7 Lifestyle Factors That Cause Acne
If you can optimize your health regarding the above seven factors, we can almost promise you that your acne situation will be dramatically improved.
Acne Program goes through how you should proceed to get rid of your acne. Before you begin to discuss the solutions, let’s read more about the main causes of acne problems.
1 Lack of nutrients
The first of the seven acne influencing factors is the lack of nutrients.
In order for your cells to function and survive, your body needs nutrients.
Nutrients are substances used in an organism’s metabolism (metabolism) to produce energy, contributing to the growth and regeneration of skin, among other things.
The six nutrients are; protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water.
There are several studies showing that diet and acne problem has a clear connection.
However, consumption of junk food is not only harmful, but also the lack of nutrients on regular basis that can intensify and lead to acne, pimples and blackheads.
Your skin cells need namely a constant supply of nutrients to innovate, work optimally to produce good quality skin oil and moisture barrier.
Below is described only briefly what each nutrient is for you to get a necessary introduction to nutrition. There are very good literature within the field of nutrition why we do not touch the deeper here.
Protein is found in all tissues (collection of cells that make up the body’s organs) and participate in every process within cells. Next to water, the protein is normally the most abundant substance in the body.
Amino acids are the molecules consist of proteins. Although there are many different amino acids in body cells, nature uses only pieces 20 amino acids. Out of the 20, nine essential amino acids are the essential amino acids that the body can not manufacture and that must be supplied by the diet specifically in high-quality protein is preferably present in meat, fish, eggs and poultry.
What are the best sources of protein for those with acne, pimples and blackheads are and what sources you should avoid, you can read more about it here.
Carbohydrates are substances containing the elements carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Carbohydrates are often used as the main energy source in the body and is usually divided into mono- and di-saccharides, oligosaccharides and polysaccharides.
Within the group of monosaccharides are for example glucose carbohydrate and in the group polysaccharides are carbohydrate fiber.
Glucose carbohydrate is linked to insulin resistance, which affects acne very negatively.
Carbohydrate sources are vegetables, fruits, cereals, sugar, among others. To learn more about the best and the worst sources of carbohydrate for those with acne skin, read more in this article.
Fats belong to a group of substances called lipids and consists of different types of fatty acids that are composed of the elements: hydrogen, carbon and oxygen.
Fat in food is generally divided into:
- Triglycerides which forms the bulk of the fat in the body and in our food,
- Phospholipids form large part of our cell membranes and which, for example, the topic of lecithin included and
- Sterols present in animal products like cholesterol in plant foods as plant sterols.
However, we will divide the fat in solid and liquid fat to facilitate discussion.
The fatty acids are divided into: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The combination of fatty acids in a fat determines its nature and structure.
Saturated fats are found in meat, butter and other dairy products, coconut oil and palm oil. Monounsaturated fatty acids include the olive oil and canola oil. Polyunsaturated fats include the avocado, oily fish, corn oil, and safflower oil.
If you have acne, it is incredibly important that you consume the right kind of fatty acids and the appropriate amount. To learn more about the fatty acids you absolutely must avoid to treat your acne, read more here.
Vitamins are essential nutrients necessary for a large number of many functions in the body, such as metabolism, growth, and maintenance of various tissues and the immune system, to name a few.
Vitamins are divided usually into the fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and water-soluble vitamins (B-group of eight vitamins and vitamin C).
Vitamins prevent deficiency diseases, but some of them also function as antioxidants which prevent the formation and the damaging effects of some harmful oxygen and nitrogen forms.
The best vitamin supplements for your health in general and your acne, in particular, is known as ‘wholefood vitamins’ which you can read more about here.
Minerals are needed in particular to control the various functions of the body; for building up the body and the transfer of signals between cells and tissues.
Minerals are usually assigned into seven macro elements (phosphorus, calcium, potassium, chloride, magnesium, sodium and sulfur) and a number of trace elements (iron, zinc, selenium, copper, iodine, fluorine, chromium, silicon, nickel, manganese, molybdenum and cobalt ).
The best mineral supplements for your acne is known as wholefood-minerals. As for vitamins, we have after much research, found some of the best wholefood-mineral supplements suitable for acne treatment. Read more about them in this article.
Water is both a nutrient and a food. It is the most abundant nutrient in the body and lack of water quickly brings negative effects.
