Natural Acne Treatment
What is Acne?
Acne is an inflammation of the skin, centred in the sebaceous glands. Acne is usually found where the sebaceous glands are most active - on the face, neck and upper trunk. At puberty, male hormones called androgens (produced in both males and females) stimulate an increased growth of skin cells and an increased production of sebum. Sebaceous ducts may become blocked by skin overgrowth to form a whitehead, or by plugs of sebum which darken on exposure to air, forming a blackhead. When the sebum trapped in a whitehead or blackhead is forced into the deeper skin layers, an inflammatory reaction causes a red lump called a papule. If infection follows, pus collects and a classic pimple or pustule is seen. When the inflammatory reaction is severe, large, painful cysts may form. For this reason it's important that you use the right Natural products to help treat any acne you may have.
Diet, lifestyle, hormones, stress, and toxicity all play a role in preventing acne. Any chronic skin disorder is a reflection of some internal imbalance. Naturopathic acne treatment typically produces excellent results in this otherwise resistant condition.
Different types of Acne
Typically there are two distinct types of acne, Acne Rosacea and Acne Vulgaris. While both types of acne are similar inflammatory skin disorders, acne rosacea usually begins at middle age or later, while acne vulgaris is largely seen in young adults.
The exact cause of Acne is not known...
However, certain factors have been implicated. These range from poor digestion and bowel congestion, hereditary causes, oily skin and hormonal imbalances. Allergies, stress, bowel toxicity, food sensitivities, hydrogenated fats, long term antibiotic therapy, oral contraceptives and nutritional deficiencies have all been contributing factors.
What natural Acne Treatments are available...
From a natural health point of view, our skin largely reflects our inner health. The skin is a channel of elimination, as are our bowels, kidneys, lungs etc. As the skin is the largest organ in the body, both types of acne may respond to a detoxification program, thus improving digestion, cleansing the bowel and improving the functioning of the liver. We stock a number of excellent formulations that can help with not only acne treatment, but also to work on the underlying cause of this problem.
One exceptional programme is the 15 Day Internal Cleansing Detox. If the bowel is irregular, reabsorption of waste matter can overload the body, contributing to skin problems, such as acne. It is always vital to take a probiotic supplement, like Ethical Nutrients Inner Health Plus, for a minimum of 1 month after a bowel cleanse, to replenish the beneficial bacteria. Many people will also find benefit from taking Colostrum which also helps with better bowel health and immunity.
The skin also 'breathes'. If the pores become clogged, the microbes that are involved in causing acne flourish because they are protected against the bacteriostatic action of sunshine. This gives rise to the need for pure, chemical free, cleansing products. We stock many New Zealand skin care ranges, but our favourite skin care products for acne are: Living Nature Purifying Cleanser, Manuka Honey Treatment Masque & Dr Hauschka Clarifying Toner.
Having a high water intake is essential for helping with any skin problem. While this will not get rid of acne, it certainly helps with acne treatment. Toxicity levels will be higher if water intake is low. We all need approximately 8 glasses or 2 litres of water a day. This amount is just for our normal bodily functions - just for the body to function properly. If you are overweight, if you exercise, are in pain, are in air conditioning, stressed or eat junk food, all of these factors increase your fluid requirements over and above 2 litres a day. You can read more about the importance of water here.
Nutritional and Herbal support for Acne Treatment include these
AKN skin care - a herbal blood purifier specifically for treating acne.
Burdock - A herb that is specific for liver cleansing and is used with acne treatment.
Dandelion - Dandelion supports liver function by acting as a blood purifier. It is an excellent blood cleanser and is most effective on the liver, kidneys and skin.
High Strength Evening Primrose Oil Evening Primrose Oil contains GLA, an essential nutrient for maintaining hormonal balance and smooth healthy skin.
Vitamin A - Often prescribed in different forms and strengths. Vitamin A can help with healing, speeding up wound healing. Studies have shown that this needs to be taken for at least 3 months. Cod Liver Oil provides a natural source of Vitamin A and also Vitamin D.
Zinc - Supplementation contributes to rapid healing of both internal and external wounds. It also helps with better immunity. Most people are deficient in this mineral as it is depleted in NZ soils. Particularly useful in conjunction with Vitamin C.
Vitamin C - Helps maintain general resistance to mild infections & respiratory ailments, assists tissue repair & wound healing, relief of symptoms of hay fever, to maintain circulation.
