Updated: Apr 5
by Jennifer Ide, R. BIE
Acne Awareness Month, September 2019, is just around the corner. Considering that most of us have acne, this article aims to give more insight into this common skin condition and to share a safe, effective solution.
What is acne exactly and who does it affect?
Acne is a skin condition that results in blemishes on the face, neck, shoulders, chest and/or back. The severity of acne can vary from person to person, and also within the same person over time. It can appear in our teenage years and then go away, or it can persist into adulthood. Some of the concerns with acne are that it can be very painful and can lead to permanent scarring.
Some interesting facts and stats about acne:
Acne has been around for a long time. People were getting acne diagnoses and treatments since ancient Greek and Egyptian times (1).
Acne remains one of the top three most common skin issues seen worldwide (1).
About 85% of Canadian teenagers (ages 12-24) have acne (2).
Acne is not a skin condition that is only experienced by teenagers. Research shows that it is prevalent in adults too, especially women. In fact, women make up about two thirds of dermatologist visits for acne and up to 22% of women experience acne in adulthood (3, 4).
The effects of acne can be serious and can have negative impacts on quality of life. Some health conditions that are associated with acne include anxiety, depression and low self-esteem (1, 5, 6). Furthermore, research shows that women with acne are twice as likely to suffer depression than men with acne (4).
What causes acne?
Acne occurs when our pores get clogged and become inflamed. How do pores get clogged and inflamed?
The formation of acne involves four main processes:
Overproduction of sebum (natural oil that comes out of your oil glands)
Overgrowth of bacteria
Imbalances in hormones, particularly androgens (often referred to as “male hormones,” but are found in both males and females)
Altered shedding of dead skin cells. Many factors can contribute to one or more of these processes, giving rise to many different types of acne. Some of the major factors that influence the processes of acne formation include the following:
Diet – It appears that the two main culprits are sugar and dairy. a. Sugar – Smith et al. (2007) showed that when patients with acne reduced their intake of high glycemic foods, their acne improved within 12 weeks (7). The more sugar and starchy foods we eat, the higher our blood insulin goes. Studies show that with elevated levels of insulin, there is an increase in androgen hormones and sebum production, both major contributors to acne formation (8). b. Dairy – Researchers from Harvard showed that, in comparison to girls that drank less than one glass of milk a week, girls who drank two or more glasses of milk a day had an increased risk of developing acne (9). It is thought that dairy products carry hormones from the cows, so when we drink/eat dairy, the hormone levels in our bodies increase, therefore throwing off our hormone balance (9). When our hormones are off, we can anticipate getting acne!
Stress is a huge contributing factor to so many different health conditions, and acne is definitely one of them. Researchers at Stanford found that students experienced acne flare ups during exams, a time period where students reported to be more stressed compared to when they were not going through exams. And, the severity of acne correlated with increasing levels of stress (10). The exact mechanism that explains how stress leads to acne is not exactly clear, but it’s thought that cortisol, our long-term stress hormone, may play a role. When we are stressed, our cortisol levels increase. When cortisol is high, it increases androgen hormones and sebum production, both major contributors to acne formation (11).
Medications – Some medications known to potentially cause acne include corticosteroids, anabolic steroids, hormones (ex. testosterone), halogen compounds ( iodine, bromine, fluorine, and chlorine) and some anticancer agents (12).
What are the current treatments for acne?
The most common treatments that are conventionally used to treat acne include the following:
Over the counter treatments – these usually include cleansers and/or spot treatments that contain chemicals like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
Prescription medications: a. Topical – these are creams that can have either synthetic vitamin A, antibiotics, or a higher dose of benzoyl peroxide in them. b. Oral – these include antibiotics or hormones treatments like birth control pills.
Laser and light treatments – these treatment types use light to reduce the amount of bacteria on the surface of the skin. Usually several sessions are needed and the results are temporary (2).
Although these medications and treatments are effective in reducing and/or eliminating acne, they don’t seem to provide a safe, long-term solution. Adult women (over the age of 25) have high rates of treatment failure, where approximately 80% of women relapse after multiple rounds of antibiotics and about 30-40% of women relapse after a course of isotretinoin medication (a synthetic vitamin A derivative) (13, 14). So, when you are on the medication, your skin may clear up, but when you come off, there is a high chance that your acne will come back. Staying on the medications can pose some serious risks. Some of these range from increasing your risk of getting sun burns with topical treatments — – to digestive issues with antibiotics — to suicidal thoughts and birth defects with oral acne medications, like Isotretinoin (15). It’s important to know that the side effects of these medications are common. For example, up to 95% of patients using Isotretinoin experience side effects (1).
So, is there a better solution for those with acne? I would love to share with you a non-invasive, safe solution called BIE.
How can BIE help those with acne?
