Acne

About the Disorder

Acne is one of the most widespread skin disorders, affecting mostly youngsters starting from the age of 12 -13, but it can also appear in subjects aged 30 onwards. Every centimeter of the skin contains about 100 sweat glands and 15 sebaceous glands: the latter produce a particular substance called sebum, forming a kind of acid and liquid coat on the whole body, with protective and disinfecting functions.

Under particular conditions, sebaceous glands produce more sebum than normal. As a consequence, the pilosebaceous follicle clogs with sebum, epithelial cells and bacteria: this results in the so-called closed comedone (pimple), which is the initial symptom of acne.

Acne is a disorder involving the sebaceous glands, but it is not clear why certain subjects are particularly prone to being affected; researches have called into question several factors that converge in building up causes and concauses of the problem itself.

Causes and concauses

Genetic factors: a particularly oily skin can be inherited; it can be stated that oily skin is in itself a predisposing factor, since excess of sebum is the triggering factor.

Excessive production of hormones: in certain individuals affected by acne, an excess of hormones in the bloodstream has been noticed, whereas in others, levels are normal. However, in all subjects affected by acne, hormonal concentration levels have been found to be higher at cutaneous level.

Dietary factors: fats, sweets, carbohydrates, alcohol and dairy products – all of which acting directly on the sebaceous glands, exacerbate acne or heighten predisposition to the disorder.

Intestinal factors: sluggish bowel causes failure to eliminate toxins accumulating at different levels of the body and in particular in the skin, reducing efficacy of the “cutaneous coat” produced by the sebaceous glands.

Stress: during periods of tension, acne tends to increase. It has yet to be proven that stress ma cause acne, even if anxiety raises the production of hormones.

Psychosomatic factors: from a psychological point of view, skin disorders have always been very interesting to study. Currently, even the most traditionalist dermathologists admit the importance of the psychosomatic component, now that there is clear evidence of the connection linking conditions of anxiety and the insurgence of acne.

 How acne develops

Acne mainly affects the face, even though it can occasionally appear on shoulders and chest, as well. The development of acne can be summarized as follows, distinguishing three specific stages.

Initial stage: characterised by  so-called blackheads. These are “stoppers” formed by cells or other substances clogging outflow from the sebaceous gland. The outcome is a cutaneous relief caused by a sebaceous secretion that is somehow “blocked”, without the possibility to flow outwards.

The second stage: this is the inflammatory (or pustular) stage, characterized by a local, significant inflammation. This is when the typical “pimple” appears, however in acne the process involves remarkable multiplication of spots. During this particular stage, the skin appears full of small yellow pimples, called pustules, caused by colonies of skin bacteria infecting the blocked parts of sebaceous excretory ducts.

The third stage: featuring papules and pustules that inevitably leave scars on the skin. In adulthood (mostly among smokers and alcohol drinkers and occasionally at the initial stages of menopause), acne may appear as “acne rosacea”, later becoming characterized by papules and pustules.

Treatment of acne using conventional medicine

Active principles employed in traditional treatments present contraindications and side-effects that should not be underestimated. Suffice it to say that retinoic acid, if used topically, can cause skin irritations and even exacerbate symptoms at the beginning of the treatment; while used systemically it has numerous side-effects, with severe limitations for women in reproductive age. Benzoyl , present in creams, gel and soaps, while having a keratolytic effect and carrying out a bacteriostatic action, can produce dryiness and peeling. Moreover, positive results are not that evident and generally unsatisfactory.

Nature can help you in case of acne

Our Approach

A natural and effective approach

Because of the variety of factors contributing towards the development of acne and the tendency to form pimples and blackheads, and in order to break the vicious circle which is otherwise difficult to stop, it is necessary to act by using specific products both at symptomatic level –therefore acting directly on the problem, as well as internally for a really in-depth cleansing and specific action on the main causes triggering the problem.

GSE and acne

Regarding the efficacy of Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) as a broad spectrum antimicrobial, Laboratories and Institutes worldwide have proven that GSE is active against over 800 bacterial strains (both Gram+ and Gram-), as well as against countless viruses and over 100 strains of yiests and moulds.

