Honey to Clear Acne
Acne is caused when hair follicles become blocked by excess oil secretion from the sebaceous glands in the skin. This oil combines with dead skin and debris to clog up the pore. If the pore heals over it becomes a whitehead. If it remains open, it will oxidize with the air and become a blackhead. These clogged pores are known as comedones. Specialists have yet to prove what causes acne, but they do believe that it is strongly linked with hormone imbalances, explaining why teenagers suffer greatly, states MayoClinic.com.
According to the Bastyr Center for Natural Health, honey uses ''osmosis'' to suck out excess fluid and infection from wounds. It then uses its acidic pH and its enzymes containing hydrogen peroxide to kill off any bacteria. Its air-tight seal then prevents any further bacteria from infecting the wound. So with comedones, the clogged pores will be cleaned of oil and infection--or pus with whiteheads--and the regenerative qualities of the honey will help the damaged skin to heal more quickly.
According to World of Honey, processed honeys off-the-shelf in a supermarket are not suitable for use. This is because the antibacterial qualities have been broken down and destroyed in the processing. At the very least, it is recommended that a freshly farmed honey is used, preferably organic.
Manuka honey is a medical grade honey from New Zealand. It is rated based on its antibacterial activity, which is called the unique manuka factor, or UMF. Medical professionals use a honey with UMF10 or higher, according to the DermNet NZ website .
World of Honey recommends applying the honey daily directly to the acne area. Leave for 15 minutes and then rinse off with cold water. It's recommended not to heat the honey in any way to make it thinner or more easy to apply, as this will damage its antimicrobial properties. DermNet NZ states that applying the honey on a dressing pad may be more useful and less messy. It can also be mixed with lemon juice and almond oil and applied as a face mask, according to the Acne Talks website.
Acne Talks notes that honey treatment may not be right for more sensitive skin types and for more serious cases of acne such as cysts.
Home remedies, including manuka honey, are still not taken as serious treatments for acne or other skin conditions. As MayoClinic.com states, more research on these remedies and dietary supplements needs to be done to confirm their medical uses. It is important to always consult a specialist before beginning any home remedy and self-treatment.
Over-the-counter products containing benzoyl peroxide--an organic compound--are effective for mild acne. For more severe cases and scarring cysts, MayoClinic.com recommends the use of isotretinoin, commercially sold as Accutane. This is prescription medication that has been shown to be very effective, but also can lead to aggressive side effects.
Cosmetic procedures such as chemical peels or microdermabrasion, which is spraying the skin with a fine mist of abrasive crystals, are also options for severe acne scarring.
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