Why does my skin look clear when I'm sick? why does my skin clear up when I’m sick? A scientist reveals the 3 key reasons why.

Why Does My Skin Clear Up When I’m Sick?

In Acne, Oily/Combination Skincare Advice by Cheryl Woodman MChemLeave a Comment

“I knew I was sickly as my skin was starting to look really good… I’ve suffered from spots all my life (I’m 27 now) and I always notice that any time I have a cold or am run down that my skin clears up quite a bit.

It’s no longer as oily and the spots clear up quite a bit too. Do you know why this is? I mean I obviously don’t want to be sick just for the sake of clearer skin but I wish I knew if I could safely duplicate whatever happens and apply it while being healthy!”

The answer to this question is so, so important. Because heck yes, your skin can often clear up when you’re sick. When I had acne, it happened to me and I see it over and over again in my acne clinic clients.

Wonderful clients, who ask me – why is my skin so clear when I’m so sick?

So I thought it was about time for today’s new blog – why does my skin clear up when I’m sick?

My friend, in my scientific opinion there are 3 key reasons why. Here’s exactly what you need to know plus exactly what you need to do to ‘safely duplicated whatever happens and apply it while being healthy!’.

Let’s get to this…

Why does my skin look clear when I'm sick? why does my skin clear up when I’m sick? A scientist reveals the 3 key reasons why.

1. Breakouts and Acne Clear Because Your Immune System Switches to High

You’re sick, you feel awful and you have no energy. All you want to do is curl up in bed and hire a live-in mum for the week.  All your energy’s getting eaten up by your body’s immune function. Your body’s sensing a danger.

An invader.

Something that’s not natural for your body to be around.

And so it’s pressed the big red panic button.

Your immune system panic button.

The red lights are swirling, the alarms so shrill your ears are bleeding and all you can do is rest.

This immune activation is a number one reason in my scientific opinion for why your skin can clear up when you’re sick.

Let me talk you through this step by step.

A key trigger for your acne breakouts is an infection that’s right now happening inside your pores.

See normally you have lots of healthy happy bacteria living in your pores. They do things like helping to keep your skin hydrated and even helping to anti-age your skin. They’re so special and so important.

But right now as you have spots and breakouts, you have an imbalance of bacteria living inside your pore. Specifically, a bacteria known as C.acnes. You have too much C.acnes.

It’s a C.acnes rave right now.

And so your immune system has switched on in this tiny area of your skin to try to isolate and then heal this infection.

To do this your body causes redness and inflammation – which is exactly what a spot is.

Psst – cystic breakouts are a sign of extreme immune activation because there’s an extreme level of inflammation and redness.

Often this healing process can take time — weeks and sometimes even months.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could hurry along your immune system?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could turn up your immune system to high temporarily?

You’ve guessed it my friend – that’s exactly what being sickly can do. That is exactly why your skin can clear up when you’re sick.

See this science quote here…

Inflammation is a biological response of the immune system that prevents, limits, and repairs damage by invading pathogens or endogenous biomolecules. Although acute inflammation is a transient inflammatory response and is beneficial to the organism, a persistent inflammatory response is associated with tissue dysfunction and pathology.Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Basis Dis. 2020 Oct 1;1866(10):165823

Pwoar – that’s a load of science gook right there eh. Good job you’ve got me by your side 🙂 your friendly, normal-talking scientist bud.

What this science gook’s telling us is when your immune system is switched on it’s causing inflammation and that ultimately this inflammation helps heal and repair damage to your skin. It’s mindbending because short bursts of potent inflammation are anti-inflammatory and healing long-term.

This fab anti-inflammatory action happens because your immune system’s killing off ‘invading inflammatory pathogens’ i.e. the overgrowth of C.acnes inside your pore.

Once the C.acnes infection’s ‘exterminated’ your skin can be clear, healthy and happy. And you can feel like the awesomesauce you are.

Now, do you also see that last sentence at the end? About how if your immune system is persistently causing the same level of an inflammatory response, then actually your skin cells stop behaving? This is why even though your skin’s trying to kill off local C.acnes infections when you’re not sickly, it’s not working to clear your skin for good. That’s likely because your skin’s immune function (which is separate from your whole body immune function) is stuck constantly and chronically fighting C.acnes infections, it’s like you’ve used up all your artillery.

Your skin has no artillery left and so these C.acnes infections in your pore last for longer, get redder, get more inflamed and take forever to heal.

BUT – when you’re sickly, your whole entire body’s waging war. It’s emptying every artillery arsenal it owns. You’re giving all you’ve got. You’re immune system’s turned to maximum output… and so those infections in your pores get taken down fast. They get exterminated like the Daleks are visiting.

