The health of our bodies and the health of our skin especially when it comes to inflammation such as Acne, Wrinkles, Eczema and psoriasis is a reflection of what we decide to ingest: Fats and Oils are no exception. Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats and their ratio are very important. Fathy fish, Avocados, and Walnuts are the best sources of fat that address this ratio. It is also important to look at cooking: in particular, Deep Frying and the Fats and Oils available to the consumer.

Eicosanoids regulate inflammation in the body and skin. Eicosanoids are made from Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats and are considered signaling molecules. Omega-6 fats cause inflammation. The more Omega-6 fats you eat the more Omega-3 fats you should eat to compensate or strengthen your immune system. The ratio should be 4:1 or 2:1, not 16:1 as it is today.

The Western Diet today does not have a healthy ratio of Omega-6: Omega-3 fats and most people suffer from inflammation both of the body and of the skin. This is especially apparent with Acne, Wrinkles and Eczema. Omega-6 eicosanoids are pro-inflammatory while Omega-3 fats are anti-inflammatory. Inflammation increases oil production and sebum resulting in psoriasis or acne. Sugars do the same. In the long, the imbalanced ratio can lead to cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, arthritis on us to name a few.

Omega-3 fats make skin less sensitive to the sun’s UV rays and reduce inflammation. A Diet rich in Omega-3 fats includes Fatty fish, Avocados, and Walnuts.

Fatty fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel contain Vitamin E, protein and zinc. Zinc helps produce new skin cells and heals wounds. Zinc deficiency leads to inflammation.

UV damage leads to wrinkles and premature aging. Avocados keep skin flexible and moisturized. Avocados contain both Vitamin E and Vitamin C. Vitamin E is an antioxidant and reduces oxidative damage such as age spots or brown spots, and wrinkle. Vitamin C helps create collagen which helps to give the skin structure.

Walnuts are an important food because they have fatty acids which the body cannot create on its own. Especially Omega-3’s.

Deep Frying should be avoided for health reasons, but if you are going to deep fry keep in mind the following. Coconut oil, animal fats, olive oil and avocado oil are all good; but Peanut oil and Palm oil are not recommended.

Coconut oil is the best for deep frying. After 8 hrs. of deep frying at 365 or 180℃ it will keep its integrity. It is a saturated fat, thus coconut oil is resistant to heat. Once considered unhealthy, saturated fats have been proven to be not so bad after all.

Animal fats such as Lard, Tallow, Ghee, and Drippings are excellent for deep frying. Most animal fats are saturated and monounsaturated, therefore they are resistant to heat. One must make sure, however, that the animals were pasture-raised or grass-fed and not grain-fed because the letter will have more polyunsaturated fatty acids in their storage cells.

Olive oil is the healthiest fat according to many. It is high in monounsaturated fatty acids (i.e. only one double bond) and olive oil is highly resistant to heat. Although the flavor and fragrance might change, olive oil can be used to deep fry for over 24 hrs. continuously before it oxidizes.

Avocado oil has some saturated fats and some polyunsaturated fats mixed in, but it is mainly monounsaturated. It is similar to olive oil. It has a smoke point of 520℉/270℃.

Peanut oil, although popular for its neutral taste, is not very healthy. It is high in polyunsaturated fats which means it oxidizes at high temperatures. Peanut oil is a groundnut oil with a smoke point of about 446℉ or 230℃.

Industrial Vegetable Oils and Oils extracted from seeds should be avoided for deep frying. The following oils should be avoided altogether because they contain fatty acids that are toxic trans fats: Soybean oil, Corn oil, Canola oil, Cottonseed oil, Sufflower oil, Rice bran oil, Grape Seed oil, Sunflower oil, and Sesame oil. These oils are high in polyunsaturated fats and have a terrible Omega-6: Omega-3 fat ratio. Using the above-mentioned oils for deep frying results in unhealthy compounds due to large amounts of fatty acids being oxidized.

In short, Fats and Oils are necessary for our health and health of our skin in order to avoid any inflammatory skin disorder and diseases such as acne, eczema and psorasis. It is important, however, to be wise in our choices. The choices we make today will decide how we will feel and look tomorrow.

