Acne affects the majority of adolescents, and we know first hand how it can affect their self-esteem. Typically, those suffering from acne feel self-conscious, embarrassed and helpless, which can often lead to withdrawal.
It’s not hard to understand then why many parents spend so much time and money trying to find a solution for their child’s acne. It typically starts with a visit to the pharmacy for over-the-counter products, before looking to physicians for an answer. Physicians are quick to subscribe topical and systemic antibiotics, steroids and hormonal agents (contraceptives). Which in many cases may be effective, but in others they are not.
Dr Mercola, a well-known American physician and author believes that food should be used as the first line of defence for acne.
“More proof is continuing to emerge that the root cause of acne is not bacteria or genetics, but environmental factors—particularly diet. Solid evidence exists that diets high in sugar and refined carbohydrates are the primary CAUSE of acne. After diet, the other major factor is stress.”
As a former boarder I know first hand that the staple food in a boarders diet is simple carbohydrates, namely in the form of bread. It comes, toasted, buttered, fresh, layered, sprinkled, baked, and in puddings. We particularly liked eating it every night before bed at “supper”.
“When breads and cereals are digested, it leads to an increased amount of sugar. In turn, this excess sugar allows the body to produce high levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1). Elevated insulin levels lead to an excess of male hormones, which cause pores in the skin to secrete sebum, a greasy substance that attracts acne-promoting bacteria. Additionally, IGF-1 promotes the multiplication of skin cells known as keratinocytes, a process associated with acne.” – Dr Mercola
So as parents of boarders who are not able to serve acne ridden adolescent a low-carb diet, it is worthwhile discussing this with them and their team of medical professionals part of their treatment plan and advise the school so they can cater accordingly.
The medical world is in agreement that what we put on our skin is as important as what we eat. However this hasn’t filtered into the beauty industry whose skin care products are often nothing more than a toxic concoction of chemicals that can potentially cause more damage to skin than they solve. Three natural products that anecdotally work well are apple cider vinegar as toner, jojoba oil as a cleaner and moisturiser and coffee scrubs. We recommend doing research on these to see whether they would work for your family.
Dr Mercola references studies that show the affect stress can have on acne and advocates for proven stress-busters to be added into a child’s routine, including yoga and meditation.
Finally does this mean that everyone should avoid grains? Absolutely not. This information has been sourced for those suffering from acne and should be discussed with doctors, naturopaths and other clinicians.