Capsicum for Acne
When it comes to folk remedies for acne, you may not have considered rubbing cayenne pepper over your blemish-prone face. However, capsicum, the ingredient in cayenne peppers that makes them "hot," has a long record of treating various ailments, including some skin conditions. You should use caution, however, because there's no medical evidence that it can help you treat your acne.
Acne occurs when your skin has two problems: too much sebum, your skin's natural oil, and too frequent skin cell shedding, according to the website MayoClinic.com. The excess skin cells and sebum can combine to produce clogs in your skin's pores, which then can form inflamed pimples once bacteria begin to grow in them. To treat acne, you need to address the bacterial growth and the excess oil.
Native Americans have used cayenne pepper for thousands of years as both medicine and seasoning for their foods, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Other cultures, including the Japanese, Chinese and Indians, also use it for its medicinal properties. Capsicum taken orally may help treat digestive ailments, and it's also used topically to treat skin conditions such as shingles. There's no evidence to show it would be effective against acne, however.
Capsicum does have mild antibacterial properties, which might help it kill some of the bacteria that causes acne, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. It also can calm inflammation, which could help in inflammatory acne. Naturopathic practitioners apply capsicum to the skin to calm pain in arthritis and shingles. In psoriasis, a skin condition that some people might confuse with acne, capsicum can treat inflammation and might stop itching, although there's no firm medical evidence to show it's effective in any of these conditions.
If you decide to try capsicum for your acne, you can choose from two different strength creams, according to Wright State University. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to start with the lower-concentration cream. Apply the product three or four times a day to all acne-affected skin, and be certain to wash your hands afterward. Potential side effects of capsicum for acne include burned skin and contact dermatitis.
No medical research has examined whether capsicum works for acne, even though it may be effective in other conditions. If you decide to try it, you should watch carefully to make sure your acne doesn't worsen. If you develop worse acne while you're treating your skin with capsicum, you might risk scarring, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
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