Homemade ways to deal with acne
Dealing with acne can be a really tough time. It can make you feel very self-conscious, and you might feel like you are the only one suffering from the skin condition, particularly if it affects you in your teenage years. The truth is though that it is likely to affect a whopping 85% of us at some point in our lives.
It is caused when the pores in your skin become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. The sebaceous glands, which are connected to each pore naturally produce an oily substance which is known as sebum, but extra sebum can plug pores up, which causes bacteria to grow, and it is the specific bacteria that is referred to as acne. There are different levels of severity when it comes to acne, and there are many contributing factors that can contribute to the development of it as well. Common factors include genetics, diet, stress, hormone changes and infections.
The good news is that there are things that you can try at home that can help ease the symptoms of acne.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar really can work wonders and is often used to treat many health complaints thanks to its ability to fight many different types of bacteria and viruses.
Research has suggested though that it contains a number of natural acids that can kill the acne bacteria, as well as reduce inflammation, which can help to prevent scarring.
On top of this, it contains lactic acid, which can again reduce the appearance of acne scars, as well as to help dry up the excess oil that can blog your pores.
All you need to do is mix one part apple cider vinegar and 3 parts water, although you can increase this if your skin is more sensitive. On freshly cleansed skin, gently apply the mixture with a cotton ball, letting it sit for 5-20 seconds. Rinse thoroughly with water before patting dry. Use daily, as needed.
Never put apple cider vinegar directly onto your skin though, as this can cause burns and irritation. It is important that it is always mixed with water and used carefully.
Zinc naturally occurs in our body and is essential for cell growth, hormone production, your metabolism and immune function. Research has suggested that those who suffer from acne, have a lower level of zinc in their blood, so by increasing this, can help to prevent the skin condition.
One study showed that patients who were taking zinc supplements three times a day, and also suffered from acne experienced an 80-100% reduction after just eight weeks.
It is important not to take too much zinc though, and the recommended safe upper limit of zinc is 40mg per day, so it is advisable to seek medical advice before taking any supplements to ensure that you are taking the correct dosage.
Honey and Cinnamon
Everyone loves an excuse to kick back with a face mask right? Well, the good news is that both honey and cinnamon are excellent sources of antioxidants and you can make your very own mask by combining just these two simple ingredients.
Studies have found that applying antioxidants, such as honey and cinnamon more effective at treating acne than benzoyl peroxide and retinoids, which are often prescribed by the doctor.
On top of this, honey and cinnamon can also fight bacteria, as well as reducing inflammation. Making the mask is incredibly easy as well. Simply mix 2 tablespoons of honey with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon together to form a paste. Apply the paste to a freshly cleansed face, and leave it on for 10-15 minutes, and then simply rinse the mask off and pat your face dry.
Green tea is another ingredient that is incredibly high in antioxidants. Drinking green tea can have overall health benefits and is great at promoting good all-around health.
Whilst it lacks studies that show the benefits of drinking green tea and acne, applying it directly to the skin has been shown to help. This is down to the flavonoids and tannins which are in green tea, as they fight bacteria and reduce inflammation.
The main antioxidant in green tea as well has been shown to reduce the sebum production and fight inflammation.
Whilst it is possible to buy certain skin products that contain green tea if you have green tea on its own at home, it is just as effective. All you have to do is steep the tea in boiling water for 3-4 minutes and allow it to cool. You can then transfer this to a spray bottle and spritz it onto the skin, or alternatively, you can use a cotton ball, and apply the tea directly to the face. After this, you should allow the tea to dry on your face and then rinse with water and pat dry.
Witch hazel contains tannins, which have great antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, which makes it great for helping to reduce acne symptoms.
Whilst there are no specific studies that look at how witch hazel can help to treat acne specifically, studies have shown that applying witch hazel to the skin can be really great at fighting bacteria, reducing inflammation and generally help with healing.
Just like other remedies that we have mentioned, it is best not to use this neat on the skin; instead, combine one tablespoon with witch hazel bark and one cup of water in a small saucepan. Soak the witch hazel for half an hour, before bringing the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. After ten minutes, remove the mixture from the heat and let it sit for a further ten minutes. Strain the liquid and store it in a sealed container, and then use to apply with a cotton ball one to two times a day, or as often as required.
Although you can buy pre-bottled witch hazel, it should be noted that these might not contain tannins, as they can become lost in the distillation process.
Aloe vera plants are really great to have in the home. The tropical plant produces a clear gel from the leaves, and it is this gel that is really effective a treating a number of different skin complaints, from abrasions, rashes and burns.
It has natural anti-inflammatory properties and contains both salicylic acid and sulfur, which are both commonly used in the treatment of acne. Despite it containing ingredients that have been proven to fight acne, very little research has actually been carried out on the benefits of aloe vera; however, there are suggestions that it could work.
If you have an aloe vera plant at home, take one of the leaves and scrape the gel from the plant with a spoon. This gel can then be applied directly to the skin as a moisturiser which can then be applied as desired. If you do not have access to a plant, you can buy aloe vera gel; however, if you are using it on your face, make sure that it is completely pure without any added ingredients.
Many people believe that exfoliating when you suffer from acne will actually make it worse, but it can really help to reduce the symptoms. This is because when you exfoliate, you remove the top layer of dead skin cells. It is up to you how you exfoliate, as there many different forms. You can use a brush or a scrub to remove the cells, or alternatively, you can apply an acid to dissolve the cells, and this is known as a chemical peel.
Not only will regular exfoliation help to clean out the pores, which will help to remove the bacteria, it will also help topical treatments to penetrate deeper, once the top layer of skin has been removed.
Although research in this area is limited, microdermabrasion has been suggested that it can help acne scarring.
Although there are a lot of different scrubs that you can buy in the shops, it is also very simple to make your own at home by mixing equal parts of sugar, salt and coconut oil. Apply to the face and scrub skin well, before rinsing well. Do not exfoliate more than once a day.
Research has suggested that your diet can be heavily associated with acne, especially factors like insulin and glycemic index, which is a measure of how quickly the food you have eaten raises the blood sugar. High GI foods will cause a spike in insulin, which can increase sebum production. Experts, therefore, recommend that acne sufferers follow a low GI diet, which excludes white bread, sugary soft drinks, cakes, doughnuts, pastries, sweets, sugary cereals and a lot of processed food.
Ditch the dairy
Drinking milk can cause hormone changes, which can, as we previously stated, lead to acne. Studies have should that those who had a higher level of milk consumption were associated with acne. Because the data in this particular study was self-reported, so further research is needed in this area.
You might not realise what a benefit exercising can have on your skin, but when you exercise, it promotes healthy blood circulation, and it is this increase in blood flow that can help nourish the skin cells, which can prevent and heal acne.
It can also help to control some the outside factors that can make acne worse, such as helping hormone regulation and decreasing stress and anxiety.
Healthy adults should aim to complete 30 minutes of exercise three to five times every week. What type of exercise that you chose to do at that time is completely up to you. A few suggestions are going to the gym, walking, hiking running and lifting weights.
You will be surprised at how much of a difference this can make to your skin.