An introduction to acne treatments
Acne can be a very unpleasant experience, often striking when you are at your most vulnerable and self-conscious, namely your teenage years.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of acne treatments available, although many are aimed at easing the external symptoms – your spots, blackheads and whiteheads – rather than dealing with the internal factors that can trigger an acne episode.
While you may want to get those pimples off your face as soon as possible, it is important that you consider the internal causes of acne as well, and find ways of treating the root of the problem rather than the superficial result.
There are a number of home remedies out there dedicated towards reducing your acne symptoms. It is important that you speak to your doctor though, if you find that your symptoms are becoming more agitated.
- Relax: It has already been mentioned that there is a link between stress and acne, so it is important that you try to find ways of lowering your stress levels during an episode of acne. Try to find ways of relaxing and keeping calm, either by indulging in activities that you enjoy or taking some time out of the day just for you. If you want to take this one step further, you could try taking up yoga or meditation – both practices are known to be very soothing for you stress levels and great at teaching you proper breathing techniques
- Good nutrition: It is always recommended that you follow a well-balanced and healthy diet, rich in wholegrains, fruit, vegetables and lean sources of protein. When you have acne is it important that you don’t add fuel to the fire by consuming potentially inflammatory foods, high in saturated fats, processed sugars and salt, as these can place pressure on your pancreas and cause a surge of insulin. Instead of reaching for chocolate when you’re a bit peckish, why not try blitzing up a smoothie instead? These are delicious and a great way of getting some extra vitamins into your diet! Incorporate more anti-oxidant rich foods into your cooking, such as tomatoes, spinach, strawberries or oranges. Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids and try to replace caffeinated drinks with caffeine free alternatives, such as Bambu or herbal teas like Golden Rod, which is known to have a detoxing effect on your liver
- Colloidal Oatmeal: Oatmeal can function as a wholesome breakfast cereal or an old remedy for skin inflammation. This is because the wholegrain is rich in vitamin E and can protect your skin against the harmful effects of UV light as well as reduce swelling. You can apply the oatmeal topically as a past or as a face cream.
- Manuka Honey: Raw, unprocessed honey can be great for decreasing inflammation and supply your skin with anti-oxidants. You can apply it topically to your skin and leave it on as a face mask for half an hour before removing with lukewarm water. Your Health Food Store has a great range of Manuka honey products available to order if this remedy appeals to you
- Egg whites: Eggs might not seem like the most desirable thing to have near your skin; however egg whites do contain a multitude of benefits, particularly when it comes to treating the symptoms of acne. They almost act as a sponge on the surface of the skin, sucking up any excess oil that could act as a food source for bacteria. Egg whites are also rich in B vitamins and magnesium, giving them anti-oxidant properties
- Garlic: Smelly and unappealing you might want to keep this herb at arm’s length from your skin; however garlic is excellent when it comes to clearing your acne. The herb has anti-oxidant qualities and it can also be considered an anti-sceptic, killing off bad bacteria and reducing the appearance of swelling and spots. You can try increasing your dietary intake of garlic or applying the herb topically to your skin as a paste. Just make sure to dilute it first with some water
- Mint: The opposite of garlic, mint is an attractive smelling plant that contains wonderful anti-bacterial properties and is already used in a variety of skin care products. You can apply mint topically to your face by crushing the herb and diluting it with water, or mixing with raw, unprocessed honey. This should help to reduce the appearance of pimples and help your skin to heal, preventing any scarring or pockmarks.
If you find that conventional medicines are letting you down when it comes to treating your acne, you could try some of our natural and organic herbal remedies, aimed at tackling the unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms of acne.
- Neem Cream: Neem Cream is made using extracts from neem leaves and can be applied topically to the skin to reduce irritation and itchiness. It can help skin to recover after an outbreak of acne as well as diminish the appearances of facial redness
- Vitamin C: Nature-C is organically made using fruit extracts. This supplement can be taken to support your immune system and boost your intake of vitamin C, an anti-oxidant that is wonderful at treating skin conditions such as acne
- Echinaforce®: This herb is best known for its ability to help you recover from colds and flu and works by strengthening your body’s immune system. Echinaforce® can be taken by anyone over the age of 12, although it is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Viola tricolor: Viola tricolour is made from extracts of wild pansy and is known to have a very positive effect on dry, agitated skin. The tincture contains flavonoids, nutrients that can be extremely beneficial for your capillaries. Viola tricolour is suitable for children over the age of 2, although it may not be advisable to take if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Stress relief daytime: Stress Relief Daytime is our natural stress remedy for reducing feelings of stress and anxiety in tough, pressured situation. This solution might be worthwhile considering if your acne is starting to affect your confidence and self-esteem, influencing how you react in tense or social situations.
If your acne is persistent or your symptoms are becoming more intense, it might be worthwhile speaking to your doctor. They will likely prescribe you a range of medication, however you should be aware of the side-effects and take any medicine exactly as you are directed.
- Oral contraceptive pill: A combined oral conceptive works differently from a progesterone-only pill in that it seeks to balance fluctuating hormones, which can prevent the sebaceous glands from becoming irritated, reducing the intensity of acne symptoms. However, the effectiveness of the pill can vary from person to person, with no one pill to suit all body types. This means that you may have to try several different varieties of the pill before you find the one that suits you
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics can be prescribed as a pill or as a topical cream. They work to kill harmful bacteria on the skin’s surface, preventing follicles from being clogged and inflamed. Antibiotics can sometimes incur unpleasant side-effects and some subtypes not be suitable for some acne sufferers, such as pregnant women etc. It is therefore very important that you discuss any side-effects with your GP in order to gouge what variant will be the most compatible with you
- Topical retinoids: Topical retinoids are usually taken to exfoliate the skin, cleansing it of dead skin cells which might block pores. Some types of topical retinoids might aggravate certain symptoms and none of them are suitable for usage if you are pregnant
- Oral tablets: If your acne symptoms are severe or prolonged, then your doctor might recommend you take oral medication such as Isotretinoin, which can trigger a range of side-effects, from agitating your symptoms further to causing blood to appear in your urine. If you feel as though you are suffering badly from such side-effects, then you may need to go back and speak to your doctor again.