What Causes Acne?
Acne is a chronic inflammatory skin condition, characterized by whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, nodules, and cysts. These occur when hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells, bacteria, and oil. Eruptions can be located on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. More aggressive types of acne lesions such as Acne Inversa, can be found in underarms, cleavage, inner thighs and buttocks.
For many years it was believed that overactive sebaceous glands were the primary cause of acne, however, new research and studies now show it is inflammation that is the main issue behind acne. Moreover, inflammation is the foundation of acne and can be present in the skin even before a break out occurs.
Of course, P. acnes bacteria play a part in acne, yet, it is this initial inflammation that helps to kick start the bacteria colonization in the pore. This lethal combination has the ability to alter the oxygen tension in the pore and soon creates the perfect environment for acne causing bacteria to multiply. However, some studies show that regardless of the type of acne, P. acnes bacteria is not required for the development of inflammation in some acne lesions
There are several other major factors, which should never be overlooked and are just as important, such as genetics, hormones, emotional stress, and diet which definitely contribute to acne well.
For example, high glycemic foods such as bread, tortillas, and pasta can spike insulin levels leading to increased oil production in pores and excess skin cell turnover. And this is just the tip of the iceberg!
Inflammation can be quickly reduced through simple dietary changes, specific antioxidant supplementation and the use of a very effective acne fighting product line that prevents the buildup of dead skin cells, bacteria and oil production in the pores. It’s called the Clear Path Program.
How is the Clear Path Program Different from Other Acne Management Programs I Have Tried Before?
A majority of our clients have suffered and struggled with acne for a big part of their lives. They have tried a variety of antibiotics, topical prescriptions, and laser treatments. Many were so desperate to get clear skin, they took their chances with Accutane - often resulting in disabling, long term side effects. Even more so, the acne returned within a few months to a couple years.
What's the difference? The Clear Path Program isn't a costly Band-Aid. It is based on removing the root cause of acne, not subduing side effects. Think of it as, 'where science meets common sense,' because that is what it comes down to. It's simple, remove the reasons 'why' you are breaking out and clear skin can be achieved fast.
The Clear Path Program is much more than just a product line. You will learn step by step how to manage acne for life with the Clear Skin Diet, making a few lifestyle changes and utilizing products that are customized to your type of skin, and stage of acne. We offer a 98% success rate, and provide you with the education, tools, guidance, and support you need to finally achieve clear skin. You will quickly become your own Acne Specialist and learn how to rely on yourself. With the Clear Path Program, there are no ‘one-size-fits-all’ options.
Once we determine the best products for you, you will learn how to use them in a very specific way that is quite different from other systems. With our easy to use step-up system, acne doesn't have a chance. We make sure your skin does not plateau and stop responding to the home-care regimen. That's why we require frequent check-ins and communication with you to make sure your program is on track. Acne is a tricky inflammatory disease that requires close monitoring initially, and we are your partner in that process.
Can the Clear Path Program Help with Hormonal Acne?
Hormonal acne essentially means excess oil in the pores. Many of our clients once believed they were doomed to live with acne because it was labeled as 'hormonal acne.' In fact, a majority of them were given drugs like Spironolactone in order to reduce oil production in the pores. However, not only does it carry a Black Box warning from the FDA for possible tumor development, it also lowers your natural testosterone levels leading to depression, fatigue, low libido, and other unwanted side effects. The good news is, you don't even need it. You will learn how to control oil production by removing specific oil producing foods from your diet, and by utilizing the Clear Path Products you can immediately reduce oil in your pores as well.
The Clear Path Program will teach you step by step, how to control hormonal acne quickly and effectively.
I Was Given a Birth Control Method that Was Supposed to Help My Acne – But it Made it Much Worse – Why?
At the ABQ Acne Clinic, we have many clients who had been given a form of birth control with the intent to help clear acne. However, the problem is, most dermatologists, (including many gynecologists), are unaware that low estrogen birth control methods actually stimulate and increase oil production in the pores leading often to severe, cystic acne.
This also includes hormone free IUDs like Paragaurd. It's true it does not contain hormones; however, the problem is, it has a copper tip that has the ability to aggravate acne. So, every 3 - 4 weeks or so, a new breakout occurs creating new blemishes, while feeding the current ones.
The bottom line is, you do not need birth control to clear acne. It is a factor, either it aggravates acne or it doesn't. With the Clear Path Program, you will learn exactly which methods are truly acne safe and all of the ones that are not.
Proactiv / Rodan & Fields, Did Not Help Clear My Acne - Why?
These are simple product lines that can clear a couple blemishes and that is why it works for some people. But they are not strong enough for people with more than a few blemishes. Additionally, the skin often adapts to the regimen and stops responding. For most people, they seem to work nicely for about three weeks or so, and then it typically stops working.
This is a typical ‘one-size-fits-all’ acne regimen, and the potency of the products tend to be weak, which means it would not be strong enough to actually clear the skin completely. It can only reach a certain point and then stops.
If you have more than a couple blemishes, then you need potent anti-bacterial products and powerful exfoliants used in a very strategic way to get your acne fully under control. This is why you need a system and guidance to show you step by step what to do.
Without the proper guidance, you could experience dry, irritated, flaky skin because the products you are using are too strong for your skin type.
You could also experience continuous breakouts because your products are not strong enough to control your acne.
Even so, it is always important to remember that products alone do not get you clear. It is crucial to learn which foods in your diet have been ‘feeding’ your acne, including some of the ‘healthy ones.’
The Dermatologist Prescribed Me Antibiotics and My Acne Got a Little Better, But Then it Came Back Even Worse. What happened?
Antibiotics work by subduing a portion of the bacteria, and it does nothing to unclog your pores. This is a key point to be aware of. Acne is not just a bacterial issue, you must address the pores clogged with dead skin cells, and decrease inflammation.
Now, because some of the bacteria are reduced by the antibiotics, your acne may subside to a certain degree. But it will come back, often with a vengeance once you stop the medication because the bacteria that survived will breed a population of bacteria which is stronger and more resistant to the antibiotics and your pores are still clogged, and you have high inflammation so the conditions remain conducive for acne to return.
Additionally, we have had many clients over the years suffer from numerous side effects when taking antibiotics long term for acne. Not only does it kill the ‘good bacteria,’ found in the digestive tract leading to disturbances in the gut microflora, which allows Candida to colonize the digestive tract, it also increases inflammation in the body leading to more acne breakouts.
Interestingly, Europe has caught on to the detrimental side effects of prescribing long-term antibiotic treatment for acne. In fact, in some countries it is considered malpractice and a physician could lose their medical license for such actions.
My Dermatologist Told Me 'Diet Has Nothing to Do with Acne.'
It is a fact that foods play a major part in contributing to acne. The reality is, dermatologists, acquire very limited amount of nutritional training and really are unaware of the vast majority of foods that trigger acne. In fact, most were taught in medical school there is no connection between diet and acne based on a highly faulty study performed over 50 years ago!
I am referring to the infamous, poorly controlled ‘Chocolate Study,’ conducted by Dr. James Fulton and sponsored by the Chocolate Manufacturers Association.
In the study, each participant was instructed to eat one candy bar a day (one contained chocolate, the other did not) and each received the exact amount of calories, fat, and sugar content. This went on for several weeks. At the end of the study, the blemishes on each of their faces were counted to determine the results. The study suggests – but does not prove- that chocolate alone does not cause acne. The study, however, does not touch on the sugar, and fat content.
Among the numerous errors in this study, one, in particular, is quite blatant. The test completely failed to isolate chocolate from its other main ingredient, sugar. No other foods were tested, the only focus was on whether chocolate affects acne or not.
Another key fault in this study is that many of the participants had acne in the beginning of the trial and continued to have acne at the end of the trial. The correlation to the chocolate was only considered if the participant had more blemishes at the end of the study, but failed to correlate to feeding the existing acne. Many of the participants also were not acne prone, which is one reason why this study has been discredited. And with these results, it was determined that foods, in general, do not influence the health of the skin. This study has become the cornerstone in the world of dermatology--for several decades.
With the Clear Path Program, you will learn all the facts and the truth about the relationship between diet and acne. This program is about education and empowerment.
My Dermatologist Prescribed Me Topical Prescriptions and it Made My Acne Worse. Why?
Topical prescriptions like Retin A Cream, and Tretinoin actually contain a pore clogging ingredient called Isopropyl Myristate. According to the comedogenic scale, based on a 0-5 rating, this determines to what degree an ingredient can clog the pores. And Isopropyl Myristate is rated a 5.
Of course, 5 is the worse. Obviously, this is not the best ingredient to have in an acne medication because it triggers more acne rather than actually clearing the skin. How does this happen? Pore clogging ingredients consist of tiny, sticky, molecules that are able to penetrate deep into the pore and mat up with dead skin cells. It’s as simple as that.
