Today I want to get into natural treatments for acne and acne prevention. I’m way bigger on prevention than treatment. Of course, sometimes you have to treat, but the more we can prevent, the less we have to treat.
Causes of Acne
Understanding this really helps figure out how you can treat and prevent acne …but there are so many different causes. Clogged hair follicles, oil, bacteria buildup, hormones, environment, and stress are just some of the different angles it can come from.
Our skin is one of the largest organs in our body, so when you have acne or inflammation, it’s an organ that’s not functioning at its highest ability. Here are some tips in every avenue to fix it:
- Aloe Vera. This is great for sunburn relief because it’s so soothing. You can actually buy an aloe vera leaf, slice some of it off and rub it on your skin. It’s totally natural and has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Studies have shown that applying a little natural aloe vera to a cold sore can help reduce the severity and duration of it. Aloe has that anti-inflammatory effect because it’s full of fatty acids. That’s why they say fatty foods, like salmon, walnuts and chia seeds, give you anti-inflammatory benefits.
You could use aloe on inflamed acne to reduce redness or, if your skin is really oily, it often means you’re dehydrated- look into hydration and know that aloe vera can be a great, natural alternative.
- Tea Tree Oil. This is an essential oil from Australia that’s been used for many years for its different antibacterial properties. It’s been shown to be AMAZING for acne while still being very soothing. One study compared tea tree oil to Benzoyl Peroxide, and it proved to have pretty much the same benefit, but slower onset …which meant fewer side effects. I would recommend this for someone who’s using a topical acne treatment regularly- tea tree oil is a natural alternative that could give you the same effect. You do have to dilute it because it can’t be put directly on your skin. Here’s one way to do it:
Dr. Axe’s DIY Tea Tree Oil Acne Recipe:
- 12 Drops of 100% Tea Tree Oil
- 2 Tbsp of 100% Aloe Vera Gel
- ½ tsp of Argan Oil
Mix these together, put it in a jar and store it in the fridge to use whenever you need.
Biossance also makes a tea tree oil that’s really hydrating, so that could be great for anyone that wants to use face oil but feels like they breakout a lot.
- Vitamin A. You have water soluble and fat soluble vitamins. There are only 4 fat soluble vitamins and vitamin A is one of them. Taken by mouth, vitamin A can really help, BUT if you are pregnant, breast-feeding or of child-bearing age, definitely check with your doctor before you start taking it. Accutane is a concentrated vitamin A medication, and anyone who has taken it knows that you have to take a blood test and a pregnancy test every single month to make sure that you’re not pregnant because it’s that dangerous.
You can either find vitamin A as a supplement or as a food source. There are two forms: (1) Retinol- active, ready to go (found in animal products) and (2) Beta Keratin- passive, must be converted to active (found in bright orange foods like carrots and sweet potatoes). The second form is a natural, great source of vitamin A, BUT some people are unable to convert passive vitamin A to active vitamin A (including me!). This is why I recommend that everyone get a micronutrient test to see what you have going on.
- Zinc. Taking a zinc supplement has been shown to help reduce acne. I recommend checking with your doctor before taking any dose of any supplement because when it comes to zinc, the max dose you can take is different depending on your age (aka depending on your weight). For teenagers, it’s around 34 mg, and for adults, it’s around 40 mg. If you’re getting a random, inflamed acne breakout, try taking 30mg of zinc for 2-3 weeks, and see if it helps. If it doesn’t do anything, double check with your doctor before adding in more.
You could also eat foods really high in zinc: sesame seeds, walnuts, chia seeds …usually higher in fat = higher in zinc. Sesame seeds can also help you build your own collagen.
- Natural Ingredients. Sometimes there are things that don’t have direct studies that show their proof, but we still know they can work. These could be worth trying if nothing else is working, or even in conjunction with something else you’re using:
- Colloidal Oatmeal
- Mushroom extracts
- Green Tea
- Pine Bark Extract
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
I add most of these into my diet anyway, so they could be worth a try.
- Pillowcases. If you feel like you’re getting a lot of acne breakouts, especially in your cheek area, look into changing your pillowcase every night. Buy 7 pillowcases …or even if you don’t have a clean pillowcase, take a clean t-shirt, put it over your pillowcase, and use that. So many things can get your pillowcase dirty – it hitting your floor, your animals sitting on it, etc. Acne is most-often just a buildup of bacteria, so the less bacteria we can get on our skin, the better.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my natural tips for acne. Let me know if you find these helpful :)