Control Acne Safely Without Drugs
Are Acne Drugs The Answer?
Isotretinoin, under the brand name Accutane, is the prescription medicine designed to treat severe acne. It may take from 15 to 20 weeks for the user to experience the full benefit of taking the drug. As reported in the Health Sciences Institute e-Alert (3/04), one of the problems with Accutane, according to a dermatologist (a member of the FDA advisory panel) is that it is over-prescribed. While the drug is intended to address only very severe cases of acne that create large cysts, doctors have been prescribing it for relatively normal cases.
Potential side effects listed by Roche, the manufacturer of Accutane, include depression, psychosis, acute pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and vision and hearing impairment. According to the FDA, between 1998 and 2000 Accutane was linked with at least 160 cases of suicide, attempted suicide, suicidal thoughts, and hospitalization-more than 50 cases per year. In 1990, the FDA estimated that since the drug's introduction in 1982, there had been 11,000 to 13,000 Accutane-related abortions, and 900 to 1100 Accutane-related birth defects.
As reported in NaturalNews by Seppo Puusa (6/08), more evidence has come in on the dangerous side effects of Accutane, the powerful acne drug, that is also known as Roaccutane in Europe. A Canadian study confirms that Accutane increases depression risk. The study found that Accutane more than doubles the risk of depression. The study is the first controlled investigation to find a statistically substantiated link between isotretinoin (the active ingredient in Accutane) and depression, Dr. Anick Berard, from CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre in Montreal, and colleagues stated in a report in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
The researchers studied 30,496 people from Quebec who had at least one prescription of Accutane between 1984 and 2003. Among these people, 126 had a reported depression case. The researchers looked for Accutane use five months before the reported depression case (risk period) and compared it to a five-month control period. After adjusting for potential risk factors for depression, the study found that exposure to Accutane increases the risk of depression by 2.6 times.
The research report finishes by recommending that "current guidelines should possibly be modified to include psychiatric assessments of patients prior to and during isotretinoin therapy." There are two known pathways Accutane can lead to depression: lower availability of serotonin and decreased brain activity in the areas that mediate depression.
Earlier research has shown that Accutane reduces the availability of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is also known as the "feel good" hormone. Low levels of serotonin have been linked consistently to many psychiatric symptoms, such as aggression, anxiety disorders, and suicidal ideation. Naturalnews reported about the study here: Suicide Link to Acne Drug Officially Established.
A simple diet change and other minor adjustments may be all it takes to clear up acne. Many nutritionists and alternative health practitioners have known that wheat intake can cause acne to flair up. As bread, cereal or potatoes are consumed, digestion increases glucose levels, insulin production rises and triggers hormones to secrete sebum in pores of the skin and the sebum attracts acne-promoting bacteria.
Does Diet or Food influence Acne? by Ray Sahelian, M.D. (www.raysahelian.com)
I have come to realize that diet does play a role, even though the medical profession denies that food has anything to do with acne. Basically, acne is an inflammatory process, and the types of food we eat can certainly influence inflammation.
Here are some suggestions to prevent, treat, or control acne:
- Avoid friction or contact with acne pimples. Leave them alone, do not play with or pop pimples. Avoid any kind of friction on your skin areas that are prone to acne. Rubbing of the skin or friction with clothing can lead to pimples. At night, try to sleep on your back rather than on your side since the friction of your cheek or side of face against the pillow can clog pores and aggravate acne.
- Avoid androgenic hormones such as DHEA, testosterone, and androstenedione. Acne is definitely aggravated by androgens and certain hormones.
- Reduce stress of any type if you can. Stress can make acne worse by releasing certain hormones.
- Acne and facial hair - if you are a male with moderate or severe facial acne, you may consider growing a beard, since shaving may make it worse.
- Acne face wash - I don't think washing your face more than required is going to help get rid of acne.
Foods That Cause Acne:
- Reduce your intake of sugar (including excessive amounts of fruit juices), sweets, processed flour, baked goods, and trans or hydrogenated fats. Examples include donuts, cookies, pastry, ice cream, pies, etc. Use Stevia, the no calorie natural sweetener rather than sugar. Regularly eating breads, cakes, chips and other staples of Western culture is likely to promote acne.
- Sodas are a significant source of sugar. Switch to water, herbal teas, and vegetable juices. You can sweeten herbal teas with stevia.
- Reduce intake of nuts, including brazil nuts, walnuts, almonds, and filberts. Peanuts and peanut butter may provoke acne in some individuals. If you eat nuts, limit your intake to small amounts and preferably eat raw nuts.
- Reduce intake of milk products, including ice cream and cheese. There is a high amount of hormones produced in the milk of cows, particularly in the milk of pregnant cows, which makes up the bulk of marketed milk and dairy products. Milk from pregnant cows contains progesterone, 5-alpha reduced steroids, and other steroid hormones. These hormones, when consumed, can break down into dihydrotestestosterone (DHT), the final molecule that turns on oil-making cells. Studies show there is an association between milk consumption and acne, and it didn't matter whether the milk was whole, low fat, or skim. For those who eliminate or significantly reduce milk products from their diet, calcium supplements could be helpful. Consider soy milk as a partial alternative. Buy unsweetened soy milk and sweeten it with stevia.
- Reduce or avoid vitamin E supplements. I have come across some patients who have noticed acne pimples after taking vitamin E. I am not certain of this connection, but until more is known you may wish to stop taking high dose supplements of this vitamin. There have also been rare case reports of aggravated acne following very large intake of B vitamins.
- Increase intake of foods that may improve acne such as fish (halibut, salmon, tuna, sardines). These contain important omega 3 oils such as EPA and DHA. They will make a difference in the health of your skin.
- Eat as many vegetables as you wish, preferably organic. Eat a wide variety, not just the few that most American eat. The combination of fish and vegetables is likely to be the healthiest meal for those with acne.
- Consider taking fish oil capsules if your intake of fish is fewer than twice a week.
- Increase your intake of water. Drink a glass or two of cold water first thing in the morning to eliminate the bowels. Drink 4 to 8 glasses of water per day, more in hot weather.
- Foods that I consider to have no major influence on acne include meats, turkey, and chicken.
Dr. Ray Sahelian, M.D. is the chief formulator and head of research and development for Irwin Naturals. He is the author of numerous nutritional books including, Mind Boosters, Finally The Common Cold Cure and Saw Palmetto Nature's Prostate Healer. As the country's leading expert on nutritional science, he has appeared on over 120 TV programs, including 20/20 and magazines, including Newsweek.
Blue Light (wavelength 423 nm) For Killing Acne Bacteria
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The blue aurora is recognized as the most ideal wavelength to stimulate the effective neutralization of purple substances, destroying the acne bacteria, inhibiting the growth of bacteria and eliminating the bacteria causing the acne. Learn More..
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Comment from Ray (Tan Plus/Essentials Of Life)
In 1997, based on my own history of severe acne, we formulated Skin Sense "Invigorating Cleanser" for acne-prone, oily skin types. We called it "Invigorating Cleanser" because of its "awakening" effect. The popularity of this product demanded that we add a larger sized bottle. So, we began offering Fragrance-Free Facial Cleanser in a 8.5 oz. Yes, we did change the name, but we didn't mess with the ingredients. No one believes me when I tell them I once had a severe acne condition.
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LED light therapy is a noninvasive anti-aging approach that works by emitting energy-producing packets of light deep into the skin’s layers to stimulate collagen and elastin production and destroy acne-causing bacteria. When light therapy is used, this triggers cellular activity producing ATP and, once produced, the tissue uses it to carry out healing and rejuvenation in the treated area.
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