the answer to acne

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People like to look their best. Just take a casual glance at any popular fashion magazine. It confirms how much importance society places on our "looks", especially face and skin.

One of the more common skin complaints is called acne vulgaris. And for teenagers and adults alike, acne is indeed "vulgar." It is also a source of embarrassment, worry, nervousness and insecurity.

Acne is a skin-pore infection characterized by three types of skin changes: blackheads, whiteheads and red spots. These usually occur on the face but can also appear on the back, chest and shoulders. Skin doctors or dermatologists treat this condition with various antibiotic preparations and ointments, as well as hormones and powerful drugs derived from vitamin A. Although these approaches have met with a large measure of success, they have both disadvantages and risks. For example, hormones can increase a woman's risk for developing breast cancer and antibiotics can lead to an overgrowth of yeast, which can in turn create a host of other health problems.

What then are the options available to the individual trying to treat acne in the least harmful way? Exercise, physical environment and diet are often overlooked as important factors in the treatment of ache.

Acne, Diet and Fats

Most of us are familiar with the phrase "you are what you eat." This is especially true of the connection between ache and fats.

Fats are of great importance to our warmth, hormones, cell membranes, reproduction and, of course, our skins. The problem is -- we consume the wrong types of fat.

Most available fat is hydrogenated. Hydrogenation is the process whereby oils are hardened into a spreadable and conveniently packageable form. Chemically this means that their structures are converted from a natural "cis" to an artificial "trans" form. These oils are a disaster to the body. They are incorporated into our cells, thus blocking the uptake of essential fatty acids so necessary for skin health. Important essential fatty acids include both cold pressed olive and flax seed oils. So when people get acne from eating the standard North American diet, it might be the hydrogenated fat that is the culprit not the chocolate! Another acne bandit is a lack of dietary fibre.

Acne and the Colon

Fibre helps bind and eliminate intestinal toxins that can aggravate acne. Like "estriol." Estriol is a byproduct of the female hormone estrogen and is readily eliminated form the body. However, if the individual lacks sufficient dietary fibre and is constipated as a result, this hormone is brought back into use by the body. This can lead to a condition of excess estrogen and potentially make the acne worse. Dietary fibre has an additional role to play. By keeping the environment of our colons more acid, the overgrowth of "unfriendly" bacteria and yeast is prevented. This is especially important for those who have been on a long course of antibiotics. A lack of both fibre and lactobacillus acidophilus can contribute not only to constipation but also a host of other colon-related health problems, including the malabsorption of acne-fighting nutrients, like zinc.

Vitamins, Minerals and Acne

The mineral zinc has long been touted as an important factor in the treatment of acne. Male teenagers especially usually have quite low levels of zinc. Given its importance in hormone activation and inflammation, it is of no surprise that zinc is a useful acne fighter. Zinc is found in such nutrient-rich foods as seafood, legumes and whole grains. But when you take a zinc supplement, dietary fibre blocks this mineral from being absorbed. So take it between meals or with a low-fibre meal.

In addition to zinc, it is important to remember that vitamin A has proven to be effective in the treatment of acne. Important sources of this vitamin include dark green and yellow vegetables including carrots, broccoli, spinach and cantaloupe. However, vitamin A is toxic in large doses. Many livers can't handle vitamin A over 10,000 IU and pregnant women should monitor their vitamin A intake.

Acne Rosacea

Many people are familiar with "teenage" acne but few of us are acquainted with the other type: acne rosacea or "middle aged ache." This is usually distinguished by red facial patches and a lack of blackheads. Although little nutritional research has been done in this field, supplementation with B-complex vitamins may prove to be helpful. Adopting a complex carbohydrate, high fibre diet and trying to improve your digestive function can provide even further benefit. Preventive and nutritional care has much to offer in the way of ache treatment. Although we have only briefly considered many of the available options, the first step to a healthy and acne-free skin is only a lifestyle change away!

Silica is Skin Food

Silica cares for the skin in a unique way. It not only increases the function of the immune system, thereby contributing to overall health, it strengthens the elasticity of skin, protecting it against chemical pollution and all kinds of negative influences. It restores skin vitality from within to without and without to within.

Skin is absorptive. This means it will absorb what you put on it. The reason skin can hold water is due to large sugars, similar to the those found in cartilage (mucopolysaccharides), that combine with protein and form a network of protection. This water-holding ability is helped by the presence of silicon.

Research has shown that ingestion of silica has therapeutic results for all forms of acne. Externally it is effective for ache also, as well as for itching, rashes, abcesses, boils, warts, eczema and benign skin sores of all kinds.

Ingest one tablespoon of silica gel as a daily supplement to support connective tissue, strengthen the immune system, assist in the function of the gastrointestinal tract and promote skin health. As a bonus you increase the health and vitality of hair and nails also.

Silica is called "nature's building block." Without it all life processes would slow down their metabolism and protein synthesis would grind to a halt. Fat metabolism would increase. Cells would fatten.

Silica predominates in youngsters in a finely dispersed colloidal form and contributes to their bounce and flexibility, but it is stored mostly in the hair and nails of older people. That's why there is an ongoing need for support of silica metabolism as you age.

Dr. Ronald G. Reichert practices in Vancouver, BC. He will be speaking at alive's Healthy Living Expo September 18th and 19th, 1993.

Recommended reading:

Silica -- The Amazing Gel, by Klaus Kaufmann (sc)

Colon Health, by Norman Walker (sc) 126 pp $8.95

Fats & Oils, by Udo Erasmus (sc) 363 pp $17.95 Super Healthy Hair, Skin and Nails, by Stella Weller (sc) 176 pp $9.95 Available at your health food store or from alive Books Box 80055 Burnaby BC V5H 3X1. Add $3.00 for p&h and 7% GST.

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By Ronald G. Reichert

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