Way back when I was a teenager, battling IBS, yeast infections, candida and a myriad of other symptoms I also had terrible outbreaks of Acne. If I had any clue that these symptoms/conditions were all related I may be telling a different story today but I didn’t. Today the gut-brain-skin axis is widely known amongst many alternative practitioners and functional doctors and studies have been around for longer than I knew. However, it seems that many people are left in the dark, who don’t have the time or perhaps the resources to research this triangular relationship.
While my teenage acne lasted a long while – right through to my late 20’s, it has been my experience with both my teenage kids that has given me the most insight into the gut microbiome and how it impacts on the skin and the brain.

What is Candida and why does it cause acne?

CANDIDA ALBICANS IS A FUNGUS THAT IS FOUND ON THE SKIN AND MUCOUS MEMBRANES IN THE MOUTH, RECTUM, OR VAGINA. IT MAY ALSO TRAVEL THROUGH THE BLOOD STREAM AND AFFECT VARIOUS PARTS OF THE BODY. IF THE FUNGUS IS NOT CONTROLLED, PROBLEMS MAY OCCUR. CANDIDA ALBICANS IS A NEGATIVE YEAST INFECTION THAT BEGINS IN THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM. AS TIME GOES BY IT SPREADS TO  OTHER PARTS OF THE BODY. IT ACTS AS AN INVADING PARASITE THAT ATTACHES TO THE INTESTINAL WALL. AND MAKES HOME OF YOUR INTERNAL ORGANS, WHICH MAKES THE BODY REACT AND CREATE THE MANY SYMPTOMS.

Source: The Candida Blog

Not everyone who has a Candida problem will suffer from acne; acne is just one of many possible side effects. The same is true that not everyone who has acne has Candida.

 How do you get Candida?

Well everyone has Candida. We live in a symbiotic relationship with most bacteria and fungus. The question is: How do you get a Candida overgrowth? Just like acne, you can get a Candida overgrowth from the food you eat, medications you take, stress, lifestyle, allergies, etc. There is no one single cause. The gut comes under a lot of pressure, especially in teenagers with out of control hormones but also a poor diet and bouts of illness resulting in antibiotic use. We are dependent on those good bugs (microbiome) to stay on top of the bad bugs but some days it seems like outright war and the baddies can win.

When a gut imbalance occurs, fungi, parasites, and other nasties come out to play and before long you have breakouts on your face, neck and back and a swollen sometimes sore tummy and maybe even diarrhoea or constipation. Proper elimination is crucial to good health and clear skin.

Treatments For Candida and Acne

There are many options for treating both Candida and Acne. One thing is sure though is if you can treat both with the same protocol it will save you time and money. The following treatments work well in conjunction with each other.

Diet

The most important of all. Start with this first. No matter how many other treatments you try,If your diet isn’t right, you will have no chance of getting on top of the candida or acne. Some foods can trigger inflammation and create gut dysbiosis which is the beginning of imbalance in the gut and the microbiome. You may need to eliminate certain foods for a period to see whether your symptoms subside. The three most common culprits are:

  • Grains
  • Dairy
  • Sugar

If your diet is high in processed foods, then chances are you are consuming too much of all three of these foods. Clean up your diet by eliminating all processed foods first. Then cut out or decrease the amount of grains, dairy and sugar from your diet in this order:

  • Sugar – the first to go
  • Dairy – next in line
  • Grains – the last to leave

Do this over a three week period. After each week assess your symptoms to see if there is any improvement. It may take as long as a month to 6 weeks to notice any significant changes so don’t stop after three weeks.

Make sure you have plenty of the following:

  • Loads of vegetables – raw and cooked
  • Small serves of seasonal fruits – 1-2 pieces a day (if you know that you have candida then no fruit for at least three months)
  • Meats, Chicken, Fish/Seafood
  • Nuts/Seeds – in small quantities
  • Coconut – flesh, oil, milk, cream
  • Other Fats – Avocado, olive oil
  • Water – lots of it
  • Sleep – so important for everything else to work

Once you have your diet underway, then look at the following options.

