I would recommend going to see a naturopath (a natural doctor) or some kind of natural practitioner to help you with your acne.
Do you have to?
Absolutely not. You can get started with all the resources I have here and for most people, it’s more than enough to see huge improvements in your skin.
In fact, someone emailed me yesterday and told me that they had paid $150 to talk to a naturopath (without any testing, which is what I’m going to talk about in this article) and the naturopath told him the exact same things that I do in my ebook! This made me really happy to hear that I’m providing such a good bargain for you.
However, if you are someone with really stubborn acne who feels like they’re doing everything right and it’s just not working, or if you just want to make sure you are doing what’s best for your individual imbalances – I’d recommend going to see someone for peace of mind. Everyone is different with their different deficiencies and sensitivities and intolerances and ticks and bodily quirks.
The truth is that me, or any other person teaching natural skin care on the internet, can only show you so much, and then individual differences start to interfere. We are helpful because we give you a big picture – we can teach you about nutrition and general health, and give you clues as to what may be causing you troubles. But we don’t have any diagnostic tools to figure out exactly what is going on in your body.
What is a Naturopath?
Naturopaths are doctors (yes, they went to school for 8 years like normal doctors – they aren’t quacks like the mainstream sometimes likes to imply) who treat people based on healing the whole person. In fact, their philosophy on healing is exactly the same thing that I teach you – that your body has the innate ability to heal itself and in doing so will maintain its balance and health.
But what naturopaths have that we, on the internet, do not are tests that can give you a real, true indication of exactly what it is that you, specifically, need to pinpoint in order to allow your body to come back into balance and heal itself. They have the tools. They can do all sorts of things that me and you just cannot do.
Here is a list to give you an idea of diagnostic testing that my be offered by a naturopath:
- Allergy and sensitivity testing
- Hormone Testing
- Full vitamin and mineral analysis
- Candida levels
- Tests for Celiac disease
- Tests that determine the health of your gut
- Tests for food intolerances such as lactose or fructose intolerance
This stuff can be extremely helpful to getting to the root of your problem quickly.
Even with everything that I know now about treating acne holistically, and even though I feel that after all this time I understand a lot about natural health and healing, I would still prefer to go and see some kind of practitioner to confirm that I am on the right track for my individual body.
Unfortunately the drawback is that going to see someone does cost money. Unfortunately at this time, naturopathy is rarely covered by free medical care or health insurance. I hope one day in the future that it will be.
But even though it costs money, it can actually save you a heck of a lot of money and frustration in the end. I mean, do you really want to spend all sorts of money on supplements that may not work, or frustration when a diet you’ve put a lot of effort into isn’t working because of hidden allergies, or stubborn hormones?
When I was first trying to clear my acne, I thought I knew it all. I spent hours pouring over information and listening to people talk about how to get rid of their acne. I thought I had the PERFECT diet (it was a gluten and soy free vegan diet, so not what I would recommend now, but at the time I thought it was perfect, and so I was left totally frustrated). While I had seen mega improvement in my skin, I was still getting a lot of inflamed acne, and when I finally broke down and saw a naturopath after about 2 and a half months, that’s when things got a lot better because finally I had a plan that was tailored to ME.
What she did was help me to do was pinpoint some food allergens I was having, take care of candida, and take some supplements to balance my hormones a bit. About a year later, I revisited her after my eczema on my hand flared up again and found again that I was having a candida problem due to antibiotics I had taken for a urinary tract infection – I probably could have suspected candida myself, but it was so nice to have that reassurance so that I could move forward with confidence.
I kind of wish that I had just gone to see a naturopath right away when I was first trying to clear my severe acne. It would have been a lot easier, but there were two reasons I didn’t want to:
I didn’t want to spend the money, and
I thought I knew everything and didn’t need anyone’s help.
Truthfully, you’re probably not going to go out and see one after you read this article either. You’ll probably wait till you’ve tried a bunch of stuff first and then give in if you get frustrated. That’s okay! I think we learn more from trying and failing than we do from anything else. I’m kind of glad now that I did a lot of experimenting first so I now have more experience about what my body likes and doesn’t.
But anyway, once I went, it did feel like a big chunk of change, but it was sooo worth it. Most of us have spent crazy dollars on all sorts of acne treatments over the years, so really, I feel like it’s a good deal to truly get to the root of the matter for your individual body and get that peace of mind.
How I Chose Which Naturopath to See
How did I choose the naturopath that I went to see? My thought process went like this:
- She was located closest to me. We don’t have a naturopath in my town, but she was only one ferry ride away, and in the south west coast of Canada where expensive and time consuming ferry rides abound, one is a bargain!
- I checked out her website and I liked what I saw. I liked that she listed her fees right there. I liked that she offered a full food allergy and candida screening for what I considered a reasonable price, since that was what I was after. I liked that she had some great testimonials. And finally, I liked that in her article section, she had a PDF report about treating skin problems and that she specifically said that she finds it particularly rewarding to help patients with skin diseases.
