Acne typically affects teenagers, but can last throughout adult life. It can range from a mild to severe skin infection, typically affecting the face, chest, back and other areas of the body. Ranging from pimples to large cystic pustules, this disorder is treatable with both Naturopathic and Conventional Medicines.

In Conventional medicine not much is said about the cause of acne, except that if there is a particularly resistant case in a woman, check for a high level of androgens. Androgens cause male-pattern hair growth, irregular menstrual cycles and other signs of virilism.

In Naturopathic medicine the skin is considered to be a secondary elimination organ of the body.  The liver, kidneys and lungs are the primary elimination organs of the body.  Therefore, when the primary elimination organs are congested, or overwhelmed with toxins, the skin will react as a result. By clearing out toxicity that is affecting the body, the skin will clear up.  A detailed look at the diet and environment of the patient can reveal extremely useful information.

Conventional treatment of acne typically consists of antibiotics. Retin-A is often used as a topical, but creates thin, sensitive skin that is especially sensitive to the sun, and may cause hair growth.  Accutane can be a long term answer for many people, however it can have a serious effect on the liver, thus liver enzymes must be monitored.  At high doses, 25% will develop high triglycerides, 15% will develop high cholesterol. Other side effects of Accutane include elevated blood sugar and moderate to severe muscle pain.

Naturopathic treatment of acne often starts with the diet.  Cleaning up any processed foods and known toxins from the diet, testing for food sensitivities and eliminating the problematic foods.  Blood type analysis can further assist in clearing the digestive tract from inflammatory foods.  The digestive system and liver are often compromised in patients with acne and other inflammatory skin conditions.  Along with diet changes, herbal and homeopathic medicines can decrease food sensitivities, heal leaky gut and cleanse the liver.  This process of healing will decrease inflammation in the body, help the liver process toxins better, thereby helping the skin to stop reacting.