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Acne is one of the most common skin conditions experienced by people of all ages, genders, and races, yet it is also one of the hardest for many people to treat. The problem is not that there are no effective treatments for the condition, but that there are so many rumored and ineffective treatments on the market and in the world that it can be hard to know what will truly work. This article is designed to help you learn how to make acne go away fast at home and gain a better understanding of acne and its treatment. The goal is to provide you with a total treatment guide for your acne. It is my hope that you can use this information to save yourself the frustration and disappointment that comes with trying remedies that simply do not work.
Why and How Does Acne Develop?
The most basic cause of acne is the overproduction of sebum, which is a waxy substance that is responsible for lubricating the skin. When too much sebum is produced, hair follicles become blocked as it mixes with dead skin cells, forming a sort of plug. Blocked follicles have no way of releasing bacteria, which will grow inside them and cause blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, or even cysts.
While factors such as hormones and possibly diet work together in different ways depending on the individual to cause acne, treatment is a bit easier to figure out. The ultimate goal of acne treatment is a balanced skin care, diet, and health regimen.
In essence, acne is little more than clogged pores. While this sounds simple to treat, there is much that should be done. First, you will need to take a look at your diet and skin care habits. If you have severe acne that causes scarring or pain, you should also take the time to speak with a dermatologist. Acne can be a very stressful condition, but once you know how to treat it from both the inside and the outside, you can be on the path to clear, healthy skin that will last a lifetime.
Diet and Acne- Facts, Myths, and Sorting Through What You Have Been Told
You have likely been offered a great deal of advice (both wanted and unwanted) regarding what to eat, what not to eat, and how your diet is ruining your skin. For many years it was believed that eating foods such as French fries and chocolate was a sure sign that you would develop acne, we now know better. While a healthy diet is always a very wise decision, you can certainly relax knowing that the occasional fried meal or chocolate bar will not result in waking up with a face full of pimples.
So what role does diet play in the development of acne? The truth is that researchers don't really seem to agree on this. Studies performed in countries where diets are low-fat and high in carbohydrates do show a much lower rate of acne, but because there are many factors that are also relevant, this does not necessarily mean that fat is the cause of the condition.
What many scientists and doctors believe that these studies indicate, however, is that insulin production and glycemic index do correlate to the severity and likelihood of acne development. In other words, a diet containing whole grains, vegetables, and high protein foods will lower insulin production and can help lessen the severity of acne significantly.
Whether the resulting decline in acne severity is linked to insulin, metabolism, or the fact that a proper diet helps to regulate hormone production, the overall message is the same. A healthy diet is a very integral part of overall skin health. By ensuring that you take in a diet consisting of plenty of protein and carbs with a low glycemic index, you can help ensure that your skin has a better chance of remaining or becoming free of acne.
In addition to avaoiding foods that can contribute to the causes of acne, there are also certain foods that you can eat that can help act as preventatives for the condition. Diet alone is not enough to prevent or cure acne, but it can play a significant role. Keep in mind that there is no singular solution to the problem, but rather a number of things that you must do in order to provide your skin with complete care.
One important vitamin when it comes to acne prevention is vitamin A, also known as beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is naturally found in orange vegetables such as pumpkins and carrots as well as in cantaloupe. In addition to helping to reduce sebum production, beta carotene can also help strengthen the skin's protective tissue and mucus membranes. It is also a very powerful antioxident that can help eliminate toxins from the body and provide numerous health benefits.
Eating foods rich in zinc can also provide many benefits when it comes to preventing acne. Zinc is a necessary part of your skin's oil production system, and without enough of it your body will not be able to properly regulate the production of sebum. Zinc's natural antibacterial properties can also help prevent bacterial growth in pores that become clogged, greatly reducing the severity of acne.
In short, even the best diet is not enough to totally cure and prevent acne. With that said, however, no acne regimen is going to be effective without dietary changes. Ensuring that you are eating eough whole grains can offer a great number of benefits, and adding vitamin A and zinc to your diet can certainly help you reduce both the frequency and severity of your acne outbreaks.
How Can I Clear My Face From Acne?
Vitamins: Do They Help And Should You Take Them?
