How To Identify The Root Cause Of Your Acne Just By Looking At Your Skin

How To Identify The Root Cause Of Your Acne Just By Looking At Your Skin

cookies and milkI’m frequently coming across fed up adult acne suffers who have tried eliminating a lot of foods from their diet – including refined sugar, dairy and wheat – but their skin is still broken out with chronic acne.

There are a number of reasons why this could be happening, so if this is you please don’t give up just yet. In fact, I stumbled across a video the other day from The Renegade Health Show blog which demonstrates this exact situation and one treatment option really well.

“I’m not in the business of having acne”

The video is by a health journalist who suddenly broke out with a forehead full of pimples. Being in the health industry, he was so distressed with his sudden skin problem that he went crazy eliminating foods from his diet to try and heal his skin. He did not resort to changing his skin care routine or using any supplements or prescriptions. His diet was the only thing he altered.

Kevin eliminated so many foods from his diet that he ended up eating only raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. He even stopped taking all supplements that he was previously taking in case they were the culprit. Kevin had become an extreme raw foodist to try to heal his acne, but it still wasn’t working, he still had acne!

And then Kevin starting thinking that perhaps his acne wasn’t caused by an intolerance to food, but an overgrowth of Candida, yeast, fungus or mold in his body. He’d recently taken a course of antibiotics so it all made sense.

His treatment was to remove all sugars, including natural sugars and fruit from his diet.

As soon as Kevin stopped eating fruits, his skin cleared up completely. He also starting drinking green smoothies (vegetable only) throughout the day, and took a colon detoxifier and some natural anti-bacterial and anti-viral healing herbs.

Watch the video to hear Kevin’s story. He’s a really energetic guy so it’s definitely worth watching.

What I found most interesting about this video is Kevin’s description of the acne on his forehead. I’m beginning to think that you can look at your spots to help determine what the root cause of your acne is.

When I recently wrote my posts about my spotty forehead in London for example, my skin was in exactly the same shape as Kevin’s. Like Kevin I also had weird rash like splotchy acne on my forehead that was certainly different to the acne I’d experienced when I was a teenager. And I know I’m currently living with a Candida overgrowth in my body (I’ll be writing a series of blog posts about my Candida cleanse diet in January!!) so perhaps my forehead acne was primarily due to Candida too.

What does your acne look like?

Perhaps we really can learn more about the root cause of our acne by just looking at our skin. I’ve put together a table of acne types matched with possible root causes. This is data I’ve collected from my personal experience, research and from talking to High on Health readers.

I’d love your input so let me know if you agree or not with anything in this table. If we can get a list going of the type of acne and any found root causes, then we’re on the way to at least making it easier to finding treatment or cures for sufferers.

table for causes of acne

Before I finish off this post I want to mention that I don’t completely agree with all the herbs Kevin took (the little jar he held up in the video) because that jar is packed full of very “warming” herbs.

While these herbs can and will help many people with acne and disease, if you have too much “heat” and “dampness” in your body then herbs like this will in fact flare up your skin a little. In traditional Chinese medicine it is said that acne is caused by too much heat and dampness in the body (which are of course caused by something in your system that’s a little out of whack, like a Candida overgrowth or a congested liver for example). So you want to avoid any foods, herbs or supplements that will make this heat and dampness worse.

I also don’t think you need to become a raw foodist to get rid of your acne if you don’t want to. You can still temporarily remove the sweet taste from your diet without going raw. So if you’ve been inspired by Kevin’s video, consider removing everything sweet from your diet for a period of time (raw or not) and possibly looking into taking a colon detoxifier and/or getting colonic irrigation.

Teenagers also keep in mind that your acne is most likely caused by a hormonal imbalance from puberty, so this won’t necessarily be a cure for you. You’re better off taking more of a holistic approach. And I feel that it’s important for anyone that’s still growing or going through puberty to seek a natural therapists advise before going on any extreme diet.

30 comments… add one

  • maddy

    hi kevin, actually i m suffering frm a kind of wat u had but its like a rash of skin inflammed on both d cheeks wit even pus cumin out. i ve never tis type b4 though i had a acne breakouts quiet frequently. can u suggest sum remedies and diet so tat i cod get rid of tis as quickly as possible .

  • Liz

    @Jess, are you exposed to sun? If so, you definitely need to put dairy products, especially milk back in your diet. Anything with vitamin d helps

  • Liz

    Respond if it works!:)

  • Liz

    Hi my name is Liz I’m 10 and am suffering acne from puberty. I found this really good acne site called It was created by this guy named Daniel kern. He made the most amazing acne treatment ever. It’s called The Regimen. Seriously, look it up!(:

  • Hi Fran. I found your website yesturday (06/13/11) after searching utube for something related to natural acne cures. I want to discuss with you my current situtaion, since I think you can help. I’ve been struggling with acne since High School (I graduated 2004) and I can’t get the acne to STOP! I’ve done the anti-biotics from dermatologists and over the counters, even homeopathic capsules before, and nothing helps! I’m currently on a paleolithic diet and I’m also trying to cure the redness around my cheeks under the eyes and on the nose that I developed after using retin-A micro and then taking Accutane in high doeses; which I believe may have caused the redness or sunburn look. I was clearer before Accutane in fact. Anyways, I recently started the for my acne about 1 week and a half ago. In case yo’re wondering, my acne is what I like to call the “constelation” type of acne. I can get 3 connected pimples anywhere around my face. I get alot of whiteheads also. I have oily skin.
    My question for you is, what you think I can do about this to end my acne and help cure the redness and acne scarring? For good! I understand that your time is important and therefore I’m going to accept any response you give me. I don’t mind getting your expert advise, even if it means we establish a coach/student type of relationship. Thanks alot for anything. Have a beautiful day just as you are.

