We grow up thinking that pimples are a curse of adolescence, and that when we’re all grown up, we’ll be blessed with clear skin. But unfortunately, acne is not restricted to teenage years and these spots can continue to sprout on our faces well into adulthood. In fact, up to half of all men and women experience acne well into their 30s, while some suffer for years more.

There are many different causes of acne, and as Naturopaths, we look at the location of the pimple to determine the root problem and formulate a successful treatment.

What’s the difference between pimples and acne?
Acne is a long-term skin disease that is associated with excess sebum production. It occurs when hair follicles become clogged with dead skin cells and oil, and can result in blackheads or whiteheads, cysts, papules, pustules, pimples and scars. It mainly affects the face, upper chest and back - where you have the highest number of oil glands.

It’s important to remember that while acne is a physical condition, it can have serious psychological effects, including anxiety, reduced self-esteem and even depression.

Pimples are a symptom of the disease, and can often be hormone related depending on where they occur. Ie. Jawline is related to hormones and lymphatic system, while pimples on the forehead relate to stress and excess oil production.

Why medication is not the answer
If you go to the doctor suffering with acne, you’ll probably end up with an antibiotic cream or tablets, the contraceptive pill, or for more severe forms of acne, Roaccutane.

The problem with topical treatments is that they merely treat the symptoms, not the cause, while medications often result in drastic side effects - from mood changes and depression, to liver damage and inflammatory bowel disease.

Natural therapies for treating acne
The good news is there is actually quite a lot you can do to combat acne, but the best method will depend on the type of acne you have. It’s always best to see your Naturopath so that they can guide you as to the best solution for you.

There are a few things you can do right now to reduce your acne:

  • Diet is the cornerstone to treating acne. Start with eliminating dairy products, refined carbs like sugar, white bread, white flour and pasta. Grains can also be a hidden source of sugar to watch out for. Chocolate is a definite no-no as it has both sugar and dairy.
  • Keep hydrated - aim for 2-3 litres of water a day to flush out toxins in the skin.
  • There are so many great natural supplements that support your skin - I love Vitamin C powder and Zinc, which when used in the right dose, can work wonders on cystic acne.
  • My favourite herb for acne and pimples is Golden Seal - the herbal equivalent of an antibiotic without the side effects!
  • Switch to natural skin care and make up! While it may be tempting to use chemicals to control your acne, they dry out your skin and do serious damage with loads of toxins. Your body absorbs everything you put on your skin, which in turn puts a load on your liver and can contribute to acne in the long run. Instead, treat your skin to some nice, natural products! Check out our Antipodes range online. We also have a wonderful Teatree acne gel in store, which is very effective as long as you’re careful not to dry out the skin too much. Remember, always patch test!
  • Catch some rays - sunlight and warmer weather are fantastic for reducing acne, as they promote your skin’s absorption of Vitamin D. Saltwater is also wonderful.
  • Stop picking! Touching spots unnecessarily promotes scarring and repeated infections.
  • Wash your make-up brushes to reduce bacteria on the skin.
  • Change your linen regularly - sleeping on dirty sheets is a known cause of acne.
  • Stress - having acne can be stressful, but general life stress can also contribute to making your acne worse. Try to focus on keeping stress to a minimum and doing things that you enjoy like yoga, walks and meditation, to help reduce stress.

Are your hormones going crazy? Are you looking to get back to optimum health and wellbeing?

Click here to download our free guide containing tips on managing female health and hormones naturally, including the real secrets behind every diet that works, effects of hormones on weight, the impact of the pill on fertility and how to manage stress naturally.

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