“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” - Hippocrates

Herbal Remedies for Acne that Work

These herbal remedies for acne are guaranteed to work for your skin problems. Whether you are a teenager or an adult that is experiencing an outbreak of pimples and bad skin, you will find help here.

Most of us, as we have gone through life have had pimples, whiteheads and blackheads to deal with. However, when these skin problems escalate to a point where one gets them all at the same time, and in great numbers then we have what is commonly known as acne.

There are also more serious types of acne which result in pustules and cysts, which if you leave untreated can end up scarring your face and other affected areas such as the neck, chest, shoulders and back.

However, it is not all doom and gloom as first one needs to understand what causes acne, how to solve this skin problem through diet, and how to treat the problem topically.

What Causes Acne?

A young boy with acne on his forehead

We have always been led to believe that certain foods cause acne; fatty foods, chocolates, candies etc. This is not the case at all, although candy and chocolate can cause outbreaks if you eat them all in one sitting. However, the real cause of acne is an imbalance of the hormones and one's testosterone levels. The higher the testosterone, the more chance one has of getting acne.

Now there are some people who never get acne, or even a pimple, and this is because we are not all wired the same, and some people have a slightly different chemistry make-up to others. However, because of the link between acne and testosterone levels, you will find that more males suffer from this common skin problem than females.

However, acne occurs when there is an over activity of the oil glands and when dead skin cells are not removed the follicles become blocked leading to pimples, blackheads and acne. It is the cysts that cause the most problem with acne sufferers as these can cause deep scars to form, which can be difficult to remove.

Helping Acne through Diet

Although certain foods are not directly responsible for acne, there are foods that can certainly help reduce the outbreak of pimples. By including the following in your diet, you will end up with a clearer skin. This is because all of the below contain oxalic acid which will help clear up the skin.

  • almond nuts
  • cashew nuts
  • beetroot

Secondly one should increase one's intake in zinc rich foods such as:

  • Shellfish
  • pumpkin seeds
  • sunflower seeds

Drink lots of water to rehydrate the skin. And also include the following; celery, parsely, watercress, and sprouts.

Finally, if you have to eat chocolate and candy, have one or two once in a while, not every day and definitely not all in one sitting. The reason being is that when your body gets a sugar attack the normal reaction is for your body to make more insulin. The increased insulin in turn causes a burst of growth in the cells lining the pores which causes the pores to close up.

Herbal Remedies for Acne to be Taken Externally

There are many herbal remedies for acne, but because this website encourages the use of common herbs, I am only going to discuss these that are easily obtainable. These herbal essential oils or extracts are to be used on the skin only.

Elderflower Tea Skin Wash

Elderflower trees can be found in many English hedgerows as well as in other parts of the world, including the rest of Europe and North America. When you are wild crafting, just make sure that you have identified the plant before you use it.

Make a brew of elder leaves and flowers using 1 cup each. Brew them up in 1 quart (1 liter) water. Use this as a wash.

Rhubarb Root Paste for Acne

If you have rhubarb growing in your garden then you can use this beauty recipe to help clear a problem skin. Dry some rhubarb roots and then put them into a coffee grinder of food processor until you end up with a fine powder. Now mix 1 tablespoon of powder with 2 cups of hot water. Mix well and then dab this on the effected area.

Tea Tree Oil for Acne

Tea tree oil, originates from Australia an is excellent for acne. It dries out the pimples as it is highly astringent. It is also an antiseptic so is highly beneficial. For treating acne get the tea tree oil as a lotion or a cream that contains 2.5% of the oil, and which can be applied as directed. This product can be found in drug stores and pharmacies.

Lavender Essential Oil for Acne

Lavender is another healing herb for acne treatment. You will need to place 1 teaspoon of lavender oil into a clean bowl with 10 teaspoons cooled, boiled water. Place a corner of a clean facecloth into the lavender water and apply to the pimples. Leave on the affected area for 20 minutes. The lavender oil is very good for reducing inflammation.

Witch Hazel for Acne

Witch hazel is a traditional treatment for acne used for many, many years. Again this is an astringent that helps dry out the pimples. It is also antibacterial.

Easily obtained in drug stores and pharmacies, the solution is usually 86% witch hazel extract mixed with 14% alcohol. Apply as directed.

Walnut Leaf for Acne

If you are lucky enough to have a walnut tree on your property, then this is also a good natural treatment for acne. Properties within the walnut leaf protect the skin against infection. you can use it as a skin wash, applying it to the skin 2-3 times daily.

To prepare the walnut leaf wash, you first need to take the leaves and make a tincture out of them. See the page on herbal remedies for details. Then use 1 drop of tincture of walnut leaf to 1/4 cup warm water. Take the facecloth, dip it into the tincture solution and wash the effected areas using a light circular motion. This will help stimulate the blood flow to the area, as well as getting rid of diseased skin cells.

If you have an essential oil of walnut leaf, you can use 5-10 drops essential oil to 1 quart (1 liter) of warm water. Use in the same way.

Calendula Cream for Acne

pot marigold flowers

Calendula cream won't get rid of your pimples like the above treatments, but it will help when you apply it after them. This is because calendula helps to promote healing and prevents viral infections where there is broken skin. To see how you can make your own calendula cream see our beauty recipes section.

You can also use the calendula flowers as a skin wash. Take 1 cup calendula flower petals and 1 quart (1 liter) of water. Boil together and then allow to cool before using it on the affected areas.

Finally, there are other natural herbs that can be applied to the skin to help with acne. The following can also help if applied as a skin wash:

  • dandelion leaves and flowers
  • strawberry leaves
  • lavender flowers and leaves
By Kathryn Bax

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