Although many people may think that acne is “just a teenage problem,” the truth is that it can happen at any stage of life, from infancy to senior adults. It is the most common facial skin problem among Americans, with as many as 40 to 50 million having it at least once in their lifetime. In fact, an entire industry of over the counter and prescription medications have been developed to treat acne outbreaks. Dr. Nathen Horst believes that chiropractic care can offer patients a safer, more effective alternative that actually addresses the causes of acne, rather than just treating symptoms. Chiropractic adjustments address some of the glandular imbalances that may be at the root of recurrent acne symptoms.
Causes of Acne
Acne occurs when the skin’s sebaceous (oil) glands become blocked with dead skin cells, dirt, or sweat. These can result in a plug just under the surface of the skin, clogging the pore (or surface opening) of the sebaceous glands. If this becomes infected, acne can result. Acne is most prevalent in teens because this is the stage of growth in which androgen hormonal levels begin to rise. Androgen is responsible for the development of the sebaceous glands. A variety of factors can cause acne, ranging from a diet high in greasy fatty foods, to greasy makeup, to oily hair, to stress. Some medications that increase androgen levels can induce acne.
Standard Treatments for Acne
Standard acne treatments only address the symptoms of acne, and often have very unpleasant side effects. Topical creams may result in skin rash, or reddening, burning, blistering, or crusting of skin. In rare cases, it can induce an allergic reaction, which may cause difficulty breathing. Some oral treatments include antibiotics, which can induce diarrhea. Other, less common side effects can include dry skin and lips, aching joints, headaches, and thinning hair. Chemical peels can leave the skin reddened and sensitive, and may even cause further scarring in extreme cases.
Chiropractic Treatment for Acne
Chiropractic treatment for acne focuses on the adrenal glands, which produce both androgen and cortisol in response to stress. By regulating the adrenal gland, chiropractic care can reduce both androgen and cortisol levels, thereby reducing both acne outbreaks as well as their inflammation. The thoracic spine, which consists of 12 vertebrae running down the middle section of the spine, is thought to control nerves running to the adrenal glands. By properly aligning the thoracic spine, Dr. Horst can relieve pressure upon these nerves, thereby allowing the adrenal glands to better regulate adrenal and cortisol levels, and reduce the stress and inflammation that can trigger acne and worsen it.
Of course, spinal adjustments are just one part of the overall chiropractic approach to treating acne. Dr. Horst may also use nutritional counseling and stress reduction techniques to boost the immune system and help the body deal with stress in a healthier fashion. Chiropractic care does more than just “fix” symptoms. It is a holistic treatment that is meant to be a wellness lifestyle that will boost the body’s own natural defenses against acne.