Clogged pores, those tiny holes in the surface of the skin, can lead to acne, a common skin condition that presents with bumps or lesions, better known as pimples. Excess dirt, oil and dead skin create a plug in the pores, which appear as a whitehead, blackhead or inflamed red bump. Prescription treatments can be costly and cause unpleasant side effects. Natural remedies for acne are a good first step in both prevention and treatment.
Creams and Cleansers
One of the most important steps to avoiding a breakout is keeping your skin clean. Witch hazel, found in drugstores and mass market retailers, is not only cheap but also fairly effective., In “Prescription for Herbal Healing,” author Phyllis Balch recommends walnut leaf tincture. Make a cleanser using a dropper-full of walnut leaf tincture mixed with 60 milliliters of water. Acne cleansers, especially those that contain alcohol, can be extremely drying to your skin, so make sure you finish off your routine with a good moisturizer. Try one made from calendula cream, which is excellent for promoting wound healing, preventing infection and nourishing dry skin.
Essential Oils and Herbs
Lavender and tea tree oil are the two “go-to” essential oils for all sorts of skin conditions, including acne. Both of these oils can be applied directly to your skin without a carrier oil, but it may be better to dilute them in those with particularly sensitive skin. Carrier oils include jojoba oil, sweet almond oil and grapeseed oil. Add about ten drops of the essenetial oil to your carrier oil and store in a dark, cool place. Or add a few drops to your favorite unscented moisturizer.
Herbal capsules, teas and concoctions may also be beneficial to acne-prone skin. Echinacea is known by herbalists for its ability to reduce inflammation and speed up the healing process. For acne-prone men not receiving testosterone treatment, Balch recommends saw palmetto Vitex, or chaste tree berry, is useful for preventing premenstrual acne flare-ups in women. Take the dose recommended on the label and always check with your doctor before taking herbal remedies if you are taking other medications or suffer from a pre-existing medical condition.
Simple lifestyle changes can often ward off acne flare-ups. Take inventory of your cache of cosmetics and arsenal of facial products. Eliminate greasy products, as they can clog your pores. If you can’t bear to toss them completely, reserve them for special occasions. Look for products with the “noncomedogenic” label. Avoid resting your face against the telephone or on your hands. Resist the temptation to pick or pop those zits, as this can lead to infection and nasty scarring. Hydrate your skin from the inside out by drinking plenty of water. This will also help flush out acne-causing toxins.