A holistic appoach to healthy skin

There is a high concentration of sebaceous glands on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, and upper arms.  These glands produce sebum into the hair follicles which moisturize the skin and hair.  When too much sebum is produced, hair follicles become clogged, the skin becomes oily, and skin bacteria overgrow. This causes acne such as blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and deeper lumps.
The number one cause of acne is hormonal imbalances which lead to excess sebum production and disruption of the skin’s protective barrier.  
Treatment of Acne
To successfully treat acne, you need to balance hormone levels and clean the skin properly. Here are some tips on how to achieve this:
Balance Hormone Levels
To balance your hormone levels, follow these tips:

  1.   Accelerate hydration by drinking hot water mixed with lemon, ginger, and a ½ teaspoon of the spice turmeric every 30 minutes throughout the day. Drink three to four bottles of this hot water mix each day.   
Avoid dehydrating drinks like fruit juices, soda, energy drinks, Vitamin Water, Gatorade, caffeinated teas, coffee, artificial sweeteners, and alcohol.   

  1.   Have your diet consist of the following WHOLE FOODS:  

  • 65-70% vegetables (especially leafy greens)
  • 15-20% legumes (i.e., lentils, moong dal, split peas) and seeds (i.e., chia, flax)
  • 10% whole unrefined grains, such as quinoa, barley, brown rice, and millet

Eat lean protein like eggs, wild small fish (i.e., salmon), or free-range poultry two to three times per week at the most. Try to avoid these items at dinner though.
If you are hungry in between meals have a small piece of fruit or a fistful of almonds/walnuts.
Cover your meals with a touch of oil (i.e., refrigerated flax, olive, or coconut), seeds, or an avocado. The oils in these foods help nutrients to be effectively absorbed from food.  
  1.   Avoid the following:
  2.   Take a refrigerated probiotic once a day for four months.
  3.   Eat on a regular schedule. Start your first meal within one hour after you wake up, and ideally eat a high plant-based breakfast.  Eat again within three to four hours. With each meal, keep a third of the stomach empty. Have a small dinner void of grains and animal protein at least three hours before bedtime.

  • refined sugar and flour, such as baked goods, sweets, candy, chips, fruit juice, Vitamin Water, and Gatorade
  • artificial sweeteners
  • fried food
  • alcohol
  • processed foods, such as dry cereal, granola or protein bars, chips, crackers, and ready-to-eat dry or frozen meals
  • caffeine, which can be found in coffee, black or ice tea, caffeinated green tea, chai, chocolate, hot chocolate, soda, and energy drinks
  • Red meat and dairy products
  • Avoid consuming animal protein every day

Cleanse the Skin
To cleanse the skin, follow these tips:

  1.   Avoid excess washing, regular soaps, and hot water since they deplete the skin’s natural oils.
  2.   Wash the face only once a day or less with a glycerine/oil-based soap.  Apply a moisturizer like sunflower or coconut oil within three minutes after washing.
  3.   Sunlight exposure for 10 minutes per day will kill excess bacteria from the skin.  
  4.  Apply an apple cider vinegar and green tea cleanser to acne lesions. Apply this cleanser daily for 14 days. Then repeat three to four times per week.

Here is the recipe to make the apple cider vinegar and green tea cleanser:

  • Pour six oz of near-boiling water over three bags of green tea.
  • Steep tea bags for 20 minutes and then discard them.
  • Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and one teaspoon of tea tree oil to the green tea water.
  • Use the cleanser within one week.

See a Doctor
If these natural remedies don’t work, it’s advisable to visit an integrative doctor who can accurately diagnose and prescribe the right treatment for your acne.
About the Author
Payal Bhandari M.D. is a family physician at Advanced Health. She provides personalized, comprehensive primary care to families and individuals of all ages in San Francisco since 2005. Dr. Bhandari delivers integrative, holistic care which looks at the whole person. She is consistently able to understand the root cause of any illness and effectively transform health.