If you’re suffering from acne, you’re not alone. Acne is a common skin condition that happens when oil and dead skin cells clog the skin’s pores. It normally occurs on your face, chest, back, shoulders, and neck. Acne can be caused by many things: heredity, hormones, and oil production. There are several things you can do to heal your acne fast and naturally. Learn good skin care techniques, improve your diet, and try herbal medications. However, it’s best to see your doctor or a dermatologist if your acne won’t go away or is widespread.
Practicing Good Skin Care
1. Determine what kind of acne you have.
There are different treatments for acne depending on how severe your condition is. Most cases of acne are moderate, but severe acne with deep nodules or cysts may cause swelling and scarring. This acne needs immediate medical attention.Common types of acne include:
• Whiteheads (closed comedones): occur when dirt or excess oil (sebum) is trapped below the skin’s surface, forming a firm white bump.
• Blackheads (open comedones): occur when pores open up, causing the dirt and sebum to rise to the surface of the skin. The blackish color comes from oxidization when the air reacts with melanin, a pigment in sebum.
• Pimples (or pustules): acne lesions that form when the excess dirt and oils stay trapped under the skin, causing inflammation, irritation, swelling and redness often with pus. Pus is a thick, yellowish liquid made of leukocytes (white blood cells) and dead bacteria, usually in response to an inflammation or infection of body tissue.
• Nodules: hard, large and inflamed pimples that occur deep in the skin.
• Cysts: pus-filled, painful pimples that form deep in the skin and can often cause scarring.
2. Quit smoking.
Smoking can cause a condition called smoker’s acne, in which the body does not make an inflammatory response to heal the skin as quickly as it would with normal acne. Smokers are also four times more likely to get moderate acne after adolescence, particularly women between the ages of 25-50. Cigarette smoke may also cause skin irritation for people with sensitive skin.
• Smoking is known to cause other skin conditions like wrinkles and premature skin aging. It does this by creating free radicals, impairing collagen production, and degrading skin proteins.
3. Avoid touching your face.
Dirt and bacteria on your hands can clog your pores and make acne worse if you constantly touch your face. If your skin feels irritated from acne, use a gentle, oil-free daily facial wipe to remove excess dirt and calm your skin.
• Do not squeeze or pop your blemishes or you may risk developing scars. Squeezing a pimple might even spread the bacteria further.
4. Choose the right cleanser.
Use a mild non-soap cleanser, free from sodium laureth sulfate. Sodium laureth sulfate is a detergent and foaming agent that can cause irritation. Many non-soap cleansers are free from harsh chemicals, use natural ingredients, and are available at most drug stores.
• Harsh soaps and scrubbing can irritate your skin and make acne worse.
5. Wash regularly.
Wash your skin using your fingertips, once in the morning and once at night. Remember to thoroughly rinse your skin with lukewarm water after washing it. Limit washing to twice a day and after you sweat.
• Sweating can irritate your skin. Wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating.
6. Use the right skin care products.
Apply an oil-free moisturizer if your skin is dry or itchy. An astringent is only recommended when you have oily skin and even then the astringent should only be applied to oily spots. If you want to use an exfoliating product, ask your dermatologist about the best treatment for your skin type.
• People with non-inflammatory acne, like whiteheads and blackheads that do not cause redness, can use mild exfoliating products that are available at most drug stores. People with dry, sensitive skin should limit exfoliating to once or twice per week, while people with oily, thicker skin can exfoliate once every day.
Improving Your Diet
1. Eat a healthy diet.
Avoid meat that contains hormones and similar substances which could throw your hormones out of balance, causing acne. Instead, eat plenty of fiber, fresh vegetables and fruits. Foods rich in vitamin A, C, E, and zinc can help reduce the severity of acne through the nutrients’ anti-inflammatory properties. Some good sources of these vitamins include:
• Sweet red peppers
• Amaranth Leaves
• Turnip Greens
• Sweet Potato (Yams)
• Butternut Squash
2. Take zinc.
Studies show that oral zinc therapy can help heal acne. Zinc is an essential trace mineral with antioxidant properties. This helps protect cells in the body from damage caused by bacteria and viruses. It’s common to have slightly low levels of zinc, but taking a multivitamin and eating a healthy diet should give you all the zinc you need. While you can take supplements, the best dietary sources of zinc are:
• Oysters, shrimp, crab, and shellfish
• Red meats
• Sunflower seeds
• Cooked greens.
