After years of painful acne with no answers from doctors or dermatologists, I was able to heal my acne through parasite cleansing and healing my gut. Fortunately, so can you!
I’ve been putting this post off for a while, partially because I have so much to say in regards to parasite cleansing for acne. Also because my skin is still nowhere near where I want it to be, and I still feel pretty down about it a lot of the time. Being a food and health blogger, I sometimes feel a lot of pressure to look a certain way and have perfect everything, so sharing my struggle with acne isn’t always easy. That being said, my experience parasite cleansing has really changed my view of health and has dramatically helped my skin (as you’ll see soon!), so keeping quiet about it really doesn’t do anyone any good! It’s kind of an embarrassing and awkward topic to talk about, but here we are!
First and foremost, what is a parasite?
A parasite is an organism that lives in another organism (its host) and survives at the expense of the host (source). Parasites live in our bodies and thrive off of our vitamins and minerals. This is why nutrient deficiencies (especially iron) are very common among people dealing with a parasitic infection. Parasites also feed off of heavy metals as well as other toxic waste matter.
What are the symptoms of having a parasite?
- Digestive discomfort**
- Skin rashes or irritations**
- Iron deficiency (with or without anemia)**
- Painful menstruation (parasites can live in the uterus)
- Itching around the anus (most common with Pinworm/Threadworms)**
- Gas and bloating**
- Difficulty sleeping (falling or staying asleep)**
- Teeth grinding**
- Dark under eye circles**
- Changes in appetite**
- Strong food cravings (especially sugar)
- Chronic Fatigue**
- Food sensitivities (can indicate long term parasite infection)**
- Aching muscles and joints
- Traveler’s diarrhea
The symptoms with ** are those that I personally dealt with prior to and during my parasite cleanse. Keep in mind many of these symptoms can also be a sign of other health issues. Always work with a Naturopathic or Functional medicine doctor before beginning any new treatment to rule out an underlying condition.
How do you get parasites?
While parasites are more common in third world countries, they are by no means uncommon in developed countries. Most parasites are water born. However, they can also be picked up from unwashed produce (which can become infected from animal waste runoff), poorly cooked meats, raw fish (sushi), at grocery stores, public restrooms, and even from your pets.
Consider this: If a person infected with pinworms uses a public restroom and does not wash their hands, they may be transferring pinworm eggs to doorknobs, grocery cart handles, or whatever they touch. If you touch these surfaces afterward and maybe itch your nose, you could have transferred the eggs into your body. (I’m not trying to scare you, but these types of scenarios happen). Pinworms lay their eggs right around the anus, which makes them a parasite that spread very easily.
Additionally, two people can drink the same contaminated water and only one may get infected. The hydrochloric acid in your stomach is intended to neutralize pathogens such as bacteria and parasites before they can infect the rest of your body. Unfortunately, due to our heavily processed diets, eating while stressed, and drinking while eating, our production of HCl is low, which makes it easier for opportunistic pathogens such as parasites to make their way into our bodies (source).
How to get rid of parasites
When I first decided to try a parasite cleanse, I wasn’t entirely sure I actually had parasites. I was just so sick of my acne that I was willing to give anything a shot. I was also dealing with about 10 symptoms of parasites so I figured it was worth a try! While conventional medication exists to kill parasites and their eggs, I chose to take a natural route for several reasons.
One, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t damaging my liver in the process of killing the parasites. Your liver is absolutely crucial for the health of your skin. I also wanted to ensure I wasn’t damaging the delicate lining of my gut by using conventional medication. Your gut is comprised of tight junctions known as desmosomes that can become permeable. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but antibiotics and other harsh medications are a known contributing factor (source). I chose an herbal parasite cleanse which works to kill the parasites and their eggs. It also helps support detoxification and improved overall digestive health.
Common herbs for killing parasites and the best parasite cleanse
- Black Walnut (can be irritating for sensitive individuals)
- Wormwood (source)
- Clove bud (especially good for killing the eggs)
- Olive Leaf
The parasites do not come out alive. You won’t feel them crawling out of you, and you may not even know they came out at all. They are usually embedded in your stool and may not be visible. However, they very rarely come out alone (Pinworms for example, lay thousands of eggs per day-yikes!), so don’t be alarmed if you pass lots of parasites during a cleanse.
If you suspect you have a parasite but aren’t sure, you can get a stool sample taken by your doctor. Keep in mind, however, these are not always 100% accurate because that specific sample may not have contained any parasites or eggs. If you aren’t sure, completing a gentle (but effective) parasite cleanse can be a safe way to support general gut dysbiosis and overall digestive health. I recommend working with a nutritionist, doctor, or other practitioner like myself if you need extra support.
