The Holidays are a time for parties, celebrations, and special treats. Candies, cookies and cakes appear as gifts and thank you’s at all sorts of homes and businesses at this time of year. It is not uncommon to hear a nudge to eat that “forbidden treat”- “Go ahead, it’s the holidays.” In the process, a lot more sugar gets eaten at this time of year. Other rich foods, like egg nog, and alcoholic drinks, and even foods suspected of being allergic, get consumed as well.
Some people date the onset or aggravation of their skin problems to this time of year. Sugar aggravates acne and other conditions by a variety of different pathways. It
favors overgrowth of yeast in the digestive tract, which leads to leaky gut, absorption of allergens from food, and inflammation of oil glands.
A spike in blood sugar is answered by a spike in insulin levels, and then a rise in Insulin-like growth factor (IGF). This IGF has been shown to affect the follicular area in more than one way that leads to acne formation. This is just one way in which too much sugar can lead to a skin problem.
Other rich foods, alcohol, and allergy producing foods all have ways in which they can aggravate not only acne, but other skin problems.
So I wish you a sweet New Year and Holiday season, filled with love and deeper joy, but light on the sugar in its many forms. This is the one of best possible natural acne treatments.
To your health,
Alan M Dattner, MD
As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care.
Natural acne treatment is complex, and there are a number of factors determining what will cure your acne, as compared with someone else’s.
Here’s one issue: there have been a number of studies regarding acne that have confused rather than clarified the understanding of what to recommend for acne problems. One of the biggest confusions comes because acne sufferers differ in what causes their acne:this is not a single condition with a single cause.
Studies on acne and chocolate have been done because there are many people who, over the years, have observed acne outbreaks after eating chocolate. For some of those people, eating chocolate occurs when they also binge on sweets or eat poorly and leave out vegetables from their diets. These factors are often left out of studies.
One key study on the effects of feeding chocolate bars, versus similar-tasting bars without chocolate, was published by Dr. James Fulton in 1969. The study observed no difference in acne in those who ate the chocolate versus the placebo bars, and concluded that chocolate had no effect on acne. Thus, an entire generation of dermatologists was trained to believe that chocolate had no effect on acne based on this and other studies.That study is now considered to be flawed in its methods, and its conclusions not valid.
Clearly, there are some people who break out from eating chocolate, some people who beak out from binging on chocolate, and others who seem to have no outbreak. Some may be additionally aggravated by the milk products, sugars, or oils in milk chocolate, or be eating the chocolate to deal with stress or depression, any of which factors could aggravate acne.
So, the relationship between eating chocolate and acne is not a simple matter, and should not be dismissed with a simple statement, but rather be evaluated in the larger context of the overall habits and responses of the individual. If there is a suspicion of a relationship (between a particular food and an outbreak), and you want to treat acne naturally, without drugs, chocolate should be stopped, and re-added later to see if it causes outbreaks.
I see acne and other skin disease as a symptom of underlying problems that need to be shifted. This is radically different than how the majority of my colleagues, the medical literature, and the media see acne, so let me illustrate this with a recent experience a patient had being treated with this perspective.
Erin had acne in her late teens, treated with antibiotics and BCP’s, and again recently with stresses including the death of a close friend and the purchasing a new house with her husband. She recalled periodic abdominal pains plagued her since college, and she had bad cramping and pain with her cycle since September.
I focused first on treating her digestive system, which was disturbed by her previous acne treatment in college. She also mentioned that she was a serious runner who trained for Iron Man competitions, so I mentioned that the digestive enzymes I was about to give her might help her performance.
She followed the diet and supplement regimen carefully and came back with a a definite improvement in her acne, decrease in abdominal bloating, and dramatic reduction in the pain that used to cause her to spend three days with a heating pad on her belly during her menses.
What was most remarkable to me was that she experienced an improvement in her running times during the month of diet changes and supplements. She had been training since December 1st this year, and seemed to be doing much better in this past month. Admittedly, she was training harder, but that did not seem to be enough reason alone to account for her running times per mile on a 12 mile run to decrease from 9 minutes and 30-35 seconds (last year and initially) to 8 minutes and 20 seconds per mile recently!
Fixing her underlying digestive and hormonal issues not only improved her acne, and abdominal symptoms, but also enabled her to perform to her full capacity.
If you are experiencing any of these issues, and wonder if this kind of treatment might help you, please contact me here.
As always, the content of this blog is for information and education purposes only, and should not be used to prevent, diagnose or treat illness; please see your physician for care. – See more at: http://blog.holisticdermatology.com/#sthash.t5joqS3D.dpuf
My integrative medicine philosophy is formed on the basis that simple, gentle, and natural solutions be implemented first. Simple solutions are almost always less costly, less time-intensive, and less toxic.
I use good common sense coupled with decades of holistic dermatology experience to evaluate what the situation calls for. With the might of the most powerful modern medicine at our fingertips, we may still choose to approach a skin disease with a cup of tea, if that’s what makes the most sense.
In an urgent situation, after proper evaluation, I might prescribe a full course of steroids if that makes the most sense. I find it absurd, for example, that patients with simple colds are routinely given antibiotics, when there’s no scientific basis for the prescription. It’s as absurd as unleashing an attack dog on a rubber chicken.
How might you apply this philosophy of common sense to your own life?