Dr. Mercola's Comment:
Most conventional doctors and dermatologists say that acne is not related to diet, but I can confidently tell you that there is indeed a link, and a strong one at that. In my own practice, I found my patients' acne clears up when they follow the no-grain diet described in my book Total Health Cookbook & Program.
How does acne originate? Eating refined carbohydrates and sugar leads to a surge of insulin and an insulin-like growth factor called IGF-1 in your body. This can 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 causes skin cells known as keratinocytes to multiply, a process that is associated with acne.
Some say acne is a disease of Western civilization because studies have found that the condition is virtually nonexistent in non-westernized societies, where refined carbohydrates and sugar are rarely eaten. For instance, in one study that looked at acne cases in islanders of Papua New Guinea and hunter-gatherers of Paraguay, no acne cases were found in either group.
The findings, which are in-line with many other studies, make a strong case for the significant role of environmental factors, such as diet, in acne.
Limiting grains is an integral step toward optimizing your health. The more we study the influence of grains, and their secondary consequences on insulin, the more we will find that their pervasive influences touch nearly every aspect of our health.
Wrongly, conventional medicine attempts to treat acne with expensive antibiotics or topical creams that can be especially problematic because, the drug may kill the good bacteria along with the bad.
Another consideration especially for teens is the alienation factor. Many people are embarrassed because of having acne and that can prevent them from feeling as confident as they should be for their own good mental health and peace of mind.
In fact, one study I've reviewed found the stress of final exams aggravated the acne of college students. That's why it is so important to deal with your stress before it becomes overwhelming. There are a variety of ways that you can do this, including making sure you get enough quality sleep.
The most natural, helpful tool to relieve stress I recommend is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), which involves tapping your body's energy meridians and voicing positive affirmations to clear emotional blocks, thus restoring your mind and body's balance. Learn how you can do it yourself with my free EFT report.
Because I struggled for the first 40 years of my life with acne, I wish I would've known this information a whole lot sooner.
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