While having pimples isn’t the end of the world, people who frequently get break-outs know how annoying they are and how they affect your self-esteem. The best way to treat acne is by treating the cause and not the symptom. Medication that stabilizes your hormones and your skin’s oil production can sort out the problem to a large degree. For those who first want to try something on their own, here are a few tips to try before consulting a doctor or dermatologist. If these don’t have any effect, move on to more serious treatments, but it is always good to first try the natural way. Acne that goes unchecked often causes scars that can only be improved by laser therapy or chemical peels; not our idea of fun.
From the inside out
Some have found that taking zinc tablets is more effective for treating acne than birth control, antibiotics or isotretinoin! So try zinc first before racking up doctor’s bills. Zinc tablets are cheap, have no side effects and even make your skin softer. Taking one in the morning and one at night usually does the trick. They should be taken with food or after eating. Many people have found that it also helps for hormonal and cystic acne. Taking a multivitamin, getting enough omega oils in and drinking enough water will also contribute to happier skin.
Cleanse and soothe
Skin products don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Plus, home-made remedies are often gentler and contain no preservatives and funny chemicals. Believe it or not, but peeled and diced potato can be applied to the skin as a cleanser. Another natural cleanser is two tablespoons of olive oil mixed with half a tablespoon of grape seed oil. Massage it into your skin in circular motions moving from the jaw line upwards. Remove the oil with a warm facecloth by putting the cloth over your face for half a minute before wiping it off. This will make sure the pores are open and cleansed and all the oil is removed.
Toners are used to close the pores after cleansing and remove any excess cleansing agents. An excellent toner is rose water. Keep it under your sink or even in the refrigerator so it stays cold as cold liquids close the pores and soothes inflammation.
Tea tree oil
Acne treatments you buy in the shop often contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid and these can dry out the skin, causing it to flake or produce even more oil. If your skin has ever dried out from these treatments to the point where it’s worse than taking care of acne you will know how harsh these chemicals can be. Using tea tree oil is a great way to treat inflamed skin. To apply, wet a piece of cotton wool or pad and put a few drops of tea tree oil onto the pad. Wipe the areas that are prone to break outs up to three times a day. Never reuse a cotton pad. Apply the oil after toning and before moisturizing.
Tea tree oil (which is antibacterial) and olive and grape seed oil are “good” oils for pimple prone skin as they bonds with the oils on your skin to remove them without stripping the moisture from your skin. To moisturize, we have found that mixing aloe vera gel with our normal oil-free moisturizer works wonders. Aloe gel can be applied directly to pimples and will reduce them quickly and keep the skin from scarring.
Avoid touching your face and wash your face after exercising as sweat and bacteria will aggravate your skin and even happy skin can get irritated by this. Wear your hair away your face. Also avoid oil-based make-up and moisturizers as you want your skin to breathe and oils trap the bacteria that cause break outs.
(Post by our intern Elizabeth Smit)
(Image by Dennis Skley, CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr)