Acne is a skin condition characterized by black heads, white heads, red swollen spots and in its severest form deep nodules that lead to scar formation. It is caused by inflammation of the small oil glands (sebaceous glands) that surround the fine hairs on the face and chest.
About 80% of teenagers are affected by acne. 5% percent of women and 1% of men aged 25 to 40 also develop acne. The impact on a person’s self-confidence and quality of life can be severe.
There are many natural remedies that can improve acne symptoms:
- Herbal remedies that specifically aid detoxification are beneficial for acne. Good examples include dandelion root, burdock and nettle. This is because our bodies process and excrete toxins constantly. Our liver plays a crucial role in processing toxins which are then excreted by our bowels or by our kidneys. Our skin has been termed our “third kidney” because when there is an overload of toxins, some are excreted through the skin leading to inflammation and formation of spots.
- Vitamin and mineral supplements play a vital role in conjunction with herbs. Zinc is essential to skin health and hormone balance. Zinc deficiency is common, especially in teenagers . Zinc also plays a key role in collagen formation which preserves skin strength and integrity.
- Vitamin E and selenium are important for their role in the activity of glutathione peroxidase, an enzyme that is essential in the prevention of inflammation in acne.
- Vitamin A reduces sebum production and the build up of keratin which can clog pores. However vitamin A is to be avoided during pregnancy or while trying to conceive.
- Witch hazel and tea tree oil are ideal for topical use as they possess anti-bacterial properties. They help reduce the amount of the P.acnes bacteria formed as a result of clogged pores. Tea tree oil has shown remarkable results when compared to benzoyl peroxide (the most common conventional acne treatment) in the reduction of P.acnes and is said to have fewer side effects (such as stinging, itchiness and dry skin).