Great new for lovers of all things natural and particularly those with acne – it would seem that benzoyl peroxide has been bested by a natural substance, Thyme. A recent study study by researchers at Leeds Metropolitan University tested three tinctures, thyme, marigold, and myrrh against the bacteria that causes acne. All were effective to some degree but interestingly the study found that thyme was more powerful against the acne-causing bacteria than benzoyl peroxide.
The researcher, Dr Gomez-Escalada had this to say “The problem with treatments containing benzoyl peroxide is the side-effects they are associated with. A burning sensation and skin irritation are not uncommon. Herbal preparations are less harsh on the skin due to their anti-inflammatory properties while our results suggest they can be just as, if not more, effective than chemical treatments.”
Well that is definitely good news! I would love to hear your stories. What have you tried on acne that has or hasn’t worked. And have you tried benzoyl peroxide? Another secret skin saver is dilute Tea Tree oil.Twitter It!
Well not quite aspirin, rather white willowbark. This herbal extract has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory and was actually the original source for the now synthetically produced pain reliving drug aspirin. Apart from its pain-relieving effects, applied topically white willowbark has anti-acne, sebum control and exfoliation properties. The active component of white willowbark is salicylic acid, a form of beta hydroxyl acid (BHA) which works by causing skin cells to slough off, reducing the formation of blackheads, whiteheads and breakouts. The added bonus is that it also has a natural antiseptic effect thereby reducing the bacterial overgrowth often associated with acne.
In this video, the use of white willowbark is explained further by Celeste Lutrario the creator of Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions.Twitter It!
For a long time experts stated that there was no correlation between diet and acne however more and more research is popping up discounting this assumption. In this blog I look at the association between dairy, in particular milk and the incidence of acne.
The studies showing a correlation between milk consumption and acne cross a wide age group, from teenage boys and girls to adult women and while the dairy industry claim skewed data there is enough evidence to show a definite link.
Firstly though I want to be clear about what the research does and doesn’t show; milk consumption alone doesn’t cause acne but it seems that those that drink milk develop more severe acne than non-milk drinkers. Furthermore, the more milk consumed, the worse the acne tended to be.
While the link between the severity of acne and milk is strongest, other dairy products have shown similar effects including cottage cheese, chocolate milk and skim milk. From personal experience one of the worst offenders apart from milk is yoghurt. I had to cut out dairy completely for 3 months and until my breakouts cleared up completely, then I was able to reintroduce some dairy but only butter, occasionally hard cheese such as parmesan and very occasionally some icecream (just because I find it hard to resist). If I start back on dairy regularly, my system doesn’t like it and I start to break out.
One of the interesting things that emerged from the research is that skim milk induced more breakouts than whole fat milk indicating that fat is not the issue. Other research has shown that while high saturated and animal fat foods aren’t ideal from a health perspective, they do not necessary cause or worsen acne. High sugar foods on the other hand are another story completely and do show a strong correlation with breakouts.
So if not the fat, what is the culprit? While not conclusively proved, the hormones in milk may well be the driver. Milk contains androgen hormones, the most notably testosterone. The body converts some testosterone to di-hydrotestosterone (DHT) which has a simulating effect on the skin’s sebaceous glands promoting the production of sebum. The result is oilier skin, more pore congestion and therefore more pimples. The more milk consumed, the more hormones, which may explain the proportional effect of higher milk consumption and more severe acne. Genetics also play a role according to researchers with people who are genetically predisposed to acne breakouts having a stronger reaction to the hormones in milk.
It is common practice with the commercial production of milk for dairy farmers to give cows additional hormones as this stimulates a higher milk yield. One of the side effects of this is milk with a high IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor-1) concentration and again the more consumed, the higher the blood concentration of IGF-1 found. Like DHT, IGF-1 drives sebum production which can trigger acne breakouts.
The other issue that may be linked to dairy, keep in mind there is no specific research about this, is the protein in dairy. Skim milk is believed to be worse than full cream milk due to the whey protein which is added to give a creamier taste. There are many different proteins in milk and IGF-1 is only one that may cause issues. If your digestive system is not performing as optimally as it could, the proteins in milk may eventually lead to internal inflammation of the gut and poor detoxification of waste. There is a strong link between poor digestive detoxification and acne. I will address this topic in more depth in another blog very soon.
So while milk and dairy are not a direct cause of acne, cutting it out of your diet can help to reduce acne severity. Reducing dairy may help but giving your body a rest from it all together is going to get a better initial result. One way to test your response to dairy is to start with 3 weeks complete removal and monitor your skin’s response. Look for a decrease in overall breakouts and well as less redness (inflammation). If you find that it doesn’t seem to make a difference at all reintroduce dairy slowly, again still monitoring the response to see if there are any worsening effects. If it does make a difference, it is best to stay off or only have limited quantities (and can I just say, a latte a day is a lot, not a little bit of milk).
