Puberty has gone long time ago, but unfortunately not my acne. I read completely opposite physicians’ statements in national and foreign editions about the question if there is a link with the diet and if weight aggravates the skin condition. The opinions whether sweet is guilty about pimples differ quite much. I’m not of the slimmest, but you can’t say I’m fat, so should I observe any restrictions to stop acne? (28y, S.K.)

The main reason for the persistent acne, which is present into the adulthood, is hormonal imbalance.

In most of the cases it comes to increased level of androgen hormones or excessive sensitivity of the skin receptors toward them.

In both cases the result is hypersecretion of sebum which obstructs the pores and causes multiplication of pathogenic bacteria.

Make a test of the three main androgenic hormones:

testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) and androstenedione.

This can be done in any laboratory but it is compulsory to be between the 3rd and 5th day of the menstrual cycle. Even if one of them is above the reference values, there is already a disturbance. But, as sex hormones are closely linked to each other, it is best to make complete tests and to discuss the results with an endocrinologist.

Here are some natural products which help the fight against acne:

1. Vitex Agnus (Abraham’s balm).The fruits of this evergreen tree do not contain hormones, but indirectly regulate their production from the organism as they act on the most important endocrine organ – the pituitary gland, and through it on the ovaries. Many studies prove that the extract of the herb is particularly effective for treating acne of hormonal origin. It should be taken 1000mg a day for at least three months.

2. Mint teaalso has hormone regulating action as it lowers the level of free testosterone. It is sufficient to drink it several days before and after ovulation.

3. Pumpkin seed and zinc

prevent testosterone from transforming into dehydrotestosterone – exactly in this form the hormone stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce large amounts of sebum.

The idea that there are foods which may cause or aggravate acne is not new.

Carbonated drinks and chocolate were referred as such in the past but this thesis was not supported by evidence. That’s why today most of the dermatologists will tell you that you can eat whatever you like and this will not affect the inflammations. The latest studies, however, show that persistent acne may really be due to the consumption of certain foods.

Until recently praised as healthy food, the dairy products gain more and more negatives in the recent years.

But what is their link with acne?

There are many hormones in cow’s milk on one hand.

Some of them are natural and their aim is to stimulate the rapid growth of the small calf. Others are additionally given to the animals in order to increase the milk yield. As a result the white beverage and its products disturb our hormonal balance and lead to acne.

On the other hand, most of the people lose their ability to absorb milk with the growth, it cannot be completely degraded and is accumulated in the intestines in the form of mucus. One of the ways our organism to get rid of it is through the skin, unfortunately in the form of comedones, pustules and sores.

To find out if your acne is due to exactly this reason, you’ll need only a little will.

Remove all dairy products from your diet for a month – fresh milk, yoghurt, cheese, yellow cheese, cream and cottage cheese. Observe your skin during this time. If a significant improvement occurs or even the acne disappears completely, then you have found both the reason and the solution of your problem. Avoid dairy products in the future, and obtain the necessary calcium from fruits, vegetables and sesame.

4. Foods and supplements rich in iodine

This mineral is necessary for the proper function of the thyroid gland. The surplus, however, inflames the pores and worsens acne. The traditional products contain moderate amount of iodine and hardly you can get an overdose, but think if you intake multivitamins, food supplements with algae or too much salt and give up them. Seafood and fish have high content of iodine as well.

5. Shortage of essential fatty acids.

One of the most common advices to the people with acne is to give up fats and many of them take it literally. Omega-3 fatty acids, however, are absolutely necessary for the proper skin functioning. Moreover, they possess antibacterial and anti-inflammatory action. You can obtain them from flaxseed and fish oil, and the dose is 1 tablespoon daily.

Other oils which are used in the supplements for acne are the extracted from borage and evening primrose (they are rich in gamma-linoleic acid).

Sincerely yours,

Rayna Stoyanova