How To Get Rid of Acne and Acne Scars
There's not a single person that hasn't had an occasional pimple. Most pimples don't cause issues, but constant acne breakouts can carry a myriad of problems. One may experience embarrassment, frustration, sadness, as well as scarring and accumulating expense. Those whom are prone to breakouts normally apply a cacophony of medicated creams or gels. But there is more to treating acne than just applying a topical product.
How Does Diet Effect Acne?
Don't Overload Your System
Certain foods and nutrients, or lack thereof can contribute to changes in your body chemistry causing Acne. Too much caffeine, sugar, dairy, greasy foods, meat and alcohol can be tough on your digestive system and liver. If these systems become too overloaded, your body may not be able to metabolize those foods efficiently which can lead to an imbalance in your immune system and hormones.
Test foods one by one to see if any trigger your breakouts more readily. If so, then reduce or cut those foods from your diet as those may be common breakout triggers. Eating healthy not only reduces the impact on your digestive system but also provides more vitamins and minerals that can help cleanse your liver, digestive system and lymphatic system while helping to balance hormones. Try adding more of these natural foods and herbs into your diet to help reduce breakouts.
- Walnuts, Flax Seeds & Wild Salmon - Omega-3 fatty Acids
- Carrots - Vitamin A / Beta Carotene
- Oils & Nuts - Vitamin E
- Citrus - Vitamin C
- Burdock Root - Cleansing & detoxifying herb
- Dandelion Root - Cleansing & detoxifying herb
- Milk Thistle - Cleansing & detoxifying herb that also enhances liver function.
Stress Can Cause Acne
Stress Messes With Your Hormones
You probably know by now that stress increases Acne breakouts but it also contributes to greater scarring due to reduction of healing mechanisms and causing an increase in inflammation. In addition increases in Adrenaline and Cortisol can increase oil production in the skin causing more congestion. Increased stress hormones also reduce your immune system which can reduce your body's ability to repair and fight off P.acnes, the main acne causing bacteria. There are a number of natural ways to reduce stress.
- Exercise - reduces hormone fluctuations and increases circulation.
- Massage - reduces stress, balances hormones and increases circulation.
- Vitamin B - reduces stress, fights fatigue and depression.
- Passionflower, Kava, Lemon Balm - stress and anxiety reducing herbs.
- Ashwaganda, Ginseng & Schisandra - stress adaptogenic herbs (allows your body to adapt to stress).
- Aromatherapy - inhaling the scents can increase neurotransmitter response and change body chemistry.
Hormonal Changes Can Cause Acne
Changes in Testosterone, Progesterone and Estrogen can lead to oil production that plug pores and cause break outs. Herbal supplements can help balance hormone production and assist in healing breakouts.
- Red Clover
- Black Cohosh
- Dong Quai
How To Get Rid Of Acne Breakouts?
When a breakout does happen there are a few go to natural remedies that can help.
- Tea Tree & Myrrh Essential Oils - popular, antimicrobial essential oils great for reducing acne and speeding healing.
- Antimicrobial Herbs - Goldenseal Root, Oregon Grape Root, Echinacea Root. These can be taken internally and externally.
- Wound Healing Herbs - Calendula, Comfrey and Plantain. These work best when applied topically.
- Zinc oxide - helps reduce redness and inflammation
- Salicylic Acid - found naturally in many herbs like White Willow Bark this anti-keratolytic helps to reduce redness and inflammation and reduce further pore clogging.
How To Reduce Acne Scars?
There are different types of acne scars that can occur from blemishes, but either way they are usually the result from a combination of inflammation, infection and poor wound healing.
- Do not pick - causes inflammation, irritates the healing process and can cause re-infection.
- SPF30+ - always use a sunscreen and do so especially over an active blemish area. This will reduce scarring but also the possibility for PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation) which can make the spot turn brown.
- Vitamin A / Retin-A - Retinoic Acid and its derivatives can reduce scarring by increasing cellular turnover. Use these products carefully as they can be too strong for your skin type and use them only in the evening as sun exposure and Vitamin A do not mix.
- AHA's - Alpha Hydroxy Acids like Lactic, Citric and Glycolic acids help decrease scarring as they remove the dead skin cell layer and promote new cellular growth. Use these also in the evening and wear a sunscreen during the day.
- Dragon's Blood - this reddish sap from the Croton lechleri tree helps to reduce and remove acne scars and improve wound healing.
- Vitamin E & Aloe - moisturizes and nourishes the blemish to improve healing.
Best Treatment For Acne Prevention
Besides following some the other tips like improving our diet and reducing stress you can also try to prevent future breakout by keeping the area clean, moisturized and free of dead skin cell accumulation.
- Gentle Cleansing - use only non-sulfate / non-bar soaps to cleanse. Using harsher surfactants or high alkaline bar soaps and throw off the skin's pH and can change its barrier function and effect its oil production.
- Exfoliate - removing dead skin cells on a weekly basis helps to reduce the pore from becoming clogged with dead skin cells. Use Alpha Hydroxy Acids 1-3 times per week to create a natural, gently sloughing off effect.
- Moisturize - Using a water based moisturizer like Hyaluronic acid as well as an oil based one will help keep the skin hydrated and protected and also balance out oil production. Sometimes too little oil in the skin can create an overbalance of oil production leading to breakouts, so adding oil on a regular basis actually improves this. A great place to start is using our Rejuvenating Oil Serum.
Try this simple step by step approach to treating acne breakouts:
Cleansing with an all natural gentle cleanser morning and night using a washcloth or brush to gently work the cleanser into skin, be gentle as harsh scrubbing can damage skin.
A simple one to make is to combine witch hazel and apple cider vinegar. Swipe over face with a cotton ball. Apple cider vinegar has various enzymes that kill bacteria and fungus on the skin and Witch Hazel reduces inflammation.
By exfoliating 2 or 3 times a week removes dead skin cells that builds up in pores. Combine sugar, sea salt or dry oatmeal with honey or milk or apple cider vinegar, then gently rub into skin, rinse with warm water. Also using Alpha hydroxy acid which is natural acid found in citrus fruit helps to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores. It improves the appearance of acne scars.
Using a healing mask 2 or 3 times a week to keep skin hydrated. Combine 2 tablespoons of yogurt, honey and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon together leave on face for 10 minutes then rinse with warm water.
5.) Spot Treat:
Spot treating can reduce inflammation and enhance healing. For less noticeable treatment mix Tea Tree oil (Tea Tree oil alone can be too drying) with coconut oil. When home alone combine Honey with Cinnamon.
Apply a nourishing oil like Rosehip Seed, Jojoba, Rice Bran or Argan oil to your face morning and night followed by a sunscreen for day time.
We get caught in our day to day lives and the hustle and bustle of living it, but clearing up acne takes time and doing the work of combining of good diet, plenty of sleep, managing stress and using the right supplements. It can be done!
Want more in depth information to different skin care ingredients? Follow our new Vella series on Amazon Kindle to read monthly episodes on the most popular ingredients in skin care, how to use them and why with our new Quick Guide to Natural Skin Care Ingredients.
10 ways to relieve stress naturally, by Dr. Manny Alvarez. December 24, 2013.
Are there any effective natural acne treatment options? by Brent A. Bauer, M.D. October, 2017