Monday, May 16, 2011

Healing Acne Without Medication

Radiant skin is what we all hope to achieve as it is a sign that our internal body is healthy and cleansed. When the skin is affected by breakouts it is generally because there is an overabundance of sebum, a waxy substance that helps to keep the skin moist. When too much sebum collects, it will clog pores causing skin inflammation as bacteria begins to build up in the area. When sebaceous glands are blocked, the ducts leading to these glands harden and any exposed area will fill with dirt, causing blackheads. When this debris cannot reach the ducts to be cleansed away, whiteheads are formed. If the skin retains these impurities, it becomes red, rough, and irritated even further, leading to what we call acne.

Acne is a condition that can be caused by a wide variety of factors such as allergies to foods and skin products, environmental toxins, poor diet, hormonal imbalances, and stress. When acne occurs, it can seriously affect one’s self esteem on top of being physically stressful and uncomfortable. But acne is completely treatable with a bit of consciousness, discipline, and patience. With a healthful diet that helps to keep the organs cleansed for effective digestion along with proper cleansing and the reduction of stress your skin can be as clear as a baby’s.

Eating Right For Your Skin
If you suffer from acne, the first step is to take a look at your diet, which always is the first place where things can go wrong.  Poor diet affects all of the organs. Fried foods, fast foods, fatty foods, pesticide-filled foods, sodas, and sugar are just some examples of foods that are unfriendly to the skin.  By changing the diet wonders are worked on and for the entire body.

When there are too many toxins in the system due to misguided eating habits,  the gastro-intestinal system cannot function properly, meaning it is unable to get rid of impurities. The body naturally wants to sweep waste material away and does so with the help or the liver, bowels, and kidneys. If these organs are blocked, the skin must work overtime to eliminate extra waste, which ultimately leads to blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, cysts, boils, and other evidences of acne irritation. 

Eating fresh, organic fruits and vegetables are essential for creating a healthy body and in turn a glowing skin free of blemishes.  Containing vitamins C and E, which help sweep out toxins, fruits and veggies should be eaten raw, lightly steamed, or combined in blender drinks. 

Orange and red fruits and veggies contain beta-carotene, a component that helps clear out impurities while strengthening the immune system and fighting free radicals. These include cantaloupe, berries, carrots, pumpkin, and red peppers.

Dark green leafy vegetables such as parsley, alfalfa, spinach, and kale contain the vitamins and minerals zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, chromium, and B6, which  help to fortify the skin’s ability to heal and remain healthy. 

Whole grains contain the vitamin Bs and when combined with lentils, garbanzos, or other beans create the protein needed to sustain energy and health. Tofu, a derivative of soybeans, is another food that acts as a good substitute for meat. Make sure you buy only organic tofu as these days soy is highly GM modified.

Seaweeds like kelp, kombu, hijiki, and nori are chock full of iron and iodine, which fight bacteria and regulate the thyroid gland, which is responsible for keeping the organs in balance.

Drinking lots of water throughout the day will help speed up the cleansing process along with healthful foods that provide necessary healing nutrients.  Try to avoid all meat during the cleansing period as it can be difficult to digest.

Juice Cleanse for Skin
Making a blended drink consisting of raw beets, carrots, and parsley or alfalfa is an ideal way to stimulate the liver, which is the organ that is often affected the most by a poor diet. As the liver is a big player in cleansing the system, it is important to keep it in the best condition possible. Add a teaspoon of cod liver, linseed, or borage oil for extra Omega 3 fatty acids, which also help to keep the liver nourished.

Hang In There As You Cleanse!
If you have been eating poorly, as you change your diet you may feel a bit under the weather for a while as the toxins begin to move and discharge. Don’t let this discourage you as this is natural. Many people misinterpret this feeling of ill health, thinking that it indicates something wrong in the cleansing theory. But common sense will tell you that as waste products move through the blood stream you are bound to feel them before they exit for good, and feeling slightly off-key is an indication of how toxic your system really is.

Herbs Against Acne
There are many herbs that work to clear the blood stream of toxins that block skin health. Antiseptic herbs such as calendula, echinacea and goldenseal work wonders to rid the body of waste. There are also particularly soothing herbs that can help reduce inflammation and dampen the effects of itching and other discomforts.  These include:

·      Nettle
·      Lavender
·      Chamomile
·      Licorice
·      Barberry
·      Honeysuckle flower
·      Gotu kola also heals broken skin and boosts the immune system.
  • Sarsaparilla also rids the body of excess toxins and purifies the bloodstream.  
  • Milk thistle also cleanses the liver.

Herbs can be taken on their own or combined to make a good cleansing tea or tonic for sipping throughout the day, warm or cool.

