Studies suggest that the cause of acne is not exclusively what dermatologists usually tell you: genetics, bacteria, hormones , but specific environmental factors, particularly diet.

The cause of acne that doctors may never tell you

The date is approaching for your teenager to start preparing for graduation: dinner, dress or suit, party … and last minute acne breakout. This villain always falls into the most important teenage events. If you’re the parent of an acne-distressed teenager, it’s a very familiar scenario to want to hide your teen’s emotional fragility under the bed until the end of the semester.

But it’s not just teens who are the only grieving people. One in five people in the US alone also suffers from acne. Acne affects nearly 85 percent of the population in North America alone at some point in their lives and is the most common skin disorder. Experts report that many people underestimate the self-confidence and social stigma that acne brings.

It is not difficult to understand then why many people spend a lot of time and money trying to find a solution to their acne problem. After trying a wide variety of ineffective over-the-counter products, many eventually go to the doctor for treatment. Most doctors are quick to prescribe. But acne medications have potentially harmful side effects, and they attempt to treat acne symptoms while completely ignoring the underlying cause.

Pharmaceutical acne treatment is big business

Acne is the most common skin problem , and most people seek the advice of a dermatologist. This condition is astonishingly misunderstood and inconsiderate by medical professionals. One of the few things authorities agree on is that most people have a type of acne called acne vulgaris , a bacterial inflammatory condition that commonly appears on the face, neck, shoulders, back, and chest, and sometimes leads to painful injuries.

When treatment after treatment doesn’t work and acne keeps coming back, your doctor will likely diagnose you with a “chronic” acne problem. What it really means is that the treatment is wrong. The underlying cause of your acne problem has not been addressed.

So instead of addressing the cause, your doctor is probably adhering to government office guidelines, guidelines for the care of acne vulgaris , put forward by any country’s department of health and human services. These establish the conventional acne treatment protocol, involving topical and systemic antibiotics, steroids and hormonal agents (including oral contraceptives), and Accutane — one of the most dangerous drugs ever developed.

The above recommendations have been fully endorsed by the American Academy of Dermatology as the current treatment blueprint for acne – they are extremely influential as they set the standard for treatment at the clinical, corporate and government levels. It is surprising that the seventh and final point on his list of therapies is called “Dietary Restrictions (Not Recommended)”. His program clearly does not focus on the cause of acne, but simply on how to manage it.

Managing or controlling it means regular visits to the dermatologist, and continued profits for the medical and pharmaceutical industry.

The consequences of these guidelines are as expected – aggressive drug promotion, backed by increased corporate spending, skewed federal regulations, wrong medical practice, and continued disappointment to consumers.

Description of conventional acne treatments

  • Topical treatments (lotions, creams and gels) – these are probably the first thing doctors prescribe.
  • Oral antibiotics (tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline, and erythromycin), usually prescribed for moderate or severe acne.
  • Accutane (isotretinoin) and its genetic equivalents — reserved for severe acne.

Topical treatments claim to reduce oil production, increase skin cell turnover, and kill bacteria, which in combination supposedly reduce inflammation. Examples of them are tretinoin (Avita, Retin-A, Renova) and adaplene (Differin) which are all derivatives of vitamin A.

Topical Retina-A is probably beneficial and probably prevents and even reverses various types of skin cancer. However, it is strongly recommended to avoid Accutane and its generics, since, in addition to teratogenic and psychological adverse effects, users of Accutane (isotretinoin) have reported the following negative effects:

  • Increase the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol in your body
  • Headaches and swelling in the brain
  • Damage to the skin and mucous membrane premature closure of the epiphysis
  • Development of inflammatory bowel disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Increases enzyme levels and liver damage
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Hyperostosis (excessive bone growth) and bone demineralization
  • Damages eyes, cataracts
  • Heart attack and stroke
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Seizures
  • Neutropenia, agranulocytosis, and rhabdomyolysis (blood disorders)
  • Hearing impairment
  • Vasculitis alérgica

Antibiotics for acne: they do more harm than good

Many dermatologists prescribe long-term antibiotics to treat acne. Even though oral antibiotics are widely promoted, try to avoid these drugs, as they will inevitably cause more problems than solutions.

Every time you take an antibiotic, you kill your beneficial bacteria along with the problem. This can initiate yeast infections and also resistant strains of bacteria.

Antibiotic resistance is a serious and growing problem today. This includes prescription antibiotics for acne, such as: erythromycin, which is becoming somewhat ineffective as more strains of bacteria have adapted to them. More and more doctors are withdrawing from the use of antibiotics to treat acne or at least limiting the duration of their use. In addition to antibiotic resistance, antibiotics are not without risks.

The truth is, acne is one of the easiest problems to treat naturally.

Like other chronic diseases rampant in Western society (such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity), acne is primarily a disease of the Western world.

More evidence continues to emerge that the cause of acne is not bacteria or genetics, but environmental factors – particularly diet. Acne is not a problem in non-Western societies, where refined carbohydrates and sugars are consumed in less quantity. There is strong evidence that diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates are the root cause of acne.

We now know that a low-grain or grain-free diet is very likely to cleanse your skin forever. Antibiotics are not necessary because correcting your diet creates an internal environment that does not allow excessive growth of bacteria.

Grain-free eating can clear acne forever

Not all carbohydrates are the same. Carbohydrates can be classified into the following types:

  1. Simple carbohydrates are sugars, like those found in candy, soda, and baked goods. Your best option is to strictly limit them from your diet — thinking of eliminating them completely. Be especially careful to avoid high fructose corn syrup , which is an important component in sodas and processed foods.
  2. Complex carbohydrates are found in whole natural foods, such as beans, nuts, whole grains, and vegetables. While beans, nuts, and grains contain more nutritional value than simple carbohydrates, you’ll need to limit them if you have acne problems.

