Juvenile Acne

About the Disorder

Juvenile Acne is a very common skin problem which is much widespread among adolescents. According to certain studies, incidence of the problem reaches 85% of world population, if one considers adolescents aged between 15 and 18, with a definitely higher frequency in the Caucasian ethnic group.

It is actually impossible to pin down a one and only cause leading to the surfacing of this specific problem as there are surely different factors involved which, if neglected, generate the appearance and aggravation of the acne rash. The primary cause for the insurgence of acne is to be traced in the hormonal change taking place physiologically in every organism during puberty, a particular time of major transformations: during this phase, in fact, a great quantity of androgenous hormones  are produced by the adrenal glands as well as by male and female sexual  organs.

Presence in the blood circulation of such substances causes a number of changes involving the skin, too: in fact, adrogenous hormones are responsible for the transformtion of vestigial and pilisebaceous follicles, mainly at face and torso level.

In subjects who are susceptible to this kind of disorder, these areas of the body become the anatomical location where acne develops, since these individuals typically feature an excess of 5-α-reducatse, an enzyme responsible for the transformation of androgens in dihydrotestosterone (DHT), mainly responsible for the pathological evolution of acne; in addition, their cutaneous receptors present  higher sensitivity to androgenic stimulation.

Besides the several physiological modifications in the the whole organism, DHT also causes a remarkable modification of pilisebaceious follicles, both in terms of quality and quantity of sebum producedBy making the vestigial follicles of the face and back mature and become pilisebaceous follicles, it triggers a sebaceous hypersecretion in predisposed subjects. Excess sebo obstructs cutaneous pores and, being rich in free fatty acids, it causes skin irritations.

All these modifications at cutaneous level lead to:

  • ductal hyperkeratosis: once irritated by DHT and by free fatty acids, keratinocytes covering the duct proliferate excessively, thereby causing increased cellular cohesion that hinders the spontaneous emptying of pores. This causes the formation of comedones, simple acne lesions that easily evolve into more complex lesions. Comedones are defined as “open” (or blackheads) if the duct has not been entirely obstructed, or “closed” (white dots) if, on the contrary, the duct gets completely obstructed by sebaceous hypersecretion.
  • hyperseborrhea: sebaceous glands produce more sebum following an ongoing irritation, generating the formation of comedones;
  • colonisation and activity of Propionibacterium acnes: lack of oxygen inside comedones encourages the proliferation of anaerobic microorganisms; among these, P. acnes stands out: a bacterium causing strong irritation and which favours the pathological process of acne, owing to its capacity to split sebum triglycerides, thereby releasing fatty acids with a strong irritant power.
  • follicular and perifollicular inflammation: a consequence of infection from P. acnes.

Besides these triggering factors, there are additionally predisposing factors contributing to aggravate the problem of juvenile acne, which go beyond the typical hormonal variations of the age-group and that are instead related to the particular lifestyle adopted, with special reference to foodstuffs consumed every day.

Excessive consumption of sugars, refined carbohydrates, preserved food and animal proteins, in association with drug abuse (antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, contraceptives, etc.), leads to imbalance of the physiological bacterial flora protecting the intestine (dysbiosis); pathogenic and opportunistic bacteria proliferate disproportionately, with resulting putrefaction and fermentation at intestinal level, encouraging the pathogenesis of acne.

The unhealthy intestinal “ground” moreover induces the production of a great quantity of toxic substances released into the bloodstream; systemic toxemia results in skin rashes, aggravating the problem of acne.

Moreover, “lifeless” diets rich in saturated fats, sugars, preserved and refined foods, undermine the efficiency of the digestive tract day by day. In particular, the pancreas, forced to overwork, is penalized in all its functions, with ensuing digestive difficulties; the increase of insulin/IGF-1 stimulates the production of androgen and contributes to the insurgence of acne.

A further negative impact on the skin is also caused by an insufficient intake of ω3-ω6 fatty acids, often resulting from diets prioritizing saturated fats, as well as of A, E, group B vitamins and minerals. Last but not least, a negative influence on the development of juvenile acne also comes from a certain unease in the growth process, often a source of great stress for adolescents, exacerbated by the fear of appearing in public and not being accepted.

As is well known, stress stimulates the adernal glands to produce not only cortisone and adrenalin (the body’s hormonal response to stress) but also androgens, directly connected to the onset of acne.

