Acne can be a challenging skin condition to treat especially during the summer months when your skin can become even more prone to breakouts. With all the summer fun comes late night parties, rich food, exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays and increased sweating. This can result in congested pores and unexpected breakouts of acne.
The acne cycle
Step 1 in the occurrence of acne is the blockage of a hair follicle (sometimes called a pore). The cells of your skin are constantly renewed to replace old cells. But, if your skin is prone to acne, the dead skin cells mix with sebum, become sticky and clump inside the follicle. This traps the anaerobic acne-causing bacteria (Cutibacterium) inside the follicle.
Step 2 in the occurrence of acne is excessive production of sebum or a thicker, stickier sebum. The androgen hormone stimulates the secretion of sebum (oil) from the sebaceous glands of the skin. The levels of androgen may become increased during puberty, hormonal changes and for some, certain food groups. This may result in the production of more sebum production and result in congestion of the follicles.
At this point, the acne-contributing bacteria receives an abundant supply of dead skin cells and oil as a food source. Combine this with an anaerobic environment due to the blocked follicle and the bacteria starts to multiply. This is step 3 in the process of occurrence of acne.
During step 4, the byproducts released by the bacteria are recognised by your body as foreign and the body produces an immune response. WBCs (white blood cells) reach the area and cause inflammation, redness, and swelling. Once inflammation occurs it sets off a cascade of events that can further disrupt the skins microbiome and thus a vicious cycle continues. Our skins microbiome is key to protecting us from pathogens and bacteria. We will cover the microbiome of our skin in later articles.
Try the below-mentioned tips to keep your acne at bay this summer:
This kind of acne occurs due to using comedogenic (acne-causing) skin or hair care products. When these products accumulate in the follicle, it becomes blocked. There is build up of excess oil and the pore is clogged resulting in acne breakouts.
It is common knowledge that some hair oils, eye creams, makeup, and heavy moisturisers can all cause acne cosmetica but there are other products that increase in use over summer that you may not have considered. Bronzing powders, highlighting creams, fake tan and even makeup primers may result in breakouts.
It is important to identify the culprit that is congesting the follicle. Choose a non comodogenic make-up such as a mineral make up and minimise the frequency of use of comodogenic ingredients. If you can’t go makeup free the whole day, remove your makeup as soon as possible after reaching home.
Use a cleanser twice a week that contains salicylic acid to help to deep clean the skin. salicylic acid works like a tiny bottle brush within our pores. Exfoliating your skin regularly helps in clearing your acne cosmetica.
Choose an oil-free moisturiser and make it a rule that you remove all makeup from the face before going to sleep at night.
Visit your skin therapist or doctor if there is no improvement in your acne after six to eight weeks.
This is a kind of acne that occurs due to excess pressure, heat, rubbing or friction of the skin. It may occur anywhere on your body such as the face, back, buttocks or shoulders. Anything, which traps heat against your body for a long period of time, puts pressure on your skin or rubs against it can trigger this type of acne. Some of these things include headbands and hats, bra straps, tight-fitted clothing and sunglasses.
To treat acne mechanica wear cotton fabrics and avoid wearing synthetic fabrics for extended periods of time. Avoid wearing tight-fitting caps, hats, and headbands for a long duration. Wash hats and headbands regularly. Take a shower immediately after any sporting activity to remove the sweat. Wipe your sunglasses to remove a build up of bacteria. This means no more brunches and shopping trips in your active wear all day after a HIIT workout!
Visit your skin therapist or dermatologist if your acne doesn’t resolved after twelve weeks.
While studies state that acne is not caused by food, certain foods may aggravate acne for some individuals. Eating a diet high in sugar, protein and dairy products has been linked with spikes in IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1), which increases the levels of androgen, this may in turn increase the production of sebum. Excess sebum can lead to congestion and acne breakouts.
A diet that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids may improve your symptoms of acne. Omega-3 fatty acid rich foods are fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel, pastured eggs, kale, spinach, soybeans, tofu, extra virgin olive oil, nuts like almonds and walnuts, flaxseeds, avocado, wild rice, and mustard seeds. Furthermore, foods rich in dietary fibre and antioxidants may also help in reducing acne.
Including a nutrient dense green smoothie daily and increasing fibre and water intake may be beneficial. Vita-sol Purity powder is the perfect daily addition to support your liver and gut whilst increasing nutrients and fibre, just take 2 tsps daily in water or a smoothie!
