Acne is the most common skin disorder known today. In United States alone, nearly 60 million people are infected with acne, where 85 per cent of teenagers suffer from it.
Skin experts and practitioners recommend several natural acne treatments. Here are some that we have compiled just for you.
Wash your face twice a day (thrice at most) with gentle and unperfumed cleanser. Avoid using soaps as they contain harsh chemicals and ingredients that can damage your skin.
Avoid touching your face. Stop putting your hands by your face! I am often guilty of this resting my hand on the side of my head while reading. Also rubbing or bracing your chin is another common problem when thinking. Avoid rubbing, touching, or itching your skin with your hands. Your hands contain a lot of bacteria that can cause acne flare-ups. It is probably one of the most difficult things to avoid since much of the hand to face contact throughout the day we are unconscious of. Make it a habit to avoid hand contact and be conscious of it during the day to avoid bacteria.
Avoid the temptation to pick, prick and squeeze your acne. This will send the infection deeper into the skin and can cause severe scarring.
For mild to moderate acne, you can use over- the- counter topical ointments, solutions, lotions or gels that contain benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid or azelaic acid as an alternative to benzoyl peroxide. Resorcinol, salicylic acid, and sulfur help break down blackheads and whiteheads. Salicylic acid also helps cut down the shedding of cells lining the follicles of the oil glands.
Salicylic acid assists the skin in shedding old cells. A concentrations of salicylic acid 0.5% to 2% are safe and effective in the treatment of acne. Salicylic acid belongs to the group of medicines known as keratolytics.
Salicylic acid works by breaking down keratin, a protein which forms part of the skin structure. This results in the shedding of skin cells from the affected area. Acne is formed when skin cells inside hair follicles shed too fast and clump together, plugging up the follicle and causing a pimple. Salicylic acid helps slow down shedding of the cells inside the follicles, preventing clogging. Salicylic acid also helps break down blackheads and whiteheads.
This action is thought to disrupt the structure of comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) so that acne can heal. It also helps to prevent the formation of new comedones.
Topical antibiotic solutions and lotions can also be applied.
Tea tree oil is a natural antibiotic and antibacterial agent and has a drying effect on the skin. It keeps the P. Acnes bacteria at bay along with decreasing facial oiliness, which makes this oil a worthwhile investment.
Sulfur helps to heal existing blemishes by unblocking pores.
Alpha or Beta Hydroxy Acids (AHA or BHA) works by keeping the skin exfoliated. Glycolic acid, the most well-known of the bunch is a useful adjuvant therapy for mild acne. Mandelic acid, a lesser known one, but one that combines the keratolytic properties of glycolic acid with natural antibacterial properties that help reduce the presence of P. acnes, may be considered a more effective alpha hydroxy acid in treating acne lesions. It is also much less irritating than glycolic acid, a factor that may be very important to those with sensitive skin who are unable to use other agents such as Retin-A, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, or salicylic acid. It is effective in treating mild cases of acne on its own, and can be used successfully with other therapies on moderate acne.
These treatments are usually effective for mild to moderate acne problems only. The effectiveness usually takes several weeks or approximately three to six months to be noticed. For more severe and serious acne conditions, do not hesitate to consult your dermatologist.