For a complementary consultation call us at 416-228-0011

Tips for Acne Prevention and Management

Here are some tips for looking after skin that has acne and acne prone skin.

  • Perform the Dermalogica Double Cleanse, beginning with PreCleanse follow with a proper cleanser two times per day.
  • Always be gentle with your skin and apply home use exfoliation gently.
  • Apply an oil free moisturize.
  • Avoid popping pimples, as this creates acne scars.
  • Hold the telephone away from the face when talking, as it is likely to contain sebum and skin residue.
  • Wash hands frequently, especially before applying lotions, creams, or makeup.
  • If acne is on the back, shoulders, or chest, try wearing loose clothing to let the skin breathe.
  • Choose makeup for sensitive skin and avoid oil-based products. Remove makeup before sleeping.
  • Keep hair clean, as it collects sebum and skin residue. Avoid greasy hair products.
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure, as it can cause the skin to produce more sebum.

Health Tips to Enhance Healing

  • Wash skin gently with warm water and an irritant-free cleanser. Avoid scrubbing, which can stimulate sebum production. Do not use make-up that will clog pores.
  • If you have gas, bloating, indigestion or constipation, you have low stomach acid. Add a supplement with betaine hydrochloride or digestive enzymes to improve digestion.
  • Avoid the use of self prescribed antibiotics, which can cause Candida (yeast overgrowth) and vaginal infections that will worsen acne symptoms in the long term and may have little effect on the acne.
  • Focus on a diet rich in fruits and vegetables along with 25g of fiber to help naturally eliminate estrogen. Avoid foods that you know aggravate the condition.
  • Treat constipation. Holding days of toxic waste increases the amount of toxins excreted by the skin.

Health Tips to Fight Stress and Prevent Acne

  • Breathing is a powerful de-stressing tool. Several times per day, breathe in through your nose and fill your lungs with air until your abdomen rises. Then slowly exhale until your lungs are empty. Repeat these five times.
  • Get eight hours of sleep every night and try to sleep until 7:30am in the morning.
  • Just say “no” when you have too much to accomplish in the day.
  • Share the household workload with family members.
  • Eat 7 – 10 1/2 cup servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
  • Smile! This helps to purge negative emotions, such as anger and hatred.
  • Get help in dealing with grief. The loss of a loved one, a divorce or the loss of a job, all produce grief. Immune suppression is the result when grief is not dealt with.
  • Carpe diem-seize the day-and live it to the fullest. Don’t worry so much about tomorrow.
  • Believe in yourself. Negative self-talk and continually doubting your abilities hamper your body’s ability to heal.
  • See the beauty around you. Smell the flowers, watch the sunset and listen to the wind.
  • Love your family and friends and be forgiving.
  • Be good to yourself. Most of us are our own worst enemies. We focus on our weaknesses and minimize our strengths. Wake up each day and tell yourself you are a good and useful person.
  • Do the things you have always wanted to do. Learn to water ski, sing in a choir, write a book, tell stories to your grandchildren, walk, garden-whatever makes you happy.
  • Seek your spiritual side. This does not have to be religious, although those with strong religious beliefs generally live at peace and feel protected. Most of us believe in something greater than ourselves, a spiritual power that offers solace and helps us find the quiet place within.
  • Avoid scratching or squeezing acne, which interrupts the healing process and leads to recurrent acne scars.

Call Nell Laser Clinic at 416-228-0011 to book a complementary consultation session for acne and acne scars treatments and advice.

1.) Acne and Hormonal Imbalance

Acne is often described as a disease involving the sebaceous follicles and hair follicles of the skin. It occurs in people who have a genetic predisposition; if acne runs in the families of both parents, three out of four children may suffer from it. 

Acne can occur at any stage of our lifespan. The primary aggravating factor leading to adult acne is chronic stress. Unfortunately, not only teenagers suffer from acne because of fluctuation of hormones, but adults too can have breakouts, especially women.

One reason why adult acne is on the rise amongst the female population is because of the additional responsibilities that have increased women’s stress levels. The pressure to work outside the home to help maintain a steady family income while also maintaining a functioning household is unique to this generation of women in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Combine workplace stress with household responsibilities, cosmetics that contain known skin irritants and monthly hormone fluctuations, and you have a perfect breeding ground for the formation of adult acne.

