For years I’ve been hoping to find a natural way to cure acne from the root. While some things help (zinc for instance), I’m starting to think there may be no silver bullet. Instead, I wonder if a cocktail approach might prove more effective. Here’s my gut read on what a natural cocktail, if indeed there were one, might consist of:

Sun: Yes, this might be controversial, but I think we might not be getting enough sun. We make vitamin D through our skin, and as homo sapiens we are literally made to be in the sun. The darker the skin, the more we need it. I tend to think that limited exposure on a regular basis may be beneficial for a wide variety of conditions. My gut also tells me that responsible sun exposure is going to be more beneficial than vitamin D supplementation. I personally try to get some sun each day around lunch time–15 minutes front, 15 minutes back–and I feel generally healthier because of it. I keep my face covered, but if I weren’t so vain about wrinkles, I might expose my face as well and see how that affects acne. I am certain from personal experience that over-exposure will bite back with acne because a sun burn is skin damage, but light exposure on a daily basis intrigues me.

Oxygen: Each and every one of our cells need oxygen to live, and as land dwelling animals we obviously need oxygen to survive. I am looking into how oxygen specifically affects the causes of acne. I have a sneaking suspicion that oxygen, or the lack thereof, may play a part in acne formation. Could deep breathing or oxygen therapy help? We’ll see.

Greens/Food: Eating a natural diet makes sense. Emerging research hints toward a potential diet and acne link, but we simply do not have enough research to draw any conclusions. Common sense tells us that eating fruits, veggies, and perhaps real, organic meat in low quantities is the way to go.

Touch/Tribal Community: Stress and acne are related. Also, our hormone levels are intricately connected with acne formation. Touch and love mediate our stress levels and help keep our stress hormones in check. My gut tells me that if modern society valued touched more, we might see less acne. Also, we are tribal animals and are much happier when we are a valued part of a group. While modern society seems to have strayed from this way of living since the Industrial Revolution, perhaps there are still ways of getting that supportive feeling in our lives (choir, clubs, groups, practicing unconditional love).

Exercise: Our blood is what brings nutrients to all of our cells. Exercise gets the blood flowing and improves nutrient delivery. Exercise also is a giant part of keeping stress in check. It just makes common sense that we need to get the blood going on a regular basis.

Supplementation: We may be quite simply too far from our hunter/gatherer roots to get an appropriate amount of sun, non-contaminated food, and the sense of belonging that comes from living in close knit tribes. So, we may need to supplement with appropriate vitamins (Vitamin D and fish oil for example), and make a point to fit good food, touch, and community into our lives in convenient, modern ways.

So what do you guys think? Check in with your gut. Do you think if all of the above were dialed in, you’d have less of a battle with acne?

16 Responses to “Multi-pronged natural approach? Getting the conversation started.”

  • howlingbells

    i think these sorts of natural homeopathic remedies are very important routes to investigate, i’d definitely feel better finding a natural cure rather than always relying on man made chemicals. however, it seems that you are saying lack of sun or improper diet is a cause of acne, but why do you think it is only in some people? these may have value as treatments, but can they really be causes if some people aren’t affected by them at all? or do you think we are just simply more sensitive to them than others?
    keep up the good work dan, i love reading your blog posts

  • Help3

    I think it really helps.
    Almost no people will actually get clear from this, but results yes.

  • Help3

    Ow just one more thing i find really interesting..

    Every summer, i’m clear. Some say that your skin is getting red, and thats why you look clear. But i AM clear. Al my zits are gone and not one is coming. After the summer they al come back. Sun really helps, and even gets me clear

  • NdaNo

    This is kind of an interesting topic. I noticed that everything I spent a week in Hawaii, my skin clears up dramatically for 4 -8 weeks. Maybe it was the sun, the humidity (sweat), diet of pineapple and coconut (mai tais and pina coladas), less stress, sea water, fresh air and outdoor activity? Definitely the right amount creates the perfect cocktail. It’s just not that easy to do unless I retire.

  • Ash

    I am a big believer in treating things the natural way, including acne. I think that we would all be healthier if we started incorporating the things that you mentioned into our lives. I notice that when I’m eating well and working out my skin generally looks much better than when I’m eating junk. And I also believe that small amounts of sun exposure can be extremely beneficial to health. My doctor told me to get 10 minutes of completely unprotected sun every day, and it does make me feel better. When you feel healthy that is often reflected by your appearance. A combination of healthy living and your regimen has kept me clear. I think that a lot of people could improve their acne if they “returned to nature.”

  • Erik

    I definitely agree with your posting Dan. Especially with the SUN and STRESS part. This was very evident to me when I took a trip to Europe. Everyday we went walking, it was sunny, and most of all, I had no stresses AT ALL. I definitely believe there is a connection (at least for me) with stress, sun, and exercise. When I’m back home, I’m usually spending my time indoors, not active.

