Herbal Supplements
Acne and Herbal Remedies

General

Acne is a widely spread skin condition, which is commonly known as pimples or zits. It is characterized by the appearance of different types of pimples on the skin surface. The swelling and inflammation occurs due to the blocking of the pores (sebaceous glands) with the mixture of oil (sebum), produced in excessive amount, and partially shed cells of the outer skin layer – epidermis.

The condition is aggravated by the Propionibacterium acnes. This bacterium is always present on the skin surface, but normally it does not cause any problems. However, being trapped inside the pores, it starts multiplying rapidly, provoking swelling and inflammation.

Symptoms

Pimples themselves are the main symptom of the disorder. They can appear practically on any part of the body, especially often affecting face and neck, chest and back, shoulders and upper arms. Besides spoiling the looks of the skin certain types of zits may also be very itching and painful.

There are several different types of pimples. Comedones occur when the pore is clogged already, but swelling and inflammation has not yet begun. These zits are divided into blackheads (the gland is partially blocked so that substance leaks from the inside onto the skin surface being oxidized with air) and whiteheads (completely clogged pores).

Papules are small round almost invisible pimples, which, however, can feel like sandpaper if touched. With the lapse of time they can also become inflamed.

Pustules belong to those pimples, which can leave small scars or pits if they remain untreated. Such zits look like red hills with the hair in the center. Nodules and cysts belong to the severe types of acne. These pimples are usually very painful as they reach the deeper skin layers often breaking down the tissues below them. If nodules and cysts are left untreated or break open onto the skin they usually cause scarring and pitting.

Causes

Today science does not give the definite reason for acne development. However, scientists suggest that rather a number of factors contribute to the appearance of pimples, namely hormonal imbalances, genetics, and impaired or shifted skin cells shedding.

The increased amount of male hormone testosterone is believed to accelerate oil production. That is why acne is the most common problem of people around puberty. Both boys and girls have higher levels of testosterone at this period; though, its amount in boys is significantly higher, which explains why boys are more prone to ace development. At the same time, progesterone – a female hormone – may also lead to acne; therefore, many women experience it during menstruation.

Taking into account the results of multiple studies, scientists confirm that genetics plays a very important role in acne development. Therefore, children, whose parents suffered or still suffer from acne, are at the greater risk of experiencing it as well. However, exclusions do exist, since body chemistry of every person is unique.

Skin cells shedding cause acne if the process of cells renewal is accelerated not allowing older cells to be completely shed from the skin surface. If they remain partially attached, they mix with oil, forming sticky substance, which clogs pores.

Medical Approaches

Nowadays acne is treated either with the help of topical solutions or oral medications. Perhaps, the most popular topical therapy is treatment with retinoid agents (tretinoin, adapalene, and tazarotene), which work by opening the clogged pores. All they are related to vitamin A; that is why they are not recommended for women, who may be or are pregnant due to the possible birth defects.

Azaleic, salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acids are another means to fight acne. Azaleic acid has antibacterial effect, while salicylic acid is a comedolytic. The effectiveness of glycolic and lactic acids in acne treatment has not yet officially been proved.

Antibiotics, such as benzoyl peroxide, erythromycin, and clindamycin, help reduce acne by killing Propionibacterium acnes, thus putting out inflammation. The same antibiotics, as well as tetracycline, minocycline, and doxycycline, are also used as systemic therapies to treat acne.

Suppressing certain hormones and decreasing their amount may be beneficial for patients with acne; therefore, oral contraceptives and antiandrogenic agents are also used to treat this condition.

Finally, oral retinoid isotretinoin is a highly effective means to treat acne. However, it is not suitable for everyone due to the multiple side effects. Alternative Approaches The use of the herbs mentioned below may be beneficial for many people suffering from side effects during the pharmaceutical acne treatment.

Herbs to use topically: calendula, lavender, senna leaves.

Herbs to use orally: Echinacea, guggul, milk thistle, vitex, red clover.

Calendula and lavender have antibacterial properties; therefore, they help fight acne by killing Propionibacterium acnes. The skin inflammation is thus reduced. Echinacea has anti-inflammatory action as well, besides, it promotes wounds healing.

Lavender also possesses the properties of inhibiting hormonal reactions, which are responsible for the creating of pain. Severe types of acne can cause painful feelings; therefore, lavender is of great help in such cases.

Guggul, milk thistle, and vitex also have influence on the hormonal level within the human organism. By normalizing hormones production they help suppress acne development. Vitex is especially effective against premenstrual acne outbreaks.

Testimonials
paradasia
2015-08-10 14:18:12
About a year ago I also started to have acne. I've tried couple of prescription creams and they helped very little. Then I started looking into different natural remedies which included apple cider vinegar, witch hazel and different oils but nothing really gave me permanent results until I stumbled upon the most common fruit and it's healing properties which is....banana. Yes, banana.

I started rubbing the inside of the banana skin on my face (until the banana started to get brown) and left it on over night to work its magic. In the mornings the pimples were going one by one and my facial skin started to heal.All I have left now is a little bit of scaring which is nothing compared to inflamed spots.

Try to buy ripe and organic banana since it will have the most of the nutrients and will be so much better for your skin. I hope this helps!
rob
2015-03-17 00:03:39
Very informative website, thankyou. had to comment on this

I've found that a clay, kaolin, face masque once or twice a week helpful in absorbing excess oils. Benzoyl peroxide is good for settling outbreaks, but bleaches clothes and bedsheets..
Make sure you are getting enough Zinc and fish oils -vitamin D in the diet, and lots of sunshine.
I've also found that handwashing after eating any greasy foods or animal fats important- Not so much what you're actually eating, but touching the face with hands during and after.

@hangdog -agree, coconut oil is the best for cooking
Kate
2012-06-14 21:03:24
Another Great tea for acne is Ginger root because it works as an antibacterial.
beth
2010-01-29 03:31:58
Very helpful. What is best for acne on the back in a woman over 40.
_puza_
2010-01-25 18:52:51
Is acne can be caused by menstrual period in cases of women?
hangdog
2009-06-24 11:07:04
Most of acne caused by lack of probiotic in the colon and consummation of highly processed cooking oil, like corn oil, sunflower , oil, palm oil , only use cooconut oil or olive oil. Eat yogurt and probiotic capsules , everything will be fine, avoid milk, cheese butter and deep fried foods for the duration of treatmenat and after clear the skin you can eat but small amount of them.. Avoid foods with chemical.
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