Water is directly or indirectly necessary for all processes in the body and the lack of water can quickly bring about bad effects to our body.
For those with acne, pimples and blackheads, it is very important that you get enough clean water since dehydration worsens your acne.
2 Foods with a high GI and GL and insulin resistance
The second of the seven acne influencing factors is insulin resistance and consumption of food with high scores in glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL).
When you consume the so-called high glycemic index carbohydrates, which are all carbohydrates low in fibre, it affects blood glucose (also called blood sugar).
The body breaks down the carbohydrates you eat include glucose. When the glucose reaches the bloodstream, the pancreas releases a hormone called insulin, thus increasing glucose uptake into cells while reducing the level of glucose in the blood. The glucose is used as energy or stored as glycogen in the liver or muscle cells for future use. The pancreas may signal that blood glucose has decreased and insulin production ceases.
GI and GL
The glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL, from the word Glycemic Load) are two very important terms in a discussion about acne but concepts of GI and GL are also important in a public health debate. GI measures how much a food affects blood glucose. Upon consumption of carbohydrates the level of glucose in the blood gets higher.
High GI foods provide a faster and higher blood glucose elevation than low GI foods. When spike in the blood sugar level happens frequently, acne and many other health problems associated with the consumption of food with high GI. Learn more about GI and GL in details, read this article.
GI tables can either put pure glucose or white bread as a reference value. The most accurate GI tables have pure glucose as a reference value which is set to 100. The white bread as a reference value is not sufficiently reliable when there are many different types of white bread. Avoid GI tables have white bread as a reference value.
Since the GI scale always measures the blood glucose rise after intake of 50 grams of carbohydrate of a specific food, that is, the test person eats so much of the food that intake of 50 grams of carbohydrate achieved without taking a normal portions size of the food in question, miss it a lot important aspect of healthy discussion on blood glucose, namely the amount of carbohydrate in a particular food. To get an accurate value of the glucose and insulin reacts to a certain food, you need to know how much carbohydrate the food contains. The example below shows clearly the importance of knowing not just the GI value but also the carbohydrate content of various foods.
Watermelon has a GI value of 72 and a Snickers bar has a GI value of 51. If you only use the GI value as an indicator to determine whether watermelon is healthier than a candy bar, you would easily be led to believe that it was the the candy that is a healthier option because its GI value is lower.
It is obviously not the case: apart from the fact that watermelon contains vitamins and minerals and that Snickers contain partially hydrogenated soybean oil, sugar, lactose, artificial coloring and corn syrup, neither of which are good for your skin, acne or health, you also need to know carbohydrate content in order to get an accurate picture of what is nyttigas in the sense effect on your blood glucose value. In watermelon carbohydrate content is low, while in a Snickers is high.
Watermelons contain only 6 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams of watermelon, which means you need to consume 830 grams of watermelon to obtain 50 grams of carbohydrate. A Snickers weighing 58.7 grams contains, however, 25 grams carbohydrate, which means that 100 grams Snickers contains 42.6 grams of carbohydrate. This means that you consume more than seven times as much carbohydrate as you consume 100 grams Snickers compared to when you consume 100 grams of watermelon. Snickers has of course a much stronger and more negative effect on your blood sugar than watermelon has which is not apparent if you only look at the GI value. To consider also the carbohydrate content has GL (Glycemic Load, then Glycaemic Load) developed.
GL was developed to avoid the problem that gave rise to the GI as it did not take into account the carbohydrate content of a normal serving as a food effect on blood glucose calculated. GI of a food is constant regardless of how much you eat a food because it is a relative value. GL, however, takes into account the portion size because blood glucose increases, depending on how much carbohydrate you eat. Unfortunately, the GI tool is most widespread and GI values of the foods are much easier to find the corresponding GL-value even if the value GL is very easy to figure out for yourself with the help of the GI value. You will find a reliable GI and GL tables here (click on the GI Database). There are different GI and GL-divisions but we have chosen to follow the more strict divisions:
Low GI <35 Low GL <10
Medium Medium 36-49 GI GL 11-19
High GI> 50 high GL> 20
Consumption of food, candy, buns, cakes or other food with a high GI value can be for a number of hours lead to a condition known as hypoglycemia which means that blood glucose drops below a specified level. This is because the food with a high GI lead to an overproduction of insulin, which in turn leads to the rapid drop of blood glucose. This is why you can feel a huge fatigue a few hours after you have eaten food with high GI.
