You’ve known how often I’ve spoken about acne since my very first posts. Be it fighting acne up on the skin surface or dealing with it emotionally. Acne seemed like an intrinsic condition that I battled from my teenage till I turned at least 22. With lots of topical creams, soaps, a chemical peel session & home remedies suggested by relatives; I tried them all. But a common conclusion that I made peace with was that, the solution was NEVER a permanent one. There’s a lot into understanding acne & so today we have Deepa Kannan to tell us about adult acne treatment which neither antibiotics nor topical solutions can permanently cure.

Hold On!

Before you think this post is to put you down & you head over to the BACK button, here’s a perfect guide by a sufferer of acne. She shares with you a sequential solution that you will call the BEST ACNE TREATMENT you’d give yourself. Trust us!

Deepa is a certified nutritionist & practitioner & has herself predominantly dealt with acne a long time ago in her life. Here’s a warm welcome to FITBEWELL, Deepa.

Why antibiotics & topical solutions don't help your acne

I’ve suffered from some form of acne or the other pretty much from the time I can remember! Didn’t your Mom ever tell you that you’ll never have skin issues since she never did? So, did you believe her? I did! Well, guess what? It’s not true! My mother never had any skin troubles & I suffered constantly with acne, urticaria, eczema & more. The first thing that I ask a client today who suffers from acne is, how s(he) feels emotionally & mentally about it.


Because your mindset is crucial & can be a major reason behind acne aggravation. I felt emotionally drained & mentally distraught at my acne.

Acne Treatment : A ‘magical’ vanity?

There were mornings before school when I would wake up to new eruptions. I would apply everything from turmeric to acne creams. I expected these ways of acne treatment to make it magically subside, which of course, they never did. Sometimes I would pop them, which is absolutely the worst thing to do. I was left scarred – both physically & emotionally. Some days, I would miss school, because it was too much to face the world.

Does any of this resonate with you at some level? I’m telling you all this to assure you that there is hope.

Today, when someone compliments me over my clear skin, I smile internally. And I’m so grateful for going through that pain, for it made me understand all that did not work for acne, before I understood what ACTUALLY works for acne. Stay with me, as we go through it.

Are Antibiotics an effective acne treatment option?

Acne has deep root causes, and to think that it can be zapped magically into oblivion through topical creams or chemical treatments is far-fetched! If you’ve been to a dermatologist, chances are that they’ve prescribed a long course of antibiotics & some form of topical creams.

Do you really need medication for acne?

Well, you may want to know what’s hitting you up when you go for antibiotics to treat your acne.

  1. Antibiotics cause damage to your gut. And gradually, your immunity collapses. That’s because so much of your immune system is located within your gut. Not just that. Multiple deficiencies, liver congestion & mental symptoms put you at a risk of recurrent infections & autoimmune attacks. 
  2. Isotretinoin, which is used often for acne, has a whole lot of side effects. These can be mental symptoms of anger, depressed immune function, fatigue, exhaustion, oxidative stress, urticaria, blood sugar issues, dry eyes, increased cholesterol, join pains, liver impact & impact to the brain. These are things which nobody is going to ever tell about while prescribing you these treatments.

Topical Solutions – An elusive Acne treatment?

If you’re someone who always wants to stay away from antibiotics & chemicals, it might have also frustrated you real hard that face packs & home remedies didn’t help you much either in clearing your acne.

In fact, in my case, the more I applied them on my face, be it turmeric, Neem or Sandalwood, the worse my eruptions got over the next few days. If you’ve ever searched the shelves for that magical promise of acne cure (like I did!) you might have discovered attractive (& often convincing too!) herbal face packs promising clear skin. I must admit, I tried them all!

They would pull out things from deep within my skin, & create new eruptions. The fact is, that nothing worked for me. It was depressing, frustrating & deeply unnerving for a young girl at an age when every one should feel their best. 

Now, here’s something I want to explain about how this works (or doesn’t).

The reason acne creams & any kind of topical medication don’t work to fight acne, albeit perhaps temporarily, is that acne has multiple root causes.