Exfoliation During the summer increased sweating and using sunscreen and extra makeup can all lead to congested follicles and breakouts of acne. Exfoliating your skin regularly helps in keeping the acne at bay during the summer months. Use enzyme exfoliants such as bromelain and papain to exfoliate your skin. They are gentler than scrubs and work by digesting the dead skin cells and producing a smoother, healthier, younger looking skin.
SummaryDuring the summer months, your skin can become more prone to acne breakouts as your pores become congested due to increased sweat, dirt, debris, sebum and skin cells. The acne-causing bacteria multiply in the hair follicle leading to inflammation and acne. You can manage your acne by reducing the use of makeup, using noncomedogenic makeup, wearing cotton clothes, washing your hats regularly, taking regular showers after sporting activities, eating a diet rich in fibre and omega-3 fatty acids and exfoliating your skin regularly.
Liver loving foods & nutrients that help with detoxification
We’ve all heard of the term ‘detox’ and many of us read about and try different things such as diets, drinks and juice cleanses to help detox the body but in all of this we forget that our bodies are extremely smart, intricate and capable as we have organs, such as the liver, that are designed for detoxification!
The liver neutralises and removes toxins and harmful substances from our body through a 2-step process. We love our livers! Before we delve into all of the liver loving foods and nutrients, it is important to briefly understand the 2-step detox process that occurs in 2 phases.
Phase 1 of liver detox takes all of the fat soluble chemicals and toxins in the body, such as caffeine, alcohol, saturated fats, medications, pesticides and other environmental pollutants, and turns them into more toxic intermediate metabolites using cytochrome P450 enzymes. I know what you’re thinking, isn’t detoxification meant to reduce toxicity and make our bodies LESS toxic? Well, think of Phase 1 like packing up the garbage into the bins to get it ready for collection, and once this garbage or intermediate metabolites are ready for collection, Phase 2 begins!
Phase 2 is like the garbage pick up, attaching specific molecules to the highly toxic intermediate metabolites (called conjugation) making them non-toxic and water soluble allowing them to be excreted from the body for good! If the garbage or intermediate metabolites are not picked up or detoxified through Phase 2 then these toxins act as free radicals in the body and cause lots of damage to our cells and tissues and can lead to disease. This is why having Phase 2 function effectively is so important, and the good news is that we can all enhance our natural detoxification process through supporting this phase with lots of nutrients!
We always want to aim to keep Phase 2 working at the same speed as Phase 1 in order to make sure you are picking up all that garbage to get rid of all those nasty toxins. In today’s stressful society, sometimes Phase 1 can be overworking due to caffeine, alcohol and other toxins and this is why we need to ensure we are getting all of the important nutrients for Phase 2 to work.
The main nutrients required for Phase 2 detoxification are:
Amino acids – Cysteine, Glycine & Glutamine (these are used to make Glutathione – a powerful antioxidant and great detoxifier!)
Sulphur containing amino acids – Glutathione, Cysteine & Taurine
B Vitamins – 2, 3, 6, 9 and 12
These nutrients can be found in many foods including:
PROTEIN! – Protein sources such as good quality meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes and good quality diary products all contain amino acids, zinc and B vitamins that are all vital for Phase 2 detoxification Hot tip: Vita-sol Flexibility contains protein.
Cruciferous veggies – broccoli, kale, radish, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, turnips and sprouts (these all contain those sulphur amino acids that enhance detoxification) Hot tip: Vita-sol Purity powder contains 13 different sprouts!
Nuts & seeds – contain zinc, B vitamins and magnesium and brazil nuts contain high amounts of selenium
Fruits such as capsicum, orange, kiwi fruit, lemon, papaya, strawberries, raspberries, banana and avocado contain vitamin C and magnesium
Vegetables including dark leafy greens contain vitamin C, B vitamins and magnesium
Whole grains such as brown rice and oats great sources of B vitamins
As you can see, there are many foods that you can include into your daily diet in order to get the nutrients needed to support and enhance your natural detoxification process.
Incorporating Vita-sol wholefood powders into a balanced diet will give your liver a nutrient boost and will help to reduce the toxic load on your body to make you feel fabulous!
We don’t often think about our liver in our day to-day life and so we may not realise that our livers are constantly working hard everyday, keeping our bodies in balance and our vitality high!
The liver has many important functions apart from detoxification that most of us are not aware of and may even take for granted, so here are 5 important functions of the liver that you may not have known:
Bile production & fat digestion
The liver contains cells called hepatocytes that produce bile and release it into the small intestine after eating a meal containing fats. The bile contains bile salts that break down the large fatty acid molecules into smaller molecules, allowing the fats to be further broken down for digestion and absorption. Bonus: our Vita-sol Purity powder contain Choline, a lipotropic fat mobilizing nutrient!
2. Carbohydrate metabolism & blood sugar balance
The liver plays a large role in regulating blood glucose levels, important for our mood, sleep, energy, satiety, weight control, insulin sensitivity and more. The liver keeps our blood glucose levels stable through its action in carbohydrate metabolism. When you eat a meal containing large amounts of glucose from carbohydrates, the liver takes the excess glucose and stores it in the form of glycogen to be used at a later time. When your blood sugar drops too low, or you need some extra energy during that awesome workout you are doing, the liver breaks down stored the glycogen back into glucose.
3. Cholesterol synthesis & regulation
The liver produces cholesterol everyday! I know you may be thinking that this is a bad thing but in fact, we WANT some cholesterol as it has so many important functions within our bodies! Cholesterol is used to make steroid and sex hormones, bile salts and vitamin D. Excess cholesterol can be harmful and so the liver forms molecules called high-density lipoproteins that take this excess cholesterol from the body back to the liver for excretion.
4. Blood pressure regulation
The liver produces a hormone called angiotensinogen that helps to increase blood pressure when the kidneys signal that blood pressure or sodium levels are too low.
5. Red blood cell (RBC) recycling
Our RBC’s have a short life span of 120 days and it’s the livers job to break down the old red blood cells to get rid of the unwanted cellular components and keep the parts of the cell that can be recycled and used again. This is very important to maintain our iron levels and keep our tissues filled with oxygen.
With all of these fantastic and important jobs to do, sometimes the liver can be under too much pressure and it will start to ‘slack off’. Things like environmental toxins, emotional stress and overeating poor quality foods all place added pressure onto the liver.
Here are some signs that your liver may not be functioning optimally and detoxifying effectively:
Inability to digest fats/feel sick after a high fat meal
Mucus in stool/pale coloured stool
Dark circles under eyes
Irritable bowel syndrome
So what can we do to support our liver function!? The next article in this series will cover liver loving foods & nutrients. Our Vita-sol Purity wholefood powder contains a rich combination of carefully selected green plants to support cleansing and detox. Taking two teaspoons a day will assist with liver clearance and detoxification so you feel great and ready to start the new year with a bang!
Our skin is the largest organ of our body, it protects us from the environment, prevents pathogens entering our body and houses our internal organs to keep us alive.
Just like any living thing, the health of our skin relies on a source of energy via nutrients and a supportive ecosystem. Our skin synthesises and utilises nutrients predominately from the food that we eat. Before nutrients can go to work, food must be efficiently digested. The digestive process starts when we chew the food that we eat. Once swallowed it travels to the stomach where it is mixed together with water and other fluids. The pre-digested food is then passed on to the small intestine to allow for absorption. The walls of our gut are semi-permeable, allowing important nutrients from our food to enter into our blood stream to provide repair, restoration and energy to our body’s cells.
A healthy diet, rich in nutrients therefore plays an important role in our general health and well-being. If we are not taking in ample nutrients or if our body is not effectively processing and distributing these nutrients, our skin may be one of the first places to present with signs of nutrient deficiency.
Topical skin care can certainly play a role in supporting nutrient deficiencies within our skin, as an example topical Vitamin C will help to prevent free radical damage caused from our external environment. But did you know that the skin already contains many vitamins that can also be found in topical skin care?
Squalene found superficially in our skin, our skin lipids, is a rich source of vitamin E and will help to combat free radical damaged caused throughout the day.
Deeper within our skin vitamin A and vitamin C serves as photoprotective agents and assist in the production of collagen and elastin.
Applying ingredients topically will treat the superficial skin layers where the symptoms may be present but not the deeper layers where our skin cells are produced. Essentially it will be like the effects of pain relief medication, dampening the pain areas but not treating the source of pain.
Therefore, the most effective way to treat topical skin conditions is to improve the deeper layers of our skin where the skin cell factory is located and treat the source of the condition. A more efficient factory is going to produce better performing skin cells and result in a healthier skin.
How can we increase the efficiency of our skin’s factory?
Simple measures such as increasing our nutrient intake and ensuring optimal gut and liver health can have a significant impact on increasing the health of our skin.
A fresh, wholefood diet rich in fresh vegetables, fruit and fibre is key to good health but the reality is that most of us fail to meet the recommended intake of fresh fruits, vegetables and fibre. This is where Vita-sol comes in. Vita-sol is not about synthetic supplements, we are about boosting the average diet with nutrient dense, pure and ethically sourced wholefood powders to support health, vitality, well-being and of course healthy skin.
Vita-sol supercharges any topical skincare by feeding the body the nutrients it needs.
Because good skin starts from within.