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Alternative Ways to Deal with Acne


An Introduction to Acne


Ask any teenager in high school what is the worst thing that can happen to their face before the prom and acne will be the number one response.  But did you know that acne 

not only bothers teens, but adults as well.  And acne can get so bad that you have to seek the help of a dermatologist to try to rid yourself of it.


Acne is a skin problem that starts when oil, dead skin cells and even bacteria clog up your pores.  Some people call it blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, or zits.  When you have just a few red spots, or pimples, you have a mild form of acne.  Severe acne can mean hundreds of pimples that can cover the face, neck, chest, and back.  Or, it can be bigger, solid, red lumps that are painful.


When the trapped oil, skin cells and bacteria stay below the skin surface, a whitehead is formed.  Whiteheads may show up as tiny white spots, or they may be so small that they are invisible to the naked eye.  A blackhead occurs when the trapped oil, skin cells and bacteria partially open to the surface and turn black due to melanin, the skin's pigment.  It is not dirt and cannot be washed away.  Blackheads can last for a long time because the contents very slowly drain to the surface.  A blackhead or whitehead can release its contents to the surface and heal.  Or, the follicle wall can rupture and inflammatory acne can ensue.  This rupture can be caused randomly or by picking or touching the skin.  This is why it is important to leave acne prone skin relatively untouched.


Acne affects most teenagers to some extent.  However, the disease is not restricted to any age group; adults in their 20s and even into their 40s can get acne.  While not a life threatening condition, acne can be upsetting and disfiguring.  When severe, acne can lead to serious and permanent scarring.  Even less severe cases can lead to scarring.


Close to 100% of people between the ages of twelve and seventeen have at least an occasional whitehead, blackhead or pimple (zit), regardless of race or ethnicity.  Many of these young people are able to manage their acne with over-the-counter (non-prescription) treatments.  For some, however, acne is more serious.  In fact, by their mid-teens, more than 40% of adolescents have acne severe enough to require some treatment by a physician.


As you can see acne affects a wide range of individuals.  It does not matter if you are young or old or what your race is.  Also, acne is a problem that can be very serious.  When one experiences the challenge of severe acne the usual thing to do is to seek out some sort of medication.  The problem with most of these main stream medications is of course their side effects.  But just like other medical problems, there are alternative treatments for acne too.


Common Prescriptions Treatments for Acne and Their Side Effects


Today, virtually every case of acne can be resolved.  The key to getting rid of acne lesions and preventing new ones from forming lies in knowing that a resolution takes time.  What works for one person may not work for another.  A dermatologist’s help is usually what is recommended, though may not be the option of choice for everyone.  Treatments that promise “fast,” miraculous” or “overnight” results often capture the attention of acne sufferers hoping for a quick resolution.  However, the fact remains that acne does not clear overnight.  On average, 6 to 8 weeks are needed to see initial results.


Once acne significantly improves or clears, continued treatment is needed to keep acne from re-appearing.  If acne does not improve in 6 to 8 weeks, treatments may need to be adjusted as not every acne treatment clears every case of acne.  Dermatologists have an arsenal of prescription medications to treat acne.  There are also many over-the-counter drugs that are often recommended by dermatologists.  But few if any of these medications try to treat the cause of the acne, so once you stop taking the medication the acne often returns.  Of course these medications also have the problem of side affects.


Prescription medicines include antibiotics pills and topical antibiotics (applied to the skin).  There are synthetic vitamin A derivatives called retinoids such as retinoic acid cream or gel (Retin-A) and isotretinoin pills (Accutane) that are often prescribed as a treatment. But pregnant women and sexually active females should NOT take Accutane, as it causes severe birth defects.  My thought is if it will harm your unborn child it may harm you too.  Then there are prescription formulas of benzyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol and salicylic acid.


Side effects of antibiotics include difficulty breathing, closing of your throat, swelling of your lips, tongue, or face or hives.  A severe headache, vision changes, confusion, liver damage, yellowing of the skin or eyes, nausea, abdominal pain or discomfort can be other side effects.  There is also the possibility of unusual bleeding or bruising, severe fatigue, blood problems fever, easy bruising or bleeding, and severe diarrhea or seizures.


