Treating Acne From the Inside, with Howard Murad, MD



June is Acne Awareness Month, and for good reason: Acne is the most common skin disorder in the United States, affecting 60 million Americans at any one time, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). In fact, nearly 80 percent of us will experience some form of acne during our lifetime. So what’s a girl to do? 
 
Think beyond topical solutions. “Healthy skin is a reflection of overall wellness,” says Howard Murad, MD, FAAD. “When the body is at optimal health, the skin will follow suit.”
 
Although best known for his eponymous skincare line, Dr. Murad follows an inclusive health philosophy. For an acne-free complexion, he recommends looking at skincare as full body care—including internal, external and emotional elements:
 
Eat Your Water
Consuming greasy foods or chocolate will not cause acne, but overall proper nutrition is important for healthy skin. By eating water through raw fruits and vegetables—Goji berries and pomegranates are particularly good—you will not only hydrate your cells, but also feed your complexion with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories.
  
Consume Healthy Oils
Many people with acne think that drying out their skin is the best way to prevent oil overproduction. That’s a myth. When you dry out your skin it actually creates and overproduction of oil, making acne worse. Oily skin needs moisture—just the right kind. Foods such as eggs, salmon, black cod, and walnuts contain healthy oils that keep the complexion well-nourished and prevent the skin from drying out and breaking out.
  
Practice Conscientious Hygiene
Many people put thought into selecting the best cleanser, moisturizer and treatments for their face but forget about other products that constantly touch the skin. Frequently change your pillowcases and towels, replace makeup sponges and sterilize powder brushes to prevent bacteria from flourishing.
 
Get Plenty of Rest
The concept of beauty sleep is real. When you are sleeping, the skin goes into a much-needed repair cycle. At night, your body refreshes cells, restores skin elasticity, and even helps you maintain an ideal weight. Eight hours of sleep a night is the best medicine for skin.
  
Exercise Regularly
Exercise nourishes the skin with oxygen, fresh blood and nutrients, and improves the body’s endocrine function, leaving the skin looking and feeling better. Sweating is a great way to flush out toxins trapped in the skin and the movement helps bring oxygen to the top layers of your skin.
 
Engage In a Strong Emotional Health Routine
Both teenage and adult acne are often caused and exacerbated by cultural stress, generated by a fast-paced, hectic lifestyle. Stress can contribute to the nervous and endocrine systems becoming over-stimulated, increasing the prevalence of acne symptoms. Maintaining a healthy connection to yourself, your loved ones and your friends while tuning out negativity will nurture the psyche and in turn, improve your skin’s outward appearance.”

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