(NaturalNews) Acne may not seem like a serious problem to some people. After all, it's not life-threatening. It's more of an inconvenience than a health problem, right? Wrong. While almost everyone gets acne at one time or another, in some people, it can become both persistent and severe. For these people, it can affect their ability to socialize, damage their self-esteem and, in some cases, even jeopardize their careers.
If you have a severe case of acne, you may have already tried over-the-counter creams and washes to no avail. You may even be considering getting an appointment with your doctor to address the problem. There are, however, many alternatives to choosing costly, painful medical treatments, medical treatments that may not be effective and most certainly will come with their own set of side effects.
This article will discuss some of the most effective natural acne treatments. While not every treatment will work well for everyone, many people who give these approaches an honest try see real results.
Support your body so it can heal itself
Our bodies are made up, quite simply, of what we ingest. Our bones, muscles, skin and organs are all made of the foods that we have eaten. When our bodies have access to the optimum building blocks of high-quality, natural nutrition, they can do this job properly. When what we eat is less than optimal, our bodies often show signs of the deficit.
Using medications for acne at this point is like trying to paint a crumbling building. The problem is with the very structure of the building, and paint will not help. If the building is to be saved, its structure must be addressed. The same is true for your body. Many times, if things are going wrong -- such as the appearance of acne -- there is something missing nutritionally.
Medical treatments try to address the problem with drugs, chemicals and surgery; an approach that can be ineffective at best and damaging at worst. Adverse side effects are an ever-present concern. Even the names of the medical treatments for acne are alarming: dermabrasion, chemical peel, marsupialization surgery.
Here are a few of the most effective natural acne treatments. While not every treatment will work well for everyone, many people who give these approaches an honest try see real results.
Nutritional supplements - Simply supplementing your diet with vitamins can be surprisingly effective in helping to clear stubborn cases of acne. Vitamins that may be helpful include vitamin A, pantothenic acid, niacin and vitamin E. A 1977 study (1) by the National Institutes of Health also showed that zinc is very effective in clearing cases of stubborn acne. Participants in the study who received 135 mg of zinc daily saw an 85 percent improvement in their condition after 12 weeks of treatment.
Omega-3 fatty acids - Found in foods such as flax seed, walnuts and salmon (2), omega-3 fatty acids can help acne breakouts by suppressing the formation of prostaglandins and leukotrienes in the body. These two substances are inflammatory chemicals, and suppressing them can help with the inflammation associated with acne.
Manuka Honey - Manuka honey is produced by bees in Australia as they gather pollen from the native manuka bush. The honey has demonstrated antimicrobial properties and has shown promise in the treatment of acne. A 2012 study (3) by the National Institutes of Health showed that manuka honey had a strong antibacterial effect against the common wound pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. Bacteria treated with the honey showed a significant decrease in cellular growth. Manuka honey may also reduce inflammation, which may help reduce acne symptoms.
Biofeedback and meditation - While stress doesn't cause acne directly, it can, according to an article (4) by the Mayo Clinic, make existing acne worse. Because stress is a proven trigger, anything that helps mitigate stress -- relaxation techniques, biofeedback, conscious breathing, meditation -- can help reduce acne outbreaks.
Prescription medications can have adverse interactions with many different substances, including some whole, natural foods and supplements. If you are taking any prescriptions, talk with your doctor or pharmacist before you make any changes to your dietary routine.