One of my pet peeves is when someone starts a new, expensive skincare regime and is told that their skin may detox, or get worse, before it gets better. Ummm….no. When your skin gets worse, it means that inflammation is increasing on your skin and in your body. And that means that your skin is being aggravated, which is the opposite of what needs to happen for true healing.
So, bottom line – your skincare routine should not make your acne worse. Ever. Skincare should be gentle and kind, nourishing your moisture barrier and protecting the skin’s natural pH.
But skincare can only go so far. Acne starts from within the body and needs to be healed from within the body. The only real solution to acne comes from balancing the body’s internal environment. And even then, when healing your acne from the inside out, your skin should be on a continual upwards trajectory. Supplements should be started one at a time and monitored for aggravation. If you are doing the right things for your body you should see a continual improvement.
But of course, like every rule, there is an exception. And that exception is dysbiosis. Dysbiosis is an imbalance in the pathogenic and non-pathogenic microbiota in the microbiome. That means that there are more bad microbes than good microbes in the gut. Symptoms can include acne, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, foggy thinking, headaches, fatigue, achy muscles and joints, yeast infections and urinary tract infections. Lots of research has been done on the microbiome, especially in the past 5 years. And the conclusion is that a healthy microbiome is critical for our body’s overall health.
The microbiome is balanced by removing sugar from the diet (because sugar is the main food for pathogenic microbes), adding probiotics (which inoculates the gut with good microbes) and adding anti-microbial herbs (which kill the pathogenic microbes). But the problem arises when the pathogenic microbes start fight back.
Pathogenic microbes don’t go down easily. They fight back by releasing toxins into the body. These toxins create what is known as the ‘Herzhiemer’s Reaction’, which can worsen acne, cause stomach upset, diarrhea, nausea, constipation, chills, headaches, and fatigue. This is a shocking situation for most people, because they are doing ‘all the right things’. Our battle move? Retreat. The solution is to slow down the treatment by cutting back on the probiotics and anti-microbials until the symptoms abate. And then slowly advance – re-start the treatment gently so that there is as little aggravation as possible. At this point acne should start to improve.
So there you have it. Unless you are aggressively treating dysbiosis, your acne should not get worse before it gets better. (Drop mic).