Immune System Boosters & Acne | Natural Health Blog

Date: 04/09/2007    Written by: Jon Barron

Acne, Pimples, Blackheads & Bacteria


The actual cause of acne is unknown. Hormones, diet, genetics, vitamin deficiency, and stress play a role. In simple terms, though, acne happens when a skin pore gets plugged. That said, let's look at the process in a little more detail.

There are two primary mechanisms for the onset of acne.

  • The abnormal flaking of cells inside the hair follicle leads to the formation of a plug. The plug can enlarge and rupture the hair follicle. A ruptured hair follicle spills its contents of oil and debris into the skin where it leads to swelling and causes redness (inflammation).
  • Oil and dead cells get trapped in a pore where they block the duct and mix with bacteria. They then turn black when exposed to air (a blackhead). Red pimples develop when blackheads become inflamed. When the pimple becomes infected, it develops a whitehead or pustule. These can break and cause scars.

Understanding the mechanisms, we can better understand the possible triggers.

  • As we've discussed, part of the process involves oil and skin cells mixing with bacteria in a clogged pore. Bacteria that normally live on the skin, then, obviously play a role in acne development, contributing to both inflammation and subsequent infection. For this reason, some doctors like to prescribe antibiotics such as tetracycline. But my goodness. Using tetracycline for treating acne is like using an H-bomb to clear weeds from your backyard. It will definitely do the job, but it will also leave a lot of ancillary damage behind.
  • Testosterone and all its variants, which are present in both men and women, play a role by both enlarging the oil producing glands and causing them to produce more oil. This increased oil both serves to increase the likelihood of a pore plugging up and serves as "food" for the bacteria. This is a primary factor in teenage acne since testosterone surges during puberty. Synthetic relatives of testosterone, known as anabolic steroids, used by some athletes also contribute to the problem.
  • The female hormones estrogen and progesterone also play a role as evidenced by the fact the acne worsens and improves during the monthly cycle. For this reason doctors often prescribe birth control pills to deal with acne. This is crazy. It's actually a condition called estrogen dominance that contributes to the acne so adding more estrogen to the mix actually exacerbates the problem. Acne is also a known side effect of synthetic progesterone, a component of most birth control pills -- once again contributing to the problem rather than helping with it. So why do doctors prescribe birth control pills for acne? Because they provide a "temporary" reversal of the problem by "overwhelming" the body with estrogen -- that is until the body catches up with the surge and starts producing side effects. If you haven't already done so, I recommend reading Chapter 10 of Lessons from the Miracle Doctors. You can download a free copy at

What to do

  • Keep the skin clean. Use grapefruit seed extract and an echinacea extract such as Immunify topically to help control bacteria.
  • Use immune boosters and pathogen destroyers such as Immunify and SuperViraGon internally to help control the bacteria systemically.
  • Supplement with vitamin A and zinc to help the body resist infection and inflammation.
  • Supplement with Omega-3 fatty acids for their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Use probiotics to rebuild intestinal bacteria, particularly if you've been on any antibiotics or if you drink chlorinated water.
  • And most important of all, use an all natural progesterone crème (men's or women's) to help balance out the hormonal issues that are most often the root of acne problems.

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    Submitted by Alexandra on
    November 30, 2009 - 8:00am

    If you are trying to combat Acne, will taking the Women's Formula increase Acne since it is raising the testosterone levels? Will using a progesterone creme help to balance this?

    Submitted by Christa on
    March 22, 2009 - 8:43am

    I am currently using the Mirina IUD which is a form of birth control that I have used for five years, before that, I was using birth control pills. As a result I have frequent and consistant acne that never seems to leave. I am married and not ready to have more kids(I have one child now). So what is the answer as a natural birth control alternative? My mother actually was diagnosed with breast cancer as a result of using the IUD and the birth control patch for many years and to combat some menapausal issues. So this issue is very important for me to resolve. Sorry to be frank, but is condoms really the only long term alternative for use of birth control that doesn't cause so many hormonal imbalances resulting in acne and cancer?