  • i have dark wheetish skinhaving bumps all over my face.i’m not certain about what are tell me some ways for their identification and treatment.

  • amy

    omg i must have this! from coming off the birth control pill..which i think has given me an overgrowth. cant believe i just realised now! and stupidly im on antibiotics for acne which is probally just going to make it worse? should i stop my course and start a cleanse or finish the course? i only have 2 weeks left

  • Rachel- yep sure have, there’s a search box on the right hand side of the screen, do a search and articles will come up :)

  • Rachel

    Have you ever done a post on hormonal acne and what herbs/natural solutions there are for it? I definitely suffer from a dry acne and my pimples are more like cysts that take forever to heal and hurt because they are so buried.

    Hope to hear from you. Thank you for your time!

  • zepher

    Hey Fran,

    If you have a candida overgrowth is it possible to feed the candida through the skin? i.e. would putting honey on your face be a bad idea?

  • Gary

    Janis – how did you determine you had a candida overgroath? Bloodwork? I have had acne for 20 years, been on cycles of antibiotics for over 15 years, and have spent countless hundreds of dollars on topicals. I am so depressed, fed up, and disgusted! Help!!

  • Janis

    In case anyone else stumbles upon this page looking for answers, I just wanted to point out that I don’t know if the table is ALWAYS accurate; everyone’s different. I figured out that I have a Candida overgrowth–which makes perfect sense and I’m so glad to have finally pinpointed the problem!–but my acne doesn’t really fit the description that Fran posted. So make sure you do the spittle test!

    P.S. I’m on Day 4 of detox and it is utter hell. Wish me luck! I have such bad sugar cravings. People will be talking to me, and, I swear, their heads turn into donuts. It’s like that scene from Trainspotting, except instead of babies on ceilings I see chocolate lava cake and poppyseed bagels. :)

  • Drea

    Hi Fran,
    According to your table my acne was caused by Candida, fungus, yeast, and mold. It actually makes sense because I was on antibiotics for my acne a while back. How do I cleanse my body from the antibioatics to get rid of the root problems???

  • Jess

    I have a question that no one else has answered. Recently, I cut out milk and wheat. It’s been over a week now. The problem is that it seems I’ve broken out more than I usually would. Could this be my body detoxifying itself, or is it that I’m now missing some nutrients/vitamins?

  • Dusklvr

    Stankydanky, your skin issue is most likely due to the abcesses. I would recommend that you do a lot of research on the health effects of dental abcesses, they can be very dangerous to your body.
    Due to having eczema, blemishes, skin redness, candida, headaches, fatigue, joint and muscle pain, weakened immunity, constipation, and hormonal imbalances (and I’m only 27), I am currently on a total body detoxification – I’ve never felt or looked better!!! It’s been about 2 months so far. I’ve lost 20 lbs too.
    I have the help of a Holistic Nutritionist and Holistic Allergist, and a Naturopath.
    Some of the things I do everyday are: meditation, deep breathing and relaxation with a guided med. cd – this helps increase your immunity and helps to achieve more of an alkaline pH balance in your body to fight bacteria and viruses; I drink lot’s of filtered water, and a cup of mint green tea and dandelion tea; I’m taking “Candicleanse” herbs and enzymes to kill and flush the candida albicans out of my colon, and avoiding all natural and artificial sugars – so this means I only eat lean meats, flax seeds in organic unsweetened priobiotic yoghurt, some brown rice, almond butter, starch-free vegetables like brocoli, cauliflower, cucumber, leafy greens, tomato, avocado, onion, garlic, and celery. And I take a daily multi-vitamin, extra vitamin D, and some Omega3-6-9 oils.
    The effect on my skin, hormones, energy levels, and colon are incredible! I feel so good.
    Now I’m starting a new regimen to eliminate as many chemicals from my life as possible. I use baking soda and salt as a toothpaste, and floss everyday. I use only extra virgin olive oil on my skin and lips for moisturizing, and combine olive oil and sugar as a skin exfoliator. I shampoo and condition with as natural products that I can find, and only use them every few days. There’s a saying “If it’s not good for your stomach, it’s not good for your skin”….our bodies absord what we put on our skin, and studies show that many chemicals interfere with liver function and the absorption of viamins A and D in the liver. With all the pollution we breathe in and the chemicals we consume, no wonder our livers are working too hard causing us so many health issues.
    Because of the candida I will have to avoid refined sugar forever, and limit my intake of starch and sweet fruits…but it’s so worth it!
    If I can do it, anyone can, it just takes research and will-power!
    Good luck!

