acne case history

The Client Files – Acne – Poppy’s Story

acne case history


Poppy was referred to me by her facialist. Self-assured and organised, we corresponded for a bit before she came for her first appointment. She had suffered from bad facial acne for several years. As a teenager she had been put on antibiotics to help clear it, but the effects hadn’t lasted. Much worse when she was stressed, she had been trying blue light treatments and facials but really wanted to get control of the problem now she was in her late 20s.

Skin and the Gut

We started talking about her digestion and she revealed occasional bloating and that she avoided dairy because it gave her eczema as a child, bread, wine with sulphites in and fizzy drinks because they really affected her
Her diet was quite good, but she tended to drink a lot of orange squash as she preferred the taste to plain water.

We started by improving Poppy’s diet through increasing the variety of foods she ate, adding in fermented foods and taking out any sugar. She started to include more soluble fibre from foods like chia seeds, flax seeds, fruits and vegetables, and increased foods containing zinc such as chickpeas and cashew nuts. Instead of starting her day with coffee, she adopted my favourite morning pick-me-up of hot water with lemon, grated ginger and turmeric – a drink I call the ‘GLT’. We also decided to use a stool test to examine how healthy her gut was.

Four weeks later we had the results of the GI test, which found reduced fat absorption, along with an imbalanced microbiome, with raised levels of potentially pathogenic bacteria, insufficient beneficial bacteria, high levels of beta-glucuronidase, but low levels of short chain fatty acids and n-butyrate. This gave me quite a lot to work with!

We needed to get rid of the harmful bacteria while encouraging the beneficial strains. This means working on increasing the sources of short chain fatty acids and butyrate, which provide food for the beneficial bacteria to feed off.

Beta-glucuronidase is another interesting result. It’s an enzyme that helps break down complex carboydrates. But if you have too much of it, it starts interfering with hormones in the body and stops them from being excreted.

Finally, reduced fat absorption may sound like a good thing if you are trying to lose weight, but we actually need to absorb fats well so that we absorb the fat soluble vitamins and minerals. Not absorbing fats well may mean someone is likely to be deficient in vitamins A and D, both very important for skin health.

We carried on with the gut healing diet and brought in some supplements to help rebalance the microbiome.

Skin and Inflammation

Poppy had increased her fish intake and variety of vegetables. She was definitely missing the sugar, but was generally feeling a lot more energetic. She was also making a lot of green juices to drink and had given up the fruit squash. There was a difference in her skin already. The inflammation had come right down and it was now at the scar phase, rather than being constantly inflamed.

4 weeks later and we had arranged a telephone conversation. Poppy contacted me to say she wanted to make the journey to come in to the clinic instead as she really wanted to show me how much her skin had improved! The breakouts had almost completely stopped. The facialist was thrilled and was moving her on to scar repair sessions. Poppy had also made the connection between stress and how her skin responded, so she was actively working on stress reduction techniques by doing yoga and taking up meditation when she remembered. We added in some bone broth and miso soup.

A New Job?

2 months later and she looked like a different person. Her confidence levels were high and she had decided to make the move and find another job – a move she would never have considered before when her skin was bad. The sweet cravings could be bad just before her periods, but we discussed ways to control them. She was continuing to take some supplements that targeted clear skin but felt totally in control of how her skin reacted now.

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