If you’ve read any of our blogs on hormonal acne, you’ll be well aware that acne can be (and often is) related to so much more than just what you put on your skin.
As hard as breakouts can be on your self confidence, remember—your spots are really just messengers from your body letting you know that something is up, and asking you to look a little deeper.
This week we chatted to holistic acne specialist and founder of The Beauty Elixir, Romy Burgess, who is an expert in translating these messengers from the body and helping her clients achieve clear, glowing skin from the inside out.
1. As a holistic acne specialist, what factors do you consider when working with clients with acne?
For me I look at the client as a whole, and their skin as a communication channel. I take into consideration:
- Skincare products used,
- Current & past dietary habits,
- Gut health,
- Hormone health & contraception,
- Previous health history,
- Mental health (i.e. anxiety and depression),
- Lifestyle factors such as how much and what type of exercise they do,
- Stress levels, and ways stress is managed (or not), including how the client relaxes.
All of these combine to create the skin we see on the outside and acne can be a messenger of poor gut health, high stress, anxiety, depression and past gut issues that are still in disrepair and need to be looked at and corrected.
2. For a client dealing with hormonal acne, what tips would you give them regarding foods to focus on in their diet?
When someone is experiencing hormonal acne, we look at the health of the gut and the health of the liver. These 2 organs work intricately together to detox and eliminate excess hormones from the body.
Within my clinic, our primary focus is on the gut, so we often start by putting our clients on a gut-healing protocol that eliminates all gut irritants and focuses on including gut healers such as bone broths, nourishing vegetables, pre- and probiotics and essential fatty acids.
We're currently looking to include Eve testing in our clinic so that we can also tailor our skincare and recommendations to the client's specific hormone imbalance.
Regardless of the type of acne a client is suffering from we always ask them to remove congesting foods from their diet for a period of time which include peanuts, peanut butter, saturated fats, high fat dairy and protein powders (among others).
3. What are your go-to nutritional supplements for clear, glowing skin?
Essential fatty acids, zinc, B vitamins and usually a gut-supporting supplement that would include pre- and probiotics, glutamine and slippery elm.
4. What are your top tips for choosing skin care for someone with acne-prone skin?
The way we work with skin and skincare makes the experience unique for everyone. One person may have acne with an oily skin, while the next could have acne with skin that doesn't produce any oil. Both could be (and often are) severely dehydrated.
My top tips would be to seek the help of a skin therapist who can curate your skincare specifically to your skin - someone who will look at you holistically as a human, and your skin as the beautiful living organism that it is.
We have been conditioned and marketed to for too long that by stripping the skin we will help reduce acne and breakouts, when in reality everyday I see skin that has been heavily stripped (this can be through daily exfoliation, different types of in-clinic treatments that remove the skin's barrier and impair the microbiome, or just the 'wrong' skincare) and our first job is always to restore the barrier and reduce the inflammation that is generally very active.
5. Finally, how long can you expect it to take to see changes in your skin after making changes to your diet & lifestyle? Is it normal for acne to get worse before it gets better?
I have clients who start 100% with internals, which means removing foods from their diet that contribute to acne and congestion (with or without adding in supplements) and YES we definitely see changes in their skin.
These changes are of course amplified when we get them on to skincare that supports their unique skin. But yes, I always, always, ALWAYS warn my clients that things can (and often do) get worse before they get better—this is where having the right skincare helps.
When working with acne things can get worse before they get better because we are stimulating dormant congestion and the lymphatic system within the skin, which will jump to action and start to work - meaning anything that needs to come out will come out. But you’d rather it come out than stay stagnant in your skin, right?