A note of caution, often when people give up cow’s milk, they move over to soy milk. While this may seem like a sensible substitute, soy contains phytoestrogens, which may also be problematic for acne sufferers. It is best just to see how you go without cow’s milk first before using a dairy substitute.
This is the first in a series of blogs I am going to do about acne, its underlying causes and triggers. Please let me know if there are any topics in particular you would like me to cover.Twitter It!
I love it when I come across a product that is just fantastic and by fantastic I mean that it provides a solution or exceeds expectations in some way. That is just what happened when I came across Live Live Bee Yummy Skin Food. A raw food product rich in unpasturised honey and honey cappings, Bee Yummy is a real solution for those with acne prone, oily or congested skin. The healing properties of the raw ingredients are extensive…too many to write about (can’t be getting RSI!) so of course, I have done a video blog instead (can you get RSI of the mouth?).
Just before we launch into the video blog, I want to mention the growing raw food trend. Emerging from the US, raw food is really coming into the fore in Australia of late and while I think that many Australians would do well to eat more raw and “live” foods, like many trends it has so many positive aspects and some downsides. I am going blog my opinion (because thats all it is!) about raw foods very soon however, I have to say, back to the product, Bee Yummy has all the best of the raw food/skin care trend and none of the downsides.Twitter It!
Yesterday I received this e-mail from a mother concerned about her daughter’s skin breakouts: My 12 year old daughter suffers from pimples splashed all over her forehead and just a few blackheads on her nose. Is there a reason that it’s her forehead mainly and what is best to treat her skin? Thanks.
Following on from my previous blog about facial diagnosis I thought it a timely question and so have put my reply below:
Skin breaks out because everyday toxins aren’t being eliminated properly by the
other detoxification pathways of the body. The reason breakouts usually occur on the forehead is related to digestive congestion or poor detoxification. Often this comes back to a diet high in sugars and processed foods or fats. If the breakouts are more cyst like in appearance it can related to high dairy intake. There is also her age to take into consideration. Hormonal changes will be making themselves known I am sure and this may also be affecting her skin. Usually it is the liver that can’t cope with the combination of toxins from the diet and an increase in hormones that have to be broken down and so the skin is affected.
While this all sounds quite full on, if she increases her water intake and cuts down on any processed foods and sugars she may find that it will settle down.
Encourage her to wash her face daily to remove oil. Black Soap is ideal for teenagers as apart from being a great cleanser, it is also mildly antibacterial and very gentle on skin. If she does need a moisturiser a light gel such as the Mukti Aloe Gel is all she will need. It contains no oil and so won’t contribute to congestion.
If you think she needs to take stronger steps to clear her skin, and you will know best what she eats etc, then Karen Fischer’s The Healthy Skin Diet outlines an excellent and relatively easy to follow program that doesn’t restrict foods a growing teenager should have.
Dear readers, please let me know if you have any further questions or comments as I would love to hear them. And if you have used products that help your skin with breakouts, we would LOVE to hear about them.Twitter It!
Recently lots of really interesting things have been popping up and I just have to let you all know. So this blog has exciting news for acne sufferers! My friend Fran Kerr hosts an acne specific site called highonhealth.org and I regularly recommend those suffereing from acne or breakouts check out her site – it holds a wealth of information about how to manage acne using diet, lifestyle, nutritional, topical and even emotional treatments. The great news is that Fran has just opened up a new acne coaching program and I think this is the best acne program I have seen (and that is saying something!). So I have put the details below.
This is the FIRST time anything like this has been offered on the net and I’m positive it’s going to change the way we treat acne in the future.
I’ve been itching to work closely with a select few acne suffers for quite some time now. So, I’m really looking forward to working personally with YOU to help you get clear skin for life!
Inside this program, you’re going to learn how to finally get beautifully clear skin and why everything you’ve tried before hasn’t been working.
And as a little extra bonus, I’m going to make sure you’re feeling happier, healthier, more self confident, and enjoying life that little bit more
What’s inside this course?
This is what you’ll get access to on the inside:
Now, there’s just one very important bit of detail that you need to know about…
I’m keeping the doors open for ONLY 2 weeks!
That means, if you are serious about getting clear skin too, you
MUST get on board with everyone else before I close doors again.
Once the doors are shut you will NOT be able to join again for a number of months. And I’m not even sure when I will be opening doors again.
So, if you really want to clear up your skin, make sure you join me today. It may just be one of your most exciting journeys yet!
PS: Please note, that because I want everyone to start at the same time, I’ll be closing doors in 2 weeks time from the time of sending this message. So make sure you join me before then, otherwise you’ll have to miss out!Twitter It!
