This blog post offers advice and tips for when your skin relapses and your acne comes back, despite doing everything in your power to heal your body and clear your skin from the inside out.
The fear of our acne coming back is something most of us will endure. We’ve spent months, sometimes even years, healing our bodies and seeing slow, but steady improvement in our skin. We get to a stage where we finally see the light at the end of the tunnel… We start wearing less make-up and feeling more and more confident about our skin on a daily basis. Then suddenly, everything starts falling apart…
Our acne comes back and our skin relapses.
It happens to all of us. We’re SO sure that we’ve found the missing link to our acne problems and our current routine seems to be working a treat. Our skin is clearer than ever before and friends and family start commenting on how great your skin is looking. Then out of the blue, you wake up to a new crop of spots, a rapidly depleting self-esteem and you’re left wondering if you’ll ever achieve total freedom from acne.
The answer is, you will. One day. Maybe not tomorrow, or next week, but sometime in the future, acne won’t be a problem for you anymore. I promise you, it won’t be a part of your life forever and one day you will no longer be plagued by the fear that your acne may come back when you least expect it.
7 tips for when acne comes back and your skin relapses
However, until that day comes, I’ve put together some valuable tips to help you get through the rough weeks/months that follow a skin set-back and the dreaded acne comes back.
DO re-evaluate your supplement routine
When your acne comes back and your skin relapses it can be so easy to add more and more supplements into your routine, desperately searching for the perfect solution to your skin problems. However, while supplementation can be essential to any acne healing regime, it’s also vital that you don’t over-do it and carry on taking supplements that just aren’t working for you.
A general guide is that if you haven’t seen any improvement within 3 months, then it’s not working for you. Don’t stress though, as there are always other options out there. You may think you’ve tried them all, but I guarantee that’s not the case. I was totally guilty of this and took Agnus Castus and DIM for over a year! Both supplements are great for so many women, but it’s not a supplement for everyone. I saw a small improvement with my skin around 3 months whilst taking Agnus Castus, but it very quickly plateaued and was quite clearly not the supplement my skin or body needed to completely heal. However, I carried on taking it for another 10 months despite it not massively helping with my symptoms at all.
Although it’s important to discontinue any supplement that you feel is not working for you, you also need to remember that not ALL supplements will clear your skin so it’s vital that you look at the bigger picture when re-evaluating your supplement regime. For example, the B-Complex, Magnesium Threonate and Magnesium Citrate I take on a daily basis doesn’t miraculously clear my skin, but that’s not to say they’re not essential for my healing and wellbeing. When I stop taking them, within a few weeks my anxiety, depression and PMS start creeping back in so although they’re not miracle acne clearers, Magnesium and B-vitamins keep my wellbeing and stress levels in check which in turn, helps to keep my skin and mind clear and calm.
Remember not to judge your supplements just on how it effects your skin but also judge it by how you’re feeling.
When re-evaluating your supplement routine, ask yourself if your skin flared up around a particularly stressful time, or specific time of year. Do you find your skin gets worse around September/October when the season changes and you’re not getting enough vitamin D? Start listening to your body and be your own detective, there’s usually a simple explanation as to why your skin has started acting up.
DON’T start cutting everything out of your diet
When your acne comes back it’s so easy to start cutting different foods out your diet and googling all the quick-fix detoxes and juice cleanses available in a desperate attempt to get your skin back on track. Unfortunately, these drastic diets may just make matters worse. A 7 day juice detox may seem like a great way to get your skin glowing again but by restricting your diet and subjecting your body to extreme cleanses, you will just add more stress to your body. Remember, your acne is a deep rooted condition that needs gentle care and long term healing, not a quick fix detox that will cost you a small fortune and more than likely result in further disappointment when you don’t achieve the results you hoped for.
DO focus on addressing any stress or anxiety
Have you been struggling with work or family stresses that have sent your hormones crazy? The trickiest thing about a stress related acne relapse is that it can take up to 3 cycles for your hormones to settle down again. After months of seeing improvements in our skin, a single spot can make us feel completely defeated and leave us feeling miserable and lacking self-confidence so it’s extra important to keep our stress levels down and self-esteem up when our breakouts suddenly become more than a one-off occurrence.
High stress levels can cause our adrenal glands to start dipping into our progesterone stores to make cortisol and adrenaline. This can mean less progesterone is available to support our menstrual cycle and affects the balance of progesterone to oestrogen and testosterone. This imbalance can make us more prone to acne, PMS and other hormone-related symptoms.
