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Monthly Archives: May 2016

About Acne Diet

Acne is a skin disorder common to many teenagers living in the Western World and in the last 20 years, an increasing number of adults. An inflammatory disease of the skin, the most common symptoms of acne include pimples, comedones, whiteheads blackheads, pustules, cysts and scars.

The development of acne is multifactorial with a number of causes and exacerbating factors contributing to the onset and persistence of the condition.

These include:

Sex Hormones – High androgen production is one of the key reasons acne tends to flare up at puberty or with the menstrual cycle. Androgens stimulate the production of sebum in the skin’s oil glands. Oil glands that are blocked by dead skin cells build up sebum creating swelling. Sebum production can also be stimulated by sweat and humidity.

Bacteria – A bacteria species Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is commonly found in the pores of the skin. Under normal circumstances P. acnes is in balance with the skin environment however when stimulated by factors such as excess sebum and pore congestion the environment is ideal for bacterial growth. Overgrowth of P. acnes triggers an inflammatory response, leading to pustules.

Cosmetics and medications – Contact with oily substances such as mineral oil, rich creams or make up and petroleum based products can trigger or exacerbate acne. Cosmetics can also cause skin irritation which may flare-up acne. Certain medication such as steroids can also stimulate acne production.

Stress – There is some indication that stress can exacerbate acne by disrupting hormone levels and suppressing the immune system.

Dietary Factors – There are a number of links between diet and acne. Diets high in trans fats, simple carbohydrates and sugars promote inflammation in the body, which aggravates acne. A high glycemic index (GI) diet is also associated with insulin resistance and increased production of androgens.

Insulin levels – High insulin levels occur when the cells that usually take glucose up from the blood become resistant to its effects. The pancreas responds by producing more insulin creating a cycle that can lead to an increase in acne, as well as weight gain and hormone imbalances.

Nutritional Deficiencies – Zinc, Essential Fatty Acids and vitamin A are important skin nutrients. Deficiencies in any one of these can lead to skin problems. Skin that is dry and inflamed or congested with whiteheads or blackheads may be deficient in EFAs. Skin deficient in zinc can scar very easily which is often the case in chronic acne. Adequate levels of zinc in the skin will help with skin repair and reduce ongoing scarring. Acne and rough or thick skin are also possible signs of a vitamin A deficiency.

Conventional Treatment
Conventional treatment for acne ranges from medicated washes to medications such as Roaccutane. Ingredients found in over the counter medications are either aimed at reducing P. acnes, degreasing the skin or reducing skin shedding. While they may be effective in some cases, many of these treatments have potential side effects such as skin dryness and are only treating the symptoms rather than the cause of the condition.

Skin Hygiene & Topical Treatments

Skin hygiene is paramount when it comes to managing acne. Frequent touching the site of acne can lead to P. acne being transferred to other sites on the face or body. Picking or squeezing blemishes or blackheads can lead to scarring. Good hygiene practices help to minimise irritation, scarring and bacterial transfer. Some useful skin-care suggestions to help minimise acne include:

  • Wash your face once or twice a day.

    • Washing at night helps to remove environmental grime, oil secretions, creams and make up. Washing in the morning removes debris and dead skin cells produced during the night.
    •  Use a mild natural soap or foaming cleanser that won’t dry the skin out. If your skin feels tight or dry after washing it is an indication that the skin’s protective barrier has been significantly disrupted. This can lead to over production of sebum (oiliness).
  • Wash your hands before touching your skin to reduce the chance of infection.

  • Don’t pick or squeeze pimples as it can spread bacteria under the skin and cause skin damage, increasing the likelihood of scarring.

  • If you have oily hair or pimples around your hairline, wash your hair daily.

  • Avoid make up or face creams that are greasy or oily.

    • Look for light or gel products that support skin healing. Natural ingredients such as Aloe vera, Calendula, Lavender, Chamomile, Rose geranium & Cedarwood essential oils and Manuka honey can assist with skin healing, reduce sebum production and inflammation.
    • Facial products that contain sodium lauryl sulphate, socetyl stearate, isopropyl isostearate, isopropyl palmitate, isopropyl myristate,sodium chloride and parabens may increase irritation, dryness and contribute to acne.
    • Mineral Make Up is ideal to cover up the redness and irritation associated with acne as they don’t sink into and clog the pores.

Dietary Considerations
A recent Australian trial conducted at RMIT University, Melbourne, has shown that a low glycaemic index (GI), high protein dietimproved symptoms of acne including the number of facial lesions. It also reduced the causative factors associated with acne such as high androgen levels and insulin resistance. 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 Westernised countries. Non-Western diets, which are traditionally high in low glycaemic foods, do not have the same association.

