Doctors warned of a potential public health epidemic in a recent report on patients in Los Angeles and New York who developed serious skin reactions after smoking or snorting cocaine believed to be contaminated with a veterinary medication drug dealers are using to dilute, or “cut,” up to 70 percent of the cocaine in the U.S. To read the article and see a picture, click here.
Controlling Acne is possible, but because of the unique characteristics we all possess, sometimes it takes a bit of fine tuning to find the best solution…
Here is the situation of Crissy, a long time acne sufferer. She had sebaceous cysts in the chin and jaw area and a fair amount of Post Inflammatory Pigmentation (dark spots on the skin where pimples used to be). There was also a fair amount of surface dry skin due to no proper exfoliation, and that just helps keep sebaceous cysts ‘under’ the surface of the skin. Sebaceous cysts are difficult to deal with because they can turn into inflamed (bacteria infected) pimples at any time. The objective is to get those sebaceous cysts to the surface as quickly as possible and then use nutrition to reduce or eliminate the build up of future sebaceous cysts.
We addressed this with both topical skin care solutions (and an improved home care regimen) as well as with nutrition. Crissy is a qualified nutritionist so I had a well versed and willing partner in this case.
The Nutrition Approach – by Crissy:
I do not eat junk food and generally eat a wholesome, healthy diet with good fruit, vegetable and grain content. I started taking a probiotic supplement because I read that acne (and other inflammatory disorders) can be initiated, and definitely worsened, by a lack of healthy gut bacteria. Since I do not eat yogurt I decided to take the supplement, however, probiotics are also found in non-dairy foods such as kombucha tea, soy yogurt, miso and tempeh.
I have been researching the importance of following an alkaline diet for disease prevention. From what I have read it is believed that acne thrives in an acidic environment. Therefore, I started drinking a smoothie made with spinach and “amazing grass” greens powder which helps with increasing alkalinity. The greens powder is a mix of wheat grass, spirulina, chlorella, alfalfa, digestive enzymes, pro/prebiotics and antioxidants…all are good for healthy skin! I started adding 1tsp of bee pollen to my smoothies after I read an article about a dermatologist named Dr.
Lars-Erik Essen from Sweden who uses it for acne patients. It contains
high levels of RNA and DNA which aids in cell re-growth.
Vitamin A is used for repairing cells however taking large amounts of Vit. A can be toxic….I am taking 8,000IU per day. The max amount for a women my age (31yrs) is 10,000IU. I have read people recommending up to 30,000IU per day however I am not confident that it is a good idea to take that much!
Lastly, I eliminated gluten and dairy from my diet because they both cause inflammation in the body – this is not good for the inflammatory condition called Acne. Also, it is believed the hormones in non-organic dairy products may also worsen acne.
The Topical Skin Care Approach – by Andrew:
1. Cleansing each night the correct way….for 1 and 1/2 minutes, using cool water (hot water exacerbates inflamed acne). These are some appropriate gentle cleansers.
2. Exfoliating the dry ‘clogging’ cells on the surface of the skin was critical each night after cleansing. We started off with a 10% glycolic acid but went up to a 32% glycolic/salicylic combination when we found the initial approach was not strong enough. She used the 32% 3 nights per week, the 10% Glyco-A-Gel the other 4 nights a week, and also used the Glyco-A-Gel 3 mornings a week. As always, they are left on for a minimum of 3 minutes. The 32% exfoliator cannot be purchased at the online shop. It is available at the retail outlets and by special email order.
3. A sulfur based spot treatment is applied to pimples and areas where there are sebaceous cysts. It is a great ingredient for helping to dry up the pimple without drying up the skin around it (the way benzoyl peroxide does). Clear-it is excellent as a spot treatment.
4. A Therapeutic Sulfur Clay mask by Vivant is applied to the areas of the sebaceous cysts especially if any have become inflamed with bacteria infection. It is washed off with cool water after 10 minutes. This mask is not sold at the online shop due to the manufacturers regulations. It is available at the retail outlets or by special email order.
5. aloCell Gel is applied to the whole face. This intensive repair serum really stimulates the recovery of the skin and helps reduce the potential for pitting and scarring (a major hazard with cystic or severe acne lesions).
6. A moisturizer is only applied to those areas of the face that need it (not in the oil producing areas).
7. In the morning the skin is splashed with cool water, exfoliated if applicable (just 3 mornings in this case), aloCell Gel applied, moisturizer where necessary, and a Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40 applied all over the face. This is critical to reduce the potential for the sun to darken the dark spots left by old acne pimples.
The NET RESULT is Crissy’s comment ‘My skin is still looking great!’
For more information on acne see the 2 part video ‘Acne: New Strategies‘
The information provided here is not meant to diagnose or cure any medical conditions. Please see your doctor or a trained medical professional should you have any concerns.
Blackheads are not dirt – they are a result of sebaceous secretions (aka oil) that oxidizes in the pore (a totally natural process for just about everything on this planet).
The correct approach to blackheads is to use an appropriate gentle cleanser for one and a half minutes every night (am + pm for teenage acne)…see the how-to video, exfoliating effectively with an alpha or beta hydroxy acid, and not moisturizing where it is not necessary. Following this routine will reduce the number of blackheads.
Squeezing your blackheads will not reduce their numbers unless you are utilizing the correct approach as mentioned above.
Scrubs will not get blackheads out. Detergent cleansers (most cleansers on the market today) will not get blackheads out. Acne cleansers with Salicylic acid (BHA) will not get blackheads out. All of these types of products will just increase surface level dryness which in turn helps ‘cement’ the blackhead into the pore. And then you come along with your fingers (or worse…your nails) and try to squeeze it out. You may get it out, but you will more than likely have been too rough and thus damaged the skin. The extra redness you created will increase the potential for ‘darker’ spots to appear as melanin tries to protect the injured tissue from the damaging UV rays of the sun. As we age, the damage to the skin from your blackhead squeezing is more likely to result in scarring that will take a long time to erase.
I have seen more damaged skin than reduced blackhead numbers as a result of blackhead squeezing. So I prefer that you don’t squeeze your blackheads.
I would also like to see you stop using a detergent cleanser and scrubs and to reduce your use of moisturizer to those areas of the face that need it. Try the correct approach as mentioned above and see how many fewer blackheads you will be tempted to squeeze.
We all know we should wear sunscreen but knowing which one gives the best protection for your skin is difficult when manufacturers do not provide sufficient or adequate information to consumers.
The facts are:
It must be mineral based;
The SPF relates only to UVB (so don’t get hung-up on the numbers for everyday use that is not about being out in the sun for and hour or more);
Sunscreen must be worn everyday because UVA affects you every day that you live on this planet;
Skin cancer is the #1 cancer in the USA – everybody can get it – and the sun is the main reason why skin cancers develop;
UVA can enable the development of skin cancer even more than UVB.
The American Academy of Dermatology Association recently said that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new sunscreen regulations will help Americans reduce their risk for skin cancer by guiding them to the most effective sunscreens and advising them about other sun-protection measures. During the FDA announcement of the new regulations, the Academy reviewed scientific data about skin cancer and outlined how people can reduce their skin cancer risk. Read the article about the new FDA rules.
Psoriasis is a common inflammatory skin disease, and if severe, has been demonstrated to be a risk factor for cardiovascular (CV) disease. However, the degree to which psoriasis is associated with major adverse cardiac events (MACE), such as heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular death has not been defined. Now, new research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine has revealed an increased incidence of MACE in patients with severe psoriasis. Read the article.