If there’s one thing you all can probably agree on, it’s that trying to figure out what’s causing your acne and how to get rid of can be freaking, gersh-dern confusing (to put it lightly).
Let me help you by explaining the two different facets of the cause: the root cause of acne vs the symptomatic cause.
Knowing this can help you get clear faster, and stay clear for the long run.
The Symptomatic Causes of Acne
The above factors are what boil down into what’s called the symptomatic cause of acne.
They are the end-of-the-line factors that are actually creating the acne.
Out of balance estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone is triggering oil production and rapid skin cell separation, leading to clogged pores.
Bacteria is entering the pore and getting stuck in the clog, which is then triggers your body to create inflammation there to heal the infection.
If the inflammation in your body is higher than it should be, then your acne will be bigger, redder, and stick around for longer.
How to Treat Acne’s Symptomatic Causes
You can attempt to treat acne at the symptomatic level by interrupting one of the above processes.
So you may, for example:
- Use supplements to balance the hormones (examples such as vitex or DIM)
- Using antibacterial substances in your skin care to kill bacteria (example tea tree oil or manuka honey)
- Using external skin care oils (like hemp oil) to dilute and balance the skin’s own oil and protect the skin’s barrier
- Use a supplement to lower inflammation (like curcumin) or support the liver (like Thorne SAT) or something to assist the digestive system’s functioning (like digestive enzymes)
In addition, conventional, allopathic remedies such as benzoyl peroxide and other creams, antibiotics, birth control, and anything else they give you are all treating acne at the symptomatic cause.
I definitely prefer natural remedies, as they tend to have fewer damaging side effects, if any.
The Problem with Only Treating Acne’s Symptomatic Causes
The problem with only treating the acne at the symptomatic level is that you are ignoring the questions of:
- What’s causing the inflammation?
- Why are my pores getting clogged?
- Why am I overproducing oil?
- Why are my hormones out of whack?
- Who invited this bacteria into my pores?
The answer to these questions is the root cause of acne.
If you only treat your acne’s symptomatic cause, then you either won’t be able to fully get clear (if at all), or if you do, it may not last. Because the underlying cause is still not addressed.
Treating the Root Causes of Acne
Root causes for acne potentially include:
- Lack of rest and fun
- Stress and emotional tension (this is a biggie!!)
- Eating too many inflammatory foods (or not enough nutritious ones)
- Eating your food too fast too furious, and while distracted and stressed (leading to digestive issues)
- Blood sugar problems from too many simple carbs, erratic eating schedule, or undereating
- Over exposure to environmental chemicals
- Lack of good bacteria in the gut (often from antibiotics) or other gut issues
- Sluggish lymphatic system
- Over-exercise or over-work
- Using skin care or makeup that damages the skin barrier and promotes clogged pores
These are the things that will eventually lead to digestive issues and overloaded liver and stress on the HPA axis.
These things can then lead to inflammation and hormone imbalances, which lead to the oil, clogged pores, and acne.
You very likely have more than one root cause, and they all happen to intertwine with each other, which is why it’s super important to take a holistic approach and not put all your eggs in one basket.
For example, stress and lack of sleep raises your blood sugar, and your weird blood sugar can then affect your mood. Or inflammatory foods can affect your gut microbiome, and your gut function or exercise levels can affect your mood and stress.
The Problem with Only Treating the Root Causes of Acne
The problem with only treating the root cause of acne is that sometimes it can take a long time to heal the root causes.
While everyone clears up at different rates, many people need to stay consistent with root cause changes for many months before they see their skin clear up.
Worth it in the end, but it can get pretty frustrating in the mean time!
So it’s usually best to do both.
Treating your acne’s symptomatic causes will usually help you clear up a bit faster while you work on the root causes.
The end result?
Reliably clear skin for life.
Want help with both the symptomatic and root causes of acne? Check out my Naturally Clear Skin Academy.