Insulin resistance can among other things lead to cardiovascular problems, obesity, high blood pressure, abnormal fatigue and depression. Insulin resistance can at worst lead to type 2 diabetes, which occurs because the pancreas does not have the energy to produce the amount of insulin anywhere in length; the fatigued, and then you have a constant high blood glucose, which is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes Insulin resistance worsens acne considerably through cell division and increased testosterone production.
Next we will let you know why having increased testosterone production causes acne problem.
Read more about insulin resistance in this article (Because it is harmful with too much glucose in the blood, from consuming simple carbs, the body will desperately try to get rid of excess blood glucose by making the pancreas produce more insulin than normal.
Insulin function is to open up channels in the cell membrane so that the glucose and also other nutrients can be transported from the blood into the cell. This leads to reduced blood glucose which is good because high blood glucose is harmful to the body.
However, prolonged and repeated consumption of carbohydrates with a high GI can lead to normal levels of insulin. When this happens, there will not be enough of insulin production to help the body’s cells to take up glucose in the blood. Upon consumption of simple carbs pancreas will produce more insulin than normal. The cells are likely to gradually become resistant to insulin as a result you will get what is called insulin resistance. The result is that the cells can not take up the glucose in the blood, which in turn leads to a higher blood glucose level than normal. As a result, it responds with the pancreas to produce even more insulin, and a vicious circle comprising both the high blood glucose and insulin together.)
A diet consisting of foods with high GI will, as mentioned above, is very likely to lead to insulin resistance in the extension. This leads to high levels of insulin in the bloodstream (hyper-insulinemia). This may in turn result in high levels of a growth factor called IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor-1) and low levels of a chemical called IGFBP-3 (insulin-like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3).
For low levels of IGFBP-3 may result in reduced sensitivity to an acid called retinoic acid, which can result in a rapid skin growth of the hair follicle which affect acne adversely.
IGFBP-3 is a protein that in 95 percent of cases binds to IGF-1. It stabilizes the IGF-1 so that it is more or less constant in the blood which is good for acne because of the high levels of IGF-1 are not good for acne.
IGF-1 is an amino acid-based hormone similar in structure to insulin, but which is secreted by the liver to the signal of growth hormones. Like insulin, IGF-1 stimulates cell division. For high levels of IGF-1 increases the risk of uncontrolled tissue growth, which in addition to increasing the risk of breast, colon and prostate cancer also contributes to a too rapid skin growth around the hair follicle, which increases the production of fat in the hair follicle. It often leads to an infected hair follicle with acne as a result.
Consumption of food with high GI, or rather high GL, is guaranteed to worsen your acne if you have any predisposition to acne. Foods with high GI and GL has a place in the diet only immediately after exercise and then it is only specific foods you should consume, which you can read more about in our Acne Program.
Hormone Imbalances are always present in acne problems and the best ways to deal with them is through consumption of the right kind of protein, fat and carbohydrates.
What these are, and what you should avoid in order to optimize your acne treatment, we go through the Acne Program.
Testosterone is one of the male androgens (sex hormones) that increase in production at puberty. Although men have much more testosterone than women, testosterones exist in both sexes; testosterone occurs in the testes of men and ovaries in women.
People with acne usually have high levels of testosterone in the blood. Testosterone causes increased sebum and because acne is adversely affected by over-production of skin oil (sebum). Consequently, the acne problems worsen with increased testosterone production.
Elevated insulin levels from long-term consumption of food with high GI may also cause an abnormal increase in testosterone production, which aggravates acne, pimples and blackheads. Testosterone also uses the same basic nutrients sebaceous gland needs to produce sebum. If testosterone production is elevated and there is also lack of nutrients in the body, the testosterone will also ‘steal’ nutrients, which can lead to worse acne.
Sebum (excess oil on the face plus dead skin cells) becomes thicker and more viscous. which means that it may be difficult to flow out through the sebaceous glands of the skin. The protective layer of skin normally form does not occur. The shedding of dead skin cells doesn’t happen regularly. It can result in the skin becoming dry, scaly and inflamed exacerbating existing acne, pimples and blackheads.
