How to Clear Up Your Skin
What is Acne?
Acne is the most common of all skin problems and comes in 2 forms
Two common types of Acne are:
- Acne Vulgaris, affecting the hair follicles and the oil-secreting glands in the skin and comes out as blackheads and whiteheads with a lot of inflammation.
- Acne Conglobata, forming cysts and scarring known as Rosacea and the onset is usually middle age or older adults. Known as facial flushing but can also occur on the back, shoulders and even chest.
Out of the 2 acne vulgaris is the least severe. Thought to be an androgen-dependent condition due to excess androgen either locally or systemically, throughout the body. Androgens control the sebaceous gland secretions and the development of extra keratin which is found in the very outer layer of the skin.
Types of Eruption are:
- Blackheads – dark plug that is oxidised as it is on the surface.
- Whiteheads – white pustules deeper in the hair follicle, cause a red and swollen follicle. Trapped comedomes when the sebum & bacteria stay below skin surface
- Nodules – can be tender and deep and filled with puss which then discharges to the surface
- Cysts – deep nodules that do not discharge contents to the skin surface
- Pustules – deep pustules which are large and contain inflammatory compounds which break down skin tissue and lead to scar formation.
- Red papules – inflammatory acne which starts a closed comedomes, inflammation occurs causing red papules
To explain acne simply, it is a blockage of the sebaceous hair follicle duct. The oil that is secreted from the duct should drain to the skin surface, but instead gets stuck in the follicle due to excess skin cells in the follicle making the blockage. This then makes it an ideal environment for bacteria to grow
Acne vulgaris is more common in males, due to higher hormone levels. The onset us usually puberty.
Causes of acne vulgaris
- Common is western populations and can be absent in non-western populations so could be due to environmental factors which would include diet
- Foods high in glucose
- Foods that elevate insulin levels, which then promote oil production and skin cell production in the follicle.
- Consumption of dairy due to the growth hormone IGF-1 and the saturated fat content.
- Links to excess testosterone, hence more common in males. The testosterone stimulate the cells that line the follicular canal to produce keratin. The overproduction of keratin blocks the pores.
- Pre-menstrual hormonal imbalances
- Using oily creams
- The use of some medications can cause flair ups
- The severity of the acne is due to hormonal factors
- Greater activity of 5-alpha-reductase which converts testosterone to a more potent form known as dihydrotestosterone (DHT)
- Dependent if both parents had acne, then can get passed on in genetics
- Intestinal toxemia – one study showed an increase in
- Emotional stress and depression (caused in part by the acne in the first place)
- Imbalances in the gut microbiome – gut- brain – skin unity. The connection which influences systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, glycemic control, tissue lipid content and mood.
Acne rosacea is a chronic inflammation of the skin due to vascular changes which result in “flushing”. This can often be accompanied by seborrhoea which is a large amount of discharge of sebum from the follicles. But it is not an inflammation of the follicles. As well as the cheeks, the nose and eyes can be affected as well. This is referred to as “ocular rosacea”.
Other organs that might be affected are the stomach, the intestines, blood and bile ducts.
Acne rosacea is most commonly affected in women with a facial flushing which presents as a redness across the nose and cheeks. You will also notice oily skin referred to a seborrhoea and papules and pustules in the skin.
Causes of acne rosacea
- Helicobacter pylori, which is a bacteria infection, is found in 88% of patients.
- Hyperthermia due to vasodilatory response
- Environmental causes such as chlorine from swimming, UV, oil. Cosmetics with paraffin in
- Poor Hygiene
- Medications such as steroids, vitamins, psychotropic drugs and over the counter prescriptions.
- Fungal infections
- Stress which increases androgen production
what your doctor will offer you
Categories of medications used in managing diabetes along with method, use and side effects are listed below (brand names in brackets) (Diabetes.co.uk, 2019)
Method & Use
Topical medication. Often effective
Apply on the face and wash off. Follow the packet instructions for best results
Full of chemicals and only treat the symptom, so the acne will still keep coming back
Oral or Topical Antibiotics
Given for 3 – 4 months but do not treat the cause
Imbalance of microbiome, and kill healthful bacteria in the intestines gut – brain – skin connection. Long term use can lead to an intestinal overgrowth of Candida albicans which is a chronic yeast infection which in turn makes the acne worse
|OCP with anti-androgen||Oxy 5, Oxy 10, Clearasil, Benoxyl. The benzoyl peroxide acts as a skin antiseptic.|
Primarily used for pimples. Side effects are drying skin and peeling of skin. May cause redness.