Multipower - A daily supply of essential vitamins and minerals is very important not only for good skin, but for your general health too. These multivitamins can help ensure you are getting these, regardless of your diet.
Manuka Honey Treatment Masque - Removes dead skin cells from the skin, thus unclogging pores.
Ac+ Natural Acne Ointment This ointment helps to heal spots faster. It provides effective, cooling, soothing holistic relief of the redness and inflammation associated with acne. Ac+ also provides beneficial nutrients to help rejuvenate and repair damaged tissue as a result of acneic skin conditions
We have put together our Skin Care Pack, for Acne, which consists of Goodhealth Total Body Detox, Clinicians Liquid Zinc, Prolife Essential Omega 3,6 & 9 and Ethical Nutrients Inner Health Plus. All of these products can be found in this Skin Care Pack.
Some important points about Acne Treatment:
It is definitely stress related, so you are more likely to have a flare-up when you are under any sort of physical or emotional strain. Taking a Vitamin B Complex and Magnesium can help to support our body better when under regular stress. We also have the NZ made product Stresscare, which provides nutritional and herbal support for stress.
Avoid picking and squeezing, which may force more sebum into deep skin layers, causing increased inflammation. Fingers may also introduce infection. If you have picked a spot, we recommend an immediate application of Pure Tea Tree Oil (with a cotton bud). Alternatively we have the Living Nature Rescue Gel, a less harsh product, but still effective.
You won't see the benefit of any acne treatment for at least six weeks, so persevere and be patient. Be consistent with your supplements and external treatment and remember to drink lots of water.
Controversy exists over whether diet plays any role in the pathology of acne. Natural health practitioners believe that food sensitivities, saturated and hydrogenated fats, a lack of friendly bowel flora, bowel toxicity and poor elimination, nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalance's can all contribute to causing problems such as Acne. Because of this, a healthy diet is essential. A diet high in healthy fats (those from nuts, seeds and fish), water, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, fresh fruits and vegetables is essential to help avoid any further problems.
Acne has been referred to as "Skin Diabetes", reflecting the skin's inability to metabolise sugar correctly. Reducing sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption may help with acne treatment. Maybe you have an overgrowth of the yeast Candida Albicans.
The mineral Zinc promotes healing, reduces scarring, inhibits growth of acne-producing micro-organisms and is required for maximal immune activity. Most New Zealanders are extremely low in zinc. White spots on your finger nails relate to a zinc deficiency. Even 1 small white spot can show of this.
Moderate exposure to sunlight usually helps acne. However be aware of the problematic times between 11am and 3pm when your skin is more likely to get burnt.
Don't scrub. Scrubbing stimulates overgrowth of skin cells, aggravating the condition. Wash twice a day with a plain pH balanced "soap", such as Living Nature Purifying Cleanser. We also have the Sabun Olive Oil Soap, a basic but traditional Syrian soap specifically for problematic skin.
Disguising an unsightly spot with a water-based cover cream won't aggravate the condition and is good for your morale.
Wearing you hair in a fringe does not cause acne on the brow, but be sure to keep your hair clean. We love the Giovanni Range of Hair Care Products.
Drink no less than 2 litres of water a day. You can read more about why this is important here
Your diet and Acne...
Avoid sugary or fatty foods as these interrupt hormonal signalling. If you crave for sugar, you may have a candida overgrowth or a blood sugar problem. You could also have a nutritional deficiency such as low iron, low chromium or low magnesium. Low Serotonin can also cause carbohydrate cravings.
Be aware of any allergic reactions to foods (particularly dairy products) which can make the condition worse. You could notice this as patches of red, more inflammed skin, within 10-30 minutes after eating a particular food. Some people will sneeze after a problematic food, or cough. Keeping a food diary of everything you eat and drink and what your symptoms are like can help to identify patterns or "reactions".
Seek advice from your health care professional if your bowels are inefficient. If they suggest a "Bowel cleanse" these are some of the options we have: Thisilyn Cleanse, 15 Day Detox, Total Body Detox, Tiao He Chinese Cleanse, Para Cleanse and the Ultimate Herbal Detox Kit. Following dietary information, such as that which is in the book The Liver Cleansing Diet by Dr Sandra Cabot can give you even better results while on a detox.
Need more help finding the right acne treatment for you?
You can chat with one of our naturopathic team about acne treatment now, by calling 0800 HEALTH (toll free within NZ)