Acne is a common inflammation of the hair follicles and oil-producing glands of the skin, commonly known as pimples or zits. Acne is not a life-threatening condition but it can result in scarring that can be permanent in severe cases. Pimples and black heads are usually found on the face, neck, and upper body. Acne is caused by the increase in hormones during the teenage years or before a woman's period and by bacterial infections of the skin. Nearly six out of ten young people between the ages of twelve and twenty-four suffer from some degree of acne. The disease causes a great deal of embarrassment at an age when people tend to be sensitive about their personal appearance. The good news is, for majority of acne sufferers the condition will disappear over time and eventually in most cases disappear completely.
There are over half a dozen forms of acne, the most common being blackheads. The areas chiefly affected are the forehead, temples, cheeks, chin, chest, and back, where we have the most sebaceous glands. Acne is divided into two categories: non-inflammatory and inflammatory.
In rare cases, almost the entire body may be covered with blackheads accompanied by extensive scarring.
It is commonly believed that acne is a disorder of the pilosebaceous units that consist of sebaceous (oil-producing) glands that connect hair follicles. The sebaceous glands secrete an oily substance known as sebum which is drained on the surface of the skin. Many dermatologists believe that the onset of acne is incited when the body starts producing a hormone called androgen, which is a male sexual hormone that is present in both males and females.
Androgen stimulates the sebaceous glands, and this causes them to enlarge and produce more sebum (oily substance). Over-stimulated sebaceous glands secrete excess sebum which eventually accumulates in the follicles (pores). As the sebum production increases, there is a greater risk the the follicles will become clogged and result in acne lesions including comedones (whiteheads and blackheads), papules, pustules, macules, nodules and cysts.
Hormonal imbalances that occur during puberty, pregnancy, menstruation, menopause, and as a result of emotional stress. These imbalances can stimulate the pilosebaceous units which can start the process that causes acne. This is why acne is often assumed to be a hormone-related.
Most forms of acne have their origin in wrong eating habits, such as irregular hours of eating, excessive consumption of starch, sugar, fried and fatty foods. Chronic constipation is another cause of acne. If the bowels do not move properly, the waste matter is not eliminated as quickly as it should be and die bloodstream becomes surcharged with toxic matter. The extra efforts of the skin to eliminate excess waste result in acne and other forms of skin diseases. Other causes of this disorder are a devitalized condition of the skin resulting from unhygienic living habits, excessive use of tea, coffee, alcohol, or tobacco, and sedentary habits which lead to indigestion and general debility.
Certain drugs like corticosteroids, anti-epileptic medicines such as phenytoin, and certain birth control pills, may aggravate acne. Anabolic steroids used by fitness enthusiasts and body builders may also cause acne as a side-effect of the drug.
Another effective remedy in the area of nutrition that seems to offer new promise of help for acne is zinc. It has shown dramatic results in some cases. Zinc should be taken in therapeutic doses of 50 mg three times a day. Zinc is available in tablet and in capsule form. The patient can take a dose of 50 mg daily up to one month or till there is noticeable improvement and then reduce the dose to 25 mg.
Vitamin A, Vitamin E and Niaci, have been used successfully to treat acne. Vitamin therapy should comprise the intake of 100 mg niacin, three times daily, and 50,000 international units of vitamin A, three times daily. Vitamin E, 400 mg, should be taken once daily. This therapy should be continued for a month.
Garlic is one miracle cure that is commonly found in the kitchen and has been used successfully in the treatment of acne. Pimples disappear without scars when rubbed with raw garlic several times a day. Even extremely persistent forms of acne, suffered by some adults, have been healed with this herb. The external use of garlic helps to clear the skin of spots, pimples and boils. The process is further helped by eating three pods of raw garlic once daily for a month to purify the blood stream, so as to secure a long-term clearance of the skin.
Apple Cider is another miracle cure that can be found in the kitchen and many people firmly believe its acne-healing properties. If apple cider vinegar is unattainable, plain vinegar can be used. Vinegar helps to eliminate acne-causing bacteria from the skin and aids in restoring the skin’s natural pH balance, its has the ability to absorb excess oil from the skin surface.
Here is how to use Apple Cider Vinegar to treat acne:
Clean face thoroughly. Apply fresh onion juice to the area. Leave on for 15 minutes. Rinse well. Use daily.
Because thyme is such a good astringent, it can be used to help clear up acne. Pour 1 1/2 cups of boiling water over 3-4 tablespoons of dried thyme. Let steep 30 minutes. Strain and bottle the liquid. Keep refrigerated. Teenagers with acne problems could use this daily as a facial rinse.
