Acne Part 1: Common Treatments, Health Consequences and Healthier Solutions

Acne Part 1:  Common Treatments,
Health Consequences and Healthier Solutions

by Linda Lizotte, R.D.

Acne is a complicated condition with multiple possible causes. Our face is the first thing people see while standing in front of us. The last thing we want is that they only focus our acne rather than seeing the true beauty that lies beneath. The purpose of this article is to discuss long-term health consequences of using  antibiotics to treat acne and offer safer, effective, natural solutions. We’ll also practice our cosmetic label reading skills. Acne Treatments Part 2 will discuss Accutane side-effects and more. As always we’ll provide healthier options that really work.
We all know that teenagers are the most plagued by acne. 80% of teenagers suffer with acne. That is an astonishingly high number! Confidence in our looks at such a sensitive and socially awkward time in life is critical. Also, 54% of women between 20-40 suffer with occasional bouts of acne. Some of the causes of acne include food allergies, hormone changes such as elevated testosterone which increases sebum (skin oil) production, sweating on your pillow which increases bacteria, inadequate production of internal carnitine (similar to an amino acid) and lack of acetyl coA, as well as bacteria and inflammation in the skin. Bacteria feeds on excess sebum as well as dead skin cells. (Don’t forget to exfoliate twice a week!) Pores can get clogged, thus inflammation occurs resulting in acne

The common types of medicines that doctors use to treat acne include:

  1. Benzoyl peroxide, such as Brevoxyl or Triaz.
  2. Salicylic acid, such as Propa pH or Stridex.
  3. Topical and oral antibiotics, such as clindamycin, doxycycline, erythromycin, and tetracycline.
A topical antibiotic may be combined with a topical retinoid, such as tretinoin (Retin-A,) or a topical antibiotic may be combined with benzoyl peroxide gel. Prolonged use of these drugs is NOT SAFE for developing teens and pregnant or breast-feeding women.
Wouldn't you rather use a natural solution that is safe for teens, moms and unborn babies?
People with mild acne may need only topical antibiotics. The most common types include: Clindamycin (known as Cleocin); Erythromycin (known as E-Mycin) and Doxycycline. These product may contain certain inactive ingredients (such as sulfites and soy), which can cause allergic reactions or other problems.
Antibiotics are commonly prescribed by doctors for the treatment of the acne. Mechanism of action of antibiotics for acne is twofold:
  1. Reduce the number of bacteria on the skin surface
  2. Reduce inflammation
Antibiotics are available as topical preparations for mild acne. They’re also offered as tablets, capsules and elixirs prescribed for oral use to treat moderate and severe acne, providing greater impact and greater risk.
Side effects and risks of topical antibiotics:
Skin irritation from topical antibiotics is common as well as incidence of severe dryness. Irritation could be the sign of an allergic reaction. If using topical antibiotics, always apply AMG Naturally’s Daily Moisturizer Lotion, morning and night, especially if the skin is visibly scaly, then follow-up the lotion with AMG Naturally’s Elixir Oil (Moringa oil combined with Sacha inchi oil); two superfoods from the rainforest

Contact dermatitis (red, dry, itchy skin) is another common side effect and is also likely an allergic reaction. It is often treated with a topical corticosteroid such as hydrocortisone cream that I would NOT recommend due to its known side effects which include:  immune suppression, weight gain, and face pigmentation loss. 

