Okay, so the majority of us will get acne- from a pimple or two to full-blown-in-your-face lesions- at some point in our lives. Acne is one of the most common skin conditions that affects Asians, but ever wonder why many Asians get dark or pigmented spots where the blemishes used to be- long AFTER the acne is treated?
Asian skin, by its very nature, has a higher amount of melanin, the protein in the skin that gives the skin its colour. The cells that make melanin tend to be more sensitive to any type of inflammation or injury. As a result, Asian skin becomes more inflamed with deeper acne pustules and papules, and excess melanin darkens and discolours the wounded area. This increased pigmentation (dark spots) at the sites of inflammation is referred to as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (P.I.H.).
The natural approach to acne and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
If you’re concerned about the side effects of long-term antibiotics, hydroquinone, tretinoin and other pharmaceuticals, why not use the natural approach?
- Treat the cause. Is it a hormonal imbalance? Why is there inflammation in the first place? Is the acne merely a symptom of a health condition (e.g. polycystic ovarian syndrome)? Find a healthcare practitioner who will address the reasons behind the blemishes- and especially for you Asians out there, to reduce inflammation as much as possible.
- Your diet matters. For years, the common belief was that diet had absolutely no effect on acne. Turns out, it may be wrong. A study completed by the Australia’s RMIT University and Royal Melbourne Hospital Department of Dermatology is being hailed as a “solid link” between diet and acne development. Researchers found that foods with a high glycemic index (causing glucose and insulin levels to spike) affect the development and severity of acne. On the other hand, a diet high in protein and carbohydrates with a low glycemic index improve acne breakouts (50% reduction of acne). The results of the study were presented at the 15th Congress of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology and have been published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (July 2007 issue) as well as the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (August 2007 issue).
- Eliminate toxic overload. Acne is often a sign of toxic overload. From a traditional Chinese medicine perspective, acne is often caused by “damp heat” in the system. Find a healthcare practitioner who will help you remove excess toxins and ensure that your detoxification processes are optimal.