Look in a Merck medical manual 10 years ago and you could find the statement “diet does not affect acne”. It is hard to imagine a respected health resource stating this considering so much our health is tied into our food, diet and lifestyle – and acne, for the most part, is no different with a few caveats.
Acne can have several causes and in this blog post, I will attempt to outline these with some guidelines for overcoming the condition (naturally). Much can be written on this topic, I will attempt to be as brief as possible and cover the main points in less than a 5-minute read.
Acne can be a debilitating disorder especial during a severe outbreak. The social aspect of the disorder can be the hardest part of dealing with acne. Acne on the face makes one less likely to want to socialize leading to a loss of confidence and self-esteem. Acne, especially during the teen years, can be difficult to deal with when social activities are so important (and often awkward enough). Hang in there…..no condition lasts forever and with the right guidance it can be a thing of the past more quickly than you expect.
First lets quickly look at the conventional drug store options as a way of indicating what not to use.
• Accutane (Isotretinoin) and it's now other brand names is an outrageously dangerous drug for the treatment of severe acne. From the harmful side effect including birth defects, inflammatory bowel disease, abnormal bone growth and depression/suicide/psychosis to name a few (there are around 30).
Over the counter
• Benzoyl peroxide a drying (burning) petrochemical derivative that compromises the skin's eco-flora (immune system) and set the acne sufferer up for continued failure to treat acne effectively.
Benzoyl peroxide does, however, dry out the acne nicely to give the appearance of reduced redness. This drying/burning is similar to a bleaching or a chemical peel where layers of the skin are removed. As mentioned above this impairs the integrity of the skin's eco flora (good bacteria) and hydro-lipid layer (moisturizing protecting layer of the skin) causing the acne to often come back with a vengeance.
• Synthetic Salicylic Acid – has a similar drying action however less severe that BP. Thera Wise Ac+ Acne ointment uses salicylic acid from willow tree bark @ 0.5%, witch hazel extract and tamanu oil to assist in overcoming pathogenic bacteria.
Here are the considerations that in my opinion are the biggest causes of acne.
• Pathogenic bacteria (bad bacteria) vs good bacteria (healthy skin eco-flora) in and around the skin's pores.
• Hormonal changes (Stress, puberty, PMS, pregnancy, menopause, food choices).
• Comedogenic (pore blocking) personal care and air pollution particulates.
• Diet – deficiency in micronutrients, GLA EFA’s, high glycemic foods, hormone-injected meats and milk, allergies.
• Internal health – immune system (gut health), imbalance in the constitution.
• Genetics – some people are just more prone to skin challenges (not your fault!).
• Allergies – mostly from food, however, could include personal care, pets pollen etc.
What to do
Proper skin regimen.
For any inflammatory skin condition, less is more when it comes to personal care use especially in the affected areas. For women that use foundation, blush, mascara try to minimize, eliminate and remove when not working or going out until the acne is eliminated or reduced. Gentle soaps and cleansing gels should be used sparingly (consider an olive oil soap) and avoid petrochemicals.
As the first defence against acne use our Thera Wise Ac+ Bio Active Acne Ointment
It is a comprehensive approach that targets the factors that cause acne.
No other anti-acne ointment on the market approaches acne-like Ac+.
Here is why:
• Anti-inflammatory plant extract reduces redness, swelling and itching.
• Restorative and regenerative emollients protect and rejuvenate delicate compromised tissue.
• Balance the skin's eco-flora (reduces pathogenic bacteria and promotes healthy skin bacteria).
• Protect and rejuvenates the delicate hydro-lipid layer of the skin (natural barrier).
• Gentle pore cleansing & naturally antibacterial activity to remove acne-causing bacteria.
• Natural moisturizing base – has a bio affinity with the skin – the composition of olive wax is the most similar to human sebum.
You can use our Ac+ as a moisturizer on areas that you are often experiencing acne before an outbreak occurs. Works great as a spot treatment too.
Diet, supplements and herbals suggestions
• Probiotics – important for overcoming any skin condition – fermented vegetables are my first choice, miso, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles etc. If you have been taking antibiotics then possibly consider a quality store-bought probiotic initially.
• Quality filtered water.
• Essential Fatty acids can really help overcome inflammatory skin conditions. – Flaxseed oil, krill oil, hemp seed oil, Olive oil salmon, sardines, mackerel etc.
• Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) mostly found in the foods – hemp seeds, oats and barley and in oils – evening primrose oil, blackcurrant seed oil, olive oil, hemp seed oil and flax oil can be helpful overcoming acne.
• Detoxifying leafy green vegetables – kale, collard greens, salad greens should already be part of everyone's diet, this is especially important for acne sufferers. I like whole food choices over processed green products that come in a bottle. Consider green smoothies to increase your greens intake quickly. For some inspiration and fun in this category, there is no-one more likely to get you motivated than Canada’s ambassador to healthy food fun Megan Telpner – search green smoothie on her site.
• Quality protein for cellular regeneration – use only organic (grass feed for beef, lamb bison etc) pasture-raised animal proteins. Avoid hormone injected raised conventional meats
Vegetarians/Vegans look for beans, hemp seeds, avocados, nuts, kale etc
Look also at green tea, my favourite cannot live without morning vice is Tsuen tea organic sencha from Kyoto (the oldest tea manufacturer, merchant in Japan from 1160)…heavenly!
• Locally grown (organic if possible) cooling in nature vegetables cucumber, radish, snow peas, beets, turnips, zucchini, bok choy, asparagus, carrots, cauliflower.
• Avoid or minimize dairy and high glycemic foods (sugars) both have studies indicating they can exacerbate acne.
Internal herbals to treat acne (tincture or decoction/tea).
Chastetree berry (hormonal normalizer)
Burdock (cleansing detoxifying and all-around good for the skin)
Yellow Dock (similar to burdock – cleanses the blood and lymphatic system)