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Acne: The Myths Busted

24th May 2013

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We spoke to Peter Roberts, an expert from SkinMed and Aknicare, about the common myths surrounding the condition.

Chocolate – we hear that it’s terrible for skin, then that it can actually help it look healthier. What’s the truth?

Chocolate itself as part of the diet does not cause terrible skin. However when you are already on the way to a spot fest (not spotty yet), it maybe that you also may crave something like chocolate as comfort food as a parallel. The source of both maybe your physiological state. So they may be related but one does not cause the other.

Are there other foods that can cause acne?

So long term bad diet may lead to an exacerbation of symptoms. Some also think increased intake of fatty acids including alcohol can make things more inflamed, but evidence is anecdotal.

What about alcohol? Late nights? Yo-yo dieting?

Anything that can cause damage to gut probiotic bacteria, can upset immune status and this in itself may have an eventual knock on effect on hormonal status which may result in skin exacerbations.

Is acne genetic? Are some people prone to it? Why do some people get it whilst others don’t?

Acne does tend to run in families and if your parents had bad acne there is a much higher risk that you will to.

Is it really something that we ‘grow out’ of?

The skin becomes hormonal sensitised at certain stages of our lives, most notably during adolescence. Most do grow out of it as they become adults as the hormonal desensitisation goes away. Although it can return during other life stages - bereavement, time of the month. If you can support skin lipids by ceramide boosting this not only makes your skin better, but it can reduce the risk of breakouts. See Nutritime.

I’ve still got acne and I’m in my 20s – what should I do?

Phone 08701 909 369. Your skin may have a residual sensitisation, you may have underlying factors which are prolonging your acne or maybe your acne treatment has created conditions which are prolonging the acne process.

Some products are harsh and stinging, whilst others are extremely gentle and might not feel like they’re doing very much – which are the best?

Harsh and stinging is never good, but sometimes a strong solution may be used to help unblock hair follicle ducts .These should not be used on a daily basis as this can lead to a hyper reactive skin.

If you have congested skin then occasional and only at night use of exfoliants maybe warranted but normally we want to calm the skin and reduce inflammation.

What are the simple steps we can take on a daily basis to avoid it?

Don’t strip your skin, exfoliate with Aknicare Cleanser a few times a week at night, but otherwise use Aknicare Gentle Cleansing gel which cleanses without exfoliating and calms angry skin. Treat the skin and the condition by using Aknicare Cream and zap any break through spots with Aknicare skin roller. If your condition is quite bad then also introduce Aknicare Lotion ( this is stronger than the cream) but use the two Lotion and cream together for maximum results

I’ve tried everything else – will my doctor be able to help?

They could prescribe Aknicare Lotion, Cream and Skin Roller are available on NHS prescription. Say it is a medical device class 3 and so is not listed in his BNF (British National Formulary), the DRs’ bible, but it is listed in the online version and it is listed in MIMs (abbreviated Drs prescribing list). As a student you can get one or all three of these products free on the NHS. Ideally you want the Lotion and Cream. The Cleansers are not available on prescription however. The cost to the NHS is much cheaper than many common prescription products and costs around 30 to 60p a day to the NHS

Some contraceptive pills are known to help clear it up – would you recommend this? What are the risks?

For women it can help but one needs to think about your life and choices and also the long term issues with contraception.   Many women may want to be on ’the pill’ for the right reasons. Also not all ‘pills’ are a benefit, in fact some say it made their skin worse. I would suggest one should look to control acne where it is located, as in the blocked hair follicle ducts and not buying something that affects the whole body and its hormonal balance.

Saunas and/or exercise – sweating will get rid of the toxins, right?

Well yes to a degree, but chaffing of skin with tight clothes in the gym can exacerbate back acne and dehydrating the skin is not a good solution; this could exacerbate your skin condition by increasing skin water loss which can cause a feedback loop where the oil production increases further

 Acne is not caused by toxins. It is the skins inability to control trans epidermal water loss (due to hormonal sensitisation), so increasing water loss further can’t be bad. Heat may soften the plugs blocking some hair follicle ducts but in general don’t routinely use saunas as a solution.

Do you have one acne-busting tip?

No blockage, no acne. There are many tips. One is take really good quality linoleic acid supplements, combined with lipase enzyme. I truly believe they can help, but you get what you pay for.

Boost your immune status with probiotic bacteria with a good probiotic supplement; daily probiotics drinks alone are not enough

Play Aknihilation and win free Aknicare. Top gaming tip: use the cleanser and then remover with the spot zapper early on in the game (totally for level one and mostly for level 2) and save the big guns for level 3 and 4. Submit your score and you will be rewarded. The higher the score the greater the reward.

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