Treatment of juvenile acne with conventional medicine   

Conventional medicine treats juvenile acne as a real pathology and approaches the problem in three different ways: eith with an antibiotic or keratolytic therapy, or else resorting to hormonal therapy. Antibiotic therapy is aimed to placate the proliferation of P.acnes in order to reduce the inflammatory state at skin level.

It is mainly recommended for mild or moderate types of acne and can be effected both systemically and topically. Antibiotics taken orally are surely more effective compared to those applied locally, which act slowly and therefore easily cause the insurgence of bacterial resistance, jeopardizing the efficacy of the treatment itself. In both cases – both systemic and local therapies, antibiotics cause a number of side-effects, ranging from bacterial resistance to photosensitization and in case of systemic therapies possible effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.

A vicious circle is thereby triggered off, causing impoverishment of the physiological intestinal flora (intestinal dysbiosis) and the insurgence of bacterial resistance, which favours the onset of further infections.  Keratolytic therapy, instead, consists in accelerating the turnover of skin cells so as to remove accumulations of sebum and pus obstructing the sebaceous glands.

This therapy is often associated with antibiotic therapy, and in this case systemic side-effects add on to local side-effects, such as irritations, itching and cutaneous dryness. Finally, hormonal therapy is prescribed to all subjects experiencing dysfunctions at the level of the endocrine organs, a rare event in cases of juvenile acne.

Hormonal therapy, however, does not ensure a definitive solution to the problem, either, since its benefits are limited to the treatment period and are often not consistent over time. This can moreover seriously undermine functioning of the endocrine system. Hence, to avoid lengthy therapies, which are both ineffective and full of potential side-effects, it is necessary to resort to a remedy that proves to be both effective and free from side-effects. Also in the case of juvenile acne, Nature can offer valuable help thanks to the extraordinary, selective antibiotic action of Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE).

 Nature can help you solve the problem of juvenile acne

Our Approach

A natural and effective approach

Juvenile acne is a problem primarily caused by a hormonal change typical of puberty, determining a number of transformations involving the skin, as well, such as vestigial follicules turning into pilosebacious follicules, particularly at face and torso level; additionally, there is an increased production of sebum and a change in its composition, as it becomes enriched with free fatty acids which are irritants for the skin.

Moreover, several factors contribute to the problem, connected to the particular lifestyle adopted (nutritional lifestyle and stress factors), which influence the triggering off and progression of the disorder. Hence, it is  necessary to take action with specific natural products, both at systemic and at local level, so as to uproot all the causes leading to this affection.

GSE and juvenile acne

Regarding the 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 an extremely valuable aid in solving the problem of juvenile acne.

Given the above considerations, GSE therefore represents the cornerstone of a really effective and complete approach to handle the problem of acne, that provides for the following:

1) Systemic action, contrasting genetic, hormonal, intestinal and anxiogenic factors representing causes and concauses of the problem of acne;

 

2) Local action on the skin with a treatment formulated to regulate androgenic activity and production of sebum in the area affected; contrasting P.acnes in a specific way, by carrying out a delicately exfoliating, keratolytic action, tightening dilated pores, while reducing acneic lesion and promoting cicatrisation; 

3) Cleanse the skin using a specific product capable of exerting antimicrobial and purifying action, while fully respecting the hydrolipidic film.

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 anxiogenic factors representing causes and concauses of the problem of acne

Nature can help you with…

Grapefruit Seed Extract : GSE is a valuable aid, thanks to its important, scientifically proven and acknowledged broad spectrum antibacterial and antiseptic properties. At systemic level, it destroys pathogenic microorganisms responsible for spreading toxins inside the organism and triggering acne and skin impurities (it is a well-known fact that toxins alter hormonal balance).

At the same time, it maintains the intestine’s bacterial flora in good health, helping it to carry out its purifying and protective role.

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 that is capable of inhibiting the activity of  sweat glands,by  acting on nerve endings.

Sage essential oil offers an antiseptic/antimicrobial action, mainly owing to thujone and cineol terpenes and it 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 an emmenagogue as well, in that is regulates the menstrual flux and is useful in calming 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 rhizomes 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 being an effective antimicrobial against several bacteria and 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; as an antiseborrhoeic, 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, out of 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, causing reduced absorption of liquids at colon level that tend to accumulate in the intestinal lumen, generating a laxative effect.

