The negative psychological effects of the skin disease known as Acne can be profound and long-lasting. Acne is one of the most common disorders treated by dermatologists and other healthcare providers. Globally, acne ranks 8th in overall disease prevalence. More than 90 percent of world population is affected by acne at some point in their life.
Treatment for acne at the moment includes:
• Combination therapy with a retinoid and a benzoyl peroxide–containing antimicrobial agent is used to control mild-to-severe inflammatory acne.
• For moderate-to-severe cases, an oral antibiotic agent is also recommended, with the duration of use being typically limited to 3 to 4 months. Once clinical improvement occurs, acne control is maintained with a topical retinoid. Benzoyl peroxide may also be continued if needed.
• Combined oral contraceptive therapy and spironolactone are effective hormonal therapies for inflammatory acne in female patients and may be considered in patients who do not have a response to topical therapies alone.
• In patients with severe nodulocystic acne or with acne that is unresponsive to combination therapy, the use of isotretinoin a teratogenic drug should be considered.
Let’s have a look at these treatments for acne:
1. Use of Benzoyl Peroxide:
Bromobenzene is the simplest member of the class of bromobenzenes, that is benzene in which a single hydrogen has been substituted by a bromine. There is sufficient evidence that Benzene is carcinogenic to man and is known to cause cancer. IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) classifies benzene as “carcinogenic to humans”. The link between benzene and cancer has largely focused on leukemia and other cancers of blood cells. Benzene causes acute myeloid leukemia (AML). IARC also notes that benzene exposure has been linked with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It is established that human exposure to commercial benzene or benzene-containing mixtures can cause damage to the haematopoietic system, a system that produces your white blood cells for immunity & red blood cells.
2. 3-4 months on an oral antibiotic:
a) Antibiotic resistance: of C. acnes is a worldwide problem, and rates of resistance increased from 20% in 1979 to 64% in 2000; rates for tetracyclines were lower compared with rates for clindamycin and erythromycin 50. A study of 664 patients in the UK, Spain, Italy, Greece, Sweden, and Hungary reported that the prevalence of C. acnes resistance rates ranged from 50.8% to 93.6% to any antibiotic (tetracycline, macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin B) and that all included dermatologists who specialized in treating acne were colonized with resistant Cutibacterium acnes.
b) Digestive problems: Issues with digestion are one of the most commonly reported side effects of taking antibiotics.
· feeling of fullness
· loss of appetite
· stomach cramping or pain
· blood or mucus in stool
· severe diarrhea
· intense stomach cramping or pain
· uncontrollable vomiting
c) Fungal Infections: Antibiotics are designed to kill harmful bacteria. However, they sometimes kill the good bacteria that protect people from fungal infections.
d) Drug Interactions: Some common medications interact with certain antibiotics.
· blood thinners
· birth control medications (may only occur with rifamycins)
· multivitamins and some supplements, especially those high in zinc, iron, and calcium
· non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
· psoriasis medications
· rheumatoid arthritis medications
· diabetes medications
· muscle relaxants
· Parkinson’s disease medications
· retinoids and vitamin A supplements
· cholesterol medications, including statins
· migraine medications
· gout medications
· tricyclic antidepressants
e) Photosensitivity: Many types of antibiotics make the skin more sensitive to the sun (photosensitive)
f) Teeth and Bone staining: Some estimates suggest that 3 to 6 percent of the people who take tetracycline develop stains on their teeth enamel. The staining is irreversible in adults because their teeth do not regrow or change. Staining can also appear on some bones. However, bones are continuously remodeling themselves, so bone stains caused by antibiotics are typically reversible.
g) Ananphylaxis: In rare cases, antibiotics can cause an extremely severe allergic reaction.
h) Clostridium difficile - induced colitis: Clostridium difficile, or C. difficile, is a type of bacteria that can infect the large intestine and cause Clostridium difficile-induced colitis, an infection that causes intestinal inflammation and severe diarrhea.
i) Kidney failure: The kidneys are responsible for removing toxins, including medications, from the blood and body through urine. Antibiotics can overburden and damage the kidneys in people with kidney conditions.
3. Spironolactone: In 2011, the FDA added Stevens-Johnson syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis — two life-threatening skin disorders — to spironolactone's list of possible side effects.
4. Use of teratogenic drugs: a drug that can disturb the development of the embryo or fetus. Teratogens halt the pregnancy or produce a congenital malformation (a birth defect). Eg. Accutane, Sotret, Claravis, Amnesteem, Myorisan, Zenatane. Potential side effects include ulcerative colitis, an increased risk of depression and suicide, and severe birth defects.
5. Extraction of whiteheads and blackheads: Your doctor may use special tools to gently remove whiteheads and blackheads (comedos) that haven't cleared up with topical medications. This technique may cause scarring.
6. Steroid injection: Nodular and cystic lesions can be treated by injecting a steroid drug directly into them. This therapy has resulted in rapid improvement and decreased pain. Side effects may include thinning in the treated area.
There are five key factors leading to the pathogenesis of acne:
Increase of oily secretions (sebum) from small glands (sebaceous) in the skin
Build up of dead skin cells within the hair follicle which can block the hair follicle or clog the sebaceous glands
Colonization of the hair follicle with bacteria known as Cutibacterium acnes
A weak immune system, an immune system that is not working at an optimal level
We know that Autohemotherapy has been used to successfully treat acne. It is proposed that AHT stimulates the production of monocytes from the bone marrow. These monocytes replenish numbers of Langerhan cells in the epidermis and Dendritic cells in the dermis of your skin that are lacking when your immune system is weak and not working optimally. An imbalance of immune cells in your skin can be caused by many things, UV radiation and drugs are just a couple of examples. AHT recalibrates your immune system bringing these cells back to a level that is normal for your body. In doing so, these cells are now able to do the job they were intended to do and that is keep your skin clear of bacteria, dead skin cells and excess oil.
What we do know is:
• every possible drug related treatment for acne has negative side effects, some of which you may not find out about until years down the road.
• Autohemotherapy does not have any negative side effects, other than a few bruises or hitting a nerve once in a while.
• Autohemotherapy has been successfully used to treat patients suffering from acne
Autohemotherapy should be used as a “first resort” not a “last resort”.