Acne. The mere mention of the word has probably sent chills down your spine as you recall the moments in your adolescence (or even adulthood) when it caused great frustration, embarrassment and pain. It’s a condition that many attribute to being part of “growing up”, but for some individuals it’s a lifelong battle for clear and smooth looking skin. The acne treatment market offers a million different creams, serums and over-the-counter products. Unfortunately these solutions are either temporary, make users too dependent or just don’t work at all. So if the $100 cream doesn’t make a difference or if the clinically proven face wash doesn’t quite cut it, what other option do acne sufferers have? Well as it turns out treating acne is less about how you treat your skin and more about how you treat your insides. As the old saying goes, “sometimes you have to fight fire with fire”.
Acne is a multi-factorial, meaning that many things in our daily life can contribute to it,” says Doctor Francesca Fucso, M.D., a Dermatologists in New York. Prescriptions, hygienic practices, the practice of various home remedies and the food you eat are all external factors that affect the type and amount of acne you experience. These are all factors that are easier to control and treat, and for the most part the modulation of these practices are quite helpful for some people. But for others, the cause of acne is a little deeper and requires a more in-depth understanding of this nasty foe.
From an internal standpoint, acne is caused by three factors:
- Excessive sebum production
- Excessive skin shedding
- P. acnes bacteria
Acne development starts inside the structure of the skin called the pilosebaceous unit. This unit houses a follicle that includes a hair shaft and an opening to the skin or a pore. In these follicles, there are small sacs called sebaceous glands where sebum, a skin and hair lubricant is secreted.
The production of sebum is stimulated by the adrenal hormone: testosterone. This same hormone also produces a fibrous protein that lines the follicle called keratin. Acne sufferers experience a combination of excess sebum and the excess shedding of skin cell, this is when pore blockage occurs. This environment is ideal for Propionibacterium acnes or P. acnes, a bacterium that is found on the skin and is normally harmless, but when exposed to the right factors it can proliferate. This overgrowth of the bacterium causes the destruction of your pore lining and the cellular debris enters the immediate area leading to inflammation.
Thus, the pimple is born.
At the first sign of a breakout, doctors will often recommend over-the-counter facial cleanses creams and serums. When things start getting a little more serious however, the next step in combatting acne is usually the administration of antibiotics. Antibiotics for acne can come in both oral and topical form. These medications work to reduce the colonization or overgrowth of P. acnes. Most times the treatment of antibiotics are successful, but many users find that the results are often temporary.
The problem with using antibiotics is that, acne antibiotics are not a target specific medication. That means that while it will kill the P. acnes bacterium, it will also kill other bacteria in your body as well, specifically both the bad and beneficial bacteria that reside in your gastrointestinal tract. Upsetting this sensitive balance in the digestive tract often leads to various digestive problems and in women even promote the overgrowth of yeast or Candida Albicans and stimulate a yeast infection. On top of that, once you’ve finished your round of antibiotics, your body is void of enough beneficial bacteria to fight of any surviving P.acnes that try to proliferate once again.
Controlling your acne doesn’t have to be as painful or expensive as your doctor or magazine ads make it up to be. In fact, as with any other health concern that arises from the body, the solution resides from within. The proliferation of P.acnes is not just a result of what happens around the hair follicle, in fact individuals who suffer from acne have abnormalities on the inside as well.
Studies have shown that more than half of individuals who suffer from acne possess lower than normal stomach acids (hypochlorhydia). According to researchers, inadequate amounts of stomach acids alter the intestinal microflora and lead to bacterial imbalances. This means that often times, individuals with acne either don’t have enough good bacteria to stave off the bad guys or there are too many bad bacteria running amuck on their systems. Additionally, bacterial imbalances also compromise the body’s immune, endocrine and neurological system, leading to hormonal imbalances that are often blamed for acne.
Another distinguishing feature of acne sufferers is gastrointestinal dysfunction. This is often times a result of the low stomach acid and the microflora imbalance that occurs. A study conducted in China involving over 13,000 adolescents found that gastrointestinal dysfunction is a correlated with the occurrence and development for diseases of the sebaceous glands. Disease of the sebaceous glands often results in (in minor cases) acne, and in more serious cases eczema, rosacea, seborrhea and seborrheic dermatitis.
So when your insides are affecting the way you look on the outside and anti-bacterials play no helpful role in fighting off your bacterium foe, then that’s the next best thing? A study conducted in 2010 by the International Journal of Cosmetic Science found that several strains of bacteria found in probiotics were helpful in preventing the overgrowth of P. acnes. Similarly, the Nutrition Journal found in 2009, that patients who consumed probiotics rich drinks showed clinical improvement of acne vulgaris.
The primary reason that probiotics have been found to be extremely successfully in the treatment of acne is because of its ability to restore bacterial balance both to the body and skin. As it turns out, bacteria are the one factors that is both causing and preventing your acne. Acne forms with the P. acnes bacterium overgrows on the skin, but when the body is full of beneficial bacteria, it can also help stop this nasty bacterium from proliferating. Additionally, the digestive problems aforementioned that commonly afflict acne sufferers can also be resolved through daily supplementation of Probiotics. Probiotics promote beneficial bacteria which in turn helps reset your stomach acid levels, appropriately lines and protects your digestive tract and helps build a stronger army against invading bacteria, pathogens or diseases. In fact, Probiotics can also help your intestinal bacteria operate in not only in anti-bacterial ways, but also promotes anti-inflammatory activity thus helping reduce acne lesions, inflammation and sebum content. So not only does it stop acne from forming, but it helps heal and redefine your skin as well!
As it turns out, your beauty is more than skin deep. So the next time you have a minor or mild breakout, reconsider the trip to the doctor and try your pharmacy instead for powerful and effective Probiotic supplement like Probacto’s.
“International Journal of Cosmetic Science”; Effect of Konjac Glucomannan Hydrolysates and Probiotics On the Growth of the Skin Bacterium Propionibacterium Acnes in Vitro; F.H.Al- Ghazzewi, et al.; April 2010
“Gut Pathogens”; Acne Vulgaris, Probiotics and the Gut-brain-Skin Axis – Back To the Future?
“Journal of Dermatology”; Risk factors for Sebaceous Gland Diseases and their Relationship to Gastrointestinal Dysfunction in Han Adolescents; Zhang H, et al.; September 2008
“Nutrition Journal”; Dietary effect of lactoferrin-enriched fermented milk on skin surface lipid and clinical improvement of acne vulgaris; Jungmin Kim, M.S, et al.; December 2009
“Newsmax Health”; Probiotics: Cure for Acne?; Health Day; February 2013