Acne is a common skin condition marked by trivial, although sometimes acute, skin eruptions, such as blackheads, whiteheads and swollen red growths, caused by inflammation in the region of the sebaceous glands. Such growths are generally called pimples and they commonly appear on the face.
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In addition, acne may also appear on the upper chest and back of the neck. It may be mentioned that the sebaceous glands exude sebum, a dense, oily substance that greases the skin. Androgens, which are male hormones, have the aptitude to set off excessive activity of the sebaceous glands.
Acne develops owing to a number of reasons, including the obstruction of sebum flow by skin cells, dried sebum as well as bacteria. When the flow of sebum is completely blocked, it results in the development of a pale color bump known as whitehead, while a partial blockage causes a dark-colored spot called blackhead.
On the other hand, bacteria present on the skin surface may often taint the whitehead or blackhead and result in production of pus and also lead to an eruption called pimple. In acute cases - called cystic acne, excruciating purple colored lumps develop on the skin surface around the sebaceous glands.
Barring cases that produce widespread skin pustules, scarring or cysts, acne is normally not detrimental and receptive to treatment. Acne occurs most commonly during teenage years and it may result in significant emotional suffering. The skin eruptions have a tendency to decrease or disappear completely by the time when one is in his/ her 20s, however, in some cases, they may even persist. In the case of women, acne might appear for the first time in their 20s or even 30s. Inexplicable acne eruptions in older adults might be a mark of a graver basic problem.
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There are numerous reasons behind the eruption of acne and some of them are discussed briefly below.
Acne may be a result of hormonal changes in an individual, particularly excessive secretion of androgen, which leads to production of too much sebum by the sebaceous glands. Often hereditary issues are also responsible for development of acne. In addition, specific medications or chemical compounds, counting oral contraceptives, different hormones or corticosteroids, in addition to iodides, barbiturates, vitamin B12, bromides, lithium and anti-seizure drugs may be responsible for eruption of acne.
Other reasons for development of acne may include tar, grease, heavy oils, cosmetics, tight clothes or any other thing that may block the skin pores physically. In the case of adults, the basic medical conditions, counting dysfunction of the ovary or adrenal glands, for instance, polycystic ovary disease as well as Cushing's syndrome may also cause acne to erupt. In addition to these factors, counting stress, climatic changes as well as exposure to dioxin may also result in development of acne.
A number of herbs and supplements are known to be effective in preventing as well as curing acne and similar skin eruptions. In effect, majority of the people would gain by trying all the supplements that are suggested here; and they can be safely combined with one another. Generally, it takes about three to four weeks or even longer for the results to be evident. All these supplements can be used on a long-term basis, in addition to treatment with usual medications for acne.
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It may be noted that vitamin A plays a vital role in regulating the excessive sebum production, which is the main cause of acne. Since vitamin B6 helps in maintaining the balance of acne-related hormones, it may prove to be effective in treating acne worsened due to menstrual cycles or menopause. In addition, vitamin C supports the health of the immune system, facilitating in checking the bacteria that are responsible for development of acne.
When taken with all or any of these vitamins, zinc helps to augment the functioning of the immune system, lessen inflammation and, at the same time, encourage healthy levels of hormones. It may be noted that taking zinc for a prolonged period actually slows down the absorption of copper by the system and, hence, zinc should be taken with copper. You will also find taking zinc with essential fatty acids useful. Two very good sources of essential fatty acids are evening primrose oil, which encloses GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) and flaxseed oil. In effect, essential fatty acids facilitate in watering down the greasy sebum, lessening the possibilities of having blocked skin pores.
Commonly used essential oils for acne:
Homeopathic remedies are effective in curing acne. There are a number of homeopathic medications that are helpful in healing acne and these ought to be taken in the potency of 6c or 12c twice every day continually for several weeks.
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The homeopathic remedy Calc. sulph. is helpful in treating any type of acute acne or cystic acne, which remain in a fixed place for several weeks. Such skin eruptions exude yellow, creamy pus, which keeps draining for a prolonged period and the sebaceous glands become distended causing irritation and stinging.
