Question: I have a 16-year-old son who is in his sixth month of suffering with pretty severe acne. Being a teenager, his diet is not optimal to say the least. Lately he is getting more self-conscious and even a bit withdrawn because of his looks. The dermatologist we went to prescribed Tetracycline and Acutane but isn’t there any other way to go?

Answer: As your describe, acne vulgaris and cystic acne, two very common problems of modern teenagers, can be very debilitating for young people, particularly as it undermines their sense of self-esteem at a time when it is already fragile. Is there an effective strategy available for people in this age group that does not incur the side effects of conventional medications? (Tetracycline is a broad spectrum antibiotic which alters bowel flora and also interferes with bone metabolism. Acutane is a synthetic vitamin A molecule which causes very dry skin, irritability and possible birth defects in growing fetuses.)

A strategy for dealing with acne begins with effective “bowel cleansing” and healthy bowel flora (the normal lacto-bacteria that live in our intestines). This has always been considered the cornerstone of every natural acne treatment. The best remedy for this is for your teenager to eat about 1/4-1/2 cup of fresh, unpasteurized traditionally made sauerkraut every day and then take one teaspoon of Swedish Bitters in warm water before bed. You can make the sauerkraut yourself following the recipes in Nourishing Traditions. There is also a brand called Bubbies, found in the refrigerator section of a good health food store. There are also scores of other lacto-fermented vegetables, fruits and drinks described in Nourishing Traditions that you can try. Sauerkraut, however, should be the cornerstone of treatment as the high sulphur content of the cabbage is especially valuable in skin cleansing. (Cabbage juice is valued in Irish folk medicine for giving a beautiful complexion.)

Another area of importance is the inclusion of the proper fats in the diet (such as good quality butter and olive oil) and excluding the commercial vegetable oils and hydrogenated margarines and shortenings. Your teenager should also take 1/2 teaspoon or 3 capsules cod liver oil daily and 4-5 capsules of evening primrose daily as supplements.

Raw foods should be included liberally in the diet, including vegetables, fruits, milk and even meat. At the same time he should decline sodas, sugar and junk foods as much as possible. Make his own lunch so that he does not have to eat in the cafeteria, and always have plenty of nutritious natural snacks on hand.

Finally, there should be some attention to sweating and the general cleansing of the skin. If your child is athletic, encourage him to exercise heavily, then brush his skin vigorously (with a loofah) and then rinse off in cool-cold water. This is like a skin “exercise.” If he is not athletic, one to three saunas weekly followed by a cool shower will aid detoxification. You might also look into a good herbal skin treatment. I recommend the Hauschka Cosmetics products, available from Raphael Pharmacy (916) 962-1099. They have a trio for acne treatment that consists of capsules containing silica and herbs, a special face lotion for acne and a cleansing cream.

These measures should be a good start in clearing your son’s skin.

From a reader, via email:
“Your website neglects to mention high doses of the water-soluble vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) for curing acne. It does wonders, without of course the damaging effects of Accutane.”
-Ted Sawyer, Des Moines, IA

The Weston A. Price Foundation responds: Thank you for sharing this important piece of information with us. Good sources of pantothenic acid include nutritional yeast and liver. Other nutrients that help in the treatment of acne are vitamin A (available in cod liver oil, organ meats, egg yolks and butter) and zinc (available in shellfish and red meat).


4 Responses to Acne

  1. I totally agree with intestinal cleansing but until you see the crusted fecal matter discharged, cleansing is only on the surface. It takes about 2-3 months of continuously taking cleansing mixture of special herbs along with hard to find medical clay. Once you start discharging mucus clusters of impacted sticky fecal matter, then you know you are cleansing your intestinal lining. This is where the unfriendly bacteria reside. Unless you dug up the crusted stuff you are not going to get a hold of the bacteria that cause acne. During this time and most frequently thereafter foods that cause mucus should be avoided. These are mostly starchy foods including all sorts of grains and processed milk. There is no such thing as healthy whole grains. Once you totally cleanse yourself you can introduce small amounts of only home cooked organic grains in limited amounts. There is no healthy bread so the best thing is to get used to that idea. Even Ezekiel bread is marginal but if you must eat bread this is the one I would suggest but not exceeding two slices per day.

    The other cleansing agent is HCL, yes the hydrochloric acid that your stomach is supposed to make; but due to malnutrition and deficiency of sea salt, b-complex vitamins and selenium in our diet, this digestive and cleansing agent always fall short in production. Start introducing natural form of HCL with every meal and for lymphatic cleansing in between meals but make sure you are taking enough minerals to maintain the correct pH. Minerals should be in natural form not rock forms of minerals available commercially. I suggest introducing minimum 6 grams of potent natural HCL and as much as 10-15 grams for heavy cleansing.

    I try to answer all questions from my clients and daily blogs. Please let me know if you have any questions.

    Wish you the best!

    • Mark Talmont says:

      Fasting is the fast track to a cure. You don’t have to go through any elaborate procedures with supplements (though you’re going to have to monitor your diet carefully anyway as some people will find different diets work and some don’t–some people will find their acne is triggered more by sugars and carbs and others it’s more because of fats; I am afflicted with both issues so I really walk a tight rope).

      I don’t think anybody with acne should eat any dairy beyond maybe a teensy dap of plain yogurt for the beneficial gut flora. Drs. Mark Hyman and Joel Furhman have excellent diet books that feature health-supporting diets though Furhman uses a lot of nuts and that’s not going to work if you have greasy skin like me).

  2. Kieran says:

    I’ve been suffering with acne for about 6 years, I recently went on holiday to Tenerife and my skin cleared up 95%, but within a few weeks of being back home my acne started to creep back in. Could someone tell me what caused my skin to clear up, was it to do with the sun and vitamin D?

    • Mark Talmont says:

      Sunlight kills bacteria. It’s the same UV that causes skin damage over the long run though. I know because I used both natural and sumlamp UV to fight terrible cystic acne in my teens. I am guessing maybe the only reason I didn’t get cancer yet (40 years later) is religious use of aloe vera gel which for sure helps first degree burns heal so I am assuming it helps skin health in general.

      But fasting is the miracle cure for acne. I defeated the worst cystic acne with it (this was before they even had accutane). You could try a series of short fasts or just for it and fast until your skin clears. Web search for “USC fasting research to see what some real scientists are discovering right now about fasting–notable after decades of “debunking” from the same “authorities” who have promoted many other idiotic things like anti-cholesterol drugs.

Leave a reply

© 2015 The Weston A. Price Foundation for Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts.