During puberty, peri-menopause and menopause, sebaceous (oil) glands become more active. Pores can become clogged with sebum, dried skin and bacteria, causing skin to erupt into pimples, red blotches and sometimes inflamed and infected abscesses. Acne normally appears on the face, shoulders, scalp, upper arms and legs, upper chest and back. More than 40 percent of teens seek treatment from a specialist for their acne condition.
Hormonal acne break-outs tend to occur during ovulation or the week before menstruation. In those women with hormonally induced acne, when the ovary releases the egg, it often is not able to completely release it. When this occurs, androgens (male hormones) are secreted in excess, and women develop acne around the hair line, chin and chest and back. To correct hormonal acne, many doctors prescribe birth control pills to stop ovulation. (Today we have 12-year-olds on birth control pills to control acne.) Nutritional supplements can normalize ovulation and eliminate the problem at the source. Even mild episodes of acne can lead to scarring, and scars can be both physical and psychological.
There are various types of skin lesions: a papule is a round bump that may be invisible but makes the skin feel rough like sandpaper. A comedo occurs when an oil follicle becomes plugged with oil, dead skin, tiny hairs or bacteria. An open comedo is known as a blackhead, and a closed comedo is commonly referred to as a whitehead. The temporary red or pink spot after an acne lesion has healed is referred to as a macule, and several together contribute to the appearance of inflammation associated with acne. A nodule is another dome-shaped lesion similar to a papule, but it extends deeper into the skin, causing the destruction of tissues that leads to scarring. Nodules can be painful, as can cysts which are filled with liquid, can be severely inflamed and also affect deeper skin layers.
While food choices have been hotly debated as a cause of acne for years, research out of the University of Colorado is confirming that a diet high in refined carbohydrates permanently boosts insulin and thus promotes acne. According to Dr. Loren Cordain, sustained high insulin levels elevate hormone levels, stimulating the production of oil that leads to clogged pores, bacterial growth and acne. High-glycemic foods such as breads, cakes, sugars and soda are major culprits in acne. Although acne is epidemic in our society, it is virtually unknown in New Guinea and the Amazon where diets focus on fruits and vegetables. Those with acne should be conscious of foods that aggravate the condition. Acne is also associated with low stomach acidity, suggesting incomplete food breakdown and imbalances in the digestive tract.
With the shift between male hormones and female hormones during the menstrual cycle, acne lesions change. Synthetic progestins and estrogens used for menopausal symptoms, supplements of DHEA, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome and estrogen dominance have been linked to acne. Other drugs such as corticosteroids, anabolic steroids, iodides and bromides are also known to cause acne, as are cosmetics that block pores.
||4 capsules daily
Maintains healthy estrogen-to-progesterone balance. Supports the production of desirable estrogen metabolism
GLA Borage Oil/Borage Skin Oil
4 capsules or 1- 2 tsp daily
|Helps fight acne and inflammation
||1 scoop or packet daily
||Prebiotic and probiotic
Helps maintain digestive health and promote elimination
||6 capsules or 2 packets daily
|Reduces sebum production, promotes smooth, clear skin
Promotes healing of skin
Acts as an antioxidant and encourages tissue repair
- Wash gently with warm water and an irritant-free cleanser. Avoid scrubbing, which can stimulate sebum production. Do not use make-up that will clog pores.
- Drink dandelion tea as a beverage to help detoxify liver.
- Eat foods containing garlic; garlic acts as a natural antibacterial.
- Eat artichokes and take artichoke extract to help increase bile formation and flow to digest and absorb fat.
- Do not pick at acne, as this can lead to infection.
- If you have gas, bloating, indigestion or constipation, you have low stomach acid. Add a supplement with betaine hydrochloride or digestive enzymes to improve digestion.
- Avoid the use of antibiotics which can cause Candida yeast overgrowth and vaginal infections that will worsen acne symptoms in the long term and may have little effect on the acne.
- Focus on a diet rich in fruits and vegetables along with 25 g of fiber daily to help naturally eliminate estrogen. Avoid foods that you know aggravate the condition.
- Treat constipation. Holding days of toxic waste increases the amount of toxins excreted by the skin. See Constipation.