  • stankydanky

    lol that should read abundance. aww the techno perfecto of automatic corrections.

  • stankydanky

    how do you know your liver is congested if liver tests come out fine? i have suffered greatly from an redundancy of blackheads. no matter what i do, bust them, scrub them, treat them, leave them alone, they either never go away or always come back. i have acknowledged that around the same time this started occurring i was also enduring at least 2 tooth abscesses, still am. could this be part of the issue?

  • Hi Elias, have you joined my mini-course? It’s a great place to start –

    Make sure you’re having enough Essential Fatty Acids. So take some fish oil, flax seed oil, chia seed or hemp seed oil. Taking B5 will help with the oiliness but that’s not a long term solution. Changing your diet will definitely be the key.

  • Elias

    Hi, my name is Elias and i am 19 i have been dealing with acne for a couple of years now and my acne sometimes flares when i shave and believe i try and be careful as much as i can but my acne intensify, i use a 2 bladed razor and no alcohol shaving cream. But i believe the problem is bigger than that, i noticed i have very oily skin on top of my forehead and face what can i take internally and externally to get rid of the scaring and pimples on my face.

  • Carly

    the dandelion tea is bitter tasting. I add a table spoon of honey in it. I had stopped drinking it for a while and end up getting some eczema. so I am starting to drink it at night now. I don’t really know how long it takes to necessarily clean your liver completely. but it really helped improve my face immediately. It is a good choice for acne but you have to make sure your drinking a lot of water when your drinking it. because it will make you dehydrated if you are not drinking enough water as well.

  • Meg

    I am starting to think that my liver is conjested,…so maybe I’ll try the dandelion tea How does that taste? Doesn’t sound too good, but in any case I will see if my local health store has it and give it a try. How long does it take to cleanse the liver and know for sure whether or not the acne was really caused by that? I also think my acne is hormonal as well, I take fish oil supplements and evening primrose to try and balance my hormones without using the pill.

  • Carly

    Dandelion tea is the best for cleansing the liver. i drink this every morning with a teaspoon of local honey. If i even miss one day of this my face breaks out. the rest of my acne is probably hormone related. I had a really bad candida problem a couple of years ago, and it still occasionally get flare up now and again. sometime I would prefer to do a 3 day cleanse but i just haven’t made the time. does anyone recommend a good Colan cleanse.

  • Meg

    I see that from that chart that acne on the cheeks can be caused by the lungs. I have heard this before from my aesthetician who told me to quit smoking everytime I saw her. Well, I finally did, but that was a while ago…about a year ago and I still have breakouts in this area. Does that mean that it’s not due to my lungs and possibly due to hormones?

  • Orawan

    hi fran! i was just wondering if you could suggest any colon detoxifying methods. thankss!!

  • Eddie

    I think the more and more I look into it it seems my acne is become of my liver. I probbaly have a really overloaded liver. Sometime this month I am going to do a cleanse and hopefully that will help.

    Hey Fran I had a question for you..
    Is this the only acne website you have or do you have more? Because I keep coming across some websites that have your articles posted there. Hopefully they aren’t stealing your articles! People who steal other people’s material is so low. But anyways, was just wondering.

  • Nico, there used to be a great questionnaire on the body ecology diet website which was very thorough. They seem to have taken it down, so if you can find the book in a store, flick through the questionnaire in the front, it’s worth it.

  • fre3ze

    @ Nico

    This is one of the most common methods to find out if you have a candida overgrowth.

    First thing in the morning, before you put ANYTHING in your mouth, get a clear glass. Fill with water and work up a bit of saliva, then spit into the glass of water. Check the water every 15 minutes or so for up to one hour. If you have a candida yeast infection, you will see strings (like legs) traveling down into the water from the saliva floating on the top, or “cloudy” saliva will sink to the bottom of the glass, or cloudy specks will seem to be suspended in the water. If there are no stings and the saliva is still floating after at least one hour, you are probably candida yeast free.

  • Nico

    I still wonder how to know that you have candida overgrowth? Do you can do a test or something?

  • Luckily I’ve never had problems with my skin but I enjoy reading your blog because it’s so well done and you include loads of interesting and useful information.

    In response to Leah – the best way for looking after your liver is to try not to eat processed foods and fizzy drinks.
    Fruits, particularly purple and red ones and sulphur containing foods; broccoli, nuts, brussels sprouts, seeds- particularly flax, sunflower and pumpkin, cabbage, Kohlrabi, cauliflower and turnips are good. Sprinkling lecithin on your salads can also help. Dandelion is a powerful liver stimulant and detoxifier so drinking dandelion tea may help.

  • Leah

    A part of me always felt my probelms stemmed from my liver, and I have no idea why I always felt that way. Looking at this chart now, I can definitley see it’s a bit of my natural teenage acne (though I am at the end of my teen years) and my liver.

    As far as my liver goes, do you have any recs for cleansing the liver?

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