If you suffer from acne, the odds are you are constantly seeking a remedy that can help. The problem is, most of them aren’t all that natural.
When we are treating health ailments, we should approach it more from just a medicinal point of view. After all, there are many natural treatments for acne.
Here are some of our favorites:
Diet: the food
Diet has often been linked to acne issues in a couple of ways that we will discuss. One common factor that is linked are goods that have a higher glycemic load. These include what we are most familiar with “bad” or “refined” carbohydrates, including sugary drinks, candy, white rice, white pasta, baked potatoes, dried fruit, and bakery treats.
The problem is, these foods that have a higher glycemic index tend to affect the levels of insulin and other hormones, such as growth factor-1, both of which increase the production of androgen hormones. The result? An over-stimulation and, eventually, the development of acne.
To combat this, choose foods that are lower on the glycemic load list, including legumes (such as beans, pulses, and lentils), vegetables (especially non-starchy choices), fruits (notably berries, apples, and pears), whole grains (brown and wild rice, quinoa, teff, buckwheat, oats, spelt, and whole wheat), nuts and seeds.
Diet: the drink
Other than the aforementioned sugary drinks, there are other diet factors that help clear up and prevent acne. Nix the soda pop, juice, and other sweetened drinks, and focus on water as your beverage of choice.
Water helps maintain healthy skin by hydrating it from the inside out, and flushing toxins directly out of the body. If you aren’t used to drinking 10 glasses of water a day, consider adding a lime or lemon wedge to your water to make it more palatable. Do not buy and purchase flavored water – most have random additives and sugar or artificial sweetener.
In addition to changing your beverage choices, dairy is another common offender. Milk naturally contains androgens and growth hormones which have been studied to possibly stimulate the development of acne. (Read more on milk, androgens, and acne in this study). If choosing nondairy milk substitutes, such as rice, soy, almond, coconut milks, make sure you choose the unsweetened varieties. Most brands of these products have an unsweetened flavor among their options.
Essential Oils: Tea Tree
Tea tree oil has long been touted as a natural remedy for acne. The essential oil is applied topically to any acne lesions, and is a natural approach for a cure.
Tea tree oil contains terpinen-4-ol, a constituent that may be responsible for most of tea tree oil’s anti-bacterial activity. By applying it topically, the oil can kill the specific acne bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes. Be sure to dilute it before using. Large randomized controlled trials and studies, however, haven’t been done on tea tree oil and acne. These are needed before the specific effectiveness is known.
Using zinc as a home remedy is another popular option for treating acne. Because it helps with inflammation, it can help with acne as well.
This is related to food, as well, since zinc is a mineral that’s naturally found in specific foods, such as beans, nuts, oysters, red meat, poultry, some seafood, whole grains, and fortified cereals and breads. Zinc is also available as a nutritional supplement, though speak to your doctor or naturopath before purchasing and using.
Because excessive zinc intake can be toxic and cause side effects such as vomiting, headaches, and appetite loss, it is important to make sure you do not exceed 40mg. It is often an added ingredient to multivitamins and cold and flu remedies.