Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Underlying Acne problems

The skin is a mirror to the internal health of your body; therefore to treat all skin complaints, you need to start from the inside out. Researchers have made a link between dysbiosis - a disturbance in the natural balance of flora in the gut - and acne.

In Chinese medicine, the skin is known as the "fourth organ of elimination." The colon, liver and kidneys are the organs responsible for cleansing the body of toxins. When they are overburdened with mucus and toxic waste matter, an eruption can occur upon the skin.

Sadly, adult acne is not only a fact of life - it is on the increase. There are now 12 different types of acne affecting some 3% of the population and contrary to popular belief, it is not caused by junk diets or poor hygiene but by a hormonal imbalance, the skin's reaction to this upset, and a bacterium called Propionibacterium acne (P. acne) which has become increasingly resistant to the antibiotics that are the conventional treatment route.

If are you given antibiotics and you take them for a prolonged period of time, there is a risk that you will, inadvertently, exacerbate the very condition you are taking them to treat because antibiotics can damage the lining of the gut. In one study, tests showed 50% of those with a severe acne problem also had higher levels of toxins in their bloodstream.

What this suggests is what the holistic skin specialists have been arguing for some time - that treating acne has to start from the inside. To replenish the microflora wiped out by the prolonged use of antibiotics, for example, take a yeast-free vitamin B complex tablet and a good probiotic supplement. It is advisable to eat bananas, Kefir or live yoghurt, which act as natural probiotics.

Teenage boys suffer spots and acne because of a surge in the male hormone, testosterone. In adults of both sexes, the same condition has been linked to the abnormally high levels of an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase. Enzymes are the catalysts that trigger the body's chemical reactions. What this one does, unhelpfully, is convert testosterone to a more potent form called dihydrotestosterone, and it is this substance that is now believed to play the key role in causing the condition.

As well as a hormonal imbalance, researchers have identified an inability among sufferers to digest saturated fats. This means that eliminating dairy products and all animal fats, especially red meats, should help manage the symptoms. Both tofu and soy are phytoestrogens - substances that can help naturally rebalance the hormones in both sexes, so eating these foods at least three times a week will also help. Sufferers should avoid yeast and white sugar.

A calcium-rich diet has been found to help reduce the severity of an acne infection and while the obvious source is milk, if the lining of the gut is damaged, sufferers are likely to be intolerant to and unable to digest lactose (the sugar in milk), making green leafy vegetables, broccoli, tofu, and shellfish better natural sources.

Vitamin A is important for maintaining all the surfaces of the body, inside and out - good dietary sources include all yellow fruits and vegetables, unpolluted fish oils, and, of course, carrots. Zinc, which helps boost the immune system and enhances the absorption of vitamin A, is lost in food processing or simply missing from non-organic food that has been harvested from nutrient-poor and heavily treated soil. Excessive sweating also depletes the body's zinc resources causing the loss of up to 3mg a day. Foods that are rich in this mineral include shellfish, pecan nuts, turkey and wheatgerm - so include plenty of these in your diet.

Drinking pure water (not from the tap), is crucial. Aim for 2 litres a day to flush out toxins, and increase your intake of dietary fibre to further help colon health by sprinkling a tablespoon of psyllium husks on your cereal or salad each day.

Keeping the skin clean is important because clogged pores can cause spots but harsh and highly alkaline soaps will remove the skins protective oil, as well as its infection-fighting acidity. The best advice is to keep your skin care routine as simplistic as possible.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home