Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fruit Natures Acne Food

Way too often, when most folk's think of acne and food, their first though is to the foods they think they have to avoid. Tastes like chocolate and French fries; donuts and cookies; and colas and coffee. Well, since I noticed my son's complexion looked a little dull and I went out and spent a fortune at the supermarket on fruit. Today, I thought I'd bang away on my keyboard and talk about the foods that not only taste great and are good for you and your acne, but are also unprocessed and natural. That's right kids, fruit natures acne food. The trifecta of what's good for you – FRUIT. What follows are a list of fruits you should most definitely include in your diet, particularly one that is geared towards getting rid of or preventing acne. The reason I have included them is because these actually are the fruits that I purchase at the market.

  • Apples - It may sound like a lot but you should try to eat two or three apples every day. Apples are great for a healthy complexion. Wash them well and don't be afraid to eat the skin as this is where most of the pectin resides which relieves constipation and is an excellent natural antioxidant. Apples are high in fiber and ascorbic acid, as well as minerals like; calcium, iron and potassium and vitamins A, B and C.

When I was young I hated apples. As a matter of fact I hated apples and potato chips. Those actually were the only foods that I disliked and it all was due to a pig out day I had when I was about 4 or 5 years old. The binge consisted of you guessed it; potato chips and apples. Well after getting sick and seeing the regurgitated mess on the floor. I never wanted to see, much less taste another apple or potato chip ever again. So I guess I missed out on the acne benefits of apples when I was a teen. But that was probably evened out by the fact that I never ate greasy potato chips. However it's amazing what a couple of decades will do, as I enjoy both foods today and get the acne food benefits of apples.

But I digress.

  • Apricots – These summer stone fruits are a great source of vitamin B complex and E, minerals, fiber and beta-carotene which is converted to vitamin A. They are helpful in the alleviation and reduction of constipation. Additionally the anti-inflammatory properties of this fruit also make its juice a great topical acne treatment. Particularly when applied to cystic lesions.
  • Bananas –This probiotic fruit has been shown to help your body regulate the balance between good and bad bacteria, especially when it comes to the beneficial bacteria necessary to maintain optimal colonic function. By keeping this balance in check the bad bacteria are inhibited, thereby reducing the toxins which produce acne. Because this fruit contains live bacteria you should be careful not to overdo it and consider one banana a day a sensible limit.
  • Blackberries – another great source for beta-carotene and natural antioxidants. Additionally it is one of the few fruits that contain vitamin E, which greatly enhance you immune system. These berries are a natural source for salicylate. They also contain the photochemical; ellagic and lycopen which prevent damage to and promote healthy skin cells.
  • Blueberries – The healthful benefits of blueberries have been used in medical treatments for thousands of years. Is it any wonder? This fruit has probably the highest levels of antioxidant of any known food (the acai berry is giving it a run for the money). Research is also suggesting that one of the active elements of blueberries, Pterostilbene is a natural anti inflammatory. While it is more advantageous to eat fresh blueberries, frozen can be substituted.
  • Cantaloupes – An excellent source of vitamin A, C, and a lot of other proteins and minerals which places it high on any list of fruits to improve acne or your complexion. As a matter of fact the high level of vitamin A in these melons makes it a no brainer for inclusion on this food for acne list. But it doesn't stop there since it is also loaded with potassium. This allows injury to the skin caused by acne to heal much faster and its high folate content is beneficial in the maintenance and production of new cells.
  • Cherries – These are my favorites, although they can get a little pricy. Like all the other acne foods we have discussed so far. Cherries are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals that are necessary for proper health and fitness. But what makes cherries special, is they are one of the few sources of food known to have melatonin. Melatonin which is naturally produced in your body's pineal gland is an antioxidant that is necessary for the regulation of your biorhythms and sleep patterns. Which in turn insure proper regenerative rest and reduction of stress and the stress acne associated with it when an imbalance occurs.
  • Figs – Have been around round since the time of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. This fruit was most likely the first dried and stored by mankind. They are extremely high in fiber; beneficial to digestion and pureed makes an excellent sweetener for cooking as well as a substitute for sugar. While they are low in vitamin C they are a great way to get B6. As a nutrient, B6 is probably necessary for more bodily functions than any other and is not a place where you want to be caught short.
  • Grapefruits – Like most citrus fruits, grapefruit is loaded with vitamin C. But unlike its citrus cousins, it contains a phytonutrient lycopene. This antioxidant combats free radical damage in its quest to preserve your skins health, combat acne and ward off cellular damage due to aging. This fruit also contains Naringin, this phytochemical assists in the reduction of toxins in the liver, thereby leading to a better complexion. On the down side, Naringin can interfere with the livers ability to break down some drugs; divalproex sodium and aspirin just to name two. It's a good idea to speak with your doctor and or pharmacist about grapefruit if you are taking any medications, either prescription or over the counter.

