A Natural Approach To Health
Eating For Acne
We had a question the other day about acne.
Acne is an inflammatory skin disorder characterized by pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads.
To some degree, it affects about 80% of all Americans between the ages of 12 and 44.
Acne is one of the most common skin abnormalities.
If you suffer from acne, it’s not merely a cosmetic problem.
It can also have a strong impact on your self-esteem.
Acne often starts at puberty, when your body dramatically increases its production of androgens (male sex hormones).
These hormones stimulate the production of keratin (a type of protein) and sebum (an oily skin lubricant).
If sebum is secreted faster than it can move through your pores, a blemish arises.
The excess oil makes your pores sticky, allowing bacteria to become trapped inside.
Blackheads form when sebum combines with skin pigments and plugs your pores.
If scales below the surface of your skin become filled with sebum, whiteheads appear.
In severe cases, whiteheads build up, spread under your skin, and rupture, which eventually spreads the inflammation.
Although proper skin care is important in the treatment of acne, acne isn’t caused by uncleanliness, but is more likely to be a result of overactive oil glands.
While teenage acne most commonly occurs on the face and/or upper body, adult acne is usually limited to your chin and jawline, and involves fewer, but possibly more painful, blemishes.
Many women suffer premenstrual acne flare-ups prompted by the release of progesterone after ovulation.
Oral contraceptives high in progesterone can cause breakouts, too.
The presence of candidiasis can also cause hormonal changes that encourage your liver to make the wrong substances for healthy sebum.
Factors contributing to acne include heredity, oily skin, hormonal imbalance, monthly menstrual cycles, and candidiasis.
Other possible contributing factors are allergies, stress, and the use of certain types of drugs, like steroids, lithium, oral contraceptives, and some anti-epileptic drugs.
Nutritional deficiencies and/or a diet high in saturated fats, hydrogenated fats, and animal products can also be involved.
Exposure to industrial pollutants like 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 your body.
One of its functions is to eliminate a portion of your body’s toxic waste products through sweating.
If your body contains more toxins than your kidneys and liver can effectively discharge, your skin takes over.
As toxins escape through your skin, your skin’s healthy integrity is disrupted.
Your skin also “breathes.”
If your pores become clogged, the microbes involved in causing acne flourish.
Dirt, dust, oils, and grime from pollution clog your pores, but this can be eliminated by cleansing your skin properly, and with the proper products.
To deal with acne it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 8-10 cups of purified water daily as it hydrates body and brain cells, thins mucus, and flushes toxins.
*Burdock root, dandelion leaves, milk thistle, and red clover are good herbs for acne.
*A poultice using dandelion and yellow dock root can be applied directly to the areas of skin with acne.
*Chaste tree berry extract can help prevent premenstrual breakouts.
*Lavender, red clover, and strawberry leaves can be used as a steam sauna for your face.
*Lavender essential oil is a good antibiotic and antiseptic you can apply directly to individual blemishes.
*Tea tree oil is a natural antibiotic and antiseptic. Dab full-strength tea tree oil (sparingly) on blemishes 3 times a day.
*Other beneficial herbs include alfalfa, cayenne, and yellow dock root.
*Adopt a low-glycemic-load diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in processed grains. Following this diet for 12 weeks has been shown to significantly reduce the number of acne lesions.
*Eat a high-fiber diet. This is important for keeping your colon clean and ridding your body of toxins.
*Increase your intake of raw foods. The more natural raw foods consumed, the faster your skin will clear and heal. Especially include raw foods containing oxalic acid, including almonds, beets, cashews, and Swiss chard. Exceptions are spinach and rhubarb; these contain oxalic acid, but should be consumed in small amounts only.
*Eat a lot of fruits. This is always good for your skin because of the nutritional value and water content of fruit. You can also use certain fruits as a tonic on the surface of your skin. Grapes, strawberries, and pineapple are rich in alpha-hydroxy acids. These acids help to exfoliate your skin by removing the dead skin cells clogging oil glands.
*Eat more foods rich in zinc, including shellfish, soybeans, whole grains, sunflower seeds, and a small amount of raw nuts daily. Zinc is an antibacterial agent and a necessary part in the oil-producing glands of your skin. A diet low in zinc may promote flare-ups.
*Be sure your diet contains vitamins A, C, E, and essential fatty acids. Supplements of these vitamins can prove to be beneficial for acne sufferers. Although vitamin A is important in fighting acne, you must be sure not to take too much. Vitamin E can help regulate vitamin A levels and can also help prevent scars.
*Avoid alcohol, butter, caffeine, cheese, chocolate, cocoa, cream, eggs, fat, fish, fried foods, hot and spicy foods, hydrogenated oils and shortenings, margarine, meat, poultry, wheat, soft drinks, and foods containing brominated vegetable oils.
*Try eliminating dairy products from your diet for 1 month. Acne may develop due to an allergic reaction to dairy products, and the fat content of the dairy products can worsen the condition. Modern dairy and other animal products often contain hormones and steroids which can upset your body’s natural hormonal balance.
*If you aren’t allergic to dairy products, eat plenty of soured products, like low-fat yogurt, to keep healthy intestinal flora.
*Avoid all forms of sugar. Sugar impairs immune function. Sugar also promotes the growth of candida, which may be a contributing factor to acne.
*Eliminate all processed foods from your diet, and don’t use iodized salt. Enzymes induce the nutrients in food to be used to make muscle tissue, nerve cells, bone, skin, and glandular tissue. Processed foods also contain high levels of iodine, which is known to worsen acne. For the same reason, avoid fish, kelp, and onions.
*Keep the affected area as free of oil as possible. Shampoo your hair frequently. Use an all-natural soap designed for acne. Wash your skin thoroughly but gently no more than twice daily; never rub hard.
*Avoid wearing makeup. If you feel you must use cosmetics, use only natural, water-based products. Don’t use any oil-based formulas, and avoid any products containing harsh chemicals, dyes, or oils.
*Use a mixture of organic apple cider vinegar and quality water to balance your skin’s pH. Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 10 parts quality water, and apply the mixture on the affected area.
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