Acne

What is Acne? 

Your skin is one of a number of organs of excretion along with your liver, kidneys, bladder, lungs and bowel. That is to say that one of their jobs is to excrete waste products, and acne is indicative that your body is actually excreting internal toxins through your skin. There are glands in every hair follicle or pit of skin in our bodies called sebaceous glands. They are responsible for producing oils: sebum, that keep our skin moisturised and soft. However, bacteria multiplies and becomes inflamed if this oil finds itself trapped beneath the skin's surface. This then clogs the pores and causes the characteristic red inflamed spots and pustules of acne to form. 

Acne, it hardly needs to be said, is a most distressing condition, but you shouldn't need drugs such as antibiotics or harsh chemicals to combat it. Below are some natural approaches to acne: there are some dietary modifications and some natural remedies to try which are gentle on the skin. Dietary change consists mostly of consuming fewer acne-producing foods, namely dairy products and fried foods. Other research suggests avoiding grains, high protein foods, fruits, nuts and omega fats.
 

Predisposing factors 

The underlying causes of acne are many and varied. One theory is that it is due to an allergic reaction to dairy products, and it may be the fat content of the dairy products that exacerbates the condition. The question to my mind is why can we apparently not tolerate what should be a perfectly healthy wholesome and natural product? Well actually modern diary production ensures that it's not so natural and wholesome after all. First there is the process of homogenisation: homogenisation forces the milk under extreme pressure, through tiny holes. This breaks up the normally large fat particles into tiny ones and forces the fat to form tiny molecular clusters, thus ensuring that the molecules do not regroup and form a cream layer on top of the milk. Instead, in this denatured state, they stay suspended in the milk. However, not only do they not regroup, the process also makes digestion almost impossible. The tiny molecules enter the bloodstream directly as undigested fat - not exactly the best for human health: Also, milk other animal products often contain hormones and steroids that can upset the body's natural hormonal balance. If you are not allergic to dairy products it may help to eat plenty of soured products, low-fat live yoghurt for example, to maintain a healthy intestinal flora. Avoid all forms of sugar which can impair immune function. In addition, biopsies of individuals with acne have shown their tissues' glucose tolerance to be seriously flawed.

Processed foods are another cause of acne, and include all junk foods, refined foods such as white flour, white sugar, and other refined sugars, processed meats, unsaturated fats such as margarine and other fake foods, and commercial meat, poultry, and dairy products which contain additives. Sometimes, simply treating any food allergies and avoiding processed foods will prevent acne. However, if the underlying cause of your acne is hormonal imbalance, changing your diet will not be sufficient to heal the acne.

As much as this link between Many adults suffer from acne despite the undisputed link between pubescent hormonal changes. Some adult acne sufferers have elevated levels of male hormones that stimulate sebum production. Genetic factors may be the cause of these elevated androgen levels or hormones may be ingested in milk.

Dietary clean-up is the basis of natural therapy for acne. Excessive saturated fat and hydrogenated oils should be severely reduced. Certain foods trigger acne in susceptible people and it is a matter of experimentation to find out what works for you. Oft reported offenders are: sugar,chocolate, shellfish, iodized salt or spicy foods. 

Valerie Ann Worwood in her book The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy suggests cutting out dairy products, especially cream and hard cheese, helps enormously. She says that fruits, surprisingly perhaps, do not help acne because of their high sugar content, but vegetables do. A daily intake of 50,000 units of vitamin A and 50 mg of zinc has reportedly cleared some forms of acne. Vitamin A can be obtained from fish liver oil, liver, carrots, green and yellow vegetables, eggs, milk and dairy products, margarine and yellow fruits. Pregnant women should not take more than 10,000 IU of vitamin A a day - a dosage that may be too low to treat acne. Vitamin E (taken at 400 IU daily) increases the benefits of vitamin A and selenium. Selenium (taken at 200 mcg daily) works with vitamin E to reduce inflammation. 
 

Homeopathy

There are number of homeopathic remedies for for acne including: 
  • Sulphur 6c - Long standing acne, rough skin, aggravated by washing, feels mostly hot
  • Kali brom 6c - Itchy spots, restlessness
  • Hepar sulph 6c - Large spots which look like boils.
  • Antimonium tartaricum 6c - this homeopathic remedy may be helpful for acne with large pustules that are tender to touch, with bluish-red marks that remain on the skin after active infection has passed. The person may be irritable, with low resistance to illness.
  • Pulsatilla 6c - Spots made worse by rich fatty foods, intolerant to stuffy rooms.
  • Silicea 6c - acne that scars.
  • Calcarea  sulph. 6c - Weeping pustules form yellow crusts, slow to heal.
A constitutional approach should preferably be taken by getting an assessment by a homoeopath in the case of severe or persistent skin problems.

Herbal (From John Heinermans book – Heinermans Encyclopedia of Fruits, Vegetables and herbs)

Apply pod tea of green beans to the affected area morning, noon and night. For chronic acne, add 3 tablespoons of dried chamomile flowers to the pod tea after it's been removed from the stove. Cover and let it steep until the tea becomes cool, then strain and bottle. Apply to the affected area every 3 hours with cotton wool. A cup should also be drunk each day as well. 

Birch is practically unrivalled among tree bark remedies for the successful treatment of psoriasis, eczema, herpes, acne and similar chronic skin diseases. A traditional native indian remedy was once made by boiling the bark to make a tea which was used on the skin as a poultice to treat burns, wounds, bruises, eczema and sores. A similar tea can be made by bringing 1 quart of water to boiling point, reducing the heat, adding 3 tablespoons of dried bark, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and steep for about an hour.
 

Topical treatment

Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic. Apply 5 drops of a 5-15% solution in diluted water to a cotton ball and dab on the affected area.
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