Acne forms when a hair follicle becomes plugged with oil or dead skin cells. The most common locations are on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders. The main causes of acne are excess oil, dead skin cells, bacteria and inflammation. There are many triggers that can cause acne. Hormonal changes especially during puberty or menopause cause more oil production which leads to more clogged follicles. Certain medications can also lead to increased oil production. Diet and stress can also play a huge role in exacerbating acne.
Acne can range in severity:
- Whiteheads, blackheads
- Papules (Red and tender bumps)
- Pustules (Papule with pus)
- Nodules (Large painful lumps under skin)
- Cystic (Painful pus filled lump under the skin)
Untreated or improperly treated acne can increase the risk of complications. The most common complication of acne are scars. Severe acne can leave long-term scars even after the acne has healed. Another complication is changes to skin color, after the acne has healed the skin may be lighter or darker than the surrounding skin.
There are many different treatment plans available and if you have tried over-the-counter products for a couple of months with no success you should see a professional before your acne becomes too severe or you cause damage to your skin. The professional will make a plan to help control your current acne, reduce the risk of scars or make current scars less noticeable.
All treatments plans are based on severity and medical history. The most common treatments given from a professional will include topical (retinol or antibiotic based) and oral medications (accutane, antibiotics or oral contraceptives). Other common treatments include: light therapy, chemical peels, drainage or injections.
There are many other treatments one should consider under the supervision of a professional. Many lifestyle changes can help such as: diet changes, proper cleaning (too much can cause irritation), avoid irritants, avoid picking and taking certain supplements and herbs.
If you have scars from past acne you can get IPL or microneedling procedures, apply topicals or take certain supplements to improve the appearance of the scars.
Dr. Pace, ND does full intakes to provide you with your personalized treatment plan to control your current acne, he also provides aesthetic treatments to decrease the appearance of acne scars. Book an initial Naturopathic appointment or a complimentary aesthetic consultation with him.
Which sunscreen should I be using?
We are now entering the higher UV rating seasons and sunblock is a must for all individuals. UVA and UVB are both carcinogenic. UVA penetrates to the mid-dermis layer and causes most of the photoaging issues such as wrinkles, lentigines, telangiectasis, and altered collagen and elastin. UVB penetrates to the base of the epidermis where cells DNA is damaged and potentially causes cancer. UVB is also responsible for those nasty sunburns.
Now how do we select the right sunscreen? I suggest any sunscreen is better than none, but if you have a choice then select wisely.
We have chemical and physical sunscreens:
- Chemical sunscreens protect the skin by creating a photochemical reaction, it absorbs the UV and transforms it into harmless wave radiation and re-emits it as heat. These have a less cloudy and better appearance on the skin. Roughly 2% of people will see skin irritation due to the chemicals. Also they degrade with sun exposure and need to be re-applied.
- Physical sunscreens protect the skin by scattering and reflecting the UV rays. The older versions are cloudy and hard to apply, but newer micronized versions apply almost as nicely as the chemical ones. The risk of irritation is much lower and they do not breakdown over time and therefore do not need reapplications as frequently.
Every year the EWG (Environmental Working Group) releases a guide that includes most sunscreens and provides the hazards and effectiveness of each. You can log on to their website and search each sunscreen. https://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/ (2021 list comes out soon)
I check out the EWG list every year as some companies change their ingredients. I also like to minimize my chemical burden therefore I choose a physical sunscreen.
There are also other things you can do to protect against sun damage:
- wear UV absorbing clothes
- wear a hat
- avoid sun exposure ie bring an umbrella to the beach
- take supplements that are photoprotective (Vitamin C and E)
- make sure your current medications are not photosensitizing
What can I do if I do have sun damage?
- again there are supplements that can help repair skin damage (Vit A/C/E, zinc and selenium)
- topical creams including certain ingredients, timing of these creams matter as some of the creams should not be put on when you are outside (Vit A/B/C)
- laser treatment to remove sun spots and decrease wrinkles (IPL and Nanofractional radio frequency)
If you have any questions regarding prevention or treatment of sun-damaged skin please book an appointment with Matthew Pace, Naturopathic Doctor or Lada Milos Lee, Chiropodist.
Acupuncture can help relieve pains such as: Low back pain, headaches, menstrual cramps, nerve pain, all
muscles and joint pains, fibromyalgia and much more. The needle may be inserted where the pain is and
may be inserted in other points along the body that help treat pain. When the needles are inserted they
cause the release of endorphins which are the body’s natural pain killer. Depending on the type of pain the
needles may be inserted and left in for 20 minutes, in other situations the needles may be manipulated.
The needle would be twisted or could be moved in and out quickly to break up a trigger point.
Electro-stimulation: This is an add on to acupuncture, a small current is passed through the needles or
beside them with pads. The frequency is adjusted to a threshold that is comfortable but also therapeutic.
The run time of this method is around 20 minutes. This option is not painful but may be uncomfortable
Moxibustion: This is also an add on to acupuncture, heat is applied to the area. This can be done with
infra red lamps or with burning moxa. This increases temperatures which increases circulation to the area.
This is great for pain management or circulation issues. Again this is a none painful treatment.
Cupping: Although sometimes used with acupuncture, most treatments with cupping are done before or
after an acupuncture treatment. A suction cup is placed on the skin, and either kept in place or dragged
along the skin. This is a great options for releasing muscle tension, it also increases circulation.
If you are interested in any of these treatments please contact Beachealth and Dr. Pace ND can answer
any of your questions.
Acupuncture: much more than just pain relief
If you have never had acupuncture before, the thought of a “needle” being inserted into your body may be scary. Let me put your mind at ease, we can insert an acupuncture needle into the hole of a blood draw needle. They are extremely small in comparison and do not cause as much pain, if any at all. Also a personalized acupuncture protocol can help you with so much more than just muscle pain relief.
Why would you get acupuncture?
The most common reasons people receive acupuncture is for pain: headaches/migraines, muscle pain, arthritis, menstrual cramps, TMJ syndrome. Once your personalized protocol has been made acupuncture can even help with stress, anxiety, sleep issues, GI issues, high blood pressure, nausea, vertigo, strengthen immune system, and addictions.
What to expect in each appointment?
In your initial appointment a guided examination surrounding your complaint will take 20-30 minutes. This will allow the practitioner to make an informed Chinese Medicine diagnosis and prepare your personalized protocol. During the initial appointment you will also receive your first treatment, which will last roughly 20 minutes. Follow up appointments are roughly 30 minutes, which will only include your treatment unless something new has come up. In each treatment you will have the choice to talk with the practitioner or simply relax and listen to some music. The number of treatments vary depending on the complaints and severity but the average is 1-2 visits per week for 4-5 weeks.
What to expect during the treatment?
Each protocol is customized to your specific diagnosis and severity. There are 361 points that follow 12 meridians along the whole body. There are also Aschi points which are trigger points that form in muscles. A protocol can consist of 10-20 needles, and can be located anywhere from the forehead to the foot/hand or where the pain is located. Each needle is inserted to specific depths, depending on the location, this is done to activate Qi, when the right depth and location is achieved, you may feel a dull ache. Shooting or severe pain should not be felt. Once the needles have been inserted, they will remain in place for an initial 10 minutes. After this the practitioner many manipulate the needles, twist or move the needle to reactivate the Qi, there again they will remain for another 10 minutes. After the full 20 minutes the needles will be removed, it is not uncommon for a little blood to come out, but there is no reason for concern, especially for some protocols, bleeding will help resolve the issue.
What to expect after the treatment?
After the treatment most patients feel relaxed or energized, it depends on the protocol and the goal. It is suggested after a treatment to not lift anything heavy, to relax, stay away from stimulants and depressants for 12 hours, The practitioner may also make diet and lifestyle recommendations that go along with your diagnosis. A key to success with acupuncture is open dialogue, be open with your practitioner and give feedback so that he can make and adapt your protocol to be right for you. If you do not start to see improvements after a couple of weeks, the protocol may need to be changed or acupuncture may not be right for you.
Book your initial acupuncture appointment with Dr. Matthew Pace, ND
Weight loss: the larger picture
For every 5 points on the BMI scale above 22.5-25 BMI you have a 30% increased chance of mortality. That means if you have a BMI of 35-40 you only have a 60% chance of reaching the age of 70. This is due to all the comorbidities associated with obesity. The most common associated complications include: Type 2 Diabetes, sleep apnea, asthma, joint degeneration, fatty liver, high blood pressure, acid reflux, incontinence, depression and gout. The OMA has listed 57 comorbidities of obesity.
Here’s the most common situation for my weight loss patients: a patient sits across from me and I ask them “What brings you in today?” and they reply “My doctor told me to lose weight”. Unfortunately, they are then left to figure out how to lose the weight, which is a big feat on its own. Not only are you trying to do one of the most difficult things: lose weight! But you are also trying to navigate the expanse of literature on weight loss. Which diet?… Which exercises? And far too often people just give up.
What I want to tell you is that each person is different! What worked for your bestfriend may not work for you. There are so many other factors to weight loss that these diets and plans do not account for. Here are some other important factors we need to look at when wanting to lose weight:
- Sleep – a good night of sleep causes 25% less cravings and you will be 25% less hungry. Sleep allows your body to reset all the hormones associated with weight including insulin, leptin, growth hormone and cortisol. Good sleep consists of getting enough sleep, creating a sleep routine and getting the right kind of sleep.
- Stress – did you know hidden infections, blood sugars imbalances, food intolerances, nutrient deficiencies and gut bacterial imbalances are all chronic stressors on the body. When you think of stress, most people think of the perceived stress, such as a busy lifestyle. There are so many other things that will cause stress in our body and have negative impacts on pathways that will cause weight issues.
- Insulin resistance – insulin is necessary in the storage of sugars, and these stores are necessary for times of fasting. Insulin resistance is when the body no longer recognizes insulin and we then start to produce a lot of insulin. When we have too much insulin, fat gets trapped!
- Thyroid – the thyroid hormones regulate your metabolize, someone who produces less of these hormones will have a slower metabolism and will burn calories slower therefore will start to put weight on or may have issues losing weight
- Food sensitivities – intolerances to food unlike allergies can cause a wide range of symptoms, inflammation in the gut is one of the most common, this inflammation can cause you to improperly digest food, it also starts an immune response where the body recognize food particles as a foe and attacks it causing stress in the body and stress makes it harder to lose weight
This is just a short list, there are so many other factors that can play into weight loss issues, but these are the most common after diet and exercise. Your Naturopathic Doctor does an extensive intake to go over all the potential factors that are preventing you from losing weight. They will send you for pertinent lab work and then make a personalized plan with you which may include dietary/lifestyle changes, herbs/supplements and potentially acupuncture.
By Dr. Matthew Pace, N.D.