A 2004 study published in the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine found that increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids reduced acne lesions when combined with a low glycemic diet (meaning little to no white flour). Acne sufferers should switch to a diet low in sugar and white flour and high in fish, nuts and whole grains.
Like everything else, even too much good fat can be a bad thing. The USDA recommends that total fat intake remains between 20 and 35 percent of total caloric intake. That’s between 400 and 700 calories based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet. Just 10 percent of those calories should come from saturated fats found in meat and dairy products. The remaining fats should come from healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids.
Types of Food
Omega-3’s are found in fish like salmon, trout, tuna and herring. The American Heart Association recommends eating a 3.5 oz. serving of fish at least two times per week. Nuts are another great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Try topping salads with almonds or walnuts, or just grab a handful as a healthy snack between meals.
Children and pregnant women are advised to avoid fish that is exceptionally high in mercury such as swordfish and king mackerel. Talk to an obstetrician or pediatrician about how much and which types of fish are safe to consume on a regular basis.
Other individuals concerned with mercury contamination should consume green or black tea with their fish. Muscle and Fitness Magazine reported in its April 2010 issue that black and green teas reduced mercury absorption by as much as 92 percent. Their reporting comes from a study conducted at Purdue University where participants were given tea along with mercury-contaminated mackerel. Unfortunately, green tea and caffeine are not advised for pregnant women, so this is not a good option for them.
Omega-3 supplements are available in a variety of forms including krill oil, cod liver oil, fish oil and flaxseed. They are a great substitute for people who are allergic to fish or who simply aren’t getting enough in their diet. Try talking to a health care provider about which type of supplement to take and how much to consume.
Abscesses & Acne
Acne is the most common skin condition seen in the United States, with more than 40 million Americans estimated as currently having issues with acne, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. However, the severity of acne can vary widely, with some individuals only experiencing mild comedones and others developing more serious cases of inflammatory acne. In some cases, the inflammation associated with more severe cases can develop abscesses on the skin, which can cause permanent damage to the tissue if not treated before the abscess ruptures.
Severe acne that can result in an abscess starts with a mild form of acne called a comedone, more commonly referred to as blackheads or whiteheads. A comedone forms when natural sebum oil from your sebacious glands mixes with dead skin cells to form a small plug in the pores. When the plug forms toward the surface, it’s exposed to oxygen and turns black, hence the name blackhead. When the comedone forms deeper in the pore no oxygen is present, so the comedone looks more like a white spot on the skin.
Acne plugs create the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. One bacteria in particular, known as Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes, especially thrives beneath an acne plug. As the bacteria multiplies an infection occurs, resulting in an immune response by your body. This response causes inflammation to develop in the affected comedone, leading to inflammatory acne like papules or pustules, more commonly known as pimples.
An abscess occurs when swelling develops within the tissue of your skin, which results in the accumulation of pus. As the P. acnes infection grows in severity inside the affected pore, the immune system continues to direct white blood cells to the area to fight off the bacteria. The white blood cells move through the walls of the blood vessels and fill up the area beneath the skin affected by the acne. In severe cases, this can lead to acne nodules or cysts, which contain pus. Pus is an accumulation of dead and living white blood cells, as well as bacteria, dead tissues and other substances. If left untreated, inflammation can cause damage to the skin tissue, resulting in acne scarring once the abscess has healed.
Acne that results in abscess formation is typically serious. As such, it’s important to work with your doctor to find the right treatment method for your individual case. Your doctor may recommend a wide variety of treatments including prescription medications like antibiotics or isotretinoin to help kill off the P. acnes bacteria and heal the infection. Corticosteroids may be injected into the abscess to reduce inflammation and prevent an acne cyst or nodule from rupturing. Drainage and surgical excision may also be necessary in severe cases to drain out pus from the abscess.
Can You Cure Acne With Fish Oil?
Teenagers most commonly experience it, but anyone can develop acne. It occurs when pores on the surface of your skin become clogged. Scientists have examined the effects of fish oil on acne. Fish oil contains rich amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation as well as having a crucial role in brain function. Though clinical data fail to show that fish oil can cure acne, it may improve certain forms of acne. While no recommended dosage for acne exists, researchers found success using fish oil that contained 930 milligrams of EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Talk to your physician before taking fish oil for acne.
Promising Results for Some
Acne is classified as mild, moderate or severe. A small study indicates fish oil appears to improve moderate to severe inflammatory acne but not mild acne. Researchers found most of the participants with moderate to severe acne showed a decrease in severity after taking fish oil for 12 weeks. On the other hand, participants with mild acne experienced a worsening in severity. The results are published in the December 2012 issue of the journal “Lipids in Health and Disease.” Further studies are lacking, but this is promising news if you have moderate to severe inflammatory acne.
How to Speed Acne Skin Healing
The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that about 40 to 50 million Americans, most of whom are teenagers and young adults, suffer from acne. Although acne is the most common skin condition in this country, there is no cure. However, the condition can be controlled. For mild cases of acne, topical treatment is the standard of care. Natural treatments for acne are much less expensive than prescription medications and offer the added benefit of having fewer side effects.
Keep your skin clean and free of bacteria. Wash your face gently twice each day using an antibacterial soap or a cleanser that contains salicylic acid in the ingredients. Most regular soaps are alkaline, and therefore promote bacterial growth. Soaps containing aloe vera are another option. Aloe vera is known for accelerating the healing of wounds and damaged skin. Topical application reduces the swelling and redness associated with acne.
Cut open a raw garlic clove and rub the oil on acne blemishes. Do this several times each day. If you prefer, you can peel off the outer skin before crushing one clove of garlic and mixing it in a cup of warm water. Wet a cotton ball with the solution and apply to affected areas. Garlic juice also makes a healing facial cleanser.
Dip a cotton ball or swab into the juice of a fresh lemon. Apply only to breakout areas before going to bed for the night. Leave on until morning, and then cleanse and wash your face. Lemon juice reduces the redness of acne pimples. The citric acid in lemons acts as an astringent to dry pimples. Fresh lemon juice has an exfoliating effect that speeds up healing.
Wash your hands frequently to remove oils and bacteria that can aggravate acne. The Mayo Clinic recommends avoid letting anything touch your face, even your hands.
Brew 2 tsp. of dried basil leaves in 1 cup of boiling water. Continue boiling for 20 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool before applying to blemishes with a clean cotton ball. This treatment may help to speed the healing of stubborn acne that fails to respond to other home remedies.
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