Antibiotics

Many acne sufferers resort to antibiotic treatments and for some it works, for others, the acne becomes ten times worse. You see, antibiotics (even low grade) have this amazing ability to kill everything in your gut, not just the offenders. The culprit could be eliminated or not (called antibiotic resistance), along with the beneficial bacteria, which results in more bad guy parties and more symptoms. The worst case scenario of antibiotic use is that it creates a vicious cycle between your skin clearing up while you are taking the antibiotics and then returning once the course has finished. You then go back on the antibiotics and so on. In the meantime, you are doing more harm than good to your gut biome which will only create more problems long term.

Probiotics

If you do have a Candida overgrowth or suffer from acne breakouts, probiotic supplements can help build and strengthen your gut.

Probiotics will feed and grow the good bacteria. This will help flush out the bad bacteria that cause Gut Dysbiosis (gut imbalance). They also help with digestion and enzyme distribution.

Choosing the right Probiotic will be a personal choice. Here’re some pointers:

  • Research what probiotics are available. Either online or in store.
  • The bacteria strains are significant. Which strains are included and how many of each – they should be listed under genus, species and strains.
  • The packaging and delivery system – bacteria need to be encapsulated for the contents to make it through the stomach and into the colon. Also take note of whether the product needs to be kept in the refrigerator or just kept somewhere dark and cold.
  • The expiry date and whether contents listed as “viable” at the time of manufacture or through until shelf life. The bacteria needs to be alive and active when you purchase it or that there is the guarantee that they are still alive after manufacture. Unfortunately, some probiotics are full of dead bacteria that will not reactivate after digestion. Read the labels carefully.

Treating Acne with Herbs

There are many herbal treatments both in topical form and in capsule or liquid. Herbs work well on your digestive system, liver and lymphatic system. They also give your body a gentle detox while supporting enzyme and hormone production.

Herbs to use for treating Skin conditions and Acne

Burdock Root has anti-inflammatory benefits and is a digestive aid. It can help flush out your kidneys and liver.

Milk Thistle is known for its ability to aid in liver detoxification.

Yellow Dock is also good for detoxification. It also benefits digestion by stimulating bile production and supporting liver function.

Echinacea is great for fighting off colds and flu. It also supports the immune system and fights infection and inflammation. Ideal for healing wounds and damaged cells.

Aloe Vera -known for its soothing properties and its ability to heal wounds. The gel of aloe vera can be used topically in conjunction with a carrier oil such as jojoba or sweet almond.

Calendula – anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal. Calendula flowers are dried and placed into a carrier oil for topical treatments. Calendula is also available in tincture and capsule form. Excellent for scars and wounds.

You can use these herbs as topical treatment such as a tincture or in a mask or take internally as a tea or in capsule form.

Green Tea

Here are two helpful articles on using Green Tea for Acne. Green tea has the amazing ability to work on hormones, insulin and inflammation. Not to mention the many other health benefits.

A quick Green Tea Mask

3 Surprising Ways Green Tea Treats Acne

Treating Acne and Candida with Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is the triple antigen of the natural remedies world. Antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antimicrobial. It does the lot. Taking coconut oil will not only help with candida but will assist to fight off other pathogens and viruses that may be causing inflammation and imbalances. Here are a few ways you can use coconut oil to treat both acne and candida:

Coconut oil detox – a great place to start

Oil pulling – removes viruses, bacteria and fungus from the mouth, throat and teeth.

Topical treatment – using a 1/8 of a teaspoon to apply and massage into acne affected areas on the face. Excellent for Bacne (acne on the shoulders and back). Use more for larger areas.

The Big Picture

Getting rid of Acne caused from Candida Albicans or any other pathogen is not always easy. Achieving gut balance is the key. Combining more than one protocol is often the way to go. However, it may require some trials and above all it requires consistency and patience. Like with any chronic condition, it’s best to treat the cause, not just the symptoms. Be gentle with yourself – stressing about any health condition will only add to it.