Our Acne Theory To Getting Rid of Acne

Acne can be an embarrassing, annoying, and even painful condition of the skin. People of all ages can be affected by acne, including adults. With the skin care industry being a multimillion dollar business, there are many different treatment options out there. In order to rid yourself of this upsetting skin condition, it is important to know what causes acne, what theories there are behind acne formation and treatment, the different types of acne and the theory behind it all. Once a patient is familiar with everything there is to know about acne, then he or she will know how to most effectively treat it.

How is Acne Formed?

How To Get Rid of Acne tips

Looking at your skin from the outside in, hair comes out of a pore. These hairs come from hair follicles which are under the skin and linked to a sebaceous gland. This sebaceous gland is responsible for producing sebum, the facial oil that forms a protective layer on your skin to protect it and keep it moisturized. In healthy skin, this occurs without any difficulties or flare-ups because the pore is open. However, in skin affected by acne, dead skin cells clog the pores and block the sebum inside the hair follicle. When this happens, a bacterium called p.acnes infects the sebum and begins to grow. Consequently, the hair follicle becomes filled with sebum and the p.acne bacterium. The white appearance of acne on the surface of the skin is actually pus formed by the dead white cells that have been fighting the infection. The hair follicle bursts when it is overwhelmed by the pressure.

Three Stages to Acne Development:

Blackheads and Whiteheads – In the first stage comedones are formed. Comedones are more commonly known as blackheads and whiteheads. Blackheads are open on the top while whiteheads are covered with a layer of skin. In blackheads, the sebum is oxidized, giving it a dark or blackened appearance. Due to the formation described above, these comedones are a mixture of sebum and dead skin cells.

Pimple – It is during this second stage when the hair follicle becomes infected with the p.acnes bacterium. This bacterium is able to multiple quickly due to the absence of air and the presence of sebum and dead skin cells. This type of acne is called a pimple. Pimples are divided into two separate categories – pustule and papule. Pustule pimples are pus filled infected lesions, while papule pimples are cellular masses that are not infected.

Cysts and Nodules – In the third stage of acne development, nodules and cysts develop and become inflamed. A nodule is a solid lesion and larger than papule. A nodule is severely inflamed, extends deep into the skin, can be very painful, and is prone to leaving scars. A cyst is classified as severe acne and is a sac full of sebum, dead skin cells, white blood cells, and p.acnes bacterium. Cystic acne is much large than pustules and infects the deeper layers of skin like the nodule acne does. In nodulocystic acne, nodules and cysts form together.

The Secret Theory of Acne

In order to understand the secret theory of acne, it helps to understand some specifics of human biology. To begin with, there are two hormones that are responsible for the cause of pimple and acne breakouts: Androgen (testosterone) and Cortisols. These two hormones activate the skin sebaceous glands to secrete the sebum. When your body has too much of these hormones, the glands are forced into overdrive which produces an excess amount of sebum, which in turn increases the risk of clogged pores. Cortisols hormones are especially problematic since it can also cause skin inflammation. The human body normally has hormone levels in appropriate proportions for our needs, but sometimes internal and external influences can create an imbalance. Acne is likely to develop with these imbalances.


Factors Influencing Androgen Level:

  1. Puberty
  2. Body building supplements
  3. Fertility Drugs
  4. Menstruation

Factors Influencing Cortisols Level:

  1. Stress
  2. Diet
  3. Insufficient Sleep

Often, it is a combination of these factors that produce a hormone imbalance that sends the sebaceous glands into overdrive. For instance, college students may find themselves breaking out more severely and more often than they did in high school because of increased stress factors. Perhaps you are a college student cramming for midterms. Not only are you losing critical sleep, but your food choices included lots of junk food, and your mood is gloomy because you are worried about your midterm exams. On top of all that, it is that time of the month if you are a female. This is a recipe for skin disaster! Since stress increases cortisols, your face is now oiler than it normally is and your androgen level is elevated due to menstruation. The fatty sugary food you have consumed aggravates existing acne and increases cortisols even more. Breakouts are pretty much guaranteed at this point.

Males are not off the hook with acne problems. In fact, males tend to have more acne than females since they naturally have a higher level of testosterone. In addition, the hormone estrogen helps control the secretion of sebum, and it is a well-known fact that females have more estrogen than males.

Internal factors such as diet, mood, lack of sleep, and lifestyle are primary causes of acne and pimple flare-ups since they affect hormone production. External factors such as the use of comedogenic products are secondary causes of breakouts. One of the most important factors affecting the levels of androgen and cortisols in your body is your attitude or mood. It is also one factor you have a lot of control over. When you are in a bad mood or feeling low your sebaceous glands produce more sebum. Therefore, it is important to maintain a positive, healthy, and happy outlook in order to control your hormone levels to help prevent acne breakouts. The cortisols hormone will uphold a better balance if your stay positive since negative emotions increase cortisols.


