Topical Biochemistry for Healthy Looking Skin


Characteristics of Acne Vulgaris

  1. Acne Vulgaris infections raise to pustules (pus filled pimples) on the surface of the skin.
  2. The Acne Vulgaris pustules usually discharge this white pus when squeezed.
  3. Blackheads, cysts and papules (small red spots) may be present.
  4. Acne Vulgaris occurs on the face, upper and lower back and upper chest (body acne).
  5. Some cystic acne conditions may also occur, but most acne vulgaris infections raise to pustules.

Acne Vulgaris is one of the most common skin disorders in youth, especially during puberty.  It affects more than 85% of adolescents and young adults and 40% – 54% of individuals older than 25 years. Before finding effective acne vulgaris control, people with acne vulgaris usually try a number of over-the-counter acne treatments and acne products without success. If they have been to a dermatologist, they have probably tried an antibiotic. Oral antibiotics work by killing propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) but approximately 35%-55% of today’s P. acnes strains are resistant to one or more of the more common antibiotics (tetracycline, clindamycin, erythromycin, doxycycline and minocycline) making the antibiotic useless. Additionally long-term use of antibiotics is associated with resistant strains of P. acnes and increased cancer risks and immune system damage. (See the Acne Tips page for additional information on this subject.) Resistance to P. acnes develops in 50% of individuals with acne vulgaris and cystic acne following treatment with both topical and oral antibiotics.  Resistance reaches 25% in individuals using benzoyl peroxide for cystic acne and acne vulgaris.

Over-the-counter acne products and acne treatments for acne vulgaris focus on the symptoms of acne rather than the biochemical causes of acne vulgaris. While this approach may be okay for light acne, it is not suited to moderate to severe acne vulgaris and won’t prevent light acne from progressing into the severe acne vulgaris stages.

Biochemically Speaking, Acne Is Easy To Understand

Testosterone (an androgen hormone) targets the skin and sebaceous glands where sebum is produced. Testosterone combines with the enzyme, 5alpha-reductase, to produce dihydrotestosterone, which stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce increased volumes of sebum. Sebum is expelled out of the follicular tube.

Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) and other bacteria on the skin and within the follicles produce bacterial lipases (enzymes) that move into the follicle openings and convert sebum into free fatty acids, which irritates the follicle linings. This irritation causes excessive production of cells and cellular debris, which blocks the follicles and traps P. acnes inside. The P. acnes bacteria inside the blocked follicles breed and produce acne infections. Infections grow and inflame the skin. Macrophage cells produce inflammatory histamines that cause the skin to become red, puffy and painful. This causes more follicle blockage and promotes more acne vulgaris infections. In the case of acne vulgaris, the infections may not rise to the surface where the infection and its waste can be expelled.

Most Other Acne Products

Most acne products and acne treatments attempt to kill P. acnes with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. They do not address the other issues that cause acne vulgaris, such as excessive sebum production and dry to firm sebum plugs. Benzoyl peroxide tends to dry the skin which actually promotes dry to firm sebum plugs and increased acne. Benzoyl peroxide can cause premature skin aging, slow healing and is associated with increased skin cancer risks. Benzoyl peroxide creates free radicals in the skin and is known to cause premature skin aging, just like repeated sun exposure or persistent adult acne. Damage is determined by the concentration of benzoyl peroxide and the frequency of use.

In June of 2014 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning that the use of certain acne products containing the active ingredient benzoyl peroxide can cause rare but serious and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions or severe irritation. An active ingredient is the component that makes the medicine effective against the illness or condition it is treating.  “There is currently no mention of the possibility of these very severe allergic reactions on the product labels,” says Mona Khurana, M.D., a medical officer at FDA. “It’s important that consumers know about them, and that they know what to do if they occur.”  Benzoyl peroxide products must state that they should be used with sunscreen as well as outline new warnings, such as the products should not be used on broken skin or warnings about potential skin irritation.

For these reasons, BiON does not use benzoyl peroxide or any other ingredient that might damage or prematurely age the skin. (See the Acne Tips and Benzoyl Peroxide Skin Damage pages for additional information.)

