Acne can manifest at almost any age, but it tends to be particularly troublesome during adolescence. It’s common in teens, as they experience huge shifts in hormones as they go through puberty that can take several years to even out.
Adult acne is similar, but is often influenced by anxiety. Acne may flare up after emotional upset, especially involving intimate relationships. Hormone imbalances or shifts are also a factor. Too much testosterone may overstimulate the sebaceous glands and result in overproduction of sebum, leading to clogged pores and acne. Menopausal acne, for example, is common as testosterone rises. Here are some natural ways to help prevent and treat pesky breakouts:
1. Try oil therapy
Although it seems counterintuitive, oil therapy can sometimes work wonders on acne-prone skin. Try a blend of equal parts olive oil and castor oil gently dabbed and wiped over the face with a cotton ball. It’s a gentle way to clean your face and remove both dirt and makeup. Hemp seed and safflower oils are great for acne-prone skin. Tea tree oil can be a good spot treatment if diluted in carrier oils such as hemp, safflower, or olive. Neem oil can also help with acne, as a cleanser or spot treatment that won’t dry out your skin.
Although it seems counterintuitive, oil therapy can sometimes work wonders on acne-prone skin.
2. Reduce stress
As stress and anxiety can encourage breakouts, try calming herbs like Passiflora or Leonurus cardiaca (aka Motherwort) in tea, capsule, or tincture form. The latter works well for deep-seated anxiety.
3. Balance hormones
Hormone shifts can also be caused by environmental factors: for example, soft plastic is a major endocrine disrupter and should be avoided. Try not to buy food or drink encased in plastic. Hormones are produced in the liver, so help your liver stay clean by avoiding alcohol and drugs, and consuming liver-cleansing foods such as artichokes (packed in water or steamed fresh) and beets. And try these hormone-balancing supplements:
- Silybum (Milk thistle) and Chelidonium (Celandine) are two of my favorite liver-cleansing herbs.
- Inositol, 4 grams daily, to help balance hormones and thus reduce skin outbreaks.
- Indole-3-carbinol (or try DIM, a natural precursor of indole-3-carbinol), which helps block the androgen receptor. Take 600 mg daily until improvement; reduce the amount to 300–400 mg daily thereafter.
- Saw Palmetto (which can also be combined with Nettle Root and Pygeum for greater effect) works well to clear testosterone and help reduce the formation of pimples.
4. Nourish Skin from Within
Burdock root (Arctium lappa) is a classic herbal remedy for numerous skin ailments. It’s called “Gobo root” in Japan, and was known to be a beauty secret of Geisha girls. And vitamin A at a dose of 10,000 IU daily is safe and helpful for many skin problems.
All of the products mentioned above can be found in The Vitamin Shoppe stores or on vitaminshoppe.com.