Acne is a skin inflammation affecting approximately 80% of those between the ages of 12 and 24. Located in each hair follicle or tiny pit in the skin, is a sebaceous gland that lubricates the skin. If some oil gets trapped, bacteria multiply in the pit and the skin becomes inflamed. Most adolescents have acne because the sebaceous glands are stimulated by a male hormone at puberty. No exact cause is known, but contributing factors are heredity, oily skin, androgens (male hormones) produced in increased amounts when either a boy or girl reaches puberty. Other causes may include allergies, stress, junk food, and oral contraceptives. Blackheads form when sebum combines with skin pigments and plug the pores. If scales below the surface of the skin become filled with sebum, whiteheads are formed. In severe cases, whiteheads build up, spread under the skin and rupture, eventually spreads the inflammation.
Prepare a poultice using chaparral, dandelion, and yellow dock root, and apply to the areas of skin with acne. (It is best to grind the herbs to a powdered or granulated form. Add water until the mixture is the consistency of a thick paste. If using a granulated form, add a small amount of ground flaxseed or cornmeal and mix until the consistency of thick paste. Spread this paste on a piece of fresh white cotton so that it is a quarter inch thick, and cover the area completely. Place a towel over the poultice to prevent heat loss. If you choose fresh herbs for the poultice, simmer two ounces of the herb in half a pint of water for approximately two minutes. Do not drain. Pour the entire mixture into a cheesecloth. It is best to cleanse the area first with hydrogen peroxide before applying the poultice. Apply the herb poultice directly to the affected area, making sure that it covers the area completely. A second layer should be added to retain heat. Do not reheat a poultice and reuse. When poultice has cooled, remove and discard. Wash the skin thoroughly. If acne spreads or worsens, discontinue use of poultices).
Use red clover, lavender and strawberry leaves as a steam sauna on the face. Lavender kills germs and stimulates new cell growth.
Herbal Medicine Formulas and Recipes
Chromium (GTF) used as directed, aids in reducing infections of the skin.
Gerovital H-3 face cream (GH-3) used as directed on the label, relieves inflammation. (Used in Europe with good results).
Lecithin one capsule before meals, needed for better absorption of the essential fatty acids.
Primrose oil used as directed on the label, supplies the essential gamma-linoleic acids needed for healing.
Unsaturated fatty acids one tbsp. cold-pressed sesame or flaxseed oil (linseed oil) or take in capsule form, needed to keep the skin smooth and soft, and to repair damaged cells.
Zinc gluconate 30-80 mg daily, aids in healing of tissue and helps to prevent scarring.
Vitamin A and E emulsion, 100,000 IU vitamin A and 400 IU vitamin E, (use emulsion for easier assimilation), strengthens the protective epithelial (skin) tissue.
Accutane used as directed on the label, strengthens epithelial tissue. (Caution: Do not use if pregnant. May cause birth defects).
Chlorophyll liquid or tablets, used as directed on the label, aids in cleansing the blood, preventing infections.
Cod Liver Oil, used as directed on the label, is a good source of vitamins A and D, which are needed for healing of skin tissue.
Hydrochloric Acid (HCL) with digestive enzymes, taken with meals. (Caution: Those with ulcers should not take digestive enzymes containing HCL).
Niacin, 100 mg with each meal, improves blood flow to the surface of the skin.
Proteolytic enzymes, 2 tablets between meals, will free radical scavengers.
Retin-A, (contains retinoic acid and a vitamin A derivative) is taken by prescription only. Successfully used by dermatologists to treat acne. (Caution: Do not use if pregnant. May cause birth defects).
Vitamin B complex (high potency) with extra B6 and pantothenic acid, take 50 mg 3 times a day, important for healthy skin tone.
Vitamin C with bioflavonoids, 3,000-5,000 mg daily in divided dosages, promotes immune function.
- Burdock root
- Butternut (White walnut)
- Clover, red
- Dandelion root
- Labrador tea
- Lettuce, wild
- Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
- Walnut, black
- Water cress
- Water lily, fragrant
- Yam, wild
- Yellow dock root
Keep the affected area as free from oil as possible. Wash or pat with lemon juice 3 times daily. Shampoo hair frequently.
Increase your intake of raw vegetables. Avoid alcohol, butter, cream, caffeine, cheese, chocolate, eggs, fat, fish, meat, poultry, sugar and wheat. Do not use any dairy products for a month. Acne may develop due to an allergic reaction to dairy products. The fat content of the dairy products can worsen the condition. Add one dairy product at a time to see if the acne returns.
An antibiotic cream or oral antibiotic is sometimes prescribed for acne. If so, add acidophilus because antibiotics kill friendly as well as unfriendly bacteria. Eat plenty of sour products, such as yogurt.
Benzoyl peroxide, an active ingredient in many acne products, helps in mild cases. All cosmetics should be water based, do not use oil-based products.
Blackheads should be removed only with a specially designed instrument. Picking or scratching may cause scarring. Keep hands clean and avoid touching the face.