And that was it. I booked an appointment, and thankfully there wasn’t a long waiting list. I was able to go a week or two later.
And to my delight, when I went to see her, she was very friendly and helpful; I felt at ease with her right away. And I found out that it was actually a long battle with acne that had gotten her into naturopathic medicine in the first place, so I could tell she particularly felt my pain.
How You Should Choose a Naturopath to See
Well, first of all, you should know what you want to accomplish. In an ideal world, it would be great if we could all get full-on testing for allergies, hormones, and vitamin and mineral levels for a beautiful, well-rounded picture of how our health is doing.
But that can usually be pricey. If you have the money to spend on it though, I’d really recommend it. I would love to get all this done sometime in the future. But, like you, I’m also on a budget, so I had to just go for what targeted my needs the best.
So for most people, what I would recommend is either getting a full allergy test, or a full hormone test. Go for allergies first if you have any digestive problems, or go for the hormones if you are someone who maybe has acne due to coming off the birth control pill, or lots of severe pre-menstrual symptoms, for example.
The next port of call would be checking the yellow pages – or a google search – to find out where the closest naturopaths or natural health practitioners are located. Hopefully they have informative websites.
What you want to know is what kind of diagnostic testing they offer and at what prices.
Unfortunately, I’ve found it really difficult to give good information about which specific tests to look for, because it seems like every naturopath in every part of the world just seems to have completely different types of tests.
For example, in my first book, Eating for Clear Skin, I recommended the test that I had done at the naturopath for allergies and candida, which is something called Electro Acupuncture testing, and the specific machine they used was called a Vega Machine. Here is the PDF report from my naturopath’s website explaining the procedure.
Unfortunately, many people emailed me and said that they called all the naturopaths in their area, and none of them even knew what this was. Other people said that they researched the method online and that they came across too many websites saying that it was a crock test that wasn’t accurate at all.
I’d like to say that I disagree with many of these websites, especially ridiculous and dismissive websites like Quackwatch and Healthwatcher.net. Websites like this just go out of their way to discount ALL alternative remedies in existence, and end up planting seeds of doubt in your vulnerable minds so you go running back to the conventional medical system where they can continue to make money off your misery for years to come…….. okay, sorry about that rant.
It’s just that if I can’t recommend specific tests because there are so many different ones, and you can’t even trust your own research due to horrible websites like that, then what do you do?
Well I can give you a few pointers, and then you’ll just have to call around, ask questions, and use your best judgment.
My Pointers for Allergy or Hormone Testing
Well, first of all, you will want to go see someone who puts you at ease and really listens to your concerns. One of the worst things about medical doctors (and this is not universal, but seems to be generally true) is that they don’t have time for you, your questions, and your objections. It’s usually just ‘my way or the highway’.
So I’d recommend calling and finding out more about the naturopath you are going to see.
You’ll likely be talking to a secretary, so what did they have to say about the person you will be seeing? What about the success rate of the clinic? Do they have experience with treating people with skin problems?
Did the person you talked to listen to you and answer your questions and make you feel respected? If so, it’s probably a good sign.
Now, for allergy testing, there is usually two options:
- Non invasive testing such the electro acupuncture that I described earlier
- Blood tests
I don’t think it truly matters which one you get. Despite the naysayers, I found the electro acupuncture results to be extremely helpful, and my naturopath said that they had excellent success rates by using it. The advantage of this is also that it’s quick to test many foods at once, and it’s usually cheaper than doing blood tests.
Many naturopaths only offer blood tests though, and that’s okay as long as they are testing you for a big panel of foods, and not just one or two. The other extremely important thing is that they are testing you for IgG antibody allergies, not IgE. IgE antibody allergies are immediate allergic reactions, and IgG are silent, delayed allergic reactions, which account for 80% of all allergies. IgG ones are the ones causing your acne, not immediate allergies.
This is also why you should go see a naturopath over a traditional medical allergist, which is tempting, especially if it’s free. However, medical allergists really only deal with immediate IgE reactions, and so it’s likely they won’t find anything, tell you you’re allergy free, and send you on your way.
As for hormone testing, you will want to look for a saliva hormone test, because in this case, it’s way more accurate than blood testing.
Again, you won’t find saliva testing at the doctor’s office because they generally only offer you blood testing (or sometimes they wont offer you anything at all… I had an email from someone the other day saying that her doctor refused her hormone testing because she was too young… … what?! So now you’re required to be a menopausal woman before you can have out-of-whack hormones?)
Luckily naturopaths and natural practitioners usually offer saliva testing, so just make sure of that.
The other thing you will want to know is whether you can test individual hormones or get the full panel. It’s definitely best to test all of them, as hormones rise and fall in relation to each other, but if you are seriously on a strict budget, you can usually just test one or two for a smaller price tag.
Okay! I hope that this article has helped you know what to look for in a naturopath to treat your acne. If you enjoyed it, please tweet this article, facebook it, or stumble it… share it around! Please help me get the word out so that I can keep supporting you 🙂
Have you ever gone to see any natural practitioner for your acne? How was your experience? Any advice for others?