The redness, the swelling, the red speckles all over your face at the most inconvenient of times: We’ve all been there. Acne is a condition that usually plagues us during our teenage years due to the androgen hormones making the skin’s oil glands larger, producing more sebum (that gross white waxy stuff that comes out of a pimple). But for half of people in their 20s and 30s, and about 4 percent of those in their 40s, acne is still more than just a distant teenage nightmare.
Although prescribed medications are available to help with this condition, some people’s skin may prove to be too sensitive for harsh chemicals, or some simply want to try to remain natural in their beauty regime. Luckily, our ever-growing scientific community of researchers have tested some natural remedies and have found success.
Probiotics are living bacteria that are good for your health and gastrointestinal system. When probiotics are low in your system, infections and inflammation are more likely to occur in your body. Research has found that probiotics can help decrease sebum content, which can lead to less bacterial formation and decrease inflammation. Small trials have also shown up to 80 percent improvement in acne patients who were using the probiotics Lactobacillus acidophilus (found in yogurt and some types of cheeses) and Lactobacillus bulgaricus (found in sauerkraut, cheese, pickles and also yogurt). By increasing your intake of some of these foods, or by taking a supplement, you can help relieve your acne flare-ups. If taking a supplement, try to purchase one with a high amount of CFU’s, and always keep it in the refrigerator.
2. Vitamin C and vitamin E
Vitamin C in your body is necessary for growth and development. It plays an important part in building healthy skin and helps promote wound healing (think faster recovery from a popped zit!). Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the body from damage caused by free radicals. Studies have shown that levels of these two vitamins are lower in those who have acne. By making sure to include foods that contain vitamin C (think citrus fruits) and vitamin E (sunflower seeds and almonds) in your diet, you can help reduce the amount of pimples you get. If wanting to take a supplement, 1,000mg of vitamin C and 400-800 IU of vitamin E per day has been recommended.
3. Green tea
You know that green tea has many health benefits that include improved heart health and feelings of fullness, but did you know if applied directly to the face, it can help your acne? Studies have shown that green tea can help reduce sebum production, which in turn lowers your chances of getting acne. Try using it as a face rinse after washing your face (make sure that it is completely cooled first).
Honey has been credited to the reduction of acne because of its anti-inflammatory properties, a high level of antioxidants and its humectant activity (it helps attract and retain moisture). By applying honey to your affected areas for 20–30 minutes, one to three times a day, for two weeks, you may see an improvement.
This flower has known antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which have been shown to be useful in controlling your acne. In clinical trials, echinacea killed strains of bacteria that cause acne and helped bring inflammation down. You can use echinacea in your acne-fighting routine by using a brewed and cooled echinacea tea as a face rinse after washing your face, or by taking a daily supplement.
Try this homemade facial scrub recipe to get you started.
DIY exfoliating acne scrub
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon brewed and cooled green tea
- 1 tablespoon brewed and cooled echinacea tea
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Place two tablespoons of the brown sugar in a bowl.
- Add cooled green tea, cooled echinacea tea, lemon juice and honey and stir.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. If the mixture is not thick enough, add a bit more brown sugar.
- Place on fingertips and gently rub in a circular motion on your face. Remember to only use your fingers when exfoliating, never the palms of your hands.
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