Your skin is the biggest organ of your body. If it is unhappy, there is a reason for it. If you have ever heard the saying “Treating the symptom, not the problem”, that is exactly what most acne treatments do today. Acne is a symptom of a problem within your body that is being expressed by your skin. What we really need to know is what causes acne.
If you want to clear up your acne, you need to solve the problem. Despite what all the face washes and infomercials on TV try and tell you, a dirty face is not the problem!
Acne is a problem of western civilization. It did not occur to our great ancestors who ate a more natural diet and lived in a more natural way. It still does not occur in ‘hunter-gatherer’ populations to this day who live and eat in a more natural way than we do, not even to their teenagers!
There are a few well-researched cases of this. One of the populations is the Kitavans of Papua New Guinea. 1200 Kitavans were examined, 300 of which were between the ages of 15 and 25, and absolutely no signs of acne were found. Not a single papule, pustule or open comedone was found!
Similar results can be found with some African tribes and South American tribes still living in their natural ways, not exposed to Western ways and foods. Some may say this is genetics, however, once these people leave their natural environments and move to the cities, acne (as well as all diseases of civilization such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes) becomes common.
All of the studies and reports show that acne is getting worse in North America and around the world. Where it used to be a ‘teenage problem’ it is now common well into our 20s and even 30s and 40s for some people.
While what causes acne isn’t exactly known there are some conditions that need to be present for acne to occur.
There are five main contributors to acne. For acne to occur, however, your sebum (oil) must oxidize. If your sebum does not oxidize you won’t get acne. We’ll look more into that later, for now let’s look at the main contributors to acne.
The five main contributors to acne are: genetics, bacteria, hormone irregularities, toxins, and deficiencies.
Your genetics definitely play a role in whether you will have acne or not. If one of your parents suffered from bad acne, chances are increased that you will too. Sensitive oil gland receptors are genetic. However, your genes can be influenced by diet and lifestyle so it is possible to keep acne at bay, even cystic acne, when it’s ‘in the family’.
Many assume that bacteria are the only factor that causes acne, but it actually plays less of a role than most people think. All traditional treatments for acne, whether they are face washes, cream, antibiotics etc. try to deal with the bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes or P. acnes for short.
However, it is a fact that that a large percentage of the population have this bacteria on their face/skin and do not get acne. In addition to having the P. acnes bacteria on your skin, you must have favorable conditions for the P. acnes to become an acne breakout. That is the key that is not addressed by common acne treatments.
Hormones play a big part in the development of acne. Just ask any teenager! Higher levels of androgens (so called male hormones) can lead to increased acne in both males and females. During puberty androgen production is increased to help us grow and develop, this is why acne is so common in puberty.
The results of androgens on acne becomes obvious in anyone who has ever taken steroids, their acne usually flares up quite bad, especially on their back and shoulders.
Estrogen levels also affect acne, which becomes obvious when females have their menstrual cycles and get acne flare ups. This is also why many doctors prescribe birth control pills to treat acne in females. We do not recommend birth control pills as they really mess around with your natural hormones. There have also been many reports of cystic acne and scarring being much worse after going off birth control pills.
Stress is a known cause of acne, however it doesn’t actually cause the acne. Stress causes your hormones to overreact to things and those elevated hormones can cause acne.
Toxins and toxic buildup
These are mainly external forces.
-Diet (the food you eat)
-Toxins in the environment
The toxins can come from processed food that includes ingredients toxic to our bodies, or good foods that have been sprayed with pesticides and still retain some of that poison on them when you eat them. The toxin could also be a piece of bread or glass of milk that your friend can eat with no reaction, but when you eat it your body reacts to it. Things like casein and whey found in milk, or gluten from wheat and grains can be toxins to some people.
Toxins can be a laundry detergent or fabric softener that irritates your skin or cleaning chemicals, makeup, hair products, sunscreen, etc. Everyone is different and our bodies can handle different things, some experimentation is required to figure out what is toxic to you. Many people also find that when they quit eating a low fat diet and start adding lots of quality fats to their diet their skin becomes a lot less sensitive to outside toxins.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can cause acne. Some of the common deficiencies are vitamin A, C, D, E, zinc and magnesium. By supplementing with the proper amounts and ratios of vitamins and minerals you can have a dramatic effect on your acne and overall skin health.