PGE 1, PGE 2 and PGE 3
There are three hormone-like substances called prostaglandins-1 (PGE 1), prostaglandin-2 (PGE 2), Prostaglandin-3 (PGE 3) which have an important role in acne, pimples and blackheads. PGE-1 and PGE-3 is responsible for anti-inflammatory processes in the cell while PGE 2 on the other hand is an inflammatory agent.
Acne, pimples and blackheads become worse when there is reduction of the PGE-1 and PGE-3 while there is an increase of PGE-2.This may largely be due to the consumption of certain vegetable oils. In this article, we go through exactly what oils you should avoid to get the balance between the various PGE.
Prostaglandin balance is also affected negatively by not consuming enough omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acid. Stress and smoking creates free radicals that affect the healthy prostaglandin production negatively. All this leads to more acne, pimples and blackheads.
Many people with acne also have trouble with the stomach and intestines, and the reason for it is the stomach and intestinal conditions are associated with the skin condition. You can of course have a stomach that works well and despite having trouble with acne. So what is the connection between the skin and intestinal conditions?
Too little acid and too little good intestinal bacteria
Well-functioning stomach and bowel functions are incredibly important for health in general and for those with acne in particular. If the stomach and intestines are out of balance, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to get rid of acne.
Unfortunately, gastrointestinal problems are very common among today’s population. If you have too little stomach acid, you will not digest the food you eat properly, which can lead to trouble with gases, reduced ability to absorb necessary nutrients for good skin such as mineral zinc and vitamin B12.
In addition, the liver is affected negatively by an impaired gastric function. This means that the liver’s detoxifying functions deteriorate, which also aggravates acne, pimples and blackheads.
In the intestines there is a constant struggle between what is called good and bad intestinal bacteria. A healthy person has approximately 85% of good intestinal bacteria and about 15% potentially bad intestinal bacteria called spoilage bacteria.
If you’ve taken a lot of antibiotics, drinking water with much chlorine in, eat a lot of junk food and sugar, this quota to be staggered so that spoilage bacteria in the intestines account will grow into a significant proportion. If spoilage bacteria increases in production intestines will have difficulty processing the food you consume. That and the low level of hydrochloric acid in the stomach can cause you to feel swelling in the stomach after a meal or in the worst cases, constant bloating. You become gassy stomach becomes too hard or too loose stools.
There are residual products from spoilage bacteria in combination with poorly digested food that creates digestive problems by fermentation processes occur and toxins formed in the intestines. The toxins affect the body very negatively. And because the skin is the body’s largest organ, it will be like to get rid of toxins through the skin when the liver’s detoxifying work more difficult for intestinal problems.
As with the low stomach acid levels deteriorate, nutrient deficiencies can occur as the spoilage bacteria feed of the nutrients your body could have needed. The result is that your skin gets less of the much needed nutrients and that process will worsen your acne problem.
Your acne, pimples and blackheads can be aggravated if you have problems with the intestines. The dietary suggestions we describe in this article in conjunction with the special gastro-intestinal bacterial supplement (probiotics) work very well in reducing bad intestinal bacteria, obtaining a good gastrointestinal function. Doing this will improve your general condition and of course improve your acne, pimples and blackheads .
A naturally occurring yeast called Candida albicans (or just Candida in short) is as part of the skin, mouth, gastrointestinal tract and the vagina. The problem happens when the following happens;
- when the flora receives too many nutrients in the form of sugar or other simple carbs and junk food,
- if the immune system is impaired, if you have diabetes,
- if you have eaten medication to reduce stomach acid, stress a lot,
- or if the normal intestinal flora is out of balance,
When the points mentioned above happens, Candida can grow rapidly and cause a condition called candidiasis. This is when the yeast grows rapidly and affects negatively the intestines resulting amount of diffuse problems.
Moreover, this bacteria can grow on moist areas of the skin folds and cause an itchy rash. In the worst case when this becomes life-threatening, the yeast can spread from the gastrointestinal tract through the blood to other parts of the body, known as systemic candidiasis, and can penetrate all organs of the body.
At Candidiasis skin affected very negatively and your acne can worsen considerably. Candidiasis can also cause hormonal imbalances which also causes severe acne, pimples and blackheads. In addition, Candidiasis ultimately create so severe disturbances in the gastrointestinal tract to your acne problem persists.
