Usually, I recommend a trip to the dermatologist as one of the first stops when putting together a good acne treatment regimen. However, are your numerous trips to the doctor for high priced medications and ointments not showing results? If so, you may want to try natural treatments for acne. Unlike prescription medications, alternative acne treatments rarely cause harmful side effects and are generally less expensive than a prescription. It just may take a little longer for them to work, or to identify the most effective products.

Why Use Natural Treatments for Acne?

Some people with sensitive skin just can’t handle the stronger topical prescription medicines. As alternative medicine becomes more popular, a greater number of acne patients are seeking natural ways of treatment. While some people may have experienced relative success from prescription medications, the side effects or reactions to the medicine are often just as much of a problem as the acne itself. Dry, itchy skin can be one side effect, and increased sensitivity to sun is a problem with most of these treatments.

Other people who turn to natural products have tried every over the counter remedy available, only to find their condition hasn’t improved at all. In fact, when used improperly or in excess, many non-prescription ointments and lotions can even aggravate your acne. Overdrying your skin can just lead to flakiness, which can clog your pores and result in more blemishes.

In women, acne is often the result of a hormonal imbalance that occurs every month, or later in life during menopause. This type of acne isn’t something that will just go away on its own or during a short-term treatment. In order to effectively treat adult acne over the long term, you’ll want to choose a method that will not jeopardize your overall health in the process.

What Natural Products Work Best on Acne?

Today there are many natural herbs available that have proven helpful in eliminating or reducing the painful and embarrassing effects of acne without the irritating side effects of prescription treatments. Some of the most commonly used herbs include: primrose, black cohosh, red clover, and wild yam.

These particular herbs are used for women since they are effective in striking a healthy balance of estrogen and androgen in the body. An excess of androgen in the system is a common culprit in the overproduction of sebum, which can result in blocked pores that lead to acne.

There are also natural treatments that can be used by both men and women. These herbs help improve the skin’s appearance by both eliminating the infection and soothing the inflamed areas of skin. Visit your local health food or organic store to find some of these herbal treatments. You can also visit The Natural Store online for a huge range of natural acne products. If you have a Whole Foods near you, that is another great place to find items such as dandelion root, red peony, licorice, salvia, and echinacea – all of which are popular herbs used to treat acne.

Vitamins as a Natural Acne Solution

Many dermatologists believe that acne is the result of a vitamin deficiency in their patients. Clinical research results have shown that a good percentage of acne patients have an insufficient amount of Vitamin B in their system. This deficiency can also cause excess sebum, along with the resulting clogged pores and blemishes. Supplements of Vitamin B5 in the diet on a regular basis have shown a great deal of success in reducing or healing acne symptoms. You don’t even have to go to a health store for this. You should be able to find Vitamin B5 at your local pharmacy. However, I’m a Trader Joe’s devotee and get mine there.

Get Expert Advice

While natural or herbal treatments for acne are generally safe, you’ll still want to proceed with caution when trying any new type of treatment. It’s a good idea to talk with a knowledgeable herbalist or an alternative medicine specialist if you’re uncertain about possible side effects or reactions.

An alternative medicine specialist can also provide you with additional information on suggested dosage requirements. If you’re currently taking any type of prescription for illness, be sure to discuss the matter with your physician or alternative medicine practitioner.  Just like prescription medications, many herbs should not be used in conjunction with other types of medicine.

If you are not sure where you can get advice on the best natural treatments for your acne, try talking to someone at your local health or organic store. They often know good practitioners since that is their field of expertise. The larger natural health chains (such as Whole Foods) also employ very knowledgeable people, but a true alternative medicine specialist will have much more extensive experience and training. There is no formal regulations on natural treatments, so you need expert advice to figure out what to try first. And remember! Patch test first!!!

Getting Older and Coping with Adult Acne

Trying to cope with adult acne can often be as damaging to your self-esteem as when you were younger. After all, who expects to see acne in a 30, 40, or 50 year old? If you’re well beyond your teen years and still experiencing acne outbreaks, you are probably wondering where this is coming from and why. You are not alone. While a large percentage of acne patients are teenagers, many adults also suffer from frequent outbreaks or blemishes on a regular basis.

Women seem to have the most problems with adult acne. While other women are slathering on anti-aging creams, you have to be careful to use anything that will make you break out. To get rid of the acne, you may also require different types of treatment methods than those used for younger individuals.

