Acne

Updated: Feb 9, 2019

Acne. Zits. Pimples. Blemishes. No matter what you call them, acne can be distressing and annoying.  Dr. Michelle Parsons is happy to help you eliminate acne, whether you have adult onset acne, or had it since your teen years. Dr. Parsons also treats adolescents with stubborn acne. Treatment options include cleansing and anti-bacterial products, as well as oral and topical antibiotic medications as required. Dr. Parsons will perform a skin analysis, to include skin bacterial count, to determine which protocol is right for you.



CAUSES OF ACNE

Acne occurs when tiny holes on the surface of the skin, called pores, become clogged. Each pore is an opening to a canal called a follicle, which contains a hair and an oil gland. Normally, the oil glands help keep the skin lubricated and help remove old skin cells. When glands produce too much oil, the pores can become blocked, accumulating dirt, debris, and bacteria. The blockage is called a plug or comedone.


The top of the plug may be white (whitehead) or dark (blackhead). If it ruptures, the material inside, including oil and bacteria, can spread to the surrounding area and cause an inflammatory reaction. If the inflammation is deep in your skin, the pimples may enlarge to form firm, painful cysts.



Acne commonly appears on the face and shoulders, but may also occur on the trunk, arms, legs, and buttocks. Acne is most common in teenagers, but it can happen at any age, even as an infant. Three out of four teenagers have acne to some extent, probably caused by hormonal changes that stimulate oil production. However, people in their 30s and 40s may also have acne.


Recent studies show diet does in fact play a role in exacerbating acne. In particular, such foods with a high glycemic load; milk and dairy; chocolate; salty, oily, and fatty foods. A similar association was found with milk. Dairy products contain approximately 60 other growth factors and micronutrients that can influence acne.


With all this evidence, the conclusion seems very clear.  In addition to prescribing medications, counseling about dietary modifications, such as elimination of dairy products and high glycemic foods must be part of treating acne patients in order for have optimal treatment outcomes.


THE 3 WORST FOODS

Wheat

Wheat is one of the worst things you could eat.

Wheat causes acne because it contains gluten. Gluten is a protein that binds things together. It’s the thing that makes dough so sticky.


Gluten is highly inflammatory for most people. Wheat hasn’t been a part of the human diet for that long (in evolutionary terms). So our digestive system isn’t used to it. The immune system treats gluten as an invader and this reaction causes inflammation. Too much inflammation can lead to acne for those who are prone to getting it.


The problem is that unless you have celiac disease, you won’t notice this reaction. These kinds of reactions are often called sensitivities. They are different from allergic reactions because they don’t create any immediate symptoms. Most likely you feel just fine after eating wheat, but it silently creates inflammation and damage in your body.  Gluten is an integral part of wheat. So in this sense whole wheat products are NO better than those made out of white flour.  Wheat is the most common source of gluten, but it’s also present in a few other grains. If you are highly sensitive to gluten, it’s a good idea to go totally gluten-free. Google gluten-free diet for more information


Dairy

Dairy products are among the few foods that have been scientifically linked to acne.  The Achieves of Dermatology published a study on the link between dairy intake and teenage acne. The authors wrote: “CONCLUSION: We found a positive association with acne for intake of total milk and skim milk. We hypothesize that the association with milk may be because of the presence of hormones and bioactive molecules in milk.


As the authors conclude, this is probably linked to hormones. Dairy is full of growth hormones. Think about it. The job of the milk is to make baby calves grow into massive cows. So it makes sense that milk is loaded with hormones.


Unfortunately these same hormones are linked to acne. One of these hormones is called IGF-1 (Insulin like growth factor-1). IGF-1 has been shown to increase sebum production and lead to clogged pores.


I highly recommend you minimize or stop the intake of all dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese and so on).  You can substitute milk with rice, almond or nut milks. Avoid soy milk, as soy products can be as bad as dairy products. Often cutting wheat and dairy is enough to bring severe acne down to mild/moderate acne. So I highly recommend you at least try this for a few weeks


Processed vegetable oils

Most processed vegetable oils are highly damaging to your health and skin. The extensive processing these oils undergo damages the delicate fats.

As a result these oils are highly inflammatory and can lead to acne. These fats are comparable to trans-fats. And that means, avoid at all costs.  As a rule of thumb avoid all oils in supermarkets, with the exception of virgin and extra-virgin olive oils and coconut oil.



THE 3 BEST FOODS

Greens

Leafy, green vegetables (greens for short) are the king of nutrition. They are the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet.  Greens also help your digestive system. Because they are high in fiber they keep your bowels moving. Greens are considered ‘prebiotic’, meaning that they feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut. The only problem with greens is taste. Most people don’t exactly consider plain lettuce as a gourmet meal.


So here’s a simple way to get over it: make a green smoothie. Green smoothie is a fruit smoothie with some greens blended in. I know it sounds awful, but it tasted wonderful when it’s done correctly. Google green smoothie for recipes and more info.


Green smoothies are perfect for breakfast. They are quick to make, delicious and pack your morning with healthy nutrients. Need I say more?


Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)

EFAs are another group of skin-friendly super foods.


These fatty acids are called essential because your body cannot make them. They have to come from diet. You probably know them as omega 3, 6 and 9.


Where processed fats are very bad for your health, unprocessed EFAs are very good. They are highly anti-inflammatory, so they can really help your skin.


The best sources for EFAs are: