Friday, April 3, 2009

Acne Sucks. Period.

The good news is you can fix it. I did.
By Dawn

After reading Anthony's last post about acne, we both thought it would be good to share some of the information I have gathered over the years in regards to acne. I am in no way an expert. I just hope some may find this information helpful, as I know how bad skin can ruin a perfectly good day. I also have been very fortunate to have a wonderful doctor who has shared much wisdom with me. I can attest first hand to my results.

Acne hasn't always been a problem; it definitely was absent during puberty and those teenage years, when it plagued my classmates. I don't remember noticing acne until sometime during my mid 20's, when I started to get weird, hard, sometimes painful, cyst-like bumps (usually by my hairline on the sides of my forehead) during my mid-cycle. In vain, after the prescription creams didn’t work, I treated them with Accutane. Gasp! Yes, I know now how terrible it is for the body- but at that time, I was desperate for clear skin.

Accutane (pretty much like all prescription drugs) treated only the symptom (acne)- but not the problem (see below). And a few years later it came back- and this time not only did I get them again on my forehead, but I also started getting them around my chin, and so I began to seek out alternative treatments.

To try and make a long story shorter- I began eating better (an organic,vegetarian whole food diet + green smoothies) and started seeing a doctor who practices Nutritional Biochemistry; using muscle testing and whole food supplements. My skin was better, but not good enough, so I turned to a “100% raw food diet” thinking it was the last thing I needed to do- the final “fix” for my skin. I was 100% raw for 10 months straight, but that alone did not fix my skin.
(My favorite salad from Sari Organic in Ubud, Bali)

What I Learned
What is on the skin comes directly from an inflamed intestinal tract. The skin is the body’s third way of eliminating toxins (metabolic waste)- but it is not the preferred way (bowels/kidneys, lungs). Usually, an inflamed intestinal tract is caused by an over growth of yeast or parasites, resulting in an under-functioning liver- this is the key to all skin problems.

You need to:

1. Detoxify the intestinal tract (clean out the gut), which will take the load off the liver- allowing it to do its job, which includes properly balancing/detoxifying (excess gender) hormones.

- Eat a good whole foods diet- high in salad greens, veggies, and low sugar fruit (berries and green apples).

- Avoid or minimize “sugar” and “sugary” foods. This includes most fruit and even natural sweeteners such as agave. Sugar feeds yeast and parasites. Most people have an overgrowth of yeast in their gut from eating too much over the years and from taking antibiotics, which kills off their good bacteria and allows the bad to over grow.

- Take Probiotics- daily. I take “Ultra Flora Plus DF Capsules” (good bacteria) by Metagenics, and “Arabinogalactan” (food for the good bacteria), by Pure Encapsulations. Please be aware that there are many kinds of probiotics out there. My doctor does not believe in probiotics derived from soil-based organisms (which are very popular now). Even though people may initially have good results from them, he doesn’t believe they belong in the body since muscle testing rejects them.

As you clean out the gut, you need to heal the gut wall. I take “Ultra GI” by Douglas Laboratories, which heals the gut wall preventing intermediate products of digestion from getting directly into the body, without first going to the liver.
* It should be noted that I also did a comprehensive yeast protocol and did not need a parasite protocol.

2. Take care to support your liver so it doesn’t tax your kidneys.
The liver is soooo important, and I don’t think most people realize how much work the liver does- otherwise they would be kinder to it. If the liver is not taken care of – then it is under a lot of stress and will not be able to detoxify everything properly and your body will send you signals (i.e. zits) to let you know it needs help.

I take a supplement called “Livco,” by Standard Process, that is an herbal mix of Schisandra Fruit Extract, Rosemary Leaf, and Milk Thistle Seed, for toning, strengthening, and detoxifying the liver. Artichoke and Dandelion will also help allot.

3. Clear up Heavy Metals
When you do this, you need to make sure you have a good functioning liver, since it will be detoxifying the heavy metals- in addition to its regular duties. You should not even realize you are doing a detox. If you get a “brain fog” feeling you are not doing this properly.

