Acne

Causes:
Acne is an inflammatory condition of the skin characterised by blackheads, whiteheads and pimples. If these become infected with surface bacteria, the skin can become red and inflamed and also form pustules. The areas commonly affected are the face, back, chest and thighs. While acne is almost exclusively an adolescent phenomenon and usually subsides in later years, it can also affect adults.
One form that often affects adults is Acne rosacea which is characterised by an ‘orange peel’ texture of the fleshy areas of the face such as the nose, cheeks, chin and forehead.
The exact causes of acne are uncertain, but some eighty percent of teenagers are affected to some degree; and thus it is associated with increased sex hormone activity occurring around the time of puberty and the years immediately following it. The sebaceous glands are stimulated giving rise to an over production of sebum which hardens, blocking up the pores which then become infected causing the unsightly blackheads and pimples to form. The condition can be aggravated by attempts to squeeze the spots with finger nails which can cause permanent scarring.
Diet:
Even though acne is thought to be caused primarily by hormonal imbalances, diet is of critical importance and a good diet is a crucial part of recovery. Most skin conditions of this nature are better treated from the inside out- rather than relying on topical creams and lotions.
Diet affects the skin in as it provides the nutrients needed by the skin and it also helps the skin eliminate toxins from the system and prevents them building up again.
Some healthy eating tips:
  • Avoid eating fatty foods like burgers, crisps, chips, sweets, cakes and chocolate. The high fat content causes abnormal development of the sebaceous glands, exacerbating the problem.
  • Reduce red meat and dairy products (particulary cheese) intake as these tend to further increase inflammation for the acne sufferer.
  • Try and increase gradually your intake of  raw fresh non citrus fruit,vegetable juices, salads, cooked vegetables, vegetable soup, nuts and seeds (pumpkin).
  • Increase your intake of whole grains (e.g brown rice) and pulses (e.g beans and lentils)
  • Drink large amounts of good quality mineral water to flush out toxins from your body.
  • Cut down on all saturated fats (milk, cheese and butter)
  • Take your time eating meals and chew well.
The Skin
The skin is the largest organ of our body and is one of the four major organs of elimination, the others being the bowels, lungs and kidneys.
Good skin hygiene is of primary importance- and a good cleansing lotion containing natural ingredients and plant extracts should be used in preference to soap or the heavily advertised mass market chemical based cleansers which may damage the skin’s acid mantle.
Gentle exfoliation of the skin also helps remove dead skin cells which block the pores and also will increase circulation.
 
Lifestyle
  • Take plenty of regular exercise including brisk walking, swimming or sailing which are excellent for acne sufferers by encouraging blood flow, getting oxygen into the tissues and stimulating the eliminatory process.
  • Stress is a well known aggravater of skin conditions. This can be reduced  by a number of measures such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, exercise, sport, hobbies, music etc.
Supplements:
 Vitamin A: Known as the skin vitamin. Do not exceed the recommended dosage.
B Complex: Good skin conditioner and particularly useful if under stress
Vitamin C: Antioxidant. Supports the immune system
Vitamin E: Antioxidant. Helps promote healing
Zinc: Supports the immune system and promotes healing
Agnus Castus: A useful hormone balancer
Aloe Vera: Anti inflammatory topical agent in gel or cream form
Echinacea: Immune Enhancer, blood purifier and anti bacterial (tinture or tablets). Cream useful for topical application
Garlic: Blood Purifier
Tea Tree Oil: Anti bacterial topical agent
Evening Primrose Oil: Helps to regulate hormone activity.