Hands are occasionally in gloves, hair is often under hats, and feet are almost always in footwear. Your face, however, is nearly always on display. Unless you’re wearing a full-face helmet, a balaclava in sub-zero temperatures, or something similar. So it’s quite natural to put more of an emphasis on having good facial skin, and being all the more troubled when it’s not at its most attractive.
With that understood, it’s not difficult to comprehend how acne is very troubling for young people, and some of you may be surprised to it occurs to folks who have long since entered adulthood. And, not surprisingly, adults with acne have the same level of disdain about their spotty faces too.
Anyone who’s hesitant to take prescription remedies for acne will be pleased to know that there are DIY natural home remedies that work very well, and a whole host of natural products that are proven to be significantly less harmful for you than the mix of standard O-T-C acne creams that do in fact reduce acne but come with other hazards.
In addition, there are natural formulation products that are alternative ways to effectively treat acne and treat eczema but do not receive much in the way of promotion from folks for whatever reason. As is often the case, the best of these products tend to be designed under the knowledgeable and scrutinizing eye of a bonafide subject matter expert like Dr. Lorna Vanderhaeghe, a well-respected nutritionist, biochemist, and women’s health educator whose expertise extends to skin conditions like these ones.
Alright, let’s get down to some natural cures for acne that are effective but have no chance of bringing the negative side effects of conventional topical creams or anything else of the sort.
Natural Acne Cures
A little bit of background – There are 4 primary clinical categorizations for acne: hormonal female acne / pregnancy and lactation acne / adolescent acne / adult acne.
Clinical cleanser and prevention products designed to address any of these 4 acne categories typically come with same complaints:
- They promote antibiotic resistance
- They (and oral therapies in particular) can cause long-term side effects
- Many topical therapies irritate the skin, with increasing severity over time
Furthering the trend against these types of acne treatment products is a growing understanding (and one that’s scientifically founded) that an inflammatory state is present in the skin long before the clinical formation of the acne lesion. This indicates that the acne development process begins before the bacterial invaders colonize the individual pore. It’s more as if the inflammatory state is the invitation for the bacterium to begin their colonization.
Last but not least in our brief prefacing here, when you add oxidative stress factors to the above then there’s something of a perfect storm for an outbreak of ‘zits.’ On to our suggestions:
- Vitamin C / Nicotinamide – A topical application of Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) is effective in reducing acne lesion counts. Nicotinamide inhibits IL-8 production and thus retards anti-inflammatory processes in the skin.
- Tea Tree Oil / Green Tea – Both of these will fall under your botanical remedies for acne. Tea Tree Oil is a topical antimicrobial with antiseptic properties that can disrupt the bacterial membrane. There is the possibility of it being an irritant though, so be sure it’s not a contact allergen for you. The dried, cured leaves of C.Sinesis (Green Tea) will inhibit sebum when used topically.
- Manuka Honey – This all natural product is derived from manuka bush, which is a plant indigenous to New Zealand. Manuka honey is reported to have antibacterial and wound-healing properties, as well inhibiting the production of free radicals. Applying it to outbreak spots and having it rest overnight – in much the same manner as you would with synthetic acne creams – can have the same effectiveness but with all the appeal of all natural purity!
- Tannins – Tannins are yellowish or brownish bitter-tasting organic substances present in plant tissues. How’s that relevant here? Certain tannins are natural astrignents, and in particular witch hazel, white oak, and English walnut contain potent levels of salicylic acid (a key ingredient in those same synthetic acne creams, but naturally sourced and comes without any of the side-effects!) to slough off dead, pore-clogging skin cells.
- Fruit Acids – Topical solutions based around citric, gluconic, gluconolactone, glycolic, malic, or tartaric acid are also natural astringents and serve the same break-up / break-down / flush away process that the aforementioned tannins do. A quick mention here for Vitex / Chasteberry, a natural whole-fruit extract for premenstrual acne and to increase progesterone and reduce estrogen.
- Sulfur – A potent antibacterial that unclogs pores very effectively. Typically applied as a sulfur mask, but use caution as overexposure to sulfur can lead to pronounced drying of the skin.
- Aloe Vera – The aloin and aloesin in aloe vera are anti-inflammatories as well. Smooth aloe vera over your face after cleansing and before you put on lotion.
- Moroccan Rhassoul Clay – This less common product (also known as Red Moroccan Clay) is worth looking into, as it reduces oil production without drying your skin. In fact, it’s our #1 recommendation here, so here’s a recipe for making your own Moroccan Rhassoul Clay mask.
Here it is, it’s quite simple:
- Mix 1 teaspoon of Moroccan Rhassoul Clay with 1/3 teaspoon of warm water, mix to make a paste
- Apply evenly over problem areas of your face
- Allow to sit for at least 15 to 20 minutes
- If your skin is particularly oily, add ¼ teaspoon of green tea leaves to the clay mix
- Experiencing skin redness? Add ¼ teaspoon chamomile tea leaves to the clay mix
We’re going to conclude today’s blog with perhaps the most valuable tip of all when it comes to preventing acne – AVOID USING EVERYDAY BAR SOAPS, IDEALLY ENTIRELY BUT AT THE VERY LEAST WHEN IT COMES TO WASHING YOUR FACE.
Conventional soaps contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) which is a chemical surfactant, or ‘foaming agent’, and that’s the nice way of saying it’s an ester of sulfuric acid. Why on earth would they include that in soap, you ask? Well, it’s because it’s an inexpensive way to make the soap lather up more, and thus convince consumers they’re having a more thorough cleansing experience. Despite the fact it does nothing to enhance the effectiveness of the soap or the extent to which it cleans your skin.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate not only dries and irritates your skin extensively, but it also alters the PH balance of your skin and promotes the overproduction of sebum, which – you guessed it – promotes blackheads and acne.
When it comes to treating skin conditions, and particularly ones with your face, it’s always best to use natural products AND be proactive in preventing outbreaks. Here’s to you enjoying many months of smooth, blemish-free facial skin.