Q: I’m 20-year-old student and for the past two years have suffered from acne as a result of using cortisone creams. My skin now breaks out regularly – especially on my forehead. I have been using Oxzit to kill bacteria, which helps a little, and I’ve also started taking erythromycin, but I am still breaking out. I have also been experiencing a lot of stress which seems to be contributing to flare-ups. To make matters worse, my skin has gotten dry and flaky (even though I continue to have breakouts), particularly in the cheek area. Help!
A: As always, your first line of defense is the three-tiered anti-inflammatory program. It sounds to me as if stress is a major factor in your current acne dilemma. Here are some special tips for minimizing stress in your life:
• Make sure that you get enough sleep.
• Don’t drink coffee.
• Set aside fifteen or twenty minutes a day for meditation or prayer. It is a well- established fact that people who do this have significantly lower cortisol (a major stress hormone) levels.
• Consider learning some simple yoga exercises. Yoga is an outstanding stress reducer.
• Take omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, which reduce levels of stress chemicals.
• Exercise in moderation.
• Take targeted nutritional supplements, including alpha lipoic acid, zinc, DMAE, and panothenic acid (see Chapter 5).
• Add essential fatty acid supplements to your supplement program, especially omega-6, which is rich in linoleic acid. Acne patients have a low concentration of linoleic acid in their sebum, and acne further decreases the essential levels.
For a list of recommended supplements, please see my Top 10 Supplements post.