The good news is, there are things you could do to get rid of the problems by taking some specific supplements and superfoods. For example, coconut fat is a great food to help with this problem. The lauric acid and caprylic acid from coconut oil kill yeast, viruses, and bacteria by penetrating the cell membrane of the yeast and weakening the cell. (reference: http://www.yeastconnection.com/archive/fighting_ask_may05.html)
If you as a woman have recurrent urinary tract infections or fungi in the vagina you suffer with high probability of Candidiasis. The diet we recommend is completely anti-acne but also anti-Candida.
In addition to the change in diet is the extra strong stomach and intestinal bacteria in combination with a specific Candida Supplements and extra virgin coconut oil.
[Here are a few supplements that we recommend: (find in iherb the list of supplement ; coconut oil + probiotics)]
Gluten is a composite of different proteins that mainly occurs in wheat, rye, barley and oats.
Celiac disease is a complex known as autoimmune disease, which means that the immune system attacks the body’s own tissue. At sprue body develops antibodies against the glycoprotein (any of a group of complex proteins, as mucin, containing a carbohydrate combined with a simple protein) in gluten.
Different grains have different glycoproteins. Gliadin is one of glycoproteins present in all grains to a greater or lesser extent. In addition to gliadin being glycoprotein, there are also secalin in rye, hordein in barley, oats and Avedin of zein in maize.
The autoimmune response glycoproteins cause damages the small intestinal mucosa and forth forming villi which can lead to severe gastrointestinal symptoms including diarrhea, flatulence, impaired nutrient absorption. Celiac disease is one of the hidden causes numerous health problems including acne. Unfortunately, there are gluten in a variety of products, especially in refined foods.
People suffering from acne and who have celiac disease can live healthy lives and successfully treated their acne with most conventional treatments. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they do not have celiac disease.
If you suffer from severe gluten intolerance, there is a risk that you do not notice any improvement in your acne when you follow all the advice (besides abstinence from wheat, barley, rye and oats) in our treatment.
At celiac disease is an illness; the damage that occurs to the small intestinal mucosa causing it poor absorption of much needed nutrients from foods that you eat. This disease is usually caused by a inherited gene. When you have , one of the symptoms is acne problem. Luckily, the disease can be controlled by avoiding glutens.
In addition, people who suffer from celiac disease does not break down gluten, leading to absorption of non-degraded protein molecules. The immune system sees the non-degraded gluten molecules as harmful substances which leads to the white blood cells releasing histamine which in turn increases the inflammation.
The inflammation increases insulin resistance in neighboring cells, which creates problems with blood glucose which is linked to acne problems. Small exposures can be most able but most individuals are highly exposed to gluten, which increases the body’s inflammation which time risk VLI chronic. Over time, more and more of the body’s cells will become insulin-resistant.
Unfortunately, an individual who has not proven celiac disease was still sensitive to gluten. To reduce the aggravation and inflammation of acne that gluten can cause you should definitely avoid gluten.[Avoiding glutens will obviously help clear up your skin if you suspect that you suffer from gluten intolerance.
Apart from avoiding glutens you can also;
- Strengthen the body’s immune system with wholefood vitamins and minerals
- Strictly follow the dietary recommendations of our Acne Program
- Increase gastrointestinal bacteria to restore the microflora of the intestines which is often disturbed in a subject with celiac disease. (this can be done through intake of probiotic supplements).
- Take supplements of omega-3, which reduces inflammation in the body]
You should obviously do whatever is in your power to minimize the toxins from entering your body. Smoking, alcohol, toxic chemicals in skin care products and makeup, diesel fumes, other harmful particles in the air, chlorine, solvents, Bisphenol-A (BPA) are some of the sources of toxins to avoid.
Our body gets rid of the toxins through liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, and skin. If the first four inner organs are doing too much of the heavy duty, our skin being the largest organ on our body will also have to take part in it. By doing so it can impair your acne considerably.
So what can we do to help the four organs out, apart from minimising the toxin intake?
Detoxify Your Liver
The liver is responsible for detoxifying the blood coming from the large intestine, the lungs and the lymphatic system. When the blood is well detoxified it can better transport nutrients and oxygen to all the cells.
The lymphatic system is responsible for cleansing every cell in our body. So chronic lymphatic system can bring about allergies, flu, severe headaches, muscle cramps, and many other issues. It can even lead to breast cancer.
