Acne, common trouble that starts to bud from our teen and stretches through our twenties and thirties. Most of all had gone through the phase when they had acne, whereas some of us are still going through it. Acne affects almost 80% of the teenagers and continues in the adult life. There are several home remedies for acne treatment. Just by following a few home remedies, you can easily avoid the appearance of acne and can get rid of them.
How acne occurs?
Acne, the common term for acne vulgaris, is a disease of the hair follicles of the face, chest, back and can also occur on buttocks.(1)
When the hair follicles become clogged and filled with excess sebum, bacteria, and dead skin cells, they result in a comedo, which is an acne lesion.
When our skin renews itself, old skin cells die and shed, which is a regular cycle. But if skin cells shed unevenly and clump together with the skin’s natural oil, then it forms a plug within the pore. This plug is called a comedo.
This comedo traps oil and bacteria inside the follicle. The entrapment begins to slowly swell as your skin continues its normal oil production process.
Our body identifies this comedo as a foreign object, and an immune reaction occurs giving way to the formation of a pus-filled pimple.
What are the types of acne?
Acne can be present as different types of acne lesions namely blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts.
Blackheads are typically uninfected, clogged hair follicles. These bumps are called blackheads because the surface looks black or dark brown. Blackheads are a mild type of acne and can occur on face and back.
Whiteheads are clogged hair follicles covered by a thin layer of skin. They appear as white bumps or spots. Whiteheads occur when a pore becomes clogged with sebum, dead skin cells, and debris.
Papules are lesions that appear red and inflamed. These can be sensitive to touch and painful. They are less than 1 centimetre in size and has distinct borders. Papules can cause a change in the colour or texture of the skin. A cluster of papules can give rise to a papular rash.(2)
Pustules are inflamed lesions that are pus-filled. They are considered to be a moderate form of acne and are the infected variant. Pustules may appear white or yellow and have an elevated centre containing pus. Popping pustules can lead to severe scarring.
Nodules are a severe form of acne lesion that develops under the skin causing firm elevations. Nodules tend to linger under the surface for weeks and sometimes even months. They tend to affect the deeper layers of skin.
A cystic acne is a severe form of acne lesion, which is inflamed and filled with pus. They occur due to hyperactivity of the sebaceous glands and are painful and require professional medical treatment.
Other types of acne
Acne fulminans is a severe form of acne that occurs mostly in the adolescent male. They are characterised by inflammatory nodular acne on both the chest and back. Acne fulminans results in severe scarring and requires proper medical attention.
Mechanical forces acting on the skin causes acne mechanica. Excess pressure and friction on the skin surface, staying out in the sun can lead to this condition. It is often found among athletes and people who are already prone to acne breakouts. It is characterised by small bumps that can range from comedones to inflamed lesions.
Acne rosacea is a condition which is characterised by pimples but not comedones, and they tend to occur in the middle third of the face, along with redness, flushing, and superficial blood vessels. It mostly happens in adults in their twenties and thirties.(3)
This is an uncommon and severe form of acne. Pimples form around the blackheads and become engorged with pus This condition is seen commonly in men, but women can also suffer from this condition. Acne conglobata can cause severe scarring and last a lifetime.
What causes acne?
Acne is a multifactorial condition, and it arises when one or more of the following factors come together.
Around puberty, our body begins to produce hormones called androgens. These hormones cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge which is a regular development process. In some people, however, the sebaceous glands are overstimulated by androgens which results in a hormonal imbalance. This can result in the appearance of acne on face, chest, and back.
Hereditary or genetic
Acne does have a genetic predisposition. People who had their parents suffering from the acne are likely going to themselves face the same condition. Some people have an acute reaction to inflammatory responses, giving way to acne breakouts.
Too much of stress
Our body produces cortisol and androgen hormones under stress. These hormones create an imbalance making the skin secrete more oil by activating the sebaceous glands. The result is flaring of acne due to oxidative stress. Acute stress can cause breakouts, which tend to disappear with time. But in cases of chronic stress, the sebum production is irrevocably increased.
Our diet plays a crucial role in maintaining skin health. Diet high in carbohydrates, sugar, dairy products, and chocolates contribute to the development of acne.
This food leads to an increase in the blood sugar level which in turn leads to increase in the insulin levels. Insulin makes androgen hormone more active leading to increased sebum production.
Conventional acne treatment
For mild acne, topical application of benzoyl peroxide and resorcinol will help alleviate the symptoms. Doctors usually prescribe soaps and face wash with sulfur as the chief ingredient.
For moderate kind of acne, topical gels containing azelaic acid and topical retinoid creams and solutions are prescribed.