 Among  plants containing anthraquinones, Rhubarb is the most tolerated one owing to the presence of polyphenols, with its 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 is better tolerated compared to Senna. Taken at ideal doses, it is therefore slightly laxative and it 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, exert a spasmolytic action, mostly usable at bronchial level, whereas flavonoids (isovitexin) and coumarins (maltol) provide a sedative action.

The plant’s activity is essentially sedative, antispasmodic, indicated in sleeping disorders and in case of anxiety, neurosis and 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, typical of subjects 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 on the skin with a treatment formulated to regulate androgenic activity and production of sebum in the area affected; contrasting P.acnes in a specific way, by carrying out a delicately exfoliating, keratolytic action, tightening dilated pores, reducing acneic lesion and promoting cicatrisation;

Nature can help you with…

Grapefruit Seed Extract: Grapefruit Seed Extract, well-known for its broad spectrum antimicrobial properties, has proven to be effective also against P. acnes, which colonises acneic lesions. Including GSE in a topical remedy aimed at solving the problem of acne is therefore essential to ensure selective disinfection of the skin, while fully respecting physiological flora.

Usnea barbata:   a lichen also referred to as “old man’s beard”, it is known to have excellent antiviral and antibiotic power and has recently been tested also tested on P. acnes. Certain studies on the efficacy of this lichen for topical use against this specific disorder have shown a remarkable increase of activities in association with the phytocomplex of Hypericum.

Hypericum: an officinal plant of the Hypericum genus, also called St. John’s wort, its essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties for the skin, a fact which has been well- known as far back as the Middle Ages, when oily extracts of this plant were used to soothe and reduce inflammatory conditions of skin featuring reddening and scars. These specific activites are attributable to the significant presence of flavonoids in the phytocomplex.

Calendula officinalis: the herbalist tradition has handed down its use for topical preparations aimed at the resolution of cutaneous and non cutaneous inflammations. Today, modern phytotherapy recognizes the soothing and anti-inflammatory activity of the calendula phytocomples, as well as its being a stimulant of tissue regeneration, mainly due to the presence of triterpene glycosides.

Cucurbita pepo: pumpkin seeds, rich in essential fatty acids, have shown extraordinary efficacy in the treatment of acneic lesions. Their recognized anti-androgenic, anti-inflammatory properties together with their activity in regulating the production of sebum greatly improve the skin’s aspect, reducing the typical “shiny effect”.

Marsdenia condurango: the bark of this tree of tropical origin presents a phytocomplex that is rich in tannins, providing it with a marked astringent activity, particularly useful in “closing” pores dilated by sebum. It moreover adds a cicatrizing and reepithelising property, stimulating the reparative process of the cutaneous tissue.

These vegetable functionals can easily be conveyed in a cream, ideal for morning treatment.

Nature can help you with…

Estratto di semi di Pompelmo: Grapefruit Seed Extract, well-known for its broad spectrum antimicrobial properties, has proven to be effective also against P. acnes, which colonises acneic lesions. Including GSE in a topical remedy aimed at solving the problem of acne is therefore essential to ensure selective disinfection of the skin, while fully respecting physiological flora.

Krameria trianda (Rhatany): a plant well known for its astringent properties, it has recently been tested as an antimicrobial, yielding excellent results: in fact the lipophilic extract of Rhatany has proven to be effective on several bacterial strains responsible for the infection of acneic lesions, reducing their presence on the skin by 50% in only one week.

Salvia sclarea: a herbaceous, fragrant plant belonging to the Lamiaceae family, with recognised extrogen-like activity, besided being relaxing and mildly sedative, necessary in case of extrogen-like action required to rebalance hormonal activity.

Serenoa repens: the phytocomplex of this dwarf palm has proven to be effective in inhibiting 5α-reductase, an enzyme that generates hydrotestosterone, responsible for the appearance of acne.

Centella asiatica: the phytocomplex of this officinal plant belongs to the family of Apiaceae and has been one of the most studied plants during the past decade: its being particularly rich in active ingredients makes the plant well recognized for its health properties, particularly related to its anti-inflammatory activity.

Among its main constituents is the family of asiaticosides, triterpenes showing such activity in vivo and in vitro, besides an anti-reddening and reepithelising activity, surely useful in case of acne.

Azelaic acid: extracted from vegetable sources, it has shown keratolytic properties in several in vitro and in vivo studies, ideal for the treatment of acneic acid. In addition, it has been proven that this substances reduces sebaceous secretions, while exerting antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activites at the same time.

