How to manage acne and some therapeutic guidelines for good skincare
By West Norwood Therapies Team, Mar 30 2016 10:00AM
Our resident skincare expert, Veronica Massa, explores different factors in managinging acne and gives her top tips for you to try.
Due to popular demand, here are some guidelines summarizing some of my knowledge coming from continuous research, experience and especially client’s successful stories. These guidelines are recommended suggestions only. I encourage you to do your own research in order to be empowered by your own knowledge and be responsible for your own health. Read through and find what resonate with you the most; chose a combination of what you feel more comfortable with and stick to it. There is much more out there as nature provides us with many gifts, here are my favourites.
DIET AND SUPPLEMENTS
Increase the intake of food rich in these elements and also introduce supplements to your daily diet
• Vitamin B6. Menstrual related acne responds to Vitamin B6 as it has a role in the in the normal metabolism of steroid hormones.
• Zinc. Important for health skin. In the treatment of acne it is involved in local hormone activation, Retinol-binding protein formation, wound healing, immune system activity and tissue repair and regeneration.
• Vitamin A. Retinols, including oral Vitamin A, have been shown in many studies to reduce sebum production and hyperkeratosis of sebaceous follicles. It is also anti-inflammatory. Spirulina alghae and chlorella are very high in vitamin A. Vitamin A is vital for the optimal maintenance and functioning of the immune system. Vitamin A deficiency is one of the most profuse nutritional deficiencies worldwide. It is associated with increased susceptibility to infectious diseases Vitamin A also has a role as an anti-inflammatory agent. Supplementation with vitamin A has been found to be beneficial in a number of inflammatory conditions, including skin disorders such as acne vulgaris. Studies suggested that vitamin A deficiency induces inflammation and aggravates existing inflammatory states. Supplementation with vitamin A could ameliorate inflammation through the effects of vitamin A on the immune system and the effect on epithelial integrity as Vitamin A is necessary for normal differentiation of epithelial tissues.
• Vitamin C. Anti-inflammatory and immune system stimulant.
• CLAY. Edible clay to take internally. Wonderful for aiding elimination of toxins out of your body. It is also the richest source of minerals.
• Garlic. Taken daily detoxify the body, stimulate the immune system and it is a natural antibiotic.
• Improve digestion by taking digestive enzymes.
• Increase fruit and vegetables especially raw
• Low-glycemic diet (whole grains, beans, vegetables, no white bread, pasta or sugar) improves health of skin. Several studies have found that people with low-glycemic diets have a lower incidence of acne.
• Silver. Antimicrobial, natural antibiotic, supports the immune system, very indicated for acne and skin infections. Take internally and use externally (Spry on spots) but be careful with external use as some people believes that in time it stains your skin blue.
• Licorice. This wonderful herb is a hormone regulator: helps to balance estrogen levels in the body. It supports adrenal burnout. On the skin it reduces itching, inflammation and swelling. A natural alternative to cortisone, it has a cortisone like action reducing inflammation, redness, swelling, itching and makes scars less visible.
• Sea buckthorn. One of my favourite, amazing plant! Internally it moderates and regulates chronic inflammation, the immune and endocrine system and balances the skin’s cells by strengthening cell and blood vessel walls. It is a hormone regulator. It conteins several potent natural anti-inflammatory agents (including quercetin and salycins)as well as several groups of micronutrients (omega 3, 6, 9 and 7- palmitoleic acid very beneficial for the skin) that work together to balance and regulate the body’s hormonal and immune system. The essential fatty acids and high content of vitamin A, E, C and it also contains B6 vitamin are great for acne, internally and externally, especially the Sea buckthorn berries. Topical Sea buckthorn application soften, smooth and strengthen the skin and reduces scarring, swelling and inflammation, allowing the skin to finally break the inflammatory cycle and heal itself. It is also analgesic, which discourage scratching and picking and it is antimicrobial.
• Nigella sativa. Black seed oil, a miracle oil for many ailments, internally and externally. Studies show its efficacy on acne, psoriasis and skin cancer just to mention few. Antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antioxidant, antidepressant!
• Moringa herb is also very rich in vitamins.
AVOID: All refined sugars, food high in iodine, saturated fats, stimulants (alcohol, coffe, tea, smooking), processed food, carbohydrates, dairy products and milk. Studies suggested that the amount of dairy you consume does have an effect on acne. It makes it worse possibly also because of the hormones present in milk.
STRESS affects hormonal changes which in turn can cause acne to flare up. Reduce stress and anxiety.
EXERCISE helps reducing acne by regulating hormones, bringing more oxygen to your cells and boosting your immune system, also helps reducing stress.
SLEEP Get enough sleep which helps to rebalance, heal, reduce stress. One study focusing on acne patients in Korea found that lack of sleep correlated significantly with an aggravation in acne. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed21595660)
WATER. Drink plenty of water. Cut out all the sugary fizzy drinks. Drinking more water will help your body’s blood flow and assist it removing waste materials caused by metabolism.
Detoxification is important as acne and cysts indicate lymphatic toxicity.
• HERBS. As you need to help your body to purify the blood, enhance the immune system and eliminate toxins, the use of detoxifying herbs is recommended: Alfa alfa, Burdock root and Dandelion. Echinacea and golden seal cleanse the lymph glands. Echinacea is also an immune system stimulant.
To reduce the level of toxicity in the body and stimulate the lymphatic system, regular massage and baths using detoxifying essential oils will help: Juniper, Carrot, Geranium, Grapefruit, Rosemary are beneficial. Cupping Massage Therapy is especially recommended
Cupping massage therapy:
• NO POPPING! Do not squeeze as doing so increases the chance of infection and worsen the inflammation. Also it brings higher chances of scarring.
• Acne can get inflamed when touched , producing more redness and irritation in addition to increase the risk of scarring when the collagen under the surface is repeatedly disturbed.
• Develop a daily routine.
o Clean/wash your face twice daily with a gentle therapeutic/natural cleanser.
o Tone your skin with healing plant waters (Hydrosols).
o Use non comedogenic moisturisers that will not block your pores, avoid all the heavy ones and prefer light creams, gels or balancing healing oils as your skin need to keep the moisture and the right balanced sebum production.
o Apply regularly detoxifying and healing masks to “draw out” and repair.
• Regular HOT COMPRESSES with antiseptic essential oils (such as T3 bergamot lavender) or warm Hydrosols (aromatic herbal waters). “This will draw out” the spot/boil and speed healing.
• R. Reifen, Vitamin A as an anti-inflammatory agent, The School of Nutritional Sciences,
• The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2002 Aug;61(3):397-400. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12230799
• Nasir Abdul-Ameer Hadi Al-Harchan, THE IRAQI POSTGRADUATE MEDICAL JOURNAL VOL.9, NO.2, 2010- Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Baghdad College of Medicine, Baghdad, Iraq
• S. Battaglia, The complete guide to aromatherapy, 2003
• J. Bensouilah and P. Buck, Aromadermatology, aromatherapy in the treatment and care of common skin conditions, 2006
• http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352241015000286 Nigella Sativa studies
Veronica is at West Norwood Therapies on Mondays, Wednesdays and weekends www.westnorwoodtherapies.com/veronica-massa
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