Acne can be one of the most dreaded and difficult to treat skin conditions, especially for young adults and women leading up to and during their menstrual cycle. Countless dollars have been spent over the decades to prevent, treat and reduce scarring brought on by acne. Perhaps returning to a natural approach to acne care will provide the results so many are searching for.
Acne is often caused by overactive sweat and oil glands. The sebaceous glands produce sebum (oil), which is responsible for keeping the skin and hair moisturized. Normally, sebum is excreted through hair follicles along with shedding skin cells. Problems can arise when hormones cause an increase in sebum production. Excess sebum can get trapped in hair follicles, plugging them up and leading to what we commonly know as pimples, whiteheads and blackheads.
- Follow a consistent, gentle skin care routine. Don’t be tempted to over-clean and scrub excessively – this can trigger an increase in sebum production as well as result in red, raw skin.
- Use gentle, mild cleansers. Don’t use astringents containing alcohol.
- Resist the urge to pick at or pop pimples. The bacteria on your hands can infect the skin even more. Picking at pimples may also lead to scarring.
- Use a facial steam once a week to unblock pores.
- Use a facial mask once a week to deep clean pores and remove excess sebum. Masks with green clay are particularly good for oily and acne plagued skin.
Natural Ingredients May Also Help
Vitamin A is often used to treat acne, sometimes in the form of Retin A. If you want a natural source of Vitamin A, use products that contain carrot oil. Here are some other natural ingredients that may help combat acne:
- Vegetable/Fruit/Nut oils
Don’t be scared by the mention of using oil to combat acne, which can go hand in hand with oily skin. The oils listed here have wonderful properties that soothe acne plagued skin without clogging pores. Examples of oils that are beneficial in fighting acne include:
a. Argan oil
b. Coconut oil
c. Cranberry Seed oil
d. Flax Seed oil
e. Grape Seed oil
f. Hazelnut oil
g. Neem oil
h. Peach Kernel oil
- Essential Oils
These are essences taken from plants, flowers, roots, trees spices, citrus fruits, etc. Examples of essential oils used in formulas to combat acne include:
a. Clary Sage
c. Tea Tree
Honey has strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used as a treatment for wounds and other skin conditions for thousands of years. Australia approved the use of honey for medical use in 1999 and is now sold as honey creams in pharmacies. It is very important to use honey that is either medical-grade or raw, unprocessed, unheated honey with no added ingredients. Do not use honey that has been treated because the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties are destroyed in the processing. Here is an easy Chamomile honey mask you can make yourself:
Chamomile Honey Mask
1.5 oz of raw honey
½ oz. of jojoba oil
12 drops of chamomile essential oil
9 drops of lavender essential oil
6 drops of ylang ylang essential oil
Warm honey until you can stir it. DO NOT heat in microwave or on the stove because this will destroy the healing properties. Fold in jojoba little by little until incorporated. Add the essential oils and mix well. Apply to face and leave in place for about 15 minutes then rinse.
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It can be frustrating searching for products to control breakouts, and it is natural to want immediate relief, so it may be tempting to grab a chemical-filled product from a mass-retailers’ shelf. These products may or may not work for you, and are often harsh and can leave your skin dry and peeling.
Instead, look for items that contain some of the ingredients listed above or learn how to make your own natural facial care products and see if they help clear out blocked pores and leave skin soft, smooth and pimple-free.
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