During puberty, peri-menopause and menopause, sebaceous (oil) glands become more active. Pores can become clogged with sebum, dried skin and bacteria, which causes skin to erupt into pimples, red blotches and sometimes inflamed and infected abscesses. Acne normally appears on the face, shoulders, scalp, upper arms and legs, upper chest and back. More than 40 percent of teens seek treatment from a specialist for their acne condition. 

Hormonal acne break-outs tend to occur during ovulation or the week before menstruation. In those women with hormonally induced acne, when the ovary releases the egg, it often is not able to completely release. When this occurs, androgens (male hormones) are secreted in excess, and women develop acne around the hair line, chin, chest and back. To correct hormonal acne, many doctors prescribe birth control pills to stop ovulation. Today it is not uncommon for children as young as 12 to be prescribed birth control pills to control acne. However, there are alternative options. Nutritional supplements can normalize ovulation and eliminate the problem at the source. Even mild episodes of acne can lead to scarring, and these scars can be both physical and psychological.

Symptoms

There are various types of skin lesions: a papule is a round bump that may be invisible but makes the skin feel rough like sandpaper. A comedo occurs when an oil follicle becomes plugged with oil, dead skin, tiny hairs or bacteria. An open comedo is known as a blackhead, and a closed comedo is commonly referred to as a whitehead. The temporary red or pink spot after an acne lesion has healed is referred to as a macule, and several together contribute to the appearance of inflammation associated with acne. A nodule is another dome-shaped lesion similar to a papule, but it extends deeper into the skin, causing the destruction of tissues that lead to scarring. Nodules can be painful, as can cysts, which are filled with liquid. Cysts can be severely inflamed and also affect deeper skin layers.

Causes

Food choices have been hotly debated as a cause of acne in teens. Research from the University of Colorado is confirming that a diet high in refined carbohydrates permanently boosts insulin and thus promotes acne. According to Dr. Loren Cordain, sustained high insulin levels elevate hormone levels, stimulating the production of oil that leads to clogged pores, bacterial growth and acne. High-glycemic foods such as breads, cakes, sugars and soda are major culprits in acne.

With the shift between male hormones and female hormones during the menstrual cycle, acne lesions change. Synthetic progestins and estrogens used for menopausal symptoms, supplements of DHEA, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome and estrogen dominance have been linked to acne. Other drugs such as corticosteroids, anabolic steroids, iodides and bromides are also known to cause acne, as are cosmetics that block pores.

2.) Acne and Adrenal Exhaustion (Stress)

The adrenal glands get very little attention in Western medicine, yet they have the important job of secreting sex hormones and stress hormones that guide reactions to stressors throughout the entire body. We have two adrenal glands, which are comprised of two parts: the medulla and the cortex. The medulla triggers the instinctual “flight or fight” response, including the increase of blood sugar levels, the rate of breathing, cardiac output and blood flow to the brain, lungs and muscles. The cortex produces hormones that are essential in regulating excretory, immune defense, metabolic, mineral balancing and reproductive functions. The cortex also secretes corticosteroids in response to stress, and these hormones help us to cope with long-term stressors by converting protein to energy. This energy remains available long after the “flight or fight” response subsides. Adrenal exhaustion occurs when the glands wear out from the continual production of the stress hormone cortisol and can lead to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and eventually Addison’s disease. Most importantly, adrenal exhaustion promotes hormone imbalance. The adrenal glands and the thyroid are linked. If the adrenals become stressed, the thyroid gland can produce less thyroid hormone and vice versa. Most people today, particularly women, have some degree of compromised adrenal gland function due to stress.

Symptoms

Extreme hot flashes and night sweats, insomnia (you go to bed but three hours later you are wide awake), environmental sensitivities, hypoglycemia, poor concentration, low energy, dizziness upon rising, irritability, nervousness or anxiety, shortness of breath, knee problems, muscle twitching, heart palpitations, sensitivity to light, digestive problems or cravings for salt, sugar, junk food or coffee.

To test your adrenal gland function, rest for five minutes and then take your blood pressure. Stand up and immediately take another blood pressure reading. If the reading is lower when you are standing than when you are resting, you can suspect decreased adrenal gland function.

