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Natural Acne Remedies

Natural Acne Remedies That Work

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Updated September 30, 2009

Some people prefer not to use or take man-made products, even when it comes to acne remedies. If this is the case for you, natural acne remedies may be appealing.

If your acne is severe, or if you are developing scars or are prone to scarring, it’s important to see your dermatologist. He will have other treatment advice for you, even if you decide not to use conventional acne treatments.

One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to shun mainstream treatment in favor of alternative acne remedies all together. Many people use natural acne remedies in conjunction with standard treatment. Just let your doctor know that you’re doing so.

Natural acne remedies aren’t as well-studied as the more typical acne treatments, and there is no consensus on whether they work well or not. But there are some natural acne remedies that hold some promise.

Change Your Diet

Specific foods don’t cause acne. So, you can eat pizza and chocolate without guilt (at least, without guilt of worsening breakouts.)

But some doctors are rethinking the way diet affects our skin. There have been a few studies that seem to show a correlation between eating a high-carb diet and acne severity.

You may want to reduce your intake of high
glycemic index foods (like white bread, white sugars, etc.) and replace these foods with whole grain alternatives, fruits and veggies. It’s a healthy diet even if it doesn’t help your skin to clear, and it can be easily and safely used along with other acne medications.

Some researchers also think eating a lot of dairy products, like milk, cheese and butter, can make acne breakouts worse. You could try reducing your intake, especially if you consume a lot of dairy, and see if it has a positive effect on your skin.

These acne remedies may be worth a try, especially if they just inspire you to eat a healthier diet.

Detoxing

Detoxing has become very popular. There are many different “detox plans” from supplements and teas, to fasting, drinking lemon water or eating only raw foods.

Detox proponents say toxic buildup within the body can cause a host of different health problems, including acne. The idea behind detoxing is to help the body rid itself of toxins that have accumulated from processed foods, caffeine, and the like. Believers say the skin will clear as the body is brought into a healthier state.

There are plenty of doctors who believe detoxing is pure hogwash. And while it’s true that the skin is an organ of elimination, there isn’t yet proof that any sort of detox diet, tea or supplement can improve the look of your skin.

Detoxing does have its believers, though. If you’d like to give detoxing a try, you should consult your primary care doctor first.

More from About.com's Guide to Alternative Medicine:

Green Tea

Green tea is a healthy drink loaded with antioxidants. But could green tea hold the key to clearing acne?

Although it’s too soon to know for certain, a few (albeit small) studies that have shown topical application of a green tea lotion to be an effective treatment for mild to moderate acne.

Green tea has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries as a remedy for many ailments, including acne. Traditionally in the culture, several cups of green tea were drunk per day. Today, some herbalists go one step further and suggest making a toner from strong-brewed green tea. There isn’t proof beyond anecdotal evidence that this is helpful for acne, though.

Green tea extract is a common ingredient in many skin care products, but many don’t contain enough to really benefit your skin. Read the ingredients and shop around.

Tea Tree Oil

Here’s one alternative acne remedy that has some science behind it. Tea tree oil is probably the most well-studied of all natural acne remedies.

Some studies have shown it to be as effective as benzoyl peroxide, although it does take longer to see results. Tea tree is a strong antiseptic and is believed to kill P. acnes, the bacterium responsible for acne breakouts.

Tea tree oil can be found at most natural food stores or health food stores. It is also incorporated into cleansers, soaps, toners, and lotions.

Zinc

Ensuring that you are getting enough of the necessary vitamins and minerals is important for your health. If you have acne, it may be doubly important to get enough zinc.

Used both orally and topically, zinc may help reduce inflammatory acne. Some topical acne medications, like Theramycin Z, contain zinc.

You can also get zinc tablets over the counter. Zinc can cause upset stomach and reduce the effectiveness of antibiotics. Don’t take super-doses of this mineral, because it can cause other health problems.

You can get zinc from your diet, too. Good sources of zinc include chicken, beef, pork, peanuts and legumes.

Sources:

Bassett IB, Pannowitz DL, Barnetson RS. “A comparative study of tea-tree oil versus benzoyl peroxide in the treatment of acne.” Med J Aust 1990; 153:455-8.

Dreno B, Moyse D, Alirezai M, Amblard P, Auffret N, Beylot C, Bodokh I, Chivot M, Daniel F, Humbert P, Meynadier J, Poli F. “Acne Research and Study Group. Multicenter randomized comparative double-blind controlled clinical trial of the safety and efficacy of zinc gluconate versus minocycline hydrochloride in the treatment of inflammatory acne vulgaris.” Dermatology. 203.2 (2001): 135-140.

Elsaie ML, Abdelhamid MF, Elsaaiee LT, Emam HM. “The efficacy of topical 2% green tea lotion in mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris.” Journal of Drugs in Dermatology; April 2009.

Enshaieh S, Joova A, Siadat AH, Iraji F. “The efficacy of 5% topical tea tree oil gel in mild to moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled study.” Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol ; 73:22-5.

Sharquie KE, Al-Turfi IA, Al-Shimary WM. “Treatment of acne vulgaris with 2% topical tea lotion.” Saudi Med J 2006; 27:83-5.

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