Simple contagions of the skin surface, ears, sinuses etc., which take time to heal and the patients feel warm-blooded. People suffering from this type of acute acne or cystic acne are apprehensive that they will become ugly owing to the skin condition. They suffer from anxiety and are averse to those people who do not agree with them. These conditions worsen when the patients are exposed to heat, dampness, exertion, drafts and always keep their face lowered down. They feel better when they are bathing or are in the open air.
Kali brom. is generally prescribed by homeopaths to treat acne that develops during adolescence or those that continue erupting till people are already into their adulthood.
Such acne generally appears on the upper face, forehead, shoulders and the back. People who require this homeopathic remedy most have blackheads, pimples that are dented in the middle and leave scars or purple spots. They are excruciating, and the swollen red pimples have whiteheads.
This condition normally aggravates during the menstrual cycles. People having this type of acne have a yellowish, ailing complexion and eat too much and become obese. They are always warm-blooded and have a sensation as though they have been cursed. They become very suspicious and suffer from conflicts between morals and desires.
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The homeopathic remedy Pulsatilla is very effective in treating acne and pimples, especially during puberty and also during pregnancy. This is also a useful medication for styes (an abscess attributed to bacterial infection of the glands on the periphery of the eyelid). People requiring this homeopathic remedy often experience prickly hives and flush very easily. Their complexion turns pale and they have parched, cracked lips, which they lick now and then. Such people lack thirst.
They feel cold, but loathe heat and women have very little, absent or irregular menstrual flow. They grow affectionate and emotional and feel abandoned, depressing and tearful. Such people always suffer from fear whether they are alone or are in a crowd. Their condition aggravates during the evening, when they are exposed to warm air or have rich food. They feel better when they are in fresh air or have some mobility.
Silicea is an excellent homeopathic remedy for acne and rosacea, which generally develop on the cheeks, forehead, back of hands and nose and leave pitting scars. People suffering from this condition have blackheads, pustules, abscesses and boils, and have itching and burning sensations only during the daytime.
They have deep cystic pimples, which never come to a head, but infect easily and do not heal easily either. People suffering from this condition feel cold and perspire profusely with an offensive smell. Their hands and feet are always sweaty. People suffering from this condition become obstinate, suffer from absence of self-confidence and are fearful of initiating things. They always look for wise opinion from others.
Homeopaths generally prescribe Sulphur when people develop acne on their scalp, forehead, nose, which turns reddish. It is also effective for treating rosacea (a persistent type of acne involving the nose, cheeks and forehead marked by red pustular lesions) which occurs on oily face. In such cases, big pimples appear near to the surface of the affected area.
They also have blackheads and black pores on the lips, chin and nose. Such pimples are prickly, but painless and exude fluids when the pimples are scratched. People suffering from such condition are dreamers, extremely intellectual and always discontented. They become egocentric, lethargic and disorganized. They feel hungry and feeble at around 11 a.m. Their condition aggravate when they are exposed to warm conditions, during the night, while bathing and prior to the menstrual cycles.
The homeopathic remedy Thuja is prescribed to treat acne developments on the chin, cheeks and nose, especially in people having an oily skin. The acnes develop into moist or hard pimples, which leave bluish scars and pock marks.
These crusty pimples have red edges. In addition, Thuja is effective in treating warts on mouth, chin and cheeks. It is also useful in treating pimples that develop in infants and during puberty. In this case, the pimples normally smell pungent, and the odour of perspiration is sweetish.
This condition aggravates when the patients are exposed to cold and damp, they take baths and when they scratch the pimples. The pimples make the person look and feel ugly and unlovable and, hence, they experience shame and guilt. People requiring this medication and suffering from this condition have very inflexible viewpoints and become obsessive.
Besides using the above mentioned essential oils, vitamins, homeopathic remedies to heal your acne eruptions, you may do several other things to prevent as well as treat this condition. For instance, you should avoid picking pimples that cause inflammation and scarring. In addition, make sure that you take a wash daily with soap and water. Most importantly, it would be better for you provided you only use cosmetics that are labelled 'non-comedogenic (oil-free), as they will help to keep your skin pores unblocked.
Even as you take the above mentioned homeopathic remedies, vitamins, etc. for acne, you also need to have a balanced diet. It is advisable that you should not consume foods that might work to trigger acne development.
It is advisable that you should be very careful while purchasing soap for cleansing the face or other areas that have been affected by acne. You should always try to find a mild cleanser that cleans up, but does not deprive your skin of moisture.