Numerous testimonies confirm its validity and in terms of both efficacy and speed of action it remains unrivalled in nature. These features, together with the even more unique characteristic of not having a negative impact on intestinal microbial flora, as confirmed by a study published in the “Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine” Vol. 5 n°3, 1990, make it a really extraordinary remedy to control proliferation of pathogenic and/or opportunistic microorganisms.

The importance of having a healthy and balanced intestinal microflora has already been highlighted, particularly with regard to its role in preserving the balance and efficiency of the immune system and to ensure adequate defense of the organism against any kind of microbial infection. Moreover, also when applied in formulations for local use, due to its “selective cleansing” action it acts against pathogens without significantly affecting the physiological flora of skin and mucosae, safeguarding their essential, defensive functionality.

GSE therefore represents a definitely valuable aid in case of acne.  

Given the above considerations, GSE therefore represents the cornerstone of an effective and complete approach to solve the problem of acne, providing for the following actions:

  1. Systemic action, contrasting genetic, hormonal, intestinal and anxiety-inducing factors, which are causes and concauses of acne;
  2. Local action in order to solve the problem, preventing the disorder from developing and evolving to reach the third stage, characterized by papules and pustules.

This approach, combined with a healthy lifestyle (in terms of diet, but not only), includes the use of natural remedies that are well known in folk tradition and the efficacy of which in providing a definitive solution has been confirmed by recent studies.

  1. Systemic action, contrasting genetic, hormonal, intestinal and anxiety-inducing factors, which are causes and concauses of acne;

Nature can help you with…

Grapefruit Seed Extract: GSE offers valid help thanks to its significant and scientifically proven broad spectrum antibacterial and antiseptic properties. At systemic level it destroys pathogenic microorganisms responsible for spreading toxins across the organism, which can potentially become visible as acne or skin impurities (it is a well-known fact that toxins alter hormonal balance). At the same time, it maintains the intestinal bacterial flora in a healthy condition, thereby promoting its role in purifying and protecting the organism.

 Sage:  a plant belonging to the Labiatae family, it is an evergreen shrub with aromatic properties and grows wildly in the Mediterranean Basin. Parts used are the leaves and flowers, from which an essential oil is obtained as well as active ingredients, the most important of which are: alpha and beta-thujone, alpha and beta-pinene, limonene, camphor, cineol, borneol, etc.; phenolic acid (rosmarinic acid, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid); bitter principles (salvin, picrosalvin); flavonoids, glucosides of apigenin and luteolin; triterpenes, diterpenes, etc.

 Sage carries out an important purifying and decongestant action thanks to its choleretic and cholagogue action, in which flavonoids play a key role; it is antispasmodic and a bitter tonic stimulant in dyspeptic forms and in gastro-intestinal atony, particularly in subjects that are fatigued both physically and intellectually. It has proven antihydrotic properties (reducing perspiration), mainly due to an essential oil capable of inhibiting the activity of  sweat glands, by  on nerve endings.

Sage essential oil exerts an antiseptic/antimicrobial action, mainly owing to thujone and cineol terpenes. Sage also plays a role as a hormonal regulator, acting on the hypothalamus –hypophysis – adrenal glands and ovaries axis; in addition, it contains phytoestrogens, antagonizing the hypersecretion of androgens (male hormones), thereby controlling sebaceous secretion.

Thanks to the presence of these estrogenic fractions, Sage is also emmenagogue, in that is regulates the menstrual flux and is useful in calmind painful disorders linked to the menopause. It exerts an anti-inflammatory action on the oral cavity.

Turmeric: it belongs to Zingiberaceae family (including Ginger), native to India and Indonesia. A perennial herbaceous plant, characterized by the typical orange-yellow rhizome that reaches up to 60 cm in depth.

The aerial part reaches about 90 cm, with broad leaves and a yellow-white, spike-shaped flower. Turmeric is well known for its use in the food industry, as it is the main constituent of Indian Curry. The plant’s rhizome, from which the main active ingredients are obtained, called curcuminoids, is used for health purposes.

