Treat the cause, not the symptoms” –Have you heard of this phrase?
I aspire to know the cause of a disease much as possible before beginning treatment. It makes me looks at treatment more meaningfully and offers satisfaction. How about you?
Let’s find out the cause of acne and the resulting symptoms.
This blog will be about
Symptoms of Acne
The Cause of Acne from Biology Perspective
- Is Acne Hereditary?
- Hormonal Imbalance: The Leading Cause of Acne!
- Inflammation– The Recently Identified Cause of Acne
- P. acnes- Identification of Acne Causing Gene!
- Poor Digestion
- Diet Considerations for Acne (Will be in Next Post)
Acne Genesis and Indian Ayurveda
Acne Beyond Biology
Symptoms of Acne
You might have been through several treatments, medications with side effects and still suffering from acne flare-ups and breakouts. Or you are looking for simple prevention from this mind penetrating and mentally depressing skin disease disfiguring the skin that is challenging your self-esteem deep inside. It is basically more of a teenage epidemic affecting the world along with 50 million Americans.
Acne can show up anywhere in the body. But the areas which are more prone are
They are the areas where the location of oil-producing sebaceous glands is dense.
What is the difference between a normal from an acne prone skin?
In normal skin, the skin cells renew regularly in an orderly fashion removing dead cells off the skin. However, in case of acne prone skin, the dead cells get stuck inside the follicle with excess oil on the skin clogging the pore. Bacteria meddle in and aggravate acne. Depending on the severity of infection acne can show up in different types outside/inside the skin such as:
- Small red tender bumps
- Pimples, papules (pus at their tip)
- Nodules (painful solid lumps on the surface of the skin)
The Cause of Acne from Biology Perspective
Is Acne Hereditary?
Does Acne Run in Your Family?
If both of your parents have acne you run at a higher risk and have a fairly good chance of getting it. But if that gene is recessive you might not show it but your kid might.
There are experiments.with twins and fraternity genes to determine the hereditary nature of acne and the expert analysis of these results affirms it. So, yes, it can be hereditary.
Hormonal Imbalance: The Leading Cause of Acne!
Pathogenesis of Acne
Hormone imbalance during puberty (Acne vulgaris, hormonal acne), menopause and any other scenario can ace a trigger for acne.
Acne pathogenesis diagram provides you in nutshell the genesis of acne. The leading cause of acne is classically attributed to the hormone fluctuation at around puberty- a hallmark of reproductive maturity during the human growth cycle. Puberty raises the sex hormone (androgen) level.
This elevation androgen level (sex hormone) initiates a cascade of events starting with stimulation of sebaceous gland which produces excess oil than normal. There are massive cell proliferation and heavy shedding of dead cells which become muddy with the oil and clog the skin pore. Bacterial invasion of the clogged pore and proliferation results in inflammation and bleeding of a pimple.
This is the historical understanding of Acne.
Inflammation– The Recently Identified Cause of Acne
New studies implicate the involvement of inflammations the first step as the cause of acne development via free radicals (Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology 9 (1) 2016, 25-30) and oxidative stress. Free radical damage to skin’s natural oil or sebum appears to set the inflammatory process. Dr. Whitney Bowe, MD recommends adding lots of antioxidants to her acne-prone patients (ref: The beauty of Dirty Skin, 2018, p131.by Dr. Whitney Bowe).
P. acnes- Recent Identification of Acne Causing Gene!
An unbalanced microbiome on the Face May Be Key to Acne Development,” – writes Dermatologist Dr. Emma Bernard in a publication along with her colleagues in Medical Xpress, April 6, 2017.
This above statement comes from a recent study with 72 people, consisting of 38 with acne and 34 without.
In this comparative clinical study, a sample of the skin follicles (collected by OTC pore-cleansing strips) was collected from acne sufferers and were analyzed by DNA shut gun sequencing. People suffering from acne were found to contain a higher level of genes of P. acne strain than a group of people not having acne.
In the clinical group suffering from acne, associated genes are the ones relating to the production of pro-inflammatory compounds such as bacterial toxins. They have the potential to cause harm to the skin.
