|• What is acne?
• How can I treat acne naturally?
• Acne – Natural treatments and remedies
• Diet for acne
• Supplements and herbs for acne
• Lifestyle factors for healing acne
|What is acne?
|Acne is the term for plugged pores (blackheads and whiteheads), pimples, and even deeper lumps (cysts or nodules) that occur on the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and even the upper arms. Acne affects most teenagers to some extent. During adolescence, rising hormone levels are thought to increase the number of oil glands and the amount of sebum they produce. The increased production of sebum causes blockage of hair follicles, leading to the formation of small bacteria-filled cysts.
|However, the disease is not restricted to any age group; adults in their 20s – even into their 40s – can get acne. While not a life threatening condition, acne can be upsetting and disfiguring. When severe, acne can lead to serious and permanent scarring. Even less severe cases can lead to scarring.
|The main causes of acne are:
- hormones, particularly the hormone called androgen
- increased production of sebum, the oily substance within the hair follicles
- changes in the lining of the hair follicles
- bacteria, including organisms that normally live on the skin surface. When these bacteria are trapped within the hair follicles, they can cause infections and inflame the follicles
|How can I treat acne naturally?
|There are many things that can be done to improve acne including treatment through diet, supplements, herbs and general lifetsyle factors. Medically the condition is often treated with the drug Roaccutane. Roaccutane is extremely high in V itamin A which can easily lead to toxcity and other quite severe side effects such as extremly dry skin, liver toxicity and even depression. We recommend a natural approach which will have no side effects, in fact by following the below protocols you should be feeling better all over!
|ACNE – natural treatment and remedies
|Diet for acne
- Eat high-fiber diet (keeping the colon clean and ridding the body of toxins)
- Eat a lot of raw vegetable and fruit (for fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and water content)-especially grapes, strawberries and pineapples (rich in alpha-hydroxy acids, which help to exfoliate the skin by removing the dead skin cells that can clog the oil glands)
- Essential fatty acids from plant sources: LA (safflower, sunflower, soya corn, grapeseed, GLA (evening primrose), ALA (linseed, canola, dark greens)
- Eat more foods rich in zinc including shellfish, soy beans, wholegrains, nuts and seeds esp. sunflower (to counteract deficiency, regulate oil glands, help absorption of vitamin A & E, helps wound healing, important for immunity-fights free radicals/constituent of SOD/)
- Eat more plant foods rich in vitamin A. Foods high in vitamin A include liver, fish and seafood.
- Eat more foods rich in vitamin E such as nuts and seeds, wheatgerm, soy beans; use olive oil for cooking (for healthy skin, reduce scarring, protects vitamin A & C)
- Eat more foods rich in vitamin C such as fruit and vegetables (antioxidant, protects other antioxidants, works with vitamin E, immunity)
- Eat more foods rich in silicon (alfalfa, leafy greens, beetroot, soya beans, wholegrains: oatstraw tea)
- Aid digestion with apple cider vinegar on lemon juice in water before meals
- Drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
- Avoid refined sugars which impairs immune function and depletes nutrients)
- Avoid too many saturated & hydrogenated fats (supermarket processed foods, cakes etc and lots of fat off animals and dairy)
- Avoid processed foods . They provide no dietary enzymes and can clog up the system
- Avoid excess intake of iodine rich foods (iodized salt, kelp, onions)
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, soft drinks and brominated vegetable oils
- Regular fast or detox
- Check food sensitivity / elimination diet
|Supplements and herbs for acne
|The following herbs have anti-inflammatory properties that may be helpful in the treatment of skin conditions including acne:
|Burdock has a strong traditional history for the treatment of skin disorders, Oregon Grape and Sarsaparilla are traditionally used for acne, and Clivers, a depurative and diuretic is traditionally used for skin eruptions. Yellow Dock as a mild laxative and cholagogue is traditionally used for skin conditions associated with liver disturbance, bowel sluggishness and glandular engorgement.
|Chaste Tree is of benefit in both men and women for acne, possibly due to its hormonal effects. Chaste Tree would also be of benefit if the acne occurs premenstrually.
|Other herbs often used by herbalists for acne are:
|Calendula (Calendula officinalis) ,German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) , Flaxseed (Linum usitatissimum) and flaxseed oil
|Example Formula for Herbal FaceWash
|Make a solution of the following extracts (equal amounts):
- Echinacea root 1:2
- Calendula 1:2
- Propolis 1:5
- Gotu Kola 1:1
|How to use: 2.5 mL of this solution is diluted in approx. 60 mL of warm boiled water
|Calendula is also used in traditional medicine topically for acne, particularly stubborn acne with inflammation. It is a vulnerary, non-tannin astringent and anti-inflammatory.
|Echinacea has been used topically by Native Americans for skin conditions and by Eclectic physicians to treat skin conditions and to prevent sepsis.
|Applied externally Propolis relieves skin conditions caused by bacterial and fungal infection. It is also anti-inflammatory,anaesthetic and astringent.
|Gotu Kola helps prevent scarring.
|If you cannot get enough of these nutrients from your food, you may wish to consider supplementation
- Zinc to enhance healing and reduce scaring
- Vitamin A, E, & C (caution with high amounts of Vitamin A)
- Silica (cleanser & finisher)
- EPO, Flax seed oil, Fish oil supplements (EFA’s)
|Lifestyle Factors for healing acne
- Check endocrine disorders, liver, candidiasis, leaky gut
- Manage stress (regular moderate exercise, sufficient sleep, fresh air, etc.)
- Sunshine may be beneficial for acne skin
- Avoid mechanical trauma on skin (squeezing, rubbing, picking)
- Appropriate hygiene and skincare (avoid oil based, too drying or harsh chemical containing skin products, avoid make-up or if necessary use water base products, avoid over-washing, if must shave use standard blade instead of electrical razor – shave in the direction of hair growth).
- Natural skin applications include: neem oil, oregano oil lavender oil, tea tree oil, manuka oil, concentrated extract of rye sprout, propolis, cold water application. Shampoo your hair regularly
- If you need to shave, use a standard blade rather than an electric razor, which can lead to scarring. Shave in the direction of the hair growth.
- Avoid greasy, synthetic cosmetics as best you can. Use The Organic Skin Co. products as shown on this page.
- Exercise enough so that you sweat, and get some sunshine. Saunas can be great.
- Have hot/cold showers. Allow the heat to open the pores on your back, then lather up the tea tree soap, then finish on a cold rinse to close the pores. Very refreshing!