Holistic Acne Care

At Replete Wellness we understand that your skin is a reflection of your inner health and beauty. Acne is one of the more frequent health complaints that bring women of all ages to see Dr. Sarah in her clinical practice. Although acne can seem impossible to treat, it is actually surprisingly easy to see fast and lasting results with a cleaned up diet and customized natural medicine protocol that addresses the root cause of your skin concerns.

Acne is a signal that something you’re doing in your day-to-day life really isn’t working for you and is creating disharmony within your body. A Replete approach to skin care begins with functional lab testing to uncover the imbalances that are at the root of your acne. All humans are unique and there are many causes of acne, which is why it’s so important to test and see what specifically is causing your skin problems. Functional testing is further individualized to each patient so that Dr. Sarah can come up with an effective treatment plan to address the root cause of your unique skin issues. Your treatment plan is entirely personalized based on what’s causing your acne to give you lasting results. The following most common causes of acne and will be discussed and tested to see if they’re contributing to your breakouts then systematically addressed through your visits at Replete Wellness until your skin is clear for good:


  • Dietary causes: Dairy and sugar cause a spike in IGF-1 which causes your skin to produce excess oil and also increases systemic inflammation. At Replete wellness we’ll help you clean up your diet to reduce inflammation and clear up your skin. This can either be done through a strategic elimination diet (don’t worry, we provide lots of recipes and support) or a food sensitivity test to determine which foods are specifically bothering your skin.
  • Hormone imbalance: Acne can be caused by elevated Androgens (male hormones), deficient female hormones (usually progesterone) or a hormonal condition called PCOS which is caused by elevated androgens, increased inflammation and insulin resistance. Functional testing along with a comprehensive intake will help us determine is your acne is due to a hormonal imbalance and we’ll provide you with a customized hormonal health protocol to clear up your skin from the inside out.
  • Inflammation: Inflammation in the skin leads to an increase in glycoproteins IL-6, IL-8, IL-12 & IL-17 which encourages the growth of acne-causing bacteria on the skin. Increased levels of P. acnes bacteria then causes the immune system to secrete even more inflammatory glycoproteins resulting in even more inflammation and even more acne … you can see how this could become a problem …
  • Stress: Increased cortisol (stress hormone) levels leads to increased sebum thickness in the pores of the skin causing it to be oiler and more prone to acne. Mindfulness and mindset can be important when it comes to achieving beautiful radiant skin and you may be prescribed some nutritional, lifestyle and supplement support to help you regulate cortisol levels for beautiful healthy skin.
  • Insulin dysregulation: This is one of the most important hormones to focus on when it comes to acne since it becomes very difficult to clear your skin if your blood sugar levels are out of balance. Insulin resistance can be determined through very cheap and easy blood work and can be fixed with some fairly simple diet and lifestyle changes. You can check out our article on blood sugar and skin health to learn more about how high insulin levels impact acne.
  • Impaired hormone metabolism: 5-alpha-reductase is an enzyme that converts testosterone to a hormonal byproduct called DHT. This is important when it comes to the health of your skin since high DHT levels are linked to cystic acne and greater levels of 5-alpha-reductase have been seen on the skin of acne sufferers. If you suspect that your acne is caused by a hormonal imbalance Dr. Sarah may discuss the possibility of running a DUTCH comprehensive hormone test. The advantage of this specialized urine test is that it measures both parent hormones and metabolites. Metabolites are an important addition to your overall hormone picture since they can help us to understand what underlying pathology is causing your hormones to become imbalanced in the first place. For example, this test will tell us whether or not there is a problem with 5-alpha-reductase & DHT conversion, as discussed above. As an added bonus DUTCH testing can also look at stress hormones and sleep hormones, giving you the most complete picture of your overall health.