In the latter group, the bacterial community was found to be enriched with bacterial metabolism. This situation seems to be important in preventing harmful bacteria from colonizing the skin.
This experiment was repeated with another 10 individuals.
For the first time, this experiment shows a fine genetic difference between acne sufferers and individuals with no acne.
Poor digestion resulting in inadequate removal of toxins by liver purges toxins to bloodstream which can result in acne says Dr. Nigma Talib in her book “Younger Skin Starts in the Gut”.
The gut bacteria can also affect acne as the gut-brain-skin and produce a neuropeptide called substance P which affects sebum production that in turn is related to acne.
Diet Considerations for Acne (Next Post)
There are compelling pieces of evidence from studies available that diet does play a role in acne. The jury is still out. More studies are necessary to confirm.
Foods with low glycemic index, antioxidants, and fatty acids have attracted the mainstream attraction as banishing blemishes.
Acne Genesis and Indian Ayurveda
Per Indian Ayurveda, excess pitta in the gut can result in a breakout of acne. It can create acute inflammation and indigestion in the body. Cleansing the body, particularly the liver and blood by consuming herbs and diet will reduce pitta. Here are some guidelines of the diet and lifestyle to reduce pitta.
- What not to eat: Go low or eliminate Caffeine, and alcohol. Limit on your hot, spicy, oily, fermented and fried food.
- What to Eat: Eat plum, watermelon, Kale and asparagus. Hydrate body drinking fresh and filtered cold water to remove toxins. Eat Amalaki, one component of Triphala for good digestion. Use neem (https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/neem-tablets-10/), one of the most powerful herbs that help reduce pitta and eliminating toxins from blood naturally.
Adopt a Healthy Life Style
- Exercise preferably in the morning and evening and avoid hot middays. Take the moon bath instead of sunbath.
- Relieve Stress by including appropriate Yoga to your life.
Talk to an Ayurveda Doctor for a recommendation before using any product, diet or if you are considering any lifestyle change.
Beyond Biology- External Sources and Acne Breakout
There are factors for acne breakout that can be held accountable beyond biology. Without your knowledge, things might be creeping in or you may have got used to it. Acne is not infectious. So there are no worries there.
Check if you are using an oily make-up: Is that the makeup clogging your pores and in turn cause acne? To alleviate this cause, use makeup that has been marked with noncomedogenic.
Be Diligent About On spot Treatment: If you are doing an on spot treatment with the OTC treatment options like Benzoyl peroxide, Salicylic acid or Sulphur, do not overdo it nor use it too often. It can dry out your skin and then your body responds to it by producing more oil to you at bay. This excess oil can result in discolorations.
Choose Your Hair and Shower Products Carefully: Try to stay away from products containing sulfates, silicone and overly loaded with moisturizing agents. Clean your hair tilting your head so the water coming from hair cleansing does not tough touch your body. So you avoid clogging your pore.
There are multiple of gentle products are available that work well. Pick and choose for your skin or test them until you find one.
Exfoliate Your Skin Gently: You do not need to scrub your skin heavily to clean it up. Be patient and be soft on your skin. Heavy scrubbing depletes your natural skin oil. To balance this situation your body produces additional oil. You know by now what excess oil does to you.
Knowing the underlying cause help you get educated about acne Clogged pore creates bumps on the skin surface hiding your natural skin. The bacterial intervention of the clogged pore aggravates acne to bad pimples and nodules.
Hormonal drift, inflammation, genetics, P. acnes can independently or as a whole can be responsible for blurring your face and elsewhere of your body.
Indian Ayurveda contemplates Pitta as the cause and elimination of toxins from the body will help prevent and cure acne. Food indigestion and inadequate removal of toxins from blood and liver are related to acne- Dr. Nigma Talib in her book “Younger Skin starts in the Gut”.
The hormonal acne starts around puberty between age 10-13 and goes away around 20 years of age. Within this period, it can disappear and come back.
Consult your dermatologist if it persists.