When someone is prone to acne, their pores clog with dead skin cells much faster than normal, causing inflammation and pimples. Learn about natural acne remedies that heal this condition.
This skin condition is characterized by pimples or “zits,” including whiteheads, blackheads, and red, inflamed patches of skin (such as cysts). Lesions or pimples occur on the face, neck, back, chest, shoulders, and neck. One can even develop large cysts called cystic acne, which can lead to scarring if not treated properly.
Experts believe the primary cause of acne is a rise in androgen levels – an androgen is a hormone. Androgen levels rise during adolescence. Rising androgen levels make the oil glands under your skin grow. The enlarged gland produces more oil, which clogs pores, causing pimples. Acne is more common in males and adolescence due to testosterone, which worsens acne.
Acne has a strong genetic component – parents who had or have acne tend to have children who develop the condition.
Copper toxicity is another leading cause of acne. Breakouts occur when one is having a copper dump. Copper toxicity is found more in women and people with adrenal fatigue. Listen to this podcast on Copper Dysregulation.
Dairy products, particularly skim milk, may play a role in acne. Many dairy foods can cause acne outbreaks, including protein drinks (using dairy or whey protein), ice cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, or any other kind of cheese.
Quoted from Dr. Andrew Weil’s website: “A study, reported in the February 2005 Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, analyzed responses from more than 47,000 women participating in the national Nurses Health Study II. Researchers from Harvard asked the women about their consumption of dairy food when they were teens, particularly about the type of milk they drank, and whether they had experienced severe teenage acne. The women who drank more than three servings of any type of milk per day were 22 percent more likely to report having had severe acne than those who drank only one (or fewer) servings per week. Those who consumed two or more glasses of skim milk daily were 44 percent more likely to say that they had been diagnosed with severe acne as teenagers.”
Drugs, including steroids, lithium, and barbiturates, or drugs containing androgens have been shown to cause acne. Oily or non-comedogenic cosmetics may clog pores. Face creams and sunblock containing oils, perfumes, and harsh chemicals that can clog and irritate skin. Friction from clothing or rubbing the skin can also contribute to acne.
The first line of treatment conventionally recommended is the use of products containing benzoyl peroxide. This cleansing and drying agent is very effective. Start with a lower concentration first, and move up if needed. There is no reason to use a 10% benzoyl peroxide if a 2.5% will do. It takes time for the skin to acclimate to this treatment. Start slow and work up to avoid common side effects. Besides dry skin, benzoyl peroxide can cause:
- Peeling and flaking
- Redness and irritation
Salicylic acid is very effective in breaking down blackheads and whiteheads. It works by reducing the shedding of cells that line the follicles of the oil glands. Effective in treating inflammation and swelling, it causes the epidermis to shed skin more easily and prevents pores from becoming blocked.
Severe cases may require prescription drugs. Tretinoin (Retin-A) is a topical preparation, while Accutane is given internally. These drugs are safe when used under the supervision of a dermatologist but should not be used casually because they can be toxic. Accutane can cause severe birth defects if taken during pregnancy.
Be sure not to use any of the treatments above at the same time, as you are more likely to suffer unpleasant side effects and worsening of your acne. Wait a week in between treatments to give your skin a break.
Antibiotics are frequently prescribed for patients with severe and moderate acne. The aim of antibiotics is to lower the population of bacteria on the skin, which will multiply rapidly in clogged pores. The dosage will be initially high, and then as the acne reduces so will the dosage. Antibiotics are not taken for more than six months. As time passes the bacteria can become resistant to the antibiotic and another antibiotic is needed. Antibiotics cause a whole host of side effects, killing good bacteria in your gut, contributing to digestive issues and reduced immunity in the long run. I would only recommend this as a very last resort.
Wendy’s Recommendations for Natural Treatment
There are a lot of natural remedies for acne. Try these first. If none of them work, by all means try conventional methods of treatment.
- Manuka Honey. Manuka Honey has antibacterial properties so it is great for disinfecting and healing minor blemishes. It is also gentle on sensitive skin. Apply once or twice a week. For more information, see my article Medicinal Manuka Honey.
