Acne breakouts

Acne breakouts

Why do adolescence and hormone imbalances result in acne breakouts, which are embarrassing to deal with in everyday life? Certain fats are composed of rigid particles, which block pores. Blocked pores encourage bacteria growth and the development of severe local inflammation: the bacteria may even destroy the white cells that provide us with protection from infection and, once dead, turn into pus.

Why and how does fat block pores?

When a large quantity of fatty cells are circulating in the blood, they pass through the skin and become grease and, due to their rigid nature, they block pores. Several factors increase the circulation of fat in the blood.

The increase of androgens

Androgens are male hormones, the secretion of which increases during adolescence among boys, as well as girls, to a lesser extent. The secretion of these hormones is also increased with the occurrence of hormonal issues such as ovarian cysts. It is associated with an increase of the energy potential and results in an accelerated breakdown of the fat reserves contained in fatty tissue. The stress mediator noradrenaline enables the breakdown of fat reserves (lipolysis).  This explains why stress, which is expressed by the increase of noradrenaline, can be enough to provoke an acne breakout. The Japanese researcher, Yagi, was able to demonstrate that not only does noradrenaline cause the breakdown of lipids, but it also encourages the skin cells to absorb iron. However, iron encourages inflammatory phenomena and the proliferation of bacteria who use it as a growth factor to multiply.


Overeating can also result in greasy skin, in particular on the face. Stress and the increase of hormones released during adolescence can stimulate the appetite, especially for high-energy foods with relaxing effects such as fats and simple carbohydrates. However, in the liver, these foods can be transformed into fat (triglycerides), which easily pass through to the surface of the skin. The fats that cause acne are, above all, saturated fats: butter, cheese, fatty meat and beef, fried food, palm, palm kernel or peanut oils. Indeed, these are the saturated fats that are rigid, have poor flow properties, block pores and which, in addition, promote inflammation. On the other hand, the mono-unsaturated fats of olive (omega 9), avocado and almond oils and poly-unsaturated fats (omega 6 and omega 3) are fluid. The most fluid and the most anti-inflammatory fats are omega three fatty acids. Among the most unsaturated fats, there is a specific omega six fatty acid which is badly absorbed among most of us, and even more so in case of stress: gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).

Tips to improve skin problems

  • Reduce consumption of saturated fats and increase intake of omega 3 fatty acids such as rapeseed oil (as a seasoning) and oily fish. For acne sufferers, it is useful to take a complex Omega 3 supplement rich in ALA, EPA and DHA. Take a 3-month course, to be extended as required.
  • Gamma-linolenic acid is present in evening primrose oil, but this is not an oil for general consumption. In order to increase gamma-linolenic acid intake, the ideal solution is to take an evening primrose oil supplement.
  • Dermatologists have long known that Zinc supplements should be taken for acne. Indeed, this element reduces iron absorption, increases the internal production of gamma-linolenic acid, as well as playing an anti-inflammatory role. This zinc must be in bioavailable form, i.e. it must be easy for the skin cells to absorb and use. Studies that use radioactive markers demonstrate that the best zinc salt for this purpose is zinc citrate.
  • It is advised to protect the omega 3 fatty acids and gamma-linolenic acid and to increase their anti-inflammatory effect by avoiding sun exposure and taking a complex antioxidant containing Vitamin E, carotenoids (in particular beta-carotene and lycopene) Vitamin C and Selenium.
  • Finally, it is beneficial to supplement this treatment with Burdock, a plant that has been touted as a skin protector for thousands of years. Burdock (scientific name: Arctium Lappa) has been the subject of various studies, which have confirmed its anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
According to a text written by Dr. Jean Paul Curtay, nutritionist and doctor

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