Causes of Acne and Natural Remedies
It’s a well-known fact that acne is most common among teens but it can also affect people of all ages. The causes of acne are generally when hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells which causes whiteheads, blackheads and pimples. These unsightly and often uncomfortable break-outs usually appear on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders.
The presence of bacteria found on everyday items such as cell phones can also exacerbate acne symptoms, as can friction and pressure on the skin such as wearing a shirt with too tight a collar or carrying a backpack. Acne is rather persistent too and can often leave long-lasting scars on the skin.
For many women, the worst flare-ups occur a week before menstruation and is a result of excessive activity of hormones. This type of acne tends to clear up without treatment in women who are taking contraceptives.
In older adults, a sudden onset of severe acne may signal an underlying disease which may require medical intervention.
For some people who are more prone to acne, certain foods can make the acne symptoms worse such as carbohydrate-rich foods, dairy products and chocolate. Stress has also been shown to worsen acne breakouts.
Depending on the severity, acne is more than just skin deep and can cause emotional distress too, so the earlier you start treating the causes of acne, the better chance you have of getting on top of it.
Natural Treatments for Acne
There are many natural treatments for acne, but these are a few of our favourites to help get you started.
Skin Care Routine
Since the causes of acne are not related to dirty skin, scrubbing your skin too hard or using harsh soaps and chemicals can actually make it worse because it will only irritate your skin. Always clean your skin gently. Avoid using soap bars as these can attract bacteria – rather use an acne appropriate face wash or cleanser from a bottle.
Exfoliate your skin once a week by mixing 2 tablespoons of sea salt or ground oatmeal with coconut oil or kefir. Rub into your skin in a circular motion, paying particular attention to problem areas. Remove the scrub with a damp cloth and rinse well.
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Use a mix of 1-part organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to 4 parts water and apply to your skin using cotton wool or a spray bottle. Let it sit for 30 seconds and then rinse off and gently pat your skin dry. ACV can burn the skin if too concentrated, so do a test patch first and add more water if needed. Do this in the morning and at night.
Green Tea is very high in antioxidants with the flavonoids and tannins also known to help fight bacteria and reduce inflammation. The major antioxidant, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, has been shown to reduce sebum production and pimples as well as inhibit the growth of Propionibacterium acnes. Steep green tea in boiling water for 4 minutes and allow to cool. Apply to your skin using cotton wool or spritz on using a spray bottle. Allow to dry and then rinse off, patting your skin dry gently afterwards.
Applied to the skin as a leave on moisturiser, pure Aloe Vera Gel can help heal wounds, treat burns and fight inflammation. It also contains salicylic acid and sulphur, which are both used extensively in the treatment of acne. You can either scrape the gel straight from an aloe plant, or use shop bought pure aloe gel from a tube.
Tea Tree Oil, known for its ability to fight bacteria and reduce inflammation, can be used as a spot treatment to assist in reducing acne. Studies have shown results to be as good as using 5% benzoyl peroxide, only taking a bit longer to work. It also has fewer adverse effects like dryness and burning. Mix 4 to 8 drops of Tea Tree oil with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and apply with a clean cotton bud to the affected areas.
Taking probiotics will support healthy digestion and immune system functioning as well as improving skin health and reducing the causes of acne.
Zinc, an essential nutrient important for cell growth, hormone production, metabolism and immune function, is one of the most studied natural treatments for acne. Studies show that people with acne tend to have lower zinc levels in their blood. Taking an oral supplement of 30 to 40mg of zinc oxide a day can help with a significant reduction in acne. Do not take more than this amount daily as it can have adverse effects.
Fish Oils contain Omega-3 fatty acids that benefit the skin by managing oil production, maintaining hydration and preventing acne as well as decreasing inflammation. Taking a daily fish oil supplement of around 250 – 500mg of combined EPA and DHA omega-3 fatty acids should have a good impact on decreasing some of the causes of acne in about 10 weeks or so.
Finding a holistic approach to healing is what Dr Alain Sanua does best. As a Doctor of Naturopathy and Homoeopathy, Dr Sauna believes in more natural ways of treating the causes of acne. Talk to him today.