Acne free skin – naturally
Acne affects nearly 85% of teenagers. However, it can start earlier and persist into the twenties. One of the most distressing sequelae of acne is the scarring and discoloration of the skin. Because acne is so visible it can be a highly traumatic condition at a sensitive time of life. People with acne are at increased risk of depression and anxiety and more likely to experience anger.
So what can we do?
There are a number of factors affecting the onset of acne. Hormonal changes lead to changes in the hair follicle, nutritional deficiencies exacerbate this, as does stress. More and more evidence points to the impact of gastrointestinal health as a crucial factor in triggering acne.
I find that my patients show the greatest and fastest improvement when they follow a gastro-intestinal repair program that I taylor specifically for them. The program increases the health of the microbiome and digestive function. The addition of zinc, vitamin A, probiotics and omega 3 provides needed nutrients for skin health.
Research suggests that people with acne have lower levels of zinc in the blood and skin. In clinic I see a marked improvement when zinc is supplemented as part of a whole program. I know a lot of you will say “but we have tried zinc!!”, but zinc supplementation alone is not enough to treat acne. It must be part of a complete program which starts with repairing the gastro-intestinal tract.
Studies have shown that a significant decrease in the number of papules, pustules and infiltrates after four weeks of zinc supplementation.
Zinc in combination with vitamin A is particularly effective as Zinc is required to release vitamin A, from the liver.
Some small studies are showing positive results associated with probiotic supplementation of improvement of acne. In particular the probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii is prescribed in Germany for the treatment of acne.
Reduce the sugar
In clinic we see that dietary factors play a significant role in the control of acne. A diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates is seen to aggravate acne. It is thought to do this by raising insulin levels in the blood which leads to increased circulating androgens and decreased sex hormone binding protein- leading to increased sebum synthesis- a crucial step in the development of acne.
In acne, there is increased sebum production from the sebaceous glands which are larger than in those without acne. Increased sebum allows the proliferation of bacteria in the hair follicle.
Reduce the milk and cheese
Dairy products are also associated with a worsening of acne. One study showed that women who consumed two or more servings of skimmed milk everyday were 22% more likely to suffer from severe acne, and 44% more likely to develop cystic or nodular acne than those who only drank one glass of skimmed milk.
In clinic we find that patients are fine with butter and most are also fine with cream. Yoghurt can be okay but for some of our patients it is necessary to change to lactose free yoghurt. The real culprits are milk, skimmed milk and cheese.
Reduce the treats
People with acne may not be able to tolerate fermented foods well and eating them may lead to a worsening of their acne. People with low levels of the enzyme diamine oxidase have reduced ability to metabolise histamine and will present with digestive concerns alongside the acne. Fermented foods are high in histamine as is wine, cacao, aged cheese and processed meat.
Reduce the stress
Stress also contributes to acne. Adrenalin produced when under stress, blocks the enzyme that clears histamine. Receptors for chemical messengers are also found in the skin. During stress the chemical messenger substance P is increased and once attached to the receptors in the skin, will lead to inflammation.
Want to target your skin conditions? Sick of acne? Or just want some health support?
Call 9339 1999
To see Eloise Charleson about your health needs!