Acne occurs when the sebaceous glands secrete too much oil. Normally the oil flows from the glands to the skin’s surface, but if the dead skin cells accumulate, they can clog the pores. The skin reflects our internal health. Acne is sometimes an indicator of toxic conditions. Too much waste product in the kidneys, liver, lungs, intestine or digestive problems can all give cause for breakouts. Allergies, high fat diet, emotional problems, pollution…these are all causes.
Most cases of acne will disappear by themselves at the end of adolescence, but if acne persists or becomes severe, it should be treated more aggressively to prevent scarring.
The Western medical paradigm for treating acne is only geared towards treating the bacterial overgrowth on the skin. This approach does not address the root cause of the acne, which is often due to a combination of reasons.
As a teenager and even into my 20’s, acne was a constant fight for me. I was given both topical and oral antibiotics such as tetracycline and erythromycin and Retin-A gel (tretinoin) applied to the face. This would dry my skin out, leaving it patchy and uneven. The antibiotics would leave a bad taste in my mouth and give me even worse digestion.
What we have come to realize, from a natural perspective, is that by changing the chemistry within our body that is causing the problem, acne can be brought under control. If you combine some simple lifestyle changes with a consistent regimen, you will create a beautiful complexion, naturally for the rest of your life without being dependent on Western drugs.
Natural hormonal changes for both men and women are some of the primary causes of acne. Changes usually begin at puberty and end in early adulthood. Increased testosterone, which males experience at the beginning of puberty causes the sebaceous (oil) glands to enlarge and produce increased amounts of sebum (oil and waxes), which pass through the hair follicles to the skin. When the pores clog, acne occurs. Women, however, often get a mild case of acne beginning a week before their menstrual period begins, even in adulthood.
Birth control pills can also cause acne. Cosmetics and pore-clogging products can also trigger breakouts.
Sudden appearance of acne in adulthood may be a sign of hormonal imbalance or drug toxicity (usually from steroids). Autoimmune disorders, trauma, anxiety and post-traumatic stress have also been shown to be root causes.
Clean the skin regularly with soap and water. Add a splash of natural toner to your skin to close the pores. You can create your own. (See Herbal Remedies, below).
Herbs used for general detoxification of the liver and bowels assist in elimination while herbs that increase perspiration through the skin are very helpful in treating acne. (see Herbal Remedies, below)
Acne that grows into large groups can form sebaceous cysts, carbuncles or furuncles.
Boils can be large and inflamed and can be a sign of a staphylococcus or (staph) infection. Weak immune function, diabetes mellitus, poor nutrition and the use of immunosuppresive drugs are some causes. Boils are often an infection that starts at the hair follicle, inflammation occurs and then spreads. The bacteria in the pus reacts the same as acne in that it is contagious to the surrounding skin. Boils are usually treated by lancing the boil to get the pus core out and oral antibiotics are given to get rid of the infection.
Staph infection is contagious, can contaminate new skin, causing new boils or enter the bloodstream and spread to other body parts. Without treatment, a boil usually comes to head, opens and drains in 10-25 days.
This is something that should be watched carefully. If nausea, vomiting, fever or infection grows, these are signs that these pus and blood filled boils are not acne, but a bacterial infection. Severe cases require, blood test and a doctor to prescribe antibiotic, draining the incision and proper dressing of the wound.
Clean the wound. This is important to prevent infection and to decrease the chance of permanent discoloration, or scarring. Wash the area with soap and water Your own saliva contains many enzymes, which kill bacteria. Use it to clean the area if soap/water are not available. The object is to dilute the bacteria in the wound. Disinfection is necessary, pour 3 percent hydrogen peroxide into the wound, let it foam up, repeat, and pat dry with a clean piece of gauze or cotton.
Yunnan Paiyao is an excellent Chinese herbal powder, which helps to stop bleeding, close the wound, regenerates skin tissue and decreases scarring.
Allergic reactions to particular foods, cosmetics, or other products applied to your face, such as sunscreens can all play into your acne. Do the eliminate diet. See the Allergy Elimination Diet.
Start with a cleansing diet to help your system detoxify. Impurities that cannot be eliminated fast enough through the kidneys and bowels, may erupt through the skin. Make sure you eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet.
Better Skin Now
1. Wash your skin both morning and night.
2. Use an herbal toner to close pores.
3. Moisturize your skin in the morning..
4. Protect your skin with sun screen daily.
5. Moisturize your room to hydrate skin.
6. Use a damp tea bag on blemishes.
7. Deep cleanse your skin with a mask weekly
8. Eat antioxidant foods for better skin
9. If you smoke, quit now.
10. Know your skin type and how to treat it.
*All cosmetics should be water based, do not use oil-based products.
*Picking or scratching may cause scarring.
*Keep hands clean and avoid touching the face.
*Keep the affected area as free from oil as possible. Between washes, blot away oily skin with a tissue.
*Long-term treatment with Tetracycline and other antibiotics should be avoided.
*Begin taking supplements that promote healthy skin.
*Clean your skin twice daily, morning and evening. This will keep the pores open and your skin free of bacteria. Discourage new blemishes by using tea tree oil, a natural antiseptic. Excess cleansing and scrubbing can actually increase oil production.