(NaturalNews) Acne sucks. But you don't need antibiotics or harsh chemicals to treat it. In addition to altering your diet so that you consume fewer acne-producing foods (dairy products and fried foods, mostly), there are some effective natural remedies that are also useful for clearing up your skin.
Below, we've compiled a few of these recommendations from some of the top authors in natural health. Enjoy this short collection, and feel free to share it with others (please give appropriate credit to the original author as well as this NaturalNews page, thank you).
Natural remedies for acne
Brazilian school kids have acne. There's far less acne in Kenya, Zambia, Malaysia, and rural Japan than is common in Western societies. But if there was any doubt left about the diet-acne connection it should have been erased by the seminal research paper published in the Archives of Dermatology in 2002 by respected Natural Prescription for Acne Paleo Diet: No grains, dairy, beans, or soy; high in protein (fish, grass-fed meats), vegetables, fruits (especially berries), nuts, and omega fats. - The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth about What Treatments Work and Whyby Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S.
Your skin is an organ that can excrete waste products, and acne is one way that your body is actually excreting internal toxins through your skin to get rid of them. The classic model and explanation for acne is really incomplete. The classic model says that acne is simply caused by bacteria - but that's not entirely true. It's often caused by the body trying to get rid of something. The number-one cause of acne is the consumption of milk - milk from cows. Any dairy products - but especially liquid milk including cheese, butter and things like ice cream - promote acne. - Natural Health Solutionsby Mike Adams
The result is an allergic reaction, which can produce acne. Processed foods are another cause of acne, and include all junk foods, refined foods (white flour, white sugar, and other refined sugars), processed meats (deli foods), unsaturated fats, margarine and other fake foods, and commercial meat, poultry, and dairy products which contain chemicals and hormones. Sometimes, simply treating any food allergies and avoiding junk or processed foods will prevent acne. However, if you have hormonal problems, changing your diet will not be sufficient to heal the acne. - The Enzyme Cure: How Plant Enzymes Can Help You Relieve 36 Health Problemsby Lita Lee, Lisa Turner and Burton Goldberg
As much as this link between pubescent hormonal changes and acne is true, the skin disorder is unfortunately not confined to the teenage years. Many adults suffer from acne, as well. Some adult acne sufferers have elevated levels of male hormones that stimulate sebum production. Genetic factors may be the cause of these elevated androgen levels, or as Dr. Frank A. Oski believes, consumption of cow's milk may also be to blame. About 80 percent of milked dairy cows are pregnant, which causes the hormone progesterone to appear in their milk. - Natural Health Solutionsby Mike Adams
Dietary clean-up is the basis of natural therapy for acne. Excess saturated fat and hydrogenated oils must be eliminated. Certain foods trigger acne in susceptible people. For some, it is sugar or chocolate; for others, dairy products. Still others react to iodine in shellfish or excess iodized salt. Some experience exacerbations with spicy foods. With a little experimentation and self-observation you can find out for yourself what foods trigger or exacerbate your acne. - Intelligent Medicine: A Guide to Optimizing Health and Preventing Illness for the Baby-Boomer Generationby Ronald L. Hoffman, M.D.
In another of his books, The Dietary Cure for Acne, he lays out some tasty options for a diet based on whole foods - salmon, sirloin, strawberries, walnuts, carrots, and the like - which may well be the cornerstone of a natural prescription for getting rid of acne. (The Paleo Diet is absent of grains and dairy and high in grass-fed meats, vegetables, fruits, and omegas.) Cordain hypothesizes that a diet that produces high levels of the hormone insulin is partly the culprit when it comes to acne. - The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth about What Treatments Work and Whyby Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S.
It is not the fattening aspect of chocolate that concerns us here but the chemical stimulants it contains, especially phenylethylamine and theobromine that imitate our hormones; and the caffeine and sugar chocolate contains make it doubly bad for acne. For some people, cutting out dairy products, especially cream and hard cheese, helps enormously. Fruits, surprisingly perhaps, do not help acne because of their high sugar content, but vegetables do. - The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapyby Valerie Ann Worwood
A daily intake of 50,000 units of vitamin A and 50 mg of zinc has reportedly cleared some forms of acne, and a version of vitamin A - retinoic acid (RA), also called vitamin A acid (which is classified as a drug) - has been used as a topical acne treatment as well, though some people are allergic to it. It's also been used to treat aging skin (RA causes the shedding of skin cells). Vitamin A can be obtained from fish liver oil, liver, carrots, green and yellow vegetables, eggs, milk and dairy products, margarine and yellow fruits. - The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapyby Valerie Ann Worwood
There are many approaches to acne treatment; if self-care does not prove effective, a dermatologist should be able to prescribe a therapy that will help. • Change your diet. A low-glycemic-index diet with very little sugar and other refined carbohydrates might improve skin significantly, and it will have other health benefits as well. Other things to avoid: milk and trans fatty acids, which are found in margarine and shortening. A study of dairy products and acne is currently under way. • Facial masks of clay may remove excess oil and help clear the skin. - Best Choices From the People's Pharmacyby Joe Graedon, M.S. and Teresa Graedon, Ph.D.
