Simple Cures for the Breakout Blues (An Anti-Acne Guide)
”You are what you eat” was never more true than in looking at the causes/cures for teenage acne (and adult acne as well). Sometimes all it takes to get rid of acneand re-balance the skin are simple changes in diet, a clearer understanding of what is being used to clean and condition the skin, and to include basic food supplements in your daily routine.
Chemical reactions caused by sugar are the number one cause of acne, and the worse the acne, the more likely sugar is involved. Too much sugar in the diet stresses the body, especially the liver, and leads to insulin over-production, and consequently, over-production of sebum (fatty lubricant secreted by glands in the skin).
There is another scientifically proven link between food and acne: women who regularly eat meat are more likely to suffer from acne. The mail hormone, testosterone, causes the sebaceous glands (which secret sebum), to work overtime in times of stress. Conventionally raised meat contains hormones and steroids.
Anti Acne Diet:
If you want to have clear skin, base your diet around lots of vegetables, fruits, and good proteins rich in essential fatty acids (fish). Focus on intensely colored vegetables (such as artichokes, asparagus, carrots, kale, radishes, and spinach), that will have the lowest impact on your blood sugar. Apples, berries, apricots, peaches, cherries, nectarines are also a great addition to a low blood sugar/anti-acne diet. Plant proteins such as soy (tofu),quinoa, peanut butter, black beans, lentils, roasted almonds are essential, and will keep you energized.
Basic Supplements for Fighting Acne:
Some basic food supplements that your skin will love, and that will help combat acne are:
Vitamin A, which helps rebalance hormone production. Naturally occurring sources are in eggs, cod, halibut, spinach, carrots, red bell peppers, cantaloupe, and other orange, red, and green veggies.
Vitamin E an antioxidant that promotes healing and tissue repair; topically it enhances wound repair, so it is good for dabbing on acne scar tissue. It also helps with headaches, fatigue, depression, and insomnia.
Zinc reduces inflammation, helps immune function, and keeps hormone levels in check – all critical for fighting acne breakouts. Found naturally in whole grains, Brazil nuts, and pumpkin seeds.
Magnesium is helpful in relieving stress, and for lowering blood pressure while increasing blood circulation. Stress is a major enemy of healthy skin. Found naturally in seafood, green veggies, nuts, bananas, and potatoes.
Herbs (found at natural grocers and health food stores):
Burdock root is the most important herb for treating all forms of chronic skin problems. It is a serious blood purifier which detoxifies the blood and is a mild laxative. It containspolyacetylenes that have both antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. The easiest way to use it is in a tea, or tea blend, easily found on the shelves of any health food store. You can drink the tea, then gently press the tea bags, now a “poultice”, on your acne outbreaks. Leave on for 5 or 10 minutes.
Yellow dock is extremely powerful against acne. It improves liver function by stimulating bile and digestive enzymes. It reduces bowel inflammation and toxicity, which contributes to skin eruptions. Take in a tea.
Milk Thistle is a liver and kidney tonic, and digestive aid. It cleanses, detoxifies, rebuilds, and restores healthy liver function. Poor liver function (from too much sugar in the diet), results in improper waste elimination, which leads to skin eruptions and acne. Take in a tea.
Makeup and Skin Care Products:
Finally, examine what you are using on a daily basis for makeup, skin care, and in fact ALL your personal care products. Many ingredients are toxic, and could be causing outbreaks, or worse, not doing anything to help dry up oil production and keep skin clean, but in fact, making it “dirtier”, thus becoming the direct cause of your acne.
See previous Eco Living blogs about how to read labels for safe,non-toxic ingredients, and how to shop for the best products.
Here are a few Acne Cure Recipes to make in your own kitchen that will be amazing for helping to clear up your acne:
Apple Cider and Aspirin Toner:
Apple cider vinegar lightens acne cars, while aspirin provides a generous concentration of salicylic acid. The combination of alpha-hydroxy from the vinegar, and salicylic acids will do wonders, without any chemicals. Dilute the vinegar with mineral water eight parts water to one part vinegar. Crush 6 aspirins (uncoated) and add them to the liquid, Shake the bottle vigorously. Apply directly to skin with a cotton ball. Let dry. Best applied before bedtime so the toner can really seep into the skin uninterrupted.
Lemon Egg White Mask:
Lemon juice is an excellent bleaching agent for lightening those brown, post-acne marks. Egg whites are rich in protein and help heal damaged skin, in addition to absorbing excess oil from the skin. Crack an egg, removing the yolk so that just the whites are left in the shell halves. Beat the whites, then cut a fresh lemon (organic if you have it), and squeeze the juice into the bowl of beaten egg whites. Whisk to form a dense paste. Apply to face by spreading on with fingers. Let dry (15 minutes), and rinse off. Gently pat dry.
Baking Soda & Honey Scrub:
This is a grea
t scrub for exfoliating dead skin cells and really refreshing the tone and color of the skin. Baking soda’s fine particles are gentle and will dissolve on the skin. Honey has antimicrobial properties to fight bacteria and fungi, as well as being very soothing to the skin. It also helps to dry up acne. Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with an equal amount of honey to make a paste. Rub over the face gently with fingersand then rinse with cool water. Pat dry.
Now that we’ve explored ways to take care of your skin with certain “physical” methods, a word about the mental/emo
tional method: peace of mind, less stress.
Use this summer to get in some serious R &
R – stress is big on the list of things which contribute to acne and skin fatigue. Unplug from electronic stimulus – reduce time with the television, computer, and telephone. Try yoga and meditation, long walks and leisurely bike rides, and time spent in nature – camping, picnics in the park, swimming in the ocean. Activities that still the mind, and bring a sense of calmness and serenity will go a long way toward easing the turbulence of stress in the mind.
Here’s to “real” beauty, inside and out!