What Causes Acne?
Common causes of acne include contact with an oily substance such as mineral oil, vegetable oil, or petroleum and the use of certain medication such as steroids or the contraceptive pill. However, acne is most often caused by the secretion of androgens, or sex hormones that are initially secreted at the onset of puberty. Androgens are male hormones but they are secreted by females as well. They stimulate the production of oil from the skin's oil glands. When these oil glands become overactive and the exit from the gland is blocked, oil builds up in the gland and they begin to swell. This is how acne forms. A bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes normally colonizes this swollen gland causing the development of inflammation and pus. In particularly severe cases, the glands may burst into the skin and produce cysts.
• Avoid oily and chemically ridden cosmetics or any facial products that contain sodium lauryl sulphate, socetyl stearate, isopropyl isostearate, isopropyl palmitate, isopropyl myristate, and sodium chloride, parabens as these ingredients can cause acne.
• Give dry skin extra care, being sure to wash and rinse your face thoroughly and using products especially made for dry skin.
Dietary Tips for Acne A recent Australian trial conducted at RMIT University, Melbourne, has shown that a low glycemic index (GI), high protein diet improved symptoms of acne including the number of facial lesions. The diet consisted of 25% of energy from protein and 45% of energy from low GI carbohydrates such as fruit and vegetables, grains and pulses.
Interestingly acne is seen as a condition associated with Western diets that are generally higher in saturated and trans-fats, high in simple carbohydrates and sugars and lower in healthy protein sources. Acne vulgaris is seen in up to 79-95% of the adolescent population in Westernized countries. Non-Western diets, which are traditionally high in low glycaemic foods, do not have the same association.
While there are other factors that influence the incidence of acne vulgaris in adolescents and increasingly, adults, diet is definitely a factor that needs to be taken into consideration.
A low GI diet is a key part of the successful treatment of acne.