This is a new blog section that I will post from time to time and it is essentially us letting you know about our favorite products. This time is Roechelle’s turn and her favorite product is the Lavera Mint Blemish Stick. While Roechelle has had a history of breakouts, she has done heaps of great work healing her skin and at Vitale we are really impressed with the changes she has made to life. I have done a product review video below but first here is what Roechelle has to say:
“Even though this product is a cover up, I actually put it on at night to help it heal any blemishes I have. It is also great for soothing and cooling blind pimples. There is something in it that really helps to reduce the inflammation (Ed note: the oils are rich in omega 3 & 6 so help reduce inflammation and the mint essential oil is cooling).”Twitter It!
I am asked how to manage skin conditions on a regular basis. Sometimes it is a straightforward question however often queries involve more than one skin issue such as received this e-mail from a young woman living in Europe. She is moving back to Australia and had some questions about how to manage her skin. What I love about this e-mail is that the writer wants to work out what is really going on with her skin rather than just relying on temporary solutions (antibiotics). She wrote that she also eats a good diet and exercises which is not only great from a wellbeing perspective but helps with skin complaints for so many reasons.
I was wondering if you could recommend a regime for my very sensitive and acne-prone skin? I am currently living in Europe and tried using the Dr Hauschka products (Ed note: as with any product they suit some and not others. Dr Hauschka generally has excellent feedback) for oily/blemished skin a couple of months ago, however whether because of stress or the weather or the new products (not sure what) my acne has become so severe that my doctor convinced me to take an antibiotic to help it. I am moving back to Australia next week and am searching for a new skin care regime – in the long run I really want to treat my skin problem naturally and I know the antibiotics are only a short term fix. My acne is almost exclusively around my chin and jaw-line, and although the rest of my skin is also oily it rarely gets blemishes. However the skin on my chin is often dry and flaky (as well as red and inflamed…) and I find it difficult to exfoliate it without irritating the existing blemishes. I am at a loss as to what else to try in order to clear up my skin. Any advice would be much appreciated!
My reply was as follows: I think a couple of things are underlying your skin issues. Firstly it sounds like the acid mantle of your skin is unbalanced thus producing dry and oily sections. This needs to be repaired in order to balance out your combination skin. This would also account for the sensitivity – without an effective acid mantle there is a greater likelihood of skin reactions. To balance out the acid mantle you need a very gentle cleanser that allows the skin a quick recovery to its normal pH after cleansing and I also recommend a balancing serum or lotion.
In addition, breakouts around the chin area tend to be related to either digestive issues or hormones. If it is hormonal, you will notice your skin is worse around your period or ovulation. If not then it may be related to digestive issues. While somewhat strange to ask about via e-mail, think about whether or not your digestive system is as good as it could be and if not, it may be an underlying contributing factor to your skin issues. We can look into this in more depth when you come to Brisbane.
Using the antibiotic will help initially but as you say, eventually you want to treat the underlying issues. Taking probiotics will help overcome any issues with taking antibiotics.
Your diet sounds good so it is unlikely to be the issue however, I can send you a copy of our Vitale Clean Skin Diet if you would like to read it and in addition I recommend Karen Fischer’s Book, The Healthy Skin Diet. It is excellent and covers nutritional issues as well as dietary ones.
The products I recommend are:
Remedica Anago Black Soap – very gentle, this cleanser is has mild antiseptic qualities, is mildly anti-inflammatory and allows the skin a rapid recovery after use. It is ideal for oily and blemish prone skin.
Remedica Clair Visage – a balancing serum ideal for skin that is dry and oily. It helps heal, reduce inflammation and balance oiliness. Only half a pump at night is needed so this will last around 5-6 months.
Third Stone Botanicals Cederwood Moisture Gel – a light daytime gel that protects and balances oily skin
Initially I don’t recommend you use an exfoliant. Your skin is too sensitive. Once it has healed ie acid mantle repair and the inflammation has reduced, you can use a very gentle one such as Third Stone Botanicals Almond Rose Exfoliant.
Treating skin that is sensitive can be so tricky. I have one client at the moment and we are going through a process of elimination both with skin care products and diet & lifestyle. Sometimes it just takes finding the right products and sometimes it requires a more in-depth approach with nutrition, diet and lifestlye changes. However, I find the first and often most effective step is to stop the use of all products that contain synthetic ingredients, SLS foaming agents and strong fragrances. With the young woman above, we will see how she goes with natural, low or no fragranced (and certainly no artificial fragrances) products and therapeutic serums to manage both the sensitivity and the breakouts.
I would love to hear what experiences you have had with using products on your skin issues…dry, sensitive, oily, breakouts. Share what you have used with me and the Vitaleblog readers. And if you have any questions about skin issues, I would be happy to answer them.Twitter It!
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