When You Haven’t Got The Guts: Improving Your Acne When Your Gut Flora Is Bad

Antibiotics can be great tools in improving your face's skin tone and killing acne-causing bacteria. However, there are some downsides that you should be aware of. If you've been on antibiotics for a long time, you could be at risk for developing Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). This means that since the antibiotics have killed off most of the bacteria in your gut--good or bad--new bacteria has an opportunity to flourish. Those with SIBO may also experience issues like diarrhea, nausea, and bloating; so, treating your acne with antibiotics may not be worth it if it throws your other systems out of whack. So your question may be, "How do I treat acne without the help of antibiotics?" Read on to learn some alternative solutions.

Consider Seeing an Aesthetician

You may have heard of aestheticians and estheticians, but were not really sure of what they did; the difference is slight, but aestheticians usually work under medical supervision--like in a dermatologist's office--and, estheticians usually work in spas. However, both are trained professionals that concentrate on improving skin conditions and other cosmetic woes. An aesthetician can perform things like facials, laser skin resurfacing, exfoliation, and the like. If you are prone to ingrown hair follicles, they can help you remove them and open up your pores. Also, if you are big on makeup, an aesthetician may take a look at your products to see if they are non-comedogenic and healthy for your skin.

Because many aestheticians work under a dermatologist, they can do more intense procedures, like chemical peels (a treatment which sloughs off dead skin cells on the upper layer of your dermis). This procedure can be valuable if you've mostly cleared your acne, but now want to get rid of scars or blotchy red marks. An aesthetician may also be licensed to perform microdermabrasion, a procedure that uses small crystals of aluminium oxide to exfoliate your skin. According to NCBI, microdermabrasion has been shown to be effective at smoothing out skin irregularities and improving transepidermal medications, or water-based topical medications that you'd apply to your skin.

As you can see, you do have a lot of options at your disposal with an aesthetician if you are ready to stop antibiotics. 

Try A SIBO Diet for a While

Changing up your diet can be a great way to get acne under control without antibiotics, especially since studies have shown a link between those with acne and gut flora issues. If you do want to try this route, do keep in mind that it may take some patience compared to other options since your gut will need to heal and build up good bacteria again.

If you suspect you may have SIBO, or a doctor has diagnosed you with it, you'll want to start cutting out things like gluten, dairy, and refined sugar, since these foods cause inflammatory responses and feed bad bacteria. Those with SIBO may also use a low-FODMAP diet, which is usually followed by those with irritable bowel syndrome. Like SIBO diets, low-FODMAP diets limit sugars, like fructose, and other foods you may be sensitive to. 

Make sure you look at free recipes online if you are totally stumped on what you should eat. Keep in mind that you can also make many of your favorite meals, but you just have to get creative in making substitutions. For instance, you may be able to make your favorite blueberry muffin recipe, but you may need to use almond flour or coconut flour in place of wheat flour.

Talk to your doctor about your diet changes so he or she can help you monitor your progress, and talk with a local aesthetician, like those at Appearance Dermatology and other locations, to see if you can start procedures in conjunction to your diet changes.