FORMATION OF acne:
Acne forms when follicles become plugged by excess sebum and dead skin cells. Inflammation occurs and bacteria multiply, resulting in various forms of acne. However, there are many triggers including hormones, stress and oxidation.
Things to try for acne:
- Turmeric supplements – Turmeric is touted to be anti-inflammatory. Some people, including myself, report success using Turmeric supplements in helping to control acne.
- Turmeric masks – The anti-inflammatory effects of turmeric can be used on active acne, to speed up healing. Be careful as it stains the face and hands.
- Aloe Vera – Aloe Vera is said to have healing properties, promote collagen formation and has microbial attributes. It can be used on the skin or taken internally.
- Royal Jelly – Contains peptides that are combative to the acne bacteria, and multiple nutrients. Royal Jelly is also said to stimulate collagen production. It can be applied directly to the skin, however, use with caution as some people who may have bee allergies can be allergic to Royal Jelly also.
- Zinc supplements – Acne sufferers are said to be more commonly deficient in zinc than those without acne, although many people are deficient in zinc so it probably isn’t a bad idea to consume foods high in zinc (beef, pumpkin seeds, cashews) or take a supplement.
- Zinc cream – Zinc cream may speed the healing time when used on active acne. I use a tinted zinc cream on any current acne I have for speedier healing time and to mask redness.
- Selenium – Selenium is an antioxidant. A study showed that people who suffered from acne had lower levels of antioxidants than those who did not have acne. Another study showed that the study participants’ acne decreased by half when supplemented with selenium.
- Milk Thistle – Milk Thistle contains an antioxidant that may improve acne. In a study, the antioxidant contained in milk thistle slightly out-performed selenium in reducing acne. Milk thistle is touted by natural medicine advocates as supporting and cleansing the liver.
- Vitamin B3 – Vitamin B3 may be taken internally, or in a lotion applied to the skin. It is said to stop the oxidation of sebum which leads to blocked pores and inflammation.
- Vitamin E – Vitamin E is a very effective anti-oxidant. Fortunately there are many tasty and easy ways to get vitamin E in the diet (almonds, sunflower seeds, avocado)
- Oil cleansing method – Cleansing your face with certain oils (usually castor oil and another oil, such as grapeseed) may help reduce your blackheads and shrink your pores (it did mine) but be careful if you tend to get cystic acne. Some say that it cured their cystic acne, but for me, it seemed to prompt new cystic acne to form on my chin area. For the rest of my face, it did a wonderful job at eliminating blackheads!
- Glycolic acid – Helps to remove dead skin cells so they do not end up clogging pores. I like what glycolic acid does to the texture of my face, but sometimes the lotions it comes in can cause acne for me.
- Salilcylic acid – This is the standard over the counter treatment (next to benzoyl peroxide) but is said to be slightly more effective than benzoyl peroxide.
- Dry brush – The theory is it removes the dead skin cells before they clog pores. However, the jury is still out on this one as some say it can irritate the skin and cause acne. I have used it and have not seen breakouts from it, but did suspect it caused a slight increase in the oiliness of my skin.
- Water only cleansing method – Cleansing your skin with only water will help your skin stop producing excess oil. I am almost entirely using water only to cleanse my face but occasionally use honey or oil. The very best thing I have ever done for my skin is to stop washing my face with soap!
- Aspirin, topically – Some people say that a preparation of crushed aspirin applied to the acne will help reduce the inflammation. Some say that you are just applying another form of salicylic acid to your skin. I have never tried it.
- Ice – Definitely use cold things to assist in reducing inflammation of an angry zit or cyst. Hot things, such as a steam, may help with blackheads.
- Green tea – Green tea contains antioxidants. Drink several cups a day and apply used tea bags directly to acne to reduce inflammation. Soak a cotton ball with green tea and apply as a toner to skin that has been washed with water, oil or honey.
- Apple cider vinegar – As an acidic solution, a dilution of apple cider vinegar may be applied as a toner to reduce bacteria and remove dead skin cells. Many also believe that taking apple cider vinegar internally promotes health. I love to make dressings with apple cider vinegar for my salads! I also use a dilution of apple cider vinegar for a hair conditioner and a skin toner for the face.
- Gelatin/collagen – Full of amino acids and said to promote better skin and hair, some people swear by this to get rid of blemishes. I have seen many reviews on the internet of people who took a collagen/gelatin supplement for other purposes and found their acne disappeared! Their testimonies were strong enough for me to order Great Lakes Collagen. I have begun taking a little everyday.
- Probiotics – Many believe acne is a symptom of an internal problem which starts in the gut and the only way to heal the gut is to supplement with probiotics. I prefer to eat yogurt for probiotics but some say that yogurt doesn’t contain enough of the good bacteria to repopulate your gut and suggest supplementation.
- Witch hazel – Witch hazel has a combination of anti-septic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to combat acne. It may helps shrink pores and remove oil. Be careful not to use too much so you do not stimulate your face to produce more oil.
- Cortisone cream – Some people swear that this helps as a spot treatment to reduce acne. Be careful in applying this too much as cortisone is known to thin the skin over time.
- Going low poo or no poo – This is especially great for bacne or acne on the chest and forehead. For me, typical commercial brands of shampoo appear to contain ingredients that cause breakouts. I tried many different brands but the area where the shampoo ran down my back would always break out. Once I switched to an all-natural dilute shampoo that I only use twice a week, the acne on my back cleared significantly and my face and hair is less oily. This and stopping face soap is the most significant thing I have ever done to clear up my skin!
- Giving up makeup – Let’s face it, some makeup just includes ingredients that our skin doesn’t like. There are certain brands that will give me cystic acne almost immediately after use. Going makeup free will dramatically clear your skin. In fact, it should be suspect immediately if you have breakouts. First things first, ditch it and see if it gets better. If so, quit the makeup or try finding products that do not cause breakouts. You can also try to make your own!
- Giving up dairy and/or gluten – Some people swear that their acne would not improve until they gave up dairy and/or gluten.
- Low carb diet – Finally, another idea for clearing skin. Acne has been linked to high levels of insulin. Low carb diets help reduce levels of insulin in the body. I can personally say that going low carb has helped my skin, but I usually have to eat so few carbs that it is pretty miserable. If you have excess fat and pimples, this is probably a good thing to try.
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