This article looks at the emerging evidence between fluoride and acne and whether this widespread toxin could be the cause of your cystic breakouts. *SPOILER ALERT* If you’re living in Australia, USA, New Zealand, Hong King or Singapore then the answer is most likely YES!
Fluoride & Acne: Is Fluoroderma causing your cystic breakouts?
About a year ago I was browsing the internet looking for research and evidence that certain toothpastes could trigger, or at least aggravate, flare ups of perioral dermatitis. I had no idea that this research session would totally change my opinion on some of the key causes of acne!
During this research session I came across a website called The Cellulite Investigation, a blog written by author and ex-FBI Investigator (you know the research on this site is going to be insanely detailed and evidence-based if an FBI investigator is behind it), by Melissa Gallico. What started as an investigation into why Melissa struggled with cellulite, led to the pioneering discovery that excess fluoride exposure clogs up the lymphatic system and causes hormone imbalances that can trigger cystic acne. Melissa actually discovered so much information on the topic that wasn’t really accessible she decided to write a book on the fluoride/acne connection called ‘The Hidden Cause of Acne‘.
Fluoride & acne: what is fluoride?
Fluoride is one of five halogens in the periodic table which include chlorine, bromine, fluorine, iodine and astatine. The only two halogens that are essential to the human body are chlorine (for stomach acid) and iodine (for thyroid health).
But isn’t fluoride vital for healthy teeth?! Well, that’s what we’re led to believe…but there is still huge debate whether fluoride actually prevents tooth decay or not… yet there IS a tonne of evidence to suggest that even small amounts of fluoride can cause harm to our health. So if tooth decay is a concern for you, I would focus on cutting back on cavity-causing sugar rather than relying on fluoride to keep your teeth healthy!
Fluoride is extremely toxic to the body, even in small amounts – despite it being widely used in water supplies, dental care and in pesticides. What makes this whole thing even more problematic is that fluoride competes with iodine in the thyroid gland, and because it’s lighter and more reactive, fluoride wins and displaces iodine, causing a deficiency and eventually suppressing thyroid function.
I very briefly mentioned how important iodine is for thyroid health but I have to stress how essential it really is in the fluoride/acne connection. It’s widely known that low functioning thyroid can cause acne – this is because it messes up progesterone which can impact on cortisol and androgens – all of which can lead to breakouts! But why are so many of us struggling with our thyroid? The likely answer is because we’re slowly being poisoned by fluoride! Did you know between 1920 and 1950, doctors in Europe were using fluoride to LOWER thyroid activity in patients with an overactive thyroid? Without enough iodine, your thyroid literally cannot function. Your thyroid is basically the king of your hormone system and if your thyroid isn’t functioning properly – then your entire endocrine system will be out of whack!
Excess fluoride exposure can also:
- Cause hormone imbalances which can lead to PMS, PCOS and endometriosis
- Impairs magnesium metabolism needed for balanced blood sugars
- Destroys gut health needed for a strong immune system and clear skin
Isn’t it funny how ALL THESE THINGS are common underlying issues behind acne…but what’s causing these issues in the first place?
Fluoride & acne: common sources of fluoride
Unfortunately, toxic fluoride exposure is a lot more common than you think, especially if you live in certain parts of the world! Fluoride isn’t just in toothpaste and drinking water, it can be found in lots of common foods like grapes, tea, cocoa, juice, beer and wine (from pesticides and absorbed through the soil) and also household items like non-stick Teflon cookware. Sources of fluoride include:
- Fluoridated drinking water (more of this later!)
- Toothpaste and mouthwash contain fluoride
- Non-stick Teflon cookware
- Antibiotics/antidepressants/other medication
- Non-organic wines made with pesticide-sprayed grapes like Cryolite
- Processed foods that use fluoridated water as part of the manufacturing process
- Bottled drinks and beer that use fluoridated water as part of the manufacturing process
- Non-organic food sprayed with fluoride-based pesticides
- Tea(!) Black, green, and even white tea can contain fluoride. White tea contains the least because the leaves are picked when they are young.
