Acne – Simple overview of what acne is and ways to manage it.
Myth – chocolate and fatty foods cause acne …….. Reality – dermatologist say NO, but eating a healthy well balanced diet can help improve skin.
Your skin is made up of three layers; epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. Sebaceous glands or more commonly known as oil glands, are located in the dermis. In simple terms the sebaceous gland produces an excess of oil (sebum) that blocks pores. The oil (sebum) removes dead skin cells, and when this blocks the pores irritation occurs, causing the pore to become inflamed and at times rupture.
What increases the oil production in the sebaceous gland?
Stress, changes in sex hormones and low levels of vitamins and minerals. These three key causes are usually at their highest during puberty early adolescence and young adulthood, which is why we often see acne on younger faces.
Ways to manage and reduce acne.
Firstly, everyone will experience episodes of stress at sometime during their life, we are born with the internal response flight or fight. Whilst this is a natural mechanism, excessive emotional stress can have damaging effects on our bodies.
What happens to our body during stress?
There are multiple changes that occur in the body both in the mind (psychological) and the body (physical). Here are the more common ones:
- You become short of breath, you start taking rapid short breaths, this may make you feel light headed and dizzy.
- You may have a headache, or neck pain
- You may experience diarrhoea or constipation
- You may experience abdominal cramps
- You may find it difficult to concentrate or remember things
- You may be extra tired and or unable to sleep
- You may experience extreme emotional outbursts
How we handle stress varies for each individual, though there are three key strategies that will help lower your stress levels – Well balanced diet, Relaxation, Talking.
Well balanced diet
I am sure you are tired of reading what you should or shouldn’t be eating, but here is a very basic summary of the foods that help manage acne and also stress.
ZINC – Research carried out by scientists have identified a link between Zinc and acne, showing that those with acne were low in zinc. You can find zinc in food such as nuts, skinless poultry, red meat and yogurt.
Vitamin A – This vitamin helps skin remain healthy; found in eggs, salmon and liver. Beta carotene in plant foods are found in yellow and green fruits and vegetables. (Do not increase your vitamin A intake if you are pregnant)
Vitamin B – This vitamin is water soluble and comes in several different types including B3, B5, B6 and believed to leave the skin less greasy, which may help prevent blackheads.
Vitamin C – Can help fight infection, found in citrus fruits.
Vitamin E – helps to the skin heal and can be found in eggs and pressed oils.
Allowing your body to relax is a skill that many of us find difficult. Turning off mobile phones, ignoring the chores that need to be done require self discipline. You don’t need hours, just 15 minutes a day with no distractions will benefit you.
If you find it difficult to switch off, close your eyes and think of times you were happy and felt calm, or imagine you are walking in open fields or along a white sandy beach.
Sharing how you feel is a great way to de-stress. Talking to friends is free, but you may prefer to speak to someone you don’t know, so seeing a counsellor might be your best option. Acne isn’t going to vanish over night but sharing how you feel can help you become less tense and reduce your stress levels.
Although this advice is aimed at those suffering with acne, parents can help support their adolescent by encouraging plenty of nutritious meals, relaxation time and talking. The ideal scenario is where an evening meal becomes a social event. The meal is eaten at the dining table; conversation is focused around the week’s events with encouragement to share feelings. Finish off the evening with a board game or a walk. You may receive a negative reception, though if you remain positive and focused you may be able to make this a regular occurrence and everyone will benefit from valuable family time.
Why not arrange for your teenager young adult to attend a consultation to learn the benefits of a balanced diet and alternative therapies in acne management.
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