(NaturalNews) Affecting as many as 50 million Americans, acne is the country's most common skin disorder. And while the teen years may first come to mind when thinking about acne, people from all age groups -- nearly 85 percent of the population, in fact -- suffer from the condition over the course of their lives. (1)
While there are plenty of over-the-counter medications for acne, these may contain chemicals which cause everything from skin irritations to birth defects. It's no surprise, then, that an increasing number of people are turning to alternative acne treatments. Read on to learn about the power of vitamins for acne, as well as other safe, natural remedies for clear, clean skin from the inside out.
Vitamin & Mineral Magic Vitamin supplements offer help for acne sufferers and involve no harsh chemicals or toxins. Some leading vitamins and minerals used in the treatment of acne include:
Beta-carotene: Beta-carotene -- found in fruits, vegetables, eggs, whole milk, butter and a number of other foods -- is used to treat acne, as well as a number of other skin conditions including eczema, cold sores, psoriasis, wounds, burns, sunburn and many others. (2) Applied to the skin, beta-carotene does everything from reducing wrinkles to protecting against sun damage.
Zinc: Dubbed an "essential trace element" to human health, zinc has long been used for the treatment of acne. As a topical application, it not only leads to clearer skin but is also helpful in healing wounds and treating herpes simplex infections. (3) Combined with essential fatty acids, including flaxseed and evening primrose oil, zinc can be used to ward off clogged pores which lead to acne.
Vitamin E and Vitamin C: These antioxidants protect the skin from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Along with Selenium, they are thought to stabilize acne-producing glutathione peroxidase levels. Vitamin B, meanwhile, is often used as a treatment for premenstrual acne.
Vitamin D: From promoting healthy bones to lowering blood pressure to warding off a number of cancers and chronic illness, vitamin D offers major potential as part of a daily supplement regimen. Research indicates that vitamin D may increase oil-excreting sebocytes' production of cathelicidin and defensin, which may have antibacterial properties. (4) Vitamin D also wards off acne by giving the immune system a beneficial boost. Lastly, some researchers hypothesize that sunlight's acne-reducing properties may be attributed to vitamin D.
Other Natural Acne Remedies In addition to vitamins and minerals, other natural remedies are beneficial in treating acne. Astringents like witch hazel and chamomile, for example, are effective skin cleaners, while herbs including wild indigo, black walnut, burdock and Oregon grape are also effective.
Acne sufferers and homeopaths alike swear by acupuncture as an alternative treatment for acne. This remedy helps relieve inflammation while purifying the liver, enhancing its ability to help the body regulate hormones. While most acne medicines "work" by suppressing the issues which cause acne, acupuncture treats the body holistically from the inside out. Combined with herbal medicine, the effects are even stronger. A recent article in Medical Acupuncture confirmed that this ancient alternative medicine is not only effective, but also free of side effects. (5)
You Are What You Eat The importance of eating well cannot be overstated when it comes to comprehensive wellness, including skin care. Although effects vary according to the individual, some of the most commonly known acne aggravators include dairy products, fried foods, excess sugar, additives, artificial sweeteners and colors, chocolate, nuts, saturated and partially hydrogenated fats, processed foods, soda and alcohol. Avoiding these triggers can help prevent acne outbreaks and flare-ups.
Unfortunately, many people mistakenly think that they must choose between the harmful chemicals of prescription medicines or accept a life vexed by acne. Vitamins, minerals and other natural remedies -- in addition to healthy dietary choices -- offer a different and favorable solution.