Acne, affecting mainly adolescents, reflects the hormonal surges of this growth period. Glands in the skin of the face, chest, shoulders and upper back secrete more of the lubricant sebum - the skin\\\'s natural oil -than normal, while cells below the skin multiply more quickly. Glands blocked with sebum and dead cells become swollen and infected, forming pus-filled pimples and red spots.
Acne, affecting mainly adolescents, reflects the hormonal surges of this growth period. Glands in the skin of the face, chest, shoulders and upper back secrete more of the lubricant sebum - the skin's natural oil -than normal, while cells below the skin multiply more quickly. Glands blocked with sebum and dead cells become swollen and infected, forming pus-filled pimples and red spots.
- Painful red, raised spots
- Spots may be pus-filled
- Painless raised black or white spots (blackheads and whiteheads)
- Spots found on face, neck, upper back and chest
A whole food diet and exercise are considered vital to increase the flow of oxygen to the skin's surface. Exposure to sunlight would be recommended, and hydrotherapy intensively employed as steam (for face and other areas), and as water for bathing affected areas, in addition to poultices and compresses (for their own sake and to deliver other remedies).
Vitamins and Minerals
The naturopathic view is that acne is due not so much to eating junk foods but to the combined effects of emotional stress, hormonal changes, growth fatigue and poor diet. This must be compensated for nutrition before lasting results can be obtained. Whole foods rich in all the antioxidants are therefore recommended, especially the fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin A (beta-carotene), and in cis-linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid found in cold-pressed olive and other oils and their products, e.g. margarine, and also in peanut and other nut oils. A freshly squeezed juice combination which helps some acne sufferers comprises 1 pint (570 ml) of mixed carrot, celery and grapefruit juice, which should be taken twice daily.
Specific dietary supplements include garlic, zinc, beta-carotene, vitamin B-complex (especially calcium pantothenate) and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin C and vitamin E, the last-mentioned taken both orally and applied to an acne scar as soon as possible after it has formed.
Boil a sprig of rosemary and/or thyme in a pint (570 ml) of water and allow to cool. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and bathe the skin with this 2-3 times daily after washing with an unscented pH-balanced soap and warm water. Chamomile tea helps to allay the anxiety and stress that often accompanies or triggers acne, as does orange blossom tea.
Myrrh, lavender, chamomile, rose, tea tree and thyme are all used in acne therapy. If your skin is normal, mix 2 fl. oz (50 ml) soya oil and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) almond oil with 10 drops of your chosen oil. For extra-sensitive skin, add 5 drops of wheat germ and 10 drops of your chosen oil. Apply twice daily, and follow with hot compresses to maximize absorption.
Remedies to be taken 3 times daily for up to 14 days include: Sulphur 6c for longstanding acne, with rough, hard skin, aggravated by washing, especially if the person tends not to feels the cold and is prone to early-morning diarrhea; Calcarea sulph. 6c for blind pimples and weeping pustules forming yellow crusts, and when spots are slow to heal; and Antimonium tart. 6c when pus-filled pimples are the main symptom of acne.
Other therapies are used to control acne. These include acupuncture to boost immunity and promote healing, and perhaps cranial osteopathy for relaxing purposes. Stress-relieving activities include yoga, relaxation and meditation, and t'ai chi.
Treatment includes antiseptic lotions and creams, antibiotics, skin cleansers, hormones and preparations based on vitamin A (retinol).
- Follow a nutritious, low-fat diet.
- Avoid oily or thick cosmetics that block skin glands.
- Apply anti-acne cream.
- Reduce stress.
- Do not squeeze or pick spots as this spreads the infection and causes scarring.
- Acne can be improved or cured - do not get depressed about it.