The most common skin complaint among both teens and adults is acne. This skin condition can be extremely difficult to treat. Hormonal upheavals during puberty and adulthood leave millions of people on a hunt to get rid of their blackheads, whiteheads and pimples.
Teenagers typically get acne in their T-zone (the forehead above the eyes, the nose, mouth area and chin ); their oily skin only makes breakouts worse. The products designed to treat acne dry out the skin, exfoliate dead skin cells to open pores and kill bacteria. However, these products are too harsh and can leave the skin dry and irritated. Prescription medications such as Isotretinoin carry powerful warnings such as its category X rating for birth defects. Isotretinoin decreases the size and activity of the sebaceous glands, drying out the skin. Liver damage, IBS and depression are also serious side effects from this acne drug.
Diet also plays a huge role in the presence of acne. Trans fats, artificial ingredients and lack of nutrition leave the body overburdened. The skin, the eliminatory organ that it is, allows the food waste products to come out through its pores. This toxic waste elimination irritates the skin and clogs pores resulting in acne. That bag of fries that you just ate was deep-fried and saturated in oil and now that oil is seeping out through your pores.
Water intake also plays a part in the elimination process as water helps flush wastes out of the body. If the body is even slightly dehydrated and the pores become clogged, the imbalanced pH of the skin will allow bacteria to flourish.
Drinking more water assists the kidneys and liver to efficiently detoxify. If you don’t drink enough water, wastes become more concentrated and aren’t eliminated through the proper channels.
When we don’t sufficiently hydrate, our skin is the first site affected in the body’s water conservation management program. If we are dehydrated, our skin loses moisture and our circulatory system cannot adequately provide essential nutrients to the skin.
Infrequent bowel movements can also cause acne. Once waste builds up inside the body, it has no where else to go. Skin becomes the dumping ground and wastes begin exiting through its pores, leading to acne. Yuck!
Drink a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day to keep your skin well hydrated and to flush out wastes. If you aren’t having daily bowel movements, invest in a mild laxative like Cleansemore by Renew Life, available HERE. Magnesium citrate is also a safe laxative and comes in pill form, powder, or liquid. Regular exercise is also a great way to experience regularity in bowel movements.
Treating acne topically does not require drying the skin out as most acne treatments intend. Instead, the keys to being acne free include:
- Healthy levels of moisture
- Chemical-free skin care (this includes make-up)
- Proper nutrition
- Skin cleansing herbs
- Sweating regularly through exercise or a sauna
There are several herbs that have skin cleansing properties and can help to eradicate acne.
The Top 3 Internal Acne Fighting Herbs
- Cleanses blood by promoting urine and mucus production.
- Improves circulation and stimulates the secretion of bile.
- Aids in detoxification of the liver and kidneys.
- Soothes irritated skin.
- Contains isoflavones, which can balance hormones and prevent hormonal breakouts.
- Apply topically to eczema, psoriasis, and rashes to soothe redness and inflammation.
Burdock root contains a substance called polyacetylene, which can impede the growth of fungi and bacteria. It can help purify the skin by preventing the accumulation of dried keratin, dead skin cells and bacteria that gives acne its typical, inflamed appearance. Because it is such a powerful anti-inflammatory, burdock root is excellent for reducing the redness caused by acne, eczema and psoriasis.
Yellow dock contains blood cleansing properties making it a powerful tonic for the skin. It also stimulates detoxification of the liver. Its cleansing action prevents toxic waste build up and clears the skin. This astringent root is also helpful in treating eczema and psoriasis.
You can purchase these herbs naturally or in a combination formula. Red Clover Supreme by Gaia and Skin by Solaray are great formulas. If taken daily, you can begin to see the skin-clearing-results of these herbs in as little as a week!
These herbs can treat acne by restoring hormonal balance, killing off bacteria and reducing inflammation. They have far fewer side effects than conventional medication, too. Chances are, your skin will repay you in kind for not simply ravaging it with strange chemicals-and your wallet and overall health will thank you, too.
Many people struggle with these common skin conditions. When it comes to acne, psoriasis and eczema, as a naturopathic doctor, I often see that underlying imbalances in the body contribute to skin issues. Frequently I find that skin complaints are related to the body’s impaired detoxification ability, hormonal imbalances, inappropriate immune responses or digestive disorders.
Here are some of the tips and recommendations that I have found to be the most helpful for people dealing with skin issues.
Amanda Box is a Traditional Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.