Artificial UVB rays penetrate the skin and slows growth of affected skin cells. Used in doctors or with a phototherapy unit.
May cause some skin damage if overused.
|Oral Isotretinoin (Accutane)|
A derivative of vitamin A, and provided only for severe acne
This drug may have safety issues, such as inter-cranial hypertension. Depression, suicidal ideation. Must not be taken during pregnancy
A topical cream. Improves acne by chemically burning the skin
More side effects than benzoyl peroxide
Warning: long term use of any medication is only masking the symptoms and not treating the cause of the acne.
MAKING SURE IT IS ACNE
It’s important to make sure that the lesions are actually acne and not something else. Below is a list of other things that it could be and may not necessarily be acne. This would then need a different protocol.
- Drugs – if you are taking steroids, diphenylhydantoin, lithium carbonate then these can produce acne-like lesions
- Pollutants – coal tar derivatives, oils, chlorinated hydrocarbons can all affect the skin. Evaluate if there are any environmental pollutants that could be the cause.
- Personal care – Are y0u using cosmetics that can irritate the skin? Excessive washing can leave the skin irritated as well as repetitive rubbing. Perfumes that can cause allergies and so on. What soaps are you using? Evaluate if your personal products could be the cause.
Acne managed the natural way!
Natural medicine for acne means trying to balance our diet and hormones. This is a most effective way to treat acne and should always start with detoxification to reduce toxins in the body and to help the body to heal by introducing lots of fresh foods, vegetables, fruits, nutrients and non-harmful nutrients.
1. Diet, eat a whole-food, plant-based diet.
2. Nutritional Supplementation or eating foods with more of these nutrients. Download the Free E-Book with where you can get your nutrients from food.
- Vitamin A to reduce sebum production and overproduction
- Zinc for wound healing, immune system function, tissue regeneration, hormone activation
- Vitamin E and Selenium to regulate retinol levels
- Vitamin D from the sun
- Vitamin C to support blood vessels
- EPA/DHA for omega 3 from Algal oil or algae
- Probiotic to heal the gut and increase gut-brain – skin balance especially after antibiotic use
- Green Tea, and black tea rich in tannins and anti-oxidants – can drink or pack direct onto the affected areas. Do not poor boiling water on teas or else the therapeutic effect will be lost. Wait for the water to cool for 10 minutes then poor on the tea leaves.
- Aloe Vera both taken internally and externally
3. Topical Treatments
- Organic Tea-Tree Essential oil for its antiseptic qualities, and won’t irritate the skin. Also has anti-fungal properties too. Can be as effective as benzoyl peroxide. Dilute to 5 – 15% with coconut oil as this also has antiseptic qualities.
- Daily cleaning with water and calendular soap.
4.Homeopathy and seeing a homeopath can help from a naturopathic treatment path.
Take the next step to preventing Acne…………
Join Ultimate Health, Your Journey Starts Here!
At Ultimate Health we look for prevention and treating the cause. Acne is prevelent in a western lifestyle disease and can be reversed and controlled. We always start by wiping the slate clean with a Reboot and then looking to help support your body to heal using natural proven principles. Naturopathic solutions and a protocol that supports your body and every system that it runs. We help you to manage the many multifunctional influences that can cause the acne in the first place. Detoxification is key, as well as reducing internal inflammation and hormone balancing. If you need a map we have the one clear path to support your entire being.
Here are the Pathways we use to support you:
- Education on how to balance your hormones and consume a diet that is rich in anti-oxidants and nutrients
- Support and help from others like you on this very same journey
resources list for ACNE and further information
Tea Tree Vs Benzoyl Peroxide – https://nutritionfacts.org/video/benzoyl-peroxide-vs-tea-tree-oil-for-acne/
Natural Treatment for Acne – https://nutritionfacts.org/video/natural-treatment-for-acne-and-fungal-infections/
New Treatments and Therapeutic Strategies for Acne – http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.540.9671&rep=rep1&type=pdf
The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine by Murray and Pizzorno 2012 3rd Edition
Training at College of Naturopatic Medicine