A troubling finding is that frequent use of antibiotic preparations can result in the development of very broad bacterial resistance to many antibiotics. The most serious condition is MRSA, which can kill (Methicillin Resistant Staph. Aureus).
Just because something works, doesn’t mean it’s safe.
Other serious side effects of applying or ingesting antibiotics for acne:
  • Serious rashes- these can be mild or life-threateningly severe.
  • Photosensitivity- better avoid the sun.
  • Gastrointestinal disturbance- affects about 5% of patients, includes nausea, colicky pain and diarrhea.
  • Thrush fungal infection due to an overgrowth of Candida albicans. Antibiotics kill off all the protective healthy bacteria in the gut called probiotics. Candida can cause white tongue and vaginal yeast infection gets diagnosed in women.
  • Permanently discolored tooth enamel.
  • Potential failure of oral contraceptive pill!!!!!!
What should you NOT do if you are trying to treat acne?
  1.  Do not over-wash. This strips your skin of its natural sebum oil that has many important functions. Your body will then OVERPRODUCE sebum thus your skin will always be oily. Never cleanse more than twice a day and please read the label on your face wash. Soaps are TOO DRYING. DO NOT wash with “fragrance” containing chemicals (AXE, Cetaphil, Clinique, etc).    Solution: I treated a young teenage boy who cleared up his acne SIMPLY by using the AMG Papaya Splash Face Wash that I designed.
  2. Do not try the natural route and only use olive oil or coconut oil on your skin. Coconut oil is wonderful. It protects your skin from sun damage and is anti-fungal, but this won’t help your acne. Olive oil belongs on your salad not on your skin.
  3. Do not be afraid to put healthy plant oils on your skin if they are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial. Is this not the purpose of using antibiotics in the first place? The healthiest skin oils in the world are Moringa and Sacha inchi, used as a base for all AMG lotions.

What should you do for ACNE that is safe and natural?
Study up on Moringa oil and Sacha inchi oil. They are both indigenous to the rainforest. They both contain anti-inflammatories. I chose the two of them for AMG’s Elixir oil because of their high vitamin E content, omega 3s (anti-inflammatory) and catechins, polyphenols and anti-bacterial properties. They stop the over-production of sebum oil. The right oils can reduce face oil, the wrong oils can make it worse. This is the #1 anti-acne product in the AMG Naturally line.


Linda Lizotte, R.D, nutritionist’s AMG protocol for acne:

  1. Papaya Splash Foaming Face Wash twice daily, morning and night

  2.  AMG Elixir Oil applied 3 times a week (contains omega 3 and 6, is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial)

  3.  Dead Sea Mud Mask twice a week to remove toxins and impurities that build up from exposure – let dry then remove with wet warm wash cloth.

  4.  Probiophage probiotic capsule made by Designs for Health - twice daily to improve gut health especially if on antibiotics.

  5.  Accnutrol capsules by Designs for Health  containing carnitine and pantothenic acid  (vitamin B5) for raising coenzyme A to  properly metabolize sebum oil

how to stop acne
Before and After Photos using AMG Naturally Products
before and after acne
Before and After Photos using AMG Naturally Products

Product Analysis: Proactiv

“Bonfire of the Vanities”

What’s the most popular product on the market for teenagers with ACNE? Proactiv™, of course. You’ve seen all the infomercials on television. The company automatically ships to your home and the products pile up in the pantry.

Do you know how difficult it is to find ingredient lists for PROACTIV™ products? This is super interesting…if a cosmetic company does not distribute at retail (drugstores, supermarkets, or big box stores), they are NOT required to list their ingredients. First of all, I am not a fan of companies that automatically send you refills every month and then make it extremely difficult for you to cancel after you’ve placed your first order. Years ago, when my teenagers used Proactiv™, I became concerned when all the towels in their bathrooms showed bleach stains. Experiences like this motivated me to spend time researching cosmetics, their ingredients, and their safety (not to mention buying new towels!). Years later I decided to combine my years of experience as a nutritionist, vitamin formulator and health researcher, in order to blaze a new trail in the beauty industry with the goal of helping people love the way they look and live longer, too. I searched long and hard to find the elusive ingredient list for the Proactiv™ product below. Let’s analyze the label together (goal of my newsletters is to make you a cosmetic label detective!) to determine their safety…(or not.)
Proactiv™ Complexion Perfecting Hydratoris proactiv bad

