Acne Myths…BUT

Myth: Acne is related to diet… BUT

What the studies suggest:

Several studies have found no correlation between diet and acne. There is no evidence that chocolate, sugar, oil, milk, seafood, or any other foods cause acne.


Eating foods that your body does not tolerate well will cause an inflammatory reaction as your body releases white blood cells to protect itself. This inflammatory reaction can reveal itself in the form of acne. Also, if you body is not capable of digesting certain foods, it will release portions of incompletely digested food into the blood. Again, the presence of these foreign substances will trigger an inflammatory response that can lead to pimple formations.

And recent studies show…

Loren Cordain, Ph.D., professor of health and exercise science at Colorado State University, has sound reason to believe that diets high in high-glycemic carbohydrates such as cereals, breads, cakes, chips and candy, can lead to acne. This is because the hike in blood sugar caused by these foods sets off a series of hormonal changes known to provoke the development of acne.

To illustrate, eating excessive amounts of carbohydrates increases the level of insulin in the blood. As the insulin level rises, the androgen hormones become more active. The androgens cause increased oil secretion by the pores. Increased oil secretion boosts the chances that a pore will become clogged and thus result in acne.

Cordain and fellow researchers came to this conclusion about carbohydrates and acne after having found no acne among the Kitavan Islanders of Papua New Guinea or the Ache hunter-gatherers of Paraguay. The diet of these two tribes consisted of fruit, fish, vegetables, coconut, peanuts and/or game. Likewise, the two groups consumed almost no starchy carbohydrates or refined sugars.

Myth: Stress causes acne. BUT

What the studies suggest:

Despite rumors, stress does not seem to cause acne. However the side effects of drugs that treat severe stress may include acne.


Stress taxes the immune system. Thus, your body is not able to protect itself from foreign attacks as it normally could. Additionally, stress can lead to problems such as constipation and liver stress. These conditions alone hamper the body’s ability to properly cleanse itself, which can result in the formation of acne.

And recent studies show…

Research conducted by Alexa B. Kimball, MD, MPH, of Stanford University School of Medicine, and his colleagues validates the link between a stressed immune system and an increase in the presence of acne. Kimball studied 22 university students (15 women and 7 men) with varying degrees of acne.

The researchers rated the students for severity of acne during a non-exam period (approximately 1 month before an examination) and aga in during an exam period (3 days before an exam to 7 days after an exam). During the two acne assessments, students completed questionnaires rating their stress levels.

The results, which were published in the Archives of Dermatology, found a direct correlation between stress levels and aggravated acne.

The students had worse acne during times they rated their stress level as higher (exam periods). While making adjustments for complicating variables like changes in sleep hours, sleep quality, diet, and number of meals per day, researchers noticed that increased acne severity was significantly associated with increased stress levels. Not surprisingly, the researchers also found that alterations in diet where linked to the presence of acne.

Along the same lines, Mary Christian, assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas states that, “Stress can be a catalyst for acne breakouts because it makes the body produce greater quantities of androgen hormone, which in turn causes some skin glands to pump out more oil”.

Myth: The sun is good for acne…BUT

What studies suggest:

Sunshine may work in the short-term to assist the clearing of existing acne while reddening your skin, thus blending your skin tone with red acne marks. Sun exposure can cause irritations that can make acne worse.


Plants, animals and humans need the sun. We are exposed to the sun between 6 to 16 hours everyday. When humans were created (by whatever magic you wish to imagine), we spent most of our waking hours in the sun.

All these thousands of years later, humans (from wherever they originated) are still here and the sun still shines on us. So, why would our Maker irrevocably and systematically surround us with something if it were “bad” for us?

Jacob Liberman, O.D., Ph,D., author of Light Medicine of the Future hails that:

“Human beings are the embodiment of light; our troubles and ills result from our inability to take in and use light as a launching pad from which to heal and evolve.”

Granted, sun exposure is not for everyone; the sun is a sure ally in our aims for health. Toxins regularly consumed by humans can react adversely with sun exposure. Consid er all of the chemicals that are used to make a cola, a piece of white bread, or even bottled salad dressing. As humans regularly consume such chemicals and deal with stress, the chance for an unpleasant chemical reaction with sun exposure is significantly increased.

However, if we are treating our bodies as the temples they are, and avoiding extreme use of chemicals, the sun can be (and should be) one of our best friends. Do you think people lying in a hospital that are pale and weak are healthy? Of course not, they need sunlight, and several studies have shown that adequate sun exposure does help terminally ill patients heal faster.

There was a time in our recent history when we valued the healing presence of the sun. As Dr. Liberman points out, prior to the discovery of penicillin in the early 1900s, health practitioners considered sun therapy an effective treatment for numerous infectious diseases.

However this changed dramatically, as pharmaceutical companies moved to cash in on the use of antibiotics like penicillin. Alas, the inability to procure profits from the sun rendered it a villain.

The sun is getting an undeserved bad rap to justify our increasingly domesticated lifestyle as humans. Think on this: How often do you go outside?

Perhaps you are inside while you work, go to school, go to meetings, go shopping or go out to eat. The point is most of our activities revolve around doing things indoors. Being out in nature, and enjoying all that the Universe has provided for our well being, has become an activity that requires planning and work. We have estranged ourselves from this heaven that surrounds us.

Humans need an eco-value system adjustment. We forsake the power of the body and the nature that surrounds us. It is for this negligence that we senselessly suffer. Giving the power to cure to drugs without question or reflection about the consequences is robbing us of our vitality.

I advocate having more confidence in our bodies and breaking away from the victimizing pattern of relying on drugs for a cure. In the next chapter, we will examine how many of the drugs and treatments created for acne can cause as many problems as they are supposed to help treat.