Acne: Cures and Treatments

There are many things you can do to help control acne breakouts. Treatment options for affected skin range from prescribed antibiotics and medications, over the counter creams, washes, and lotions, to homeopathic remedies such as Tea Tree oil and toothpaste. However, the best way to treat acne is to use preventative methods. The majority of these preventive methods are easy and free. Getting plenty of sleep (at least seven hours a day), eating healthy and regularly, managing stress effectively, and talking to your doctor about supplements and medications you may be taking are all things you can do to help yourself. If you practice these positive approaches, you will help your body control its cortisols level, which prevents less sebum production, which in turn will lead to a decreased chance of clogged pores. Additionally, there are many products available, some of which are even advertised to help treat acne, that are irritating to the skin. Avoiding these comedogenic products will also help improve your skin appearance.


Food and Diet

Allergy Foods – Eating foods that you are allergic to can increase toxin levels in your body. Your immune system thinks the allergic food is attacking your body as an invading organism and increases white blood cells to fight it. This can result in skin inflammation. The most common allergy prone foods and additives are as follows:

  • Tree nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Cow’s milk
  • Eggs
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Tartrazine – Yellow No. 5
  • Aspartame or NutraSweet

Inflammatory Foods – A second category of acne related foods are inflammatory foods. Your body has two types of chemicals which effect inflammation; prostaglandins (inflammatory) and anti-prostaglandins (anti-inflammatory). An improper or imbalanced diet can lead to an increase in prostaglandins, which can cause your body to become inflamed, resulting in possible pimple and acne breakouts. A list of inflammatory acne-related foods follows:

  • Pasteurized dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)
  • Refined sugar (white sugar, brown sugar, high fructose corn syrup, turbinado)
  • Artificial sweeteners (NutraSweet, Splenda, Equal)
  • Red meat
  • MSG (monosodium glutamate)
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Table salt
  • Vegetables in Nightshade family (eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and tobacco)
  • Foods high in gluten

Making simple dietary changes in your life can decrease the risk of acne. Limiting red meat to twice a week, and avoiding foods and beverages with artificial sweeteners and caffeine can be helpful. Dairy products are known to contain the androgen hormone which can aggravate skin even more. Choosing foods that are low in sugar, salt, and gluten will benefit your hormone levels as well, resulting in better conditions for your skin.

In order to help combat inflammatory foods, it is helpful to consume anti-inflammatory foods as well. There are plenty of delicious options out there, so be sure to assist the health of your skin by choosing a variety.

  • Vegetables: Bok Choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, chard, collards, fennel, garlic, green beans, onions, kale, leeks, olives, spinach, and turnip greens
  • Fruits: Apples, avocados, bananas, blueberries, currants, fresh pineapple, guava, kiwi, kumquats, lemons, limes, oranges, papaya, raspberries, rhubarb, and strawberries.
  • Herbs and spices: Basel, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, cocoa, licorice, mint, ginger, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and turmeric.
  • Nuts: Almonds, flaxseeds, hazelnut, sunflower seeds, and walnuts.
  • Oils: Avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil
  • Fish: Cod, halibut, herring, rainbow trout, salmons, sardines, snapper, striped bass, tuna, and white fish, oysters.
  • Dietary Supplements

    A relationship between acne breakouts and certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies has been recorded. The following list identifies the beneficial vitamin or mineral and its role in helping prevent acne:

    Vitamin A: Retinol. Can help prevent and clear up infections of the skin. One of the most recommended treatment methods for acne is Retin A, which is comprised of this vitamin.

    Vitamin C: Ascorbic Acid. Vitamin C helps build-up cell wall integrity and boosts collagen. Since the body is unable to store it, a daily source of Vitamin C is recommended.

    Vitamin E: This powerful antioxidant helps maintain healthy skin by eliminating free radicals. Additionally, it is also responsible for regulating Vitamin A.

    Zinc: Not only does zinc help support a healthy immune system, but it is responsible for stimulating 100 enzymes in the body. Studies have proved that a sufficient level of zinc has a positive impact on acne prevention.

    Chromium: Chromium helps to regulate the sugar you consume. Since research has shown that severe acne has a correlation to unstable blood sugar levels, chromium supplements are recommended to help improve the skin.

    Selenium: It assists in the development of selenoproteins which help prevent cellular damage from free radicals.

    Potassium: Like selenium, it also assists in the development of selenoproteins which help prevent cellular damage from free radicals.


    Natural Remedies

    Treating acne problems with natural remedies can help control your acne and benefit your body by avoiding prolonged and potentially harmful side effects of other medical treatment methods such as antibiotics.

    Hot and Cold Compresses: Using these compresses can help alleviate swelling and inflammation, in addition to opening up pores to prevent clogging.

    Water: Drinking about 8 glasses of water a day helps your body process the toxins inside it that promote acne.

    Apricot Juice: Apricot juice can help eliminate whiteheads but cutting through them.

    Cucumber Juice: It should be used topically and can be combined with carrot juice, alfalfa, or lettuce.

    Citric Fruit Juices: These juices serve as a natural exfoliate which helps remove dead skin cells.

    Fenugreek Leaves: When crushed, these leaves make a paste to apply to your skin at night. Simply wash away in the morning.

    Honey Mask: Because of its antibacterial properties, honey is a great solution for acne treatment when applied once or twice a week.

    Distilled White Vinegar: Apply directly to affected area for 10 minutes; dilute with water if it is too strong.

    Green Tea: Drink unsweetened for optimum benefits.

    Following these treatment suggestions may eliminate the need to prescription antibiotics. However, if your acne continues to troublesome, please schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.

    You might want to read my article on the different types of acne.