Your appearance is important to you, and that is not only understandable, but perfectly normal! There is nothing narcissistic about wanting to put your “best face forward,” so to speak, and when acne strikes it can be completely demoralizing.
All people, and certainly teenagers in particular, have generally battled with acne at one point or another. It’s a totally natural developmental period when hormones go all wacky trying to sort themselves out.
However, just because it is natural or normal doesn’t mean you have to suffer through it. While some deal with it by getting powerful prescription drugs prescribed by dermatologists, others would rather avoid the side-effects of such pharmaceuticals. This is a good decision, since many acne medications have some pretty awful, even dangerous side effects.
Let’s take a closer look at what acne is, and how you can deal with it in natural healthy ways.
What causes acne?
There are numerous factors behind the development of acne, but the main causes are:
- Clogged pores
- Oil production
- Dead skin cells
When the parts of your skin with the most oil glands get plugged up with oil, acne is the result. The most common areas for this are your back, shoulders, chest, neck, and of course, your face.
What makes acne worse?
There are certain things that can have a triggering effect, allowing acne to become out of control. Some of these factors include:
- Hormones – they top the list when it comes to contributing factors for acne. During puberty, hormones are increased and in constant flux, making the skin more susceptible to breakouts.
- Diet – according to scientific studies, carbohydrate-rich foods (think starchy stuff – bread, chips, etc.) and dairy products can trigger acne breakouts
- Medications – drugs with corticosteroids in them can cause acne
- Stress – high levels of stress and anxiety can cause acne
Before embarking on an acne-fighting regimen, pharmaceutically or naturally, it’s important to bust the most common myths about acne to avoid unnecessary worry.
Here are some major myths about causes of acne:
- Dirty skin – acne is not caused by dirt – don’t try to scrub it off!
- Greasy foods – while there is a correlation between dairy products, processed carbs and acne – there is no such relation between greasy foods and acne
- Makeup – if you are using oil-free cosmetics that do not clog pores, you don’t have to worry about it causing acne. When shopping for makeup, look for brands that specifically state they do not clog pores!
Now that we’ve covered some important basics – let’s get to the good stuff – that is, how to get rid of acne in a healthy, natural way!
Apple cider vinegar
Long known for its healing and cleaning properties, apple cider vinegar is a must-have in your arsenal of natural acne-fighters. It hits the trifecta of acne-fighting weaponry: it’s a natural bacteria-killer, its astringent, meaning it dries up oil, and lastly, it balances the pH of your skin – which is a fancy way of saying it makes it much harder for bacteria to survive there.
- Splash your face with water and pat it gently dry. Take 1 part apple cider vinegar and dilute it with 3 parts water. You can use a cotton swab or cotton ball to apply it on a blemish, or a blemished area of skin. Leave it on overnight, and then wash your face thoroughly when you wake up.
Traditionally known as a delicious fruit, papaya also a potent acne fighter! Fresh raw papaya can be used to slough off dead skin cells that cause acne in the first place. In addition, it has papain – an enzyme that reduces inflammation, which as well all know, is rampant with a breakout.
- Wash your face with water, and gently pat dry. Cut up your papaya, scoop out the flesh, and then mash it up well. Rub the papaya mash all over your face (or wherever you are broken out), avoiding your eyes of course. Go read a magazine or chill out for about 20 minutes or so, then use warm water to rinse it off.
Like apple cider vinegar, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is known as a powerhouse substance that has hundreds of uses, including helping clear up acne. It fights bacteria and fungus, while at the same time blotting up oil. Also, it is slightly grainy, so it makes a natural exfoliant.
- Make a skin-loving facial mask by mixing equal parts water and baking soda, stirring up into a good paste. Gently rub this mixture onto your skin, and leave it on for 20 minutes before washing off with slightly warm water. You can also use the paste as a scrub, if you prefer.
So now you are armed with 3 of the most powerful yet natural and healthy ways to win the battle with breakouts! All of these regimens are easy, and even better – cheap. So head to the grocery store instead of the pharmacy next time you’re dealing with a breakout of acne. Your skin will thank you!