Herbal Pimple Treatment
When you see a pimple forming, your first impulse may be to run to the medicine cabinet and slather your face with zit cream that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. If you do, however, you risk over-drying your face. Instead of zapping your zit, this just sends your skin's oil glands into high gear. A better solution involves gentle, all-natural ingredients that treat the causes of acne without over-drying your skin.
Before you ever see a pimple, acne forms deep down in your skin's hair follicles. Each follicle is a tiny tube, open to the surface of your skin. In addition to producing hair, follicles are also the conduit for a type of oil called sebum, your body's natural moisturizer. When things like dead skin cells, makeup, bacteria, greasy moisturizers and excess sebum block the follicles, they sometimes get infected, causing a pimple.
Tea Tree Oil
One of the most common herbal treatments for acne involves tea tree oil. You can purchase it in most health food stores, in gel form specifically designed to treat acne or in liquid form that can be dabbed onto blemishes. As long ago as 1990, scientists were aware of this folk remedy's potential efficacy. A study performed at Australia's Royal Prince Alfred Hospital pitted a 5 percent tea tree oil gel against a 5 percent benzoyl peroxide pimple lotion. Researchers discovered that although it was slower to act than benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil delivered the same acne-fighting results with fewer side effects.
Vitex, also known as chase berry, can help control hormone-driven acne. According to Phyllis A. Balch in "Prescription for Herbal Healing," vitex works in both men and women. She suggests taking 175 to 225mg every day, noting that it usually produces an effect within 10 days. Balch also recommends goldenseal as an antimicrobial agent, echinacea as a healing agent and saw palmetto, which can help adult men suffering from acne as long as they're not undergoing testosterone therapy.
Herbs can function as spot-treatments, too. In addition to tea tree oil, Balch suggests you try witch hazel and walnut leaf. Witch hazel, she notes, acts as an antibacterial agent and astringent. Balch suggests preparing your own astringent made with 86 percent witch hazel extract and 14 percent alcohol. Walnut leaf also acts as an astringent, one that protects against infection. Balch suggests you use walnut leaf extract as a daily face wash.
Additional All-Natural Skin Care Tips
Once you've zapped your zit, herbal treatments can help keep your skin clear. In "Natural Beauty at Home," author Janice Cox suggests you make an acne-fighting mask by blending ½ cup of strawberries, 2 tsp. honey and an egg white. Honey fights acne-causing bacteria, while strawberries have natural salicylic acid, a drying agent that can gently sop up excess oil. Continuing with your herbal supplements and occasional herbal spot treatments can help keep your skin clear without the harsh effects of synthetic chemicals.
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