In the USA, about 85 percent of all teenagers will suffer with acne with many of these persons carrying the affliction into their adult years. Nonetheless, there is a very effective home treatment and cure for acne which is certainly not a normal state of health. Without a doubt, the waves of hormones that come with puberty are responsible for an increase in the secretion of sebum (skin oil) which is associated with the onslaught of acne. Some researchers have forwarded the theory that acne is a malady that is genetically transmitted. Others have supported the idea that external conditions such as the food we eat are the most important factors. In our western culture that consumes 47% of calories from fats and oils (this is an enormous amount it should be 10%), genetic factors can have a significant part to play in how prone a person might be to developing acne. To really know whether or not diet is the dominant factor in causing acne, we would have to show that acne is missing in cultures that have diets that are significantly varied from what Americans eat.
Your doctor will mostly likely parrot the reigning dogma that acne and excess oil in and on your skin are not related to what you eat. When you hear this, ask to see the evidence. You will then witness this man of science falling into speechlessness with nothing more than empty platitudes. This inaccurate data goes back to a lone article written by Dr. James Fulton in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1969. In addition, the conclusions of this study have been rightly criticized and effectively skewered for more than twenty-five years. Because of this misinformation, many millions suffer.
Thirty teenagers were studied by Dr. Fulton (16 boys and 14 girls) who were patients at a clinic for acne. Also studied were thirty-five young male adult prison inmates with moderate to mild acne conditions. The study was funded by the Chocolate Manufacturers Association of America. They provided the participants with two varieties of candy bars one contained chocolate and the other did not. The contents of both bars were primarily sugar and fat and had closely matched calories (592 and 557 per candy bar). The participants were asked to consume one bar or the other each day for four weeks. No other aspect of their diet was changed for the duration of the experiment. Dr. Fulton and associates then took a census of the pimples. Forty-six of the sixty-five participants showed no change in pimple count. Ten were improved and nine were worse. It should be noted that the amount of sebum (skin oil) was elevated by 60 percent when either of the sugary high-fat candy bars were consumed regardless of whether or not it contained chocolate. It is astonishing that the outcome of this one, very flawed and totally irrelevant (it only examined the effects of chocolate) study is the foundation upon which it is claimed that acne is not caused by diet!
Our Plague of Acne Occurs Solely Where Fat Laden Food is Eaten
Acne forms when the sebaceous follicles or skin pores are blocked with dead skin cells followed by the accumulation of fatty oils and waxy substances (sebum) in the clogged pores. The afflicted pore is then infected with bacteria which causes the inflamed pustule we know as a pimple. The bacteria dine on the sebum. Current orthodox treatment is aimed at unclogging the skin pores, releasing the pocket of sebum, destroying the bacteria and lowering the inflammation by numerous drugs sold by prescription and over-the-counter. As with most diseases in our Western culture, there is a more effective natural treatment and cure for acne which is diet. Diet is the cause and diet is the natural treatment and cure of acne.
Multiple Studies Acne and Traditional Diets
Many studies have been done on persons eating their native traditional diets. Most all of these diets are low in fat and center around the consumption of fruits, vegetables and starches. It has been universally demonstrated that these cultures experience little or no acne. When these same persons move to a location that consumes the typical Western fare, acne will bloom with full fury. This is true for other maladies such as breast cancer, diabetes, prostate, heart disease and obesity. Some thoroughly studied cultures include the Ache of Eastern Paraguay have a diet that provides 70% of calories from cassava (a root vegetable) and the Kitavan Islanders of Papua New Guinea who consume a diet of carbohydrate plant foods providing 70% of calories. Not a single case of acne can be found in these two cultures subsisting mostly on unrefined plant foods that are low in fat.
We see the same results when studying African tribes living on plant-based foods. They are mostly free from acne. Teenagers in southern African Bantu have a 16% occurrence of acne as opposed to white persons in Africa who have an acne incidence of 45%. It has been noted that Zulu persons have developed acne only after they migrate from their tribal village to the larger cities and adopt a Western diet. Persons in both Zambia and Kenya have much less acne than to African Americans living in the USA. Persons from Malaysia consuming diets based on rice have been shown to have little or no problems with acne. A rice-based diet also accounts for the fact that persons living in rural Japan have very few problems with their skin. It should be further noted that persons of European descent living on low fat diets in Crete and Southern Italy have far less acne than persons in Western Europe who consume high fat diets. The Yemenite Jews who eat a healthy low-fat diet report much less acne that do European Jews. So the picture could not be any clearer. Switching from a Western diet based on dairy and meat to a low-fat, plant-based diet will vanquish your acne problems. Without a doubt, there are aspects of the rich Western diet that cause the skin to deteriorate and become unsightly. This is not normal and it is not natural. It is a disease.
How Diet Causes Acne
1) The amount of fats and oil (sebum) on the skin increases as the amount of fat in the diet increases. By changing ones diet to include near total rejection of fat or, conversely, the inclusion of fat as the near total source of food, it is shown that the amount of sebum excretion will be greatly changed. It should be noted that it takes little fat to clog pores, feed bacteria and cause acne in persons who are susceptible. These offending bacteria do as well on vegetable oil as they do on animal fats.
2) Our rich Western diet causes an elevation in sex hormones which encourages early puberty. Early pubescence of women has been shown to be related to the onset of severe acne. Excess male hormones in women and men are well understood to bring about acne and elevated sebum excretion.
3) The sebaceous glands (oil producing) are negatively affected by growth hormones allowing them to be plugged more easily. IGF-1 (Insulin-like growth hormone-1) has been shown to become elevated by consuming meat and dairy foods. Studies show that an increase in acne is related to an increase in IGF-1.
Other items that may have a smaller role are:
4) Lack of other plant-derived nutrients and anti-oxidants cause deterioration in health thus promoting acne.
5) A diet high in fat causes poor blood circulation to the skin making one more prone to acne.
6) Hands and fingers in contact with greasy foods such as French fries can cause acne when transferred by touch to the skin. This clogs the pores and provides nourishment for bacteria.
Natural Cure and Prevention of Acne
We all know that teenage surging hormones and acne are related but to think that puberty is the cause of acne is like saying old age is the cause of heart disease. More heart disease manifests in old age because of a lifetime of poor diet. Heart disease does not occur in areas where the inhabitants eat healthy foods such as rural Asia and Africa. Heart disease can also be cured when those afflicted switch to a healthy diet. The same is true for acne.
The horrors of acne may be the best tool one could ever have to promote a healthy diet to teenagers. After switching to a low-fat, plant-based diet you and your teenagers can expect to see an obvious decrease in the oil on your skin and hair in about four to seven days. The pimples will begin to go away in a short time following that. It may take as long as 30 days for improvement to begin to show. Absolute discipline with what one eats is vital. Even small lapses can bring a bloom of pimples within a couple of days. One evening at the local pizza place will result in crop of pustules in short order. You must adhere to a diet consisting of vegetables, fruits and starches. By all means avoid added fats such as vegetable oils, soybeans, olives, avocados, seeds, nuts and the so-called beneficial fats. Carefully wash all oils from your fingers and hands before you touch any part of your face. Use a buff pad to assist the opening of your pores. Thoroughly clean your skin. If your skin does not show improvement, then you are most likely not being strict enough in your diet. We should remember that many millions of persons who live in rural Asia and Africa, Paraguay, and Papua New Guinea are eating a low-fat, plant-based diet and they are free of acne their entire lives. There is no reason why you cant be free of acne if you adopt the same diet.