Acne is a common skin condition, and can be annoying at best and out right embarrassing at its worst. Often hitting us at our most vulnerable times when we are conscious of our appearance – our teenage years – but also often into our 30s and 40s, acne appears mainly on the face, arms, chest and back.
What are the causes or triggers?
Hormone levels can play a role in acne. At the beginning of puberty, hormones change quite dramatically and increased levels of testosterone and androgens are released in to the body. These hormones affect oil glands, increasing them in size, and the larger they are, the more oil is produced.
Also, the hormonal changes that girls go through with their menstrual cycles can often have an impact on acne.
Bad food – friend or foe? Chocolate, chips and other greasy foods get some bad press for causing acne but there is little evidence out there to show a direct correlation. However, we do know that a cleaner diet, leads to a better digestive system, which is ultimately reflected in our skin. Foods that are high GI (Glycaemic Index, a measure of how quickly the glucose is released into the blood stream) such as sweet foods or white bread and potatoes have also been linked to acne.
Stress – another acne culprit. We all get clogged pores, most of which we can’t even see. Where stress then comes in to play is through the inflammatory response it causes in the body – this leads to the walls of the pores to break, leading to redness and pus…a spot!
Stress also causes our adrenals to over-function. This increases hormone levels, and again can lead to break outs in susceptible people.
Managing the issue
There are many options for the treatment of acne, but finding the right combination for you is important. Here are some self-help ideas as well as some clinical interventions that we can help with through the Natural Chemist. Call to speak with one of our pharmacists about the right solution for you. Tel: 1300 882 303
Some daily routines for self-management
- Clean your skin gently – use cleansers for acne-prone skin, don’t over-wash (twice a day is fine), use an oil-free moisturiser, and water-based make-up. Make sure your skin is clean before going to bed. Use a cleansing mask such as the MV Organic Skin Care Mask. It contains organic, refined white clay which gently removes the top layer of dead skin cells. It alleviates inflammation and soothes red, irritated skin. Their range includes a cleanser and moisturiser which are fabulous for acne prone skin.
- Try not to touch your skin – oil and bacteria from your hands will make prone areas worse. Don’t squeeze! Tempting as it is, it can make acne worse and lead to scarring
- Stress – try and manage stress levels. Find what works for you – exercise, meditation or a walk on the beach. Ensure you build some down time in to each day
- Diet – think colour and balance! Eat plenty of colourful fruits and veges and some good sources of protein – fish, eggs, poultry. Drink plenty of water and try to avoid too much sugar or processed foods.
Supplementing with some key nutrients is also worth considering in addition to your dietary and lifestyle changes. Talk to us about adding some of the following in to your diet
- Zinc – plays a role in modulating the inflammatory response and supporting the immune system. It also has antimicrobial actions and has been shown to reduce the severity and quantity of acne breakouts
- Vitamin C – reduces inflammation and supports a healthy immune system
- Fish oils (DHA/EPA) – have an anti-inflammatory effect
- Probiotics – both locally and systemically have anti-inflammatory and immune supporting effects
- Vitamin A – necessary for collagen synthesis (the structural, elastic part of your skin)
- Vitamin E – supports healthy skin tissue and helps produce anti-inflammatory cells in response to tissue damage
It is a good idea to speak with a pharmacist before buying a product for acne treatment. Call us to arrange a time to chat with one of our pharmacists to get some advice on the right product for you. Tel: 1300 882 303. We can provide insight in to what may be most useful for you depending on severity of the acne and other health-related issues you may have.
Hechtman L, 2014, Clinical Naturopathic Medicine. Churchill Livingstone, Sydney
Osiecki H, 2014, The Nutrient Bible. 9th Edn, Bio Concepts Publishing, QLD
Pizzorno, JE, et al, 2008, The Clinician’s handbook of Natural Medicine. 2nd Edn, Churchill Livingstone, USA