Dietary recommendations that will support skin health, help to normalise hormone balance and reduce sebum production include:

Consume Fish regularly: Fish is an excellent source of protein and essential fatty acids. Protein is important for skin healing. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) help to keep skin flexible and hydrated as well as promoting skin healing. Deep Sea fish are the best source of EFAs including tuna, salmon, anchovies and sardines. A fish oil supplement may be a good idea if fish intake is less thank twice a week.

Eat Lean Animal Protein: Lean red meat and organic chicken are good sources of valuable protein that is essential for skin healing and repair.
A palm size serve of animal protein 2-3 times a week will help support skin health.

Eat plenty of Fresh Vegetables: Vegetables are low GI and full of antioxidants and trace nutrients that help to heal and repair the skin. Betacarotene (a precursor to vitamin A) is found in vegetables including carrots, spinach, sweet potato, kale, green leafy vegetables and red capsicum. Regular fruit consumption is also important.

Purified Water: Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. Water promotes healthy digestive habits and helps to flush toxins out of your body. Water is also essential to keep your skin well hydrated.

Go for Whole Grains & Legumes: Whole grains are rich in fibre, low GI and nutrients. This promotes sustained release energy and reduces inflammation. Zinc, important for skin healing, is found in whole grains along with sunflower & pumpkin seeds, beef, egg yolks, ginger and lamb.

Foods to Avoid

Processed Foods & Sugar: Foods high in sugar increase the body’s production of insulin, promote inflammation and can cause or exacerbate acne. Ensure that the following foods make up no more than 10% of the diet: cakes, lollies, processed flour products, white bread, white rice (with the exception of Basmati), fruit juices, baked goods, and trans or hydrogenated fats.

Soft drinks & diet soft drinks: Soft drinks are full of sugar and often caffeine. The phosphorus and sodium in soft drinks can lead to skin drying and the carbonate can cause digestive disorders.  Drink water, herbal teas, and vegetable juices instead.

Dairy: There is some research that suggests that a high consumption of milk and dairy products may be linked with acne. One study reported in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology showed that milk was positively associated with acne in teenage girls. Suitable milk substitutes may include soymilk, rice milk, almond milk and fresh goat’s milk.

Common Shaving Mistakes

Here are the most common mistakes dermatologists see women make—and how to never screw up again.

# You Don’t Lather Up

Dry shaving—ouch. Even though it saves time, it almost always causes little red bumps that last for days. “Shaving cream and gel were designed to help your razor glide gently across your skin without tugging or pulling,” says Joel Schlessinger, M.D., board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf advisor. “Without them, you’re most certainly left with razor burn, cuts, skin damage, and irritation.” Desperate? Even using water is better than nothing at all.

# You Use Your Disposable Razor for More Than a Week

Yes, we’re serious—you need to toss it once a week if you’re shaving every single day. “Dull blades are more likely to cause razor bumps, irritation, nicks, and cuts, and old blades can harbor bacteria, which can lead to infections,” says Schlessinger. If you want a closer shave with the least amount of irritation, pay close attention to how many days your current razor’s racking up. “A good rule of thumb is if you feel like it’s tugging at your hair or skin, toss it—it’s most definitely a ticking time bomb waiting to irritate,” says Dendy Engelman, M.D., a dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery in New York City.

# You Shave in the Opposite Direction of Your Hair Growth

True, it might help you get a slightly closer shave, but it’ll also cause pain. Plus, the blunt-tipped end of the hairs can grow back into the skin rather than up and out. Holy ingrown hairs. “Especially for those with sensitive skin, it’s better to shave only in the same direction that your hair grows,” says Schlessinger. “If you’re prone to razor burn and ingrown hairs, apply a gel or serum like PFB Vanish, which relieves irritations caused by hair removal techniques like shaving.”

# You Do It as Fast as You Possibly Can

“You’re more likely to nick yourself, irritate your skin, or miss spots when you’re trying to shave too quickly,” says Engelman. “Instead, you want to carefully use smooth, even strokes to prevent any skin troubles.” If you do slice yourself—even slightly—you’ll probably bleed more than you’d expect, so the best thing to do is place pressure on the area until the bleeding stops. “If you’re running out the door and don’t have time, put a little astringent on it to halt blood flow and rub some antiperspirant on the area,” says Engelman.