For the severe and purulent variety of acne, oral antibiotics are prescribed to clear the infection. Isotretinoin is a potent medication that clears the acne and is usually used as the last resort since it has numerous side effects.
How to get rid of acne naturally?
1. Coconut oil
Unlike the belief that oil will lead to more breakouts, coconut oil can be used as one of the best home remedies for acne treatment. Acne occurs due to overproduction of oil from the sebaceous gland.
Application of oil will lead to moisturisation of the skin making our skin eventually produce less oil. Lauric acid, an active component found in coconut oil has antibacterial properties.
You can massage raw coconut oil on the affected skin for at least five minutes. Later, you can wash it off with mild face wash.
2. Manuka honey
Manuka honey has potent anti-inflammatory properties. It is packed with vitamin B, C, and live enzymes. The enzymes help in oxygenation of the pores which helps draw out the bacteria.
The antibacterial properties owing to the active ingredient methylglyoxal will eliminate the bacteria producing infection.
Manuka honey has effective wound healing and soothing properties which helps reduce the redness and inflammation of the acne. Manuka honey is applied to the affected skin or acne and left for around thirty minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water.
Manuka honey should also be incorporated into the diet and can be used as a sugar substitute.
3. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has many antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties(4). The active ingredient, terpinen-4-ol present in the tea tree oil prevents the growth of bacteria that produce acne.
Tea tree oil has been known to act efficiently against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This oil also helps in breaking of clogged pores and clearing out dead skin cells.
Tea tree oil should always be diluted and used with a carrier oil like coconut oil before application. Care should be taken that it is not overused as it can dry out the skin triggering the body to overproduce oil.
Rubbing an ice cube over the face can be an excellent method to reduce the appearance of blemishes and inflammation, which can occur due to acne. Ice will help shrink the pore size and constrict the blood vessels around the acne.
You should always cover the ice with a washcloth before application. Hold the ice wrapped in washcloth against the affected lesion for a minimum of one minute.
Take a break of five to ten minutes and repeat the procedure. After you obtain a sustainable relief, discontinue the process.
Lemon juice is a rich source of Vitamin C. It has antibacterial and astringent properties. Lemon juice is a potent exfoliant. You should dilute lemon juice before application. It helps in removing the dead skin cells and promoting new skin growth.
The active component, L-ascorbic acid is usually beneficial in treating acne scarring. You should apply fresh lemon juice in the affected area without involving the surrounding skin.
The liquid can be mixed with yoghurt to provide soothing relief. You can wash off the mixture with cold water.
Baking soda helps regulate the pH balance of the skin. The pH of sodium bicarbonate, the main component of baking soda is around 9. Our skin has a pH of 5 also has mild anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. Baking soda acts as a gentle exfoliant, and it helps get rid of dead skin cells and unclog pores.
Fuller’s earth has been in use for over centuries. It has been proven an adequate remedy for the treatment of acne. It helps in absorbing oil, unclogging pores and soothing the irritated skin. You can also make fuller’s earth face mask by mixing sandalwood oil and rosewater.
You can apply the mixture to the skin and leave it to dry. Once it is dried, you can rinse it with cold water. You can use this pack biweekly.
8.Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera has potent anti-inflammatory properties owing to its active ingredients aloin and salicylic acid. Aloe vera gel helps in healing the scars caused by acne and also in reducing the pain and inflammation associated with acne.
The gel is chilled and directly applied to the skin, leaving it to dry naturally. The face is then rinsed with cold water. This procedure helps in constricting the vessels which help in reduction of pain associated with acne.
Fenugreek has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiseptic properties. Fenugreek contains flavonoids, and alkaloids like trigonelline, and coumarins like cinnamic acid and scopoletin.
These act in conjunction to decrease the bacterial count in the affected skin lesion. Fenugreek can be consumed or applied topically in the form of a poultice before showers.
The poultice can have additional ingredients like Manuka honey for better results. The herb helps detoxify the skin and get rid of bacteria producing acne.
Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid which helps remove excess cells that trap sebum and bacteria inside pores.(5) Salicylic acid helps to correct the abnormal shedding of cells owing to its keratolytic properties.
Topical application of salicylic acid helps prevents a breakout, especially in the sensitive skin. You should use salicylic acid in limited quantity since it can dry the skin.
Things to remember about home remedies for acne treatment
Making small dietary changes, cutting back on carbohydrates and dairy can have a massive effect on the skin and acne treatment. Include food which is rich in probiotics to keep a healthy gut. Staying hydrated is the key to maintain healthy skin.
Regular exercise and physical activity are most straightforward of all home remedies for acne treatment, which can help in detoxifying the body, making our lymphatic system healthy.