3 things you didn’t know were making your breakouts worse

and what to do about them..

1) Peanut butter

Peanut butter is predominatly made up of polyunsaturated omega 6 fatty acids. Sounds like a good thing right?.. Unfortunately for acne sufferers, it’s really really not.

Your body uses omega 6 fats to produce cytokines which trigger inflammation. When you get a clogged pore from dead cell debris, oxidised oils, or comedogenic ingredients in cosmetics, the tiny oil gland in the pore will eventually rupture, causing a kind of mini internal wound. Your immune system rushes in to save the day, starting with inflammation to signal immune cells for help. 

Remember, omega 6 starts inflammation where omega 3 stop it.

Ideally you would have a ratio of omega 6 : omega 3 between 1- 4 times higher in omega 3, so that when this happens your body cleans up the wound, heals & ceases inflammation quickly.

The problem with eating foods rich in Omega 6 fats like peanut butter, is that you throw off your omega ratio. Most people with systemically inflamed conditions like acne, have a ratio of omegas more like 20:1 meaning the body is constantly in a state where the inflammation tap is always on & there isn’t enough omega 3s to switch it off. Resulting in constant low grade inflammation which means (amongst a host of other things) larger, redder more painful spots that linger for alot longer.

An alternative nut butter to try would be cashew butter which has 4x as much omega 3 to 6, as well as magnesium which is also great for healing.

 2) Your Protein powder

As many years as I spent in denial of this one, As pure and health promoting as your whey protein a markets itself to be, Dairy is dairy. And Dairy’s sole purpose is to grow a baby cow into a big cow.

Isolate protein is the end product of processing and separating out the proteins & sugars in milk. Whey isolate may not contain the lactose sugar or the casein, but it definitely contains IGF – 1 (insulin like growth factor 1) which is one reason whey protein is so commonly used for muscle gain. But in those prone to acne, muscle isn’t the only tissue IGF-1 has an effect on. 

IGF-1 throws out your natural hormonal balance, it makes your skin cells produce excess oil. it also makes your cells multiply too fast, and glues cell debris together inside pores.

If your skin cells were cars, introducing cow / dairy derived IGF-1 would be like changing the speed limit at intersections to 200kms and all the lights to green simultaneously. A giant pile up of destruction is almost inevitable.

Some people seem to be able to avoid this, that’s because they have the ‘genetic blessing’ of a special protein called a ‘forkhead box protein’. If you have a genetic predisposition to acne, chances are you missed out on this one in the genes lottery. FOX-1 is like a kill switch. The team of traffic conductors in my last analogy.

Obviously there’s a lot more to it than simply milk = pimples but for your best chance at clear skin, I strongly recommend avoiding all dietary sources of dairy, including whey proteins.

3)The notifications on your phone

As much as we’ve adopted our lifestyles as normal, our fast paced, always on call lives, are far from what our prehistoric brains where designed for.
You’d be surprised at the intricate domino effect a bleep or buzz has on your neurochemistry and hormones.

Not only does the unnatural blue light mess with your circadian rhythm & production of waking / sleeping chemicals serotonin & melatonin. High energy visible light emitted by your smartphone has a similar effect on skin to UV, weakening skin immune function & stimulating inflammatory hyperpigmentation (hello lasting marks even when the breakout clears).

A notification triggers a low grade fright response to instantly gain your attention. Your brain knows this one, it’s the same pathway pain receptors send urgent signals to lift your hand off a burning element. Even if your notification is a memory of your kitten you posted 2years ago, your subconscious still prepares you for fight or flight; converting and releasing adrenaline and cortisol.

If you already operate in a ‘go go go’ state running on caffeine & cortisol. Your body doesn’t know the difference between meeting work deadlines juggling kids and other life pressures vs. the physical threat of our Neanderthal selves being chased by a mountain tiger.
Your body operates as though you are in survival mode & as it’s no1 objective is to keep you alive at any cost, it starts drawing on the ingredients your body normally uses to make sex hormones & mood stabilisers, namely progesterone.

There is a whole cascade of health implications this stress response has but this imbalance of hormones especially, puts you in a hyper susceptible state, prone to hormonal breakouts.

For the health of your skin and your general wellbeing, keeping stress triggers to an absolute minimum is imperative. And one small thing you can do to make a notable difference is to turn off all unnecessary notifications. Carve out some ‘flight mode’ time & consider if you really really need the notification function on your smart watch. 

For an in depth look at what might be causing your breakouts and professional advice and recommendations on how to treat it Loren is hosting one on one skin consultations on Zoom. contact us to enquire about bookings hello@lorenashleyskin.co.nz


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