There are many causes for pimples, especially the huge, red, and inflamed ones that make you want to sit and home and hide from the world…
Today I’d like to discuss inflammation and insulin resistance as two huge culprits in making your skin suck.
1.What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation is when your body is fighting off some kind of intruder, it’s trying to keep you safe from bacteria and illness. The intruder gets attacked by the body’s immune system.
We attribute acne to p.acnes bacteria, but studies show that though acne may be present in the skin, it’s actually inflammation (your body’s immune response) that makes the pimples red and swollen – specifically chronic inflammation.
When your immune system is healthy it reacts in a normal way. So when your healthy immune system comes up against p.acne bacteria – a tiny threat – the response is also tiny, but large enough to eradicate the threat.
NEW IN 2017!
When your immune system is wacky and overexcited it becomes trigger-happy and attacks at even the slightest provocation. That’s why it’s even possible to get red and swollen pimples without any p.acnes bacteria present, all because your body is reacting the slightest provocation like sebum oxidation. This happens when a sebum clog is formed in the pore, and your immune system attacks it with all it’s might, turning a tiny clog into a full-blown, painful cyst!
There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation protects you, while chronic inflammation hurts you.
When you get a cold, you might experience fatigue, drowsiness, weak and aching muscles and that’s acute inflammation signaling you to stay in bed and let the body recover.
Or when you get a cut, you experience swelling/bruising – an acute inflammatory response where the body sends in white blood cells and cytokines to protect you and heal the damage.
This is a good thing because without inflammation, you’d never let your body recover from the injury – you’d probably go to the gym instead of healing from the cold.
But what if your body is behaving as though it’s constantly under attack? What if you’re always experiencing inflammation and you don’t even know it?
It’s real and silent and its name is chronic inflammation. It usually creeps up on you when your body can’t put up with your bad food and lifestyle decisions…
Chronic inflammation needs to be managed otherwise you can expect worse red flags than just pimples…
2.What Is Insulin Resistance?
Insulin is one of the most important acne-related hormones, so getting your insulin levels under control is paramount for clear skin.
I’d say that it’s impossible to have clear skin and also be insulin resistant…
Insulin controls your blood sugar. Every time you eat sugar, or carb-heavy foods, they turn into glucose through digestion and cause in influx of sugar in your blood. This raises your blood sugar, telling your pancreas to release insulin.
The insulin tells the cells in your body to take up glucose from your blood as energy, thereby normalizing your blood sugar. The glucose gets turned into glycogen in your muscles and liver for later use…
But most of us eat far too much sugar and processed carbs and exercise too little to even begin to use up the energy that our body stores as glycogen…
The more sugar and carbs you eat, the more insulin you body has to release to get rid of the excess glucose in the blood by turning it into glycogen…
But when your glycogen stores get full, they are unable to accept any more glycogen and become insulin resistant to stop the insulin from trying to push any more glycogen into the stores.
The insulin resistance gets increasingly worse the more sugar/carbs you eat…
Why should you care?
Higher insulin levels cause higher sebum production and worse skin. Normal levels of sebum are healthy, but if you begin to overproduce sebum, you are more likely to experience blockages inside pores which are the perfect breeding grounds for p.acnes bacteria.
Increased insulin levels also make your sebaceous glands more sensitive to androgens, hormones touted for causing acne.
Too much sugar creates a lose/lose situation for your health and your skin.
Excessive sebum production AND chronic inflammation are a recipe for disaster because now every little clog gets attacked by your immune system causing pimple on top of red pimple…
What One Thing Can Lower Inflammation and Increase Insulin Sensitivity?
The holy grail hack to lower inflammation, increase insulin sensitivity and improve your skin, while also increasing lean muscle mass, increasing mitochondrial volume, better gene expression, 53% reduction in triglyceride accumulation, and even enhancement of endurance and coordination during aerobic exercise is…
Time-Restricted Feeding (TRF)
Time-Restricted Feeding is a powerful phenomenon that is becoming increasingly well-studied with replicated results. It is not the same as a calorie-restricted diet. You do not need to count calories to get the benefits of Time-Restricted Feeding.
In this case, what you eat and how much you eat are secondary to WHEN you eat. I don’t want to discount the importance of eating a high-quality diet…What you eat still matters, but this one hack goes beyond that…
TRF means eating within a particular window of time – within 8-12 hours. This means that all your meals fall inside that window of time because it turns out, your body isn’t just on a circadian clock…
Your liver has it’s own clock when it comes to feeding, and it’s really important to follow this clock, otherwise you risk your health and real metabolic damage.
The first sip of coffee in the morning, or even lemon water will start your liver’s clock. After that time you have 8-12 hours to eat all your meals.
Let’s say you start eating at 7:30 in the morning, after you wake up. That means you should be finished eating dinner at 7:30 pm at the latest.
The other thing to understand is that you are most sensitive to insulin first thing in the morning. Your body is primed to receive calories. In the evening your body is most insulin insensitive…
Most people eat a small breakfast, a medium sized lunch, and a HUGE meal before bedtime…An order that makes no sense if you consider your hormones and activity levels.
Food is meant for energy, not for entertainment. Your body will not be able to use up all of your dinner’s energy when you go to sleep…Which ties in with insulin resistance and inflammation.
But Time-Restricted Feeding helps all this by lowering inflammation, improving insulin sensitivity, lowering fat while increasing lean muscle mass, and increasing mitochondrial volume – all of which improve your skin.
Technically, you can still eat crappy food – but at least do it in a 8-12 hour window to reap the benefits.
This is the easiest hack to implement for clearer skin and better health overall.
Before I learned about TRF, I snacked like a pro…I would start around 11:30 pm and eat until as late as 3 am. I’d fill up on empty, carb-rich calories, and then go to sleep.
Unsurprisingly, I experienced extremely oily skin and lot’s of pimples. I also found my metabolism slowed down, and I thought it was because I got older…HA!
I credit Time-Restricted Feeding for improving my skin in a HUGE way, btu I also feel like I have more energy, and my muscle definition has improved too, and the fat just melted off my body without me needing to starve myself or kill myself at the gym (I don’t do either).
The great thing about skin is that it shows us when we aren’t making the right decisions for our bodies…So it’s important to watch for the signs.
Pimples, fatigue, sluggishness, slowed metabolism, and super oily skin can all be signs of increased inflammation and insulin resistance – but now you know how to fix it.
P.S. I’ve shared my best 28 hacks for clear skin in my 28 Days Of Clear Skin video series. You can sign up to get every single hack in your inbox here!