Research shows inflammation causes acne

Monday, March 07, 2011 by: Seppo Puusa
Tags: inflammation, acne, health news

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(NaturalNews) Acne is a painstakingly frustrating condition. The cure has eluded both sufferers and dermatologists for decades. However latest research on the role of oxidative stress and the antioxidant defense in acne brings new hope for sufferers.

Acne patients are under higher oxidative stress than people with healthy skin, and as a result their antioxidant levels are exhausted. Managing inflammation and correcting antioxidant depletion often brings much needed relief for acne patients.

The role of inflammation in acne

Research in recent years has started to point to the role of local and systemic stress in acne.

Scientists used to believe the Propionibacterium acnes bacteria trigger the acne formation process. But recent research has outdated this view. The bacteria only enter acne formation process at a later point.

The stage for acne is set by oxidation of sebum (in medical terms this is known as sebum peroxidation). In a nutshell it goes like this. Free radicals cause oxidative damage to sebum, and this lowers oxygen content in sebum.

P. Acnes is an anaerobic bacteria, and it thrives in low oxygen environments. Oxidation changes sebum in a way that it becomes a more suitable environment for P. Acnes bacteria. The bacteria multiply in the pores and add their own inflammatory insult on the skin.

However the early oxidation of sebum is the key that triggers the acne formation process.

Acne patients low in antioxidants

Research has shown that people with acne have significantly lower levels of several antioxidant nutrients compared to people with healthy skin. Similarly studies show that people with acne have higher levels of inflammatory chemicals in the blood.

These studies send a clear message. Acne patients are under significant systemic inflammation and oxidative stress, and their antioxidant defense cannot cope with the load.

Acne patients need more antioxidants

Researchers speculate that higher sebum production is one reason why acne patients are under such high systemic oxidative stress.

The skin and sebum are constantly exposed to oxidative stress (UV rays from sunlight, ozone in smog, chemicals in personal care products) and thus needs antioxidant protection. Acne patients usually have higher sebum output than people with healthy skin, and this can place extra demand for antioxidants.

Inflammation management key to clear skin

Reducing both systemic and local oxidative stress on the skin is one of the keys to getting over acne.

In this vitamin E plays a key role. It`s among the most important antioxidants in the skin. Studies have shown that it can protect sebum from oxidative damage.

In this light supplementation with and topical application of vitamin E should be on the to-do list for anyone with acne.


Oxidative damage to sebum is the trigger that starts acne formation process. It leads to changes in sebum that make it more suitable environment to P. Acnes bacteria. Bacteria thrive in the hair follicles and further increase inflammatory damage. Soon an angry, red pimple pops up to the skin.

The antioxidant defense in acne victims cannot cope with this oxidative stress. Thus acne patients have high levels of systemic inflammation.

Preventing local inflammation in the skin and lowering systemic inflammation in the body are the keys to clear skin. This can be done through proper diet and lifestyle changes. Supplementation and topical application of vitamin E and other antioxidants can further protect the skin.


Does the plasma level of vitamins A and E affect acne condition?


The role of the antioxidative defense system in papulopustular acne.

Tissue and blood superoxide dismutase activities and malondialdehyde levels in different clinical severities of acne vulgaris.

Oxidative stress in patients with acne vulgaris.

Superoxide dismutase and myeloperoxidase activities in polymorphonuclear leukocytes in acne vulgaris.

Erythrocyte glutathione peroxidase activity in acne vulgaris and the effect of selenium and vitamin E treatment.

Clinical implications of lipid peroxidation in acne vulgaris: old wine in new bottles.

Sebaceous gland lipids

About the author

Seppo Puusa is the author of the best-selling acne book Clear for Life: Lifestyle for Health, Happiness and Clear Skin. The book gives a whole new perspective on acne, so it will finally make sense.
Clear for Life shows how the small, everyday choices you make today affect the way your skin looks tomorrow. By consistently making the right choices you engage the body's self-healing powers that can reverse the conditions behind acne. And overtime, acne just fades away.
Clear for Life is not a quick fix, or even a 30-day miracle, but for people who are willing to take responsibility for their own future it offers a simple, clear and makes-sense-in-your-gut solution to permanently clear skin.
To learn more about Clear for Life, please visit:
Seppo also has other websites, such as Proactiv Solution Info Center with hype free reviews and information about Proactiv, and Exposed Acne Treatment site at

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