Dr. Joseph Mercola
with Rachael Droege
Acne affects about 85 percent of the population at some time in
their life and is the most common skin disease treated by dermatologists.
Most teens get the type of acne called acne vulgaris, which can
appear on the face, neck, shoulders, back and chest.
Most doctors and dermatologists say that acne is not related to
diet, but I can confidently tell you that there is indeed a link--and
a strong one at that. In my own practice, most patients' acne
clears up when they follow the no-grain diet described in my nutrition
plan and further explained in my new
book. As I struggled with acne for the first 40 years of my
life, I wish I would have known this information when I was younger.
However, since I have come to understand the influence of grains
on health, acne has been a non-issue for me.
Why is a no-grain diet beneficial for
Eating refined carbohydrates and sugar leads to a surge of insulin
and an insulin-like growth factor called IGF-1 in your body. This
can lead to an excess of male hormones, which cause pores in the
skin to secrete sebum, a greasy substance that attracts acne-promoting
bacteria. Additionally, IGF-1 causes skin cells known as keratinocytes
to multiply, a process that is associated with acne.
Some say acne is a disease of Western civilization because studies
have found that the condition is virtually nonexistent in non-westernized
societies, where refined carbohydrates and sugar are rarely eaten.
For instance, in one study that looked at acne cases in islanders
of Papua New Guinea and hunter-gatherers of Paraguay, no acne cases
were found in either group. The findings, which are in-line with
many other studies, make a strong case for the significant role
of environmental factors, such as diet, in acne.
Limiting grains is an integral step toward optimizing your health.
The more we study the influence of grains, and their secondary consequences
on insulin, the more we will
find that their pervasive influences touch nearly every aspect of
A Healthy Diet Can't be "Sold"
So you may be wondering why doctors typically say diet does not
influence acne. Well, doctors cannot sell you a healthy diet, and
they are under strong influence by the drug companies to prescribe
expensive and sometimes harmful topical
acne creams and antibiotics. No one is going to get rich from
recommending a healthy diet to heal acne, except maybe you when
you start saving money that you were spending on acne medications.
Further, many dermatologists prescribe long-term antibiotic
treatments for acne. This can be especially problematic since
every time you take an antibiotic, you kill beneficial bacteria
along with the problematic bacteria. This can lead to many secondary
conditions, such as yeast overgrowth.
The Emotions Factor
Anyone who has experienced an outbreak of acne knows that it can
take a significant psychological toll. Many people feel embarrassed
by acne, and the embarrassment can keep them from socializing and
On the other hand, recent studies have found a link that suggests
stress can actually aggravate acne. One
study involving college students found that the students'
acne flared when they felt stressed from examinations.
Well, stress has the ability to make just about every disease we
encounter worse, and this includes acne. This is why it is so important
to deal with your stress
before it becomes overwhelming. There are a variety of ways that
you can do this, like yoga, meditation or making sure you get enough
quality sleep, so it is important
that you find a method that works best for you.
My favorite tool for relieving stress is the Emotional
Freedom Technique, which involves tapping your body's energy
meridians and voicing positive affirmations to clear emotional blocks,
thus restoring your mind and body's balance. You can review my free
25-page report to learn how it's done.
Just remember that acne likely results from a combination of dietary
and emotional factors. Addressing both sides of the equation will
give you the most beneficial results.
Bread may be the Culprit
Do You Really Want to Use Drugs
Doctors Ignore Acne Drug
Birth Defect Warnings
Acne Drug Widely 'Overused' Says UK Dermatologist
New Program To
Prevent Pregnancy In Accutane Users