A year ago, I didn't know what I know now, but I wish that I had. Certainly six, let alone 3 months ago, I didn't know, nor cared how topicals or certain medications worked. I was just glad that they did. Yet, the more I learned, the more connections I found, and the more questions I needed to have answered. As a result, I realized that not only is it important to know the Why's & How's of acne, but also the mechanisms of successful treatment methods
. Since we don't have the FINAL answer in regards to acne, we can learn to work our way backward (treatment to cause) by studying what helps us control, prevent or eliminate our breakouts. So, would everyone agree with me that most definitions of ACNE state that it's a condition of having clogged pores or follicles caused by a combination of the factors below? Bacteria
or some other)
(protective barrier & carrier of dirt, protien, blood cells, bacteria, androgens) Skin cell proliferation
(overgrowth of skin cells) Hyperkertinization
(build up of skin cells)
(skin cell shedding, exfoilation) Inflammation
(immune response, irritation) Hormones
(specifically DHT converted in the sebaceous follicles)
Now, if I left something out please let me know. Otherwise, this would explain why there are a variety of acne treatments on the market. They aim to stop one or more aspects of the above problem either topically or internally
. As such, that is why different methods work better for certain people than for others. In truth, it really does depend
on what your own genetic factors
are when it comes to treating your acne problem.
Now if you read various research articles, other's postings, or saw my post Accutane-Diet post http://www.healthboards.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/018163.html
then you already know that acne is always hormonal
. Whether you are exhibiting an allergic response, have dry skin, or extreme hormonal imbalance, there are still hormones, enzymes, vitamins (cofactors), etc that are responsible for the proper maintainence and health of your skin. If these are disturbed in some way, then a variety of skin problems will result, such as rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, keratosis pilaris, dandruff, pseudofolliculitis (ingrown hairs) etc. So, how many of you have more
than ONE type of skin problem (includes hair, nails, and hyperpigmentation)? I certainly do...
This made me realize that while a lot of you feel that sebum is the problem, when you think about those that have the above skin disorders, someone with acne that has DRY skin ,or someone that's extremely
oily with no acne, sebum can't possibly be the MAIN culprit, but it can contribute. When you consider that everyone has P.Acnes bacteria on the skin, that particular form of bacteria can't be the culprit either, but it may also contribute. Yet, I absoultely believe that either through their own existence or our bodies trying to attack them, that there are various forms of bacteria that will indeed cause, at the very least, an inflammatory response. Infact, most acne sufferrers are just OVERLY sensitive to the androgens or bacteria they produce
and as such, that would explain why most of you do not have a hormonal imbalance, but STILL have acne.
Therefore, that only leaves Hyperkeritinization / reduced Desquamation
and Skin Cell Proliferation
as the "cause". Why? Well, because of all the dead skin building up due to poor exfoilation was the reason you got the inflammed, clogged oil & bacteria filled pores
in the first place. Indeed, these problems right here are the reason why The Regimen
and the "Acne Cure"
have worked so well for many of us. So as you can see, there's not always a need to use expensive prescriptions. Yet, if you've done enough research on your favorite acne medications or other treatments, you should have found that the more POPULAR and MOST EFFECTIVE do a combination
or ALL of the following: Prevent DHT conversion
--which enoucrages desquamtion, prevents hyperkeritinization, skin cell proliferation, EXCESS sebum production, and inflammation. Decrease or absorb sebum
---which could prevent hyperkeritinization and inflammation Exfoliate
--- prevents hyperkeritinization, encourages desqaumation, dissovles sebum oil, reduces inflammation Kill bacteria
--- which prevents inflammation Reduce or prevent Inflammation
Great, so Antibacterial agents
(antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil) reduce inflammation and Exfoilants
(Acids, AHA, BHA, sulfur) encourage healthy skin cell turnover, yet that doesn't help us get to the DEEPER source of our problems. If using the above allows you to control your acne problem then you can stop reading now. Yet, if your acne keeps coming back
and you breakout WORSE during certain seasons of the year, then you may want to keep reading. If you want to go for the ULTIMATE acne treatment, you want to pick the one that is going to prevent DHT in the follicles
. Now in case some of you aren't familar, DHT stands for 5-alpha-dihydrotestosterone
. This is the most produced
and most potent
form of male hormone in our bodies and the cause of several hormonal disorders such as, acne, hirsuitism, hair loss, and prostate problems. With the exception of removing your reproductive organs and adrenal glands there is NO way you can ELIMINATE all DHT
! So please don't even start to obsess over it ;-) However, there are plenty of ways, hence the arguing and confusion, we can reduce and even "normalize" the levels in our system.
