July 24, 2004
Acne? But I’m an Adult
In the last two decades, I’ve had more and more
women come to me for advice in treating adult acne. In addition
to treatment options, many want to know why this teenage condition
is plaguing them in their later years. The answer is simplefor
the same reason you broke out in your teenshormones and stress.
The cause of acne can be found deep in your hair
follicles. Each hair follicle has a sebaceous gland connected to
it. This gland secretes sebum, an oil and wax mixture that keeps
your skin moist and lubricated. During hormonal changes (such as
puberty, menstruation, and perimenopause) and times of stress, you
experience an increase in male hormones (androgen). This causes
changes in the pH of the skin and overstimulates the sebaceous gland,
which responds by secreting excess sebum. This in turn creates the
skin lesions we call acne.
In order to treat adult acne, I often recommend
that women try a variety of approaches: dietary, supplements, or
topical treatments. I’d like to share my favorite solution from
each category with you today.
The first thing I recommend you do is avoid
refined sugar and foods high in sugar. Like androgens, sugary
foods overstimulate your sebaceous glands and can trigger excess
oil production. Refined sugar can also contribute to blood sugar
imbalances, which can worsen symptoms of anxiety and stress. And,
as I stated above, stress can lead to breakouts.
Plus, sugar depletes your store of B-complex vitamins,
which help balance your mood, energy, and anxiety level. B vitamins
are also needed to help keep your level of androgens within the
optimal range. While your ovaries and adrenals produce androgens,
their levels are regulated, in part, by your liver. As your main
organ of detoxification, your liver also relies on B vitamins in
order to function efficiently.
Next, you should include vitamin A in your diet.
Vitamin A not only helps to improve the overall health of your skin;
it is especially helpful in suppressing oily skin and acne. In fact,
one study found that high doses of vitamin A helped to clear up
even the most severe cases of acne in 90 percent of the people treated
with the vitamin.
Since too much vitamin A can adversely affect liver
function, I recommend that you take it’s water-soluble precursorbeta-carotene.
Dosages between 15,000 and 25,000 IU daily should provide
you with adequate skin protection.
Finally, you should treat any breakouts that do
occur with tea tree oil. The antiseptic properties have been used
for centuries to clean and treat wounds. Even the early settlers
of Australia and metal workers during the Second World War used
this camphorous-smelling essential oil to treat cuts and insect
After washing the infected area, I recommend placing
one drop of Australian tea tree oil directly on blemishes.
Read the product label carefully to be sure the oil contains 50
to 60 percent terpenes (preferably terpin-4-ol) and no more than
15 percent cineole.
Read More on Aging Beautifully:
Beautiful Skin: At What Price?
Beyond Moisturizer and Sunscreen
Keep it SIMPLE Beauty TipBanishing Wrinkles
EFAs = Extremely Flawless Appearances
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