Are Pistachios a Great Acne-Preventing Snack?

Pistachios boast the skin enriching nutrients vitamins A, C and E plus, zinc and folic acid. Yet, new research from University of Toronto’s Department of Nutritional Sciences could add pistachios to a growing list of acne treatments that already includes benzoyl peroxide and antibiotics.

The study’s findings revealed that pistachios could help regulate the body’s blood sugar levels.

In addition to a diabetic therapy, pistachio’s effect on the body’s blood sugar levels also marks it as a potential acne preventative. Biological traits characterizing acne onset include improper skin cell shedding, inflammation and excess bacteria. However, because of a pistachio’s effect on blood sugar levels, this nut could prevent acne resulting from excess facial oil secretion caused by a rise in circulating androgens.

Thus, pistachios could inhibit acne lesions induced by a condition called “insulin resistance”.

The relationship between acne and insulin resistance

The pancreas secretes the hormone insulin. The body needs insulin to access its primary energy source- blood sugar (glucose). Insulin binds to key receptors in the blood to release glucose as the body requires more energy.

Insulin resistance happens when the normal amount of insulin the pancreas secretes proves insufficient to signal the release of glucose. So, to compensate, the pancreas secretes more insulin in order to free the needed glucose.

Insulin resistance can incite acne lesions due to increased circulating androgens. Now, the Toronto study’s observations suggest that pistachios can stop androgen surges caused by blood sugar fluctuations.

Pistachios act as a blood sugar regulator

Dr. Cyril Kendall, lead researcher of the study explained, “…Our preliminary findings demonstrate that suppressing the glycemic (blood sugar) response of high carbohydrate foods may be part of the mechanism by which pistachios contribute to cardiovascular health and to the prevention and control of diabetes.”

Other scientists like Loren Cordain, PhD have noticed a link between insulin resistance and acne. In his work, “Implications for the Role of Diet in Acne”, Cordain writes, “Dietary interventions using low glycemic load carbohydrate may have therapeutic potential in the treatment of acne because of the beneficial endocrine effects these diets possess.”

Most acne treatments typically act on one or two symptoms such as surplus bacteria or clogged pores. Adding pistachios to the diet could help create a more robust acne therapy by also counteracting blood sugar shifts that produce excess oils and pimples.


Cordain, Lorent. Implications for the Role of Diet in Acne. Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery; 2005, vol 24, pp 84-91.

Eating Pistachios May Reduce the Impact of Carbohydrates on Blood Sugar Levels. Henson Consulting; Newswise. May 1, 2007.

Wijeyaratne, Chandrika N, Adam H Balen, Julian H Barth, Paul E Belchetz. Clinical manifestations and insulin resistance (IR) in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) among South Asians and Caucasians: is there a difference? Clinical Endocrinology; September 2002, vol 57, no 3, pp 343-350.

Is Botox The Right Choice for Deep Acne Scars?

Pretty soon you might have Botox in your first-aid kit. This cosmetic panacea treats wrinkles, hemorrhoids, migraines and now it may treat scars.

This past August a study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings found that Botox (trademarked name for Botulinum toxin type A), helped facial wounds heal with minimal scarring. The investigation involved 31 patients who had a facial wound. The patients received an injection of Botox or saline within 24 hours after the wound closed.

Two plastic surgeons not involved with the study reviewed and rated the healed scars on a scale of 1-10. The improvements with Botox scored 8.9 versus 7.1 for the saline treated scars.

David Sherris, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology at the University at Buffalo directed the study. Dr. Davis reports, “The reason this works is because wide scars are the result of the local muscles pulling the wound apart during the healing phase…Botulinum toxin temporarily weakens the surrounding muscles, thereby lessening the pull on the wound during the acute healing phase of the first 2-4 months.”

Based on these preliminary findings could Botox help with deep acne scarring? According to a report issued by Kiersten Coleman and Jean Carruthers in Dermatologic Therapy in May, Botox is best used in combination therapy where all of the elements of a skin imperfection can be corrected.

