Acne affects over 20 million teenagers in the U.S., but they aren’t the only ones. Up to 50% of American adults will experience acne as well. Characterized by pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads, acne is an inflammatory skin disorder that has become the most commonly treated skin abnormality in our country. Some things that can cause acne are oily skin, hormonal imbalances, allergies, stress, the use of certain types of prescription drugs, and dietary imbalances. Also, an imbalance in the body’s pH or exposure to certain industrial pollutants can cause acne. In addition to being uncomfortable, acne can also be terribly embarrassing, and in some cases, can be an indication of an internal problem.
Causes of Acne
So how does acne happen? Usually through a hormonal stimulation, the body increases its production of keratin (a protein) and sebum (an oily skin lubricant). When sebum is produced faster than the body can flush it through the pores, a blemish develops. The pores become sticky from excess oil and allow bacteria to become trapped in the skin. When pores are clogged, the bacteria on the surface of the skin thrives, because it is protected from sunshine, which would normally help to keep it in balance.
Achieving clear skin can be a difficult and frustrating task, for teens and adults – and most chronic acne sufferers are willing to try just about anything in the hopes of getting some relief. There are multiple prescription drugs available for acne treatment, but most of them come with a list of side effects from severe dryness of the skin and allergic reactions to headaches, joint and muscle pain, and even birth defects in pregnant women.
Natural Treatment for Acne
Fortunately, there are many things available in the world of natural health that work very well when it comes to clearing up acne. For something to apply to the skin topically, tea tree oil is hard to beat. A study conducted by the Australian Department of Dermatology found that tea tree oil applied topically was just as effective in clearing up spot breakouts as benzoyl peroxide, the main ingredient in most over-the-counter acne treatments, which can cause drying of the skin and other side effects. Colloidal silver applied to the skin also works very well as a natural antibiotic, killing the bacteria overgrowth that contributes to acne.
The probiotic acidolphilus is also very helpful in controlling bacteria in the body, which can lead to outbreaks, as is the mineral chromium. It is also very important, when attempting to control breakouts, to give the body all of the essential fatty acids that it needs. The body uses these to keep the skin smooth and soft, repair tissues, aid healing, and dissolve fatty deposits that block pores. These good fats can be found in flaxseed, primrose, or cod liver oils. Vitamins A and B and zinc are also important for maintaining healthy skin tone and strengthening the skin’s protective tissues.
As far as lifestyle goes, there are some very simple changes that can improve skin health. It is important to eat a high fiber diet, as fiber is essential in keeping the colon clean and ridding the body of toxins. Also, the more raw fruits and vegetables, the better – their nutritional value, water content, and alpha-hydroxy acids are all good friends to the skin. Drinking plenty of water is absolutely essential for healthy skin. To determine how many ounces of water one should drink, take weight in pounds and divide in half. So, for example, a 150-pound person should drink 75 ounces of water per day. It is also very important for an acne sufferer to avoid sugar and the use of topical or oral steroids when at all possible.
Although acne can be a persistent and frustrating problem, with just a little supplementation and a few dietary changes, it can very easily become a thing of the past, and everyone can enjoy the summer with healthy and beautiful skin.