Causes of Adult Acne

Why are you having to deal with acne when you thought you’d left it all behind? As the number of acne cases in adult women continues to grow, there has been increasing interest in its correlation with hormones. Aside from the usual monthly fluctuations, women experience hormonal changes during both pregnancy and menopause, both of which are times when acne can flare up and persist. Sometimes, adult acne can flare up due to stress, poor diet, and the use of heavy makeup as well. Those issues are far easier to deal with just by finding relaxing activities, improving your diet, and using only makeup that is safe for acne prone skin.

Treatments for Adult Acne

Luckily, there are many treatment options available for adult acne. Depending upon the severity of the condition, your doctor may prescribe a number of medications, including antibiotics and topical creams that contain retinoid.

Oral contraceptives have also been effective in reducing or eliminating acne symptoms in adult women. If you’re not currently taking birth control, it’s a good idea to discuss both the benefits and risks of this type of treatment with your doctor. While oral contraceptives are believed to reduce your chances of developing other conditions, such as osteoporosis, and many types of cancer, they can cause harmful side effects in some cases.

Daily Care of Adult Skin with Acne

Developing a good skin care routine is just as essential as ever in healing and preventing acne. Stay away from any harsh scrubs, and look for gentle cleansers. Products containing glycolic acid are often helpful, due to their gentle exfoliating properties. Test one on a small patch of skin before use.

Cosmetic products should also be chosen with care. Although it’s not necessary to refrain from wearing makeup, you’ll want to use only noncomedogenic cosmetic products if possible.

Be very careful of any anti-aging makeup and skin care. Some of these products are really meant for dry skin and can cause your acne to flare up. Check the ingredients carefully for things that might make you break out, and look for products that are specifically labeled as non-comedogenic.

Many people suffering from acne seek out the sun, believing that it will help. While sun and outdoor air are both beneficial in promoting healthy skin, the use of acne medications or ointments can often make you more sensitive to sunlight exposure. In order to avoid sunburn or redness, be sure to use a sunscreen block that’s appropriate for your skin type.

Your Next Steps

There are a number of successful treatment options available today for adult acne, so don’t delay. Often the hardest task is locating the medication or product that works well for you.  For best results, seek the assistance of a dermatologist first. Tackling adult acne is even more critical than in teenagers since the skin is not as elastic and you need to do your best to prevent scarring.

P.S. If you are having problem with dry skin and acne, read some of our recommendations on the Best Makeup and Cleansers for Dry Acne Prone Skin.

Stress and Acne: Can Stress Cause Acne?

Stress can cause acneYou may have noticed that whenever you have additional stress in your life, your acne flairs up. I know I do. Whether it is lack of sleep, emotional upheaval, or just extra pressure from work, there is no doubt that I’ve seen a direct relationship between my level of stress and acne. Does your own acne flair up after an emotional upset? For many years, dermatologists have been asked the question by their patients, “Can stress cause acne?” I spent a little time researching this topic and found some interesting correlations.

Yes, it is true that heredity can play a role in your acne. However, many physicians now realize this troubling condition can also be related to other factors such as stress or a poor diet.

The fact that stress can have a negative impact on your immune system is not a new concept. No matter what type of illness you suffer from, a great deal of stress can either worsen your condition or increase the amount of time it takes your body to heal and recover. I have definitely noticed that I am more susceptible to colds when I’m under a lot of stress.

Why is it that stress has this effect on our bodies? When people experience stress or emotional turmoil, the body often reacts by producing an overabundant amount of hormones. Male hormones especially have a great impact on the sebaceous gland. If the gland becomes overactive, the body then produces too much sebrum. After the pores become clogged with sebrum, acne is very likely to occur.

In addition to aggravating current acne breakouts, stress can also cause an overall decline in the appearance of your skin. Aside from increased sebum production, unhealthy amounts of stress may cause the adrenal glands to produce cortisol. The cortisol is then released into the sebaceous gland and produces a greater amount of oil in the skin.

Hiking is one way to relieve stressEven if you’re currently taking a prescription or over the counter treatment for acne, your stress level will have a negative impact on your skin. By following some of these tips for reducing stress, you can help combat acne. Use these tips to relax and not only will your breakouts likely improve, but you can also achieve better overall health and wellness.

