Think back to the early days of civilisation, the days when Clean & Clear and Clearasil were millennia away. Did you ever wonder what products they used to naturally treat acne? The key to longevity lies within nature and also taking care of what you apply to your body, especially in this day and age of commercial beauty products.
Acne can have a big impact on your life and the way in which you feel the world sees you. In a recent study, 65% of employers claim that acne-free job seekers have a greater chance at job success, than acne sufferers with the same skill set. It’s no wonder the global acne market is estimated to reach revenue of over $3billion by the year 2016. While there are many effective acne products currently on the market, it’s worth looking into the chemicals contained within each, as many are toxic to the human body. An alternative is to treat acne by natural methods tried and true, that date back to the days of Cleopatra and other Egyptian Queens.
Research into the cause of acne has shown sufferers have lower levels of zinc present in their system than those with clear skin. The National Institutes of Health carried out a clinical trial over a 12 week period, where acne sufferers who took zinc orally, had improvements in the clarity of their skin and a reduction of acne from 100% to just 15%.
Zinc assists in cell growth replication, therefore it is important for clear skin. The body does not produce zinc on its own. Zinc also contains traces of vitamins C,B6 and E. Take 50 mg of zinc three times a day.
Garlic is known to be one of the most potent of plants to combat acne problems. As it contains natural antimicrobial, antiviral and antiseptic properties, it will help eliminate spots, pimples and boils when used externally. Garlic is believed to be the most powerful antioxidant out of all natural foods available.
You may also rub the affected area with raw garlic several times a day as it is believed to dry out acne and help prevent scarring, however if you have sensitive skin the garlic may cause a slight burning sensation. Avoid using topically if this is the case.
Taking garlic orally is also a successful remedy for helping clear acne. Aside from using garlic in cooking, you can also cut the cloves into small pill size pieces and swallow with a glass of water, to avoid the strong aftertaste. Eat three cloves of raw garlic once a day for one month as this will purify the blood stream.
Niacin combined with vitamin A and vitamin E
While niacin is a more recently discovered remedy, combined with vitamin A, makes it a powerful cocktail to treat acne. Niacin is widely used in detoxification programs to remove toxins throughout the body. It improves blood flow through expanding blood vessels in your body and results in a niacin “flush”. This is where the skin may appear to be flushed as blood is closer to the surface. Toxins are eliminated through this process, including bacteria which may be trapped below the skin’s surface.
Vitamin A is an antioxidant which contains nutrients which assist in healthy, glowing skin and helps to repair skin tissue. Take 100 mg of niacin and 50,000 of vitamin A, three times a day for one month to reduce the appearance of acne. You can also add 400 mg of vitamin E daily to your regime for an added glow. Much like zinc, vitamin E appears to be lower in acne sufferers than those with clear skin. You have probably noticed the popular presence of vitamin E in scarring creams and gels, making for a great remedy for treating and minimising scarring caused by acne.
Turmeric & coriander juice/mint juice
Turmeric has long been used throughout the centuries in Eastern medicine for treating an array of skin problems. High in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties makes it ideal for reducing redness and drying out acne. Another herbal formula to treat acne is to mix one teaspoon of coriander juice with a pinch of turmeric powder. Coriander is a strong natural anti-bacterial and disinfectant.
You can use fresh coriander leaves and place in a blender. Apply the mixture to the face topically each night and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing with cool water. This mixture is also an effective remedy against blackheads. You can also combine mint juice with turmeric as “menthol” from the mint plant has anti-inflammatory properties. Again you can use the fresh leaves of mint and blend to a paste.
Cucumber is popular for its use in face masks but you can also use cucumber to treat acne as it assists in the healing process of your skin. Grate fresh cucumber and apply directly to your face, eyes and neck and leave for 15 -20 minutes before rinsing off. Use daily as an effective tonic for you complexion.
Niacin combined with vitamin A and vitamin E
100mg niacin combined with 50,000 iu of vitamin A x3 times a day. Add 400mg of vitamin E x3 times a day as an option.
50mg of zinc x 3 times a day
Eat 3 cloves per day and/or apply topically
Turmeric & coriander juice
1x tsp coriander juice with a pinch of turmeric applied topically.
or 1x tsp mint juice in place of coriander juice.
1 x small cucumber grated and applied as a face mask
To be purchased individually or combined as above
1 x container capsules Niacin
1 x container capsules vitamin A
1 x container capsules vitamin E
1 x container capsules zinc
Net of fresh garlic bulbs/cloves
1 x bottle of turmeric powder
1 x bunch of fresh coriander leaves
1 x mint juice
1 x bunch of fresh mint leaves
Half a dozen small cucumbers
Resources: Job success survey (powerpoint) amongst employers: hkupop.hku.hk/english/archive/report/acne04/presentation.ppt
Research acne global industry: www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=conewsstory&tkr=COPN:SW&sid=aK0MBQHKoXhs
Effects of oral zinc on acne: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/137693