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Conventional, Holistic, and Integrative Treatments for Acne


Description Herbal Medicine Homeopathy
Conventional Treatment Food and Nutrition  Ayurvedic Treatment
Common Sense Care Vitamin Therapy  Other

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Description of Acne:

Acne is the scientific term for what we normally call pimples, blackheads, whiteheads or nodules that form on the face, chest, upper back or shoulders. Acne sufferers experience persistent, recurring reddish blemishes on the face, chest, shoulders, neck, upper back or buttocks. When these blemishes are spots that have a dark, open center, they are called blackheads. Whiteheads are spots that bulge under the skin and have no opening. Pimples, on the other hand, are whiteheads that rupture. The boil-like lumps are called nodules.

Despite the common myth, poor hygiene or poor diet does not cause Acne. It is believed to be the result of an overproduction of sebum, a waxy substance that lubricates the skin. The sebum may plug a hair follicle, bacteria grows inside the blocked follicle resulting in an inflammation. This can result in a pimple, or in rare cases, a boil or a cyst. Acne is an outbreak of many pimples, blackheads, etc.


Conventional Treatments for Acne:

If you have a persistent, uncontrollable acne, see a dermatologist.

A prescription drug called tretinonin, a derivative of Vitamin A, alters the growth of oil glands. It can dry up current pimples and prevent others from forming. Unfortunately, it also has an uncomfortable, burning or drying sensation.

For inflamed acne, your dermatologist may prescribe antibiotics.

For out of control acne, your doctor may prescribe a drug called isotretinoin (Accutane). It is one of the most potent acne remedy and can, in some cases, virtually eliminate the problem. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most hazardous. Use of this drug may result in itching, headaches, muscle pain and hair loss. It may cause birth defects if taken by pregnant women. So, it is only used when nothing else works. In order to minimize the problems cause by this drug, researchers are now testing preparations that can be locally applied at the affected areas, so as to minimize its reach.


Common Sense Care for Acne:

  • Wash the affected area twice a day with mild soap. Use soap such as Dove, or one that contains benzoyl peroxide, such as Oxy-5. Wash as often necessary to keep the area clean. Do not scrub.
  • Shampoo the hair regularly.
  • Keep long hair off the face and shoulders and wash it daily.
  • Avoid shaving as much as possible; when shaving take care to avoid nicking the pimples. Use a fresh shaving blade to minimize the chance of spreading the infection.
  • Avoid use of make-up or cosmetics in areas prone to acne. If you have to wear make-up, use only the hypoallergenic or fragrance free kind.
  • Don't pop, pick, scratch, or squeeze your pimples. This may cause infection and scarring.
  • You may use an over-the-counter treatment that contain substances such as benzoyl peroxide (gel or cream) or salicyclic acid. Start with the lowest strength and apply once a day about half an hour after washing. It may take several weeks to work. Never use more than 5 percent strength without consulting a physician.

Call Your Doctor When:

  • If the acne does not get better after two to three months of over-the-counter-treatment.
  • You have a large number of pimples or you have signs of scarring.
  • If your skin is abnormally flushed around your cheeks or nose, you may have rosacea.


Herbal Medicine for Acne:

  • Black currant seed oil or evening primrose oil, three 500-milligram capsules a day daily for three months or until your acne clears up.
  • Herbalists also may recommend echinacea, calendula, tea tree oil, and goldenseal. Drinking a tea made with a combination of nettles and cleavers tincture may be effective for acne.
  • If stress is a contributory problem for your acne, try relaxing with a cup of tea made from lavender or chamomile.
  • Chinese herbs cnidium seed and honeysuckle flower are prescribed by Chinese herbalists.

Caution: Under no circumstances, do not use any herbal preparations to newborns without consulting your qualified practitioner.


Food and Nutrition Recommendations for Acne:

Most doctors now believe that acne is not a food related problem. Some alternate practitioners use diet as a basis for their treatment of acne.

Eat foods high in beta carotene, such as carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe and other yellow-orange fruits and vegetables.


Vitamin Therapy for Acne:

Nutritionists generally suggest:

  • 30 - 50 mg Zinc supplement daily - Zinc may help contribute to reducing the inflammation and heals the damaged skin.
  • Chromium supplements - Chromium helps boosts the body's ability to break down glucose.
  • Vitamin A - reduces sebum and keratin production. (Caution: taking mega doses of Vitamin A can cause headaches, fatigue, muscle and joint pain and other side effects. Consult a qualified practitioner before taking mega supplements)
  • Vitamin E - an antioxidant (200 to 400 IU a day)
  • Vitamin B-6 50 mg per day. This vitamin aids in the metabolism of hormones


Homeopathy Treatments for Acne:

  • In severe cases, you should consult a qualified practitioner for proper treatment.
  • If you have itchy acne, try taking Kali bromatum 6X three times daily until you notice an improvement.
  • If you sweat profusely, and have rough, hard skin, and you frequently suffer from constipation, take 6X Sulfur 3 times daily.
  • If you have pus filled pimples, take a 6X dose of Antimonium tartaricum, 3 times daily until you see an improvement.


Ayurvedic Treatments for Acne:

Acne is believed to be from Pitta dosha aggravation. So, the treatment includes a diet that includes plenty of bland foods such as oatmeal, apple sauce, basmati rice and eliminating fried foods, spicy foods and citrus fruits.

Drink a tea made by combining 0.5 teaspoons of cumin, coriander and fennel in a tea ball and steeping it in hot water for 10 minutes. Strain and drink the tea after breakfast, lunch and dinner.

To cleanse your face:

  • Wash your face with chick pea paste (mix one teaspoon of chick-pea flour with a little water). Dry with a clean towel.
  • Apply a paste made by mixing a teaspoon of almond powder with a cup of goat's milk. Let this paste dry on your face for a few minutes before washing it off.
  • Apply a turmeric-sandalwood cream after removing the mask. (The turmeric may stain your face yellow, usually this should disappear in about two weeks.)


Other Approaches for Acne:

Aromatherapy: Apply a single drop of tea tree oil directly to the blemish after cleansing. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic. It is gentle to the skin and speeds the healing of blemishes.

Acupressure: Stomach meridian is one of the several energy pathways that govern the skin functions. Acupressure, when practiced properly, can improve the appearance of your skin.

Juice Therapy: Use a blend of one part beet juice, three parts carrot juice and two parts water to stimulate the liver and to cleanse the system.

Reflexology: Try working the liver, adrenal gland, kidney, intestine, thyroid gland and diaphragm reflex points on your hands or feet.

Yoga: A series of five yoga poses can help increase blood flow to your face, flushing away toxins and providing nutrients to your skin. A daily routine of the following yoga poses are recommended:

standing sun, knee squeeze, seated sun, baby and cobra.



All information provided in this website is for educational purposes only. Statements contained here are reported in an effort to preserve traditional cultural lore and information. Our aim is to prepare you to ask more educated questions to your own medical practitioner. Nothing here should be construed as an attempt to diagnose, prescribe, or recommend, in any manner, a treatment for any health ailment or condition. Consult your own physician regarding the treatment of any medical condition. This information is not a replacement for a thorough consultation and examination from a licensed health professional. People should not try to medicate themselves or others with any of the methods referred to here without the guidance of a qualified practitioner who is thoroughly familiar with both the remedies and the individual’s medical status. Some of the herbs listed are poisonous; some can elicit severe allergic reactions if used inappropriately. Information about safety and interactions may not be complete as herbs and nutraceuticals do not undergo the rigorous testing the other drugs undergo. Do not attempt to self-treat based on information in this website.

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