We all know that acne occurs most frequently in kids in their teenage years. That being said, many of you out there have teenage kids, know people with teenage kids, or are teachers that teach teenage kids or pre-teens.
Well, here’s the chance to take a walk on the wild side and tell the kids how to avoid what lies ahead.
Acne has been associated with an increase in sex hormone activity, which causes an increase in sebaceous or fat like gland output. This can also be seen in cases of infantile acne just after birth, due to the high levels of circulating sex hormones.
Acne and Food
Because teenage acne is so high it has become considered “normal” in developed nations. But this does not take into consideration that not all populations experience the rates of acne prevalent in the western world. A classic example is the Canadian Eskimos. Prior to 1950, they had no incidences of acne. But, as more modern foods, including sugar and refined carbohydrates, were introduced into their diets, acne became common.
The main dietary offender in the modern diet is its high saturated fat content. Why? Because of a diet high in animal proteins, cheese, and milk cause abnormal development of the sebaceous glands, leading to acne.
The modern teenage diet is a prescription for acne, with cheeseburgers, hot dogs, French fried potatoes, corn chips, potato chips, fried eggs, French toast, butter, milkshakes, dairy, sugar, candy, sodas, and chocolate.
Although meat, especially pork fat, and hydrogenated fats are detrimental, milk fat is often the main offender as we are the only species that feeds our young milk after weaning.
Perhaps the situation would be less serious if we gave our kid’s mother’s milk, but we give them cow’s milk with its excessive fat.
Every teenager knows that chocolate may aggravate acne, but it tastes so good and we all know how powerful the tongue is on our willpower. While sugar, in particular, facilitates the action of saturated fatty acids, making it the number two offender behind dairy and saturated fat. Other detrimental substances are coffee, tea, and alcohol.
Second Main Cause of Acne
A second major cause of acne is a problem with elimination. This includes a sluggish bowel and skin function, a toxic liver, or overstressed kidneys.
When the organs of elimination become imbalanced, the superficial circulation becomes filled with toxins, which clog the capillaries and lymphatic vessels, which feed the sebaceous glands and cause inflammation and secondary infection.
Third Main Cause of Acne
Another factor is that the walls of the bowels become thin, which allows leakage of the toxins into the system. Adding to the mess are hot showers or baths that upset skin function and cause a lack of coordination between deep and superficial circulation. In other words, the prolonged heat causes a lax condition of the superficial blood vessels leading to poor circulation and congestion.
Acne and Vitamin Deficiency
Then there are the dietary deficiencies such as low vitamin B6, zinc and essential fatty acids. B6 deficiency is common during menstruation where acne is worse due to the premenstrual irritability and the severity of water retention. Zinc is a common deficiency, especially during puberty with accelerated growth, which requires an excess of zinc. Another problem regarding zinc deficiency is that zinc is deficient in the soils due to the advent of the petrochemical fertilizers and therefore in most, if not all, of the foods that teenagers eat.
The usual treatment for acne is treating the symptom rather than curing the cause and usually, the person is told they will grow out of it and are usually given antibiotics or estrogens if an older female.
These treatments are not only ineffective, but they can be very detrimental. Yes, most teenagers will grow out of their acne, but not without leaving some scarring. But what if they do not grow out of it and suffer from acne all their lives? As far as antibiotics are concerned, they are used to treat secondary infections and must be repeated every three to six months. There’s nothing like a clueless physician prescribing a method that destroys the friendly bacteria in the intestines, which is essential to our well-being.
The skin is made from the inside out and it takes 20 to 30 days for the skin now being formed to reach the surface. So, isn’t it obvious that external treatments can do little to affect this developing skin?
Acne is an internal problem, not an external one. An exception would be a reaction from excessive use of facial creams, lotions, and make-up, which would clog the pores and bring about an allergic reaction.
Poor hygiene will also affect the skin, but the majority of acne cases are caused by internal factors. True healing must come from within not on the surface. And, it will take time. Even if you start today, the results will not begin to show for 20 to 60 days. And if there is severe scarring, it could take longer.
So, How Do We Cure It?
The main concern is to eliminate as many saturated fats as possible, coming from anything that had a face or a mother, dairy products and eggs. This must be adhered to until the skin is perfectly clear. After which, why would anyone in their right mind want to eat this again and have to restart the process?
In the elimination of saturated fats, one must go to a non-saturated fat diet. This includes plenty of non-citrus fruits, raw vegetable juices, salads, steamed vegetables, vegetable and seaweed soups, seeds and nuts in moderation, whole grains, beans, and lentils.
Seaweeds are good because of their high iodine content and pumpkin seeds are excellent because of their high zinc content.
All junk foods, fried foods, refined foods, processed foods, sodas, and carbonated drinks and alcohol are a no-no.
Bear in mind that 99% of all milk products contain butterfat. Hydrogenating unsaturated fats making them partly saturated generally makes margarine foreign to the body. And as these fats are entirely unnatural to the body they should be avoided altogether.
Commercial peanut butter usually is hydrogenated as well so read the label before buying. Almond, sunflower, or cashew butter are better. Anyway, peanuts are not nuts they are legumes.
Commercial bread usually contains saturated fats and high fructose corn syrup and should be avoided as well. So, either buy well-labeled whole grain bread from reliable bakers or bake your own. Never be afraid to ask what’s in the bread if you buy it from a bakery.
If you are going to use vegetable oils, they should never be heated. If you want to saute vegetables, use water and some apple cider vinegar.
Getting back to basics might be a bit difficult at first, but once you get there you will love it. And the kids in the classroom will never hear this anywhere else but from you.
About the author:
I have been doing a weekly radio show in Honolulu since 1981 called “Health Talk”. In 2007 I was “forced” to get a Masters degree in Nutrition because of all the doctors that would call in asking for my credentials. They do not call in anymore.
Go to www.healthtalkhawaii.com
My book, “a Sane Diet For An Insane World”, has been published. It can be viewed at