Skincare and our routines are talked about on a daily basis. Magazines, newspapers, friends and family, they all talk about tips to keep your skin clear, how to reduce fine lines, and quick ways to get rid of spots.
For many, a pimple appearing overnight isn’t too much cause for alarm, nor does it take much treatment in order to get rid of it. But for people with acne, treating spots extends well beyond the reach of over the counter treatment. In fact, for many acne sufferers, the condition creates a constant love-hate relationship with their skin and skincare routines, often impacting on their mental health.
In most instances, acne appears during puberty, due to the increase in hormones and oils being secreted by the body. Once we come through the other side of puberty, our skin calms down again. However, sometimes that calming down period never comes, or the increase in oil creation doesn’t have an effect until you’re older. Not everyone who suffers from acne is a teenager, with a reported 3 in 4 people up to 30 years old said to suffer from acne. As a result, roughly 50 million US citizens deal with this skin complaint daily. Acne isn’t dangerous, but it can be difficult to treat, especially when you start taking into account factors such as stress and anxiety, genetics, diet, make up, climate, and so forth. In short, acne may not be serious, but it’s hard to treat effectively.
The Harsh Realities of Medicated Treatment
For those who struggle to get rid of acne, they turn to their healthcare professionals for advice and medication. Typically speaking, this route is only explored once non-medicated, over the counter options have been exhausted. The ways in which acne medication is distributed is by oral and topical treatments, with each of these medications varying in strength. Due to this fact, opting for medical acne treatment isn’t without risks and side effects, even with milder doses.
This is why, for a lot of acne sufferers, they try to avoid the medication(s) suggested by their doctors until it’s their last and only resort. Side effects can include skin irritation, dryness, headaches, dizziness, and so on, with the likelihood of experiencing each one dependent on the type of medication you take. For example, if you use antibiotics to treat your acne, you’ll be more likely to experience stomach upsets than you would if you used oral contraceptives for treatment. However, by taking contraceptives instead of antibiotics, you can increase your risk of high blood pressure and irregular periods. In addition to these side effects, which do normally improve over time, you also have a waiting period of up to six months before you start to see improvement in your skin.
Not only do sufferers have to take into consideration all of the above, but there’s also the fact that most of these treatments are designed to be used on a short term basis. Therefore, while it may be effective at clearing up your acne, once you stop taking it, your acne can return. Of course, there’s nothing to say you can’t re-use the medication from before to clear it up again. However, some medications can’t continue to be used because your body can become resistant, an inescapable fact of topical antibiotics treatments.
Growing Support for Natural Remedies
Due to the sheer volume of issues that can arise from prescribed medical treatment, not forgetting the cost for sufferers, support is growing in favour of natural alternatives. Natural skincare and treatments are by no means new, but thanks to our growing awareness of man made products, damages to ourselves and the environment, more natural options are readily available.
By opting to proceed down a more natural, cost effective route, sufferers are discovering there’s inherently less risk when exploring these “home remedy” options. Nevertheless, while natural remedies are by in large unharmful, care must be taken when trying any new skincare for the first time. This is why it’s best to utilise treatments that have been suggested by dermatologists, so that you avoid having to experience any further discomfort.
Remedies that Can Help
One of the first types of acne treatment you may want to try are oils. Applying oils to your face may sound counterproductive, but if you select the right kind of oils, your skin can benefit from its application. Take avocado oil as a prime example of this. Enriched with vitamins E, D, C, and A, as well as minerals and oleic acid, it can ease dry, irritated skin caused by your acne flare up. Another option for those who favour oils as part of their treatment, is the use of CBD, like those seen at CBD Flower USA. In recent years, the application of CBD oil has been proven to help reduce certain types of acne. Why? Due to the oils from these sources being rich with anti-inflammatory properties, making them ideal when treating acne, as it’s an inflammatory response.
Another two useful ingredients to add to the list are that of aloe vera and honey, both of which have been touted for decades as skincare wonders. Nonetheless, before you reach into your food cupboards and/or go taking cuttings from an aloe vera plant, it’s important to know the right application of these alternatives.
Honey, for example, is available in medical grade and pure forms, and while pure honey shouldn’t cause any damage to your skin, using medical grade honey, like manuka, is always advised. As for aloe vera, few people are allergic to it, however it can sometimes be mixed with other ingredients that can irritate your skin. This is why it’s better to use its purest form. Both of these natural acne busters have anti bacterial, anti inflammatory properties, and have been known to treat and help heal damaged skin. That being said, even though they can help ease the sore inflammation caused by acne, it doesn’t mean they will treat the source of that inflammation.
Alongside the use of oils, there’s also research that shows that cleaning up your diet can prove beneficial for some acne sufferers. The reason altering your diet isn’t a cure all is because of the genetics factors mentioned earlier in this article; in short, diet can only do so much when only part of the problem.
When heavy sugar and dairy based diets are coupled with specific genetic markers, it can feed the bacteria that causes the acne in the first place. This is why it’s suggested that you try and reduce, or remove, these types of foods from your diet to see if it yields positive results. For those of you whose acne is hormone based, clean diets and drinking more water have been shown to greatly help the issue, as too have the effects on sufferers with milder cases of acne. The key with any change in diet, regardless of external factors, however, is to opt for wholesome, nutritious foods as opposed to heavily processed ones.
Remedies to Avoid
Just like with any set of alternatives, there is advice out there that will do more harm than good; this is also true of natural acne treatments. Even though you’re applying natural ingredients to your skin, the way you do this and/or how often can result in worsening the problem, as well as causing additional irritation. The three main culprits to watch out for and be weary of using are baking soda, lemon juice, and coconut oil.
Coconut oil may surprise you, considering how often beauty outlets champion it for just about any beauty hack, but coconut oil is known to clog pores. As those of you with acne will know, clogged pores are sometimes the cause for an outbreak in the first place, and so adding further blockages into the equation will only make things worse. As for lemon juice, while it can be a great option for lightening dark spots and blemishes, the acidity of the juice can dry your skin out, and in some cases, cause mild burning. Lastly, baking soda is the one to always avoid, as it’s way too harsh to apply onto the skin, especially when used as a type of exfoliant. Ignore what any online influencers tell you, as it breaks down the natural barriers of your skin, often leading to further acne breakouts. Even if you do manage to avoid an acne flare up, your skin will still be left sensitive and sore after using it.
The treatments touched upon here are by no means extensive — there are many other natural alternatives out there that are said to help treat and soothe acne. As with any new treatment, research and advice is the best way to ensure you avoid any nasty surprises along the way. Furthermore, if you find that both natural treatments and those suggested by your doctor aren’t working, then it may be time to ask for a referral to a dermatologist.