DON’T freak out and start panic buying products/treatments/supplements
When your acne comes back, it’s tempted to blow all your hard earned cash on a tonne of expensive treatments, LED light devices, supplements or luxe beauty products in the hope that something, anything will work! Right? While an LED light device (I love my Tria Blue Light Device) can help to reduce acne and inflammation, it’s an expensive purchase that doesn’t solve the root cause of your acne. Neither will microdermabrasion, chemical peels or premium masks and serums… They can potentially improve the appearance of your skin, but these results are often short lived and the real reason your acne has come back will always resurface again.
Just take a step back, breathe and put together a stress-free action plan than won’t leave you short on cash.
DO consider trying a new strain of probiotic
The right probiotic should really help your body to thrive and help clear your skin by healing your gut, if you’ve been taking probiotics for a while and not seen a huge improvement in your skin or your digestion, then you will probably benefit from trying some different strains of bacteria, or a different brand to find what works for you.
I saw great results with my skin and digestion within 3 months of taking probiotics but as with most of the natural acne treatments I’ve tried over the years, results always plateaued and I never got the results I was hoping for. Over the following year I tried various different brands of probiotic and they all kept me regular(ish) but I was never able to find anything that made my digestion consistently awesome. I went from having a bowel movement once every 2 weeks, to once every 1-2 days after I started probiotics but it wasn’t enough and I knew there was still something missing.
A few months ago, when my digestive system start being sluggish and difficult again, then a few weeks later my skin started acting up, I decided it was time to get to the bottom of my gut issues once and for all. I booked myself in with my Kinesiologist (who I hadn’t seen for over 8 months) and she was able to recognise that my large intestine was NOT a happy organ. After testing nearly every single probiotic strain in her collection, we eventually found the one that my body responded positively to. Incredibly, in just one week, I was so much more regular and even started having a bowel movement first thing in the mornings, then another in the afternoon – something which rarely ever happened before!
TIP: Many people who struggle with probiotics and find that taking them can make their acne worse, have great results with Saccharomyces Boulardii instead. The reason it often works better is because it is a yeast, not a strain of bacteria.
If you’re not having great results with your current probiotics and still struggling with your digestion along with skin flare-ups, then you may want to try a different brand. Great probiotic brands include Optibac, Garden of Life, BioKult, Prescript Assist, Natren and Epigenetics. Alternatively, if you really want to get to the bottom of what your body needs, invest in a consultation with a Kinesiologist. I have to say, I would never have ended up getting the strain of bacteria I needed without the help on my Kinesiologist as it’s only really available in the UK as a single strain, in this 2 strain probiotic from Optibac and as part of this multi-strain probiotic.
DO distract yourself by doing things you love
It can be a huge blow when your acne comes back after a few weeks or months of steady improvement, but it’s important you try not to let it consume you. I get that all you want to do is shut the door on life and hide away until you come out the other end of this rocky patch, but try not to let your acne stop you from doing the things you love. In times of stress and upheaval, throwing yourself into your favourite activities or projects can give you something entirely different to focus on, instead of sitting at your computer and obsessively searching for miracle acne cures. I’m not judging! I used to spend hours scrolling through hundreds of acne forums, desperate to discover some miracle treatment I’d not yet heard of… This sort of behaviour isn’t very productive though, and trust me, you’ll feel a million times better spending an hour doing something you’re good at and enjoy, then staring at a computer screen reading about something that you don’t actually have that much control over.
Don’t have a hobby? Social media is the best place to find inspiration for pretty much anything. Go out there and explore, find something you’re passionate about and use that passion to get you through the tough times. There are so many talented Instagrammers out there that inspire me to get outdoors, get creative and do something that’s totally unrelated to acne and skin care. Inspiration is everywhere and I love these accounts for embroidery, ceramics, roller-skating, photography and interior design inspiration!
DON’T give up
Most importantly, when your skin relapses, don’t give up. You’ve not failed, you’re not back at square one (even though it sure as hell feels like it) and you won’t be struggling with acne forever. This flare-up is just a tiny detour in your clear skin journey. It doesn’t mean you’re doing it all wrong or not doing enough. Your body is such a complex thing and the natural healing process isn’t as straight forward, or instant, as we would hope. You’re going to have ups and downs, it’s totally normal! Just remember to trust in your body that it’s working hard to heal yourself from within and this blip is just that. A blip.
If you have any questions or would like to book in a consultation so we can put together a bespoke action plan to help you clear your skin for good, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or view my packages here.
Peace, Love & Clear Skin,