Zinc is an excellent tool in helping to treat and prevent acne. Unfortunately, however, many of us do not get enough zinc in our diets. A great way to ensure that you get the best benefit is to integrate a zinc supplement into your diet. Taking 30-50 milligrams of zinc daily will offer enough of the nutrient to help repair damaged skin and reduce inflammation.
Vitamin A is another vitamin that most people do not ingest enough of in their daily diet. Vitamin A is an excellent tool for reducing sebum production and a supplement containing the vitamin can be an excellent choice. With that said, however, it is important to note that taking vitamin A in large doses can cause fatigue, headaches, and other side effects. Because of this it should be taken as part of a multivitamin or in smaller doses throughout the day.
Vitamin B6 is especially helpful in cases of acne where hormones play a role. This vitamin is well renowned for its ability to help the body regulate and metabolize hormones. Because of this it can be quite helpful in eliminating as well as preventing acne.
Vitamin E is an excellent supplement that has antioxidant properties. It can help cleanse the skin and eliminate toxins. There are numerous benefits to the skin and to the body as a whole that are provided by antioxidants, making this another excellent choice. Take 400 IU daily.
Chromium is a nutrient used by the body to help break down glucose. Some studies indicate that high glucose and insulin levels may play a large role in some acne cases. Adding a chromium supplement to your acne regimen can help to lower your glucose levels and may be able to offer a mild to significant reduction in acne production and severity. Another benefit of chromium supplements is that they can help to heal the damage caused by pimples as well as minor skin infections.
Multivitamins may well be your best choice when it comes to acne prevention. Many complete multivitamins contain all or most of the ingredients listed above in their recommended doses. Before selecting a multivitamin, take the time to ensure that all of these ingredients are included or pick up any supplements that are needed in addition to what is in the vitamin. Keep in mind that multivitamins will also offer a number of nutrients that can provide other health benefits as well, making them an excellent overall choice for the treatment of your acne.
Vitamins are an important part of your acne treatment regimen. The simple fact is that the average diet is surprisingly low in many of the most recommended minerals and nutrients required by the human body. Our growing dependence on frozen and fast foods has resulted in our ingestion of items with little to no nutritional value. Because of this, most health care providers recommend that all individuals supplement their diets with vitamins. In the case of acne sufferers, this recommendation is even more important.
The following suuplements are also helpful in maintaining clear skin: Borage Oil 1000 mg a day (this is an alternative to evening primrose oil); Selenium 200 mcg a day; Flaxseed Oil 1 tablespoon (14 grams) daily; Fish Oil 1000 mg three times a day.
Cleaning the Face and Using Cosmetics, Creams, and Gels
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to acne is the way they clean their skin. Most skin care products are filled with chemicals, dyes, fragrances, and alcohols that damage the skin and that serve to make acne worse. For may, this leads to the use of cosmetics to help cover up the acne. Unfortunately, a majority of cosmetics are also known to make acne more severe. An important part of total acne care is understanding not only what products you should be using, but how to use them.
Washing your face properly is important in both treating and preventing acne. Many people believe that proper washing means purchasing the strongest products on the market as well as scrubbing the skin as hard as possible. This is simply not true. In fact, it is actually one of the worst things that you can do for your skin. A proper skin washing regimen for acne only requires that you wash your face twice a day, yet it can be highly effective.
When looking for the right product for washing your face or other acne riddled areas, it is important to choose a product designed to help treat acne. A proper acne wash will typically be sulfur based. You will find that you only need to use it twice a day, washing your skin first thing in the morning and then again just before you go to bed. This will help to keep your pores clean without irritating the skin.
One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to washing the skin is scrubbing. When you scrub your skin or wash it using a loofah or rough cloth, you are actually serving to irritate and inflame it. These materials can also create microscopic tears in the skin, which serve to invite infection and can certainly make acne much more serious and noticeable.
Instead of scrubbing, wash very gently with acne soap. Wash the skin as gently as possible, taking your time and making certain that you are not rubbing too hard. This will help ensure that you are not irritating the skin and making the condition worse.
