Causes of Acne
- The major causes of acne are genetic history and hormonal activity. These cannot be treated with herbs, but many of the other causes of acne can be. Inflammation within the skin can be a cause or simply a symptom that makes your acne appear worse. An excess of stress hormones may lead to severe acne. Also, the main acne bacteria called propionibacterium acnes has been known to clog the pores and cause acne. Lastly, exposure to certain chemicals and toxins can also cause acne (Reference 2).
Herbs Versus Medicine
- There are many medicines that target common causes of acne. The difference between herbal remedies and medical ones is that there are fewer side effects with herbal remedies. One of the strongest medical remedies on the market, Accutane, causes extremely dry skin, photosensitivity, birth defects, and a very small percentage of people have suicidal tendencies. It is certainly effective against acne, but for those who want to find a gentler way to attack acne, herbs may be the way. Herbs can be purchased at most natural good stores (Reference 2 and 3).
- You can take several herbs internally to help your system begin to fight against acne. Garlic contains allicin which is a stronger antibiotic than prescription drugs like penicillin. Two doses a day of a 400 mg capsule of garlic can begin to rid you of harmful bacteria that may be causing your skin problems. Dandelion can help your body to detoxify, thus ridding it of bacteria and oils. It has been used for both eczema and acne and it can be taken in 5 to 10 mL doses from a dandelion root tincture (Reference 1 and Resource 2).
- One of the most popular herbs has is used in many commercial products is tea tree oil. This essential oil has been used to treat acne, pain, cuts and fungal infection. You can dab it on with a cotton ball or purchase a product that includes the oil. There are many other effective oils that can help including bergamot, lemon, peppermint and rosemary. There are multiple uses for each oil and certain oils that may blend best with certain others. Consult a practitioner of aromatherapy to ensure you are getting the proper oils and amounts (Reference 1 and Resource 1).
- Homeopathic remedies can be used in cream or in oral liquid form. As homeopathic medicines stimulate the body's ability to fight off conditions like acne and they may be the gentlest way to deal with the skin problem. In cream form you can apply the product liberally, in oral form you can take a 12c potency (where c is equal to 100 times the standard homeopathic potency) twice a day for several weeks. Try Kali Bromatum if you have acne on the forehead, upper face that is painful and inflamed. Sulphur can be used for an oily face with large pimples that are painless but itchy. Lastly, pulsatilla is used for young or pregnant women who have itchy acne and scanty or absent menstruation. If you are unsure about what herbs are best for your symptoms visit a homeopath practitioner for advice (Reference 1, Resource 3).