Herbal oils can be topically applied to acne for soothing inflammation.  They can be applied directly to the area on a saturated cotton ball. These include:

  • Calendula
  • Comfrey
  • Evening primrose oil

Tea tree oil  is an especially effective antibacterial substance that penetrates the skin on a cellular level. It can be applied to the skin in pure form, or added to any neutral cream or moisturizer. 

Aloe vera is also effective when applied to acne, especially if the skin cannot  retain moisture due to temperature changes, allergic reactions, or sensitivity to the environment. Aloe also helps to remove dead skin cells so that new and healthy skin can form.

Red Clover
I want to take a moment now to write about an exceptionally potent herb for acne and that is Red Clover.

Its Latin name is Trifolium pratense, and it is also called Trefoil, Purple Cover, Cleaver Grass, and Cow Grass.  Red Clover grows all over the US, Europe, the Mediterranean, and Asia and is the actually state flower of Vermont!  With its long stalks, hairy stems, and reddish purple flowers, Red Clover has been used by the Native Americans for centuries due to its ability to purify the body and thus heal skin conditions, including acne.

Red Clover purifies the bloodstream by de-congesting the liver. The flowers also works as a diuretic, flushing out uric acid through the kidneys and bladder. An anti-inflammatory, red clover rids the chest and lungs of phlegm and mucus;  helps with the production of bile, which is essential in liver cleansing; and stimulates  digestive fluids to help eliminate toxins and restore the organs to health.

Red clover contains a wide range of necessary nutrients such as isoflavones, coumarins, flavinoids, lecithin, calcium, chromium, choline, magnesium, manganese, iron and vitamins B, C, and E.  It also contains a trace element called molybdenum, which helps eliminate nitrogenous waste that is often the cause of skin problems.  

You can eat red clover in salads or take the flowers as a tea, capsule, or tincture. Make sure you buy organic red clover to avoid any possibility of ingesting pesticides, which can further irritate the skin.

Homeopathic Remedies
Homeopathic medicine can be a highly effective way to reduce the effects of acne by the problems going on inside the body.  There are several formulae, all of which are best taken via a homeopathic doctor’s recommendation.  Some include:

·      Kali bromatum to help stop itching. 
·      Sulfur to help break down rough and hardened skin while also relieving constipation.
·      Antimonium tartaricum to help eliminate the formation of pus.

It is best to consult with a professional homoeopathist to get a correct diagnosis for appropriate treatment. 

Ayurvedic Medicine
Ayurvedic medicine is based on ancient Indian medical knowledge. According to this protocol, acne is cause by an aggravation of an internal condition called Pitta-Disha and can be treated naturally by eating specifically bland foods such as oatmeal, natural apple sauce, and rice.  By eliminating fried and spicy foods as well citrus fruits, Ayurvedic healers believe the skin has a better chance to heal. Tea made from cumin, coriander, and fennel is considered to be very helpful in soothing the irritating sensations associated with acne.

An excellent panacea to take the sting out of acne is made by creating a paste of both course and fine natural oatmeal.  Leave it on the affected area to dry and then wash it off gently with warm water. Other healing pastes can be made with almond powder and goats milk or chickpea powder and water.

Here again, it is best to consult with an Ayurvedic doctor to get the right diagnosis for your skin.

Neem Oil
One of the most powerful Ayurvedic treatments for the skin is the use of neem oil. Written about in India’s ancient texts, neem is the ultimate anti-bacterial, blocking the growth of viruses, healing a myriad of skin ailments, and restoring elasticity to abused and poorly functioning skin.  Neem contains essential fatty aids along with vitamin E and can be applied topically to help heal the effects of acne and other skin eruptions.

Cleansing the Skin
One of the most important steps to take for your skin, whether you have acne or not, is to cleanse properly in order to keep your pores free of bacteria. In the case of acne, wash with natural soaps or gels that contain mild components like aloe vera or oatmeal. Look for brands that contain no additives, which can cause allergic reactions. Keep your hair shampooed regularly, again with natural and mild products and if you need to shave, use a fresh blade each time. Never, ever pick at, pop, or squeeze your skin, no matter how uncomfortable you may feel.

Using the above protocols over time will help to clear away your acne while creating a beautiful and healthful palette that shows the balance in your body through the clarity of your skin. Combine these habits with a daily regimen of deep breathing practices and meditation to lower stress levels and you have the perfect recipe for letting your inner beauty shine through for all to see!

Words to the wise:  Before embarking on a vitamin or herbal protocol, make sure to discuss your thoughts with your healthcare provider.

More ‘The Body In Form’ references for detoxifying the body:

Kidney Detox:

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