While this list of foods that fight acne is by no means all inclusive. It is a good start. I would of considered including; grapes, plums, strawberries, mangoes and raspberries. While the supermarket had them, I didn't care for the way they looked, so they have been excluded. Of course, if you want to talk about them or any other of natures acne foods. Feel free to use the comment box.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Benzoyl Peroxide Acne Products

Ever wonder what all the fuss is about benzoyl peroxide acne products? Well, just walk down any acne products isle in any drug store in any city, and you'll see row after row of acne products. A universe unto itself of acne lotions, potions, creams and ointments, now pick up a product, it doesn't matter which one. It can be Clear and Clean, Neutrogena Acne, PanOxyl, Benoxyl or whatever, it doesn't matter. Ok, check out the back ingredient panel and I'll bet you dollars to donuts that benzoyl peroxide is an active ingredient. Now if you are a real betting person. I'll double down and wager you that the level of concentration of the benzoyl peroxide is between 2.5% and 5% but could go to maximum strength 10%, the most you can have without a prescription. I'm not trying to show off. What I am attempting to do is show you how myopic the acne products industry is. BP (benzoyl peroxide) has been in use since the 1920’s as an acne treatment and for a host of other uses from hair bleaching to teeth whiting products. It was originally used in the garment industry as a fabric bleacher.

So what makes benzoyl peroxide popular as an acne product? There are a couple of things. First, it is an excellent killer of the P acnes infection. It is this bacteria that is a leading cause of acne. While the bacteria are very common they usually don’t cause a problem. That is until sebum gets backed up in the sebaceous glands. This in turn, creates an ideal host situation for the P acnes to thrive resulting in the pain redness and swelling of pimples, zits, blackheads and cysts. Benzoyl peroxide is an excellent killer of P acnes and works by introducing oxygen into the skin pore. The bacteria are unable to survive in this environment and dead skin cells are simultaneously flushed from the pores. It’s actually a two for one process that is very effective at getting rid of acne.

However, benzoyl peroxide's ability to kill these bacteria and act as a peeling agent is also one of the chief negative side effects of the product. You see, it can be rather harsh on your skin. Stripping the natural oils and leaving your skin dry, irritated and inflamed and on particularly sensitive skin can actually lead to chemical burning and swelling.

While I no longer have a need for benzoyl peroxide. As a teen it was a staple in my acne arsenal. When I first tried it, I found that it irritated my skin somewhat, but was informed that my body would develop a tolerance for it. The first couple of days there was some stinging and itching but sure enough, 3 day in and it was like using soap and water. I never had a problem with benzoyl peroxide again and had a good bit of success with it treating certain conditions as they arose. Benzoyl peroxide is definitely a product that shouldn't be over looked as you looks for ways to get rid of your acne but don't put blinders on either. While benzoyl peroxide acne products can work wonders, they aren't the only way to get rid of acne.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dog Acne

Acne conditions and treatments; I've been writing about them for some time now and I thought I'd covered most every angle and possible form of skin malady and irritation. The truth is I have only begun to scratch the surface.

Something important I've stumbled upon based again on personal experience is perhaps something none of you have ever heard of or encountered before. I know I hadn't, dog acne!

This actually started for me almost five years ago and while most of my posts have referenced my skin and my own face, this involves another member of my family. This particular family member is actually quite hairy and small. No, I didn't give birth to or adopt a feral child; the creature to which I'm referring is our little pet dog and his dog acne. Now I'll bet you’re thinking exactly what I thought the first time I heard this expression, "dog acne" there's no such thing! Well, you'd be wrong, as wrong as I was! Dog acne does exist and my little guy suffers from it in a big way.

Let me back up a bit and tell you a little about my experience and what it taught me. As I said, this odyssey began years ago and to be honest, I had no idea what I was dealing with at first. Neither did several Veterinarians across the state where I live. In fact, I could have saved myself a lot of time, trauma, frustration and a couple of thousand dollars because frankly and ultimately, I was the one who diagnosed the problem and found a solution that worked.

The first sign of dog acne was relatively small and began as tiny patches of dry skin across his coat. This eventually spread and became worse. The second stage resulted in hair loss where the patches of dry skin originally were. The third and worse stage resulted in large areas of hair loss characterized by extremely flakey skin and matted, greasy short hair that grew then subsequently came out in small clumps over two thirds of this tiny dog's 4 pound body. Needless to say it was horrible and he looked pitiful! He was also miserable and scratched and bit at the areas as I am sure they itched like crazy! All the time, I'm working to find not only a cure but what the heck this may be. He was checked for everything from mange to vitamin deficiencies but nothing seemed to help and none of the doctors ever seemed able to offer a diagnosis.

I researched online looking for a solution but couldn't find anything that quite fit this problem. Then one day I’m watching a show on television featuring several doctors and dermatologists. They're talking about a wide variety of health subjects and skin conditions. One of the dermatologists begins to speak and I notice the skin condition he's describing sounds exactly like the condition my dog is suffering from. I listen intently to his description and his recommendations. He talks about the sebaceous glands and how they can be over productive. The over production of sebum can cause several problems; many which we've covered and I've discussed with you here on this forum; acne, blackheads, pimples, etc. It can also create the greasy, matted hair environment my dog was experiencing. His suggestion was applying salicylic acid as this dries up and decreases the production of the excess sebum.

The problem with my dog wasn't stress, his problem was dog acne!

I had already purchased several topical treatments for my dog. Some containing conditioning ingredients and some of them contained medicated ingredients like benzoyl peroxide. None made significant difference. Once I heard this information I began to search hoping to find a dog shampoo containing salicylic acid and eureka, I found one! I looked specifically for a shampoo made for dogs as I wanted to be certain it was safe and wouldn’t harm my little guy should he lick his coat. Shampoo made for humans may work too, but I haven't tried that yet. Anyway, after ordering the shampoo it arrived and I began using it immediately. The difference has been remarkable. Our little guy now only has a couple of small stubborn areas where his skin still shows signs of a problem. The majority of his skin and coat is vastly improved and I learned that we're not the only ones who suffer from acne. Our pets can suffer from acne too!