I want to tell you something that may shock you. If you have acne, your skin is not the problem. Whaaat?!? After treating acne patients for over 10 years, I know that acne is due to an imbalance within the body. The only way to effectively treat acne, and get rid of it forever, is to re-balance the body. There are 5 main root causes of acne: insulin dysregulation, inefficient liver detoxification, poor digestion, hormone imbalance and stress. Usually more than one of these systems will be imbalanced. One affects the other, because the body works together as a holistic system. For example, it is very unlikely that I will have an acne patient with insulin dysregulation, but perfect liver function, no digestive issues, balanced hormones and no stress. It just doesn’t happen because the systems of the body don’t work in isolation. But I digress…. The question of the day is – does poor digestion cause acne? The answer is yes, absolutely. Poor digestion is one of the main causes of acne. When I was in school to become a naturopathic doctor I was taught a fundamental naturopathic theory. Chronic inflammation on the skin is almost always related to inflammation in the gut. And, of course, acne is inflammation. So as a good naturopathic doctor, I want to treat the root cause of inflammation in your gut. Luckily, there has been a ton of research done in the past 5 years, and it has uncovered the root cause of inflammation in the gut. An imbalanced microbiome. What is the microbiome? It consists of 100 trillion cells of bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa that live in the gut and on the skin. I know, it sounds nuts, but this community is actually the foundation of health and balance in our body. Recent research has discovered that the microbiome is responsible for initiating cytokine responses in the body that cause inflammation. The bottom line? If you have chronic inflammation in your body, you need to balance your microbiome. And, once again, acne is chronic inflammation. How does the microbiome become imbalanced? Stress, medications, toxins, poor diet, sugar, pathogens, excessive alcohol and food sensitivities can all play a role. How do you balance the microbiome? Well, first of all you must address any factors that may be causing a disruption in the microbiome (see the paragraph above). And then, probiotics, fermented foods and foods that heal the gut must all be part of the plan. It might seem like a daunting and overwhelming task to rebalance the microbiome and heal the gut, but it is actually very simple. First, completely cut sugar out of your diet (I said simple, not easy). Then, concentrate on eating tons of vegetables and lean proteins and only drink pure water. Take a good probiotic with at least 50 billion cfu. Really relax (think about a walk in the woods, not binging on Netflix). And see your MD or Naturopathic Doctor about any medications that may be damaging your microbiome. After following this plan for a few weeks, you should see a difference in your acne, and also a reduction in any digestion symptoms such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea and intestinal discomfort. For more details, watch my video below!