Causes

Sustained periods of high stress lead to chronic elevation of the stress hormone cortisol, which research now links to bone loss, compromised immune function, acne, chronic fatigue, exhaustion, fat accumulation, infertility and memory loss. During menopause, the workload of the adrenals also increases as these glands produce the primary of sex hormones, including estrogen. For women, particularly, those who come from a full-time job to care for their families, cortisol remains elevated in the evening when it naturally should subside to allow the onset of sleep.

Call Nell Laser Clinic at 416-228-0011 to book a complementary consultation session for acne and acne scars treatments and advise.

Acne is a common skin condition that can affect both teenagers and adults. In men and women alike it is typically triggered by excess sebum. Testosterone enters the sebaceous glands and stimulates sebum production. In men testosterone originates in the male sexual organs, while in women it is produced in the ovaries and adrenal glands.

There are four main factors that contribute to acne:

  1. Overactive sebaceous glands
  2. Cell accumulation
  3. Bacteria
  4. Inflammation
  5. 1) Overactive Sebaceous Glands
  • Sebum production, or excess oil, is the catalyst for acne or skin breakouts. This is often associated with enlarged pores, a tendency toward follicle congestion, and an oily T-zone.
  • When testosterone is secreted into the body and enters into the sebaceous gland, the enzyme 5-alpha reductase converts the testosterone into di-hydrotestosterone. This stimulates sebum formation in the sebaceous glands.
  • 5-alpha reductase is sensitive to hormone levels – an excess production of sebum when testosterone levels escalate, which is seen during puberty.
  • Recent studies have shown that this enzyme may increase its sensitivity to testosterone, triggering excess sebum production even when lower levels of the hormone are present.
  • Scientists have discovered several new ingredients to regulate sebaceous gland secretions by inhibiting 5-alpha reductase enzyme activity and by decreasing overall lipid formation.

2) Cell Accumulation and 3) Bacteria

When acne is present,

  • a proliferation of cells occurs at the neck of the follicle,
  • accompanied by excess sebum that causes the cells to stick together along with bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes=Corynebacterium acnes),
  • the conglomeration of the sebum and cells leads to formation of an impaction plug that provides a nice anaerobic environment for the bacteria to thrive in,
  • this process (abnormal desquamation of sebaceous-follicle epithelium results in altered keratinization) is called retention hyperkeratosis; this first stage impacted follicle is often referred to as a micro comedone.

There are fewer lamellar granules in the Stratum Granulosum of acneic skin which contain the desquamation enzymes and lipids that comprise the barrier layer in the intercellular spaces, this could account for the accumulation of cells in the follicle canal.

Acneic skin is more permeable around the sebaceous gland and follicle, which may lead to leakage and inflammation into surrounding tissue. Studies have shown that linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that is a component of the barrier lipid layer, is indeed deficient in acneic clients.

The bacteria in the follicle excrete a lipase enzyme to break down the sebum triglycerides into fatty acids and glycerol. The sebum is used as a food source and the free fatty acids are merely waste products that irritate the lining of the follicle. At this point, the disease may result in non-inflammatory lesions and simply produce closed commedones (whiteheads) which may turn into open commedones (blackheads) and expel their contents.

4) Inflammation

Inflamed lesions may also result, whereby the follicle wall ruptures forming a papule:

  • if the break in the follicle is close to the surface, a pustule results,
  • if it is deeper, a nodule forms,
  • in some cases, a membrane entraps the infection and a cyst develops

Regardless, matrix metalloproteinase (MMPs) enzymes are stimulated to help repair the damaged tissue and white blood cells invade the area: this is when inflammation sets in.

Scientists have discovered that specific ingredients can inhibit the lipase enzyme in the bacteria that is responsible for breaking down sebum triglycerides into free fatty acids that are known to cause irritation in the skin. Controlling the breakdown of triglycerides helps minimize inflammation due to the free fatty acids; and since the fatty acids are often attacked by free radicals leading to additional irritation, if we can inhibit the formation of the free fatty acids then we can effectively prevent inflammation before it occurs.

What can be done to treat the affected follicles?

