The Cause of Acne Discovered! Come Find Out the Simple Solution

Posted: Saturday, 12 May 2012 by Strength&Nutrition24/7 in Labels: , ,

The Cause of Acne Discovered?
Written by Martin Ng

Note: Proper nutrition not only improves ones health and performance but can also improve ones acne.

Table of Contents

  • Intro 
  • Research
  • Practical application (If you are not interested in understanding why you can skip to this section)
  • References

Acne is one of the most common skin diseases in the United States. It is not contagious, but rather develops most prevalently during the teenage years and the early 20s. Acne is caused by an excess production of oil in the sebaceous glands. Acne comes in many varieties including blackheads, whiteheads and more severe forms including severe nodular acne and cystic acne. The causes for acne are not limited to one portion of the population. Acne affects all ages, races and genders.

Acne vulgaris(comonly known as acne) is a common skin disorder affecting young people caused by the inflammation of sebaceous follicles.  Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) are anaerobic gram positive bacteria and its presence is highly correlated with this disorder.  However, how this bacteria causes acne is unknown.  Furthermore, it has been widely accepted that this condition develops when there are blockages in these follicles causing an anaerobic environment in which this bacteria thrives.

In a study from 2009, an in vitro experiment showed that P. acnes stimulated skin cells produced large amounts of one particular reactive oxygen species (ROS), superoxide anion (2).  This superoxide anion was found to inhibit the growth of P. acnes (2).  However, at the same time the superoxide anions cause inflammation as well (2).  It was thus proposed that acne vulgaris is dependent on the balance of ROS thus an inhibition of ROS production can prevent this condition (2).

An enzyme, superoxide dismutase (SOD) is responsible for converting the superoxide anion into its oxygen and hydrogen peroxide form; a decrease in SOD activity can be seen in patients with severe acne (2).  One form of SOD uses zinc as a cofactor which increases SOD activity.  Oral zinc treatment has been reported to decrease acne lesions supporting the above statement (3).  Furthermore, UVB irradiation is known to inhibit the production of ROS (1).  Though rare, some people use phototherapy to treat acne.  This method is not that effective as only high doses of UVB have noticeable improvements on acne and it also causes sunburn in the process (1).  It should be noted that many acne treatments like vitamin A, C and E are all antioxidants as well which help balance the levels of ROS; treatment with vitamins A and E should be taken with care as they are fat-soluble and toxic at high levels.

Practical application

  • In order to fight off acne one wants to increase their activity of SOD
  • People are commonly deficient in zinc by incorporating zinc into your diet you will likely reduce your acne and improve your sleep (supplementing with ZMA may be an efficient way of getting both benefits)
  • Spending lots of time outdoors in the sun has been suggested as a technique with limited risk to improve your acne along with getting the most active form of vitamin D
  • Eat from the rainbow as noted in this article. This will help ensure you get adequate amounts of vitamins A,C, and E.
  • Do be careful in not overdosing on Vitamin A and E as they are fat-soluble and toxic at high levels as seen with all the law suits associated with Accutane recently 
  • Avoid touching the inflammation which can cause it to spread


  1. Charakida,A., E.D. Seaton, M. Charakida, P. Mouser, A. Avgerinos and A.C. Chu. 2004. Phototherapy in the treatment of Acne Vulgaris: What is its role? Am J Clin Dermatol 5(4): 211-216
  2. Grange, P.A., C.Chéreau, J. Raingeaud, C. Nicco, B.Weill, N.Dupin and F.Batteux. 2009. Production of Superoxide Anions by Keratinocytes Initiates P. acnes-Induced Inflammation of the Skin. PLoS Pathog 5(7): e1000527.
  3. Michaëlsson, G., L. Juhlin and A. Vahlquist. 1977. Oral Zinc and Vitamin A. Arch Dermatol 113.


  1. Acne, like most other skin problems, exists only as a message that something inside the body isn't functioning properly. This means acne isn't really the problem you have to attack. The problem lies elsewhere inside the body which produces symptoms such as acne, blackheads and whiteheads.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Well done on the research as well as writing.It is really is good to hear from an acne expert like you.Your research is really helpful,I'll be sure to recommend this.

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