Beat acne to restore your self-esteem

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acne

Acne is not just a reserve for teenagers; it happens to women of all ages and can be really troublesome. It is also a source of low self-esteem for many sufferers. We guide you through steps you can take to keep acne at bay without resulting to prescription medication.

Acne is a condition that affects mostly teenagers due to hormonal changes, but also affects about 14 per cent of women aged 26 to 44 years. Its symptoms include an oily skin that breaks out in spots, pus infected pimples or blackheads all the time or at particular periods when factors causing it are prevalent.

What causes acne?

Hormones are the main cause of acne in both teenagers and adults. Some women are more sensitive to hormonal changes, particularly testosterone, at certain times of the month and tend to break out in spots. The skin can become oilier, with an acne breakout a week or two before menstruation. Adult acne is also linked to hormonal imbalances caused by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Stress also disrupts hormone levels and has been linked to acne especially among adults. Smokers are also more likely to be affected by acne than non-smokers. Consuming oily and spicy foods, not drinking enough water, lack of sleep and not taking proper care of the skin can make the condition worse.

How can you beat acne?

There are many ways you can beat acne without resulting to prescription medication.

Your diet. A diet rich in whole foods and fibre, with a low glycaemic-index (GI) is recommended by nutritionists to keep acne at bay. This diet helps balance hormone levels and keeps blood sugar levels even. In addition, fibre helps remove excess oestrogen from the body thus keeping your hormones in balance. If you suffer from acne you should stick to a diet comprising of 50 per cent complex unrefined carbohydrates from grains, cereals and vegetables. You should avoid refined sugars and fizzy drinks as they raise blood sugar levels. You should also avoid oily and heavily spiced foods. Following a healthy diet helps hormonal and stress induced acne.

Good skincare regime. The first step in good skin care is thorough cleansing, followed by toning and moisturising. If you have skin prone to breakouts you should avoid rich moisturisers and preferably go for oil-free products. You should cleanse your skin in the morning and evening and if possible at lunchtime.

There are several skin care products in the market that can help you if you suffer from acne. These will be products specifically formulated for oily and problem skin. They are likely to be oil free and containing acne-fighting ingredients such as tea tree and also gentle on skin. Ask a beauty therapist to help you select a brand that is likely to help keep your acne in control. You can also try a homemade remedy using natural honey. Honey contains natural moisturising agents that are effective in acne treatment. Mix a teaspoon of honey with a little water and use to wash your face, morning and evening. This remedy is good for hormonal and stress induced acne, as well as smokers’ acne.

Keep well hydrated. Many people find drinking at least eight glasses of water a day helps keep their skin clear of spots. Water is good for your health as it keeps your body well hydrated and also helps in digestion. Toxins caused by indigestion can be the reason your skin is breaking out. If you have hormonal or stress induced acne, try drinking lots of water every day, in addition to trying other remedies.

Tea tree oil. Compared to other over-the-counter acne treatments such as benzoyl peroxide, a solution of tea tree oil is more effective in treatment of mild to moderate acne. You can get various brands of cosmetic tea tree products from pharmacies or beauty shops or buy pure tea tree oil and mix your own home remedy. Mix two drops each of concentrated tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil in a base of 30ml of sunflower oil and apply to the face morning and evening. Tea tree oil treatment is good for hormonal and smokers’ acne.

Salicylic acid cream. This medical cream is derived from the white willow bark. It removes dead skin from the surface of acne-prone skin to keep pores open. This reduces the risk of pore clogging with excess sebum, which results in acne and blackheads. Ask a pharmacist to recommend a salicylic acid cream suitable for your condition and follow directions of use. This cream is good for hormonal and smokers’ acne.

Zinc supplements. Several studies have found that acne sufferers have low zinc levels. Taking zinc supplements is effective at reducing acne outbreaks. Ask your pharmacist to recommend a good zinc supplement. Zinc supplements are good for stress-induced acne.

Milk protein. Acne sufferers are more prone to infection with bacteria, which milk products can kill. When milk products such as whey protein and yoghurt are applied to the affected area, they help cure the acne. For a home remedy, make a paste with whey protein and water. Apply to your face and leave it on for 10 minutes, then rinse off.  You could also apply plain yoghurt to the affected area and leave on for 10 minutes then rinse off. This remedy is good for hormonal, stress and smokers’ acne.

Published on April 2013

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