Acner.org: Acne treatment

Acner.org: Acne treatment

Herbs to Clear Skin

Acne is an inflammatory disorder of the skin characterized by eruptions appearing anywhere on the body, but most commonly on the face, chest and back. Although this condition isn't life threatening, it can be physically painful and emotionally distressing at any age. In fact, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, acne affects 17 to 45 million people in the U.S., many of whom are adults. If you're one of them, certain herbs may help.

Tea Tree

The PDR for Herbal Medicines states that the essential oil of tea tree contains compounds collectively referred to as terpenes that are antimicrobial and antiviral. Applied topically, these compounds may help to reduce surface acne-causing bacteria. A study in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology reported that a 5% topical tea tree oil gel effectively reduced the severity and total number of acne lesions in patients with mild to moderate acne. If you decide to try a tea tree oil product, please note that the Mayo Clinic says that it may take longer to see results compared to using more conventional over-the-counter preparations containing benzoyl peroxide.

German Chamomile

German chamomile is traditionally used to treat all sorts of skin conditions, including acne. The herb contains a compound called chamazulene, which according to the PDR for Herbal Medicines, checks bacteria and speeds healing due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Guggul

A 1994 study published in Journal of Dermatology investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of oral gugulipid, a liquid extract obtained from the mukul myrrh tree, compared to the oral antibiotic tetracycline. The researchers found that the study subjects with especially oily skin responded better to gugulipid. In addition, there was an overall decrease in inflammation and acne lesions by 68% compared to 65.2% in the group treated with tetracycline.

However, the University of Maryland Medical Center cautions that guggul preparations may have estrogenic effects. This means that if you are pregnant, nursing, or have a personal or family history of hormone-driven cancers, including ovarian, breast or prostate cancer, you should not take guggul. In addition, this herb may interfere with certain medications, such as estrogen-based birth control pills and blood thinning drugs. Please talk with your doctor if any of these conditions apply to you, or if you are taking other herbal supplements, before using guggul to treat acne.

Ayurvedic Herbs

The University of Maryland Medical Center lists several herbs used in Ayurvedic medicine that have shown promise in studies in terms of reducing the number and severity of acne lesions. These include turmeric, ashwagandha, aloe and ginger.

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