I’ve been ACNE-FREE for many years now, unaffected by every change; including my menstrual cycle.

How I did this!

All that I addressed was my body, through FOOD & LIFESTYLE.

I healed my gut. I solved constipation & supported my digestion. This consequently reduced overall chronic inflammation, improved my ability to DETOXIFY, balanced my hormones & regulated my cycle. Thereafter, I also learnt to manage my STRESS.

The truth is SIMPLE.

If you clear up your body, acne cannot exist!

You must have heard me say this before; but any infection or symptom only exists in a terrain of IMBALANCE. If you clean this up, acne will call it quits. It doesn’t involve any medication like Isotretinoin with side effects. It basically just involves FOOD

How to Address your GUT

Addressing your gut is crucial, since your gut is at the centre of all health.

Going by common sense, when you observe any symptoms of digestive distress, you aim at identifying the foods that trigger these & avoid them. Right?

  • Support your GUT HEALTH with lots of plant foods, fermented foods & clean proteins. YES. There can be problems for omnivores & vegans. If you are an omnivore & do not have access to grass-fed clean animal proteins, then farmed meat could absolutely trigger hormonal fluctuations & acne. Yet, at the same time if you are vegan, & have low levels of collagen or collagen-synthesizing foods, then that can also prevent your skin from repairing itself. 
  • Detoxification is critical to acne. If your body is not detoxifying through normal channels of detoxification, then chances are high that your body will try to detoxify via your skin. I know so many people who think that no such thing as detoxification exists. And that’s so untrue. Everyone needs to be able to detoxify efficiently in order for most systems in the body to work properly. Acne is just a sign that this process is impaired in some way. This is also the reason that topical treatments are of no use in the long run. All that you will be doing is addressing the symptoms & not the root cause.
  • And there are so many more connections between your ability to detoxify & your acne. If you do not detoxify, your hormones will be imbalanced. Estrogen metabolites stay within your body & raise Estrogen levels leading to imbalance in your hormones. That can lead to cycle-related flares in your acne. 

Acne Treatment: How Detoxification works

Now, the moment I get a pimple, I know that something is off balance. If you have acne, I’d strongly suggest that you start to observe if any foods upset your digestion. Avoid them or ask yourself how you can improve the situation. Trust me. It all begins there!

  1. See whether your bowel movements are regular, hassle-free & good enough. If not, add more fibre to your diet.
  2. Stay away from dairy which can possibly be a big trigger for acne.
  3. See that you are NOT Fat-free. If you are fat-phobic & are avoiding fats, then that can also disturb your hormones. Make sure you drag healthy fats like avocados into your diet.
  4. Finally, see that you have ways to deal with stress & improve your digestion. Raised Cortisol can also cause acne & prevent healing.
  5. Sleep well. Sleep for 8 hours (which is not beyond 10 p.m) Your liver rejuvenates at night, & you need to be in deep sleep by 11 p.m. This sets your Circadian rhythm right.
  6. For topical use, just try pasted nutmeg or tea tree oil dabbed delicately to dry out your acne. Remember though, that if you don’t address the root causes, anything applied on your skin can make it even worse. Most of all, stay calm & love yourself, as your mindset is the difference between stressing & healing! 🙂

Have you struggled with or have been battling acne day in & day out? We’d like to know & help. Let us know in the comments.


Deepa Kannan is a Yoga Acharya for over two decades, a Functional Nutritionist and a Certified Food & Spirit Practitioner. She brings together two decades of her experience in therapeutic & transformational Yoga and deep learning in Functional Medicine Nutrition to her practice Phytothrive. Functional Medicine has been listed as the No.1 trend for 2019 by the Forbes magazine and is at the forefront of cutting edge healthcare today. Phytothrive focuses on merging together the deep rationality of the Functional Medicine world with the deep symbolism of Yoga and the Food & Spirit system. She brings together the masterful understanding of the human anatomy with cohesive understanding of Physiology to offer what can be classified as true bio-individual mind, body & spirit nutrition.

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