The Importance of a Nutritional Treatment Approach for Acne
Posted by Judy Cheung-Wood on
Our skin is an outward sign of health
The skin is the largest organ of the body and can provide an indication of your underlying wellness and balance. It is made up of three layers that include the epidermis (outside layer), the dermis (middle layer) and the basal layer (inner layer). New skin cell development starts at the basal layer and moves towards the outer layer of skin, which takes approximately four weeks. For healthy skin cells to form, the right building blocks are required, so that the skin cells are adequately nourished<1>.
Nutrition is one of many factors required for the maintenance of overall skin health. An impaired nutritional status can alter the structural integrity and biological function of skin, resulting in skin abnormalities<2>.
There are many factors that can contribute to acne formation. Hormonal imbalance, the quality and quantity of sebum (the complex mixture of fats secreted from the skins sebaceous glands), stress, and bacteria (P.acnes), just to name a few. Our nutritional status can have an impact on all these factors<3>.
Key vitamins & minerals required for healthy skin
Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5) is essential for our ability to cope with stressful events, as it supports the adrenal glands in the making of hormones that counteract the stress response. It’s involved in the metabolism of fats and is required for the synthesis of steroid hormones<4>. This is important, because issues with metabolising fats may affect the sebum in the skin. In addition, stress in many forms poses as an aggravating factor in acne lesions<5>.
Zinc is extremely important for our skin. It’s important for normal skin renewal processes while being essential for wound healing<6>. Zinc is involved in the metabolism of androgen hormones and is an essential trace mineral that is a component in over 200 enzymes in the body. Our diets can often be lacking in this important mineral due to soil deficiencies<7>,<8>. Deficiencies in zinc can result in delayed wound healing, impaired immune function, and hormonal imbalances. Similarly, deficiencies in nutrients such as Vitamin A and Niacin (Vitamin B3), can result in skin and hormonal problems6. Folic acid deficiency can also produce changes in the skin<9>.
Folate (Vitamin B9) is essential for proper cell division, DNA synthesis, replication, and repair. This role is particularly important within skin, which when functioning properly is a proliferating tissue that depends upon a balance of growth and differentiation to maintain homeostasis. Adequate levels are required for the synthesis of new cells, which promotes the vital processes of skin turnover, barrier formation and wound healing<10>.
Silica is a component of collagen and is therefore essential for the strength and resilience of connective tissue is therefore required for the proper integrity of the skin<11>. Like Silica, Copper is important for connective tissue formation and is also involved in the production of elastin and collagen. Copper is also a component of the antioxidant Super Oxide Dismutase(SOD) and may, therefore, assist in protecting the body from the damaging effects of free radicals<12>. Biotin also contributes to the maintenance of normal skin<13>, with biotin deficiency resulting in a variety of skin complaints.
Other ingredients for skin health
The skin is composed of protein, water, and fat. Ensuring you are getting a good intake of the skins building blocks, is important for skin health.
Collagen represents a family of 28 different proteins, which account for 30% of the total protein mass in the human body and plays a pivotal role in the structure of several tissues, including the skin, providing rigidity and integrity<14>. Certain nutrients such as Silica and Copper are necessary for collagen formation within the body and preliminary evidence also suggests that consumption of hydrolyzed collagen may have beneficial effects in the skin. In a double-blind placebo-controlled trial of 69 healthy female adults, oral supplementation of collagen peptides was shown to improve skin elasticity, a statistically significant result when compared to placebo<15>.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), such as those found in fish oil and chia seeds, are necessary for skin function. Animal studies have provided a wealth of knowledge on the cutaneous consequences of EFA deficiency. Experimentally induced EFA deficiency has resulted in changes that have been shown to be similar in all species and have presented as follows<16>:
The epidermis becomes thin and discoloured, scaly and rough
The skins sebaceous glands increase in size
The viscosity of sebum (or oily secretion of the sebaceous glands) increases.
There is excess production of Keratin, a skin protein, in the sebaceous ducts (hyperkeratosis)
Skin capillaries become weakened
There is impaired or delayed healing of wounds, possibly as a result of defective collagen
There is increased water loss from the skin into the atmosphere via diffusion and evaporation (transepidermal water loss)
Spirulina is another ingredient often used for skin health, due to its high nutritional value. It includes proteins (55 – 70%), carbohydrates (15 – 25%), essential fatty acids (18%), vitamins, minerals and pigments like antioxidant carotenes, chlorophyll and phycocyanin<17>.
