New reader? Then you are in the right place. This page gives you an overview of what AcneEinstein.com is all about and what you can expect to find here. I’ll also direct you to some of my best posts to get you started on the right track.
My name is Seppo Puusa and I want to thank you for taking the time to be here today. I sincerely hope I can help you to get over acne.
What is this site about? What can you expect to find here?
I created this site to share reliable information about acne and how to get over it naturally. The net is full of ‘information’ about how to cure acne. Unfortunately the vast majority of it is unreliable ‘he said, she said’ type of hearsay. You probably know this is very much of a hit and miss approach. One piece of advice may help you while the next is completely useless.
Where this site differs from others is that the vast majority of posts here are based on scientific studies and evidence. Contrary to what you may have heard science does study natural acne treatments. Every single day. And science has already uncovered several effective, natural treatments for acne. Many of which you’ll find here.
Who am I?
My name is Seppo Puusa and I’m the person behind this site. Let me just make it clear from the start that I’m not a medical doctor or healthcare professional. I’m just a regular guy who struggled with acne for about 20 years – until I figured out how to kick it out of my life.
During those years I tried a lot of things. After it became clear that dermatologists had nothing good to offer, I turned into alternative medicine and natural health. Over about 7 to 8 years I tested just about every natural acne treatment I got my hands on; things like supplements, detoxes, colon cleanses, liver flushes, fasting, raw food diets, food allergy tests, herbal cleanses and hypnosis, just to mention a few things I tried.
The problem is that most of those things turned out to be an utter waste or time and money. It also became clear to me that there’s no logic or consistency to alternative medicine. Many of the theories and treatments were conflicting, if not mutually exclusive. One practitioner would recommend colon cleanses to me, the next gave me some homeopathic remedies, while the third one told me I needed to eliminate food allergies and boost my immune system. Imagine if the same thing happened with doctors; one would give you pain killers, the next one would operate your leg, and the third one sends you for a massage session. It doesn’t make any sense.
For a while I shrugged off such inconsistencies. I figured they know better, and what’s the harm of giving it a shot. But after years and years I just couldn’t ignore the mounting problems anymore. It became obvious to me that natural and alternative health is very unreliable. The best I could do is to keep trying different things and hope that something works. You can read the whole story at the About Me page.
Then for some reason I ended up reading a medical paper about the medicinal benefits of green tea (PDF). The paper talked about how acne-prone skin converts testosterone to a more potent hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) more readily than normal skin. They described how a green tea antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate inhibited the conversion from testosterone to DHT and how it could reduce acne and help with other androgen-related health conditions.
At that moment I could hear the penny drop.
I was like ‘Whoa.. this is amazing information’. And thus a geek that is me was born.
Over time I taught myself how to read medical studies – big kudos to Wikipedia, and how to find medical studies from PubMed and Google Scholar. By now I’ve read well over 1000 studies that directly or indirectly relate to acne.
Drawing from the fantastic work done by Drs. Bodo Melnik and Whitney Bowe I was able to piece together the acne puzzle. I can confidently say that we now have a good understanding of what actually causes acne and how to get rid of it. I can’t say that I have all the answers, far from it, but I’m fairly certain I can teach you a trick or two to help your skin.
Which brings us to the next point.
The makes sense scientific explanation to acne
Acne is caused by interplay of 3 things: genes, hormones and inflammation. Genes prime your skin for acne. They are the reason only some people get acne while others remain clear. They are the reason why your friend can eat all the junk she wants and never see a pimple. Among other things, genes make your skin more susceptible to hormones. Please see the genes and acne post for a complete explanation.
Then we have hormones and inflammation. They stimulate your skin to produce too much sebum and keratin (a tough protein that binds skin cells together). Excess sebum and keratin makes the skin prone to microcomedoes, the first stage of a pimple. When colonized by bacteria, microcomedoes can easily turn into inflamed pimples.
There’s a lot of evidence showing inflammation is one of the root causes behind acne. I covered it in detail in the inflammation and acne post, but I’ll give you a brief overview here.
Sebum is composed of many fatty acids, one of which is called squalene. Studies have shown that damaged squalene (or oxidized squalene if we use proper terms) is highly comedogenic (meaning it can cause acne). One study showed that applying oxidized squalene into rabbit ears caused pimples, and the severity of pimples correlated with how badly squalene was oxidized. Obviously they can’t do studies like that in humans, but other studies have found acne-prone skin has far more oxidized squalene than healthy skin.
