Acne vulgaris is a condition of the sebaceous (oil-secreting) glands and hair follicles of the skin, characterized by blackheads, whiteheads and inflammation. Acne is common during puberty because of increased levels of the male sex hormone, testosterone, in both sexes. Testosterone causes the sebaceous glands to enlarge and produce more sebum. In addition, the cells that line the skin produce more keratin. The combination of increased sebum and keratin can lead to pore blockage and the formation of blackheads. With the pores blocked, bacteria can overgrow and release enzymes that break down sebum and promote inflammation, forming whiteheads or pimples.
Dietary recommendations for acne are to eliminate all refined and/or concentrated sugars from the diet and to avoid all foods containing trans-fatty acids (e.g., fried foods, margarine, shortening, hydrogenated vegetable oils). Supplements should include a broad spectrum of all vitamins and minerals, including the following minimums: 1,000 mg. of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, 10,000 IU of vitamin A, 50 mg. of zinc, and 300 mcg. of chromium. Acne that comes and goes with a woman’s menstrual cycle is related to a vitamin B-6 deficiency.