8 Effective and Natural Acne Solutions
Almost everyone has experienced an outbreak of acne. Whether you are teens with hormones running rampant or as an adult with adrenal fatigue symptoms, acne can be a problem. The conventional methods of dealing with acne outbreaks can be expensive, difficult to use, and have other side effects. It’s important, then, to have some effective natural acne solutions at hand that you can use.
The American Academy of Dermatology has labeled acne as the most commonly-occurring skin condition in the country. About 85% of teens are among the tens of millions of people who get acne every year. All ages can experience acne breakouts. Some cases are so severe as to need intervention from a dermatologist.
However, the prescription medications often given by conventionally-trained physicians may be harsh on the skin and can have significant side effects. Natural acne solutions have been shown to be as effective as these medications without the side effects.
What is Acne?
Acne is a common skin condition resulting in whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples that causes embarrassment for teens and adults alike. There may be cysts or nodules on the skin that are filled with pus and can become inflamed.
Typically, there are two types of acne: inflammatory and non-inflammatory. These types are graded as mild, moderate, or severe.
Signs and Symptoms of Acne
Depending on the underlying cause and the type of acne a person has, signs and symptoms may be varied.
In general, the most typical symptoms include:
Blackheads – These are small black dots that show up usually around the nose, the forehead, or chin. They’re usually caused by debris getting caught up in follicles.
Whiteheads – Usually, these are caused by excess oil and debris clogging up follicles. Pus builds up and forms a head that shows above the skin.
Pimples – The scientific name is papules and pustules. These are small or medium size bumps on the skin that appear to be red and without a head. They are classified as moderate acne.
Cysts or nodules – These are more severe types of acne that form in the deeper layers of skin. They are infected and can be painful. They also can become tender and swollen, and they take longer to heal.
Other signs and symptoms can include dark pigmentation spots on the skin and scarring from those acne breakouts that are picked at or popped. Longer term symptoms include forming sensitivities to heat, sweat, and sunlight. Psychological symptoms also can appear, including low self-esteem, depression, and self-consciousness.
Causes of Acne
Clogged pores in the skin are one of the most common causes of acne. Excess oil, or sebum, and dead skin cells can become trapped in the pores beneath the surface of the skin. Bacteria are another common cause of acne.
The typical American diet, composed of high-fat foods and sugary snacks, can also be a cause of acne. Refined grains and overly processed foods are usually a part of this kind of diet.
High levels of stress that continue for long periods of time also can be a cause of acne. Stress will naturally trigger a cascade of hormones and other biochemicals. Ultimately, the adrenal glands will be triggered to secrete cortisol, the stress fighting hormone, and other hormones. These hormones have been connected to the development of acne. If the stress continues, the adrenals may become unable to continue secreting sufficient cortisol. This then leads to Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) in which a series of symptoms develop that can lead to debilitating exhaustion.
Some medications can also be a cause of acne. Birth control pills, androgens, lithium, and corticosteroids are among those medications.
Some kinds of friction can be a cause of acne also, especially among athletes.
Some evidence exists that points to a genetic component in some cases of acne.
Excess oil production brought on by toxins in the body also is a cause of acne. Toxins can be elevated because of the same factors that can lead to adrenal fatigue: poor diet, stress, and exposure to environmental toxins. It is easy to see the destructive cycle that can take place involving stress, diet, adrenal fatigue, acne, and the psychological issues that keep this cycle going.
Natural Acne Solutions
Before discussing natural acne solutions, we need to look at conventional solutions to acne. One thing to consider before taking action is that many times acne clears up by itself. Usually, this happens only if there isn’t a deeper underlying cause for the acne.
Many of the over-the-counter and even some of the prescription remedies for acne either aren’t effective in dealing with the condition or have such side effects as to be too uncomfortable to continue using. Many times, the solutions either bought in the store or given by prescription are excessively harsh for skin that is already sensitive.
Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are typically used in prescription remedies for acne. The benzoyl peroxide is used to kill bacteria that thrive in clogged pores. It can result in side effects such as dryness, peeling, and burning. Salicylic acid helps get rid of excess cells that can keep oil and bacteria inside pores. It can also lead to redness and dryness.
Much of the time, dermatologists will prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria that can lead to acne. One unfortunate side effect of these antibiotics is the killing of good bacteria in your gut.
Natural acne solutions do away with the side effects of these prescription remedies. In using these natural acne solutions, you must keep in mind that your skin is different from everyone else’s. You may have to try several of these solutions to find the one that works best for you. It is also important that you give the natural acne solutions time to work.
In many cases, acne is connected to deeper, underlying causes. It is here that conventionally trained physicians fall short. They are trained to deal with individual symptoms or a single organ system. A better way to get more a comprehensive assessment is to consider the systems of the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response. This approach emphasizes looking at six interconnected organ systems to get to the root cause of any health condition. These six organ systems work together to keep our body functioning optimally. Determining which organ systems are affected by a health condition allows better overall handling of symptoms.
Be Sure To Cleanse Skin Gently
A thorough, gentle cleaning of the skin is the first step. A combination of honey, tea tree oil, coconut oil, and apple cider vinegar is a good cleanser for your skin.
Cleansing your skin with Moroccan Rhassoul Clay is another of the natural acne solutions that works well and soothes sensitive skin. Using willow bark to exfoliate is a natural alternative to salicylic acid.
Toning is Important for pH Balance
This step takes away any residue from cleansing and restores natural pH balance of the skin. Another of the natural acne solutions for toning is to use apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar contains magnesium, potassium, and enzymes that help to kill bacteria on your skin.
Healing Masks are Important
Using these healing masks helps to heal and hydrate your skin. Once or twice a week use a combination of honey, yogurt, cinnamon, and essential oils as one of the natural acne solutions you use regularly.
Use Tea Tree Oil
Research has found tea tree oil to be one of the most effective natural acne solutions. It has strong antibacterial properties and helps reduce redness.
Most people believe skin that has acne doesn’t need any more moisture added to it. This is a myth. When you use topical remedies that dry out the skin, your skin simply makes more oil to replace that which is removed. Coconut oil is a good way for most people to moisturize their skin. However, it may be too heavy for some skin types, so you may want to try another moisturizer instead.
Avoid the Sun
Getting too much sun will stimulate your skin to produce more pigment, possibly increasing the appearance of scarring due to acne. Use natural sunscreens, coconut oil, or olive oil and only get a small amount of sun every day.
Stress, whether physical or emotional, can lead to adrenal burnout and hormonal imbalance. Hormonal imbalance is one of the main reasons for acne. The hormones involved include testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. The body maintains an intricate but fine balance. Stress drives cortisol output which can be helpful to maintain this balance, but chronic or severe stress can be too much for the body to handle, leading to AFS and severe hormonal imbalance. When the hormones are out of balance, acne can occur.
Eat Healthy, Take Supplements
One of the keys to natural acne solutions is to heal your skin from the inside at the same time you’re taking care of it outside. This requires good nutrition and healthy supplements. A low glycemic diet without a lot of processed foods or added sugar seems to be best. Meats, whole foods, and plants are good in this kind of diet. Essential fatty acids should be a large part of your diet as well.
Your skin is a representation of what is going on inside your body. Feed your body well, and your skin will heal naturally. This is the ideal of handling acne naturally.
© Copyright 2018 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. Lam’s Key Question
Are natural acne solutions as effective as prescriptions?
Actually, research and clinical practice have shown natural acne solutions to be as effective as most prescription medications for this condition. And they do not have the difficult and uncomfortable side effects of prescription medications.