Acne and Nutrition
Acne is an inflammatory skin disorder which manifests itself as pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. To some degree, acne affects about 80 per cent of all Americans between the ages of 12 and 44.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne has become the most commonly treated skin abnormality. Perhaps modern lifestyles, with its pollution and junk food, contribute to this change in statistics.
For those who suffer from acne, it is not merely a cosmetic problem. The consequences of acne include emotional stress that can have a strong impact on one’s self-esteem.
Acne often arises in puberty, when the body dramatically increases its production of androgen, which stimulate the production of keratin, a protein, and sebum, an oily skin lubricant. If sebum is secreted faster than it can move through the pores, a blemish arises. The excess oil makes the pores sticky, allowing bacteria to become trapped inside. Blackheads form when sebum combines with skin pigments and plugs the pores.
If scales below the surface of the skin become filled with sebum, whiteheads appear. In severe cases, whiteheads build up, spread under the skin, and rupture, which eventually spreads the inflammation.
Although proper skin care is important in the treatment of acne, acne is not caused by uncleanliness but is more likely to be a result of overactive oil glands.
Factors that contribute to acne include heredity, oily skin, hormonal imbalance, monthly menstrual cycles, and candidiasis. Nutritional deficiencies or a diet high in saturated fats, hydrogenated fats, and animal products can also be involved. Additionally, exposure to industrial pollutants such as machine oils, coal tar derivatives, and chlorinated hydrocarbons are some environmental factors that can have an adverse effect on the condition.
The skin is the largest organ of the body. One of its functions is to eliminate a portion of the body’s toxic waste products through sweating. If the body contains more toxins than the kidneys and liver can effectively discharge, the skin takes over. In fact, some doctors call the skin the “third kidney.” As toxins escape through the skin, the skin’s healthy integrity is disrupted. This is a key factor behind many skin disorders, including acne.
The skin also “breathes.” If the pores become clogged, the microbes that are involved in causing acne flourish because they are protected from the bacteriostatic action of sunshine. Dirt, dust, oils, and grime from pollution clog the pores, but this can be eliminated by cleansing the skin properly, and with the proper products.
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Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, and James F. Balch, M.D