BiON Acne Products

BiON acne products kill P. acnes and a variety of other undesirable bacteria (such as E. coli, staphylococcus, salmonella, etc.) that produce lipases that promote acne. In addition to very small amounts of salicylic acid, BiON acne products use unique antibacterial ingredients such as cinnamon extract, sage extract, turmeric extract and wild marjoram extract. In addition to very effectively eliminating P. acnes, these acne treatment ingredients were selected because each of them has multiple functions. Cinnamon extract, for example, also blocks the action of 5alpha-reductase, as does green tea. These ingredients reduce sebum production and prevent the development of new acne infections. Green tea and wild marjoram down-regulate the production of interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, which cause the inflammation that promotes new acne vulgaris infections.

Tetrahydrocurcuminoids (THC) are derived from the turmeric root and reduce the inflammatory cascade, accelerate wound healing and prevent post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Niacinamide is a naturally occurring vitamin that that has anti-inflammatory properties, helps normalize moisture balance, lowers sebum production and can reduce the activity of P. acnes bacteria on the skin.

Zinc (contained in the mineral clay used in several BiON acne products) blocks 5alpha-reductase as well as interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-a. Since zinc is absolutely essential for healing and repair, it is an essential ingredient to promote quick and complete healing and a complete acne cure. Slow and incomplete healing of acne vulgaris leads to acne scars and more information can be found the the Acne Scars page..

BiON’s acne cleansers (Antibacterial Cleanser and Bacteriostat Cleanser) and Green Tea/Clay Poultice contain ten very unique ingredients that eliminate or reduce P. acnes, 5alpha-reductase, sebum production, free fatty acids, lipase production and inflammatory cascades. Most other acne vulgaris products just use the traditional salicylic acid and/or benzoyl peroxide, which have little influence on the full chemistry of acne.

While BiON’s Salicylic-Glycolic Gel may seem basic, it is twice as effective as traditional acne treatment products because it uses two types of enzymes to keep the follicles clear, plus anti-inflammatory agents to reduce follicular exfoliation and blockage. The salicylic acid is only 0.50% of the total formula so the acne product is not irritating or drying and can be used by almost all skin types.

BiON acne products achieve control of acne vulgaris in 90% of cases because of this comprehensive approach of treating the multiple causes of acne, rather than focusing only on the symptoms, like most other over-the-counter acne products. The dermatologist and biochemist who develop BiON products have a clear understanding of the skin biochemistry involved with acne and the natural plant extracts for a natural acne treatment that has been shown through research to correct this skin chemistry and provide the best acne treatment and an effective acne vulgaris cure.

More Biochemistry

Linoleic acid is a normal component of sebum. It is an “essential fatty acid” required by the body. We are more familiar with this bio-chemical as omega oil (omega 6), such as safflower oil (as contained in Green Tea/Clay Poultice) or a number of other terms. In the right combination essential fatty acids are very powerful anti-inflammatory agents and sebum made with linoleic acid is calming to the skin. Modern foods have avoided these essential oils in favor of “designer” lipids like trans-fats. Research has found links suggesting trans-fats may break down the body’s supply of essential fatty acids and promote acne vulgaris. When linoleic acid is not available in the skin, the sebaceous glands produce sebum with oleic acid and this form of sebum is irritating to the skin and promotes acne vulgaris. It has been suggested that oleic acid sebum is drier, firmer and more prone to cause blackheads, whiteheads and the promotion of follicular plugs that lead to acne vulgaris infections. There is more information on this aspect of acne vulgaris and acne related conditions (cystic acne, whiteheads or milia and blackheads) in the Acne & Essential Fatty Acids page.

BiON acne products take a natural acne treatment approach and contain linoleic acid to ensure it is available for production of non-irritating sebum and to act as a powerful antioxidant and reduce skin inflammation. People with continual follicle blockage (blackheads, whiteheads and/or acne vulgaris) may benefit from increasing their consumption of foods rich in a balance of linoleic acid/omega 6 and omega 3 oils or taking supplements such as flax seed oil. Do not take flax seed supplements if pregnant or nursing without the knowledge of the physician.

Chronic Moderate to Severe Acne

Some patients may have had moderate to severe acne for several years and have tried multiple forms of prescriptive and non-prescriptive acne treatments without success. Review the Acne & Wheat, Acne & Essential Fatty Acids and Acne & Milk pages to determine if these factors may be involved. People with whitehead issue (and possibly blackheads) usually have an essential fatty acid (linoleic acid) deficiency which promotes their acne. People with chronic moderate to severe acne may also benefit from the use of Acne Inhibiting Gel to correct the chemical imbalances in the skin’s chemistry that is produced by chronic acne vulgaris infections.