Ask any number of dermatologists if poor digestion is a cause of acne, and you're likely to get the same answer from each: No. This is precisely why dermatologists don't always cure acne, says Andrew Rubman, N.D., a naturopathic physician and founder of the Southbury Clinic for Traditional Medicine in Connecticut. "Acne has generated an entire industry of high-priced dermatologists and an incredible laundry list of very potent and expensive medications, including topical and oral antibiotics," he says. - Alternative Cures: The Most Effective Natural Home Remedies for 160 Health Problemsby Bill Gottlieb
A constitutional remedy usually helps acne, but if I can't determine this, sometimes I give Kali bromatum, which is known to be helpful in treating acne. If, in addition to itchy acne, your teenager is restless during sleep and has unpleasant dreams, these are further indications for Kali brom. Sulphur is a good remedy for the teenager with chronic acne characterized by a rough, hard skin that gets worse from washing. This same person is often warm blooded, perspires freely, and suffers from constipation. - Homeopathic Medicine at Home: Natural Remedies for Everyday Ailments and Minor Injuriesby Maesimund B. Panos, M.D. and Jane Heimlich
The bane of every American teenager is the dreaded problem of acne. Now there is an effective remedy for alleviating much of this. All a teen needs to do is wash his or her face morning, noon and night with the pod tea of green beans. For chronic acne, add 3 tbsps. of dried chamomile flowers to the pod tea after it's been removed from the stove. Cover and let it steep until the tea becomes cool, then strain and bottle. Wash the face every 3 hrs. if possible with the tea. A cup should also be drunk each day as well. - Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Fruits, Vegetables and Herbsby John Heinerman
Birch is practically unexcelled in the tree bark remedies for successfully treating psoriasis, eczema, herpes, acne and similar chronic skin diseases. A tea was once made by boiling the bark which eastern U.S. Indians used on the skin either as a poultice or ash to treat burns, wounds, bruises, eczema and sores. A similar tea can be made by bringing 1 quart of water to a boil, reducing the heat, adding 3 tbsp. dried bark, covering and simmering for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and steep for an additional hour. - Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Fruits, Vegetables and Herbsby John Heinerman
Salicylic acid, sulfur, and resorcinol are nonprescription lotions, creams, and gels that are used to treat mild acne. Although they can't prevent new pimples, they can cause existing ones to dry and peel. Stronger antibiotic solutions or lotions and oral antibiotics are available by prescription and can inhibit bacterial growth and decrease the number of inflamed pimples. In many cases, natural remedies should help reduce the signs of acne but if they don't, your doctor can tell you about other options. There are several supplements that can help to keep acne under control. - Earl Mindell's Secret Remediesby Earl Mindell
Most cases of acne can be resolved through hygiene and nutrition. Remedies may be helpful during flare-ups, but a constitutional remedy, prescribed by an experienced homeopath, is the most appropriate way to deal with severe or persistent skin problems. Antimonium tartaricum - this remedy may be helpful for acne with large pustules that are tender to touch, with bluish-red marks that remain on the skin after active infection has passed. The person may be irritable, with low resistance to illness. - The Natural Pharmacy: Complete Home Reference to Natural Medicineby Schuyler W. Lininger, Jr. DC
The claim that "diet has nothing to do with acne" was born and remains the "conventional wisdom" to this day. But don't get me started. I hate to be cynical, but one reason that doctors and dermatologists say that diet doesn't cause acne is because they can't sell a healthy diet. In addition, they were trained to believe that there's no connection between what you eat and what your face looks like. Plus, there's constant pressure from the pharmaceutical industry to prescribe creams, drugs, and other "remedies." - The Most Effective Natural Cures on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth about What Treatments Work and Whyby Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., C.N.S.
Pregnant women should not take more than 10,000 IU of vitamin A a day - a dosage that may be too low to treat acne. Vitamin E (taken at 400 IU daily) increases the benefits of vitamin A and selenium. Selenium (taken at 200 mcg daily) works with vitamin E to reduce inflammation. Topical treatment: Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic. Apply 5 drops of a 5-15% solution in diluted water to a cotton ball and dab on the affected area. - 1000 Cures for 200 Ailments: Integrated Alternative and Conventional Treatments for the Most Common Illnessesby Marshall Editions
In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.
With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource now featuring over 10 million scientific studies.