Why try Bitters for acne?
(First of all, we aren’t talking about Swedish Bitters – they are not the same! Swedish Bitters contains the laxative herb senna, and that is not what we’re going for here.)
Many of you by now are aware there’s a gut-skin connection, in addition to a hormone-skin connection when it comes to acne, especially the really stubborn, adult kind.
Gut issues and acne
Problems in the gut that can exacerbate/create acne include:
- A gut bacteria imbalance due to a history of antibiotics, birth control or other prescription meds.
- Low stomach acid. Did you know that after the age of 30 our stomach acid levels decline? And stress also decreases stomach acid production. Less stomach acid makes it harder to digest food which increases the potential for leaky gut and inflammation which can show as acne on the skin.
- A diet high in gluten, dairy, processed foods and carbs. These foods create a significant inflammatory response in the gut.
How can you tell if your acne is caused by hormones or by gut issues?
If you answered yes to any of the below questions, your acne likely may have a gut component. (To check if your acne is hormonal, you can take our hormonal acne quiz here)
- Are you currently on antibiotics, birth control or other meds or have you come off of these meds in the past year?
- Do you have other symptoms of gut distress such as bloating, mental fogginess, or digestive issues?
- Do you have signs of Candida overgrowth – a white coating on the tongue, sugar cravings, UTIs/yeast infections, anal itching?
- Known or possible food allergies or intolerances?
How does Bitters help acne caused by gut inflammation?
It helps in two ways.
First of all, it help to increase digestive “fire” (basically encouraging the release of stomach acid) allowing us to breakdown our food better, reducing the chance of leaky gut and subsequent inflammation that will show up on the skin as acne.
Second of all, it helps to emulsify (ie, increases absorption of) key healthy skin fats like vitamin A and Omega fatty acids. These are absolutely crucial for clear skin, but often, even though we are supplementing with them, they are not dissolving or absorbing properly, so Bitters can really amp up their effectiveness.
Will Bitters help with any gut issues?
Yes and no. If you answered yes to the first question about birth control or antibiotics, Bitters will help, but in addition to increased stomach acid what your body ALSO needs for proper digestion is a robust microbiome since bacteria in your gut actually perform digestive actions, so adding probiotics to your supplemental regimen will provide a more complete healing picture.
Will Bitters help acne issues caused by Candida overgrowth?
If you suspect you have a Candida imbalance, it is recommended to do a Candida cleanse to fully resolve the issue. Candida can be notoriously difficult to bring back under control (it is natural to have a small amount of Candida in your gut; the issues arise when it grows out of control). We are launching a Candida cleanse specifically focused on clearing acne here.
What Bitters brand is best?
We recommend one of these: