Friday, January 14, 2011

Acne: Crustaceans versus Oxidation

Having read about the benefits of krill oil for arthritis pain and blood sugar control, I bought a bottle for my mother. So far the results for her blood sugar have been encouraging if inconclusive. Her blood sugar levels took a dive into the normal range a few weeks after she started taking krill, but that was followed by some high-carb holidays. And her record keeping leaves something to be desired. She's not sure yet if it's going to help her arthritis.

Since krill oil is supposed to be a great anti-oxidant (keep that word in mind), I decided to try it to see what it would do for me. What it did was commit the worst trespass any ingested substance can cause: acne. Straightaway, I got a cyst on my knee that was so painful I couldn't dance. Then I got one on my jaw; both of them went away within a few days, though--but I hadn't had one in years. My keratosis worsened and even showed up on my face. (Keratosis is having those hard little lumps in the hair follicles of your arms and legs--not to be confused with ketosis or ketoacidosis). Now I'm so broken out that I'm wearing a freaky looking application of Queen Helene Mint Julep Mask. (What, you think gorgeous just happens?)

Then I thought...oxidation...Oxiclean...benzoyl peroxide...maybe some of that crud in your skin is supposed to oxidize. Maybe anti-oxidants aren't always the best thing since sliced bacon. Here's an interesting discussion from The Beauty Brains Forum:

And here's a rodent study(1) where the oxidation action of benzoyl peroxide was used to induce tumors in mice. (Keep in mind that rodents aren't furry little humans, and that some rodents are bred to be prone to illness. Using benzoyl peroxide on your skin isn't signing your death warrant. Still, I wouldn't slather it on.)

According to, benzoyl peroxide works by killing acne-causing bacteria by "introduc[ing] oxygen directly into the pore when applied topically onto the skin." The odd thing is, benzoyl peroxide never worked for me, and yet an opposite product--a strong anti-oxidant--has re-introduced acne to my skin.

(1) "Inhibitory effect of a flavonoid antioxidant silymarin on benzoyl peroxide-induced tumor promotion, oxidative stress and inflammatory responses in SENCAR mouse skin." Jifu Zhao, Moushumi Lahiri-Chatterjee, Yogesh Sharma and Rajesh Agarwal. Carcinogenesis, Volume 21, Issue4 Pp. 811-816.

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