Beauty Inside out: acne

Dr.Krithika S Ravindran M.S, M.Ch

Cosmetic surgeon and age management physician


                                                                 Acne which is commonly addressed as pimple may appear like a skin problem but it is a localized representation of a generalized underlying disease. It’s primarily due to the condition called insulin resistance, which means the insulin secreted by your body is resistant to your own cell. This insulin resistance is due to unhealthy food habits, consuming like high glycaemic food, sedentary lifestyle which causes fluctuations in the blood glucose and insulin levels. Such fluctuations with each meal will make own insulin resistance to the cell and leading to persistent high glucose levels. This insulin resistance along with unhealthy lifestyle leads to hormone imbalance in our body which triggers a series of events causing acne. This acne is common in adolescence where the hormones are at the peak, primarily affecting the face, chest and back irrespective of sex.  For some it may regress after the adolescent but for some it may persist to adulthood.


Apart from hormonal causes associated with puberty and adolescence, unhealthy dietary practices, sedentary lifestyles, lack of physical activity and exercises and stressful situations at family, educational and workplace settings trigger the onset of acne as well as worsening the problems leading to the stage of scarring, cosmetic disfigurement and lowered self-esteem and depression.

Insulin resistance aside acne, in females it tend to develop polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) with menstrual irregularities, hair loss, masculine hair growth in the upper lip, chin and face, obesity and infertility. Males tend to develop hair loss, breast enlargement (gynacomatia) and obesity.

How to get rid of it???                                             

Skin care:

  • Cleansing of face twice a day.
  • Moisturize your skin with gel based or water based cream.
  • Medicated creams containing benzoyl peroxide, an anti-bacterial agent, salicylic acid, an skin exofoliant to get rid of the bacteria, Tropical retinoid creams, chemical peels, and laser treatments are prescribed.
  • Use makeup sparingly .use oil free cosmetics without added dyes and chemicals.
  • Be careful on what you put on your hair. Avoid fragrant and harsh chemicals on hair as they may drip on your face and clog the pores and irritate the skin. Use gentle shampoo and conditioner. If you suffer from oily hair then wash your hair regularly especially when you have an outbreak.
  • Keep your hands away from your face as it may only spread bacteria.

External skin care regime and antibiotic creams which are usually prescribed to manage acne are just temporary solutions. The real permanent solution is to address the root cause which is hormone optimization and lifestyle management.

Hormone optimization:

Hormone imbalance is common in individuals who have unhealthy food habits and who can’t cope stress in day to day life. The two hormones are cortisol and DHT which needs to be optimized to root out acne problem.

Lifestyle management:


  • Consume high fiber low glycemic, wholesome natural foods like fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables.
  • Avoid any processed, fatty and salty food, and excessive consumption of simple refined carbohydrates.
  • Consume good fat which is rich in omega3 fatty acid, like avocado, fish, nuts, flax seeds, coconut oil and olive oil.

Physical activity:

Physical activity and Exercise reduce acne by the effect of sweating during exercise. Sweating helps remove toxins from the body, therefore reducing breakouts. Further, exercise causes hormone balancing and decrease of insulin resistance with consequent effect on obesity reduction and acne prevention and management.

Stress Reduction

Stress in the day to day life causes an increase stress hormone called the cortisol in the body. Acne flare ups often occur as a result of increased levels of cortisol in the blood. Cortisol triggers oil glands of skin to go into overproduction, resulting in a spots. Stress management practices like meditation, pranayama, a good hobby and yoga will lower the stress level, keeping cortisol levels at bay to see an improvement in acne.

Make you glow and shine and spotless.


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