For my heavy metal detox I took (and from time to time still take) “Parotid PMG” and “Cholacol II” by Standard Process, along with NCD Zeolite, CO Enzyme QH, and Ascorbic Acid. Many people just take zeolites, but by itself it is not good for the body. The zeolites need to be properly bound to leave the body. This supplement mix makes sure your body is protected while gently, albeit thoroughly removing heavy metals from the body.
(Some of the supplements mentioned)

So say you do all of this (it takes time) and you still have acne- most likely you are like me and countless others…your hormones are out of whack! No matter if you are 100% raw and/or you did all of the above – you may still have acne!

I really noticed a significant difference when I started to take, “High Lignan Flaxseed Complex” by Invite Health. The little bits of zits that were still hanging around the chin area during my cycle disappeared. Lignans (found in flax seeds and also in certain tree bark) are SHBG (sex hormone binding globulins) – which bind hormones together making them less active.

Each month, during a woman’s cycle an egg is dropped and it forms a corpus luteum, which gives us natural progesterone that balances out estrogen. Naturally as women age, they may start having an anovulatory period (you bleed but do not release an egg or ovulate) so the hormones will not be balanced out. Birth control pills and all the hormones in processed food may also be to blame for this phenomenon.

Surprisingly, I noticed another big difference in my skin when I stopped eating a 100% raw diet. Whoa! Now, I am not saying that eating raw is in any way bad… our bodies are designed for a raw diet (*see exceptions). However, in hindsight I believe I was eating too many nuts (dehydrated foods) and WAY too much flax (I sprinkled it on practically everything), and though full of Lignans and other good things, it is full of oil which make the sebaceous glands overactive. Daniel Vitalis, also mentions in his Elixir Craft Series that he believes flax is estrogenic.
(what a beauty!)

What’s the connection between acne and hormones?
Hormones are receptor sites for bacteria (often referred to as “staph”), which is on the skin at all times. More hormones = more bacteria = bad acne. The excess bacteria quickly plugs up pores, and can easily get infected and cause scarring- no matter how many times you wash your face! Try “Thymex” by Standard Process to help alleviate zits (keeps staph under control).

Remember that this process will take some time. Be patient. Everyone’s body is different. Some may not like taking supplements- for me I found it more viable to take them as I could not get that many herbs (for example: for my liver) in my diet on a daily basis without them. Vitamins, enemas and colonics will also help.

The best part of my journey is gaining a better understanding of my body and though in the past I knew something was “off” – I now know what is going on and how to address it. I still get mini zits from time to time, but as Anthony will attest it is definitely not an issue for me anymore. I still take supplements, though my intake has decreased over time. I use a proprietary botanical face wash system and masks from Arbonne (mainly cause I like good products and pampering) and am fine eating a mostly raw diet, along with cooked vegetarian food. Don’t stress over your diet (stress can contribute to breakouts too!)... just be yourself (100% you) and listen to your body.


* Raw Diet Exceptions: Lightly steam cruciferous veggies (broccoli, kale, etc). They are goitrogenic and have cellulose, which requires cellulase (we don’t have this) to digest properly. If you lightly steam you break down the cellulose making the nutrition available for the body and the heat makes less goitrogenic.

P.S. Avoid Soy. Not only is most of it GMO but also it is high in estrogen.

P.P.S. There are a couple of other supplements I would like to mention that help aid (mainly in regards to estrogen dominance) in the body’s ability to detoxify hormones and keeping them under control.

Vitex: (Vitex agnus-castus) or Chaste Tree is a traditional woman's dietary supplement. Vitex does not actually contain hormones. It appears to increase progesterone by stimulating the release of a hormone called luteinizing hormone from the pituitary gland. It is widely used to promote overall health and balance in a woman's cycle.

Calcium D-Glucarate: enhances detoxification and promotes estrogen metabolism to support cellular health.

DIM: is a naturally occurring phytonutrient that is found in cruciferous vegetables. Though discovered over ten years ago, the connection between plant-derived dietary ingredients and estrogen metabolism are just now beginning to be understood. Research has shown that DIM has the ability to act as an estrogen balancer in both women and men. It can be used by those addressing estrogen dominance problems and seeking to reduce conditions such as uterine fibroid tumors, fibrocystic breasts, and other women's fibrosis related conditions.