How does squalene get oxidized? Keep in mind that the skin is constantly exposed to inflammatory damage; such as sunlight, ozone in air pollution, irritating chemicals in skincare products and bacteria.
The body has defense mechanisms against inflammatory damage: antioxidants. There’s evidence to show the antioxidant defense just cannot cope with the demand in acne-prone individuals. Several studies have now shown that people with acne have lower levels of antioxidant vitamins and enzymes (vitamins A, C and E) and higher levels of substances that indicate inflammation. And there’s some evidence that taking antioxidant supplements reduces acne. Please see this post for more: Studies Reveal (Almost) Irrefutable Evidence For The Root Cause Of Acne.
Low levels of antioxidants means fewer antioxidants to protect the skin, which leaves it vulnerable to inflammatory damage. Studies have again shown that acne-prone skin is short on antioxidants and that applying antioxidants topically reduces acne. For all the details, please see this post Proof That Topical Antioxidants Are The Key To Naturally Clear Skin.
Let’s say that 1 ‘unit’ of sebum requires 1 ‘unit’ of antioxidants to protect it. What happens when your sebum production doubles? The demand for antioxidants also doubles. This seems to be one reason why acne patients have lower levels of antioxidants. Demand from the skin is more than your body can handle.
Aside from genetics, hormones have the most influence on how much sebum your skin produces. Hormones can also affect other factors behind acne, such as keratin production and immune response to P. Acnes bacteria.
All this helps to explain why certain foods, for example, can cause acne. Dairy products are chock-full of hormones known to cause acne, likewise sugar and refined carbohydrates increase insulin levels – one of the key hormones behind acne. Hormones also explain why some women get premenstrual acne, and why acne is so common during adolescence; both are times during which acne-causing hormones peak.
So to conclude, if you want to get rid of acne, you have to do your best to reduce inflammation and hormone levels.
Aren’t we all individuals?
What about the claim that we are all individuals and that your acne may be caused by different things than my acne. So how can I claim that we all have to reduce inflammation and hormones?
Excellent question and it brings us to the next point.
Here’s where neat theories end and messy reality begins. Though I’m confident that most acne cases are linked to hormones and inflammation, it doesn’t mean the same treatments would work in every case.
That’s because there are many things that can make a mess of your hormones or increase inflammation level. Things like:
- Improper dietary choices
- Gut issues. I believe gut issues are one of most underappreciated causes of acne
- Stress, lack of sleep and other lifestyle factors
- Irritating chemicals in personal care products or use or overuse to acne treatment products
That’s why your acne treatment program may look somewhat different from mine. From experience I know that my acne is closely linked to gut issues. I always break out when I eat something that doesn’t agree with my gut. Other than that I don’t have too many trigger foods, but I know people who break out even from minute amounts of dairy, and others who cannot tolerate any gluten.
That’s why there are no one-size-fits-all solutions to acne. Without running several tests, nobody can tell exactly what causes your acne or how you can get over it. And that’s why getting over acne always involves little bit of trial and error.
Where to go from here?
Now that you know how acne happens and what this site is all about it’s time for you to dig deeper. I have tons of free information on this site (100 posts and counting).
Here are some good ones to get you started:
- The Little-Known Connection Between The Gut And The Skin explains everything you need to know about the connection between gut and skin health, and how to figure out if your acne is caused by gut problems.
- Diet section covers most you need to know about diet and acne.
- Proof That Topical Antioxidants Are The Key To Naturally Clear Skin explains why topical antioxidants can be very effective in treating acne. In fact, studies have shown topical antioxidants can be as effective as benzoyl peroxide or antibiotics.
- Green tea section shows how to use green tea, both as a drink and topically, to fight acne.
Just follow the links from those posts for more information.
Want all my acne treatment secrets?
In that case, please consider one of my membership options. You’ll get:
- Clear for Life – Science-based acne treatment program book that covers just about everything you need to know about getting clear.
- Members-only posts that cover latest scientific discoveries regarding acne and in-depth investigations into interesting topics. These are some of my best posts and you’ll get a lifetime access to all the current and future posts.
- Ask me anything at the members-only forums. Want to ask me something? This is the only place to get a guaranteed reply from me.
Interested? Then please go here to learn more.
You can also use the contact page to get in touch with me. I can’t promise I’ll reply to all the emails, but I do write readers’ questions posts based on the emails I get.
Thanks a lot for visiting and I wish you all the best on your road to permanently clear skin!