My child has acne. Are there any sup­ple­ments he should take in addi­tion to a prop­er diet?

Answer: Acne is a con­di­tion that main­ly affects the face, back and chest — those parts of the skin where the hair fol­li­cles are locat­ed, and active seba­ceous glands that pro­duce oil. They appear as white­heads and black­heads and red­ness due to inflam­ma­tion. The most com­mon type of acne is acne vul­garis, char­ac­ter­ized by inflamed, pus-filled patch­es.

The facts that boys suf­fer from acne more than girls, and that peo­ple with­out male hor­mones (eunuchs) do not suf­fer at all, give some insight into the mech­a­nism of their ori­gin. The amount of the male hor­mone testos­terone increas­es dur­ing puber­ty (in girls too, although not in such quan­ti­ties as in boys), and this trig­gers the syn­the­sis of sebum and ker­atin. Ker­atin is the main ele­ment of the out­er lay­er of the skin, and excess of it can block pores if too much oil is secret­ed. It has now been estab­lished that acne is caused not only by an increase in testos­terone, which hap­pens to all teenagers, but also by the addi­tion­al for­ma­tion of an even more potent deriv­a­tive of the hor­mone called dihy­drotestos­terone, which can lead to the for­ma­tion of acne.


With an increase in the amount of ker­atin, you form a plug that clogs the pore, which in turn cre­ates a reten­tion of fat behind it and this man­i­fests itself as a black­head. Blocked pores are an ide­al breed­ing ground for the bac­teri­um Pro­pri­on­bacteirum acnes, which nor­mal­ly lives safe­ly on the sur­face of our skin. Acne is an ide­al envi­ron­ment for Pro­pri­on­bacteirum acnes due to the absence of air and the abun­dance of fat for nour­ish­ment. It is easy to see that in this way pre­req­ui­sites are cre­at­ed for the devel­op­ment of an infec­tion in the skin, caus­ing inflam­ma­tion and pain in the area of ​​the spot. If this inflam­ma­tion gets out of con­trol, it can spread to deep­er tis­sues, and if it does­n’t break out, it caus­es a sub­cu­ta­neous cyst.

The main con­sid­er­a­tion in food selec­tion is to ensure a com­pre­hen­sive­ly healthy diet that includes plen­ty of fresh veg­eta­bles and fruits and whole grains with some pro­tein in the form of fish, lean meats, soy prod­ucts and beans or lentils. Sweet, processed and fat­ty foods should be avoid­ed. A teenag­er should drink 6–8 glass­es of pure water dai­ly, keep alco­hol intake to a min­i­mum, and use a pH-neu­tral skin cleanser. Make sure your teen is get­ting at least 3,000 micro­grams (10,000 IU) of vit­a­min A (retinol), 25 mg of zinc, and 200 micro­grams of chromi­um dai­ly. Pro­bi­ot­ic sup­ple­ments may also help, espe­cial­ly if your child has been treat­ed with antibi­otics.

Source: Adapt­ed from 500 Health and Nutri­tion Ques­tions and Answers

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By Yara