Several factors lend to the size and the depth of deep acne or pitted acne scars. This includes muscle strain and collagen loss that can result from inflammed acne cysts that expand beneath the skin and cause deep tissue damage.

Relaxing a tensed facial muscle with Botox can reduce the appearance of the depth of the scar. But because of collagen loss, the scar may still be evident. At this point a physician can inject cosmetic fillers made with collagen or hyaluronic acid to completely fill the acne scar and give it a look flush with the rest of the skin.

The only issue with treating depressed acne scars with combination therapy of Botox and a cosmetic filler is that over time, the scar may reappear as the Botox effect wears off and the contents of the filler are metabolized and removed by the skin. So the smoothness of the skin may only last for six months.

Alternatively, David Goldberg reported in the September edition of the Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy that using a substance called calcium hydroxylapatite as a filler did improve certain acne scarring. However the treatment did not enhance ice-pick acne scarring. According to Goldberg, the diminished scar appearance lasted up to 12 months.

Is Botox the smart choice for acne scarring? Just give it the “Cosmetic 3Rs Test”: the rates, the risks and the results. Botox injections and cosmetic fillers can cost between $150-$300 per treatment. The risks include facial swelling, redness and skin allergies. Plus you want to make certain that your doctor is using FDA approved Botox for treating patients, not illegal versions that may not work or worse are too potent and lead to fatal botulism- a rare paralytic illness caused by the toxins of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.

The results achieved with Botox and injections may be satisfying, but they also may only last for a few months which means that you could spend $600 plus a year to maintain the scar free look. But ultimately, if you do decide to make Botox apart of your long term plan for acne scar correction, you may feel relieved to know that a study in the December edition of the European Journal of Neurology deemed Botox to be safe and effective for long term use.

Acne and Natural Skin Care

A basic description of acne would be that acne is a systemic inflammatory disease that affects the skin. But what causes acne? There are several factors that may cause acne and they are:

– hormone imbalance during the teen years

– hormone changes during pregnancy, menstrual cycle and menopause

– heredity

– some drugs, including androgens, lithium, and barbiturates, are known to cause acne

– using greasy cosmetics that can alter the follicle cells so that they stick together

– high humidity

– stress

There are several natural things that you can do to help your skin heal:

First would be to get rid of cosmetics that are greasy and filled with chemicals you can not pronounce. There are lots of natural cosmetics and skin care products that are good for the skin and do not promote acne.

Give your body a break and eat a healthy diet and avoid processed and deep fried foods as well as soft drinks and other sugary foods. Be sure to eat lots of vegetables.

Get rid of as many toxins as you can. They come in the form of detergents, air fresheners, perfumes, fabric softeners, soaps, deodorants, house cleaning products, etc. Use natural alternatives to these and help your body stay healthy.

To help you heal your acne, here are some natural skin care remedies you can try:

Baking Soda Paste – Put some baking soda in water to form a paste. Dab the paste on your skin gently and then rinse. This paste will exfoliate the skin and unclog your pores.

Apple Cider Vinegar – Vinegar is known to kill bacteria which can cause acne. It is also great for balancing your skin's pH and will help eliminate excess oil from the skin. Put one teaspoon of vinegar in 1/4 cup of water, or even stronger if you want. Put the vinegar on your skin and leave for about 10 to 15 minutes, then rinse.

Tea Tree Oil – Tea tree oil is well know as an antiseptic. Apply it directly on each pimple. Tea tree oil comes in a gel which can make it easier to apply over larger areas of the skin. It is not quite as strong as the oil, however, so may not be as effective.

Aloe Vera – Put aloe vera gel directly on the skin and leave on. It is helpful in preventing scaring and helps the skin heal more quickly.

Colloidal Silver – A natural antibiotic is colloidal silver. You can buy it as a spray and just spray it directly onto your skin.

Grapefruit Seed Extract – GSE is a powerful disinfectant and antimicrobial. You can buy it in liquid form. Put 10 to 20 drops in two ounces of water and apply to affected areas.

When applying these remedies use a soft cloth, either flannel or cotton, or use cotton balls. Do not apply by rubbing them on but dab on gently.

