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Acne


Introduction

Acne can be a complete aggravation for teenagers and even some adults alike. It tortures people with a skin problem that is both physically and mentally unpleasant. While 89% of most teenagers experience acne, many people will struggle with more than just one occasional break out in their lifetime.

Acne is a hormone-related problem involved with the action of testosterone on the sebaceous skin glands. It is characterized by inflamed blemishes on the face, chest, neck, back and shoulders. More advanced forms of acne may result in significant inflammation that leads to scarring.

Traditional approaches to treating acne typically involve acne cleansers and other medications that only treat acne from the surface. While these approaches may produce temporary results for some, they rarely lead to lasting improvement because they do not take into account dietary and lifestyle factors that cause acne to begin with.

The most common underlying causes of acne include stress, hormonal changes, dietary imbalance and blood sugar irregularities. Stress and hormonal changes lead to an increased production of sebum, an oily substance necessary for skin health. If sebum is not eliminated properly, it builds up on the skin surface, blocking pores. Blood sugar irregularities contribute to over insulin production, which stimulates the growth of skin and often blocks the exit toxins through the pores. Refined sugar also supplies a food source to acne-causing bacteria.

Acne is not typically something that can be solved with a simple face wash, medication or cleanser. Acne is caused by something deeper and therefore must be addressed by looking at a variety of underlying factors that are found beneath the skin's surface.

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Common Symptoms

Inflamed and infected pustules on the face, chest and back; often itching and scarring from Cystic Acne where fluid-filled cysts develop.

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Common Causes

Glandular (particularly pituitary), and hormonal (particularly male) imbalance during teenage years and before menstruation. Both teenage and adult acne are aggravated by a diet high in damaged fats and glycemic carbohydrates. High levels of stress may produce an excess amount of the hormone, cortisol. As a result, insulin production triggers the release of IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor), which has been shown to facilitate acne formation. Essential fatty acid deficiency often results from a high intake of damaged fats which causes an imbalance of hormones that often result in the development acne. Food allergies, poor digestion, yeast overgrowth, liver function, poor elimination/constipation, heredity, some oral contraceptives, high oil cosmetics, emotional stress, and lack of green veggies are also related to acne's occurrence. Excessive amounts of certain vitamins and minerals may lead to acne outbreaks as well.

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Natural Treatment

The natural approach to effectively treating acne is to determine individual acne triggers (online or in person). Consider food sensitivity testing through Food Allergy Testing to determine if specific foods are contributing to acne. Hormonal balance, blood sugar control/insulin balance, and stress reduction/cortisol control as well as hydration can reduce acne outbreaks. Skin protecting supplementation and specific vitamins/minerals support underlying imbalances and also aid in the formation of new, healthy skin If you are a female and have been on birth control pills, you may consider digestive testing to rule out levels of yeast overgrowth which may influence hormone balance. It is also important to ensure optimal detoxification by avoiding elements that the body views as toxic and that can accumulate in the liver and pores.

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References

Goodman G (Jul 2006). "Acne and acne scarring - the case for active and early intervention" (PDF). Aust Fam Physician 35 (7): 503-4.

Smith R, Mann N, Makelainen H, Braue A, Varigos G (2004). "The effect of short-term altered macronutrient status on acne vulgaris and biochemical markers of insulin sensitivity". Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 13.

Chiu, Annie, Chon, Susan Y., Kimball, Alexa B. (July 2003). "The Response of Skin Disease to Stress: Changes in the Severity of Acne Vulgaris as Affected by Examination Stress" (abstract at [1]). Archives of Dermatology 139 (7).

Page L. Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone Eleventh Edition. Traditional Wisdom, Inc; 2000.

Rister S. Healing Without Medication. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Publications, Inc; 2003: 13-20.

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