Your body “prefers” complex carbohydrates found in vegetables over complex carbohydrates found in grains, since your body handles digestion of the two differently . Carbohydrates from vegetables take time to convert to simple sugars, with minimal impact from insulin, while digesting carbohydrates from grains increases insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1).

Higher levels of IGF-1 can lead to an increase in male hormones, causing your pores to secrete more sebum, an oily substance that traps acne-promoting bacteria. IGF-1 also causes skin cells (known as keratinocytes) to multiply, a process associated with acne.

This is the reason why most pimples should be avoided if you have acne problems.

In a 2007 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, young men (ages 15-25) with acne problems were given a low-glycemic diet for 12 weeks, and they showed significant improvements in acne and pain. insulin sensitivity.

Similar findings were presented in this study conducted in 2002.

By simply eliminating grains, sugars (especially fructose), cereals, potatoes, corn, rice, pasta, processed foods, etc., acne dramatically improves in most people. The fruit contains a good amount of fructose, so it should be consumed in very limited amounts if you are predisposed to acne. And fruit juices should be strictly avoided since sugar is highly concentrated in them. Vegetable juices are great, especially green juices .

So how many carbohydrates are too many? your nutritional type can give you the answer.

Knowing your nutritional type will help you determine the ideal amount of carbohydrates to eat at each meal. By learning to analyze your reactions to the foods you eat, you can begin to fine-tune each meal according to the protein, fat, and carbohydrate ratios that are perfect for you.

If you incorporate these dietary changes, not only will acne diminish, but your skin will also look more radiant and youthful.

After eating, the other important factor is stress

Part of a holistic plan to prevent acne breakouts is stress management. We know that stress is a major factor in infections of any kind. So why aren’t doctors interested in giving you this good news? Well, they can’t “sell” you a healthy diet. The only one who is going to reap the benefits of it is you.
Stress can potentially make almost any condition worse, including acne. It is important to learn to manage your stress, before it becomes overwhelming. It’s even more important to teach your kids how to do it when they’re young, before stress builds up incessantly and starts to take over their health.

Recent studies corroborate the hypothesis that stress can aggravate acne

A study with college students found a connection between acne and final exam stress. The researchers found that subjects who had the most stress at test time also developed the worst acne breakouts, suggesting that emotional stress from outside sources is a major factor.

While it has been argued that stress associated with acne is an effect of acne rather than a cause, researchers believe this new evidence shows the opposite – that it is stress that is exacerbating acne and vice versa.

Also, stress and fatigue can lead to adrenal exhaustion, where the adrenal glands become depleted. This can also make your acne worse and perpetuate higher levels of stress.

Many skin care products only contribute to the problem

What you apply to your skin is as important as what you eat. In fact, what you apply topically is easily absorbed through your skin, which is actually a semi-permeable membrane through which substances pass directly into your body.

Many of today’s skin care and cosmetic products are nothing more than a toxic mix of harmful chemicals, causing more skin problems than good. And when it comes to acne, these chemicals can seriously inflame the acne breakout or interfere with its treatment.

Why do many face cleansers, lotions, and potions contain these potentially dangerous ingredients? Because they are cheap, readily available, and easy to dilute.

When it comes to the skincare industry, anything goes. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) estimates that 99 percent of skin care products contain more than one ingredient that has never been evaluated for safety. It is a self-regulating industry, an industry that operates on the “honor system” but has a crowd of disgraced players.

So you have to be meticulous and have knowledge of how to read the labels to know what is being applied.

You can take control of the health of your skin

Remember, your complexion is a reflection of your overall health. Don’t forget to incorporate these essential factors into your acne elimination plan:

  • Sugars and Grains : This is probably the most important step you can take to improve your skin health. If you can eliminate all the sugars and pimples for a couple of weeks there is a high probability that you will notice a rapid improvement in your complexion.
  • Water: Drink plenty of fresh, pure water every day. Being hydrated facilitates cell growth and regeneration, the elimination of waste, and removes dead skin cells. Hydration will also improve your skin tone. Every day, you drink enough water so that your urine is pale yellow. If your urine is bright yellow, you may need to drink more water.
  • Exercise: A high intensity exercise plan will help your body eliminate toxins, including toxins from the pores of the skin. Additionally, exercise is vitally important to all other aspects of your health. If you can get access to an infrared sauna, this can be helpful, because the more you sweat, the more unwanted toxins and pollutants you’ll flush out through your pores.
  • Sleep: Did you know that a good night’s sleep can decrease stress and help cleanse your skin? The time for your body to heal and rebuild is at night while you sleep, and this includes the skin. Sleep is also necessary for good energy and humor.
  • Proper Balancing of Bacteria : This is especially important if you’ve been taking antibiotics, because the drugs indiscriminately kill beneficial bacteria in the gut, without which you can’t have a strong immune system. You can restore your bacterial balance by taking a high-quality probiotic supplement, and by incorporating naturally fermented foods into your diet.
  • Vitamin D : This is an important nutrient crucial to maintaining a healthy immune response, most people are deficient in vitamin D. Without adequate vitamin D, your body cannot control the infection on the skin or elsewhere. Exposing large areas of your skin to an adequate amount of sunlight is the best way to optimize your vitamin D levels, or using a safe tanning bed. You should expose your skin until it begins to turn pink, indicating that you have generated the optimal amount of vitamin D for the day.

By changing your diet and lifestyle in the recommended way, you can have a significant improvement in the health and appearance of your skin. Additionally, the same strategies will lead to improvements in your overall health, as well as financial relief due to the elimination of expensive acne medications that offer no real, long-lasting solution to skin problems.

Remember that lifestyle changes are not a “quick fix,” but in the long run, you will reap long-lasting rewards.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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