Vitex agnus-castus (Chaste tree) is a berry, traditionally used in herbal medicine for hormonal acne. In a controlled trial of 161 subjects with acne, 3 months of treatment with Chaste tree resulted in an improvement of 70% of patients, a result that was significantly better than placebo. The mechanism for the beneficial effect is unknown however it has been suggested that it may be due to a mild antiandrogenic effect<18>.
Treating underlying causes
If you have an underlying deficiency of key vitamins or minerals that are essential for skin and hormone health, treating the skin with creams and washes from the outside will never correct the underlying nutritional requirements for long-lasting effectiveness. SkinB5 has developed a specific formula that provides a therapeutic amount of essential nutrients required to correct deficiencies that may be seen in those with acne. SkinB5 has combined these nutrients in a tablet form to address imbalances from the inside, where skin problems often start. Taking a holistic approach, SkinB5 have also developed a moisture balancing cleanser and moisturiser to act on the skin from the outside in.
Psssst – don’t forget water!
Drinking water is extremely important for your skin to help keep it hydrated, assist the transport of nutrients around the body, including to the skin and to aid the transport and removal of toxins from the skin. If you are not sufficiently hydrated, your body may struggle to transport nutrients<19> and to remove toxins. Ensure that you stay hydrated so your body can get those vitamins and minerals where they’re needed and so that your skin can remain hydrated and cleansed from the inside!
<1> Fischer, K. The Healthy Skin Diet. Exisle Publishing Ltd. 2008
<2> Park, K. Role of Micronutrients in Skin Health and Function. Biomol Ther 23(3), 207-217 (2015)
<3> Dreno, B. What is new in the pathophysiology of acne, an overview. JEADV 2017, 31 (Suppl. 5), 8–12
<4> Braun L and Cohen M. Herbs and Natural Supplements An Evidence Based Guide, 4th ed. Elsevier Mosby
<5> Leung, LH. Stone that Kills two Birds: How Pantothenic Acid Unveils the Mysteries of Acne Vulgaris and Obesity. Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Vol. 12, No. 2, 1997
<6> National Institute of health Monographs. US Department of health and Human services. Zinc.
<7> Alloway, B.J. Soil factors associated with zinc deficiency in crops and humans. Environmental Geochemistry and Health. 2009, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 537–548
<8> Sharma, A et al. Zinc – An Indispensable Micronutrient. Physiol Mol Biol Plants 2013 19(1):11–20
<9> National Institute of Health. National Institute of health Monographs. US Department of Health and Human Services. Folate 2012
<10> Watson, RR & Zibadi, S. Bioactive Dietary Factors and Plant Extracts in Dermatology. Nutrition and Health. Humana Press. 2013
<11> GlobinMed. Global information hub on integrated medicine. Silica 2011
<12> Higdon, J. An Evidence-Based Approach to Vitamins and Minerals. Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc. pp. 116-122
<13> Health Canada. Multivitamin/Mineral Supplements Monograph. Biotin. 2016
<14> Borumand M, Sibilla S. Effects of a nutritional supplement containing collagen peptides on skin elasticity, hydration and wrinkles. J Med Nutr Nutraceut 2015;4:47-53
<15> Proksch E ey al. Oral supplementation of specific collagen peptides has beneficial effects on human skin physiology: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2014;27:47–55.
<16> Horrobin, DF. Essential Fatty Acids in Clinical Dermatology. J Am Acad Dermatol 1989;20:1045-53
<17> Sanchez, M et al. Spirulina (Arthrospira): An Edible Microorganism. A Review.
<18> Bone K. A Clinical Guide to Blending Liquid Herbs. Churchill Livingston. 2003
<19> Gropper, S and Smith, J, Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism, Wadsworth 6th Ed. 2013. pp.
Haley is a passionate Naturopath & nutrition expert, writer, and mum of 2 young children, with years of experience in the industry. She is a known as a real 'nutrition nerd' and follows the latest natural health research. As a Paleo and raw food enthusiast, she coaches people in healthy living, beauty and positive mindset. Haley has personally experienced the benefits of the SkinB5 natural acne treatment system and is happy to offer her guidance to help others regain clear skin. Follow her blog at www.aliveinwonderland.com & link with her on facebook at www.facebook.com/aliveinwonderlandhealth