Now that you are applying a pore clogging topical prescription to your skin, not only will your skin feel irritated and dry, you could also experience new breakouts. In fact, most dermatologists will say that your skin will 'get worse before it gets better.' Of course, it rarely 'gets better,' instead, it supports acne. Does your dermatologist know about this pore clogging ingredient? Most likely not.
Nothing Has Worked to Clear My Acne, and My Dermatologist is Now Suggesting Accutane – What’s That?
Accutane is a chemotherapy drug, and the commercial name for Isotretinoin, which causes your body to shut down the production of sebum (the oil that's found in your pores). It is a very dangerous drug which can cause birth defects, diabetes, low white/red blood count which can lead to infections and anemia, including heart/liver damage, chronic IBS, and the list goes on from there.
Consequently, women of childbearing age must be on two forms of birth control and monitored regularly by a physician. Even more shocking, a vast majority of female acne sufferers who are given Accutane to fight acne, are also given a low estrogen birth control method - which actually increases oil production in the pores leading to severe breakouts once they stop taking Accutane - thus, creating a new cycle all over again.
This does include ‘no hormone,’ IUDs such as Paragaurd as well. Will your dermatologist or gynecologist know this? Most likely not.
If you are reading this, and are currently taking Accutane and a birth control method, check it for yourself. If your method offers 30mg of estrogen and under, you are on the cyclical acne churning wheel of taking a medication to eliminate acne, yet your birth control is creating acne.
When you are taking Accutane, you may not be aware, but during your monthly doctor visit, they are looking for signs of depression, which is also extremely common. In fact, the FDA gives Accutane a Black Box warning. Studies have shown that it deteriorates up to 21% of the prefrontal cortex - leading to severe depression and has been attributed to well over 7,000 suicides.
Aside from depression, many Accutane users have experienced a mild to a debilitating condition called Anhedonia, which eliminates the ability to feel pleasure, joy, or happiness in one’s life. This condition can often be felt while taking a course of Accutane, however, studies show it can become increasingly worse once an individual has stopped the drug.
If that is not disturbing enough, sexual dysfunction in young adults is now connected to Accutane as a potential side effect. Males can experience erectile dysfunction, impotence, loss of libido, genital anesthesia, anorgasmia, and more.
Females can experience loss of libido, painful intercourse, vaginal dryness, anorgasmia, genital anesthesia, altered or loss of menses and infertility. For both males and females, symptoms could resolve over time, yet, for many they do not.
Initially, this was anecdotal most likely due to many individuals feeling embarrassed to report such side effects. Additionally, it can become a battle in the doctor’s office when someone is explaining their sexual side effects from the use of Accutane, when these issues are not listed on the manufacturer’s product information. Even so, now there are studies available to confirm this correlation. The question is, how long will it take for the manufacturer to acknowledge and add this to its list of side effects? My guess is a very long time.
In our experience at the ABQ Skin Care & Acne Clinic, the bottom line is this; a majority of our clients who have taken Accutane in the past, experienced the reoccurrence of acne anywhere from a few months to a couple years after stopping the medication. Why? Because the client was still unknowingly feeding acne, using the wrong birth control, and following the same daily habits which ends up triggering it all over again.
Why Does My Acne Get Worse Sometimes?
This can depend on many factors such as, an increase in inflammation, consuming acne triggering foods, chronic stress, using the wrong hair products, (including not washing your hair often enough), pore clogging cosmetics, hormonal fluctuations often due to menses, touching your face, etc. Once you understand all of the acne triggering sources in your life, you will be able to maintain long term clear skin. The Clear Path Program will show you step by step how to do this.
What if My Skin is Very Sensitive?
We have lots of clients with very sensitive skin. We will only give you treatments and skin care products that are right for your skin. We have numerous products and treatments to choose from to work with all skin types and stages of acne.
Will I Always be Fighting Acne?
You may need to manage your acne for many years to come. Some individuals may experience a ‘burn out’ in the pore, which simply means, the pore in no longer aggravated, but this tends to be a genetic propensity, however, you will not ever know if you are prone to this, until if/or when it does happen. Even so, clients who have been following the Clear Path Program for years, continue to feel energetic and healthy because they are following a low inflammation diet. Remember, at the foundation of all disease is inflammation.
Additionally, with the Clear Path Program, you can experience incredibly clear, vibrant skin and be able to maintain these results for life.