Another excellent product for washing the skin is an acne soap that contains benzoyl peroxide. This is an effective ingredient in treating acne that works by slightly drying the skin, preventing pores from clogging. It is important, however, to use lower doses of the ingredient, such as 2.5% - 5% solutions, as higher numbers can actually cause more skin damage. If you are using a benzoyl peroxide wash, it is also not recommended to also use other products with the same ingredient. Two applications of benzoyl peroxide daily, whether via cream or soap is all that is recommended. Leave on your skin for 1 to 2 minutes before rinsing (if tolerated).
There is no doubt that for many people, acne is an embarrassing condition. Because of this, many people elect to cover their skin with cosmetics. Unfortunately, a large percentage of these products serve to exacerbate acne. Taking the time to seek out cosmetics designed to keep from blocking pores is very important.
One thing to look for when choosing cosmetics is products that are listed as hypo-allergenic. It is also important to choose products that are free of fragrances. The most important thing to look for however, is the word noncomedogenic. This term signifies that the prouct is designed so that it will neither cause nor worsen acne. Choosing noncomedogenic products can help eliminate many of the issues caused from wearing cosmetics, but the best option for individuals with acne will always be to avoid the use of cosmetics altogether.
Over the Counter Treatments
When looking at different acne creams and gels, you will find that while there are many brand names, most products contain either salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. As mentioned earlier, benzoyl peroxide is the optimal over the counter ingredient for treating acne. Choose a mixture that contains 2.5% - 5% benzoyl peroxide for the best results. While mixtures containing 10% may sound like they will be more effective, the truth is that their drying effects are too strong and they can actually cause more damage than they prevent.
The way you wash your skin and the products that you use will have a major effect on your acne and your treatment. In addition to diet, you must pay careful attention to everything you apply to your skin. This means taking care to purchase the right acne treatments, washes, and cosmetics. One thing that should also be stressed is to pay attention to every soap or product you put on your skin. Even the best acne washes will be ineffective if you are also cleaning your skin with soaps filled with harmful ingredients. Likewise, try to limit your use of hair products, which can build up on the face as it comes into contact with your hair throughout the day.
Herbs have been used in medicine for thousands of years. In many countries, and for many health care providers and patients in the U.S., herbal medicine is still a preferred method of treatment. There are a number of herbal remedies that have proven effective for centuries and that offer greatly reduced chances of side effects compared to pharmaceuticals designed to treat the same conditions.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil is a common herbal supplement offered by naturopaths for patients suffering from acne. Typically patients will take three 500 milligram capsules per day for up to three months, or until the acne has cleared.
Chamomile and Lavender
Many naturopaths and holistic practitioners believe that stress is a main cause of acne. Because the condition is due at least in part to hormonal imbalances, there is certainly some evidence to support this. Chamomile and lavender are both excellent herbs for relaxation. Steeping the flowers of these plants in a tea ball in order to brew a cup of hot tea can help alleviate stress, thus helping to balance hormones and to prevent outbreaks.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is another effective ingredient when it comes to treating acne. It is a natural antiseptic that is very gentle on the skin, making it ideal for healing blemishes without causing further irritation. It works well when a single drop is applied to each blemish. Apply 1 drop on each acne lesion three times a day.
For those who prefer homeopathic remedies, what follows is a brief description of different tinctures for specific acne and skin symptoms. Each of these remedies is recommended at a 6x dose.
Antimonium Tartaricum is recommended for acne that is pus filled. It can be used three times daily until symptoms are alleviated.
Kali Bromatum used three times daily is recommended for acne that is itchy. It can be used until symptoms resolve.
Sulfur is recommended three times daily for acne sufferers who experience frequent sweating and constipation and who tend to have rough, hard skin.
Other Holistic and Natural Treatments
In addition to herbs and tinctures, there are also a number of other natural remedies and treatments for acne. What follows are some of the more nontraditional remedies. Many of these are commonly practiced in Eastern Medicine and have been proven highly effective, especially when used in conjunction with a healthy diet and skin care regimen.
Reflexology is an increasingly common practice around the world, although it has been in existence for many years. When it comes to treating acne, the reflex points to pay attention to are those that correspond to the diaphragm, the intestine, the kidneys, the thyroid and adrenal glands, and the liver. This can help create balance within the body and to regulate hormones as well as to produce lower stress levels.
