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Simple Steps to Naturally Prevent Acne

Posted on April 10th, 2009 by Dr. Mercola  |  5 Comments »

Acne is the most common skin problem dermatologists have to deal with, as it affects almost 85 percent of Americans. While some view acne as a “rite of passage” for teenagers, it is a condition that also plagues adults.

Many think that they won’t have to worry about pimples or zits when they reach their twenties but acne is definitely not just a teen issue; adults can get acne even if they’re already in their forties or fifties.

The Skin Matters 2008 survey found that acne can negatively impact the physical, social, academic and professional aspects of a person’s life. Participants of the survey agreed that having acne as an adult is more stressful than when they had it as a teen. They also said that they found having acne as more unappealing than having wrinkles or gray hair.

One in five women between the ages of 25 and 40 suffer from acne, which often causes them to get depressed, suffer from stress, or experience social withdrawal and intimacy problems – emotions that can trigger or worsen pimple breakouts.

Though this condition is very treatable, the lack of knowledge may also prevent or hinder the proper treatment of acne.

Antibiotics are the typical acne treatment recommended by dermatologists, like tetracycline-type derivatives designed to kill acne infections. Topical application of benzoyl peroxide is another conventional acne treatment method.

Special gadgets, like the hand-held Zeno acne blemish device, have also been developed as quick fixes to fight acne. The Zeno device works by heating the skin for up to 120 degrees to kill the acne-causing bacteria and cause an influx of heat-shock proteins that also help kill the bacteria and reduce inflammation in the pores.

There are many other acne treatment methods available but Dr. Mercola warns against the use of Accutane (isotretinoin), a powerful drug prescribed for a severe type of acne known as nodular acne, which is also used as a chemotherapy agent to help prevent and treat certain skin cancers.

Accutane is the only drug classified as category X, which means it is guaranteed to cause birth defects. Other isotretinoin side effects include depression, psychosis, aggression and suicide.

Treating the Root Cause of Acne

Dr. Mercola explains that while conventional acne treatments typically do work, they DO NOT treat the UNDERLYING cause of acne in any way, shape or form.

There are 4 factors that cause acne:

  • Plugging of the hair follicle
  • Excess sebum production
  • Inflammation in the pore
  • Presence and activity of Propioniform bacteria (acne-causing bacteria)

While most skin experts will say that diet has nothing to do with acne, Mercola believes that nothing could be further from the truth.

If you are predisposed to developing these acne lesions, you will have acne if you are eating a diet that is causing your insulin levels and associated insulin growth factors to rise.

That is because when you eat refined carbohydrates and sugar, it causes a surge of insulin and an insulin-like growth factor called IGF-1 in your body. This causes an overproduction of male hormones, which cause your pores to secrete sebum, a greasy substance that attracts the acne-causing propioniform bacteria.

IGF-1 also causes skin cells known as keratinocytes to multiply. This process is also associated with acne.

Now that you know the underlying cause of acne, here are …

Dr. Mercola’s 3 Simple Steps to Prevent Acne:

  1. Reduce your consumption of grains and sugars – including bread, cereal, pasta, rice, potatoes and corn to radically reduce your insulin production. You can replace the carbohydrates you get from sugars and grain carbohydrates with vegetable carbohydrates according to your Nutritional Type.
  2. Take a good probiotic supplement – If you’re using antibiotics to treat acne, it’s very important to take a probiotic supplement. Antibiotics do kill the propioniform bacteria that causes acne but they also wipe out the good bacteria in your gut.
  3. Optimize your vitamin D levels – Go out and get a healthy dose of sunlight to create natural vitamin D in your body. You produce over 200 antimicrobial peptides when you’re getting enough vitamin D. If you can’t get regular sun exposure or don’t have a safe tanning bed, you can supplement with oral vitamin D. You have to monitor your vitamin D levels with a blood test at regular intervals if you decide to take vitamin D supplements

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