Australia’s leading acne treatment brand that shot to success by harnessing the power of paid celebrity testimonials claims there is only one important thing to know about acne – “it’s not your fault”.  They state “pimples are not caused by external factors such as what you eat, how often you wash your face or exercise”.  Is this truth or can your actions make a difference?

Historically, most dermatologists have told patients that acne is not caused by what they eat.  However, recent research (1) reveals that people with a high glycemic index (GI) diet have a greater likelihood of having acne.   The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how specific foods affect your insulin levels.  Increased insulin can lead to the onset of diabetes due to the strain placed on your pancreas.  Refined foods (white bread/ pasta /white rice etc) have a much higher GI than wholegrain carbohydrates, vegetables, proteins, fats and most fruits.  (see For more info)

What does a high GI diet do to your skin? Propionibacterium acnes  (P. acnes) bacteria is present in very slight amounts on most healthy adult skin and does not result in blemishes or acne outbreaks.  However, a high GI diet not only leads to an increase in insulin but also an increase in free insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) which prompts the acne bacteria present on our skin to rapidly multiply.   IGF-1 also stimulates sebum production which makes skin more oily and provides  a food source for the  bacteria.   Therefore, it is very important  for acne sufferers to identify and eliminate high GI foods and drinks from their diet.

Nutritional Supplements & Exercise:  After switching to a low GI diet, I recommend alkalising your system by drinking Spirulina and checking your zinc level (a simple test you can take with your naturopath) as both support skin healing.  Regular exercise helps increase your circulation, helping your pores to eliminate toxins and wastes.

Hormonal Influence:  Hormones also play a part in the occurrence of acne.  There are some amazing natural hormone balancers (eg Vitex) to help keep hormonal acne under control.  Stress also disrupts normal hormonal function and causes inflammation, therefore also needs to be addressed to promote healthy skin.  Address your stress with meditation, yoga and certain nutrients.  Talk to your naturopath for information on specific herbs and nutrients.

Pure & Green’s 4 step anti-acne skincare regime:

Step 1 – Cleansing  at least once daily to remove toxins, bacteria and dirt from the surface of the skin. Most harsh chemical cleansers strip natural oils from the skin which signals your skin to produce more oil. Pure & Green Organics lemon myrtle facial cleanser for oily/acne prone skin is soap free, pH balanced to provide the least interference with the skin’s acid mantle whilst still leaving the skin fresh and clean enabling your oil production to balance.

Step 2 – Exfoliating is vital as it clears away loose cells, dried oil plugs and dirt and improves skin texture and lustre. Acned skin types benefit from exfoliation twice weekly with Pure & Green’s organic coffee exfoliate.

Step 3 – Toning  is a very beneficial but often overlooked skincare step.  Toning helps remove any residual oil and contains antibacterial organic alcohol to halt bacterial growth (a much safer option than Benzoyl Peroxide, a bleach which dries out the skin).  Pure & Green’s toner refines your pores and does not dry out the skin as the alcohol content is perfectly balanced with skin loving aloe vera juice and soothing witch hazel.

Step 4 – Moisturising  despite having an oilier skin type it is still important to moisturise.  Our skin contains the body’s second largest nervous system and nerves in the skin and brain are constantly talking to each other.  Try to moisturise with Hydrate Citrus moisture lotion as late in the evening as possible (just before sleeping) because when our skin feels hydrated/moist it communicates this to our brain & tells it to produce less oil.  Overtime, this feedback loop will help your skin’s oil level rebalance, but only if you let it.   Hurrying the process by over-stripping your skin only tells your brain to make more oil – not less.

So, while acne may not be your fault, you can be proactive in its management and significantly reduce your acne outbreaks, if not eliminate them altogether.


(1)        Panta Rouhani, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, United States; Brian Berman, MD, PhD, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, United States; Gazelle Rouhani, University of Miami Miller School Miami, Miami, FL, United States


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