Treatments for Acne
There can be considerable psychological torment associated with acne. For a teenager, it can generate embarrassment, insecurity, depression, withdrawal from peers – as well as ridicule or bullying in school. This is all in addition to physical discomfort and even pain. Adolescence is tough enough as it is – who needs this? And it’s not just kids; adult acne is a very real problem and can be just as disheartening. Treatments for acne can help reduce the mental and physical pain associated with this common problem.
Acne indicates inflamed or infected oil glands in the skin, characterized by red, white, or black pimples – commonly on the face, shoulders, and back. Pores in the skin lead down to oil glands. Also called sebaceous glands (sebaceous refers to oil or fat), these are microscopic glands which secrete an oily or waxy substance called sebum. Pores become clogged or jammed with excess sebum, at which point bacteria can form, causing the swellings and redness we observe as acne.
What causes acne?
What causes this buildup in the first place? One theory is that it is the skin’s attempt to get rid of toxins. These toxins can originate from your diet or can be environmental – such as pollutants or atomized grease. Certain skin products, like oil-based make-up, can also be a factor. Things like inflammation or acne could be the result of the body attempting to expel or kick out unneeded or poisonous elements. If you are putting the wrong things into it, you’re body may be telling you to knock it off.
Teenagers – as they wander an urban zone or skateboard through suburbia – are continuously given opportunities to eat junk food, fast food, greasy food, and products stuffed with artificial ingredients. Depending on their upbringing, they may not be prone to paying much attention to what they eat. Add to this the fact that their bodies are undergoing serious hormonal changes and you have some components of “teenage angst.” Perhaps the pain and torment connected with acne will be enough motivation to do something about it. Maybe parents will say “enough is enough” or have emotional (or physical) scars of their own. Or better yet, child and parent will decide to tackle the problem together. Foods and factors that can contribute to acne include:
- Fast food, junk food, fried and greasy food – high in saturated fats, trans fats, and chemicals
- Meats that have been shot with hormones or steroids
- Produce that is laced with pesticides
- Reactions or allergies to skin products (like oil-based make-up)
- Certain medications
- Milk and dairy can also be a factor.
This is where the adolescent and the parent (or guardian) really need to team up. It is way too easy to grab fast food when you’re in a hurry and it’s on the cheap. But you’ll find the eventual costs – in terms of the physical and emotional toll – are not worth the convenience. Some natural or holistic ways to prevent or treat acne:
- Avoid consuming the sugars and processed foods noted above.
- Use lean, organic meats, fish, and poultry.
- Eat organic fruits and vegetables, such as raw carrots, leafy greens and berries.
- Find foods that you LIKE TO EAT that are not processed or full of chemicals. Make lunches out of these instead of the processed junk. You can pack them in the backpack so they’re handy when hunger strikes. Try nuts, yogurt, fruit, or snacks sweetened with honey or fruit juice. Check the ingredients – if it contains artificial sweetener like aspartame, don’t get it.
- Take multivitamins: vitamins A, C, E and Zinc help.
- Drink lots of water!
- Sunlight (not excessive)
- Practice good hygiene: wash face, hands, and hair often.
- Avoid harsh chemicals on the skin. For girls, use oil-free foundation or mineral-based make-up.
If you are doing the above and acne is still a problem, you may need to consult a dermatologist, but keep in mind that the basics of nutrition is a powerful weapon against acne and other conditions. With a lifestyle change could come healthier skin, a rejuvenated body, improved mental outlook and a more vibrant life for youth and adult.