Why does my skin clear up when I’m sick? Because your immune response kills the infection of C.acnes bacteria inside of your pores.

What can you do to clear up C.acnes infections in your pores without always having to be sick? I explain exactly how to do this (in a healthy way) inside my online acne healing course, Acne Warrior – check it out here

2. Being Sick Can ‘Mop-Up’ Sugar From Your Bloodstream

Reason number two for why your skin clears up when you’re sickly – is because being ill can help remove excess sugar energy from your bloodstream. Literally, because invading bacteria are stealing resources from your body.

This is exactly what the Scientific American explained in this article on COVID;

When a virus infects a cell, it steals resources in order to make copies of itself. Infected cells have to boost their metabolism to replenish these resources, and healthy cells must also do so in order to mount an effective immune response.Tanya Lewis, Scientific American, April 24, 2020

And if your body’s having to fight like it’s never fought before – like for example if you have a super high temperature – it’s burning through your sugar energy like it were minus 70 Celsius outside and you’re dressed in a bikini.

Let me rewind a second here because you might be thinking – what the heck? Sugar energy gives me acne?

So here’s the step-by-step my friend (I explain this in full, inside Acne Warrior) – there are certain foods you’re eating that get broken down in record speeds into glucose – a sugar your body uses for energy. They’re the equivalent of cracking an egg open – that runny ‘glucose’ yolk oozes straight into your bloodstream.

And boom – you get a glucose spike.

Glucose is your body’s #1 fuel. Your #1 petrol pump.

But when you have too much glucose, it causes an overactivation of growth pathways in your body.

Psst – two major symptoms of acne and breakouts are;

  1. Overgrowth of skin cells inside your pores that make them prone to clogging
  2. Overgrowth of oil-making cells aka sebocytes which make your skin extra oily and a ‘comfy couch’ for C.acnes bacteria

Do you see it? Do you see what’s happening here? Why your skin might clear up when you’re sickly?

Why does my skin clear up when I’m sick? Because your body’s using up extra glucose energy – the infection you have is stealing your body’s energy PLUS your immune system’s taking all it can get too – this is excess energy that would normally be causing your skin cells and oil making cells to overgrow. But now it can’t do this because there is no excess and so your skin can be clear from spots, breakouts and acne. Hooray.

What can you do to clear up C.acnes infections in your pores without always having to be sick? Make key diet and lifestyle changes (they’re likely not the ones you’re thinking of!) to help reduce your glucose levels. Grab your copy of my free one-page acne diet cheatsheet here to get a headstart on this now.

3. Being Sick Helps to Reduce Your Skin’s Oiliness

I bet you’ve already connected these dots eh. You’re so awesome, I hope you know that. All of this science can feel like a Tsunami sometimes, but once you take a step back to let it soak in, you start to realise – oh actually it was just all the funny-sounding words that made it feel overwhelming. You’ll realise you do actually get this and you now have big power to get clear, healthy, happy skin and keep it that way.

This is my dream and wish for you my friend.

Now the fact is, we can make your skin the worst place for acne bacteria to overgrow in. 

What do you hate to do? Maybe it’s cleaning the bathroom? Well, imagine if someone puts you in a house where the only room it has is dirty bathrooms. Yikes right – you’re running for the hills.

So how do we do the same to acne bacteria? How do we make acne bacteria hate your pores?

Here’s how – we reduce and balance the oiliness of your pores. The fact is C.acnes bacteria thrive in oil. It’s their comfy couch, so instead of your skin being a maze of dirty bathrooms, it’s now a fun land of comfy couches.

…and so acne bacteria start to party on your skin. They thrive. They grow. They get out of control… and you get acne that sucks away your self-esteem.

But, if we turn down your skin’s oiliness, if we balance your skin’s oil production naturally – then we’re taking away 90% of those comfy couches.

Psst – your skin needs some acne bacteria to be healthy, so it’s important you’re keeping that last 10%.

And as we take down 90% of those comfy couches, your acne bacteria levels are getting back to normal, your skin’s immune function switches off and your skin clears – you see a complete change in your skin.

Why does my skin clear up when I’m sick? Because being sick can reduce and balance the oiliness in your skin – this means there isn’t as much glucose hanging out in your body to cause an overgrowth of oil-making cells in your skin. Wahoo.

What can you do to clear up C.acnes infections in your pores without always having to be sick? Get your diet right, this isn’t as simple as eating healthy foods because some healthy foods can cause big glucose swings – grab your copy of my free acne diet cheatsheet here to get started now.