Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Treatment Tuesday - Acne

Though it is often worse in adolescence, and to be somewhat expected due to hormonal changes at that time, acne can happen to anyone at any time, and is a signal the body gives that something is out of balance. Getting embarrassed just adds to stress, which is one of the causes of acne–so smile anyway!

Causes of Acne

Acne begins in the follicles in the skin. At puberty, testosterone starts to circulate in the oil glands of the face and other parts of the body (but the face is the greatest concern). More oil (sebum) is produced. Everyone’s pores react differently to this increase in oil. For some, skin cells proliferate at an increased rate near the opening of the oil ducts. This higher production of cells, mixed with the higher production of oil, clogs the pores of the skin.

Here’s a summary of the causes:

  • Hormonal cycles of not only adolescence, but also of women’s menstrual cycles, can cause acne, as well as stress, poor elimination (constipation), drugs, too much sugar leading to overgrowth of bacteria, and overly acidic blood.
  • Blackheads and whiteheads can worsen, not only from the skin not being cleaned often or thoroughly enough, but also because of deficiencies such as magnesium, vitamin A, and B vitamins.
  • Poor digestion can cause a buildup of toxins throughout the body, which often comes out through the pores; irritating the skin and leaving it open for acne infection.
  • Anything put on the face can clog the pores, especially commercial products that are filled with chemicals that can cause the skin to react.
  • Food allergies can manifest as acne.

Treatments for Acne
There are many natural treatments for acne, but not all of them are effective. Here are some of the essentials for clearing up your complexion:

  • Cut down on the problem foods: sugar, fried foods, meat, processed food, soft drinks, and dairy products
  • Increase water, raw foods, and eat plenty of watermelon. Be sure to get a good allowance of vitamin C and al of the B vitamins through food sources. Rose hips, red peppers, guavas and kiwi are good sources of Vitamin C; meats, potatoes, bananas, chile peppers and beans have good amount of B vitamins, although they are present in all whole, unprocessed foods.
  • Reduce stress

Internal Work
Whatever the severity, one aspect of controlling acne is to interfere with the retention of the faster-forming, extra cells clogged with the extra oil in the pore. First, avoid eating foods that add to the problem. This means staying away from foods high in trans-fatty acids and animal fats, as well as refined carbohydrates. Many experts say that acidic blood is a main cause of acne, and this is a product of ingesting too much fried food, meat, sugary foods, white flour products, and soft drinks (big shocker!). Trans-fatty acids, such as margarine and heated oils prevent you from digesting the vitamins and minerals necessary for smooth skin. Avoid eating foods you are allergic to, the most common being wheat and dairy. And reduce stress and slow down when you eat.
Once you stop consuming foods and beverages that add to the problem, the next step is to fix the acne already on your skin. Here are some suggestions:

  • It is important to drink eight 12-ounce glasses of pure water per day. This helps your skin flush out oil, cells, and bacteria. Remember, water is the universal solvent.
  • Watermelon juice is another skin-healthy beverage.
  • Another way to help your body eliminate wastes that help cause acne is by adding a variety of fiber-rich foods to your diet. Lightly cooked or, better yet, raw vegetables are a great source of fiber. They make a healthy contribution to any meal and they also make a satisfying and tasty midday snack to ward off hunger. Complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole-grain bread, and legumes are also great sources of fiber. These fiber-rich foods keep your digestive tract moving and clean, leading to acne-free skin and a healthier body overall.
  • Add the vitamins and minerals your skin needs to be healthy to your current diet. Adding vitamin C, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene which can be found in carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and spinach) can go a long way toward clearing up your acne. NOTE: Women who are pregnant or may become pregnant should not take more than 8,000 IU/day of vitamin A. Consult your doctor if you fall into this category.

External Cleansing
In order to beat acne, you also need to fight the buildup of excess oils on your skin from the outside. Wash your skin with a mild soap and rinse with hydrogen peroxide, let dry, then wash with clean water again. Finish your washing regimen by spraying your face generously with lignite-activated water (also known as Willard Water). The addition of alpha hydroxy acid (fruit acid) speeds up the removal of dead cells, leaving a smoother complexion. At night, you can cover your face with a bentonite clay mask and let dry, and then wash off --pulling out impurities.

You’re Just Making it Worse

The more you touch your acne, the worse it will get. Oils and bacteria from your fingers can infect acne or, at the least, cause it to spread. Resist the temptation to touch your face. If you must squeeze a pimple, be sure to do so under sterile conditions. Wash your hands with an alcohol¬based antibacterial gel and be sure to have witch hazel ready for cleanup. Better yet, have a professional do it for you. That’s what they are paid for.
Avoid shaving if you have serious acne on your face. If you must shave, use an electric razor if possible.

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