Author: Leo Akin
Although it is a skin condition, acne is also an important cause of depression and loss of self-confidence especially among teenagers. While some people outgrow acne, it persists in others long into adulthood. The first step in getting rid of your acne is identifying its triggers. Acne triggers vary from one individual to another. For some, acne is triggered by seasonal changes and for others it is triggered by certain foods. Besides these triggers, acne has a strong genetic component as studies have identified that both the pattern and severity of acne can be inherited. In addition, researchers have identified some common factors responsible for acne. These factors include stress, androgen hormones and acne-causing bacteria such as Propionibacterium acnes.
Mild to moderate acne can be treated with home remedies. In fact, you can easily keep your acne in check by following proper skin hygiene, avoiding certain foods and taking anti-acne natural supplements. It is important to note that your acne will not clear off immediately just as it does not suddenly appears. However, if you try these 7 proven methods, you can prevent new acne breakouts as well as get rid of the acne comedones and acne scars sitting on your skin.
Shun Dairy Products
Milk and milk products are the most important food triggers of acne. For those affected, the consumption of milk and dairy products quickly leads to acne breakouts and the withdrawal of such foods is followed by slow disappearance of acne. Unfortunately, acne leaves scars and zits behind and those take longer to disappear. But how does milk trigger acne? Milk is rich in growth hormones and those growth hormones. Because commercially available milk is derived from animals, the growth hormones that survive production processes are not human hormones but bovine growth hormones. However, the bovine growth hormones in milk are similar to human growth hormones. They include IGF (insulin-like growth factors) as well as sex hormones. Besides cow hormones, the synthetic growth hormones fed to cattle can also be found in cow milk.
Therefore, blood levels of growth hormones can spike after consuming milk and dairy products. Some of these hormones (growth factors and androgens such as testosterone) cause the enlargement of the sebaceous gland and then increase the production of sebum. This is the first step in the appearance and spread of acne comedones. However, not every acne sufferer is sensitive to dairy products. To determine whether milk and dairy products are responsible for your acne, try to abstain from these foods. If the frequency and severity of your acne breakouts are significantly reduced, then dairy products are most likely the cause of your acne. Should you decide to adopt dairy-free diet, make sure to consume more of other calcium-rich foods especially green, leafy vegetables.
Reduce your Carb Intake
Carbohydrates, especially simple carbs, can also cause acne. High consumption of carbohydrates increases the production of insulin as the body tries to reduce blood sugar levels. Like IGF, insulin can also trigger acne. To avoid carb-triggered acne, cut back on your carbohydrate consumption. To reduce your carb intake, you should avoid refined food products and soft drink. The simple sugars, such as high fructose corn syrup, found in soda drinks represent high-caloric triggers of acne. Replace these with food sources of complex carbohydrates and proteins.
Try Medicinal Teas
Medicinal or herbal teas can improve general health and they are especially useful for preventing and treating acne. How can medicinal teas help? Because they are rich in antioxidants, medicinal teas reduce oxidative stress in the soft tissues of the skin. They remove free radicals and mop up the toxic byproducts of the acne-causing bacteria. By doing these, these teas protect the skin from bacterial damage. The 4 most effective medicinal teas for combating acne are green tea, chamomile tea, spearmint tea and rooibos tea. Besides their antioxidant properties, these medicinal teas can also help with acne by their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
As an anti-inflammatory agent, herbal teas reduce local inflammation in the skin. Therefore, they are effective against inflammatory acne lesions. The anti-inflammatory effect of chamomile tea against acne lesions was found to be similar to that of hydrocortisone, a widely used acne medication. In addition to its antioxidant properties, researchers have demonstrated that spearmint tea can help with acne by regulating hormonal balance. Specifically, spearmint lowers the level of freely circulating testosterone. Therefore, it can keep this hormone from destroying skin cells and increasing sebum production.
Use Acne Herbal Supplements
Medicinal teas are not the only herbal supplements that can help you get rid of acne. There are other effective herbs to use for acne. Important herbal remedies for acne include dong quai, vitex, tea tree oil, aloe vera, gum guggul, licorice root, burdock root and dandelion root. These herbs are effective in acne therapy for different reasons. For example, tea tree oil is a potent topical antibacterial agent. Its ability to kill off acne-causing bacteria was found comparable to that of benzoyl peroxide, a commonly prescribed topical acne remedy. In addition, vitex and dong quai blunt the effects of testosterone on the sebaceous gland by increasing the production of female sex hormones. Gum guggul reduces skin inflammation and can be effective in the treatment of inflammatory acne. Aloe vera, on the other hand, is a popular remedy for skin diseases. For acne, it is used to heal acne lesions and fade acne scars.
Address Nutritional Deficiencies
Certain nutritional deficiencies can promote and perpetuate acne. In fact, acne and acne-like skin problems are common symptoms of certain mineral and vitamin deficiencies. Therefore, supplementation with specific minerals and vitamins can help fight acne especially in those with nutritional deficiencies. The most important vitamins for acne are vitamins A, C, D and E as well as vitamins B6. Vitamin A is an important acne remedy due to its ability to increase skin turnover. In fact, vitamin A metabolites are some of the few effective remedies for inflammatory and severe acne. In addition, the antioxidant mineral, selenium, and the antimicrobial mineral, zinc, are also commonly used to fight acne.
Apply Acne Masks
Acne masks are facial masks used for getting rid of acne. The ingredients of acne masks are usually soothing to the skin. They are intended to open up and clean skin pores. To rejuvenate the skin, acne masks get rid of acne-causing bacteria, remove dirt, excess sebum and byproducts of bacterial metabolism from skin pores and help fade away acne scars. While acne masks are sold in health stores, you can easily make one yourself at home. Making your own acne masks allows you to find the right blend of ingredients that work best for your skin. Commonly used ingredients of acne masks are honey, lemon juice, clay, tomato and yogurt. After mixing these ingredients into a paste-like consistency, gently apply the mixture to your face and other acne-covered areas of your skin. Use a makeup brush or disinfect your hands before applying the acne mask. How long the mask stays on your skin will depend on the ingredients making up the mixture and also how sensitive your skin is. Remove the mask by rinsing your skin with warm water. Because acne masks can be astringent, make sure to apply a moisturizer after removing them in order to prevent your skin from drying out.
See a DermatologistA visit to a dermatologist may be your last resort if your acne is poorly controlled. If you are too busy to adopt the home remedies described above or if the remedies fail to control your acne, you may have to see your dermatologist. In most cases, topical acne remedies such as creams and lotions containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid and alpha hydroxyl acid are recommended. If those remedies fail, topical and even oral antibiotics may be in order. A topical steroid may also be introduced to combat inflammatory acne lesion. Although antibiotics and steroids are potent, they are also not gentle on the skin. Prolonged antibiotic or topical steroid use is usually not recommended. However, the worst cases of acne may require vitamin A analogs such as isotretinoin. Such acne medications are very potent and potentially dangerous. They should only be used when recommended by a dermatologist.
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