How can you tell what is the best treatment for your body, even when experts don’t agree? There are so many conflicting opinions and facts in the sphere of health that it can be difficult to tell what’s right to eat, wear, etc. Some swear by avoiding wheat and gluten, some eat only raw foods. Some say dark chocolate is good for you, others say it causes acne.
Part of the answer comes in asking the questions: how much, for whom, and when? Sun exposure benefits come with small amounts of exposure, and what you can tolerate depends on your skin color. Except where there is an absolute toxicity or specific sensitivity, most regularly used products have an ideal level of exposure. Too little water and we dry our; too much and we drown. More on this in part three.
How do we know what we can compromise on and what we cannot, in the field of health? How do we know what treatment is best for what ailment? What treatment is best for what person? Medicine is not now, nor has it ever been, a field of absolutes. New information often changes how we think about ailments, treatments, and cures. Not to mention the fact that any number of people have different ideas on any number of subjects.
For example, we have been told for years that eating eggs is bad for you. Now it appears that eggs have gotten a bad rap. Someone says that sunlight is bad for you, and someone else says that it is necessary to make Vitamin D.
A dermatologist who writes about the benefits of sun exposure (Dr. Michael Hollick) gets fired from his academic post, while others tell you to avoid the sun as much as possible. These controversies are numerous and rage on regarding soy, milk, coffee, cell phones, childhood vaccines, and pesticide exposure, just to name a few. How do you know what is right for your body, when even the experts cannot agree? Because making the right choices in these areas are integral to a natural skincare regimen, it’s important to get it right. I’ll go into the answers in part two of this post.
Imagine a hot button that sets off acne when it is pushed. There is such a “button” that has been recognized in cells that sets off an inflammatory response. It is call the “inflammasome”.
A recent study published in the latest issue of the “Journal of Investigative Dermatology” showed that the acne bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes, activates the “inflammasome” in cells, and may be an important part in the mechanism that sets off acne.
While they suggest finding ways to block this activation, I suggest we look for ways to avoid it and keep our fingers off the button.
For the past few decades, the role of diet in acne treatment was considered to be a red herring. But thinking is changing in recent years. In part, thanks to a great dermatologist and world expert on acne who just passed away last Sunday.
Dr. Alan Shalita was an expert in both clinical treatment and research in the field. And most impressively, his perspective changed as new evidence cam in.
Years ago, he rebuffed my suggestion that diet might have some role in affecting the sebum in a way that caused acne. But in 2010, he was senior author on a scientific article that re-examined the evidence on the association of diet and acne and he concluded that “Dermatologists can no longer dismiss the association between diet and acne.”
He called for others to explore this relationship between diet and acne, something I have been doing successfully for the past few decades. It is of note that such an expert revised not only his thinking, but that his speaking out helped to change the thinking of the majority of dermatologists.
For the past half a century, dermatologists believed that diet had no effect on acne. It’s time for us to wake up to what we are putting in our bodies, if we truly want clear skin.
For years I have been writing and lecturing that acne is caused by inflammation that comes from within.
It’s not just a “local” process caused by plugged follicles. It’s not just caused by the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes that lives in the follicle. Over the years, more data has accumulated to support this thinking.
The big news is that just this month, an article came out in the most scholarly of all the dermatology professional journals, showing that acne is not only related to inflammation, but also has characteristics of an autoimmune disease.
An article in the February issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology showed that extracts from the acne bacteria cause formation of “TH 17 Lymphocytes,” a type of white cell characteristic of autoimmune disorders. This same type of lymphocyte was also found in acne lesions themselves.
The other factors, such as diet, have yet to be connected to the findings in this study, but the evidence is growing stronger that something is lighting the fire to cause the inflammation in acne.
Since most people have this Propionibacterium (acne-related) organism in their skin, the flame that sets it off the fire of acne may well be coming from what you eat.
If you break out in acne, pay very close attention to what you put in your body the few days before the acne explosion. Studying your breakout cycle is the start of natural acne treatment.