Cleanser Group

Antibacterial Cleanser: For most skin types. Provides extraordinary acne benefits with maximum bacterial control against P. acnes and other undesirable bacteria (such as E. coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, etc.) and their acne promoting lipases. Blocks 5alpha-reductase. (Note: One percent of the population is allergic to topical cinnamon extract and may develop redness and stinging following use on approximately the second or third day. Switch this small number of patients who react to cinnamon to the Bacteriostat Cleanser.)

Bacteriostat Cleanser: Ideal for rosacea, acne rosacea and dry or sensitive skin types. Effective bacterial control against P. acnes and other undesirable bacteria (such as E. coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus, etc.) and their acne promoting lipases. Has additional anti-inflammatory benefits, including blocking histamines in the skin that promote irritation in dry and dry, sensitive skin types.

Glycolic Cleanser: For excessively oily skin types, with or without acne. Keeps follicles clear of cellular debris and has minor antibacterial properties.

Follicle Exfoliation Group

Salicylic-Glycolic Gel: For most skin types. Maximum power to keep follicles clear. Effective bacterial control against P. acnes and other undesirable bacteria and their acne-promoting lipases. Powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Uses glycolic acid, salicylic acid and plant enzymes to help keep follicles clear and free of infections.

Follicle Clearing Lotion: Ideal for rosacea, acne rosacea, dry and sensitive skin types. Keeps follicles clear. Effective bacterial control against P. acnes and other undesirable bacteria and their acne promoting lipases. Powerful anti-inflammatory benefits.

Poultice Group

Green Tea/Clay Poultice: For all skin types. Poultice action literally pulls infection and developing infection up and out of the skin. Provides extraordinary acne benefits against P. acnes and other undesirable bacteria and their acne promoting lipases. Blocks the action of 5alpha-reductase. Powerful antihistamine and anti-inflammatory benefits. Delivers linoleic acid to the skin.

Acne Vulgaris Treatment Progress: Be sure to review the Acne Cure Photographs page. It explains with words and photographs how the skin responds, including time-frames.

Acne – Oily, Combination or Normal Skin

Light, Moderate or Severe Acne

Antibacterial Cleanser – Apply to damp face, work into lather, rinse off
Salicylic-Glycolic Gel – Apply very thinly, lightly rub into skin to disappear, leave on
Green Tea/Clay Poultice – Apply very thinly to problem areas and rub in to disappear

Antibacterial Cleanser – Apply to damp face, work into lather, rinse off
Salicylic-Glycolic Gel – Apply very thinly, leave on
Green Tea/Clay Poultice – Apply more liberally than in AM, rub into skin, leave on

Note: For severe acne cases Inhibiting Gel can be added to the twice daily
regimen, following the Antibacterial Cleanser and before the Salicylic-Glycolic Gel.

Note: If the Poultice rolls or doesn’t absorb when applied, the Salicylic-Glycolic Gel has been
applied too liberally and is creating a barrier.

Acne – Dry or Sensitive Skin or Acne Rosacea

Light, Moderate or Severe Acne

Bacteriostat Cleanser – Apply to damp face, work into lather, rinse off
Follicle Clearing Lotion – Apply thinly following cleansing, leave on
Green Tea/Clay Poultice – Apply very thinly to problem areas, rub in to disappear
Moisture Complex – Optional, for dry skin. Use as needed, leave on

Bacteriostat Cleanser – Apply to damp face, work into lather, rinse off
Follicle Clearing Lotion – Apply following cleansing, leave on
Green Tea/Clay Poultice – Apply more liberally than in AM, leave on
Moisture Complex – Optional, for dry skin. Use as needed, leave on

BiON’s Oil Free Moisturizing Gel hydrates without oils, is non-comedogenic and has a calming and soothing effect, It may be used in place of Moisture Complex.

Note: For severe acne cases Inhibiting Gel can be added to the twice daily
regimen, following the Bacteriostat Cleanser and before the Follicle Clearing Lotion.

Note: If the Green Tea/Clay Poultice rolls or doesn’t absorb when applied, the Salicylic-Glycolic Gel has been applied too liberally and is creating a barrier.

BiON acne treatment products control acne or provide a complete acne cure in over 90% of cases, including the toughest cases of adult acne, acne vulgaris, cystic acne, blackheads, whiteheads (milia), and body acne.

Types of Acne Category Page »

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