE?

Acne is a condition where the pores in your skin get blocked (often by extra skin cells or debris). Blocked pores can be a normal part of your skins process, and in a lot of people the simple act of regularly washing your face keeps these areas healthy and acne-free.

In acne-prone people, you unfortunately have an increased amount of sebum (oily substance) which starts to weaken your pores and allows a perfect entryway for the treacherous Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) to enter. For imagination purposes: think of your pores like a strong castle fortress – when the stone walls are being continuously pummeled by extra rain (your sebum in this case), the walls start to weaken and form holes and perfect entry points for invaders to get in. Not ideal.

Before we go any further I want you to be aware that you have your own unique skin microflora (unique blend of micro-organisms such as bacteria that live on your skin and work to protect your skin from nasty organisms that cause infections). Like any microflora, we often have a symbiotic relationship with these organisms (where we both benefit from each other) but it’s when they get access to somewhere they shouldn’t be that they can suddenly turn detrimental. Your P. acnes is one of those guys for your skin.

When these P. acnes get into your pore, they love this protected little pocket in your skin that is filled with extra oil and ultimately decide to set up shop and set up a community there – effectively colonising in your pores. Unfortunately these P. acnes end up triggering an inflammatory reaction in your pore which catalyses a ‘healing response’ by your body in response to this ‘invader’.

This healing response means your skin cells start to replicate at a faster rate and extra sebum is produced as a way to protect your cells from further damage.

Can you see the problem here? This inflammatory reaction/healing response causes your skin cells and sebum to continuously be produced, which piles up over your pore and compacts upon themselves forming a snug little plug, blocking the opening of your pore to the outside world.

Tada!

You now have a blackhead.

It’s this ongoing inflammatory reaction which brings certain white blood cells to the party, and they produce pus as a by-product while engaging in the war against P. acnes. As this pus accumulates, you get rewarded with a tender, large, pussy pimple.

Guess what the response by your body is?
Continue with it’s inflammatory/healing response to try and neutralise and destroy this invader to restore harmony and peace to your pores – little does your body understand that this is feeding the invaders every wish and the cycle continues.

 

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Treating the ongoing war topically with creams and washes is still very important, but it’s finding out your root cause is that will produce those everlasting acne-free results.

To find your root cause, I want you to remember the two main points that were the cornerstone moments influencing the production of acne:

  1. Extra oil production
  2. Inflammatory reaction

When you get on top of these two points, you’ll be amazed by how much your acne starts to reign itself in.
And just for you, I’ve listed my top 5 methods I use to control that extra sebum production, inhibit the inflammation and conquer the elusive P. acnes.

 

1. NOURISH THE SKIN

There are three techniques I want you to follow:

Moisturise: Now I know the idea of putting extra oil onto your skin seems preposterous but I promise I’m not encouraging a full on break out. When your skin is dry, you will actually produce extra sebum to compensate. So applying daily and nightly moisturiser to your face with a natural, light moisturiser or oil will send feedback to your skin cells to reduce their own production of oil, leaving you in complete control.

Don’t pick or scrub: I know the temptation is hard to ignore but every time you exfoliate your acne-prone areas, or squeeze that pimple, you are breaking the skin and forming a little wound. Like any wound on your body, a healing response occurs resulting in inflammation and increased sebum production as a way to protect the damaged areas. As a result: extra acne!

Cleanse: I’m sure this seems like the obvious one – and it is! Research shows washing your face twice a day with a cleanser that has a skin-friendly pH and mix of ingredients that help promote regular oil production, healthy pores and luscious skin, was the best way to regain control of that acne.
I particularly love mixes that have a range of essentials oils like tea tree and geranium, herbs like aloe vera, gotu kola or calendula, and nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin B3.

 

2. REGULATE YOUR HORMONES

Testosterone makes your pores ‘sticky’ making them easier to clog and increases sebum production while oestrogen actually reduces it.

So getting your hormones checked out can go a long way to reducing the problem. And while testosterone is a big player (and I’ll explain the influencing factors controlling testosterone production in the sections below) xeno-oestrogens are becoming even bigger players in today’s world.

The problem with xeno-oestrogens? They inhibit your own natural oestrogen.
Xeno-oestrogens are exogenous oestrogens found in the environment which don’t have the amazing benefits of your own naturally produced oestrogen but actually block your oestrogen from exerting all its benefits on your body. Including inhibiting oestrogens wonderful sebum reducing effect.

Xeno-oestrogens are found in plastics, perfumes, cosmetics, etc, and although their levels are small in individual doses, they will accumulate over time and start affecting all oestrogen pathways. – resulting in unbalanced testosterone and minimal beneficial oestrogen, meaning acne can go crazty

So use glass containers, natural essential oils and cosmetics free of all the nasties – refer to my toxin free resource on the freebies page.

 

3. STABILISE BLOOD SUGAR

High blood sugar triggers a cascade of unfortunate events that eventually results in increased testosterone.

And as stated above, testosterone drives sebum production, leaving you with an oily face and clogged pores…and eventually acne.

The common culprits that cause a blood sugar spike are your refined sugars in desserts, sweets, soft drinks, etc and general sugar.

Reduce your intake of overall sugar and when eating food high in carbohydrates, combine with a source of fat or protein such as avocado, hummus, nuts or seeds, to reduce the rise in blood sugar.

Another culprit is dairy, specifically A1 casein. Casein causes a blood sugar spike and triggers mTOR which is associated with increased sebum production. Reduce dairy intake or switch to A2 dairy.

 

4. OPTIMISE ELIMINATION

If you’re not going to the toilet regularly to poo or pee out the waste your body has accumulated, then it has to find the next available exit.

Unfortunately your third main elimination organ is your skin.

Make sure you are drinking 2L+ of water a day and enhance your liver’s detoxification & elimination ability through cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, dandelion root & leaves, burdock root) – this will ensure appropriate removal of any toxins that may cause inflammation in the skin and worsen your acne.

 

5. DE-STRESS

Chronic stress will worsen your acne in two ways:

1. Elevates cortisol: when your body goes into stress mode (whether that be a tiger chasing you or simply feeling swamped under your to-do list) your stress hormone cortisol is released.
Cortisol does amazing things to pump your body up for fight or flight mode and one of those things is elevate your blood sugar level so you have plenty of fuel available to supply a prolonged energy high (brilliant if you need to run a long distance away from that tiger or stay awake to finish an assignment before a looming deadline).
Unfortunately this spike in blood sugar will also drive increased testosterone production and – you got it – increased sebum production. Hello oily face and acne.

2. Stimulates sebum follicle: stress has this nifty trick that is also super annoying – stress activates the receptors within your sebum follicle (your oil gland) to increase skin cell replication (hello clogged pores), sebum production (hello oily face), and promotes inflammation in your pores (hello acne) This all leads to the formation of your blackheads and whiteheads.

Find your perfect way to wind down and de-stress. This can be anything from meditation, walking the dog, getting out in nature, reading a book or even watching your favourite Netflix show. Reigning your cortisol back into a healthy rhythm will go a long way to not only help your acne but many other aspects of your health!

 

 

There are many potential causes of acne and ways that it continues to flourish, and my above explanation covers only the most common ones. So hopefully adapting my top 5 recommendations can put you on the right path to having skin you are super proud of.

If you find you are struggling to control your unruly acne, I have an arsenal of amazing herbs and nutrients specifically indicated to help get that acne under control. Feel free to inquire about a consultation today, so that your skin may glow and you can feel amazing too!

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