Q&A: Adult Acne, Help for Hair Loss and More

All of your health questions answered here!

| July/August 2001


I have suffered from acne since my early twenties. I also have eczema, which is now more under control than ever since I began following a strict cleansing diet and received a diagnosis of candidiasis (excess yeast in the intestines). I have been taking undecylenic acid for the excess yeast. However, nothing has really seemed to have any effect on the acne. I have some on my scalp and hairline, my face, my upper back, and some that forms a circle around my chin and mouth. My dermatologist gave me a prescription for tetracycline, but my naturopath is adamant that I don’t take it. Help!
S. J.
Burlington, Vermont

Stansbury responds: Because you have eczema, and your acne occurs around the mouth and hairline, the acne too could be a type of allergic hyper-reactivity. Acne around the hairline could be due to a reactivity to hair products and/or a type of seborrhea associated with eczema. Furthermore, acne around the mouth could be an allergic response to something ingested. Allergy testing, or simply experimenting, may help you determine if seemingly healthy foods could be contributing to breakouts.

If you have rough-textured, flaking, and inflamed patches of skin, your acne could be a type of eczema-like dermatitis. Tetracycline doesn’t usually help this type of acne much, and I agree with your naturopath that antibiotics will further impair intestinal health. Essential fatty acids such as flaxseed oil, a tablespoon or more per day, may improve both eczema and acne. Beta-carotene is often helpful, as are B vitamins and zinc.

Because dermatitis may result from digestive disorders, and you mention having difficulty with intestinal yeast, this is also an obvious place to start. Avoid yeasted foods and excessive sugar. Consider taking acidophilus for three or four months, and treat any indigestion, constipation, or bloating accordingly. Some cases of chronic eczema and acne improve dramatically with the use of fiber, herbs such as yellow dock (Rumex crispus), burdock (Arctium lappa), and dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), digestive enzymes, and HCL preparations as appropriate.

Willard responds: This is a common problem in the clinic—acne related to candidiasis. While undecylenic acid is quite exciting in its use as an antifungal agent against candida, like other fatty acids it needs to come in contact with the yeast to be effective. Many times the candida will just move to another location, often going deeper into the body where the undecylenic acid will not be able to come in contact with it. For this reason, I find limited use for this supplement in internal candidiasis. I am very supportive of your naturopath’s recommendation to not use the tetracycline. This usually only makes the problem substantially worse in the long run. It produces nice short-term relief but a stronger colony of yeast.

One of the problems with a candida yeast infection is that it often disrupts the fatty-acid metabolism in the liver. One of the most common symptoms of this is an acne-type dermatitis or eczema. The solution is quite simple, but somewhat demanding. The most important thing is to follow a strict candida diet for three to nine months, take suitable supplements to deal with the yeast (this could include the undecylenic acid), and take probiotics to create the proper ecological balance. In addition, you will need to consume essential fatty acids. This can come from your diet in the form of omega-3 and omega-6 oils, or in the form of a supplement. Most of my clients with this problem take a mixed omega fatty-acid capsule (2,000 mg twice daily). I usually add zinc (15 to 30 mg), beta-carotene (20,000 IU twice daily), vitamin B6 (100 mg twice daily), and vitamin C (1 g twice daily).

11/15/2013 8:19:51 AM

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