Turmeric is a very important herb in Ayurvedic medicine, that considers it as as a “cleansing” herb, beneficial for the whole body. In fact, it is one of the most important and well-known cholagogues and choleretics: it simulates the production and secretion of bile from the pancreas (increasing the production of bile acids by over 100%) and acts as a eukinetic (regularising movement) on the gall bladder, thereby enhancing digestive processes, particularly the emulsion of fat and its absorption.

Moreover, it optimises hepatic functionality and has a hepatoprotective action, mainly due to its antioxidant power. Finally, it carries out an anti-inflammatory action – also at topical level, as well as an antimicrobial action against many bacteria and several pathogenic fungi.

Viola tricolor: it belongs to the Violaceae family and the whole plant and its flowers are employed for health purposes, owing to its being particularly rich in constituents, mainly: mucilages, flavonoids (among which rutin), saponin, carotenoids, tannins and salicylic derivatives. In particular, owing to the presence of flavonoids, it carries out a purifying activity on the skin and is diuretic; it is antiseborrhoeic as it contrasts the hypersecretion of sebaceous glands, therefore making it particularly active in suppurative and exudative forms (from acne to seborrhaeic eczema)

It moreover acts as a general purifier, since it is capable of strengthening the detoxifying activity of excretory organs such as liver, kidneys, intestine and skin and is particularly suitable for the drainage and purification of the blood. The presence of mucilages makes it excellent as an expectorant, an emollient of bronchial secretions and anti-tussient.

Rhubarb: a plant belonging to the Polygonaceae family, native to China. In phytotherapy, the roots are used, from which the following active constituents are extracted: anthraquinone glucosides, polyphenols, pectins and sennosides.

At low doses, these plant extracts are digestive, as they stimulate the secretion of gastric juices, excretion of bile from the liver and normal peristalsis of the digestive tract; whereas at high doses it is a laxative plant due to the presence of anthraquinone glucosides, which cause a reduced absorption of liquids at colon level, that tend to accumulate in the intestinal lumen, generating a laxative effect.

Among the plants containing anthraquinones, Rhubarb is the most tolerated one owing to the presence of polyphenols, with proven anti-inflammatory activity not to be found in other anthraquinone plants, while limiting side-effects which are, on the other hand, to be expected following intake of Senna, Frangula and Cascar. Rhubarb is recommended when other plants are no longer effective and it is better tolerated compared to Senna. Taken at ideal doses, it is therefore slightly laxative and moreover purifies the bile due to its essential actions which are choleretic and cholagogue, promoting bile flow and expelling bile waste material through the intestine: for this reason it is particularly active on irritative, inflamed and suppurative cutaneous affections.

Passiflora: a deciduous herbaceous plant native to the South-East area of the United States. Active ingredients are extracted from its flowers (alkaloids, harmala, passiflorine, apigenin, luteolin, quercetin, phytosterols, phenolic acids, coumarin, glycosides, cyanogenics, traces of essential oils, flavonoids, vitexin, isovitexin, saponaria, rutin, quercetin, etc.); among these, harmala alkaloids, together with flavonoids, have a spasmolytic action, mostly usable at bronchial level, whereas flavonoids (isovitexin) and coumarins (maltol) have a sedative action.

The plant’s activity is essentially sedative, antispasmodic, indicated in sleeping disorders and in case of anxiety, neurosis, distress; it stimulates physiological sleep without night awakenings or numbness in the morning; it proves useful for menopause disorders such as tachycardia, dyspnea, hot flashes, stress. It relaxes the smooth muscular tissues of the digestive tract and is therefore an excellent antispasmodic, beneficial for digestive processes. It is also indicated in cases of menstrual pain as it relaxes the muscles of the uterine wall and helps relieve pain. Passiflora carries out a beneficial action  on the central nervous system because of its mild soothing-sedative effect, without producting narcotic or depressive effects.

Therefore, for a general relaxing and antispasmodic, mildly hypnotic effect, its presence is essential to break the vicious circle caused by anxiety, present in subject affected by acne. Effects on the central nervous system are rapid and do not lead to undesired effects.

Vitamins A and E: these are beneficial vitamins for the skin, useful for their strengthening and nourishing action.

The ideal means to convey all these ingredients is a swallowable tablet.