Active Ingredient(s): salicylic acid 0.5%

Inactive Ingredients: water, butylene glycol, cetearyl alcohol, dimethicone, sodium polyacrylate, scutellaria baicalensis root extract, sophora angustifolia root extract, morus alba root extract, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, arctostaphylos uva ursi leaf extract, kojic acid, zinc gluconate, alpha-glucan oligosaccharide, sodium hyaluronate, bisabolol, allantoin, squalane, safflower oil/palm oil aminopropanediol esters, C12-15 alkyl lactate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, caprylyl glycol, ethylhexylglycerin, glycerin, ethylhexyl palmitate, hydrogenated polydecene, hydroxypropyl cyclodextrin, PPG-5-laureth-5, polyquaternium-11, ceteareth-20, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, polysorbate 60, hexylene glycol, PPG-2 myristyl ether propionate, sodium hydroxide, disodium EDTA, phenoxyethanol, fragrance.

  1. Ceteareth-20 is a popular toxin commonly included in cosmetic products that we encourage people to avoid. Ceteareth-20 is a penetration enhancer, as it alters the structure of your skin to allow substances to penetrate deeper. Definitely not something you want in a product already filled with poisons. This isn’t the only reason we recommend avoiding it. It is made from cetearyl alcohol which is a mixture of cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol and ethylene oxide (a carcinogen). There is a good possibility if your product contains Ceteareth-20 it is contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,2-dioxane (another carcinogen). Even at low doses, it causes skin irritation, predominantly around the eyes, mouth, and lips. The lethal cocktail of potential carcinogen contamination and toxin penetration enhancement, places Ceteareth-20 on the top of our list of chemicals to KEEP OFF your skin, especially if irritated or damaged.
  1.  Phenoxyethanol is a glycol ether, commonly used in cosmetics and other personal care products as a preservative. Studies have shown that Phenoxyethanol can be an extreme irritant to the eyes and skin, and can even cause blistering. It is hazardous if ingestion or inhaled, as well. The Cosmetic Database rates it as a “moderate hazard,” noting cancer, allergic reactions, skin, eye and lung irritation, organ and neurotoxicity as possible effects of using products containing Phenoxyethanol. It has shown effects on sensory organs even at low doses, and impacts brain and nervous systems at moderate doses in animals, also causing cell mutation. Moderate hazard? Hmm. THE CIR expert panel says it is safe if diluted properly. Why use it at all if you can do the same thing in a natural way?

    According to research, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) data sheets show “chromosomal changes and genetic mutation effects in testing as well as testicular atrophy and reproductive damage in mice.” I’d bet most men would say NO THANK YOU to this offer.
  1.  Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate – Let’s face it, there is no safe form of aluminum. It is a toxic heavy metal and has no place in cosmetics. Aluminum creates oxidative stress (free radicals in the skin and in the body particularly breast tissue). Free radicals cause the body and the skin to age faster. They contribute to wrinkle formation and worse.
  1. “Fragrance” can be one or more of 200 chemicals. Companies don't have to disclose the actual components of each scent, under the guise that their fragrances are trade secrets. Fragrances have been known to cause many side effects, including headaches and allergic reactions. They may be contributing to childhood cancer. Fragrance always contains plastic phthalates known as “hormone disruptors”. Fragrance is often derived from petroleum and may also contain: 
  • Ethyl Acetate
  • Tonalide            
  • Benzyl Alcohol   
  • Styrene     
  • Methylene Chloride
  • Methyl Benzene
  • Benzene            
  • Acetone
  • Galaxolide          
  • Benzyl Acetate   
  • Benzaldehyde    

BUYER BEWARE!  Proactiv™ typically works for a short while, only to be followed by a "flare-up" as the body develops tolerance, causing users to become a bit dependent. Try the natural way recommended by AMG. Please send us your before and after photos. Then spread the news! Join us next month for Acne Part 2. 

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