Face washes, creams, gels, toners, face packs – your acne products could put a pharmacist to shame… and despite these products’ claims, your acne refuses to magically disappear! But maybe it’s our approach that is flawed – instead of viewing acne as simply an external problem, we need to realize that we may have to beat it from within. In fact, research suggests that acne outbreaks are linked to digestion – specifically, to low stomach acid levels. But what’s the connection between the two and what can you do about it?
The Link Between Low Stomach Acid & Acne
“Research shows that 40% of people with acne have low levels of stomach acids”
There are some medications that can help to control acne outbreaks, but there is little that you can do to prevent them. Although we know that genetic predisposition is a major risk factor, we still do not understand many of the underlying causes of acne, including dietary factors. There is a lot of debate over the role of diet in the formation of acne – which foods can cause acne and which ones prevent them. However, researchers have found that as many as 40% of people with acne have low levels of stomach acid.
Scientists postulate that when the level of stomach acid is low, it allows bacteria from the colon to move towards the small intestine. Low stomach acid levels also alter the natural balance of intestinal microflora – when the number of “bad” bacteria is more than the number of “good” bacteria, it increases intestinal permeability. Increased intestinal permeability allows foreign compounds to enter the bloodstream and this results in systemic as well as local skin inflammation problems such as acne.
How To Fix This
“Lowering stress levels when consuming meals & including fermented foods that promote HCL production can help fix low stomach acid problems”
Patients suffering from chronic intestinal malabsorption may have skin lesions unresponsive to local treatment, including corticosteroid applications, until the malabsorption has been corrected. Acne is not a serious health problem and yet it can have a tremendous impact on just about every aspect of our lives, which is why we never stop looking for the perfect acne cure.
The first thing to do would be to cut back on the stress and try relaxing when eating. This is because when you are under severe stress, your body response is focused on the dealing with the stress trigger, rather than on digestion, which results in inadequate HCL or digestive acid secretion. In addition, you can ask your doctor to prescribe HCL capsules that you can take along with meals.
Bitter herbs like bitter gourd, as well as fermented foods like curd, buttermilk, cheese, or appam can also help promote HCL secretion, and so it would be a good idea to include such foods in your regular meals.
While making such minor adjustments to your diet and lifestyle can help to improve acidity levels and reduce acne outbreaks, this is no foolproof cure. Try using elimination diets like the FODMAP diet to identify specific triggers for acne and find a diet that works best for you.
August 29, 2018