We all know that certain foods can aggravate acne – but NOT eating can aggravate acne as well. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I see this often and I can personally relate to it.
I am one of those people that can get deeply engrossed in what I am doing – so much so that I simply forget to eat. It’s happened to me my entire life – whether I am working, studying, gardening, talking to friends, doing chores – I will finish my activity only to discover that I have missed a meal, or even two. When I was younger I didn’t give this habit much thought, but once I reached my thirties it began to catch up with me.
When a meal is missed, glucose (aka blood sugar) levels in the blood can drop to a low level. Because the cells of the body depend on glucose as an energy source, this registers as a stress response in the body and the adrenal glands are called upon to release cortisol and ephinephrone to liberate glucose from its storage form, glycogen.
Although our bodies are equipped to manage this scenario simply and easily, when it becomes a chronic and habitual occurrence (ie. missing meals daily), not eating can contribute to adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue can lead to dysregulated cortisol and DHEAs secretion, which can worsen acne.
And to add insult to injury, the storage form of glucose (called glycogen) is stored in the liver. Chronically calling upon the liver to metabolize glycogen is an added burden to an organ that is already stressed in most cases of acne.
The result? More acne.
So how do you know that you are not eating enough?
Low blood sugar levels are taken very seriously by the body, and very clear signals are sent to you when your body needs fuel. You know how we joke about being ‘hangry’ (a combination of hungry and angry) when we miss a meal? Well, that’s a sure sign that your blood sugar is too low and you need to eat.
Other symptoms of low blood sugar include feeling fatigue, fuzzy thinking, irritability, headaches, poor concentration, insomnia, nausea, dizziness – and that’s not even the full list! Basically, you feel awful.
What about dieting and intermittent fasting?
People can push themselves into hypoglycemic states easily when dieting and doing intermittent fasting, which can lead to more acne and imbalances in the body. Pay close attention to how your body feels when doing either of these practices, and if you notice signs of hypoglycemia, work with your healthcare practitioner to find a nutrition practice that works for your body.
Often when I first see acne patients, their blood sugar and insulin levels are very dysregulated, and embarking on any restrictive diet or intermittent fasting program can make their hypoglycemia and acne even worse. When this is the case, the solution is to eat more of the right foods – often. Blood sugar and insulin levels need to be stabilized manually.
Once the body’s metabolism has stabilized, then small periods of intermittent fasting can potentially be implemented.
How do you avoid hypoglycemia?
- Follow the Clear Skin Diet, which is part of my 7-Week Clear Skin Program. This diet is designed to deliver all the nutrients needed to stabilize insulin and blood sugar levels. My number one tip? Avoid sugar!
- Follow my 7 Steps to Regulate Insulin Levels, which teaches you how to eat. Over 100 years ago doctors coined the term ‘Diabetes of the Skin’ to describe acne, because it is so affected by metabolic dysregulation. Learning how to eat is just as important as what you are eating when it comes to healing acne! My number one tip? Don’t skip meals!
The bottom line: you need to eat. Specifically, you need to eat nourishing foods at regular times in order to balance your body and avoid hypoglycemia, which can potentially aggravate acne just as much as eating the wrong foods!
To learn more about how to heal your acne for good, be sure to check out my FREE Clear Skin Masterclass, where I share my top secrets to heal acne for good!