Hide this

Story at-a-glance +

  • Acne can be both a psychologically and emotionally painful condition, especially for adolescents. Acne affects about 85 percent of the population at some time in their lives and is the most common skin problem addressed by dermatologists.
  • Conventional treatments for acne involve the use of antibiotics like tetracycline-type derivative that helps kill propioniform types of bacteria, which are responsible for the infection and inflammation on your face. Unfortunately, these do not treat the underlying causes of acne.
  • Diet has everything to do with acne. Eliminating foods rich in sugar and grain carbohydrates, which initiate the surge of insulin and IGF-1 in your body. This contributes to acne.
  • Other ways to prevent the occurrence of acne is by establishing a proper balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut and optimizing your vitamin D levels.

Simple Ways to Help Stop Acne Naturally

March 28, 2009 | 257,374 views
Share This Article Share

Vitamin D Dose Recommendations
Age Dosage
Below 5 35 units per pound per day
Age 5 - 10 2500 units
Age 18 - 30 4000-8000 units
Pregnant Women 5000-10000 units
There is no way to know if the above recommendations are correct. The ONLY way to know is to test your blood. You might need 4-5 times the amount recommended above. Ideally, your blood level of 25(OH)D should be 60ng/ml.

By Dr. Mercola

Acne can be both a psychologically and emotionally painful condition, especially for adolescents. I have plenty of experience with this personally as I struggled with severe acne as a teenager, and even into my 30s. In fact, I had a relatively severe form called cystic acne, which produces large and painful lesions.

Most teens get the type of acne called acne vulgaris, which can appear on your face, neck, shoulders, back, and chest.

With acne affecting about 85 percent of the population at some time in their life – including adults -- it is the most common skin disease addressed by dermatologists.

The challenge, of course, is how to treat acne effectively.

Conventional Treatment Strategies for Acne

The typical strategy used by most dermatologists is to recommend an antibiotic -- typically tetracycline-type derivatives designed to kill infections. In this case, it is propioniform types of bacteria that are responsible for the actual inflammation and infection that occurs on your face.

Propionibacterium acnes can be found on the surface of everyone's skin. Acne flair-ups result when the bacteria block your pores, which lead to inflammation.

Antibiotics can in fact be very useful to clear up your acne. Other conventional treatments include using topical agents such as benzyl peroxide, or in extreme cases harsher treatment drugs like Accutane.

However, I don't think anyone should be using Accutane (generically known as isotretinoin), and strongly advise against it.

It's actually the only drug classified as category X, meaning it is 100 percent guaranteed to cause birth defects. As of 2002, if you are a woman of child bearing age, you have to get a pregnancy test before it can be prescribed .

It also has other side effects, such as feelings of depression, aggression, and suicide.

Although these treatments typically do work, it's important to realize that they in NO way, shape or form treat the underlying cause of your acne.

How to Treat the Root Cause of Your Acne

What you want to do is to eliminate the underlying reason that is causing the propioniform bacteria to result in these cysts or lesions. Fortunately, there are some very simple strategies that will accomplish just that, that work nearly every single time.

What most experts will tell you about acne is that diet has nothing to do with it. Well, nothing could be further from the truth.

What has become clearly apparent is that your diet has everything to do with it.

If you are predisposed to developing these acne lesions, and are eating a diet that is causing your insulin levels and associated insulin growth factors to rise, then you will have acne.

This happens because when you eat refined carbohydrates and sugar, it causes a surge of insulin and an insulin-like growth factor called IGF-11 in your body. This can lead to an excess of male hormones, which cause your pores 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 also associated with acne.

So, the simple solution is to radically reduce the amount of food you consume that is causing your body to make insulin. The main culprits here are sugar and ALL grain carbohydrates as they're converted into sugar in your body. This includes food items such as:

  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Potatoes
  • Corn

The confusion here is the thought that you can have a healthy grain. Please understand that even a high-quality, organic, whole wheat bread will cause this problem because it's still a carbohydrate.

Another source of confusion is thinking that corn is a vegetable. It's actually a grain, and a very high density carbohydrate, which should be avoided. Even fruits will likely increase the amount of insulin in your body, and as a result can exacerbate your acne if you're predisposed to it.

You'll want to replace sugars and grain carbohydrates with vegetable carbohydrates according to your nutritional type, as they metabolize slowly and tend to not cause spikes in your insulin production.

Other Important Factors to Consider When Treating Acne

There are two other important factors to consider, especially if you've tried the conventional approach to treating your acne.

Establish proper balance of bacteria -- If you've been given antibiotics, it's very important to take a probiotic supplement. Antibiotics are indiscriminate killers that wipe out good bacteria in your gut as well as the propioniform bacteria on your face. One common side effect of that is an overgrowth of yeast. If you are a woman, you may experience vaginal yeast infections, but both men and women can develop candida as a result of disrupting the balance of bacteria in your gut.

Of course, by reducing your intake of food that bad bacteria and yeast thrive on, i.e. sugars and carbs, you will also help reestablish the proper balance of bacteria in your gut.

Optimize your vitamin D levels – Lastly, what we've now found is that vitamin D is crucially important to establishing a healthy immune system and controlling virtually any type of infection.

