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!!!

Vitamins for Acne: Cure or Scam?

Fish oil for acne

There are numerous testimonials by people that claim vitamins for acne were the ultimate and final cure for their acne.  Do not believe a word of it.  I don’t know where these testimonials originate, but there is no evidence that vitamins can cure acne.  However, certain vitamins can help your body fight off acne as well as other conditions. It is all part of your general health and taking care of your body.

Some of the vitamins and minerals that can strengthen your body’s defences and help alleviate your acne include:

  • Vitamin B complex
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Chromium
  • Zinc

Different B vitamins taken together can help alleviate stress, which weakens the immune system and can be a contributing factor in acne for some people. Vitamin A strengthens protective tissue and reduces sebum production, especially as a topical treatment in the form of retinol or isotretinoin.  Both Vitamins E and C are antioxidants that help fight free radicals and strengthen your immune system.  Chromium, in the form of chromium picolinate, can help reduce infections.  Finally, zinc aids in the healing of tissue and can help inflammatory acne, although it can upset the stomach.

Rather than taking a multivitamin, it is always ideal to consume your vitamins in the form of real food.  These include fresh fruits and vegetables in a wide range of colors – yellow, orange, green, and red.  You can go by the guideline that the more variety of natural color in a fruit and vegetable the greater range of vitamins you’re getting.  Lean meats and whole grains provide other vitamins and minerals, while healthy oils (like avocado and olive oil) legumes and nuts provide even more.  A balanced diet along with regular exercise will provide everything you need to keep you healthy and help you fight off acne.

In reality, most people are unable to take in enough vitamins and minerals through diet alone.  In this case, a good multivitamin is essential.  There are some multivitamins on the market that claim to be especially beneficial for acne.  Those are a good option, but just remember that they won’t cure you overnight, even though some of them swear they will.  Your best cure is to combine your topical acne treatment with a healthy diet, plenty of water, and exercise.

– Sharyn

P.S. Some people have foods they are sensitive or allergic to that can trigger acne breakouts.  Be aware of what you are sensitive to so you can avoid them.  However, there is no food that specifically causes acne.  After all, does everyone who eats pizza or chocolate have acne?

The following is a product sold at Amazon that combines vitamins with a topical cream.  It got a 4 start rating by users, although I haven’t tried it myself.