Hibiscus (Hybiscus sabdariffa): a tropical flower of the Malvaceae family, it is rich in pyruvic acid, used in skin disorders. Its actions are mainly focused at epidermic level, where it carries out a keratolytic action, reducing the adherence between keratinocytes and therefore of skin thickness; at dermis level it stimulates the formation of collagen, glycoproteins and elastic fibres. Moreover, hibiscus exerts an anti-inflammatory and soothing activity.

These plant ingredients are easily conveyed in a cream which is ideal for evening treatment.

  1. Cleanse the skin using a specific product capable of exerting antimicrobial and purifying action, while fully respecting the hydrolipidic film.

Nature can help you with…

Grapefruit Seed Extract: recognised as a natural antimicrobial par excellence. It has proven to be active against countless bacterial strains, among which P. acnes, and can therefore be defined as the ideal antimicrobial to contrast infections from acneic lesions.

Burdock (Arctium lappa): mentioned in the “Herbarium Apulei”, Burdoch has been employed since ancient times as a remedy to solve several problems. Modern phytotherapy recognizes its marked antimicrobial activity, attributable to the presence of different sesquiterpene lactones in the phytocomplex. Moreover, its purifying properties are beneficial for topical use; the diaphoretic activity of the phytocomplex encourages purification of the pores, therefore particularly useful in the treatment of acne.

Melaleuca alternifolia: the oil extracted from this plant, better known under the name of Tea Tree Oil, has proven antiseptic properties on a vast range of bacterial and fungal strains. In particular, its use as a cutaneous antimicrobial has shown great efficacy in different disorders, among which acne.

These plant ingredients are conveyed in a cleansing milk that is free from aggressive excipients, enriched by the presence of olive oil and glycerine of plant origin.

Lifestyle

NUTRITIONAL LIFESTYLE PLAYS A KEY ROLE

Acne is not only a consequence of hormonal changes linked to adolescence, but is also influenced by nutritional lifestyle. In order to handle the problem in a definitive way it is necessary to act at both systemic and local level using the plant extracts described above, as well as modifying nutritional lifestyles that are often not ideal among youngsters. Here follows a concise indication of essential nutritional advice, recommended for at least 3 months:

FOODS TO AVOID

  • Simple sugars (white sugar, glucose, sucrose, lactose), snacks, biscuits.
    • Chocolate
    • Milk and dairy products (icecream, cheese, cream, butter, etc.)
    • Pork, salamis, sausage products, lard
    • Poultry and semi-intensive eggs
    • Farm fish
    • Packed foods, sauces, mayonnaise, ketchup, ready made sauces
    • Fast food (French fries, hamburgers, hot-dog, kebab, ecc.)
    • Industrial drinks, beer and alcohol

FOODS TO BE CONSUMED WITH CAUTION

  • Refined carbohydrates (white bread, pasta, glazed rice)
    • Whole cane sugar, organic honey
    • Beef and veal (possibly organic)
    • Organic eggs

RECOMMENDED FOODS

  • Seasonal raw fruit and vegetables
    • Nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, oleagenous seeds (sunflower, linseed, sesame, pumpkin, etc.), olives, avocado
    • Soy yoghurt, plant milk (soy, oats, rice, etc.)
    • Complex carbohydrates (bread, pasta, crackers, etc. based on wholewheat cereals such as kamut, spelt, etc.) and brown rice
    • Legumes (peas, lentils, chickpeas, etc.)
    • Open sea fish, organic white meat
    • Foods based on plant proteins (tofu, seitan, ecc.)
    • Sugar free infusions and freshly squeezed citrus juices
    • Blended fresh fruit and vegetable drinks

WATER

Drink at least two litres of water daily and away from meals, at ambient temperature, choosing water with fixed residue levels below 50 mg/L and with pH lying between 6 and 7.

GENERAL ADVICE

Do not squeeze pimples or blackheads to avoid in-depth spreading of germs, which would aggravate the infection. Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun as this further stimulates the activity of sebaceous glands and thickens the outermost layer of the epidermis.

Avoid long hair in front of the face, as it can create a hot and humid environment which encourages microbial proliferation. Avoid use of medicines unless strictly necessary (in particular, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, contraceptives). Practise sport regularly. Avoid anxiety and stress as much as possible.