My experience parasite cleansing
I noticed the biggest change in my skin after the first round of the cleanse so I decided to do a second. During the first week of the second cleanse I actually saw a parasite (a pinworm) and was moderately terrified, not going to lie!! Because of this, I opted to complete a third and final cleanse to make sure I got all the eggs out. In addition to the cleanse, I did a few sessions with a colon hydrotherapist every 3-4 weeks. This was to make sure I was actually eliminating all the toxic matter my body was stirring up while cleansing.
Additionally, I made sure to eat a very nourishing and nutrient dense diet while on the parasite cleanse. I stayed away from highly refined and processed foods and focused on whole, nutrient dense foods. I drank about 3 liters of water per day to stay well hydrated and flush any toxins from my system.
How to complete a parasite cleanse
I completed three, yes three, rounds of Organic Olivia’s parasite cleanse. In the past, I had tried other cleanses but did not feel or notice any difference. I tried one that specifically contained black walnut hulls which kill parasites AND their eggs. However, I experienced a lot of irritation and bloating from this particular ingredient, which is common. The cleanse I did is formulated without black walnut and it felt much more gentle on my body.
For the first round, I started with two capsules twice a day. I did this for about 5 days. It is recommended to start slowly to prevent severe die off reactions (explained below). I felt fine, so after the first five days I upped my dose to two capsules three times a day. I took 2 weeks off in between each cleanse and made sure to take adequate probiotics to replenish my gut flora.
What are die off symptoms of parasites?
While completing a parasite cleanse, it is common to experience what is known as “die-off.” This is a period where you may feel worse or have new symptoms arise as the parasites die and make their way out of your body. For this reason, it is important to work with a Naturopathic Doctor or Holistic Practitioner (like myself) to mitigate the side effects and ensure the cleanse is done in the safest way possible. I took an herbal liver supplement (which I still take), to help my body process the toxic matter that was being released.
In the photo on the right, my skin is almost completely smooth and free of active blemishes. What you see is mostly scarring and hyper-pigmentation. In the photo on the left, you can see that my skin was covered in large, active breakouts. Because of the buildup of waste in my lymphatic system, my entire face was also very swollen. I was in constant physical pain from the inflammation. That’s the thing about acne that not everyone understands. It’s not difficult to deal with solely because of how it changes your appearance, though that certainly is part of it. It actually causes physical pain that may prevent you from sleeping (especially if you’re a side sleeper like me), turning your head in certain directions (especially if the acne is on your jaw/neck), or even chewing food. It can be pretty all consuming, so trust me when I say I know how you feel if you are going through this.
parasite cleanse for acne: is it necessary?
Is parasite cleansing necessary for healing acne? It depends. I would by no means say parasite cleansing is a “cure” for acne. The results will certainly vary from person to person depending on their unique constitution, their current and past diet, etc. For me, it was definitely the piece of the puzzle I was missing. Fortunately, many parasite cleanses, like the one I did, contain herbs that no only kill parasites and their eggs, but also other harmful yeasts and bacteria that could be contributing to your acne. So, even if you don’t have parasites, a parasite cleanse is a great way to support overall gut health and improve dysbiosis. I did in fact have parasites (which I actually saw with my own eyes), so it confirmed my suspicion that I really needed to focus on healing my gut.
Completing a parasite cleanse is not going to be necessary for everyone. However, supporting overall gut health IS necessary for everyone with acne and a parasite cleanse is a great first step. I think a big part of the reason I had such great results from parasite cleansing for acne is because I was getting regular colonics to make sure ALL the waste was properly eliminated. Colonics are often recommended for people dealing with parasites (source).
If you don’t know what a colonic is, it is essentially a form of colon cleansing that uses water to clean your colon (large intestine). The water moves in and out through a tube to remove hardened waste matter, parasites, yeasts, bacteria or any other toxic material that resides in your colon. If you’ve ever gone a day, or several days, (even weeks or months in some cases) without having 1-2 bowel movements, all of the waste and toxins aren’t actually going anywhere. Ensuring proper elimination and supporting gut health is one of the foundations of the health of your entire body and of course, your skin. Disease starts in the gut!
How I will continue to heal my skin and acne scars
My skin has come a long way in the past few months, but it still has a long way to go. For the most part, I am now dealing with scarring and some minor breakouts here and there.
Parasite cleansing for acne and other purposes will definitely be a part of my regular holistic healing in the future. For now, I think I solved the bulk of the problem. I plan to do 1-2 full cleanses per year to kill any eggs or other bugs that make a home inside of me from water or contaminated food. For now, I’m still supporting my liver, healing my gut naturally through probiotics and supplements like l-glutamine and regular colon hydrotherapy (I cannot speak more highly about this incredible therapy). You can read more about my top tips for clear skin here.
One final thought
If you currently deal with acne, just know you are not alone with your pain and frustration. You will find your solution to clear skin, just keep digging and working to support your body as a whole. If you want additional support, I am accepting new clients and offer virtual consultations. Check out my health coaching page for more information and to schedule an appointment! I would love to share my knowledge with you to help you achieve clear skin.