Acne is too often dismissed as an inevitable part of teenage life. In fact, as anyone who has suffered from it knows, it can cause tremendous psychological damage, destroying confidence and even leading to depression. It should also be remembered that, although it may be more common among the young, acne afflicts many adults as well.
Before looking in detail at what can be done, it would be helpful to clarify just what acne is, and what causes it. Acne is most often experienced by teenagers because, during puberty, the body produces excessive amounts of sebum, which in turn lead to blockages in the skin's sebaceous glands. Add a little bacteria into the mix and you have a nasty, pus-filled spot. In adults, however, it can usually be traced to some form of internal toxicity.
1) Stop eating the wrong foods. If you do nothing else, eat a more healthy diet. Every year, teenagers, and their concerned parents, waste millions of dollars on so-called miracle creams and cleansers when they merely need to stop eating junk food. Unfortunately, as any parent knows, teenagers love unhealthy food. But if you wish to control your acne, you should at least cut down on anything sugary or refined: fizzy drinks, potato chips, cakes, bagels, and so on. Mass-produced, processed, and microwaved foods should also be avoided.
2) Look after your liver. A smoothly functioning liver is key to ridding yourself of acne. When it becomes overloaded, the liver dumps toxins into the skin. Many formulas are available to improve liver function; try checking your local health food store. One effective formula contains dandelion, barberry, and wild yam. You could also try eating kale, celeriac, watermelon, and beetroot, all of which help cleanse the liver.
3) Eat a healthy, plant-based diet. You won't go far wrong by eating lots of fresh, raw, organic fruits and vegetables. Remember, the body can become "toxic" if you eat a diet lacking in nutrients. More specifically, eat more pulses and beans, especially haricot and black-eyed beans. These will help the body excrete excess hormones. Wheat germ, avocados, and green, leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin E, which will help the skin heal once you have the toxicity and hormonal problems under control.
4) Try herbs. People are often suspicious of herbal remedies, associating them with New Agers and neo-Pagans. But if you wish to control your acne, you must control your hormones. Herbs can be surprisingly effective, especially blessed thistle, raspberry leaf, and cramp bark. If you do decide to give them a try, however, either buy a good quality brand or don't bother.
5) Exercise. Exercise keeps the immune system in working order and helps the body regulate itself. It also leads to the free flow of sebum and encourages detoxification. Ideally, get into a routine, doing exercise that makes you sweat as much as possible. Before the sweat has a chance to dry, jump in a shower or hot bath and wash yourself all over. If you take a bath, try adding a few drops of tea tree oil.
Acne is one of those conditions, like OCD, depression, and obesity, that inspire little sympathy in others. But, no matter whether you are a 13-year-old girl or a 40-year-old man, it can cause immense distress and pain. Before you waste hundreds of dollars on the latest cleansing formulas (which the manufacturers will assure you have been produced by "top scientists" in "cutting-edge laboratories") try the five tips set out above. You will be surprised by the results.