Can you treat acne naturally?
Acne is difficult skin condition to cope with – persistent flare-ups and unsightly blemishes can take their toll on your self-esteem and confidence. However, it is surprisingly common and there are a variety of home and natural remedies that have been devised or discovered over the years.
While none of these remedies can miraculously ‘cure’ your acne overnight, some of them can definitely help to tackle the underlying causes whilst reducing any visual symptoms. Today, I’m going to take a look at some of my favourite natural acne remedies and discuss how they can help the appearance of your acne, including useful recipes and tips!
Get plenty of nutrients
I’ve elaborated before about the relationship between acne and your gut, but it’s important to recognise this connection. The friendly bacteria in your gut can help to reduce inflammation and bolster your ability to absorb nutrients – however, if the friendly bacteria become overwhelmed by the unfriendly bacteria, these processes can be impeded.
Giving your gut what it needs to function properly is crucial so I would recommend taking a good look at your diet. Is it high in refined sugars and simple carbohydrates? If so, you will definitely have some changes to make! Refined sugars can also cause a spike in your blood sugar levels and inspire your body to produce more insulin – not good for your acne symptoms at all!
I’d recommend focusing on nutrients that can help to support your gut and your skin. Zinc is an important mineral to consider but it’s often forgotten. Studies have shown that acne patients do exhibit lower zinc levels than those with healthy skin and it’s believed that the nutrient can have a positive effect on acne symptoms.1
Try to include some zinc-rich foods in your diet, such as pumpkin seeds, cashews, chickpeas, chicken and spinach. It also couldn’t hurt to consider other vitamins, such as vitamins C and E. Vitamin C is essential for healthy collagen production while vitamin E can act as an antioxidant and protect your skin from oxidative stress.
You could try Biotta’s Organic Carrot Juice, which is chockfull of antioxidants and vitamins, helping to improve the health of your skin.
Below I’ve included a couple of delicious recipe ideas that you might like to consider.
Pineapple & Avocado Smoothie
Apple & Spinach Smoothie
Poached Eggs with Spinach on Wholemeal Bread
Spicy Tomato & Red Lentil Soup
Rest and relax
Stress can be a real factor when it comes to upsetting your gut and stimulating inflammation, so the best thing you can do is look at reducing your stress levels. Get plenty of good sleep – sleep allows your body to heal and collagen, a key structural protein for skin, is often produced during this time.
If you are finding it difficult to sleep or impossible to relax, I would consider examining your day to day routine.
Do you exercise? Are you spending too much time plugged into your devices? Mobile phones, tablets and televisions can inhibit your production of melatonin, the sleep hormone, and keep you awake. Not to mention, watching TV can trigger low level stress responses so I would consider reading a book or pursuing a more creative activity instead.
Getting exercise can also stimulate your microcirculation, allowing for a better flow of nutrients to your skin. Gentle forms of exercise, such as yoga, are also great for lowering your stress levels and can even help your digestion!
Whip up a homemade face mask
Creating a homemade face mask can be a fun and rewarding experience. It gives you a chance to experiment with natural ingredients and to discover what works best. There are so many ingredients you can consider but I’ll just quickly name a few of my favourites.
Coconut oil: This might seem like a strange choice – acne is generally caused by an excess of oil so surely adding more is just going to make things worse? Well, perhaps not. Coconut oil is a natural anti-inflammatory agent and is rich in antimicrobial fatty acids, such as lauric acid and capric acid. It’s also a good source of vitamin E and can help to form a protective barrier around your skin, keeping it safe from pathogens.
Avocado: In recent years, everyone has fallen in love with avocados. They’re a brilliant source of healthy fats and vitamins, which also makes them very useful for your skin. Their high content of antioxidants means that they can combat free-radical damage while it’s also believed that they can inhibit the production of excess oil!2
Honey: Sticky and sweet, I would understand if the last thing you want to lather over your skin is honey. However, organic Manuka honey can really help if you are prone to acne as it may help to balance your skin’s pH levels and is a natural anti-bacterial agent. It’s also incredibly moisturising and capable of reducing inflammation. Not bad!
Aloe vera: Aloe vera is a great ingredient with natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects. It can help to absorb excess oil on the surface of your skin and is rich in zinc, the mineral that I mentioned earlier. It’s good for cleansing your skin and may even help to improve collagen synthesis!
Lemon: Lemon juice may not be the best option if you have extremely sensitive skin, but it is known to have a number of positive effects in relation to acne. Undiluted lemon juice works by killing bacteria and reducing inflammation. Compared to other treatments, it can work quite quickly but I would consider diluting lemon juice with another ingredient on the list.
Those are my favourite ingredients but how can they be combined into a potent, acne-kicking face mask? Well I’ve came across a number of recipes that utilise these ingredients and I’ve listed some of them below to give you a few ideas!
Avocado, Lemon & Honey Face Mask
Coconut Oil & Honey Face Mask
Super Moisturising Aloe Avocado Face Mask
Consider a probiotic
I’ve already touched upon the relationship between your gut and your skin, and how important it is to maintain a good gut environment. Probiotics and prebiotics are a great way of improving the health of your gut flora, which can have a positive impact on your acne symptoms.
I would recommend that you choose a probiotic with as many strains as possible- the more, the merrier! You could try opting for a brand like Optibac, who offer a wide variety of probiotics, some even tailored for specific situations, such as travelling or if you’re on antibiotics.
Prebiotics work similarly to probiotics but there are a few distinct differences. Probiotics introduce new friendly bacteria into your gut whereas prebiotics makes sure you have a gut environment that will encourage these friendly bacteria to thrive.
Our healthy prebiotic Molkosan Original contains L+ lactic acid which can support the growth of friendly bacteria. Derived from organic milk, this supplement may ensure that your probiotic works more efficiently, not to mention it’s also vegetarian-friendly and lactose-free!
Exfoliating your skin is an important step in any skin hygiene routine, but often with acne it can be tricky. Over-exfoliating is a common problem and the result is often raw, dry skin that will only heighten your problems rather than ease them.
However, exfoliating is crucial for removing dead skin cells and keeping your skin clean. If done properly, your skin should be left feeling clean and refreshed. The most important thing you can bear in mind when exfoliating if you have acne, is the word gently.
Don’t immediately start scrubbing at your skin roughly, use a gentle action. It’s also worth bearing in mind that you shouldn’t be exfoliating every day – once or twice a week is more than enough! Try to choose a lotion that won’t irritate your breakout. I would go for an organic option as these products are less likely to contain chemicals and toxins that will upset your sensitive skin.
After you’ve exfoliated, it’s important you moisturise your skin to avoid any dry or rough patches. Again, I would opt for a natural moisturiser like our Echinacea Cream. Our Echinacea cream has been specifically formulated to comfort troubled, spot-prone skin and it contains extracts of organic Echinacea, cultivated in Switzerland! It’s ideal as a daily moisturiser and sits perfectly under your make-up, keeping your skin smooth and hydrated.