- Calendula. Calendula’s bright orange flowers can be made into tinctures, lotions, and creams. Try washing your skin with tea made from the flowers, or buy ready-to-use calendula skin products.
- Sulfur. Sulfur helps break down blackheads and whiteheads. Sulfur, in its native form, is a yellow crystalline solid. Sulfur has been used for centuries for treating acne, psoriasis, and eczema. Scientists are not sure how sulfur works to help skin diseases. We do know that sulfur turns into sulfurous acid, which is a mild antibacterial agent.
- Green Tea Cream. Green tea, used topically, significantly improves acne, according to an eight-week trial of a green tea cream published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology. The active ingredient in the tea, EGCG, suppresses acne-promoting bacteria, reduces secretion of sebum, and calms inflammation.
- Face Washes. Wash regularly with a glycerin soap or organic face wash. Try washing with a five percent tea tree oil gel. Don’t scrub your face, just wash gently and pat dry. Scrubbing will only worsen acne.
- Don’t touch your face. Don’t squeeze pimples – it can lead to infection and scarring.
- Wash your pillowcase every other day. Your face lays on your pillowcase every day. Your pillowcase absorbs the oils from your skin and reapplies the dirt and oil. Thus causing breakouts.
- Water. Drink 3 liters/quarts of water a day to keep the skin hydrated and healthy.
- Zinc. Zinc is an antibacterial agent and a necessary element in the oil-producing glands of the skin. A diet low in zinc can actually cause acne breakouts.
- GB-3. Gut health is imperative for skin health. If you have gut dysbiosis, your skin health will suffer. An amazing supplement that can indirectly help your skin is GB-3. It kills yeasts including Candida Albicans, parasites, etc in your intestines. I take it every day.
- Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous) is from the root of a Chinese plant that can help fight chronic infections. Take two pills twice a day.
- Myths. Contrary to popular belief, foods such as chocolate, soda, pizza and french fries, haven’t been linked to acne. Chocolate is mistakenly thought to cause acne. There is no link between chocolate and acne. Dark chocolate contains the highest amounts of antioxidants of any food on the planet!
- Dairy. People who consume dairy tend to have more acne outbreaks. Do a little food elimination diet by taking dairy out of your diet for a week, and then eat it a few times. See if your acne flares up. For more details on food sensitivities and how to do a proper elimination diet, see my article Food Sensitivities.
- Eat Your Veggies. Eat antioxidant-rich foods, including fruits and vegetables. These reduce inflammation.
- Omega-3. Include omega-3 fatty acids such as wild Atlantic or sockeye salmon and grass fed meats. Farmed fish fed an unnatural diet don’t have as high an omega-3 content. You can also supplement with Cod liver oil or fish oil if you don’t get enough omega-3 in your diet.
- Flax. Freshly ground flax seeds reduce and prevent inflammation. They can be ground and kept in your fridge or freezer for two months. If you buy them pre-ground, the healthy omega 3’s have oxidized and gone rancid. Put flax in your oatmeal or smoothie.
- No junk food. Eliminate processed, refined, and fast foods. The chemicals and trans fats in the foods cause inflammation and cause all kinds of problems in how your body functions, including your oil glands.
1. Nordqvist, Christian. Medical News Today. What is Acne? What Causes Acne? How to get rid of Acne? March 5, 2009. diet, nutrition, natural, acne remedies, acne treatments that work, Liveto110 Store, acne cure, Food Sensitivities, acne diet, healing, cure” href=”http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/107146.php”>http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/107146.php
2. Thoden, Jennifer. Simple Tips to Cure Your Acne Naturally.
3. Weil, Andrew, MD. Acne. diet, nutrition, natural, acne remedies, acne treatments that work, Liveto110 Store, acne cure, Food Sensitivities, acne diet, healing, cure” href=”http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00292/acne-treatments.html”>http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART00292/acne-treatments.html
This material is for educational purposes only. The preceding statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.