Drugs like Retin-A can cause   hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.  Other side effects are burning, warmth, stinging, tingling, itching, redness, swelling, dryness, peeling and irritation, or discolored skin.  Just like the pills, the topical medicines prescribed by doctors often have the same side effects such as itching, redness, swelling etc.  And do not forget that over the counter acne medicines can have the same side effects as prescribed ones. 


Nutritional Approaches and Remedies for Acne


There are certain recommendations of things that you should eat and drink to treat acne.  Some of these are watermelons, cucumber, squash, carrots, cabbage, celery, winter melon, beet tops, mulberry leaves, dandelions, aloe vera and lots of fresh fruits.  Eat mostly fresh organic fruits and vegetables if possible.  And with fruits and vegetables, the rawer you eat them the better.   Drink dandelion and beet top tea.  Drink lukewarm water with two tablespoons of honey, on an empty stomach every morning; it improves your metabolism.  Drink watermelon juice.  


Soda needs to be eliminated from your diet forever. It has high amounts of acid, syrups and colored corn starches will only serve to make your face a battleground for pimples.  Water needs to be the last thing you drink at night and the first thing you drink in the morning.  Both your face and kidneys will thank you for it.  All other kinds of 100% fruit juice with no dye can also be drunk, though water is always better.   Do not drink whole milk at all; this milk causes more problems than you can imagine. 



Along with these dietary recommendations, there are also 4 topical remedies which use foods and ingredients.  Apply low fat, plain organic yogurt on the affected area and wash after 20 minutes.   Apply pure aloe vera.  Blend a cucumber, apply for 20 minutes then wash off.  Rub watermelon rind on the affected area.


The following vitamin and supplement recommendations may help acne.  Important vitamins are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B, extra vitamin B6 and vitamin E.  Zinc gluconate supplements with a dose of 30-80 mg daily aid in tissue healing and helps to prevent scarring.  Vitamin A & E emulsion with 50,000 IU of vitamin A and 400 IU of vitamin E strengthens the protective epithelial (skin) tissue.  This emulsion is better than taking the two vitamins alone since in this form it is easier for your body to assimilate.


Chromium GTF when used as directed on the package aids in reducing infection of the skin.  Taking 1 lecithin capsule before meals helps making sure there is better absorption of the essential fatty acids.  Primrose oil when used as directed on label supplies the essential gamma linoleic acids needed for healing.  The unsaturated fatty acids found in 1 tablespoon cold pressed sesame oil, flaxseed oil, or linseed oil, or taken in capsule form are needed to keep the skin smooth and soft, and to repair damaged cells.  Chlorophyll (liquid or tablet) aids in cleansing the blood and preventing infections.  Cod liver oil is a good source of vitamins A and D, which are needed for healing of skin tissue.  Hydrochloric acid ( HCl ) with digestive enzymes when taken with meals helps food to be better digested, and therefore makes nutrients more available to be properly absorbed and used to heal acne.  But those with ulcers should not take digestive enzymes containing HCl.


Your body organs need to be cleaned out on a regular basis, like your bowels, your liver and your kidneys.  We really should be doing this naturally with lots of fruits, veggies, and water.  But in our modern day times of fast foods, we often neglect proper diet. As a result, our bodies don’t get enough vitamins, minerals, or enzymes to allow it to maximize its functioning.  Therefore, the most effective natural cures for acne will involve your whole body, and possibly even lifestyle.  They may involve taking several supplements and products together with a change in lifestyle habits.


This is just an example of what could work for you.  But you must remember two things.  One is that acne is a very individual condition.  What this means is that what works for others may not work for you.  So you may have to try many different things until you find what works for you.  The other thing to remember is that acne will not go away overnight.


