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Blocking Protein - Keratinization & Proteolysis

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I'll summarise quickly so I can get to the point. I think a lot of us on this particular forum have already found that keeping our skin surgically clean doesn't necessarily mean no spots. Also, some more might have found that trying to forcefully wash the blocking oils out of the pores usually doesn't help, or even makes things worse.

I won't go into great detail about my experiences with the two theories as it's very detailed and I'm not sure a lot of you will have the time at hand to read it all. Suffice it to say, the extent of my research into antiseptics and oil dissolving methods goes as far as actually speaking with the manufacturers who make the chemicals for other companies who then use them in their products. I have even obtained samples of the raw chemicals from these original manufacturers and then tried them personally in concentrations that are multiples of what is legal in the UK. Their effect was minimal and almost definitly not worth the added time, money, risk and discomfort.

As such, I have almost completely ruled out cleanliness as a major cause of acne. Especially when I look at people without acne who wash so infrequently compared to me and then the soap free ideas that seem to work to a degree. People taking antibiotics who see no result are another reason to doubt the antiseptic, disinfectant theories.

I have also started to question just how much of the blocking is being done by oils in the pores. As well as trying a number of raw antiseptic chemicals, I also looked at enzymes (Biochemicals that break down oils), emulsifiers, and surfactants (Chemicals that allow oils and water to mix together). I tried these in their raw form as with the antiseptics. My face went very, very dry, but my pores still seemed to remain blocked. I tried excercising daily until I was literally dripping in sweat thinking that if the problem was with thickend oil in my pores then the large amounts of fresh, clean sweat would help clear them. This helped a quite a lot, but my pores still remained blocked when compared to others'.

I'm now beginning to wonder if perhaps I've been overlooking the loose proteins all this time.

It's important to realise that protein doesn't dissolve in water, even if you add soap. Your skin is protein. Proteins are tough molecules and need acids to break them down, which is why you don't dissolve when you wash your hands.

If the blocking in pores was mainly a result of the proteins, trying to clear pores with oil dissolving chemicals almost certainly wouldn't work, as I found.

One way to dissolve proteins is to use strong acids, but there's no way you could do that to your skin without seriously damaging it.

However, you can also break down proteins using enzymes.

I noticed such enzymes whilst I was on my antiseptic, oil dissolving investigation.

The enzymes are called proteolytic enzymes, meaning protein dissolving. One example of a group is Bromelain. Bromelain occurs naturally in the stems of Pineapples but you can buy it as an extracted dietary substitute. People with digestion problems take it to help cleave (Break down) proteins they've eaten. It's also taken by people with joint, muscle inflammation. Papain is a similar enzyme but occurs naturally in Papya fruit instead.

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I'm curious to know if anyone has thought of this yet or has even tried using Bromelain or Papain already.

You can buy high concentration protein dissolving enzymes for lab work but these would likely cause a lot of damage to your skin regardless of what they do to unblock your pores.

But I thought that perhaps low concentrations, maybe even naturally occuring, might help start the protein moving in blocked pores. It wouldn't necessarily mean breaking down the entire protein content of a blocked pore. Once a certain amount has been broken down the rest may be cleared out by your own skin.

A simple way of try this would be to blend down some Papya and Pineapple and then try washing your face with it or using it like a mask for half an hour. It'd also be the safest way since you can eat as much of either as you like. The low concentration acids in them would also help with breaking down heavier muck but should be no were near strong enough to hurt you.

If the concentrations of the enzymes in the fruit are too low, as I suspect they may be, I would then try crushing a dietary supplement of Bromelain or Papain into some water or blended Pineapple and try that.

After that, I am aware of a cosmetic components company here in the UK who sell Bromelain extracted from Pineapples for use in cosmetics. This would be about as far as I'd be willing to go with the concentration as using lab grade enzymes is asking for irritation and negative effects.

Since the enzyme concentrations will be very low in fruit, and it will take time for it to get into the pores and start breaking down the loose proteins, it might work best if the blended mix is left on your skin for at least ten minutes or so.

These are just a few thoughts I've been having and I thought some of you, especially those who've tried all the antiseptic and soap ideas, might be interested as well. I'd like to know if anyone has tried something similar yet.

Papya is a more exotic fruit so I'll try the Pineapple idea personally next time we get some. I think we also have some of the dietary subsidiary Bromelain extract I mentioned, so I might try that as well.

The Bromelain group would also seem to be a natural blood thinner and anti-inflammatory.

Please let me know if you've tried anything similar, if you have any questions or want to try it yourself. The more people who try it the quicker we can find out if it is something that might help.

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P.S. Just found the pack of Bromelain dietary supplements we have. They're from Boots but I'm sure you could find something similar in virtually any health food store (Holland And Barrett?).

Here are some photos of the extract...

user posted image

user posted image

user posted image

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But will this stuff get into the sebaceous ducts where the clogging takes place? It is one thing to put something on your skin, but the clogging develops in your skin...

Good luck, in any case, and please be careful...

