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Wheat Germ and Flax Seed for Oily Skin & Acne

By Michael Brent

Oily skin and acne can be problematic at all ages, but tend to be more of an issue during adolescence. Although there are a variety of over-the-counter and prescription medications that can alleviate the symptoms of acne, natural solutions can also be used. Among these home remedies are wheat germ and flax seed. However, their effectiveness at treating acne is debatable.

Acne Vulgaris

Acne is the common name used for the skin condition known as acne vulgaris. According to the Academy of Dermatology, outbreaks of acne vulgaris are at their highest during puberty, although there are many factors that can cause this disorder. Noninflammatory lesions result due to abnormal keratinization in the upper canal of hair follicles, hormonal fluctuations, bacteria and immune hypersensitivity. The resulting lesions can range from mild to severe. They can be treated with antibacterial drugs and other forms of medication.

Flax Seed Oil

Another natural acne treatment is alpha-linolenic acid, a type of omega-3 fatty acid that is found in plants. Flaxseed oil is a rich source of alpha-linolenic acid. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, alpha-linolenic acid has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation of acne. By ingesting flax seed oil or a supplement containing flax seed oil, the alpha-linolenic acid you take in may prove beneficial in treating an acne outbreak, particularly if it is inflammatory acne.

Wheat Germ

Wheat germ is a good source of selenium, a trace mineral that helps your body perform certain functions, such as producing cell proteins called antioxidant enzymes that can protect your cells from being damaged. Selenium is commonly used in various natural over-the-counter acne remedies. A 1984 study published in the Swedish medical journal "Acta Derm Venereol" found that selenium had beneficial effects in treating acne. Adding wheat germ to your diet can increase your intake of selenium, which may serve to lessen the adverse effects of an outbreak of acne.

A Warning About Selenium

Selenium, however, can have negative side effects if ingested in large amounts. The American Academy of Dermatology warns that taking too much selenium can result in an array of health problems, including stomach problems, rashes, scaly and itchy skin, nausea and dizziness. However, this warning primarily concerns selenium supplements. You would have to eat a massive amount of wheat germ to ingest enough selenium to be dangerous. If you do experience any of these symptoms and think you may be suffering from selenium poisoning, it's crucial that you see a doctor immediately.

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