# You Apply Too Much Pressure

When it comes to how hard you should be pressing the razor blade down on your skin, always remember less is more. “The harder you bear down, the more uneven the skin surface becomes, because you are essentially creating dimples where the blade falls,” says Engelman. Many multi-bladed razors shave below the skin, causing ingrown hairs and infections when you press too hard.

# You Don’t Exfoliate Beforehand

To avoid razor bumps, you should use an exfoliator before whipping out that razor. That’s because it removes dead skin cells, allowing your razor to glide over areas easier. “I always recommend First Aid Beauty Cleansing Body Polish to all my patients with shaving complaints,” says Engelman. “It not only exfoliates, but it also cleanses and helps moisturize the skin.”

# You Skip Moisturizing Afterwards

“It’s best to moisturize your skin as soon as you step out of the shower,” says Schlessinger, since applying moisturizer while your skin is still damp helps lock everything in. If you skip this step, the top layers of your skin can quickly become dry and dehydrated from the combo of exfoliating and shaving. Engelman also recommends dabbing a hydrating body oil over the area to reduce inflammation and redness.

Home Remedies for Skin Problems

banana-and-honey-maskHow often do we wake up with less-than-perfect skin? These everyday problems, including redness, dryness, and overnight blemishes, may only take hours to form, but they take days to treat. While a salon facial may be just what you’d like to give your skin, your wallet doesn’t always cooperate. And unfortunately, over-the-counter products don’t have the same effect. “Many of these [OTC] treatments contain harsh chemicals that could be doing you and your skin more harm than good,” says New York-based dermatologist David Bank, M.D. “Studies have shown that you can take care of your skin with natural ingredients found at home.” Solve all of your skincare needs with these DIY fixes.



“Excess oil on the face leads to blemishes and pimples,” says Bank. “Banana contains zinc and vitamin C, which help fight and treat acne and control your skin’s natural oils.” The mask serves as the perfect acne prevention.

Try it: Mash one fully ripe banana, two tablespoons honey, and a few drops lemon juice together in a bowl. Apply to the face, and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove with a warm washcloth, and pat dry.


“[This] mask is an amazing way to gently exfoliate your skin,” says Kimberly Smith, an aesthetician at Rejuvena Health and Aesthetics in Scottsdale, Arizona. Because raw honey has anti-inflammatory benefits, it calms inflamed blemishes.

Try it: Mix one tablespoon organic canned pumpkin (not to be confused with pumpkin pie filling), a half-teaspoon organic full-fat cream or buttermilk, and one teaspoon raw honey. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes, and then rinse with warm water.



“This face mask is meant specifically for treating pimples or for soothing the irritation caused by them,” says Bank.

Try it: Crush one to three aspirin pills (or more if you need more coverage) in a small dish, and mix in just enough water to turn the powder into a paste. Add a few drops of warmed honey. Apply the mixture to your face, and let it sit until it dries (about 10 minutes), then wash off.


“This mask is particularly good for acne-prone skin, but it will revitalize any skin type,” says Smith. “In addition to plum being a good source of vitamins A, C, E, K, and B complex, they are also rich in beta carotene, iron, potassium, and magnesium.” When applied topically, plums “protect our cells from inflammation caused by free radicals and decrease the loss of elasticity that makes skin sag. People who suffer from acne also benefit because it helps to normalize oil production and revitalize dull, uneven-looking skin.”

Try it: Puree three to four ripe plums, and mix with a half-teaspoon turmeric, one tablespoon raw honey, and one tablespoon organic Greek yogurt. Massage onto the skin, and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water.



“Avocados are filed with fatty acids and vitamins that hydrate the skin’s cells, lock in moisture, and heal dry and flaky skin,” says Bank. Aloe Vera is known for its soothing and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Try it: Mash half an avocado in a bowl. Mix in two tablespoons aloe vera gel, one tablespoon dry oatmeal, and one tablespoon warmed honey. Apply the mixture to clean, dry skin, and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and a warm washcloth.


“An easy thing to do is to add a little raw honey to any moisturizer,” says Smith. “It will make it hydrate better because honey is a natural humectant.” Humectants are key ingredients in many creams and cleansers because they hold onto moisture. “Do not add too much, or it can make it too sticky.”

Try it: Just mix a couple of drops of honey into your regular moisturizer before applying.



“These two ingredients can significantly reduce inflammation,” says Bank.

Try it: Mix together one cup cooked oatmeal with a finely chopped cucumber. Apply the mixture to your face for 20 minutes, and then rinse with a warm washcloth.