When you optimize your vitamin D levels you make over 200 antimicrobial peptides (also called host defense peptides). They are an essential component of your innate immune response, and are potent, broad-spectrum antibiotics.

The best way to optimize your vitamin D levels is to expose large portions of your skin to healthy amounts of sunshine – just enough to cause your skin to turn a very light pink. Your body can produce as much as 20,000 IU's with this level of exposure on most of your body. After that your body will not make any more vitamin D, and you may in fact cause skin damage if you stay out any longer.

By exposing yourself to the sun, or using a safe tanning bed, you will optimize your vitamin D production naturally, and virtually eliminate the need to do any blood testing.

If you don't have access to regular sun exposure or a safe tanning bed, you'll want to consider supplementing with oral vitamin D. Typically, the oral doses are several thousand units a day, ranging from 2-3,000 to as much as 10,000 IU's per day. But if you chose that route, only do so if you're monitoring your vitamin D levels with a blood test at regular intervals.

These are the simple strategies I wish I knew when I was younger. I encourage you to try them out because there's a strong probability they will virtually eliminate your acne, and all the associated emotional and psychological pain that so frequently affects those with this condition.

How Vitamin D Performance Testing Can Help Optimize Your Health

A robust and growing body of research clearly shows that vitamin D is absolutely critical for good health and disease prevention. Vitamin D affects your DNA through vitamin D receptors (VDRs), which bind to specific locations of the human genome. Scientists have identified nearly 3,000 genes that are influenced by vitamin D levels, and vitamin D receptors have been found throughout the human body.

Is it any wonder then that no matter what disease or condition is investigated, vitamin D appears to play a crucial role? This is why I am so excited about the D*Action Project by GrassrootsHealth. Dr. Heaney is the Research Director of GrassrootsHealth and is part of the design of the D*action Project as well as analysis of the research findings. GrassrootsHealth shows how you can take action today on known science with a consensus of experts without waiting for institutional lethargy. It has shown how by combining the science of measurement (of vitamin D levels) with the personal choice of taking action and, the value of education about individual measures that one can truly be in charge of their own health.

In order to spread this health movement to more communities, the project needs your involvement. This was an ongoing campaign during the month of February, and will become an annual event.

To participate, simply purchase the D*Action Measurement Kit and follow the registration instructions included. (Please note that 100 percent of the proceeds from the kits go to fund the research project. I do not charge a single dime as a distributor of the test kits.)

As a participant, you agree to test your vitamin D levels twice a year during a five-year study, and share your health status to demonstrate the public health impact of this nutrient. There is a $65 fee every six months for your sponsorship of this research project, which includes a test kit to be used at home, and electronic reports on your ongoing progress. You will get a follow up email every six months reminding you "it's time for your next test and health survey."

Vitamin D Kit
Order button

What Are GMOs?

From April 19th through April 25th we launch GMO Awareness Week. We set aside an entire week dedicated to providing you with information on GMOs and labeling initiatives.

GMOs are a product of genetic engineering, meaning their genetic makeup has been altered to induce a variety of “unique” traits to crops, such as making them drought-resistant or giving them “more nutrients.” GMO proponents claim that genetic engineering is “safe and beneficial,” and that it advances the agricultural industry. They also say that GMOs help ensure the global food supply and sustainability. But is there any truth to these claims? I believe not. For years, I've stated the belief that GMOs pose one of the greatest threats to life on the planet. Genetic engineering is NOT the safe and beneficial technology that it is touted to be.

Help Support GMO Labeling

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food. For nearly two decades, Monsanto and corporate agribusiness have exercised near-dictatorial control over American agriculture. For example, Monsanto has made many claims that glyphosate in Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. However, recently the World Health Organization (WHO) had their research team test glyphosate and have labeled it a probable carcinogen.

Public opinion around the biotech industry's contamination of our food supply and destruction of our environment has reached the tipping point. We're fighting back. That's why I was the first to push for GMO labeling. I donated a significant sum to the first ballot initiative in California in 2012, which inspired others to donate to the campaign as well. We technically "lost the vote, but we are winning the war, as these labeling initiatives have raised a considerable amount of public awareness.

The insanity has gone far enough, which is why I encourage you to boycott every single product owned by members of the GMA, including natural and organic brands. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual consumers like you, who understand that real change comes from the grassroots.

Thankfully, we have organizations like the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) to fight back against these junk food manufacturers, pesticide producers, and corporate giants.

Internet Resources Where You Can Learn More

Together, Let's Help OCA Get The Funding They Deserve

Let’s Help OCA get the funding it deserves. I have found very few organizations who are as effective and efficient as OCA. It’s a public interest organization dedicated to promoting health justice and sustainability. A central focus of the OCA is building a healthy, equitable, and sustainable system of food production and consumption. That's why I'm proud to announce I will be matching donations up to $250,000 this week.

Please make a donation to help OCA fight for GMO labeling.

Donate Today!

Thank you! Your purchases help us support these charities and organizations.

Food Democracy Now
Mercury Free Dentistry
Fluoride Action Network
National Vaccine Information Center
Institute for Responsible Technology
Organic Consumers Association
Center for Nutrtion Advocacy
Cornucopia Institute
Vitamin D Council
GrassrootsHealth - Vitamin D*action
Alliance for Natural Health USA
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation
The Rabies Challenge Fund
Cropped Catis Mexico