    Submitted by jeanne on
    April 30, 2008 - 5:35am

    Does oil of oregano work well for acne relief? I have been taking it as recommended as an anti-inflammatory for something else.

    Submitted by Joey Pinkney on
    April 12, 2007 - 5:58am

    This is one of the best acne articles I have read in a long time. I myself am currently covering acne and it's different treatments on my website.
    Personally, I think people should find natural remedies that doesn't destroy the skin in an attempt to make it better.
    Thanks for the post.

    Submitted by johnlee on
    November 5, 2008 - 12:11pm

    hello! everyone please give tips of anti pimples and acne thank you...

    Submitted by Jon Barron on
    April 30, 2008 - 6:12am

    Taken internally, oil of oregano is unlikely to be that effective treating acne. However, applied externally, its powerful antibiotic action can effectively kill any bacteria present in the acne -- and in fact, there are oregano topical formulas sold as acne treatments.

    Submitted by Jon Barron on
    July 18, 2008 - 8:47am

    With probiotics, it's best to wait until your course of antibiotics is complete -- otherwise you're killing the probiotics before they can even establish themselves in your intestinal tract.

    Submitted by jonbarron on
    November 30, 2009 - 10:52am


    No, the Women's formula is not actually raising the level of testosterone significantly. It is raising the level of usable/free testosterone by unbinding it. That is very, very different and will not increase the likelihood of acne.

    Submitted by Michelle on
    March 17, 2009 - 8:45am

    I have found that ZINC is an excellent anti- acne supplement. Check out

    Submitted by Nick on
    July 17, 2008 - 10:27pm

    Hi Jon,
    Thanks for the book, its brilliant. My doctor prescribed me with Minotabs/Minocycline, an antibiotic for my acne problem. I have not started the course yet. I was wondering, can one take probiotics with antibiotics to replenish the good bacteria or would you take the probiotics straight after the antibiotics course?
    Best of Regards

    Submitted by patricia on
    June 16, 2009 - 6:33am

    My granddaughter is 15, but she has had an acne problem way before she ever hit puberty. Of course the docs are giving her drugs, which have been of SOME help. I would like to get her on a natural formula to try to combat whatever is going on in her system, and am wondering if the proteolytic enzymes would help in this way.

    Submitted by Guest on
    July 18, 2011 - 12:54am

    Hey Jon, is it critical to be following all of the steps, or would I see even small improvement with just a few? For example I have been supplementing with topical use of immunity, vitamins, fish oil, probiotics, and the progesterone creme. My diet has stayed the same over the duration of this regimen, which is about a month and a half. My amount of acne has stayed the same if not gotten worse. I am kind of disappointed. What can you tell me?

    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    July 19, 2011 - 3:18pm

    Try to eliminate diary, wheat, or other allergens from your diet and see what happens over a couple of weeks of testing them one at a time.   You might be surprised at how much your skin can clear by just eliminating dairy from your diet.

    Submitted by Guest on
    September 14, 2012 - 9:36am

    hi.. i've had serious acne problems for the last 2 years.. every 6 months i have this bursts of acne on my face that swells up my whole face.. n the doctors have been prescribing me doxycline for the same.. n i've been on doxycycline for almost 3 months... on my previous attacks i used doxycline for almost 6 months.. how do you think that would affect my internal system? im just curious..n well it does seem to help a little bit and also im scared to discontinue it.. what do you think i should do...

    Submitted by Joel Stevens on
    October 3, 2012 - 8:09am

    If I eat foods containing the wrong types of oils, then I will have a flare up of acne even at the age of 61. I had terrible acne when I was in my teens and consuming large amounts of soda's and other things not good for me, but of course back then I never made the connection and there were even less doctors out there, of the caliber of Dr. Jon Barron. In general, we bring our misfortunes upon ourselves by not taking 100% responsibility for everything in our lives, which includes every bite we eat or drink and every thought we think or dream. We do in fact create our own reality one moment, bite, sip, thought, dream or action at a time. To say otherwise, is simply fall back into a very unhealthy victim mentality.

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