Acne is a multi-factorial disorder that appears during our greatest hormonal peak: adolescence. This is an inflammatory skin disease where the sebaceous follicles, which produce our skin's natural oil, are dysfunctional.
The Mayo Clinic says that: Four main factors cause acne:
Excess oil production
Hair follicles clogged by oil and dead skin cells
Excess activity of a type of hormone (androgens)
As you can see the Mayo clinic assumes that acne has no connection to diet. Recent studies, however, reveal an inescapable truth: diet is a crucial factor when it comes to acne. Therefore, watching what you eat, can help you avoid these nasty chronic inflammatory lesions on our skin.
Several non-westernized societies where there is no consumption of processed carbohydrates, as these foods do not exist in there culture.
Two populations were studied, the Kitavan Islanders of Papua New Guinea and the Aché hunter-gatherers of Paraguay. In both cases, a large group of of participants (about 1300) were evaluated for acne. (1)
The surprising thing about this study is that not one case of acne could be found. No one in either of these two localities had chronic inflammatory alterations of the skin. This explanation associated with this discovery is due to one factor; diet.
This difference between modernized and non-westernized societies cannot be attributed solely to the presence of genetic differences. The most probable cause is that these differences related to environmental factors, which in this case means diet.
The Western diet is high in refined and processed carbohydrates Due to this, the Western diet is commonly deficient in certain nutrients, crucial for the proper performance of our organs. body and skin. (2)
Diets high in processed carbohydrates are often deficient in important minerals and low in anti-inflammatory oils. A carb rich diet often leads to hyperinsulinemia.
In a state of constant servings of sugar, our pancreas, an organ the size of your little finger, is forced to work overtime. The mineral zinc is found in the pancreas.
ZInc is important in that it binds 6 molecules of insulin together inside the pancreas. Insulin has to be created and released with each meal high in sugar. More sugar more insulin release and the higher the demand for the trace mineral zinc. Eating excessive carbs depletes zinc storage, additionally, a diet of carbohydrates supplies no zinc.
What role does zinc have to play with acne? Read on!
Another mineral, selenium is in short supply in high carb diet, as are the important Omega 3 oils. Additionally important antioxidants and often lacking in the Westernized diet.
To begin with, high-carbohydrate diets trigger a terrible hormonal response: hyperinsulinism. The elevation of insulin, a hormone that helps to absorption glucose, in turn, promotes an endocrine response that is mediated by many secondary hormones and factors that influence the development of acne.
One of them, for example, are androgen's, male hormones closely related to the hypersecretion of the sebaceous glands, part of the fundamental mechanism under which acne originates. In addition, insulin can also mediate keratinization and abnormal growth of the epithelium, crucial factors in the formation of acne. ( 3)
In simple terms, the more glucose and high GI carbohydrates we consume, the more insulin released and the more likely we are to get acne.
It's all a cocktail that comes from an unhealthy diet highly processed carb diet.
Is there anything else, besides lowering my carbs, that can slow down or reverse the advance of my acne? Read on!
Zinc is an essential micronutrient for the skin. It is an important component of the immune system and natural antimicrobial action of our body.
As mentioned, this disease is multifactorial and can be associated with several variables. One of them is Propionibacterium acne, the microorganism strictly linked to this disease.
Several studies have also shown how Zinc has a bacteriostatic action and an inhibitory effect on the production of pro-inflammatory factors.
Selenium (an important antioxidant) is strongly linked to acne. Several studies have linked the deficit of this mineral to an increase in the incidence and prevalence of this disease. The lower the selenium concentration, the greater the likelihood of acne and it's severity. (6)
The effect of selenium is similar to Zinc, as it has been shown to stop damage caused by chronic inflammatory processes and limit the progression of this disorder. Similarly, it appears that Selenium can alter the environment of Propionibacterium acne, preventing it from multiplying and proliferating freely.
#3: Vitamin E
Vitamin E, a well-known antioxidant, is also associated with acne. Several studies have shown how the low concentrations of Vit E are linked to the pathogenesis of acne and the severity of this condition.
#4: Omega 3
Omega 3 oils and essential fatty acids are crucial factors for the regulation of inflammatory processes. A high intake of this fatty acid leads to a reduction in pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Next, Omega 3s can regulate one of the most important substances linked to sebum production: Leukotriene B4. Omega 3s can control the way in which sebum is produced and accumulates, and even preventing the formation of acne in the first place. (7)
In my office, I carry high-quality bioavailable minerals and oils. I can help guide you on a gentle cleanse that targets the entire digestive tract. Additionally, I have specific herb formulas that target the circulation into deep into the epithelial tissues and channels of the skin.
I can also use muscle testing protocol (upon request) that asks the question “what does your body want?” Testing in this manner opens a dialogue with your body‘s field that allows your energy to choose the formulas it mosts desires. Unbeknownst to you or me for that matter, your body will display a stronger desire for the formulas it wants the most.
Each of these essential elements: minerals, oils, and herbs, will improve your skin and acne. This along with positive changes in your diet will begin to change your condition in record time!
Cordain L, Lindeberg S, Hurtado M, Hill K, Eaton SB, Brand-Miller J. Acne vulgaris. A disease of Western civilization. Arch Dermatol. 2002;138:1584–1590
Ismail NH, Manaf ZA, Azizan NZ. High glycemic load diet, milk and ice cream consumption are related to acne vulgaris in Malaysian young adults: a case control study. BMC Dermatol. 2012;12:13
Bowe W. P., Joshi S. S., Shalita A. R. Diet and acne. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2010;63(1):124–141. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2009.07.043.
Amer M, Bahgat MR, Tosson Z, et al. Serum zinc in acne vulgaris. Int J Dermatol. 1982;21:481–4
Dreno B, Amblard P, Agache P, et al. Low doses of zinc gluconate for inflammatory acne. Acta Derm Venereol. 1989;69:541–3.
Michaelsson G, Edqvist LE. Erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase activity in acne vulgaris and the effect of selenium and vitamin E treatment. Acta Derm Venereol. 1984;64:9–14.
Calder C. Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes. Nutrients. 2010;2:355–374. doi: 10.3390/nu2030355