Never use any deodorant soap or the usual shower soap, since they will have a propensity to over-dry and annoy your skin. You should also not cleanse your face forcefully using coarse scrub pads or any abrasive, as this would only cause irritation to the skin and also aggravate the condition further. Ideally, you should wash the affected areas gently once in the morning and again in the evening.
You may cleanse your skin again if it is essential following a energetic work-out or undertaking any extremely dirty job.
As acne may be aggravated owing to use of substances that cause irritation to the skin, you may like to stop using perfumed products, for instance after-shaves, colognes, scented oils or deodorant soaps. Always remember that natural products like essential oils may also cause skin irritation in the case of sensitive people. In addition, any products based on alcohol, such as some after-shaves, may also cause skin irritation.
A number of herbs and supplements too are useful in preventing as well as treating acne and related skin eruptions. The herbs, supplements and their dosage are being discussed below briefly.
Flaxseed oil: This essential oil should be taken in the dosage of one tablespoon or 14 grams in the morning every day mixed in your food.
Evening primrose oil: This herbal oil should be taken in dosage of 1,000 mg thrice every day to treat acne. Alternately, you may also take 1,000 mg of borage oil every day.
Vitamin A: Taking 25,000 IU of this vitamin once daily may prove to be effective in treating acne and related skin eruptions. However, following a month of its use or when you notice that healing is in progress, lessen the dosage to 10,000 IU every day. While people who use isotretinoin should never take vitamin A to heal acne, women who are pregnant or planning pregnancy should never take this vitamin in excess of 5,000 IU daily.
Vitamin B6: Taking vitamin B6 in dosage of 50 mg every day in the morning is helpful in healing acne. However, bear in mind that taking over 200 mg of vitamin B6 every day for treating acne may harm the nerves.
Vitamin C: To treat acne and related skin eruptions, you should take 1,000 mg of vitamin C twice every day. However, if you suffer from diarrhea owing to vitamin C, it is advisable that you lower the dosage.
Copper / Zinc: Apart from herbs and vitamins, minerals like copper and zinc are also effective in healing acne. If you are suffering from acne or related skin eruptions, it is advisable that you take a dose of 2 mg copper and 30 mg zinc every day. It is advisable to add copper to your diet when you have been using zinc for more than one month.
To treat acne development in kids, you may try the vitamin/herbal/mineral formula. It is a plain solution that is not perceptible on the skin.
Prepare a fine past by adding 25 mg of zinc (the best way is to open a capsule, pound a tablet or make use of two tablespoon of liquid zinc), 1,600 micrograms of folic acid powder (you may open two 800 mg capsules), six tablespoons of aloe vera gel, 100 drops of herbal calendula extract and 1,000 mg of powdered vitamin C to 1 pint of water.
Apply this paste to the affected skin areas using a clean cotton ball once in the morning and again at night. It is important to note that zinc facilitates the healing of skin tissue and also aids in averting scarring. Calendula, on the other hand, is a comforting, curative and anti-bacterial herb, while vitamin C helps to protect the skin and is also gently anti-inflammatory. Aloe vera, as most of us are aware of, is a comforting and curative herb.
In addition, applying a clay mask is particularly helpful for the adolescents having extreme oily skin. To prepare the clay mask, blend one teaspoon of green clay, kaolin or bentonite in some water and stir the mixture till it becomes a consistent paste. Apply this paste to the skin and leave it in place for around 15 minutes.
Subsequently rinse it off using warm water. Cucumber is also effective in healing acne and related skin eruptions, especially in rejuvenating oily skin. Make fine slices of a fresh cucumber and place these slices on the affected skin areas for about 5 to 10 minutes once every day. You will be amazed by the results.
Apart from making a paste with green clay, this substance may also be taken internally to maintain the balance of an acidic body. In case your child consumes excessive sugar and fat, it is likely that his internal system will be extremely acidic - a condition that promotes acne development. In order to balance the acidity in the child's body, prepare a drink by adding one teaspoon of green clay in one glass of water and make him drink the mixture two times every day for a minimum of one week.
Applying a five per cent of tea tree oil solution externally on the surface of the skin has proven useful results which are akin to those of topically applying benzoyl peroxide. But compared to benzoyl peroxide, applying tea tree oil has lesser side effects.