Exercise and Lifestyle Changes to Treat Acne


One easy way to prevent acne is in taking good care of your skin.  Wash your face, cleaning your skin gently with a mild, non-drying soap (like Dove, Neutrogena, or Basics) to remove all dirt or make-up once or twice a day, including after exercising.  However, avoid excessive or repeated skin washing.  Shampoo your hair daily, especially if it is oily.  Comb or pull your hair back to keep the hair out of your face.  Avoid tight headbands.  Try not to squeeze, scratch, pick, or rub the pimples.  Although it might be tempting to do this, it can lead to scarring and skin infections.  Avoid touching your face with your hands or fingers.  Avoid greasy cosmetics or creams.  Look for water-based or "non-comedogenic" formulas.  Always take make-up off at night.


It has been recommended that washing and exfoliating your face with baking soda can help acne.  Specifically, soap up your face (with your favorite soap) to loosen surface dirt, and while soap is still on your face, rub in some Noxzema to deep clean.  Then while both the Noxzema and soap are still on your face sprinkle a small handful of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda in your hand and add a couple of drops of warm water with your wet fingertips to it, in order to form a granular paste.  Now, take this baking soda paste, spread it out within your two palms and rub it into your face & pores for an exalting exfoliation facial treatment.  Then hop into either the shower or bathtub to wash this all off or wash it off with a wash cloth, if showering has already occurred.  Your face will feel incredible and take on a noticeable glow of cleanliness, because for the first time in a longtime, it will truly be CLEAN!

            Use Noxzema to cleanse when you wash your face every morning and night, in addition to your regular soap or cleansing bar.  Get used to having Noxzema as part of your daily facial ritual for it should be worn to bed (simply rubbed into your face like a lotion, until is unnoticeable).  It should be the base worn under your make-up and always the first or "second" thing to touch your face after cleansing it (preferably while it's still damp & moist from washing).


Another thing you might consider is light non-stressful exercises daily.  For example 30 minutes of walking outside in the fresh air and sunshine could work wonders towards healing your acne.  


Herbal Approaches and Remedies for Acne


Thankfully there are herbal remedies that are effective against acne.  Many people prefer these remedies because there are fewer if any side effects than drugs.  Some of the herbal remedies for acne are burdock root, chaparral, yellow dock root, red clover, dandelion, lavender, strawberry leaves, turmeric, horsetail, angelica, and gota-kola.


Burdock seeds have been crushed to make a popular tincture used to purify the blood, to treat gout and ulcers, arthritis, rheumatism, and help with skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis.  Chaparral in standardized extracts or tinctures is useful as a topical agent for skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis.  Yellow dock root is recognized primarily for its powerful laxative effect, but it has multiple uses.  Acting on the liver, this bitter herb stimulates bile production which strengthens digestion.  It is commonly prescribed to treat the liver condition known as jaundice.  Due to the root's hepatoprotective activity (ability to protect the liver), yellow dock is used to cleanse the blood and to treat chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis.  Do not use it in large quantities though.


Red clover used externally is considered a treatment for chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.  Dandelion is known as a blood purifier or an excellent tonic that cleanses poisons from the body.  Through its action both on the liver and kidneys (as its French name, pis en lit, translated as "wet the bed" indicates), it gently eliminates toxic wastes from the body.  The natural nutritive salts work to purify the blood and also help to neutralize the acids in the blood. Dandelion leaf's powerful blood purifying and liver cleansing properties help to clear skin problems, especially acne.  A liver that is not performing at its best can worsen acne, because it cannot break down and clear excess hormones from the body.


Dandelion used externally, can treat acne.  Applied topically, the essential oils in lavender act as an antiseptic and painkiller, helping to relieve insect bites and stings, skin diseases, such as eczema and psoriasis, and minor burns.  Turmeric is a potent non-steroidal anti-inflammatory since the compound curcumin found in turmeric apparently deactivates immune cells that may cause inflammation, without harming other parts of the immune system that are essential in fighting infection.  It is important to reduce inflammation since excess inflammation can aggravate acne.  Tumeric can also be used as an astringent for the face that is great for acne.


There are many more herbs that can help in the cure of acne. For more information you may go to, where you can learn more about how to use herbal remedies to cure your acne.  Always keep in mind that you should talk to your physician or herbal professional before taking any herbs, especially if you are already taking medication since they may interact.


Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.


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