• Easily absorbed zinc: zinc picolinate, zinc citrate, zinc acetate, zinc glycerate, and zinc monomethionine. If zinc sulfate causes stomach irritation, you can try another form, such as zinc citrate.
3. Take more vitamin A
According to studies, you might have low levels of vitamin A if you have severe acne. Vitamin A is an anti-inflammatory substance that balances your hormones and might help reduce oil production. You can increase your vitamin A intake by eating a healthy diet and avoiding unhealthy fats like margarine, hydrogenated oils, and processed food.
• Vitamin A is found mostly in carrots, green leafy vegetables, and yellow or orange fruits. If you take a supplement, the recommended daily dose is 10,000 to 25,000 IU (international units). High doses of Vitamin A can have toxic side-effects, including birth defects, so watch how much you’re getting.
• Get more Vitamin C.
Vitamin C can improve the rate of healing. It does this in part by helping to make collagen, an important protein used to repair skin tissue, cartilage, blood vessels and heal wounds. You can take 2 to 3 doses of Vitamin C for a total of 500 mg a day. You can also add vitamin C-rich foods to your daily diet. Good natural sources of vitamin C are:
• Sweet red or green peppers
• Citrus fruit such as oranges, pomelo, grapefruit, limes or non-concentrated citrus juices.
• Spinach, broccoli and brussel sprouts
• Strawberries and raspberries
5. Drink green tea.
Drinking green tea is not directly linked with preventing acne. But, it contains many antioxidants that show anti-aging effects and protect the skin. These can help your skin look fresher and younger.  To make green tea, steep 2-3 g of green tea leaves in one cup of warm water (80-85°C) for 3–5 minutes. Green tea can be taken two to three times daily.
• Green tea may also have anti-inflammatory effects that reduce the risk of cancer. Some research shows that green tea is especially useful in protecting skin from harmful UV radiation.
Using Herbal Medicines
1. Use tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil is often used topically for conditions like acne, wounds, infections and skin lesions. To treat your acne, use a tea tree oil that’s at a dilution of 5–15 percent. Apply 2-3 drops to a cotton ball and dab it over your acne.
• Never take tea tree oil orally. You should also avoid exposing it to open air for a long time. Oxidized tea tree oil may trigger allergies more than fresh tea tree oil.
2. Use jojoba oil.
Apply 5-6 drops of jojoba oil on a cotton ball and dab over your acne. Jojoba oil is an extract from the seed of the jojoba tree. It is similar to the natural oil (sebum) that your skin produces, but it won’t clog your pores or cause excess oil.
• Jojoba oil will keep your skin moisturized. It doesn’t usually cause irritation, but speak with your dermatologist before using if you have sensitive skin.
3. Use juniper oil.
Juniper oil is a natural antiseptic astringent. You can use it as a facial cleanser and toner to clear blocked pores and treat acne, dermatitis and eczema. Apply 1-2 drops of the oil with a cotton ball after washing your face.
• Avoid using too much juniper oil, or it can cause irritation and make the skin worse.
4. Apply aloe vera gel.
Daily apply aloe vera gel liberally over your skin. You can find it at most drug stores. Aloe vera is a succulent plant with antibacterial properties that are effective in treating acne and reducing inflammation. It prevents bacteria from infecting acne wounds and speeds up the healing process.
• Some people may be allergic to aloe. If a rash develops, stop using it and speak with your healthcare provider.
5. Use sea salt.
Look for a sea salt lotion or cream with less than 1% sodium chloride. Apply it up to six times a day for 5 minutes each time. Studies show sea salt may have anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and protective properties against harmful ultraviolet radiation. You can also use sea salt as a facial mask to reduce stress. Look for sea salt or sea salt products at most pharmacies and stores.
• People with mild to moderate acne may safely use sea salt products. People with dry, sensitive skin or moderate to severe acne should talk with a dermatologist before starting any salt treatments, since it could possibly cause dryness and irritation.
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