Accupressure is yet another practice that is increasing in global popularity. It works similar to acupuncture, only it helps to balance the body's energy through the use of pressure rather than through the use of needles. It is widely believed that the stomach meridian is the primary energy pathway governing skin function, therefore it is this pathway that should be the primary focus when treating acne.
Yoga has become one of the most popular forms of exercise and relaxation in the United States as well as around the world today. It is an excellent practice for both physical and mental health and has been proven to have a very wide range of benefits on the mind and body alike. Practicing poses such as the seated sun, cobra, and baby can help to cleanse the body by flushing toxins and can also help increase blood flow to the face, promoting healthier skin.
While not associated with a particular form of medicinal practice, juice cleanses are still considered a holistic and nontradional form of treatment. With that said, however, there is certainly significant evidence that toxins and accumulated hormones within the body contribute greatly to acne. Drinking a mixture of 3 parts carrot juice, 2 parts water, and 1 part beet juice can help to cleanse the digestive system, eliminating toxins that build up in the liver and kidneys as well as elsewhere in the body.
Natural Face Washes
For acne sufferers interested in using natural and homeopathic treatments, there is often strong interest in using only organic products even when it comes to face washes. In addition to ensuring that all herbs and juices that you use are organically grown, it is also possible to create your own face washes and masks. This allows you to fully control every ingredient that touches your skin and can also provide a great deal of fun for those who enjoy working with their hands.
When looking for an excellent mask that can effectively treat acne, it is recommended by many experts that you use an organic honey mask once or twice a week. Honey has strong antibacterial properties and is also excellent for healing minor blemishes and disinfecting the skin. Applying a mask of honey twice weekly and allowing it to sit for ten to fifteen minutes before gently rinsing with warm water can have remarkable effects when it comes to treating your acne.
Chickpea Paste Cleanser
For an excellent daily cleanser, you can use a mixture of organic chickpea flour and water. Simply add just enough water to a tablespoon of the flour to create a paste that is not too watery but is thin enough to spread onto the skin. Gently wash your face with the paste using your hands and then rinse with warm water and dry with a clean towel.
Almond Powder Mask
For added benefit, you can follow up the chickpea paste cleanser with a mask made up of a cup of goat's milk and a teaspoon of almond powder. Mix the ingredients together well and then apply gently to the skin. Allow the paste to sit on the skin for a few minutes, or until it starts to dry and then gently wash it away.
There are really many natural remedies for acne. While creams, gels, and medications are the solutions primarily recommended by dermatologists, there is a slow shift for many in the medical community towards natural remedies. The primary reason for this is that these solutions simply offer lower risks than most medications. Herbal medicine has been practiced for centuries, and in many countries it is still the primary form of treatment for most conditions (including acne).
It All Starts With Paying Attention
Learning to pay attention is the absolute most essential step in treating and eliminating acne from your life. What many people do not realize is that the skin absorbs more than half of whatever it comes into contact with. This doesn't mean soaps and acne creams either. It also means cigarette smoke, pollution, hairspray particles, and even the chemicals and minerals in your water. Start by spending a full day being conscious of all the different things that come into contact with your skin and realize that you are absorbing a significant amount of this. Pretty gross, isn't it? But by paying attention you are able to work to greatly reduce the impact of your environment on your skin. Wash your pillowcases frequently.
Stick With It
Nothing in life is ever going to be always easy, and instant gratification is certainly an unrealistic expectation when it comes to treating acne. Understand that the regimen is going to be frustrating at times, especially when you are first getting started. Your new skin care regimen is going to take a significant amount of time each day, and there will be days where you forget to take your vitamins until well after your usual time. The important thing is that you stick with the regimen. It will work, but only if you are dedicated to making it work.
One of the most common reasons people give up on their acne regimen is that they experience discomfort from the use of benzoyl peroxide. This is another reason that you should use a 2.5% - 5% mixture. Benzoyl peroxide works by drying and peeling the skin, and this means that it can cause redness, dryness, and irritation. Understand that this will subside, and realize that as long as you are using a moisturizer designed not to cause acne, you can use the moisturizer after every application or as needed.
The Total Acne Treatment Checklist
Spend a full day or more just examining all of the things that come into contact with your skin. Think about what you can do to prevent many of the things that are doing damage, exacerbating the condition, or simply not providing benefit.
Purchase a high quality 2.5% - 5% benzoyl peroxide gel or cream mixture (without fragrances or unnecessary ingredients), as well as a quality facial wash and some moisturizer that is noncomedogenic.
Take the time to go through all of your soaps, cosmetics, etc and throw away any that are not good for your skin and acne.
Sit down and design a diet plan that includes all of the vitamins and minerals that can help you fight acne. Pay special attention to orange fruits and vegetables that are rich in beta carotene. You don't have to plan every meal, but ensure that you are working a good amount of these foods into your daily diet.
Purchase some high quality multivitamins and supplements. Ensure that they are fresh and that they are from a company you trust. Pay special attention to chromium, zinc, and vitamins A, E, and B6.
Keeping your diet roughly the same in terms of nutrients is also important. When your diet is balanced and does not fluctuate wildly, your hormones and oil production can regulate as well.
Wash your face every morning with a benzoyl peroxide wash, taking the time to ensure that you get it fully clean. Leave it on your face for 1-2 minutes before rinsing. Do not scrub or otherwise irritate the skin. Consider using a moisturizer after washing.
Use benzoyl peroxide cream or gel throughout the day, taking a few minutes to really allow it to be absorbed rather that trying to force it to do so. Moisturize after each application.
Once or twice each week, take the time to put on a sulfur or organic honey mask. In addition to providing numerous benefits, it also makes your skin feel great.
If you take the time to follow these steps, you will see remarkable benefit. The total acne treatment is an excellent way to improve not only the appearance of your skin, but its true health as well. Don't settle for expensive infomercial and shopping mall products that can do more harm than good. By following this regimen, you can clear up your acne the healthy and safe way.
And...The most important step of all...
Don't give up! No acne treatment is going to provide instant results. The absolute most important thing to remember with any of the regimens and steps in this guide is that you are going to have to really stick with them in order to see the results you are looking for. Your acne can be properly and permanently resolved, but you are going to have to put in the time, effort, and patience required for it to do so.
When to speak to a health care provider about how to make acne go away fast
As you know by now, the primary focus of this guide has been to provide you with a total acne treatment regimen that you can do at home with over the counter products and foods. With that said, however, there are certainly times when you should speak with a dermatologist about your acne. Don't let this or any other book or information make you feel that you can avoid signs of infection and illness. Sometimes the expertise and help only a doctor can provide is necessary.
With that said, it is also important to know that even if you are using prescription acne treatments, the vitamins, supplements, tips, and advice given in these pages is vital. No matter how strong or effective a prescribed medication can be, ensuring that you are doing what you can to prevent acne and make your skin healthier will provide you with numerous benefits. What follows is a checklist to help you know if you need to contact a health care provider or dermatologist. Keep in mind that this list is not comprehensive, and that if you feel a visit might be necessary, it is worth it to speak to a health professional.
You should call your health care provider if...
Three months of following this regimen without adding in unnecessary products or skipping steps does not provide the results you are looking for or makes no changes to your acne.
If your nose and cheek area is abnormally red or appears to be flushed. This could be a sign of a condition known as rosacea.
If your acne is causing significant pain and/or scarring. There may be an underlying cause or a more aggressive treatment may be needed.
If your acne suddenly becomes worse or is accompanied by a sudden fever. This can be a sign of a serious infection within the skin and should always be evaluated and treated immediately.
If you are a woman with acne that is accompanied by the development of facial hair or irregular menstrual cycles. This can be the sign of a medical condition.
If any of these situation apply to you, take the time to contact your general practitioner or dermatologist. Another important note that must be included is this -you know your body. Only you know what is normal or typical for your skin. If you develop symptoms that seem abnormal or if you are concerned about your acne, speak with a health care professional. Precaution is always the best choice, and you should never let worrisome symptoms go untreated. Not only could you be ignoring a potentially serious condition, but worry can cause stress and elevated hormone levels, which would only serve to worsen your acne.
Treating acne is certainly a task that requires dedication, but more importantly it requires a total body approach. Simply treating your skin or your diet is never going to be enough. You have to treat the condition both inside and out. You have been given all of the information you need to do just that. If you are willing to stick with this plan, success will indeed be yours.