Gluten is present in many of the foods we eat, so if you are a person who is sensitive to gluten, it won't really matter what you do to try and clear up your acne, because if it's actually attributable to gluten, nothing will work very well until you cut out gluten itself.
Acne is caused by a combination of blood sugar issues and chronic inflammation on the skin tissues. These issues, in turn, cause hormonal reactions which cause increased production of sebum, blocking pores and spawning excessive growth of the bacteria which cause acne.
There are a couple of different ways that gluten can contribute to and exacerbate conditions which generate acne. Gluten can damage tissue in the small intestine and can promote nutritional deficiencies which ultimately lead to increased production of toxins in the body. There's another link between acne and gluten, in the inflammation which can be triggered by gluten issues.
People who are sensitive to gluten have difficulty with digesting it, and as a result, their bodies absorb protein molecules which have been incompletely digested. When the immune system discovers these half-digested protein molecules, it considers them to be invaders. One of the typical responses of the immune system to invaders is to release histamines, which produce inflammation, and that inflammation triggers greater resistance to insulin in all the surrounding cells.
It's this insulin resistance which causes blood sugar problems, and those blood sugar problems have powerful ties to acne. If flare-ups of gluten sensitivity happen only occasionally, the body can manage, but when gluten is ingested several times a day, it can cause inflammation to be triggered in virtually any location around the body. When this happens, cells anywhere in the body can suddenly become insulin resistant, and acne can be produced virtually anywhere.
Since very few people are aware of their own sensitivity to gluten, they are also not aware that their acne might be triggered by gluten sensitivity. As a matter fact, very few people are even aware that there's any kind of connection between gluten and acne, so they would never think to make the connection in the first place.
Another factor which makes this very much a hidden connection is the fact that gluten is included in so many of the foods we eat without us being aware of it. This is not at all surprising since most people exhibit no observable signs that you would think to connect to gluten. Since the immune system does not release standard antibodies after being exposed to gluten, it will not show up anywhere on standardized allergy tests.
Your best hope for recognizing gluten sensitivity is to go to a doctor who specializes in sensitivity detection so that special tests can be administered and evaluated. It is estimated that somewhere close to 40% of the entire U.S. population is actually sensitive to gluten, but the percentage of people who are aware of that sensitivity is far, far less.
Most of the time, people can avoid being exposed to unwanted substances simply by reading the labels on foods purchased in stores, but that's not the case with gluten. You can do yourself a big favor by avoiding pastries, breads, and all kinds of pasta because these are some of the most common sources of gluten.
However, gluten can also be found in such staples as cheese and butter as well as teriyaki sauce. It is estimated that 90% of all foods available in a typical grocery store may contain glutens, and this makes it virtually impossible to completely avoid them, or to eliminate them from your diet.
As a rule of thumb, the only foods you can be fairly certain of not containing glutens are raw foods, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, and those foods which are clearly labeled as gluten-free. Anything else is suspect. Believe it or not, foods aren’t even the only source of gluten in your life, because gluten can also be contained in toothpaste, shampoos, lipstick, and even the capsules which contain your nutritional supplements.
If you really want to make a concerted effort to avoid gluten, try to reduce processed foods from your diet as much as possible, and don't purchase personal care products which are made with chemical components.
If you somehow become suspicious or even reasonably sure that your persistent acne is being caused by gluten, you can take some steps to try to break the connection between gluten and the outbreaks on your skin. The first step is obviously to avoid all gluten to the greatest extent possible, both in processed foods and in chemical-based personal care products. If you're successful at doing this, your immune system will not be triggered as powerfully, and the inflammation will not be generated all over your body.
The second important step you can take is to try to achieve a state where you are less sensitive to gluten then you have been in the past. One big step in this direction is to try to heal your digestive tract, so that inflammation doesn't take such a big toll on you. Even if you never entirely conquer gluten sensitivity, it may be enough for you to significantly reduce it, so that your body's immune system doesn't have that same strong response.
The way to develop a healthy digestive tract is to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. The bacteria in your digestive tract depends largely on the kinds of food that you ingest, so if you emphasize raw fruits and vegetables, you'll have healthy bacteria there. On the other hand, if you eat processed foods, sugar, and meats, the bacteria dominating your digestive tract will be much less healthy. There are a couple supplements which can help you in your efforts to achieve a healthier digestive tract, one of these being probiotics, which help populate the gut with the right kind of bacteria. Antioxidants can also add some level of support in this same area.
Drinking plenty of fluids and maintaining a regular program of vigorous exercise will contribute strongly toward a healthy lifestyle. In order to reduce inflammation, and to help to break the connection between gluten and acne, it will be absolutely essential to eat the right foods and engage in the right kind of activities. The same kinds of healthy foods and healthy lifestyle which help to promote a healthy digestive tract, are what you need to reduce inflammation as well.
The good thing about this is that you can literally achieve both objectives by following a single course of action. There's no question that it will take you a while in order for diet and lifestyle changes to take effect in your body, so some degree of patience will be called for in addition to a strong commitment to the program.
In the meantime, the gluten-triggered acne can be helped immensely by daubing castor oil topically on lesions before you go to bed. Castor oil is recognized as something of a wonder oil in its cleansing properties, and it has been shown to be at least moderately effective in controlling acne caused by gluten sensitivity.
It will also help in your quest to achieve a healthy digestive tract and lower inflammation, if you get plenty of sleep, absorb as much sunshine as you can, and avoid stress as much as possible. By doing all these things, you can lower your sensitivity to gluten, and help to break the connection between gluten and acne.