  • I’ve found that exercise can alleviate my excess tension and anxiety more than anything else. You may not feel like exercising when your’e stressed, but if you can get yourself up and moving it will make a huge difference. Whether it is a run, walk, workout, or yoga class, anything that has you focusing on your body more than your mind will help you calm down and see more clearly.
  • Too much caffeine can often increase your level of stress. By reducing your intake of sodas, coffee, tea, and other stimulants, you can both calm your body and prevent other common negative side effects, such as headaches or an increase in heart rate.
  • Improve and monitor your diet. Try to eat as many healthy and natural foods as possible. A diet containing the proper amount of fruits and vegetables can have a huge positive impact on your health. I have a huge craving for sugar and chocolate when I’m stressed or depressed, and I know that has an effect on both my skin and my general level of optimism and energy level.  High amounts of sugar and processed foods on a daily basis can lead to stress and other behavioral problems, especially in younger people and teens. By changing your eating habits, you can improve your acne and many other common ailments.
  • Get out in the sun! Try to get outdoors on a daily basis. Just a small amount of time outside each day can have a positive affect on your body. Sunshine exposure is responsible for stimulating the production of Vitamin D which promotes healthy skin. A short walk several times a week is all that is needed.  Vitamin D supplement will not have the same effect as getting outside for some real sunlight.

Even if you try just one of these tips, it should make a difference in your physical and mental health, energy level, and the appearance of your skin. Reduce your stress and acne will be much less common an occurence for you. As for me? I’m heading over to the gym now for a good workout and then a nice hot shower!

Need to deal with concealing your current acne? Check out these articles for makeup suggestions and tips:

Best Powder Foundation: Tops Picks for Acne Prone Skin

What Makeup is Good for Oily Skin?

Amazing Cosmetics Concealer Review

Now go relax!!!

Acne Tips: How to Prevent and Get Rid of Acne

You have probably heard many acne tips in the past for preventing or getting rid of pimples and the resulting acne scars.  Some of those tips may be based in experience and some are just cooked up in someone’s home kitchen, or just in their head. However, in order to effectively treat acne, you need to be aware of what factors can cause or aggravate your condition. You’ve no doubt heard the common myths that eating chocolate or oily foods causes acne. While a healthy diet is recommended, there is no one specific food that results in acne outbreaks. Learning to distinguish the facts from the rumors is essential if you want to prevent and treat acne breakouts.

Your Age and Acne

While acne is most predominant in teens and young adults, it can affect people of all ages. The good news is that once a person reaches the age of 25, their chances of developing acne or suffering from additional outbreaks will drop dramatically. For adults in their mid-thirties or older, the risk of acne is even less. However, there are still many cases of adult acne, usually in women, due to hormonal imbalances that occur during pregnancy and menopause.

Your Diet and Acne

Even though eating chocolate or fried foods does not cause acne, a  well-balanced diet can make a big difference in keeping your body healthy and preventing this condition. In order to keep your skin nourished and looking its best, try to eat several servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. A sufficient water intake is also important to keep your skin hydrated. In addition to helping your acne, drinking lots of water will help your whole body (with the added benefit of preventing constipation!)

Does Stress Cause Acne?

People often say that they break out when they are under a lot of stress. The relationship between stress and acne has been a hot topic for many years. Although it may not be the culprit in an underlying acne condition, unnecessary emotional turmoil can worsen breakouts or cause frequent flare-ups. Be aware of your stress triggers and try different methods of relaxation or prevention. The most effective stress relievers are exercise and yoga, but you have to experiment with what works best for you.

Acne Skin Care Myths

If you have had acne for a while, you will probably have heard over and over again that you just have to wash your face more often. People may tell you that you just aren’t keeping your skin clean. Many people mistakenly think their acne is the result of poor hygiene, therefore they resort to an extreme cleansing regimen. They scrub and exfoliate and work hard to dry out those stubborn blackheads and pimples to no avail.

In reality, all those over-the-counter products that require harsh scrubbing are more likely to aggravate your acne and cause it to spread more. A mild cleanser or toner used daily is your best bet. Avoid facial creams and cleansers that contain harsh ingredients, which can irritate or dry out the skin cells. Ask you doctor to recommend an acne cleanser that is appropriate for your type of skin.

MedSkin Acne Rx System combines advanced skin care technology with prescription-strength ingredients to provide a clinically proven over-the-counter acne treatment.

Can Vitamins Cure Acne?
There are many acne vitamin cures out there that promise miracle results. In fact, studies have shown that many acne cases may be related to a vitamin deficiency in the body. If you’ve tried improving your eating habits but still experience frequent outbreaks, you may wish to try adding vitamin supplements to your diet. Vitamins A, B5, C, D, and E are all beneficial in promoting healthy skin. Your doctor can further assist you in deciding what type of vitamin supplement is necessary.

