If you have acne, you need to be checking out your poop. I know. Super glamorous.
However, it’s one of the very first things we work on with acne clients in The Clear Skin Solution. But why start here if acne is on the face? And what if my acne is hormonal? Good questions - which I’ve got answers for!
Why (Bad) Poops Lead to Acne
The colon, aka the longest part of the large intestine, is part of the body's detoxification system. Its role is to eliminate stool (made up of water, bacteria, digested food, excess hormones, and unused nutrients/electrolytes) from the body.
We need the waste to be properly exiting the body in a timely manner to ensure optimal nutrient absorption, reduce the workload on the liver and help balance hormones.To understand why this is important for acne sufferers, let me break it out for you.
There are two common poop issues: constipation and diarrhea. Both of these spell big trouble for the skin.
1. When constipation is afoot, toxins, bacteria/yeast and hormones the body is trying to get rid of end up back in circulation which increases the load on the liver and contributes to hormonal imbalance.
2. On the other hand, diarrhea means the nutrients from your food aren't being properly absorbed. This lack of nutrient absorption leads to malnourishment. Here’s where the skin issues arise.
Nutrients are “fuel” for your body and every system in it. They’re vital for proper liver function, hormone production and repairing the skin. Two areas that need to be in tip-top shape for clear skin.The liver itself performs over 500 functions in the body including being the main organ for detoxification and filtration of hormones. If the liver’s been overburdened (like having to refilter toxins and hormones it’s already got rid of), the body’s largest detoxification organ gets called in to help.
That’s your skin.
The “waste” gets pushed to your pores (through sweat) and leads to breakouts.
To further the issue, if the liver’s not able to properly filter the hormones, a hormonal imbalance can occur.You can think of your hormones as a finely tuned orchestra. They all need to be balanced and playing in perfect harmony for a beautiful melody to follow. If one single “instrument” (hormone) is playing off tune, it becomes very apparent.
In this case, it becomes very apparent when the hormones lead to an increase of pore-clogging sebum and acne erupts across your skin. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a second way that poor bathroom habits can lead to hormonal imbalances.
If the excess estrogens aren’t able to leave the body through stool, they end up back in circulation and can lead to estrogen dominance – and inevitably “hormonal” acne.
Now that we’ve gone through the why, let’s dig into what to be looking for (and how to improve it!).
What Is A Healthy Poop?
After having worked with thousands of clients around the world, I can confidently say that most people don’t know what a healthy poop looks like.
It’s not a commonly talked about topic. No one’s hanging around the water cooler or passing the plate of appetizers talking about their morning bowel movement.
So let me share exactly what to look for…
- One to three bowel movements per day.
- Long, smooth, snake-like shape.
- No undigested food present.
- No straining, cramping or pain.
- Passes within a few minutes.
Tips for Healthy Poops
- Drink adequate water (about half your body weight in ounces).
- Aim for 35 grams of fibre per day.
- Use a squatty potty (or elevate your feet while pooping).
- Avoid irritating foods (processed/refined/fried foods, sugar/sugar alcohols, conventional dairy, gluten, alcohol).
- Move your body (ie. walking, swimming, yoga).
- Consult your practitioner for supplement or functional testing based on your needs.
So as we’ve now learned, if you’re struggling with acne what’s going on with #2 needs to be your #1 priority.
Thank you for reading!
This article of the Skinsider Scoop was graciously written by Holistic Nutritionist, and Founder of Clear Skin Solution, Katie Stewart, and edited by the Clean Skin Club team. If you're interested in more from Katie, please shoot us an email, and follow her Instagram - @katiestewartwellness