Monday, September 3, 2012

What Makes My Skin Break Out

Overproduction of a normal oil bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes) on the skin, called sebum, increases under the influence of hormones. This, coupled with insufficient shedding of exfoliating dead skin cells, causes hair follicles to become plugged. People with acne have more Propionibacterium acnes in their hair follicles than people without acne. Propionibacterium acnes is caused by the effects of hormones on sebaceous glands.  The presence of this bacteria attracts white blood cells to the hair follicle. These white blood cells produce an enzyme that damages the wall of the follicle, allowing the contents of the follicle to enter the dermis (thick layer of skin underneath the exposed surface layer of the skin).  This process causes an inflammatory response seen as papules (red bumps), pustules, and nodules. The bacteria also cause the formation of free fatty acids, which are irritants, increasing the inflammatory process in the follicle. 

The most common acne myth is – pimples happen because you’re not getting your face clean enough. 

Truth: Over-washing your face, trying to scrub the acne out, is not the answer. You can actually strip to many of the natural oils from your skin, causing your skin to produce more oil...causing problems with break outs to be worse.
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Other common reasons for blemishes are:

Prescription Drugs – Sometimes – Lithium, steroids (like Prednisone), some antidepressants, and ADHD medications list acne as potential side effects.

Dairy – All dairy products contain hormones. Naturally full of what are called anabolic hormones. These are mostly androgens (like testosterone) and growth hormones including insulin like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). This includes all animal produced milk, cheese, yogurt etc. There are over 60 hormones in the average 8 oz glass of milk.  And a couple of words of caution: it is not the fat content of the milk that causes the problem, skim milk actually has a higher risk factor for causing acne.  Also, there is no such thing as hormone-free milk or dairy products.  Even if the label says that it does not have any added bovine hormones it still has those inherrant to the breed of animal.  In example, goat milk may not be any better for hormonal balance than cows milk.

Your Phone – Yes ! – A phone can be a breeding ground for bacteria; clean it regularly.

Poor Digestion– Yes – A recent study in Gut Pathogens found a link between digestive health and acne. Delayed food allergies are also among the most common causes of acne--foods like gluten, dairy, yeast, and eggs are common culprits causing digestive distress. Changing your diet produces amazing results in your skin.

Makeup – Yes – If it’s the wrong kind. Oil-free doesn’t mean anything when it comes to acne. Even the words “noncomedogenic” or “non-acnegenic” on your cosmetic labels can be misleading.
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Trans Fats – Yes – These man-made fats (common in many processed foods) are known to trigger inflammation, which can cause breakouts.

Sugar – Sugar and refined carbs (a high-glycemic diet) cause acne in both males and females. In our society this is probably the most common cause of skin problems. Women who have too much sugar and insulin resistance get acne, hair growth on their face, hair loss on the head, and infertility. This is caused by high levels of sugar and circulating male hormones and is called polycystic ovarian syndrome but is a nutritional, not gynecologic disease. 

Have you found other factors that present a problem with developing acne?  What have you done to reduce your acne problem?
Please leave us your comments.

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