"I refuse to leave the house sometimes."
Acne is an awful condition to have. It is a skin disease known to leave both physical and psychological scars. It can affect both your social life and confidence. But the big question is how do you stop acne? Is it treatable, or will you be doomed to a life of spottiness?
There are many different types of pimple, ranging from blackheads, whiteheads, pustules, papules and nobules. Dermatologists say that 80% of 11-30 year olds will experience acne at some point in their lives. The most common place for it to develop is on the face and affects 99% of suffers. It also affects the back in 60% of cases and the chest in 15% of cases. Adult acne sufferers are over 80% women.
Facial scarring due to acne affects up to 20%. The good news is that there are treatments available to get rid of these scars. Most people will visibly notice a 50% – 75% improvement in their appearance. 90% of sufferers who seek acne treatment will show at least a 50% improvement after 3 months.
Acne affects everyone regardless of their skin colour but it is proven to affect the male species for longer. This is likely down to testosterone making acne worse. But what is the cause of acne?
There is no one answer to this. There are a variety of reasons for acne. Some studies say that medications which contain ingredients androgen and lithium may cause acne. Cosmetics which are oily and/or greasy can also cause a breakout. As can a change in hormones during puberty or pregnancy.
Some experts even believe the primary cause of acne could be a rise in androgen levels. While others believe that genetics could also make you susceptible to acne. Consumption of dairy products are also a known cause of breakouts.
The problem is acne can affect a sufferer’s quality of life. This can lead to anxiety, depression and even social withdrawal. All sufferers are worried about their appearance. For a young adult, it means having that breakout prevents them from going out with friends.
Others can also suffer from bullying or ridicule. For some its just another thing on the list that they don’t like about themselves. Shockingly, 92% of sufferers have felt depressed, and 14% have even felt suicidal!
Miss Uddin is a 22 year old acne sufferer. She says: “I refuse to leave the house sometimes. It’s about self image and confidence. Some days I even put a plaster on my face.”
There are a variety of treatments such as IPL (Intense Pulse Light treatment) although this is not suitable for dark or tanned individuals. So all you Desi’s stay away from it.
Miss Uddin was put on prescription antibiotics by her doctor for around 18 months. It made her acne worse, not better. She finds tea tree oil is a better solution to her spots.
Other things include witch hazel and coconut oil. A change in diet could possibly help but it’s not for everyone.
More recently, thyme, marigold and myrrh were tested by Leeds Metropolitan University for antiseptic effects. Thyme was the best out of the three although all three are already sold by herbalists as an acne treatment. It was even more effective than benzoyl peroxide, a chemical that is in brands such as Clearasil, Oxy 5 and 10 as well as some prescription drugs.
Let’s look at some more herbal remedies for acne, spots and pimples which could help you.
When it comes to skincare, most of it is a case of trial and error. But here are some tried and tested remedies that could zap the zits off of your face:
Tea Tree oil
Tea tree oil is the most popular treatment to combat acne. It contains terpinen-4-ol which is anti-bacterial. This means that it will kill the bacteria that lives in the skin which causes acne. You can find it in many forms such as face wipes and cleansers.
Dandelion is a good for treating psoriasis, eczema and acne. Crushed leaves and roots can be used to make a cleansing herbal tea:
18g dandelion root
18g dandelion leaves
18g nettle leaves
18g red clover blossoms
18g rose hips
To make a tea, steep the ingredients in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Use a strainer to filter the tea out and drink daily. It may take 2-3 weeks before you notice any changes to your skin.
Lemon juice in a diluted form on cotton wool and applied to the problem area can help clear breakouts, blackheads and reduce scaring. Watch out though, it stings!
Zinc removes acne inflammation and can help with redness. It is a mineral and can be found in a number of food products. These include oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, seafood, whole grains, and fortified cereals. You can also find them in tablet form. The maximum daily recommended dosage for a normal adult is 40mg. Any more can result in zinc toxicity which is harmful for the body and can lead to illness.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera is a natural healing agent. Most people use it for excessive sunburn. But it can be useful in tackling pimples. Apply a small amount of gel onto the area when you see spots emerging.
Neem is a good natural herb that promotes healthy skin. You can buy them as raw herbs and make them into a tea, or buy neem teabags from specialist shops.
Honey has antibacterial properties. It is used for disinfecting and it can heal minor pimples and blemishes. It is great for sensitive skin and should be used as a face mask once or twice a week.
This is an aged home remedy that can help with breakouts. Apply a small amount of soda onto a wet flannel or face cloth and gently scrub your face. Leave for 10-15 minutes and then wash your face.
This is a Chinese herb is shown to have considerable anti-acne qualities. You can find it in capsule form.
Vittex or chasteberry balances hormone levels that could help with acne problems. It is used mainly for premenstrual pains for women.
This is an Indian herb used for acne prevention. It is recommended for oily skin that is more likely to develop acne. This is also available in capsule form.
Also, not all of these may be effective for your particular skin type. Because we all have different skin types, what might work for you, may not work for your brother, sister or friend. So, trial the herbal treatments on a small area to see if they help. Good luck!