Stay Out of the Sun!

The sun is out or you are going on vacation and everyone is telling you that it’s the best thing for your acne. They tell you that the sun will miraculously heal and dry up your blemishes. This is another popular acne myth. While a tanned face may help to conceal red blotchy patches on your skin, a day in the sun will not heal or improve acne. In fact, if you’re currently taking any type of antibiotic for acne or applying topical ointments, you are much more susceptible to sunburn, which will make your acne even worse.

Acne can be both emotionally draining and extremely frustrating to cope with. You may have to experiment with different regimens and acne treatments before you find the one that works for you. It’s important to realize that in most cases there is no quick fix or miracle drug to cure your problem. Focus on your own acne triggers and work on using a mix of different treatment methods, including gentle skin care, topical treatments, healthy diet, relaxation, and prescription medicines when needed.

Scar Basics: How to Get Rid of Acne Scars

Acne Scars Before and AfterOne of the most common acne questions asked, other than how to conceal, is how to get rid of acne scars. To find the best way to fade or permanently remove these distressing marks, it is important to understand that there are different types of acne scars and they require different treatment.

Early Acne Scars
The scars that form soon after a pimple or cyst heal can be referred to as early acne scars. These are not scars in the true sense, but an inflammation that remains for a time after a pimple is gone. It is red and may have a slight swelling in the place where you had the pimple.

Because of the swelling, some people think that part of the pimple is still there in the form of a cyst, but this is not the case. There is no need to go on treating the area with anti acne creams, and creams could actually over dry the skin at this point and slow down healing. Early acne scars are just inflammation which will pass naturally. Depending on your skin and the severity of the acne, the redness can take 1 week to 1 year to fade.

How to Treat Early Acne Scars:
While time and patience is your best ally, using topical retinoids such as Retin-A can speed up the skin’s healing process. These types of creams, as well as others that you dermatologist may recommend, can be a useful treatment for early acne scars. Antioxidant creams may also help the healing process.

More Serious Post Acne Scars
Most acne marks should have faded completely by the end of 12 months. If acne scars remain after one year, then these are true scars. The more serious acne scars take the form of pitted scars, boxcar scars, and ice pick scars. There usually require surgical treatment to smooth the skin and fade additional pigmentation. Medical treatments typically take the form of skin resurfacing, which is recommended to get rid of acne scars for many people.

How to Get Rid of Serious Acne Scars:
Skin resurfacing treatments for acne scars can take several forms.

1. Collagen injections

These injections smooth the skin by plumping up the area right under the scar. This treatment is often used for boxcar type scars, the round or oval scars that have clear edges and are usually less than 0.5 mm deep. Collagen treatment is also used to smooth out wrinkles in older people.

2. Laser resurfacing

Here the scar tissue is burned away with a carefully targeted laser so that healthy skin can form in its place.

3. Dermabrasion

This treatment removes the scar tissue with a fast spinning wire brush.

4. Chemabrasion

This treatment uses a chemical peel to remove the top layers of skin and is most useful for superficial scars.

All of the last three options will cause the skin to look red for a while until the new, healthy skin forms in place of the scar. Ask your dermatologist about the effects of each treatment.

There are a few acne scars that cannot be treated with skin resurfacing. Most of these are what are called ice pick acne scars. These are narrow, sharp scars, usually less than 2 mm wide, that can go quite deep into the skin. They make the skin look like it has been punctured with a small ice pick. These scars are often too deep for skin resurfacing or dermabrasion to be effective, so there is no easy treatment. The scar must be left to perhaps heal in time, or in some cases it can be hidden. However, an ice pick acne scar that never heals is unusual.

Most acne scars heal by themselves and if they do not, surgical procedures are usually effective. Some patience is required, but in the end it is almost always possible to get rid of acne scars.

The following are a few of the top-rated scar removal products from Note that these work best on early acne scars. Also, the sooner you use them after the blemish has completely healed the better. However, if the blemish isn’t healed yet some of these could be irritating – such as ones containing any type of acid.

Kelocote Advanced Formula Scar Gel

Kelocote Advanced Formula Scar Gel
ScarFade Scar Gel

ScarFade Scar Gel
Scar Fx

Scar Fx

Try a product like one of the above first. If that doesn’t work after a few months of following the directions, head to your dermatologist for a consultation on other treatments.

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