Acne is known as a teenage affliction, but this pesky problem can affect people well into adulthood. For teens and adults, the cultural solution to unsightly pimples is often to use a medicated face wash. Although, a holistic approach defies the cultural norm, using natural remedies for acne instead. With a combination of washing properly, using herbal remedies, and stress management, you can defeat even the worst acne flare-ups.
Every pimple, from tiny blackheads to eruptions of volcanic proportions, is caused when your pores become blocked. Usually the culprit is dirt or oil, although things like tiny food particles, dead skin cells, or even saliva (if you drool in your sleep, for example) can block pores.
As your body recognizes that something isn't quite right in this tiny pore, immune responders rush to the location to push it out before it causes too much trouble. The less effective your immune system, the larger the pimple. This is why people who are pregnant or nursing, who are on certain medications, or who experience hormone fluctuations tend to break out more -- their immune systems are suppressed.
Most doctors advise everyone to wash their face with a product that contains salicylic acid. However, you can get rid of acne without using this harmful chemical -- and some people shouldn't use a face wash at all.
If you have oily skin, wash your face daily with a gentle, plant-based soap like Dr. Bronner's, or with a soap substitute such as soap nuts, soaproot, clematis, or yucca. For dry skin, every time you wash your face, even the gentlest soap could strip your skin of the oils it needs. Your skin overcompensates by producing too much oil, which then clogs your pores and starts a vicious cycle. Rinse daily with plain water, and only use soap when your face is unusually dirty or sweaty.
When you have pimples, the best thing to do is usually to leave them alone -- don't pop them and try to keep your face clean! Herbal remedies can be used to help your body get rid of the acne much faster, and to prevent them from occurring again. Some of the most effective herbal remedies for pimples include:
Honey and Salt
Mix a teaspoon of salt into about a tablespoon of honey, then rub the mixture gently into your face. Let this sticky, exfoliating mask sit for ten minutes or so before rinsing.
Steep spearmint, peppermint, or even wild mint from your back yard in hot water for ten minutes. Remove the mint, let cool, and use as a rinse once or twice a week.
Dilute a few drops of lemon juice by half with water, then splash it over a break-out before rinsing thoroughly with clean water.
For a particularly nasty pimple, stir a few drops of water into a half teaspoon or so of ground ginger to make a paste. Apply to your worse pimples, cover with a band-aid, and let sit overnight. In the morning, the ginger should have popped the pimple and helped draw the infection out -- wash thoroughly and make sure to keep the area as clean as possible.
If you have dry skin and have to wash your face, apply a very thin layer of coconut oil afterward to replenish the oils the soap may have removed from your skin.
Stress doesn't necessarily cause acne, but it can make the problem much worse, simply by suppressing the immune system. And worrying about all those pimples you have isn't going to make them go away! Try these tips to keep stress at bay and stay healthier all around:
If the thought of jumping on a treadmill is stressful already, incorporate exercise into your day by walking when you could drive, sitting on the floor instead of the couch, taking the stairs, or dancing.
Close your eyes for five quiet minutes and focus on your breathing. When your attention wanders, acknowledge the new thought, then let it go, refocusing on your breathing.
Live in the moment
Don't think about all the things you need to get done around the house while your child is trying to spend time with you. Enjoy the moment -- the housework will get done when it needs to.
The power of tea is so understated in our culture. Take the time to steep a cup of hot tea for yourself, sweeten with honey, and enjoy, knowing that green tea (and many herbal teas as well) has anti-inflammatory properties that will help with acne control as well as stress control.
Nobody likes acne. It's unattractive, stressful, and just plain gross. It's also a natural part of life, and you don't need unnatural chemicals to manage it. With a healthy, holistic approach, you can bring your acne under control naturally and regain the confidence that comes along with beautiful, clear skin.
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