But of course, the more minor symptoms include many skin problems such as cellulite, dull skin, and breakouts.
If you take in toxins through the air you breathe, the food you eat and drink, and you rub your skin with harsh toxic chemicals, your liver will be overloaded with the detoxifying work. When the toxins cannot get out through liver soon enough, they go out through our pores. Ultimately it can lead to acne, pimples and blackheads.
In addition, hormones such as testosterone that is normally neutralized by a healthy liver instead will be returned to the blood and skin cells if you suffer from a weakened liver function. It causes, as mentioned above, an uncontrolled increase of sebum in the hair follicle which can lead to acne, pimples and blackheads. Your liver will therefore need to be free of toxins for you to have a clean skin.
How to detoxify your liver? You can read about it in the article here.
Detoxify Your Kidneys
Your kidneys help filter the blood, which among other things help to maintain good fluid and electrolyte balance in the body.
Electrolytes are substances normally consists of ions dissolved in liquid that ensures a good pH level in the blood and optimal fluid in cells. Needless to say good health and good skin requires that the body has a good fluid and electrolyte balance.
If the kidneys are overloaded with toxins ultimately the accumulation of toxins may lead to uremia.[Uremia is a raise level in the blood of urea and other nitrogenous waste compounds that are normally eliminated by the kidneys.] Evidently, a good kidney health is important for your health in general and also for your acne situation. You can certainly reduce the load on your kidneys by eating a good diet and live a healthy lifestyle.
Follow cooking recipes you find in this article so will your kidneys are getting the nutrition they need, while the load on them is minimized.
Gastrointestinal imbalances can affect your acne very negatively. Your colon’s primary function is to collect and dispose waste products.
It also absorbs water and certain nutrients into the bloodstream. If you drink too little water the absorption that the colon takes will be from the waste.
If you happen to suffer from diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration and reduced nutrient uptake, the colon will be reach out to the waste for water supply. When that happens, residues can move slowly through the intestines, which can lead to constipation.
Both conditions are extremely bad for your health in general but for acne in particular. The diet we recommend in this program acts as bowel cleansing with its high fiber content ( the right kind of fiber!).
Avoid fiber from grains because all cereals (grains) because they contains the most non-soluble fiber and also contains the so-called anti nutrients like phytic acid and lectins. Phytic acid is a substance that prevents absorption of minerals by binding them to it and drag them out of your system. Lectins are substances that increase intestinal permeability and is said to cause adverse reactions in the body’s organs.[Neither phytic acid and lectins are good for health and for those with acne should these two topics excluded from the diet.]
The lungs take up oxygen via the blood and transport it to the heart from which it is then transported to all the cells in the body.
The blood absorbs carbon dioxide from the cells which are then released via the lungs through the breathing along with other waste products.
Oxygen is needed for all body functions and if you have a lot of toxins in the body, it will require a lot of oxygen, which would otherwise have gone to your skin cells, among other things.
If your liver, your kidneys and your intestines function poorly your body will try to get rid of toxins through the lungs leading to overloading them. This leads to the remain of toxins in the body even longer.
What does this mean to your health and acne problem?
Well, it basically means that you become more susceptible to infection which then worsens your acne, pimples and blackheads.
It is important to ensure to breath in good air and avoid air pollution as much as you can. This is especially if you have acne, pimples or blackheads.
Spend as much time in the countryside or at sea as possible. Minimise all forms of harmful airborne particles such as smoking to improve your acne.
6 Negative stress
Negative stress can affect your health seriously, especially if it lasts for a long time. Stress also exacerbates your acne and is very negative for all forms of skin problems.
What exactly is stress?
Stress is the body’s reaction to a situation that is perceived as threatening. Stress fulfils an important function in humans: it puts us on alert for a physical effort and chances of getting through certain situations.
When we face a threat, we want to flee or fight.
Both require a physical effort which causes our body to release cortisol (stress hormone). Once we manage to get through that situation and finally relax, the body will then return gradually to normal levels afterwards.
Unfortunately, many of the stressful situations we face today are not associated with a survival (fight or flight) kind of stress hormones. Today, stress is rather associated with unresolved grief, unresolved problems, mental traumas, incomplete communications or activities, guilt and shame, the feeling of not being or getting enough, etc.