Up until this point, you may be thinking, “I don’t eat a lot of sugar and I don’t drink milk, but I still have acne.” Or, you may be thinking, “I only get acne when I have cheese pizza or a piece of cake, so all I have to do is stay away from these foods.” Or, you could be thinking, “I have tried EVERYTHING and nothing has worked for me, so why would this?” If any of these thoughts are going through your head, keep reading!
BIE can serve as an option to help get rid of acne without the use of any medications or needles. BIE stands for BioEnergetic Intolerance Elimination. It is a technology that aims to eliminate an intolerance. How does an intolerance relate to having acne?
To gain insight into how BIE can help you, we must first define what an intolerance is under BIE terms. An intolerance is anything that the body does not properly recognize the identify of. Everything in this world carries a unique frequency. That means that every hormone, every food, every chemical etc. will have its own frequency pattern associated with it. As such, an intolerance occurs when our bodies lose the ability to properly recognize the frequency pattern of a particular substance and therefore, no longer has the ability to absorb, utilize, metabolize and/or eliminate the substance correctly. This results in imbalances in our bodies, giving rise to symptoms, like blemishes on our faces. BIE gets your body back into balance!
As mentioned above, it is clear that one of the processes that leads to acne is hormone imbalance. As a BIE Practitioner, I am interested in WHY my client has a hormone imbalance. Could it be due to an intolerance to dairy, where the body does not properly recognize the frequency of a dairy component, therefore, it doesn’t know how to properly metabolize it, causing an increase in hormone levels and creating a hormone imbalance? Why is it that some people can eat dairy and not break out, while others do? BIE hypothesizes that the difference between these individuals is that one person’s body properly identifies the dairy and therefore knows what to do with it, while the other person’s body does not. To get the body to recognize what dairy is, BIE simply reintroduced the frequency of dairy to the body. By doing this, the body re-learns the identity of a dairy component, so when you eat dairy, your body doesn’t break out. This can be seen in a client that was normalized to both dairy and dietary fats/oils using BIE (as shown below). This client is now able to enjoy the muffins or cake at special events without having anything show up on her skin!
Uncovering the underlying cause(s) of your acne can be frustrating and may require assistance. In addition to making appropriate dietary changes, implementing a good personal hygiene regime or learning ways to manage stress, identifying specific intolerances will be key to healing your skin. If you are interested in knowing how BIE can help you and your acne, book an appointment with me today! Having gone through my own journey healing my severe eczema, I completely understand how difficult having skin issues can be.
I absolutely love helping my clients feel their best in their skin and would love to accompany you on your healing journey!
Mahmood , N.F. and Shipman , A.R. (2017). The age-old problem of acne. International Journal of Women’s Dermatology. 3, 71-76.
Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada. (2019). About Acne – What is Acne? https://www.acneaction.ca/about-acne/about-acne/ . (accessed August 26, 2019).
Silverberg, J.I . and Silverberg, N.B . (2014). Epidemiology and extracutaneous comorbidities of severe acne in adolescence: a U.S. population-based study. British Journal of Dermatology . 170, 1136-1142.
Yentzer, B.A. et al. (2010). Acne vulgaris in the United States: a descriptive epidemiology. Cutis. 86, 94–99.
Uhlenhake, E . et al. (2010). Acne vulgaris and depression: a retrospective examination. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 9, 59-63.
Golchai, J . et al. (2010). Comparison of anxiety and depression in patients with acne vulgaris and healthy individuals. Indian Journal of Dermatology. 55, 352-354.
Smith, R.N . et al. (2007). A low-glycemic-load diet improves symptoms in acne vulgaris patients: a randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 86, 107-115.
Kucharska , A. et al. (2016). Significance of diet in treated and untreated acne vulgaris. Postepy Dermatologii. 33, 81–86.
Adebamowo, C.A . et al. (2006). Milk consumption and acne in adolescent girls. Dermatology Online. 12, 1.
Chiu, A . et al. (2003). The response of skin disease to stress: changes in the severity of acne vulgaris as affected by examination stress. Archives of Dermatology. 139, 897-900.
Zari , S. and Alrahmani , D. (2017). The association between stress and acne among female medical students in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology. 10, 503–506.
Kazandjieva, J . and Tsankov, N . (2017). Drug-induced acne. Clinics in Dermatology. 35,156-162.
Goulden, V . et al. (1997). Treatment of acne with intermittent isotretinoin. British Journal of Dermatology . 137, 106-108.
Goulden, V . et al. (1997). Post-adolescent acne: a review of clinical features. British Journal of Dermatology . 136, 66-70.
Tan, A.U. et al. (2018). A review of diagnosis and treatment of acne in adult female patients. International Journal of Women’s Dermatology. 4, 56-71.
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