(WellnessNova.com) - Acne is often viewed as a problem that only teenagers have to deal with as their hormones spike and dip throughout puberty. However, the reality is that a variety of factors can trigger acne throughout all kinds of age groups. It is not uncommon for adults of different ages to encounter skin problems as a result of stress, poor diet, pregnancy, menopause or digestive issues. To make matters worse, many of the prescription medications or face washes found at pharmacies today only contribute to the problem — drying skin out and causing it to furiously secrete oil in an effort to rebalance its pH levels.
For sufferers of relentless acne, here are ten alternative methods to treat blemishes and prevent future breakouts.
1. Oil of Oregano
Oil of oregano’s natural anti-septic and antibacterial properties make it an ideal tool to spot treat acne. Be careful though — the oil is too strong to apply to your skin on its own. It’s essential that you mix it together with a carrier oil before using it to treat acne. We suggest blending equal parts oil of oregano with jojoba, coconut or olive oil. You can then apply the mixture to a cotton pad and dab your problem area with it, repeating the process twice a day. You should see an improvement in your acne within a matter of a week.
2. Manuka Honey
Honey may seem like a strange method to clear acne given its thick, sticky consistency. However, manuka honey is a special medical-grade variety that is harvested from bees that collect the nectar from manuka bushes in New Zealand. The honey created from manuka bushes is nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-microbial. These properties allow manuka honey to treat and banish acne, leaving skin clear and soft. Manuka honey has also been proven to draw the moisture out of pimple-causing bacteria, effectively drying up the area and preventing breakouts.
3. Dry Skin Brushing
Dry skin brushing can improve acne by stimulating blood circulation and eliminating toxins through the skin. It is best to brush the skin once a day when it’s dry, using either a natural bristle brush or a clean loofah. Start slowly, brushing the skin gently until it becomes used to the rough sensation. The goal is to stimulate blood vessels and the flow of liquids through the lymphatic system, not to cause pain. The process of dry skin brushing will clear away the dead cells clogging pores, activate nerves beneath the skin’s surface and stimulate blood vessels that transport nutrients to the skin. The facilitation of these actions will contribute significantly to the prevention of acne.
4. Garlic Oil
Much like oil of oregano, garlic oil contains significant antibacterial, anti-septic, and anti-inflammatory properties. These qualities work favourably in the treatment of acne, which is caused by bacteria clogging the skin’s pores. Garlic oil also contains sulfur compounds called thiacremonon, which act as a drying agent and absorb the excess oil in acne that causes the spread of breakouts. Thiacremonon can also be used to prevent and cure acne scars. As if garlic oil didn’t already sound good enough, it’s loaded with nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, copper, and zinc, which combat acne-causing bacteria. You can pour pure garlic oil onto a cotton pad and dab problem areas with it every night, washing it off using your usual cleanser.
Turmeric contains an active compound called curcumin which boasts anti-inflammatory properties and targets excess bacteria found in the skin pores, killing them and any resulting acne quickly. Women in India have been using turmeric to keep their skin glowing and healthy for centuries, having stumbled upon its nutritional value by accident after cooking with the spice for so long. When used regularly, turmeric reduces the irritation and redness caused by pre-existing blemishes as well. Stir one-fourth teaspoon of turmeric into a small cup of water to form a paste, then spread the mixture evenly over your face once a day. Let sit for twenty minutes and rinse off with cold water for optimal results.
6. Rice Powder
Rice powder has long been a staple in Asian women’s beauty routines, dating back to the era of geishas in Japan. Despite the heavy makeup the geishas wore, their skin remained smooth and clear thanks to the powerful exfoliant properties of rice powder. Loaded with vitamin B, the powder helps treat the blemishes and hyperpigmentation associated to acne. It is also effective at absorbing oil, which helps keep pores clog-free. For best results, mix water with three tablespoons of rice flour until the mixture thickens enough to spread over the face. Leave the mask on for twenty minutes each night, rinsing it off with cold water. You should see a significant reduction in acne and skin irritation within a few days.
7. Gum Guggul
Gum guggul is the resin that is extracted from a species of tree called the Commiphora Mukul, found in India. The resin has been found to contain significant anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, helping to reduce skin irritation and the bacteria clogging its pores. Gum guggal also contains guggulipid, which reduces the skin’s sebum secretion and stops the triglycerides that promote acne development. Gum guggul can be consumed in tablet form, with the recommended dose being two per day. Do not take these tablets if you’re pregnant, as they can stimulate menstruation.
8. Aspirin Mask
As a medical anti-inflammatory, aspirin is known to help reduce internal swelling quickly when consumed in tablet form. Its anti-inflammatory properties can also be taken advantage of topically, by crushing up aspirin tablets and mixing them with water and honey to form a face mask. After just one or two applications of an aspirin mask, your skin will immediately appear less red and any preexisting blemishes will dry out. The aspirin mask also prevents future breakouts by absorbing excess oil on the face and gently exfoliating the skin to clear pore blockages. It is recommended to crush 5 to 7 tablets of aspirin together with distilled water and one teaspoon of organic honey.
9. Witch Hazel Extract
Native American Indians used to rely on witch hazel extract for fighting swelling, sores and bodily infections. The plant extract is known for its powerful astringent properties that help to firm and tone the skin. Combined with strong antioxidant components, witch hazel’s astringent properties target the skin’s excess oil and bacteria and clear up acne quickly. The active healing ingredients found in witch hazel also reduce inflammation and cellular damage, contributing to bright and clear skin. Apply the extract to a cotton pad and dab it on acne twice a day, rinsing it off with cold water afterwards.
10. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera contains hormones called gibberellins and polysaccharides that target and kill acne-causing bacteria. These same hormones also stimulate the growth of new skin cells, acting as a two-in-one solution for banishing pimples and maintaining clear skin. The glyco-proteins found in aloe vera reduce the inflammation and redness caused by pimples, clearing excess oil from the skin and preventing future breakouts. The high levels of zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin B found in aloe vera also contribute to the healing of acne scars when the plant is applied to them topically. For best results, extract the gel from the aloe vera leaf, apply it to the skin and leave it on overnight.
It’s important to note that stress and a poor diet can cause recurring acne problems, even for those who employ the above methods religiously. Good skin starts from within. Dry skin brushing or aspirin masks will be of no use to somebody who is consuming toxic foods on a regular basis or hasn’t addressed their underlying stress problems. Once any hormonal imbalances have been taken care of, the alternative topical acne treatments mentioned above can go a long way in improving skin health.