Candida and Acne – is there a link?
First of all, lets go over a few details because you might be super new to these here parts.
What is Candida?
Is there a connection between acne and candida yeast?
What IS Candida?
Candida albicans is a kind of yeast, a natural microflora, that occurs in all human bodies. All of us carry yeast in our skin and digestive tracts.
Its population is normally kept in check by the other good bacteria in the body. Candida is generally harmless, until an imbalance crops up leading to Candida Overgrowth Syndrome – which can lead to a whole host of problems.
Now there can be many reasons for this yeast overgrowth, ranging from high antibiotic or birth control pill consumption, stress, and/or a depleted immune system. (The list kinda goes on and on….) but….
Let’s go over the 4 main reasons candida could be an acne causing culprit for you:
1. Chronic antibiotic use:
When I had acne, I took every freaking pill known to man. And I had NO idea what it was doing to my skin.
If you’ve been taking antibiotics for a long time for your acne, it might be helping your skin a bit, in the “now”, but it is (most likely) causing significant damage to the bacteria in your belly – and ergo, your skin.
Tetracyclines like minocycline and doxycycline are a few of the major antibiotics prescribed by dermatologists. These flush the “bad bacteria” out of your body, but unfortunately can’t distinguish the bad bacteria from the good bacteria; so, the good bacteria goes BAI, as well.
As a result, candida levels continue to increase.
Once a yeast overgrowth is registered in the body, the immune system activates chemicals that fight off “infections.” This ends up in causing even more inflammation in the previously affected area. It’s a vicious cycle.
(I used all of these medications (and then some, btw) and the bacteria in my belly was ALL messed up.)
2. Unhealthy diet habits:
Diet changes can cause a serious imbalance of candida yeast in the gut.
If you’re eating a ton of carbs daily; i.e. a bagel in the morning, a sandwich for lunch, pasta/pizza for dinner….you’re going to have pretty elevated levels of insulin.
This disrupts a critical balance of hormones (I go more into the effect sugar has on acne here), eventually causing skin probs.
Also, if you have a high fat diet, one where omega6/omega 3 ratio is greater than 2, it will render your immune system weaker in fighting acne or candida.
3. Long-term use of birth control pills:
Research has indicated quite a significant link between candida overgrowth and estrogen dominance. For women ages 35-50, who are on oral contraceptives, the risk of candida yeast overgrowth is much higher. This leads to a hormonal imbalance which is super hard to correct.
For more information on how to treat acne naturally after coming off of birth control, click here.
4. Candida overgrowth can intensify “leaky gut”:
We’re going to go over what leaky gut is in depth soon, but suffice it to say that candida can both cause or intensify inflammation and leaky gut.
Candida disrupts the healthy bacterial balance in the gut and can cause inflammatory bowel syndrome. The high level of antibodies in your blood cause leakage from the gut, resulting in chronic inflammation.
Ok, so, with all of that wonderful (ahem, scary) information on candida, what can I do? Here are 3 steps you can take if you suspect a candida overgrowth:
1. Replenish your gut with healthy bacteria.
It’s time to repopulate your intestines with the good bacteria that will keep tabs on the their numbers.
I won’t go into the power of probiotics here, because I’ve already done that in a few other posts.
To learn more about poo and your acne, and probiotics in general, head here.
To learn more about why your belly bacteria may be causing your acne and what to do, click here.
2. Cut the SUGAR.
Yes, I know. Cutting out sugar is like trying to cut out a drug. I know. But you still have to try.
Yeast thrives on high sugar levels in your bloodstream. So, cutting back on all sugar-laden foods like honey, fruits, dairy products, carrots, and beets etc. for a period of time will cut down the “food supply” for the yeast, giving it a “tough fight for survival”.
3. Inhibit the yeast growth with herbal supplements:
Several natural substances, which are known to counter the surplus yeast growth such as caprylic acid, garlic, oregano, olive leaf extract etc. can be added to your daily diet. However, don’t forget to keep replacing and rotating them from time to time, so as to avoid yeast mutation and eventual resistance to them.
Some more “precautions” before you go:
- Clean your medicine cabinet once in a while and say goodbye to the drugs that you think aren’t absolutely necessary. (But always, always, always discuss with a doctor first. I am not one, see disclaimer here.)
- To keep your immune system working like a well oiled machine, maintain a proper balance of essential minerals like zinc and multi-vitamins.
- Drink plenty of water, get the same amount of sleep every night, and exercise regularly to naturally detox your body.
- If you feel candida might be behind your breakouts, consult a doctor immediately. There are also reliable tests available in the lab nowadays for easy diagnosis.