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Diets as Sexy as Skincare Products
When you search for natural remedies for acne, what comes to mind first are probably natural skincare products, or different types of home-made masks. But it should be more than that. To me, the word “natural” also means providing an environment that allows different systems inside the body to function at their optimal state. When the body systems are at their peak performance, our skin will naturally take care of itself, as said in Traditional Chinese Medicine’s teaching that our different body parts are closely interrelated.
Food, which serves as fuels to our body, is as effective in providing treatments to skin conditions. In fact, it can be more effective, as food offers solutions to cure acne naturally from the root level and reveal our glow. Here are some interesting quotes from WedMD:
“If you’re like most folks, the first place you look for skin care products is a drug or department store. But the latest beauty science buzz says that when it comes to healthy skin, those in the know are spending almost as much time shopping the supermarket shelves as the beauty aisles.”
Don’t worry. I am not an extremist that believe only in one thing. I also believe in the power of natural skincare products. I am only here to say a few words for “diets” and hopefully bring more of your attention to them. While you are on your way to restoring your radiant skin (otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this post), “diets” truly deserve your time and energy!
As I am reading the book The Clear Skin Diet by Alan Logan and Valori Treloar these days, I think that it’d be nice to share with you some interesting findings in the book regarding the relationship between diets and the skin.
Myths and Truths behind Acne-Diet Connection
- “My doctor told me there is zero connection between acne and diets.”
According to The Clear Skin Diet, dermatology has been influenced by the dramatic and profitable growth of the pharmaceutical industry, an importance source for funding medical research, postgraduate training and continuing medical education over the past few decades. In the February 2007 issue of the Archives of Dermatology, there are 74 pages of pharmaceutical ads, 85 pages of scientific papers, and an additional 12 pages of nondrug ads. From the numbers, you see the marketing power driven by the pharmaceutical industry. The result is that dermatologists tend to consider writing prescriptions for your skin conditions as the solution.
- “Scientific research has shown no connection in between.”
The conclusion of zero connection between what we eat and our skin conditions was actually based on two ill-designed studies using chocolate bars in 1970s:
In the first study in 1969, for one month the effect of chocolate liquor (or cacao paste) on the skin was compared to the effect of “placebo” bar which was considered to be “healthy”. The conclusion was that the intake of chocolate did not influence the course of acne over a month relative to the placebo, when, in fact, two areas that was brought to attention later on: the first one was that the placebo itself contained unhealthy trans fats; the second was that the timeframe chosen to observe physical changes was too short to tell the outcome.
In a following study in 1971, 27 students were asked to consume either chocolate, milk, cola or peanuts. The conclusion of there being no connection between diets and acne was not convincing because the sample size was too small, because there was not any control group with which to compared the students, and because there was not background research of students’ baseline diets, which can be an influence to the outcome.
- Three New Studies
The first study was led by Dr. Loren Cordain and his international team of physicians and scientists. They examined two communities (i.e. Kitavan Islanders of Papua New Guinea and the Ache community of Paraguay) that still remain untouched by Western dietary influences. Geographically separated by 10 thousand miles, both communities share a common link of consuming non-processed, locally caught or cultivated foods such as fish, nuts, roots, fruits and coconuts. During the study, not a single case of acne was reported during the sample the team chose; and the same ethnic group living in urban settings and eating a Westernized diet do experience acne.
The second study was conducted by Harvard School of Public Health; and it opened the door to further understand the acne-diet connection was that diary consumption (especially milk) can cause acne. Interestingly enough, this result is actually in complete support with what has already been reported over the last half century. For example, dermatologist Jerome Fisher conducted a research in 1966 based on more than one thousand patients followed over a decade; and concluded that milk is a principle villain when it comes to acne (as I am writing this, I feel so not surprised!).
The next one was a long-awaited controlled clinical trial which took three months to examine elements of the diet in a proper, controlled fashion. The result was that: the diet intervention group (who consumed lean meats, poultry fish, whole grains, and whole fruits) had total lesion counts significantly less than the control group (who were on a diet low in simple carbohydrates, higher in fiber and protein, higher in polyunsaturated fat, and lower in saturated fats). The former group also reported reduced levels of acne-promoting androgens (male hormones), and more of the insulin-like grown factor binding protein that can hold onto the hormones and prevent them from causing acne. The result was then published in Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in 2007.
After finishing this chapter in The Clear Skin Diet (this is Chapter 2, in case you are wondering), I have learned that it is very important for us to go beyond marketing hypes, think critically, and do our own research to find out what really works. If all fails, we can always start our own mini experiments in a safe environment to see what works, just like what I am doing in Tracy’s Health Lab ; )
What about you? Any thoughts or ideas you would like to share with me? What is your take on diets as a form of natural remedies for acne? Please comment below!