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LOL. There must be some kind of cosmic consciousness: I stumbled upon papaya enzymes/papain a couple of days ago when looking for keratolytic/comedolytic agents. I first found papain mentioned in a patent application for a new way to deal with hyperkeratinization and searched for products that might already have papain in them ( not that the enzyme would necessarily work the way the patent applicators are planning their product to work...:-)

You don't need to smush papay on your face: papain/papaya enzyme is already used in many OTC products. Nature's Cure has just come out with a new papaya and salicylic acid based kit --someone here posted about it a week or two ago. Murad also has a papaya based product and so does Origins (Never a Dull Moment scrub) .

I got the Nature's Cure kit and Origins scrub to try. Will report after a trial.

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Thanks for your replies! Cool to see this isn't already a done idea! wink.gif

If you don't have a lot of spare time, scroll through the post. I've highlighted the names I've replied to so as to save you some reading. You might want to read it all, it's up to you!

Sendai, you're right to question how deep into the skin this will work. That's something that always bothered me about antiseptics. People, like myself, would be scrubbing their faces clean and in reality they'd only be cleaning the surface. Whereas the real problem in terms of bacteria is that which is already in the oils in their pores. To make matters worse a lot of antiseptics, perhaps even the majority, are water based, so they refuse to dissolve in oils. All that means that you end up over cleaning the surface of your skin and barely upsetting the bacteria that are causing the problems.

It's perhaps a good thing as well. The definition of a good antiseptic is that it should be lethal to bacteria but harmless to humans, and that's a lot to ask. A lot of antiseptics only appear harmless because they're designed for occasional use on minor cuts. If they actually seep into your body some can be quite irritating or even dangerous. Also, antiseptics don't just kill all bacteria, they are bacteria specific and certain antiseptics just don't really work for some bacteria types. The main groups are called Gram-Positive and Gram-Negative. Gram-Negative bacteria have a heavy oil based wall around them that shields them from antiseptic attack. I think the Acne strain belongs to Gram-Negative.

The only reasonably good antiseptic for oil based use is called Triclosan. You should be able to find it in things like antiseptic hand soaps. It dissolves really well in oil, is about dangerous as table salt and doesn't irritate too much even at hospital sterilising concentrations. The only problem with it is how it's made. The synthesis allows very, very poisonous chemicals called Dioxins and PCBs to contaminate it. These are supposed to be clean off during it's production. However, lots of it is made in China and as cheaply as possible. Incorrect cleaning means that it can remain contaminated and be an extremely serious health risk. Dioxins and PCBs are lovingly referred to as the most dangerous man made chemicals in existence. They are carcinogens (Caner causing) and active at one part in a trillion concentrations. Any measurable contamination is too much; there is no safe exposure level. A lot of companies are onto this and have cleaned up their act on screening Triclosan for contamination, but it was just too much of a risk for me to accept even in spite of how much I hate acne. I'm sure almost all of the new Triclosan is super clean, but for our purposes it has to be used in high concentrations and left on the skin for hours and hours, so it's not worth it in my opinion.

To the point... I expect you are right. At first this idea definitely won't reach very deep into the pores. My hope is that over time they might start to clear out bit by bit and allow the action to occur deeper in the skin. The low levels of concentration I'm thinking about shouldn't be anywhere near as irritating to the skin as a lot of antiseptics, so it shouldn't be a problem if it does make it’s way into the pores.

Your reply is also why I suggested leaving it in place for half an hour or so, more like a face mask. That should give it time to not only break down the proteins, which will take a little while, but also move into the very tight spaces in the pores. I'd gently rub the mask in every few minutes of that half hour as well to make sure it's moving through as fast as it can.

Another positive point to think about is that proteolytic enzymes don't wear down or get used up as they break a protein. After they break a protein they simply let go of it and join onto another, break that, let go, move on... So rather than trying to rub more chemicals under your skin, agitating the mask would be more to do with rubbing the broken proteins out.

So as you suggest, I’d definitely expect this to take at least a few days of use before it starts moving deeper into the skin.

Cloudy, it's interesting to hear about what you've seen. I've been aware of these enzymes for quite a long time now but until now I've been looking at killing bacteria and getting rid of oils as my main aim. It's only recently when I was reminded of the Keratinization aspect of blocked pores that I remembered looking at Bromelain.

What's very important to think about with enzymes is that they are very environmentally sensitive. Enzymes behave like a lock. The target molecule they're working on, proteins in this example, fits into them like a key at a point on the molecule called the active site. The shape and content of the active site is critical to the enzyme working. If you upset the enzyme molecules they loose their shape and the active site no longer fits the target molecules.

You can denature enzymes by doing simple things like putting them in a solution with the wrong pH, or letting them get too warm. They’re biochemicals, so they've evolved to function in biological systems like our bodies rather than chemistry labs.

I'm always put off when I think of having to buy things for my skin because I hate the idea of being dependant on something that's even moderately difficult to find. It makes me worry that perhaps if it works one day the company might stop selling it, the shop will decide to no longer carry it or I might not be able to find any that day and I'll be back at square one. So recently I've started looking for things that I can do more by myself, like lifestyle changes or things that I can get my hands on anywhere. I'm also trying to work as fairly as I can through ideas so I don't end up thinking I've found the answer when it's actually because I've done something else. Which seems like a good idea to me but it slows things down a lot.