  1. Local action in order to solve the problem, preventing the disorder from developing and evolving to reach the third stage, characterized by papules and pustules

Nature can help you with…

Grapefruit Seed Extract: GSE has proven to be particularly useful for its important, scientifically proven and recognized antibacterial and antiseptic properties for external use. At topic level it acts as an effective hygienisier, preventing and stopping bacterial phlogosis causing the development of pimples; it also “keeps sebum clean” avoiding inflammations and ensuring deep cleansing of the skin. All this takes place without being aggressive towards the epidermis and without causing erythemas and desquamations.  

Melaleuca: also called “Tea Tree”, this plant belongs to the Myrtyaceae family, growing in swampy regions in East Australia. From the distillation of its leaves Tea tree oil is obtained, the main ingredients of which are particularly beneficial for health purposes, namely: terpinen-4-ol, alpha-pinene, γ-Terpinene and eucalyptol. It is recognized as an eccellent, broad spectrum bactericide, active against bacteria, viruses and fungi, and is widely  employed to treat skin affections, abrasions, insect bites, scaldings and lice. It is furthermore an excellent disinfectant to hygienise mouth and teeth. On acneic skin it has shown marked disinfectant and cicatrizing action and its plant active principles have moreover proven as effective as benzoyl peroxide. It has good skin penetration properties and low irritating power.

Burdock: a bushy biennal plant belonging to the Asteraceae family, native to Europe, North America, Africa and North Asia. The plant’s roots, rich in elements (essential oil, inulin, mucilages, phytosterols and chlorogenic acid, antibiotic substances, calcium salts, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B) has been used for centuries in popular medicine, both in the West and in the East, as a detoxifying and hepatoprotective drug.

 It has an antibiotic effect, as well as being tonic for the liver, kidneys and lungs; it purifies blood, drains toxins and it cleanses the lymphatic system; it also has an antimycotic and antibacterial action. Recent studies have confirmed the undoubted usefulness of burdock as a detoxifier and anti-inflammatory, especially regarding treatment and well-being of the skin. Thanks to the presence of antibiotic substances, it exerts specific disinfectant and antiseptic action on certain pathogenic bacteria of the skin.

These plant active ingredients are best conveyed in a gel, available in a 50 ml bottle,  ideal for specific cosmetic treatment to handle the problem in a definitive way.

The association of the above-described ingredients, essential to ensure a definitive approach against acne, can be further supported by specific remedies indicated to:

 – ensure deep, yet delicate cleansing of the skin in order to prevent the appearance of pimples and blackheads, in association with cosmetic treatment: cleansing milk based on GSE, Melaleuca and Burdock.

Lifestyle

THE KEY TO THE RIGHT SOLUTION IS IN THE METHOD  

Since acne is a very complex disorder, as explained above, with deep-rooted causes and multiple factors contributing to its insurgence and causing cosmetic effects as well, a possible solution must necessarily provide for a method including specific rules related to lifestyle, together with integrative elements for both external an internal use.

Rules related to lifestyle:

-Never squeeze pimples: there is a risk that the infection will spread to other parts of the skin.

–  Wash the face with hot water: the heat will help free the skin from excess sebum.

– Expose skin to the sun with caution: sunlight can improve the condition of skin affected by acne, but it can also potentially dry the skin and sebaceous glands can produce more sebum in reaction.

-Avoid fast food: hamburgers, French fries, sweetened drinks and irregular meals are all arch enemies of the skin.

– Recommended foods: wholewheat cereals, olive oil, yogurt, fresh fruit and vegetables, proteins deriving from fish and lean meats.

– Drink plenty of still water so as to hydrate the skin.   

– Be careful in case of long hair: if not perfectly clean it can encourage bacterial infections.

Integrative elements for both external and internal use:

–  Do not use degreasing soaps as in reaction this causes a greater production of sebum. Use cleansing agents with acid pH and specifically devised for deep, yet delicate cleansing action.

– Avoid reaching the third stage, involving presence of papules and pustules, as this would entail having the face of the skin permanently marked by scars.

–  Integrate your diet with group A and E vitamins, which nourish and reinforce the skin.