Acne Cures With Vitamins, Herbs, or Supplements
Vitamins, herbs and supplements can add to the arsenal of products for the sufferer of many different skin conditions. Although many foods once thought to be contributors to acne like chocolate and pizza, have been vindicated, the fact remains that acne is linked to inadequate nutrition.
As early as 1970s, noted nutritionist, Adelle Davis recommended vitamin A for acne. Retina A, often used as a treatment for the condition, is derived from vitamin A, or retinol, an animal form of the vitamin.
Vitamin A, though, must be used with caution. Do not assume if a small amount helps, a lot would help more. If taken in excess, Vitamin can cause boils. As a fat-soluble vitamin, it accumulates in the system. However, there are water-soluble forms of the vitamin manufactured. This is accomplished by irradiation, says Davis in her book, "Let's Eat Right to Keep Fit." However, taken in excess, the manufactured version is not excreted from the system and the side effects of an "overdose" are much more severe than with natural sources.
Hormonal fluctuations are linked to acne and afflict teenagers, woman during their menstrual cycle and women going through the "change." The mineral, zinc is recommended for those who suffer from hormonal acne.
Any vitamin that balances the hormones will help. This includes many of the fat-soluble vitamins and the essential fatty acids such as vitamin E, oil of evening primrose, flax-seed oil and fish oils (which contain vitamin A, as well).
Stress is a contributing factor. People under stress have an unusually high requirement for B-complex vitamins. Some vitamins among the B's, including biotin and riboflavin, are especially important for healthy skin and hair. Chinese doctor, Lit-Hung Leung studied the use of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) as a treatment for acne patients. He added it as a food supplement and created a cream for topical application with good results.
Herbal Treatments for Acne
The accumulation of toxins in the blood will find outlet though the skin. Thus, herbs that detoxify may provide relief. Green tea detoxifies and has the additional benefit of boosting the metabolism. Other detoxifying herbs include ginger root, dandelion, milk thistle and licorice. Each has other medicinal effects. For example, both licorice and ginger promote healthy digestion.
The potential user should remember that herbs are a form of drugs. Many prescription medications are derived directly from the plant. Digitalis comes from foxglove. Red clover is recommended for women suffering from hormonal imbalance. Therefore, pick one herb rather than using a scatter-gun approach, and choose the herb with care. Many have side effects. For instance, milk thistle can cause indigestion, headache and itching. People who are allergic to daisies, members of the aster family like the common thistle, and foods such as kiwi and artichoke should not take milk thistle.
Like vitamins, herbs can be applied to the skin. Slippery elm works as a spot treatment. Ground up and moistened, slippery elm can be applied to a pimple to shrink it. However, this is a spot treatment only. It stings and should be used sparingly, and only applied to the blemish and not the adjacent skin.
Aloe vera is an astringent. It soothes the skin and can help get rid of red marks. Aloe can be purchased from a health food store, or for those with a green thumb, it can be grown. Just break off a leaf and apply the sap directly to the skin.
Green tea can be used as an astringent. It soothes the skin; therefore, it is often found as an ingredient in over-the-counter cosmetic preparations, or you make your own. Brew a cup of tea and refrigerate it or use it in place of store-bought solutions.
Burdock root and licorice root have anti-inflammatory properties. Licorice root comes as a skin cream. Burdock root can be steeped as a tea, or grated and applied directly to the skin.
Witch hazel, from the bark of the Hamamelis plant, is another old time cure or replacement for over-the-counter astringent preparations.
The essential oils, tea tree and to a lesser extent, lavender, can be used for spot-treatments. Use sparingly--dilute by adding a few drops to water or witch hazel, or add a drop to a daily moisturizer.
Many commercial preparations contain vitamins and herbs. Moisturizers containing retin-A or retinol, or pantothenic acid (B5) are among the best for acne. Retinol and retin-A are also used for reducing wrinkles.
Avoid products containing oils. Most over-the-counter preparations will state that they contain no oils. Some will say "non-comedogenic."
Some products and herbs applied topically can have side effects. Retin-A dries the skin and may cause cracking and peeling. Burdock is anti-inflammatory; however, it may cause reddening. Patch tests are recommended. Note the concentrations of the ingredients. If one product with a high concentration of retin-A causes skin to crack, try a product with a lower concentration.
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