What also bothers me about over the counter products is incompatibility. While I was looking at antiseptics I discovered that their efficiency can be damaged by the other chemicals they're mixed with in the product.

One example is mouthwash and toothpaste. Toothpaste foams in your mouth because the designs have added surfactants to it to help it break through any oils or greases that might be in your mouth or on your teeth. The chemicals they use for that are almost always called Luaryl or Laureth something, like Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, or Sodium Laureth Sulphate. They’re also used in almost every soap or shampoo that foams. The problem is, those chemicals remain on your teeth and in your mouth after brushing and even after rinsing your mouth out. When you gargle with mouthwash the residues react with the antiseptic in the mouthwash and bind it to, preventing it from actually doing any antiseptic work. A tiny amount of the residue can cause the mouthwash to effectively become useless. So you should leave half an hour between brushing and gargling really to ensure such an incompatibility doesn't occur.

Another example is P. Iodine, the dark brown soap surgeons use to disinfect their hands with before operating. This chemical is argued to be the very best antiseptic in the world. It does the same thing inside bacteria cells as Cyanide does to humans, but P. Iodine is virtually harmless to us. Cyanide can kill a human in well under a minute. The efficiency of P. Iodine is really easy to damage and it needs very careful mixing with other chemicals to avoid making the end product useless. The people who make P. Iodine actually give out incompatibility tables to show which particular emulsifiers and surfactants not to use in your product alongside it. It can be that big of a deal.

With over the counter Bromelain containing products, I'd be bothered that perhaps the manufacturer has just added Bromelain without giving enough thought to the millions upon millions of interactions that can occur. By adding say... a perfume or antiseptic to the product, they may have accidentally rendered the Bromelain useless. By using tinned or fresh Pineapple, it's more time consuming and messy but you can almost garantee that the enzyme will be fully functional when you put it on your skin. Since the enzyme group occurs naturally in Pineapple stems it must be happy with the environmental conditions within it. It wouldn't surprise me if the environment inside a Pineapple stem wasn't actually the very best for the enzyme to work in.

So I'd consider over the counter Bromelain products, but I'd be wondering about precisely how much thought and care the designers had put into protecting the working environment of the enzyme.

acnebegone, if you've read the rest of my post so far you should be quite tired by now!

To you, Sendai and Cloudy I would just remind you that you need to be careful with how you handle enzymes. You want to do as little to risk damaging them as possible. That means you mustn't try to forcefully warm them up before putting them on your skin, just let them warm up to room temperature over an hour or so by leaving the mask on the side. If you warm it up in hot water or on something hot you risk overheating, and so, denaturing it near the edges of the container. Also, try not to mix it with anything else and make sure you skin doesn't have anything else on it (Rinse it with running water thoroughly before hand).

Enzymes usually work best around body temperature, so taking such a mask out of the fridge and using it straight away might reduce how well it works.

I tried a simple version of this mask last night. In doing so I’ve discovered a few ways to make it easier to work with. But rather than carry on typing right now, I’ll take some photos of what I’m doing next time I make it and post them so you can see what I’m talking about instead. Much more fun than just reading right!? wink.gif

Thanks for the complement ABG! biggrin.gif

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This is where I was focusing my research back in September and then I grew out of it so it would seem without subjects that it would be useless for me and I quit. It's good that you're taking the ball so to speak. You must realize though that what you're suggesting is only a bandaid. The wild papaya soap was popular about a year ago for this very reason and dissolving the excess keratin proteins won't do too terribly much in the long term. They key is to stop the excess production of keratinocytes or at least to stop their abnormal formation. This is why Tretinoin, Accutane, Azelaic acid, etc... work for many becuase one of thier key features is to normalize keratinization.

The most promising thing I have found, while only a bandaid (Albiet the most effective bandaid), was NDGA. Here is a link for a product with that in it:

http://www.dermaxime.co.za/keratinocytes.htm

It's also a 5-AR inhibitor.

Here are some products with it:

http://www.acneskincare-help.com/acne_solution.htm

This one is promising and cheaper(I was going ot buy this one just before I got clear as a last resort):

http://www.bgsales.com/health/ultimate-acn...trol-combo.html

Good luck.

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You must realize though that what you're suggesting is only a bandaid. The wild papaya soap was popular about a year ago for this very reason and dissolving the excess keratin proteins won't do too terribly much in the long term.

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I found a good version here, inexpesnive and 3 active ingredients:

CLICK HERE

Someone mentioned the superiority of Iodine as a wash. Problem is

those of us who's skin becomes inflamed by dietery halogens such

as Iodine, Bromides, etc, passing through, may have a problem.

Furthermore, many kinds of bacteria are resistant to Iodine.

Mark D.

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I found a good version here, inexpesnive and 3 active ingredients:

CLICK HERE

Someone mentioned the superiority of Iodine as a wash. Problem is

those of us who's skin becomes inflamed by dietery halogens such

as Iodine, Bromides, etc, passing through, may have a problem.

Furthermore, many kinds of bacteria are resistant to Iodine.

Mark D.

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