Acne and Inflammation

Since 2002, acne vulgaris has become nearly universal skin disease afflicting 79% to 95% of the adolescent population in westernized societies. Not only is acne prevalent among the young, but also in men and women older than 25 years, 40% to 54% have some degree of facial acne. Moreover clinical facial acne persists into middle age in 12% of women and 3% of men.

Source: Cordain L, Lindeberg S, Hurtado M, Hill K, Eaton SB, Brand-Miller J. Acne vulgaris: a disease of western civilization. Archives of Dermatology. 2002;138:1584- 1590.

If you are going to decode acne, you must know what it is. Though you may be tempted to define acne as some annoying condition that you just wish would go away, it is in fact an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is a situation where the immune system attacks itself. When this happens the body confuses normal cells with foreign cells. So the body reacts to these seemingly foreign cells with antibodies and this causes inflammation.

You can see it happening before you very eyes just by looking at a zit. Is it a small, red and superficial bump? Or is it deep within the skin’s tissue and painful to the touch? Both cases represent inflammation. That is the evidence of the body’s confusion. You may still be puzzled as well and asked the trillion dollar question, “So why do I have acne?” Well, you just have to figure out what triggers this type of autoimmune response in your body.

By earnestly going through the information and exercises in this book, you will be able to answer this question. Please keep in mind however, that the body is extremely wise, it has progressed for millennia and continues doing so. Thus, though acne is an autoimmune disease, it is moreover an auto- message. Specifically, acne is a message to the Self (that’s you) to make adjustments so that your body can continue its path on this planet in the healthiest state possible.

The symptoms, such as acne lesions, of an autoimmune disease can arise from several sources. For example, excess toxins in the body, poor digestion, and stress overload can trigger inflammation.

Now that we have a somewhat factual basis for dealing with acne, we will go on to look at some of the myths surrounding this disease. Keep in mind however that myths can sometimes oversimplify reality. For this reason, I have formulated the upcoming chapter by offering the myth with additional facts that subject the myth to further examination.