Make a paste of baking soda and water. Apply to the face and leave on for 5 minutes. Rinse off with apple cider vinegar. Rinse again with clear water. Apply a coating of vitamin E oil to your face and leave on overnight.
Orange peel has been found very effective in the local treatment of acne. Pounded well with water on a piece of stone, the peel should be applied to the affected areas.
Lemon has also proved beneficial in reducing pimples and acne. Its juice should be applied regularly to obtain relief.
A teaspoon of coriander juice, mixed with a pinch of turmeric powder, is another effective home remedy for pimples and blackheads. The mixture should be applied to the face after thoroughly washing it every night before retiring. Mint juice can be used in a similar manner as coriander juice.
Fenugreek is another useful remedy for acne. A paste made of the leaves of this vegetable, applied over the face every night before going to bed and washed with warm water in the morning, prevents pimples and blackheads.
Grated cucumber applied over the face, eyes, and neck for fifteen to twenty minutes has been found effective. It is the best tonic for the skin of the face. Its regular use prevents pimples and blackheads.
Rub the face with a crushed strawberry. Leave it on for about 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm, then cold water. This will help to clear blemishes. Caution: Many people are allergic to strawberries. Try a patch test before proceeding to use the facial treatment Burdock (Artium lappa)
is a great astringent, removing excess oil from the skin. Use it faithfully every day if your skin is oily. It may take several weeks before you notice an improvement. Put 2 handfuls of burdock roots and leaves in 2 cups of water. Bring to a quick boil using a stainless steel or glass pot. Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes. Dip clean cloth into liquid and use as a compress until the cloth cools. Repeat this, keeping the liquid hot, for about 15 minutes.
1/4 inch ginger 4 - 5 carrots 1/2 apple, seeded Extract the juice from the above ingredients, mix well. Apart from being an effective detoxifier, ginger also freshens up ones skin as it is a good source of zinc. Cucumber prevents sunstroke, and is a good antidote for acne. Dose: Take 25 ml per day
Clogged Pores Put a large handful of chopped parsley into an earthenware bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water over the parsley. Cover, and let steep until it reaches room temperature. Strain and apply the liquid to the face as a compress for about 15 minutes. Use daily. This really clears up the complexion.
One of the miracles of water is it's ability to flush out toxins from your body. By drinking at least the recommended 8 glasses a day, you help your body get rid of all sorts of nasty stuff in your body. Water helps the body to clear out your clogged pores.
Water has many other benefits such as better circulation, digestion, nutrient absorption and all kinds of other functions. So proper water intake can help your body and general health in many different ways.
To begin with, the patient should take only an 'all-fruit' diet for a week, taking three meals a day, of fresh juicy fruits, such as apples, pears, grapes, grapefruit, pineapples, and peaches. Only unsweetened lemon or plain water, either hot or cold, should be drunk and nothing else.
After the one-week, all-fruit diet, the patient can gradually adopt a well-balanced diet with emphasis on raw foods, especially fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouted seeds, raw nuts, and wholegrain cereals, particularly millet and brown rice. Further short periods of the 'all-fruit' diet for three days or so may be necessary at a monthly interval till the skin's condition improves.
A diet based on whole, unprocessed foods may benefit people with acne. Try to eat at least five servings of vegetables per day and at least one serving of fruit per day. Avoid eating refined sugar. Fried foods and trans fats such as milk, milk products, margarine, shortening, and other hydrogenated vegetable oils should be eliminated. Foods containing healthy omega-3 oils such as ground flaxseeds and sardines should be increased. Some people find that chocolate, caffeine, carbonated beverages, iodized salt, shellfish, wheat and/or milk products aggravate acne.
Regular bowel movements are important. Drink at least 8 glasses of day of water. Increase fiber intake. In addition to eating fresh vegetables and fruit, choose whole grains. Some people may benefit from a one- to four-week liver detox diet based on fresh vegetables and fruit.
Meats, sugar, strong tea or coffee, condiments, pickles, soft drinks, candies, ice cream, refined and processed foods should be avoided as far as possible.
The patient should take sun and air baths by exposing the whole body to the sun and air. The sun actually kills the bacteria and drys up the oil that causes acne.
During the initial one week 'all-fruit' diet, a warm-water enema should be taken daily to cleanse the bowels. Hot fomentation should be applied locally to open up the pores and to bring out the waste matter. The affected parts should then be rinsed with cold water.
A hot Epsom salts bath twice a week is beneficial in all cases of acne. This bath is prepared by adding 1 ½ kg of Epsom salts to 60 liters of water having a temperature of about 37.8° C. The patient should remain in the bath tub for 25-35 minutes till he sweats freely. After the bath, the patient should cool off gradually.