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For some, it is a miserable part of adolescence, for others a surprising side effect of pregnancy. In some cases, it is an uninvited guest regularly turning up to cause distress. Tanya Hollis investigates a new approach to controlling acne.

When it comes to acne one thing is certain; its causes are more than skin deep.

And beyond the physical impact of the blemishes, acne can have far-reaching emotional effects with sufferers experiencing poor self-esteem and stress, which can, in turn, lead to a weakened immune system.

Acne occurs when the skin’s sebaceous glands become blocked, leading to inflammation or infection. Hormones produced in the adrenal glands stimulate the sebaceous glands but when something goes wrong in the process it can lead to overproduction of oil and subsequent blockages. While acne is typically associated with adolescence, the skin condition can occur at any time with an estimated 85 percent of Australians experiencing acne.

In the past, treatment involved harsh stripping, drying and scrubbing in a superficial attack that led to long-term damage and skin sensitivity. As researchers begin to understand more about the causes of acne, the modern approach to treatment is to deal with the condition from the inside out.

According to SkinB5 developer Judy Cheung-Wood, the root causes of acne are in fact inside the body, with breakouts on the surface of the skin simply the outward symptoms of internal issues. “To treat acne effectively you must address the underlying causes from the inside by using nutrients that are proven essential to skin functions,” she says.

“On the outside, it is all about restoring the skin’s natural defense barrier by using gentle and healing skincare products.”

Pantothenic acid (also known as B5) is a vitamin that has been found to help correct the production of sebum in the skin. Derived from the Greek word “pantonen”, meaning “from everywhere”, B5 is found in most foods and is most abundant in meat – particularly organ meats – as well as eggs, legumes, wholegrain cereals, and such vegetables as sweet potato, avocado, broccoli and mushrooms. But rather than gorging on B5, it appears the vitamin is most effective when combined with other supporting nutrients including zinc, folic acid and the herb vitex, which can work together to correct the body’s hormonal balance and production of sebum.

Once the hormones are in check, nourishing the skin itself helps support healing and maintain a healthy glow. Avoid harsh chemical topical solutions with nasties such as peroxide, parabens, sodium lauryl sulphate, sodium laureth sulphate, petrochemicals and nanoparticles that can harm the skin.

The SkinB5 approach

SkinB5 uses natural ingredients in its range of daily skincare products, which include a cleansing mousse, moisturiser, and mask. The mousse incorporates green tea, aloe vera, bergamot oil, vitamin B5 and plant-based salicylic acid to remove excess oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells, preventing further breakouts. The moisturiser adds jojoba oil and vitamin E to create a light, antioxidant-rich cream that replenishes the skin. An award-winning five-minute face mask combines the nourishing and soothing benefits of French green clay, sea minerals, avocado oil, eucalyptus, chamomile, grapefruit and peppermint to extract impurities from within the dermis, helping the skin to heal and renew.

Judy Cheung-Wood says avoiding inflammatory foods such as sugars, trans fats, and refined grains while upping your intake of omega-3 and omega-6 oils will also help to support your body’s hormonal balance and skin health.

Like so many things a single-pronged approach is rarely sufficient with a more holistic approach leaving you looking and feeling great inside and out.