Acne (Acne Vulgaris)

Acne vulgaris is the most common type of acne and tends to develop around puberty, when testosterone levels rise in boys and to a lesser extent in girls. Sebaceous glands produce oil to lubricate and protect the skin.  This oil becomes trapped, propiounus acne bacteria proliferate and the skin becomes inflamed.  Sebaceous glands are most numerous in the face, back and chest, which is why these areas are usually the worst affected.

Sufferers often resort to skin scrubs and chemicals which strip off the skins protective layer which contains natural bacteria-fighting substances such as undecynic acid.  This can make the problem worse.

Did you know?

  • Acne can be caused by poor glucose metabolism or a hyperglycaemic (high carb) diet1.
  • Constipation (not moving your bowels easily every day) can be a major factor. 50% of severe acne sufferers in one study had high levels of bowel toxins in their bloodstream2. This is caused by the colon re-absorbing toxins from the stool as it sits there too long before being eliminated.
  • The more saturated and the less monounsaturated fats in the diet the larger the number of lesions (spots)3.
  •  Research suggests that over consumption of milk products can also fuel acne4 5. Because milk naturally contains growth promoters (it IS designed to promote rapid growth in baby animals) this raises levels of di-hydro testosterone, which can be a cause of acne.  Your doctor can organise a DHT test to see if it is above normal.
  •  Lessening the toxic burden on the liver and eating foods to boost the liver’s ability to detoxify the body often helps.
  •  Insufficient “good” bacteria in the gut are usually a major factor in acne. Beneficial bacteria are needed to help reduce the circulating levels of toxins in the body.  Studies show that nutrition and the administration of certain strains of friendly bacteria may help clear acne6 7.
  •  Although antibiotics kill the propionus acne bacteria while you are taking them, they wipe out beneficial bacteria which “crowd out” the pathogenic (bad) species.
  • Stress can be a major contributor to acne because it depletes certain essential nutrients that help keep the liver efficiently clearing toxins and help your immune system fight the mini-infections in your pores.



[1] AbdelK et al.  Glucose tolerance in blood and skin of patients with acne.  Int J Dermatol 1977, vol 22, pp139-49

[2] Juhlin, L and Michaelsson, G.  Fibrin microclot formation in patients with acne.  Acta Derm Venereol 1983 vol 63(6), pp 538040

[3] Danby FW.  J Am Acad Dermatol 2008, 58(5):787–793

[4] Plewig, G. How acne vulgaris develops. Hautarzt  2010, vol. 61, no. 2, pp. 99-106

[5] Adebamowo, C, Spiegelman, D, et al. Milk consumption and acne in teenaged boys Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 2008 Vol 58, Issue 5, pp. 787-793

[6] Kang BS, Seo J-G et al. Antimicrobial activity of enterocins from Enterococcus faecalis SL-5 against Propionibacterium acnes, the causative agent in acne vulgaris, and its therapeutic effect.  The Journal of Microbiology (2009) Vol 47, No 1, 101-109, DOI: 10.1007/s12275-008-0179-y

[7] Kang M-S, Oh J-S et al. Effect of Lactobacillus reuteri on the proliferation of Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis The Journal of Microbiology (2012) Volume 50, Number 1, 137-142, DOI: 10.1007/s12275-012-1286-3