Acne is a common complaint in my medical office. Many folks use OTC medications, ointments and cures to get improvement. However, it never fails 30-40 % of folks do not respond to the common traditional treatments (Proactive, peroxides, alcohols, astringents, etc.) So are natural acne cures that work?
I believe treatment failures occur because common, everyday nutrition and lifestyle triggers, continue to stimulate acne formation.
Preferring to use natural options, I’ll first discuss several causes of acne.
1. External (Hygeine, face washing, habits of touching the face, make-ups, ointments, etc.)
2. Internal (Infections-superficial/internal, nutritional causes, immune burdens, vitamin deficiencies, hormone imbalances, toxicities)
Face washing with a mild soap with mild twice daily exfoliation (soft wash rag) will usually suffice to keep bacteria, dirt, and oils from building up and clogging pores. I like to encourage patients to use Cetaphil facial soap (hypoallergenic, mild, OTC soap). OTC soaps with Tea Tree oil may help as well. This therapy helps with folks that tend to build up dirt, debris or makeup on their faces. Plugged pores lead to an environment where bacteria can grow and fester into white heads.
Also be careful of habits such as rubbing the face with your hands, popping pimples, etc. The hands and oils on the hands can introduce and worsen the spread of bacteria. Attempting to pop pimples also can lead to scarring or larger infections.
Parasites: Many nutritionists and herbalists believe parasites play a role in acne, especially cystic acne (Acne with large white heads and pus pockets below skin)
What parasites you say? Gut parasites!?
Our immune systems are in a constant state of competition with various parasites ranging from worms to unicellular organisms. Our GI tract constantly strives to maintain the proper balance of good versus bad bacteria. Fungus and yeast also play a role and can overgrow our intestines leading to a condition called dysbiosis. Gut imbalances often show up as acne. (Also eczema)
When one considers that we need the proper bacterial mixture to properly absorb vitamins and minerals from our food, you can image the improper balance can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
This thought leads me to several key natural acne treatments:
- Eliminate soda, alcohol, pastries, sweets, artificial sweeteners and various processed carbohydrates from your diet. (This will encourage less yeast, fungi and bad bacterial growth). Many artificial sweeteners and carbohydrates affect hormone balances which change the way oil secretion and skin integrity.
- Zymex II (2 three times daily) before meals. Try for 1 month, then as needed. Zymex II is a natural anti-parasite supplement that will often improve chronic stomach issues such as bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, etc.
- Thymex(3 daily) Boosts immune function, improves immune response.
Vitamin Deficiency / Toxicities:
Besides nutritional and parasite causes for acne, many individuals suffer from vitamin deficiency and toxicities. I like to use the following regimen to address these issues:
- Zinc Liver Chelate (3 daily): Important for immune, endocrine, enzyme and skin functions.
- Livaplex (3 twice daily): Combination product that detoxifies the liver, improves bile flow, improves digestion, improves the liver’s ability to conjugate excess hormones and toxins….for removal from the body.
- Cataplex F (3 daily) Boosts calcium utilization, improves skin integrity.
The regimen listed above includes several whole food supplements. They can be taken with medications without fear of interaction. Additionally, realize you might receive other benefits because those supplements treat more than simply acne. The supplements, if taken in total represent a strong regimen for more severe acne (Cystic acne). Many individuals likely get benefits from simply treating external issues.
However, if you acne has not improved with basic measures, consider eliminating the foods listed and adding the supplements in the order you see them. If severe, use all at once for 2-3 months, then taper off. You can maintain on lower effective doses as needed.
The nutritional advice recommended clearly must be maintained as those types of foods typically start the cascade of acne due to the effects on bowel bacterial flora and hormones like insulin and growth hormones.