:: Home :: Library ::
Managing Acne Naturally

Managing Acne Naturally


by Alison Mitchell
Naturopath

Acne is one of the most common of all skin problems. An interaction between an excess of androgenic hormones, sebum production and bacteria is often to blame. Thankfully, there are many natural remedies that can be used in the treatment of acne.

Diet tips:

- Drink a minimum of 2L of water a day
- Avoid sugar in the diet- Sugar is an immunosuppressant and feeds bacteria therefore perpetuating already existing acne or pimples.
- Limit all processed foods and refined carbohydrates (white breads, white pastas, biscuits, cakes, pastries etc). These are full of sugar and other additives that affect our immune system
- Consume lots of fresh fruit and vegetables- it is recommended that we consume 3 pieces of fruit and 5 servings of different coloured vegetables daily. Freshly squeezed vegetable juices are a great way to increase your daily vegetable intake. Choose fruits and vegetables that are in season and organic for optimal nutrient levels.
- Herbal teas such as dandelion root, calendula or nettle are great.

Herbal Remedies

Vitex: It is believed that the herb Vitex agnus-castus or ‘Vitex’ is useful in the treatment of acne that is caused by an androgen excess due to its to mild anti-androgen and hormonal balancing effects. It is particularly useful for acne that is worse premenstrually.

Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil has antiseptic and antifungal properties and is a great skin disinfectant therefore limiting bacterial growth on the skin. To use, mix the oil (5-15% solution) in warm water and wash the affected areas. Make sure to thoroughly clean and dry the face washer between each use so that bacteria do not build up between washes. Alternatively, the face can be ‘splashed’ with the tea tree infused water straight from the bathroom sink. For best results, wash the affected areas 2-3 times daily.

Stimulate liver function: Encouraging and improving liver function can improve skin conditions as the liver is responsible for detoxifying and filtering toxins and hormones from the body. Useful herbs include St Mary’s Thistle, Schizandra, Globe Artichoke, Buplerum and Dandelion root. Talk to your practitioner for more information on these herbs.

Depurative or lymphatic herbs: Such as Calendula, Burdock or Echinacea are excellent to clear toxins and infections from the body, skin and lymphatic system. Again, your practitioner will discuss the use of these herbs in your treatment with you.

Improve digestion: With digestive enzymes, or taking apple cider vinegar before meals.

Nutrients for the skin:

- Vitamin A- Plays an important role in epithelial (skin cell) production.
- Selenium and Vitamin E- Have synergistic actions in stabilizing cell membranes and are powerful antioxidants
- Vitamin C- Builds collagen and connective tissue
- Zinc- Has a role in stabilizing cell membranes, therefore providing a barrier to prevent infections entering the sebaceous glands. Is also an excellent nutrient for healing.

Use Natural Makeup and Skincare Products

Stick to natural skin care products: Avoid putting harsh chemicals from make-up, face wash and moisturizers on the skin as these may cause further irritation. Stick to natural and chemical free skin care products and make-up where possible. Calendula cream or a wash made from the tea is useful as an emollient to enhance healing and normalize the skins surface.

Professional Advice

If you have trouble implementing these tips for the natural treatment of Acne Alison is available for consultation and may be able to help. Some cases are more complex and require expert knowledge to get results. Contact Alison Mitchell

Health Dimensions ©2004