    Also, I haven’t exposed my upper body (chest and back) to the sun for over 7 years. And I have horrible acne that will never go away, even by using your regime, Dan. I really want to experiment by taking my shirt off and exposing it to the sun, but I’m just so unbelievable insecure about it. That’s been the main reason why i haven’t done it. I don’t want people to see acne on my body… BUT after reading this, I think i’m goign to start trying it out, TOMORROW. I will post back!!!

  • AnnFrendly

    hello Dan..
    i love your page..
    i’m a big fan of you
    although i didn’t have skin problems..
    thank you for your guide.
    I think you helps a lots people who are having acne problems.
    owh.. ya..
    i wanna promote your page on my blog.. because i’d loved to sharing it with my friends there..

  • Erik

    Hey Dan,

    I said I would report back after I expose my acne suffering body to some sun. I can’t say its working, but I’m definitely seeing a change. It’s only been like 3 days so not going to make a statement about it just yet.

    But something came to mind just now. I remember you saying something about sleep and acne. How if you aren’t getting the proper amount of sleep, there is no way you can get clear. WELL, have you considered people who have sleep problems? like sleep apnea? I was thinking, cause I have sleep apnea, and I have suffered from light/moderately light acne, which will not freaking go away. I’m about to turn 21 soon. Genetically, acne doesn’t run in my family for long, usually by 25 or so everyone has cleared up–I digress. But I’m wondering if you’ve looked into the connection with sleep problems (i.e. sleep apnea, etc.) and its connection to acne?

    What do you think?

  • Crichel

    I think all this things might help to some extent for some people, but I dont think they would deal with the key underlying causes of acne for most people. Acne is an hormonal disease and I think something more significant would be needed to cure acne internally, to stabilise the hormonal issues. I am certain if I stoped the DKR and adopted these methods then my acne would be as resilient as ever.

  • Brodie Brown

    Dan, good work mate. I was looking for some material for our blog: *mod edit* and came across your site. Myself and a doctor friend of mine (both in our 30′s) have been getting a few too many zits recently, he’s a doc and even HE couldn’t find an answer! We had a sit down and talked about what could be causing it and the only thing we probably don’t manage as well as we should manage was our stress levels! Gut instinct says stress=zits. Great insight regarding touch also, very, very important in my book mate… and a superb calmative. Thanks again, Brodie.

  • Kristina

    Hi Dan,

    I wanted to bring up a few things. I know that you Praise (with a capital P) the use of BP. The reason why it works so well is because, simply, it is oxygenating your pores. Bacteria can not live in an oxygenated environment. So yes, oxygen is very very important in combating acne. Now, BP also oxidizes your skin. Unfortunately, this is the reason why I don’t use it :( I used it in the past and, does it work! It is amazing but I’m not so sure that I want to purposefully cause free radicals in my body and attribute to the creation of my own wrinkles because of BP. I am a formulator and am working on an Oxygen Serum that mimics the effects of BP. I can’t say it works to BP’s abilities but, with continued use, I can see a great difference in my skin. I’d love to chat with you more on this, it may be something you may want to look into as an add on to your products. Thanks again!

  • Lisa

    I’m 28 and my acne has just gotten worse over the years which of course takes a big toll on my self-image, confidence, etc.. I have recently gone back to school and am in holistic nutrition and can I tell you how right on you!?!? Seriously- for the past 2 months I have tripled the amount of green vegetables (kale, spinach, dandelion, chard, etc..) I have eaten. Truth be told, 3 months ago I didn’t even know what half that stuff was! Well, so far, my skin has really improved. I’m shocked. I know you say everyone’s face improves just by doing the steps- but for me, changing my diet along w/ the skin routine has made Significant difference. The minerals in vegetables are essential for our bodies to deal with everything else and I had no idea how depleted I was. Please, please, please continue more research in this field and get the word out. It is multi-dimensional. If I only knew, what I know now, years ago….

  • Lorie

    It has been a long time since this has been commented on, I was wondering if light tanning in a tanning bed would be good for your skin in the winter. This September I started a new job. And my lifestyle has drastically changed. From eating habits, wearing makeup, sun exposure, sleep, ect. I started struggling with my skin about 2 weeks after I started working. Mostly my jawline and my neck, back and shoulders are broke out. I even have had several cysts on my neck. I took accutane in HS 20 years ago and now my skin is very sensitive to most acne cleansers. They actually make my skin worse. I am slowly trying to change my lifestyle starting with diet. A tanning membership could easily be implemented.

  • Nicky

    Low fat / McDougall diet helps a lot. Hard to follow even if you’re a vegan. Very restrictive. I was on it for awhile and my acne cleared significantly and skin was less greasy.

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