Acne is an inflammatory skin disorder characterized by pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. To some degree, it affects about 80 percent of all Americans between the ages of twelve and forty-four. Acne has become the most commonly treated skin abnormality. Perhaps modern lifestyles contribute to this change in statistics. For those that suffer form acne, it is not merely a cosmetic problems. The consequences include emotional stress that can have a strong impact on one's self-esteem.
Acne often arises at puberty, when the body dramatically increases its production of androgen's (male sex hormones). These hormones stimulate the production of keratin (a type of protein) and sebum (an oily skin lubricant). If sebum is secreted faster than it can move through the pores, a blemish arises. The excess oil makes the pores sticky, allowing bacteria to become trapped inside. Blackheads form when sebum combines with skin pigments and plugs the pores. If the scales below the surface of the skin become filled with sebum, whiteheads appear. In severe cases, whiteheads build up, spread under the skin, and rupture, which eventually spreads the inflammation. Although proper skin care is important in the treatment of acne, acne is not caused by uncleanliness, but is more likely to be a result of overactive oil glands.
Although more that 20 million teenagers suffer form this disorder, acne is not just affecting kids anymore --- it is also affecting increasing numbers of adults. While teenage acne most commonly occurs on the face and/or upper body, adult acne is usually limited to the chin and jawline, and involves fewer, but possibly more painful blemishes.
Many women suffer premenstrual acne flare-ups prompted by the release of progesterone after ovulation. Oral contraceptive high in progesterone can cause breakouts too. The presence of candidiasis can also cause hormonal changes that encourage the liver to product the wrong substances for healthy sebum.
Factors that can contribute to acne include heredity, oily skin, hormonal imbalance, monthly menstrual cycles, and candidiasis. Other possible contributing factors are allergies, stress, and the use of certain types of drugs, such as steroids, lithium, oral contraceptives, and some anti-epileptic drugs. Nutritional deficiencies and/or a diet high in saturated fats, hydrogenated fats, and animal products can also be involved. Exposure to industrial pollutants such as machine oils, coal tar derivatives, and chlorinated hydrocarbons are some environmental factors that can have an adverse effect on the condition. A body pH that is too acidic or too alkaline also fosters the nesting and breeding of acne-causing bacteria.
The skin is the largest organ of the body. One of its functions is to eliminate a portion of the body's toxic waste products through sweating. I the body contains more toxins than the kidneys and liver can effectively discharge, the skin takes over. In fact, some doctors call the skin the "third kidney". As toxins escape through the skin, the skin's healthy integrity is disrupted. This is a key factor behind many skin disorders, including acne.
The skin also "breathes." If the pores become clogged, the microbes that are involved in causing acne flourish because the are protected against the bacteriostatic action of sunshine. Dirt, dust, oils, and grime from pollution clog the pres, but this can be eliminated by cleansing the skin properly, ans with the proper products.
-Burdock Root, Dandelion leaves, Milk Thistle and Red Clover; Burdock Root and Red Clover are powerful blood cleansers. Milk Thistle aids the liver in cleansing the blood. Burdock and Dandelion help cleanse the liver.
-Chaste Tree Berry extract can aid in preventing premenstrual breakouts.
-Lavender, Red Clover, and Strawberry leaves can be used as a steam sauna for the face.
*Caution: If acne is extensive or badly inflames, do not use stream treatments, as this may worsen the condition.
-Lavender essential oil is a good antibiotic and antiseptic that can be applied directly to individual blemishes.
-Tea Tree oil is a natural antibiotic and antiseptic.
-Other beneficial herbs include alfalfa, cayenne (capsicum), echinacea, and yellow dock root.
*Caution: do not take echinacea if you have an autoimmune disorder.
-Eat a high-fiber diet.
-Increase you intake of raw foods.
-Eat a lot of fruits.
-Eat more foods rich in zinc, including shellfish, soybeans, whole grains, sunflower seeds, and a small amount of raw nuts daily.
-Be sure your diet contains vitamins A, C, E, and essential fatty acids.
-Drink at least eight glasses of quality water per day.
-Avoid alcohol, butter, caffeine, cheese, chocolate, cocoa, cream, eggs, fat, fish, fried foods, hot and spicy foods, hydrogenated oils and shortenings, margarine, meat, poultry, wheat, soft drinks, and foods containing brominated vegetable oils.
-Try eliminating dairy products from your diet for one month.
-If you are not allergic to dairy products, eat plenty of soured products, such as low-fat yogurt.
-Avoid all forms of sugar.
-Eliminate all processed foods from the diet, and do not use iodized salt.
-Follow a fasting program.
-Avoid wearing makeup.
-Keep the affected area as free of oil as possible.
-If you must shave an area of skin affected by acne, using an electric razor may be beneficial.
-As much as possible, avoid stress.
-Avoid the use of oral or topical steroids.
-Do NOT squeeze the spots. Find a skin care therapist/esthetician qualified to treat acne.
-Do NOT use topical chemicals -- go organic if possible!
"At Sage we are passionate about simple, balanced, natural skin health. We understand healthy skin is beautiful skin"
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