There are many acne treatments available either over the counter or by prescription. Potentially there is a risk of side effects from all of these. The worst being those of isotretinoin based products which include the risk of birth defects, depression and suicide. Most worrying is recent reports that the side effects may continue after the treatment has stopped. However, many people could treat their acne without taking these risks.
Treating and Preventing Acne Holistically
Acne can be treated and prevented safely naturally. A good starting point is a regular skincare routine using natural products manufactured with sensitive skin in mind. Although initially it would seem a good idea to use harsh face washes that strip the sebum from the skin, in reality this often results in the sebaceous gland overcompensating and generating even more sebum. By using gentle, natural skincare products we can clean the pores without upsetting the balance of sebum production. Many natural products also contain mild antibacterial ingredients that are an added bonus. A good skincare routine will include washing, toning and moisturising the skin on your face daily and then using a mask to draw out impurities once or twice a week.
Mild and Moderate Acne
Clinical studies show that blue light and red light, working at specific wavelengths, act together in clearing mild to moderate acne. The blue light has an antibacterial effect whilst the red light acts as an effective anti-inflammatory.*9 *10 This technology is now available for home use with the Beauty Skin light box. Used for just 15 minutes a day, the Beauty Skin offers a safe effective treatment for acne that has been shown to produce results in just 4 weeks.
Diet and Acne
Contrary to popular belief, there is evidence linking our diets to acne.
There are people who refute the link, but they cite studies that have involved diets only maintained for seven days. Few acne treatments, conventional or otherwise, would be entirely successful in that short period of time. Indeed research*1 with people suffering from acne has shown that a diet needs to be maintained for six weeks before the body shows the required increase in vitamins levels to help acne.
Further research shows the blood analysed from patients with severe acne has considerably worse levels of vitamins A and E than blood analysed from patients with mild acne*3. This seems to suggest a clear link between deficiency in those vitamins and acne. Thus eating foods high in those nutrients would be beneficial. Minerals are also very important, research has shown both Zinc*5, and selenium*6 are beneficial in helping to reduce acne.
The best method of increasing intake of these vitamins and minerals is via a diet high in vegetables and fruit which lasts at least 6 weeks. A good way to ensure a high intake of these vitamins is to include combinations of freshly juiced blackberries, kiwi fruit, watercress, Swiss chard, cranberries, mango, apricots for vitamin E:
and broccoli, spinach, kale, carrots, Green lettuce, spinach, watercress, Apricots, peaches, mango, loquats, passion fruit, grapefruit for vitamin A. Please note that it is possible to have too much vitamin A, see notice at the end of the article. Moderation is the key!
If there is evidence concerning the foods we should be eating, what evidence is there concerning the foods we should avoid? There is evidence linking milk consumption and acne*2 so removing or at least reducing milk from your diet would be wise. There also seems to be evidence, although only empirical, that links refined carbohydrates, sugars and acne. Although scientists and doctors have yet to establish the exact nature of the link, it is believed be due to the body requiring more chromium to deal with the high blood sugar caused by these food types. This is based on studies that found people with unstable blood sugar levels suffered a high incidence of acne, but when chromium supplements were given the acne rapidly improved *7.
We do know and accept that there are some countries whose populations have diets consisting of fresh fruit, vegetables, lean meats and fish, and are generally free of acne*4. We also know that when these people move to a country whose diet is high in processed foods, dairy and refined sugars, many begin to suffer from acne. Many people dismiss this as only empirical evidence but if you want to effectively treat acne the correlation would be an important point to note and incorporate into your daily diet.
So acne can be treated, and more importantly prevented, naturally without risks of the side effects that many of the conventional drugs incur. A gentle skin care routine and a diet low in processed food and high in unprocessed food for at least 6 weeks should see a vast improvement in your acne and general skin condition. For more stubborn cases, or faster results, combine the routine with Beauty Skin treatments for the ultimate acne free skin care routine.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Vitamin A in doses of 25,000iu or higher can be extremely dangerous.. As a guide there is around 15,500IU/100g of Vitamin A in Kale and 16,812 IU/100g in carrots. Moderation is the key.
*1 D. LABADARIOS, J. CILLIERS, L. VISSER, M. E. VAN STUIJVENBERG, G. S. SHEPHARD, D. WIUM, R. WALKER (1987)
Vitamin A in acne vulgaris
Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 12 (6), 432-436.
*2 Adebamowo CA, Spiegelman D, Berkey CS, Danby FW, Rockett HH, Colditz GA, Willett WC, Holmes MD.
Milk consumption and acne in adolescent girls.
Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA.
Dermatol Online J. 2006;12(4):25.
*3 Z. El-akawi, N. Abdel-Latif, K. Abdul-Razzak (2006)
Does the plasma level of vitamins A and E affect acne condition?
Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 31 (3), 430-434.
* 4Cordain L, Lindeberg S, Hurtado M, et al: Acne vulgaris: a disease of
Western civilization. Arch Dermatol 138:1584-1590, 2002
*5 Michaelsson G, Juhlin L, Vahlquist A.
Effects of oral zinc and vitamin A in acne.
Arch Dermatol. 1977 Jan;113(1):31-6.
*6 Michaelsson G, Edqvist LE.
Erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase activity in acne vulgaris and the effect of selenium and vitamin E treatment.
Acta Derm Venereol. 1984;64(1):9-14.
*7 McCarty M.
High-chromium yeast for acne?
Med Hypotheses. 1984 Jul;14(3):307-10.
* 8 http://www.fda.gov/cder/drug/infopage/
*9 P. Papageorgiou, A. Katsambas and A. Chu (2000). Phototherapy with blue (415nm) and red (660nm) light in the treatment of acne vulgaris. British Journal of Dermatology, 142: 5. Pp 973-978.
*10 M. Elman et al (2003). The effective treatment of acne vulgaris by a high-intensity, narrow band 405-420nm light source. Journal of Cosmetic & Laser Therapy; 5: 111-116.