This makes it harder to reduce stress levels as these associations with stress are rather chronic and require more mental effort.
When we get stress there will be signals from the brain via the spinal cord and nervous system to the organs.
Just above the kidneys there are two organs called the adrenal glands that produce stress hormones via the sympathetic nervous system.
These stress hormones (adrenaline and noradrenaline) are released into the bloodstream and is pumped throughout the body and strengthens the different stress reactions. Adrenaline and noradrenaline influences along with testosterone is also the production of skin oils that become too high, thus leading to increased risk of acne, pimples and blackheads. In addition, stress hormones impairs wound healing, which impairs the healing of acne.
Production of testosterone increases in stress in both men and women, although women have only 10% of the testosterone production as men. During stress testosterone production almost doubles in both men and women, thus exacerbating acne, pimples and blackheads considerably.
Further stress leads to the production of cortisol, which is a steroid hormone secreted by the adrenal glands as adrenaline and noradrenaline. At long-term stress and overproduction of cortisol impair immune system and the levels of glucose in the blood increased cause by the over production of glucose in the liver stimulated by cortisol.[So in summary, you have clear skin and good health, you need to de-stress because it affects your hormone system is very negative, which in turn can worsen your acne considerably. ]
In addition, there is research that suggests that stress can increase inflammation in the body which increases the risk of acne and pimples but also more serious diseases.
There are a group of steroid hormones called glucocorticoids, which are released during stress. The most famous of these hormones is thus cortisol mentioned above. When stress levels are high, the body requires more pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), because the vitamin is included in the synthesis of Coenzyme-A, which in turn is needed for the synthesis of hormones, in this case, cortisol.
However Pantothenic acid is needed even for fat metabolism in the skin which can suffer because the body prioritises hormone synthesis especially fat metabolism. It can lead to more acne, pimples and blackheads, if there is an increased supply of pantothenic acid that is.
Lack of sleep
A good night’s sleep contains about four to five sleep cycles. A sleep cycle can in turn be divided into five stages: 1, 2, 3, 4, and REM (Rapid Eye Movement).
In a sleep cycle lasts about 90-110 minutes included all five stages, but they are of different lengths depending on when during the night the sleep cycle occurs.
Stage 3 and 4 are called deep sleep and the early bed goer have a higher percentage of deep sleep and less proportion lighter sleep and REM sleep.
Later in the night, the proportion of REM sleep is when the percentage of deep sleep decreases.
Stage 3 and 4, that is, deep sleep, also called “sleeping beauty”. The scientific explanation for you to be “beautiful” and reduce your acne if you get a good deep sleep. That is when the body secrets a number of charitable and building hormones during deep sleep, which helps the body to repair and rebuild tissues, including the skin.
In addition, deep sleep increases protein synthesis (protein formation) and reduces protein degradation. Proteins are needed among other things for the skin cells to be able to repair itself. It has also been found that the skin cells recover more quickly at night than during the day.
Deep sleep also helps to balance the stress hormone cortisol, which in overproduction aggravate your acne. Chronic insomnia leads to problems with the immune system weakens and the body’s ability to heal cells deteriorates.
With that said to get the larger share of beauty sleep, you should try to go to bed before midnight and get up at 6:00 whether weekday or weekend to obtain optimal skin health through your sleep.
There are still doctors, dermatologists and beauticians who believe that diet and lifestyle does not affect acne, pimples or blackheads. Why are there so many dermatologists still believe that diet and lifestyle does not affect acne? Is there a long and proven science that says that acne and diet and lifestyle are not linked? No, it is not. The misconception that acne, diet and lifestyle are not linked is mainly based on two studies published year and in 1971. Both have been referred to in the discussion about acne but they have unfortunately proven to be completely false.
