Is Low Stomach Acid the Cause of Your Acne?

By Caitlyn Hynes April 16, 2015

I’ve struggled with acne all throughout college and it has been the source of much of my self-confidence problems. When my peers’ skin was finally clearing up, mine was out of control and it made me so uncomfortable in my own skin. I’ve been to dermatologists and tried every topical treatment there is. Some have helped for a bit, my acne would always return. I’ve been on a mission to clear my skin for several years and I think I’ve finally figured out how to heal mine from the inside out!

There can be many different causes and it’s hard to pinpoint the exact problem on our acne because each person’s body is different, but research suggests that the health of our gut may play a more significant role than previously thought.

A 2011 study linked stomach acidity and stress to a variety of skin conditions, including acne. Upon doing more research on the study, I discovered I had some of the tell tale signs of a gut that’s not in balance – poor digestion, bad breath and bloating. I had wondered where these things came from since I ate healthy, exercised and drank plenty of water. It seemed like low stomach acidity could be the answer!

When your stomach acid is low or off balance it can encourage bacteria to over produce and cause acne on the skin. Stomach acid, or gastric acid, helps protect our stomachs by maintaining a proper pH balance and breaking down food properly. Too little (or too much) can change how your stomach processes food and nutrients. Although our bodies need bacteria for proper digestion, too much of it can shut down stomach acid production and throw your body, including your skin, off balance.

SEE MORE: 7 Foods for Better Skin

Luckily there are a few easy ways to help re-balance your stomach acid and stop the cycle of acne. My first test was with apple cider vinegar, a cult classic. I noticed that when I drank 1-2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with about a cup of water, my digestion improved, bloating stopped and within a few days new acne stopped appearing. I paired this with taking a probiotic in the evening to make sure that everything stayed balanced.

I can’t tell you how happy I was to wake up one morning and see my existing acne healing and no new breakouts! It was not an overnight transformation, but my skin is slowly balancing out as I take care of my body in a more holistic way.

Some people can’t stomach the taste of apple cider vinegar, but luckily there are other options. Experts suggest:

-Lowering your intake of grains as these can sometime aid bacteria production in the gut.
-Take a Hydrochloric acid with pepsin pill to help rebalance your system.
-Make sure that you stay away from foods that you know cause a reaction in your system, like sugar or any allergies.

The fact that my acne could be caused by something internal imbalance seems so logical now, but I used to simply treat the surface without addressing the root cause. Take the opportunity to talk to your doctor about your gut health, and see if you have any imbalances that may be throwing off your skins health!

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