- Mechanically deboned meat (industrial chicken nuggets/hot dogs etc)
- Milk powder
- Fluoridated salt
If you’ve been exposed to any of these fluoride sources in the past, particularly from water, food, medication or dental care etc then you need to address this ASAP if you want to truly want to get in control of your acne.
Fluoride & acne: countries that artificially fluoridate water supplies
Worryingly, artificial fluoridation is more common that you think! Most parts of USA, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Chile, and Brazil all artificially fluoridate their water supply. This resource shows the % of the population that receive artificially fluoridated water in different countries.
Whilst Europe is pretty clean when it comes to artificial fluoridation (only 3% of the population in Europe are exposed to artificially fluoridated water), there are a few cities in the UK that DO artificially fluoridate their water supply including: Cumbria, Cheshire, Tyneside, Northumbria, Durham, Humberside, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, the West Midlands and Bedfordshire.
While this resource is a few years out of date (2014), it’s still pretty relevant as it can take years to detox environmental toxins that have accumulate in the body – even if you’re actively taking steps to detox these toxins. For all you readers from the US, this resource will provide you with some information on the US states that artificially fluoridate their water. The five worst ranking areas for artificial fluoridation as of 2014 were Kentucky (99.9%), Minnesota (98.8%), Illinois (98.5%), North Dakota (96.7) and Maryland (96.4%), but even other areas like New York (who rank 30th) still expose 71.4% of the population to artificial fluoridation.
No matter where you’re based, my best advice is to check with your local authority and see if you area currently uses fluoridated water – you can usually just Google “*city* fluoridation” and get a water report.
My experience with fluoride and acne
While I don’t live, or ever have lived, in an area that artificially fluoridates its water supply, I’ve struggled with digestive, hypothyroid (underactive) and PCOS symptoms since I hit puberty including:
- Irregular periods
- Food intolerances
- Sore breasts
- Excess belly fat
- Oily skin
- Low basal body temperature
- Acid reflux
I spent years researching how to heal my acne naturally and not one guide or book I came across made the connection between fluoride and acne, so when supplements and diet didn’t clear my acne 100%, I was left wondering what I was doing wrong?
Don’t get me wrong, diet and supplements made a huge improvement to my skin but I was by no means 100% clear. It wasn’t until I got a hair mineral analysis in January 2017 and discovered I had severe insulin resistance (despite eating a strict paleo diet) and a slightly under active thyroid that I started trying to find some new answers but didn’t have much luck till I accidentally stumbled across Melissa’s blog whilst research something completely different. I read the book cover-to-cover and immediately switched to fluoride free dental care, started eating A2 dairy (having avoided it for 2 years), added seaweed to my diet, started dry brushing and started taking this multivitamin with iodine.
After 6 months my skin finally started to look pretty damn awesome, my premenstrual sore boobs were no longer an issue and my digestion was better than it’d been since I was a child. I used to suffer with really hard lumps under my jaw that never developed into spots but were always just there. But after about 3 months of increasing my iodine, reducing fluoride exposure and dry brushing my face with this facial brush, they significantly started to shrink and after 6 months, they had completely gone!
While my exposure to fluoride wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it could have been, I still believe it was the final piece of the puzzle to take my skin from ‘noticeably improved’ (thanks to a healing, high fat diet) to ‘awesome’!
The more I read about the fluoride/acne connection the more I’m convinced that it’s a major player in the whole acne story! If you’re not seeing results from diet alone then I highly recommend looking into this topic in more detail. Fluoride could be the barrier that’s blocking you from having acne-free skin!
If you’re interested in learning more about Fluoroderma and the link between acne and fluoride exposure, or just want to educate yourself more on this subject, I highly recommend reading Melissa Gallico’s book ‘The Hidden Cause of Acne‘. She’s written this extremely informative guide which goes into way more detail than I could ever portray! It’s a great read and gives tonnes of interesting advice on how to limit you exposure to this environmental toxin.
Don’t forget to check out this post to find out the best ways you can detox from toxic fluoride exposure for clearer skin and more balanced hormones.
Do you have any questions about Fluoroderma or the fluoride/acne connection? Let me know in the comments below!
Peace, Love & Clear Skin