Two studies that destroyed everything
The first study was conducted by Dr. James Fulton. It was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1969. Dr. Fulton allowed 14 boys and 16 girls and 35 young male inmates to consume either a chocolate bar with cocoa, sugar and fat (112 grams) or a cake without chocolate (112 grams), but with about as much sugar and fat in chocolate cake. The number of calories was about the same in both cakes (from 557 and 597 calories each). For four weeks, the subjects to one of the two cakes to their diet. Nothing was changed in the diet during the experiment than just the addition of just one of these two cookies (with or without chocolate, but with about as much sugar and fat in both). Dr. Fulton counted number of pimples on one side of the face of the study objects at the beginning of the experiment and at the end of the four weeks of the experiment. Most patients in both groups were unaffected regarding the number of breakouts, but all had a higher production of sebum. Based on his findings Dr. Fulton concluded that “Ingestion of large amounts of chocolate did not materially affect the course of acne vulgaris or end or composition of sebum ..” This was interpreted then as that “diet does not affect acne”. Each researcher or statistician can see that this one can not speak about diet and acne for such experiments. The conclusion Dr. Fulton draw is not correct. Moreover, it was not cocoa powder without sugar and the bad fat that created problems with sebum. What we can actually draw the conclusion from this study is this and only this: pure cocoa (ie cocoa beans ground or whole, but free from sugar, cocoa butter, milk, fat and emulsifier) is not likely to affect acne.
The second study claims there is no link between acne, diet and lifestyle was published in 1971 by Dr. PC Anderson. He made 27 of their medical students with acne choose one of four food (chocolate, milk, peanuts or Coca-Cola). They would choose the food they thought would most affect their acne. The students were then given their choice of food to supplement their diet for seven days. Dr. Anderson counted the pimples on the students before the seven-day period, and every day during the experiment. Since only one third of the students developed new pimples during the experiment, Dr. Andersen drew the conclusion that the diet does not affect acne. The study has since been criticized a lot because Dr. Anderson did not control any other parameters, there was no control group, the number of participants was small and that the study was very short.
Unfortunately, the two studies mentioned above has been cited in international dermatology literature (branch of medicine that deals with the study of the skin and its diseases). Therefore, there is a risk that your dermatologist refers to the studies mentioned above, without knowing how inadequate they are. Even people who are not doctors but who claim that acne, diet and lifestyle is not related may not know that they base their opinions on two bad studies from 1969 and år1971, who also both have proven to be wrong. In addition, studies were conducted at a time when knowledge of biochemistry, molecular biology and human physiology was not as developed. If you search in Medline (the largest medical database in the world) on acne and diet, there is no study, to our knowledge, that says acne, diet and lifestyle are not interconnected. For example, there is a study from 2009 which was published in 2010 in the journal Skin Therapy Letter March March, 15 (3): 1-2, where five researchers systematically examined 21 empirical studies and six clinical studies in which the overall results clearly show that cow’s milk , as well as high-glycemic diet aggravates acne. There are several other studies that show that acne and diet are related. For more references see below:
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Smith RN, Mann NJ, Braue A, et al. A low-glycemic-load diet Improves symptoms in acne vulgaris patient: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr 86 (1): 107-15 (2007 Jul).
Smith RN, Mann NJ, Braue A, et al. The effect of a high-protein, low-glycemic-load diet versus a Conventional, high glycemic-load diet on biochemical parameters Associated with acne vulgaris: a randomized, investigator-masked, controlled trial. J Am Acad Dermatol 57 (2): 247-56 (2007 Aug).
Smith RN, Braue A, Varigos GA, et al. The effect of a low glycemic load diet on acne vulgaris and the fatty acid composition of skin surface triglycerides. J Dermatol Sci 50 (1): 41-52 (2008 Apr).
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James MJ, Gibson RA Cleland LG. Dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids and inflammatory mediator production. Am J Clin Nutr 71 (1 Suppl): 343S-8S (2000 Jan).
Simopoulos AP. Essential fatty acids in health and chronic disease. Am J Clin Nutr 70 (3 Suppl): 560S-9S (1999 Sep). 26. Kaaks R Bellati C Venturelli E, et al. Effects of dietary intervention on IGF-I and IGF-binding proteins, and related alterations in sex steroid metabolism: The Diet and Androgens (DIANA) Randomised Trial. Eur J Clin Nutr 57 (9): 1079-88 (2003 Sep).
Fulton JE, Jr., Plewig G, Kligman AM. Effect of chocolate on acne vulgaris. Jama 210 (11): 2071-4 (1969 December 15).
Anderson PC. Foods as the cause of acne. Am Fam Physician 3 (3): 102-3 (1971 Mar).
Grant, JD, Anderson PC. Chocolate as a Cause of Acne: A Dissenting View. With Mo 62: 459-60 (1965 June).