Acne, which is a chronic, inflammatory condition of the skin, affects about 60 million people in the United States. While most people think of acne as a skin condition that only affects teenagers, older people can also suffer from acne, which is caused when skin cells, an oil called sebum, and hair plug up hair follicles.
When the follicle gets plugged, bacteria, primarily propionibacterium acnes, which naturally lives on the skin, can cause an infection. This results in types of acne such as whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, cysts, and nodules. In severe cases of acne, clogged pores might lead to infections, and infections can leave acne scars on the skin that last a lifetime.
It’s not entirely clear what causes acne, but many studies point to the hormone androgen, which is produced by the testes in men and by the ovaries in women. Other possible causes include genetics, greasy cosmetics, and stress and anxiety.
For many people, acne clears up as they get older, but then returns during periods of hormonal imbalance such as menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, and andropause.
Acne is not life-threatening, but severe acne can have serious effects on self-esteem, often creating anxiety resulting in social withdrawal and depression. It can also lead to frustration for people who try different remedies to no effect.
What Are the Traditional Treatments for Acne?
Another acne treatment is the use of retinoids, a vitamin A derivative that has been shown to help unclog pores, reduce sebum production, and help normalize skin shedding and growth.
However, not all treatments work on all people, and some have been shown to have serious side effects. For instance, oral isotretinoins, the active ingredient in prescription acne medications such as Accutane and Retin-A, can cause clinical depression, birth defects in pregnant women, elevated serum triglyceride levels, and acute pancreatitis.
According to WebMD, there are a number of ways to reduce acne, including:
- Keeping your face clean
- Using makeup sparingly
- Avoiding hair products that contain fragrances, oils, pomades, or gels
- Not popping pimples
- Keeping unclean hands away from your face
- Avoiding excessive exposure to the sun
- Engaging in regular exercise
If you are one of the millions of acne sufferers in the United States and your healthcare provider or dermatologist hasn’t found a solution that is right for you and your skin, consider consulting with the specialists in the BodyLogicMD network, who focus on hormonal imbalances, diet and nutrition, lifestyle, and activity level to help you look and feel your best.
How Can BodyLogicMD Help You Reduce or Eliminate Acne?
The healthcare professionals at BodyLogicMD will sit down with you and really listen to your skin-related concerns before reviewing your specific symptoms and conditions. They might also perform bloodwork to evaluate your hormonal balance or to determine if inflammation might be contributing to your acne, causing what is known as hormonal acne.
Your physician might also find that your acne can be treated by adding natural supplements to your diet, as research has shown that the regular use of certain vitamins should be part of any healthcare plan aimed at reducing and eliminating acne and contributing to overall skin health.
What Should You Consider in a Treatment Plan?
Vitamin A, which is actually a group of fat-soluble retinoids that include retinol, has been shown to support cell growth and plays a critical role in the function and maintenance of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs, including the skin.
An excellent source of vitamin A is food that contains beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Foods that contain beta carotene include apricots, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, grapefruit, kale, onions, peppers, plums, spinach, and sweet potatoes.
B complex vitamins such as niacin, thiamine, and riboflavin have been shown to reduce inflammation and create proteins that aid in the healing process, such as helping to repair acne scarring on the skin. But you have to be careful with B complex vitamins, as taking too much may actually cause acne.
Vitamin C can boost collagen levels and reduce inflammation. Collagen increases the elasticity of skin, helps heal acne, makes for a smoother complexion, and reduces wrinkles.
A number of benefits to the body have been proven with omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, including the reduction of inflammation. Epidemiological research has shown people in communities that maintain a traditional diet high in omega-3 fatty acids have lower rates of acne. Essential fatty acids can be found in certain plant oils, fatty fish oils and krill, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
Zinc, a mineral found in oysters, lean meats, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds, is another natural anti-inflammatory. A diet that includes adequate amounts of zinc can also limit the production of sebum. However, like other supplements, if not taken with your specific conditions taken into consideration, zinc can make acne worse.
Selenium, a mineral that preserves the levels of antioxidants, which reduce free radicals in your bloodstream, can’t cure acne on its own. But because it preserves antioxidants, it can help fight inflammation, which has been linked to acne and other skin conditions.
Magnesium is another mineral that helps your body reduce inflammation. In addition, it helps to reduce cortisol, the “fight-or-flight” hormone that increases stress. Magnesium also increases levels of melatonin and serotonin, which help you get a healthy night’s sleep.
Vitamin E has its fans as well. However, it can’t do the job alone and it is recommended that vitamin E, if used to treat acne, be used as part of a holistic treatment plan administered by a healthcare professional.
Probiotic supplements, such as those available through BodyLogicMD, can help maintain a healthy digestive system. Beneficial microbes in the gut help your body absorb nutrients, strengthen your immune system, and reduce inflammation.
Other natural products that have been shown to work in the treatment of acne in some people include chamomile, calendula, cinnamon, neem oil, curcumin (found in turmeric), vitex, and tea tree oil.
Why You Should Consult with a Professional Before Taking Supplements for Acne
It’s important to note that not all over-the-counter supplements are created equally. The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates dietary supplements, doesn’t require they be proven safe before they are marketed. There are also no regulated standards as to the amount of supplements that can be found in over-the-counter products, nor how they are derived. This means a product might not be as pure as you might think and could be adulterated or misbranded, causing unintended health problems.
This is why it’s crucial that healthcare professionals, such as the hormone specialists at BodyLogicMD, help implement the treatment of any condition, including acne, that might
require dietary supplements. In addition to being trained in regenerative medicine and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, the healthcare professionals affiliated with BodyLogicMD can also offer high-quality, pharmaceutical-grade supplements. BodyLogicMD’s line of supplements are obtained from leading science-based manufacturers who meet and exceed the safety and quality standards demanded by BodyLogicMD’s network of practitioners.
Can a Skincare Product Help Reduce or Eliminate Acne?
In addition, BodyLogicMD has introduced its own unique skincare line, BioSkinMD, formulated by a team of anti-aging practitioners and pharmacists. Over-the-counter skincare products are big on promises but short on results, which is why BodyLogicMD set its sights on creating its own line designed for the specific conditions being experienced by its patients.
BioSkinMD features what are called cosmeceutical products. These products are stronger than drugstore and department store brands and contain a greater number of biologically active ingredients. These ingredients are designed to repair, replenish, and rejuvenate your skin and could be a beneficial part of your acne treatment plan.
BioSkinMD products are free of artificial fragrances and are paraben-free, sulfate-free, silicone-free, and never tested on animals. They have active ingredients that are known to have anti-irritant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties and contain vitamins known to help slow the aging process and soothe and promote healthy skin.
Because BioSkinMD was designed to be included in a healthcare program that addresses all your needs, it is only available to BodyLogicMD-affiliated professionals who have spent time with you one-on-one and have a complete understanding of your needs.
Charlotte is a patient care coordinator specializing in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy. She is committed to helping patients who struggle with the symptoms of hormonal change and imbalance explore their treatment options and develop effective strategies to optimize wellness.