One of the main root causes of acne is issues with digestion and the gut. The reason for this is that one of the main processes in creating acne is inflammation, and 70% of the immune system resides in the gut.
When the immune system gets activated in the gut, it means the immune system can get over-activated in other parts of the body as well.
One such instance would be the skin, when a clog forms in a pore and bacteria gets stuck in it. Then the immune system decides that needs to be taken care of with a big, fat, red, soul-crushing volcano of a pimple.
If you have acne you also have any digestive symptoms on the regular, then you can bet it has something to do with it. For example: bloating, heartburn, constipation, loose stools, or nausea.
But even if you don’t have blatant digestive symptoms, you may still have issues in the gut that could be contributing to your skin problems. So these tips are for everyone!
When people talk about healing the digestion and the gut to heal acne, it usually involves changing the content of your diet, supplements, or cleanses.
Which is all well and good, but to be honest, some of the most powerful ways to improve digestion and gut function are actually simple habit changes in HOW you eat.
We always want to skip over basics, but if you’re sick of limiting what you can eat and sick of supplements, consider giving these a shot instead. You will see a big difference.
Eating While Rushed & Stressed will Cause Digestion Acne
Here’s the thing. When you are stressed, your body goes into fight or flight mode so you can run from what your brain perceives as danger.
When you are in fight or flight, your body puts digestion in second place. Saving your life is in first, so it doesn’t care if you digest your food while you’re being chased by an angry bear. Digestion can wait!
However, the chronic stress of our daily lives can also shut down digestion the same way, and really take its toll.
For this reason, one of the biggest root causes of acne is NOT actually digestive issues, but the stress that contributes to the digestive problems.
Reducing stress in your life is always a key thing to look at if you are struggling with both digestion and acne.
But that’s a whole subject in itself, so we’ll leave that for now and focus more on actual eating habits.
Slow Down & Focus on Your Food to Heal Digestion Acne
A key habit to implement is to slow down with your food, so that your body doesn’t feel stressed while it eats, which means it gets more of the nutritious food you’re eating.
It’s great to eat healthy food for your skin and body, but you’re not making the most of it if your body isn’t digesting it properly and absorbing all the nutrients.
Schedule plenty of time into your day to eat your food. Give yourself at least 20 minutes per meal. Chew it. Taste it. Enjoy it.
If you feel stressed before you eat, take a couple deep breaths before you eat and calm down a bit.
It’s also pretty important to eat without too much distraction (although eating with family and friends is encouraged!)
The more you’re able to focus on your food while you eat it (aka mindful eating), the more satisfied you feel with your food, and the better your body digests it.
I know it’s hard to give up working or looking at your phone while you eat and do nothing but eat. Believe me, I was super resistant to doing this. But I actually really like it now! It’s surprisingly lovely and sensual and I like knowing I’m digesting my food better.
Increase Your Stomach Acid to Heal Digestion Acne
Another habit I would encourage you to cultivate is getting your digestive juices fired up before a meal.
Stomach acid helps you to break down your food, and it’s very common for those with acne to have lower levels of stomach acid.
Get your stomach acid, bile, and enzymes flowing by hydrating the stomach. Drink a cup of water about 15 to 20 minutes prior to the meal.
Add a little touch of raw apple cider vinegar or some digestive bitters to the water in order to get the juices flowing.
Another option is taking a mix of spices before meals that is used in Ayurveda to increase digestive fire. Fennel seed, cumin, coriander seed, cardamom, and ginger. Make your own blend, or you can buy this in capsules like this.
Also, although it’s great you pre-hydrate your stomach before the meal and fine to sip throughout, it’s also recommended to not drink a ton of water or liquid with a meal or for an hour after, especially if it’s cold. This can dilute the stomach acid and turn down digestion.
Eat Till You’re 85% Full to Heal Digestion Acne
Another important thing to do is eat regular meals.
Try not to skip meals, and don’t let yourself become ravenously starving before you eat. This is stressful for the body and causes erratic blood sugar, which is another root cause of acne.
Start planning to eat when you first notice the signs of hunger, so that you can get some food in your mouth before it gets to desperation levels.
On the flip side, don’t eat until you’re “I have to unbutton my pants” kind of full, as this can be taxing on your body to digest.
Eat until you feel about 80 to 90% full. Mindful eating will help you with this!
Stop Sucking In to Heal Digestion Acne
Ok, I know you’re going to hate me for this one. But wearing pants that are too tight and perpetually”sucking in” your stomach can both reduce digestion.
So get yourself some sweatpants and let everything hang loose baby!
But seriously though, maybe unbuttoning your pants isn’t such a bad idea after all 😉
Healthy Digestion Starts with Your Habits
As you can see, there’s a lot of healthy digestion habits you can cultivate that have nothing to do with the actual content of what you eat.
So before you decide to go and keep cutting foods out of your diet to get rid of your acne, try these steps instead.
How many of these digestion-smart ideas are you already implementing? Will you try to include more in the way you eat? Let me know in the comments below!
Hi. A nice article. I am suffering from allergy acne of which hopefully by the 20th June I would of gone for an allergy test as not all veg and fruit are good for everyone`s system I also realized. For now im not sure what I can do as im eating like i want but getting 180-300 min of exercise since 1st May and I will continue like this. hopefully after my allergy test is out which will not be later than 5th July you can help me out more. For now what can I do as I already found out that lemon and honey is not for me as i used it on my face 1.5-2.5 weeks ago of which i sleep even with it and next day i got allergy pimples as i know the small pimples are allergy pimples. i only figured this out this year after i had acne for more than 5 years already on my face, chest and back which is hormonal acne from food, environment-sun, cigarette, transport pollution, wind, pollen, cosmetics, medication, lack of sleep plus exercise, lack of water and bacteria.
Hi Namadhira! Ah yes I know acne can be frustrating and confusing. Hope your allergy test helps you get to the bottom of it!
Thank you for focusing on good digestion vs restricting foods. Feels way more manageable and stress free!