The Problem Of Cystic Acne

While most forms of acne are merely troublesome and at times embarrassing, there are more severe forms of acne that can lead to scarring and pitting of the skin. One of the most severe forms that acne can take is known as cystic acne, and it is important that this serious condition be treated at once.

As the name implies, cystic acne is characterized by the appearance of pus filled cysts, and these cysts can easily lead to scarring and other serious complications. In most cases of cystic acne the cyst can appear similar to an acne nodule, but it will be filled with pus, and the diameter of the cyst is generally at least 5 millimeters across.

In addition to being unsightly, these cysts can be quite painful, and they can lead to serious scarring. For those who suffer from cystic acne it is important never to squeeze the acne cyst, since doing so could cause the infection to go deeper. This deep infection could in turn cause a much more painful inflammation, and cause a much longer healing time than if the cyst had been left alone to heal on its own.

Those acne sufferers who think they are suffering from this painful and serious form of acne should be checked out thoroughly by a qualified dermatologist. A good dermatologist will be able to look at the acne and tell what type it is, and he or she will also be able to recommend the products that will be most effective at treating that type of acne and making sure it does not return.

There are of course a number of over the counter products designed to treat all kinds of acne, and some of them can be quite effective at treating even the most severe forms of acne. When those over the counter products are not enough, however, there are a number of prescription acne treatments that may be appropriate for severe acne. Again, it is important to consult with your health care professional in order to find the best acne treatment products for your own skin type and type of acne.

Why OTC Is Your Best Bet for Acne Treatment?

Is your social life suffering because of the pimples on your face? Are you hesitant to ask the prettiest girl of your college out on a date because you are embarrassed of the whiteheads that mar your appearance? If the answer to either of these questions is in the affirmative then it's time you do something about the acne. Acne is a disease that needs treatment. There are several commercial acne products available in the market and they are actually very effective. You can also try the OTC acne treatment.

Benzoyl Peroxide

The most common OTC treatment is benzoyl peroxide. It kills propionibacteria that is responsible for acne. It also unclogs the pores and reduces skin inflammation. There are several lotions and cleansers that contain benzoyl peroxide. And the over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide that is sold usually has 2.5% -10% strength.

Some of the common benzoyl peroxide are:

• Proactive
• Glyton 10% benzoyl peroxide acne treatment gel
• Benzaderm gel
• MD formulation benzoyl peroxide 10
• Benzoyl peroxide creams

Sulfur and Resorcinol

Sulfur and resorcinol come together as OTC acne treatment. Resorcinol prevents the comedones by removing the dead skin cells. And though sulfur has been used to treat acne for a very long time no one really knows how it works. Sulfur and resorcinol together reduce excess oil from your face thus reducing the occurrence of acne. Resorcinol in the strength of 2% and sulfur in the strength of 5% -8% is used to treat acne.

Some of the products that contain sulfur and resorcinol are:

• Clearasil medicated blemish stick
• Clearasil medicated blemish cream
• Glyton flesh tinted acne treatment lotion
• Rezamid lotion

Salicylic Acid

Another very common OTC is salicylic acid. Salicylic acid corrects the abnormal shedding of dead skin cells and helps in its effective shedding. This in turn reduces the number of blocked pores and anticipates the acne outbreaks effectively. If you are suffering from whiteheads and blackheads then salicylic acid is your best bet. The usual strength between.5% -2% percent is used to treat acne. It is found in several lotions and cleansers.

The acne products that contain salicylic acid are:

• Oxy products
• Noxzema anti acne pads
• Noxzema anti acne gels
• Dermologica medicated clearing gel
• Stridex

Alcohol and Acetone

OTC typically uses a combination of alcohol and acetone together. If you have oily skin then a combination of alcohol and acetone will work really well for you. Acetone removes the excess oil and alcohol kills the bacteria that cause acne. Together they reduce the pore blockages.

The products containing alcohol and acetone are:

• Glytone acne treatment toner
• Tyrosum liquid acne skin cleanser