By: Dr. Chantell Groenewald
M. Tech Hom UJ
Acne, also know as acne vulgaris, is a common skin condition that occurs when the hair follicle and accompanying oil gland becomes blocked by dead skin cells, dried oil secretions and bacteria. This results in either:
1. Non-inflammatory acne: blackheads and whiteheads, or
2. Inflammatory acne: pastules, pimples, cysts and sometimes abscesses.
Acne most commonly starts around puberty due to increasing hormone levels, particularly testosterone which stimulates oil glands to produce excessive amounts of oil. Several other conditions that affects hormone levels can also cause acne, this includes:
Polycystic ovarian syndrome
Other factors that contribute to the development of acne include:
IUD’s and oral contraceptive pills
Certain medications can either cause or aggravate acne
Family history of acne (genetic predisposition)
Certain skin care products
Here are 10 natural treatment protocols that may be useful in treating acne due to hormonal imbalances:
1. Supporting phase 1 and 2 detoxification of the liver. The liver is responsible for metabolising our hormones, so supporting liver detoxification often results in improvement of hormonal imbalances. Some conventional treatment protocols for acne can be hepatotoxic, which can further aggravate hormonal imbalances in the long run.
2. Eat 5-7 servings of vegetables per day. Cruciferous and allium vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, onions, garlic and cabbage contains a substance called sulphorophane which can assist in phase 2 detoxification of the liver
3. Anti-oxidants help neutralize harmful metabolites from hormone metabolism. There are various products on the market, however a diet rich in color spectrum vegetables and berries has a potent anti-oxidant effect.
4. Herbals such as chaste berry can assists in managing hormonal imbalances.
5. Ecchinatia premium can help manage acne with a secondary bacterial infection.
6. Anti-inflammatory products such as omega 3 and curcumin can reduce inflammation associated with inflammatory acne.
7. Adaptogens such as ashwaganda can assist in stress management.
8. Homeopathy. Several homeopathic remedies can assist in the treatment of acne. A remedy can be chosen based on an individuals specific symptom picture.
9. A gut healing diet that includes anti-inflammatory foods and plenty of gut healing probiotics can assist in the treatment of acne.
10. A natural skin care regime with home made facial products. This should include gentle exfoliation, natural face wash and facial masks as well as applying products that can combat inflammation and infection such as a good quality tea tree oil.
The skin is a reflection of our overall health. A glowing healthy skin reflects a glowing healthy system whereas acne ridden skin is often an indication of underlying imbalances which should be addressed. Suppressing acne symptoms can clear your skin but the underlying problem is often not resolved and the acne can return once treatment is stopped. Careful examination of each individual and a holistic approach often yields the most favourable and permanent results.