So the goal here is to inhibit the conversion of DHT
in our system. As far I as know, there are around 5 - 6 enzymes that are responsible for the conversion of testosterone into this form of "super" testosterone. Usually a drug hits 1 or 2 of these enzymes, like 5-alpha reductase. Since DHT can effect hair follicles, sebum glands, and other tissues in the body, some drugs work better than others based on Gender, Genetic Factors, and your Target Area. Of course, diet, exercise, and/or supplements can do the same
thing and can be equally confusing. ;-)
One of these versatile DHT inhibitor drugs is Spironolactone
. I'm sure you've heard women talk about it, but since we use it internally men usually don't get the opportunity to reap the rewards. This drug can and HAS
been used by both men and women since it's actually a diuretic, used in the the treatment of heart disease, high blood pressure, and has been used to treat hormonal acne for over 20 years. Now, believe it or not, it has been utilized in a TOPICAL form (5% cream or 2% solution) for just as long.
Unfortunately. while the results seemed rather favorable, you can only purchase this on hairloss websites or make your own solution. Since this drug is suppose to be safe and effective for males (and females), even with body acne, I am perplexed as to why it's not very popular. It's effectiveness was proven for many years with 95% success (30% remission and 65% improved) and here's what was found: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_u ids=29 72662&dopt=Abstract www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_u ids=21 50020&dopt=Abstract
So like I mentioned above, there is more than one choice when it comes to DHT inhibitors. Since they don't inhibit all the possible enzymes that are used to convert DHT, that's probably why the most severe or sensitive of acne sufferers require a combination or the most "drastic" (i.e. accutane, diet) of methods to achieve clear skin. Below is a list of mainly DIRECT Anti-Androgens and I'm sure you'll recognize a few. ;-) TOPICAL:
Finasteride (Proscar, Propecia)
Cypertone Acetate (Cyprostat)
Azelex (Azeliac Acid) Retiniods
RetinA (Tretinoin...13-cis retinoic acid)
Differin (Adapalene, retinoid mimicker)
Vitamin A (Retinol) ORAL
Finasteride (Proscar, Propecia)
Flutamide (Eulexin, Drogenil)
Diane 35 - (contains cyproterone acetate)
Accutane (Isotretinoin...13-cis retinoic acid) NATURAL ALTERNATIVES
(topical and/or oral):
Zinc (must be used with B6)
Vitamin A (requires other vitamins and minerals)
EFAs Blend (Essential Fatty Acids - Fish Oils, Omega 3-6-9)
To tell the truth, there are actually more of them than these above. These are what somewhat directly do this, but if you were to take other supplements or medications, you would be able to indirectly effect your level of DHT. That's why you hear some of us raving about taking B5
, ALA (alpha lipoic acid), Digestive Enzymes
, Thyroid meds, Avandia, Prednisone, Birth Control pills
, etc. There's definately more than one way to treat hormonal imbalance. The trick is knowing what the imbalance is inside of YOU and then proceeding to treat it properly.
Please remember, unless you grow out of acne
, you will ALWAYS
have to follow your successful treatment method. Some of these Anti-androgens are more effective than others and depending on your own "blue print", you may need something that is the strongest, the WEAKEST, or a combination of the two, to solve your problems. Some of these are completely safe and "easier" to follow than others. Others produce painful, irritating, or harmful side effects. While others may throw our other vitamins & nutrients out of psync. Fortunately, some of these can be remedied by taking a good multivitamin, fiber supplement, or detoxing to correct any imbalances, but what about the others?
Since they ALL do the same thing, it really is up to you, but don't think that a Pill is MORE powerful than some dietary change, because for some of us it was the other way around.
;-) Through my own ordeals, I've learned that there is a treatment or combination that is the BEST one for you and your body will let you know if you made the right choice. So think about what your skin concerns are and then choose a product or method that is going to help you eliminate this problem. If it's not right
, you'll keep breaking out, so keep testing various methods until you find the one (or combination) that helps you the most, better yet, gets you completely clear. =)
[This message has been edited by SweetJade1 (edited 09-02-2003).]
[This message has been edited by SweetJade1 (edited 09-23-2003).]