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foods, however, may be better left out of the diet or at least kept to a minimum, while others still demonstrate the ability to stave off breakouts.


Dairy products: One food connection that has gained lots of attention is cow’s milk, which is produced when pregnant cows pass on high levels of hormones into the dairy products we drink and eat. The theory is that these hormones ‘turn on’ the oil glands in humans, causing them to oversecrete sebum, which then mixes with the shedding keratin cells in the hair follicles, creating a plugged pore, or pimple. The rationale is that the hormones responsible for causing an overproduction of sebum and ‘lining cells’ come from three sources: androgens, or sex hormones, the adrenal glands and dairy products.


TheAcne and milk connection is a theory embraced by many experts, including Dr. C.A.Adebamowo, who published an article on the subject in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in 2005 and has posted his work on www.acnemilk.com. This website, also co-authored by several physicians, including the head of the Harvard School of Public Health’s School of Nutrition, who advisesAcne sufferers to stop consuming all milk and other dairy products or find dairy-like substitutes.


Refined Carbohydrates:Another hypothesis links refined carbohydrates as a possible contributor. One study found that native people living near the coast of Papua New Guinea and theAché hunter-gathers of Paraguay do not haveAcne, which researchers attribute to their low-glycemic diets rich in fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein.While the studies are compelling, more research is needed.


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Zinc: The mineral zinc reduces the severity ofAcne by primarily regulating oil gland activity and reducing inflammation. Zinc is involved in the body’s metabolism of testosterone, a principal hormone involved inAcne formation. Some studies suggest low levels of zinc can lead toAcne, according to theMayo Clinic. Zinc also plays a role in wound healing to help prevent scarring. Common food sources include oysters, red meat, poultry beans and fortified cereal.


Selenium: Selenium helps regulate glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme critical to preventing inflammation inAcne.When the body is low on this trace mineral inflammatory conditions, includingAcne, can flare.


Chromium:Another trace mineral, chromium enhances the body’s insulin sensitivity, which can be a key concern forAcne patients who don’t metabolise sugar properly.


natural remedies & herbs


Some herbal remedies, such as Burdock, Oregon Grape,Yellow Dock and Dandelion help detoxify and cleanse the skin from within. Bromelain serves as an anti-inflammatory, whileMethylsulfonylmethane (MSM) offers a natural anti- microbial. TheMayo Clinic reports that a specific strain of Brewer’sYeast, CBS 5926, seems to help decreaseAcne, though it may cause migraines and intestinal upset in some people.


Next month: Dr Sam Dhatt focuses on the effects of topical treatment and foods on Rosacea and Hyperpigmentation.


Sources: 1. J ClinAesthet Dermatol, 2008, Nov. 1(4): 48-51 2. Int. J Dermatol, 1986 Dec; 25 (10): 664-7


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