Natural therapies that work fast
When faced with an outbreak of acne, you can turn to several types of natural therapies to help clear your skin as well as the medications noted in the last post.
There is good evidence that applying alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, citric acid, and tartaric acid) at concentrations above 10% can improve acne lesions within weeks. These can be applied as daily lotions or as a face peel every 2-4 weeks. Alpha hydroxy acids are very common additives in natural acne cosmetics. Glycolic acid is used very commonly in home facial peels and at medical spas.
5% tea tree oil gel applied for 20 minutes, twice daily, can help improve inflammatory acne within a month. It can be a good alternative for acne in patients who are sensitive to benzoyl peroxide and are not allergic to tea tree oil.
Niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3) is a pill that can be taken at up to 20 mg daily in children over age 9 years and has been shown to improve acne lesions by 4 weeks. Caution: taking more than 20 mg a day can cause rashes, headaches, insulin resistance, and stomach problems. Always remember that just because something is natural doesn’t mean it cannot cause side-effects.
Physical therapies (i.e. pimple popping)
Comedone extractors and pore strips are useful tools for removing black heads quickly. Bioré pore strips are an excellent and relatively inexpensive product for the nose black heads, however, they are less effective on other parts of the face and will not help with red spots. Comedone extractors are useful for black heads anywhere on the face, however, overaggressive use of comedone extractors can lead to bruising and scarring. So be gentle when using a comedone extractor and stop applying pressure if pain is experienced when using this device.
Lastly, taking care of your skin’s and body’s overall health will speed up the resolution of acne in all people. In some people, avoiding certain ingredients in face washes and cosmetic products can help. Ingredients that some people feel may flare acne include: sodium lauryl sulfate, octyl stearate, isocetyl stearate, mineral oil, petrolatum, sesame oil and cocoa butter.
Lastly, smoking (including e-cigarettes) and being around smoking can cause acne flares and should be avoided. In a future blog, I will discuss the effect of stress on the skin and methods young people can use to reduce stress.
This post was created to provide general information and education. The content provided is not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician or other health care worker.