  • Overactive sebaceous glands (i.e. excess sebum production including hormonal fluctuations like those that occur at puberty, peri-menopause, and menopause) can be controlled with ingredients such as Niacinamide to eliminate the bacteria and oily shine.
  • Cell accumulation which impacts follicles and triggers early commedone formations (whiteheads and blackheads) can be controlled with professional and home use exfoliation using ingredients like Salicylic Acid and Lactic Acid.
  • Bacteria formation in the follicles and on the skin’s, surface usually causes irritation due to the fatty acids which are the waste products of the breakdown of sebum (lipase activity) as a food source.  Anti-bacterial agents including Benzoyl Peroxide or Tea Tree Oil can help.
  • The fourth factor which should be controlled is inflammation.  The topical application of anti-inflammatory repair ingredients, botanicals and moisturizers help heal and soothe inflamed skin (some examples are Green Tea and Panthenol).

2.) Cell Accumulation and Bacteria

  • When acne is present a proliferation of cells occurs at the neck of the follicle. This is accompanied by excess sebum, which causes the cells to stick together along with bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes=Corynebacterium acnes)
  • The conglomeration of sebum and cells leads to the formation of an impaction plug. This creates a favorable anaerobic environment where bacteria can thrive.
  • This process (abnormal desquamation of sebaceous-follicle epithelium, which results in altered keratinization) is called retention hyperkeratosis. This is the first stage of an impacted follicle and is often referred to as a micro comedone.
  • There are fewer lamellar granules in the Stratum Granulosum of acneic skin, which contain desquamation enzymes and lipids that comprise the barrier layer in the intercellular spaces of the epidermis. This could account for the accumulation of cells in the follicle canal.
  • Acneic skin is more permeable around the sebaceous gland and follicle, which may lead to leakage and inflammation effecting the surrounding tissue. Studies have shown that linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that is a component of the barrier lipid layer, is indeed deficient in acneic clients.
  • The bacteria in the follicle excretes a lipase enzyme to break down the sebum triglycerides into fatty acids and glycerol. The sebum is used as a food source and the free fatty acids are merely waste products that irritate the lining of the follicle. At this point, the disease may result in non-inflammatory lesions and simply produce closed commedones (whiteheads) which may turn into open commedones (blackheads) that expel their contents.

3.) Inflammation

  • Inflamed lesions may also result, whereby the follicle wall ruptures forming a papule.
  • If the break in the follicle is close to the surface, a pustule results, if it is deeper, a nodule forms. In some cases, a membrane entraps the infection and a cyst develops. Regardless, matrix metalloproteinase (MMPs) enzymes are stimulated to help repair the damaged tissue and white blood cells invade the area: this is when inflammation sets in.
  • Scientists have discovered that specific ingredients can inhibit the lipase enzyme in the bacteria that is responsible for breaking down sebum triglycerides into free fatty acids, which are known to cause irritation in the skin. Controlling the breakdown of triglycerides helps minimize inflammation due to the free fatty acids. Since the fatty acids are often attacked by free radicals leading to additional irritation, inhibiting the formation of the free fatty acids can effectively prevent inflammation before it occurs.

What can be done to treat the affected follicles?

  • Overactive sebaceous glands (i.e. excess sebum production including hormonal fluctuations, which commonly occur during puberty, peri-menopause, and menopause) can be controlled with ingredients such as Niacinamide. This helps to eliminate the bacteria and oily shine.
  • Cell accumulation, which impacts follicles and triggers early commedone formations (whiteheads and blackheads), can be controlled with professional and home exfoliation, using ingredients like Salicylic Acid and Lactic Acid.
  • Bacteria formation in the follicles and on the skin’s surface usually causes irritation due to fatty acids, the waste products released during the breakdown of sebum (lipase activity). Anti-bacterial agents including Benzoyl Peroxide or Tea Tree Oil can help.
  • The fourth factor that should be controlled is inflammation.  The topical application of anti-inflammatory repair ingredients, botanicals and moisturizers help heal and soothe inflamed skin (some examples are Green Tea and Panthenol).

Acne is a common problem. It can cause severe embarrassment, but treatment is available, and it is effective in many cases.

Call Nell Laser Clinic at 416-228-0011 to book a complementary consultation session for acne and acne scars treatments.