1. Although acne outbreaks are most often associated with teens during those trying, pubescent years, in actuality, acne can afflict anyone at any age–with equally devastating results. And while the age-old tradition of home remedies offers a number of effective natural curatives, it isn’t enough to just know which acne remedy might work best. It’s also important to know the causes and contributors to acne outbreaks because even the most efficient home remedy for acne, can’t work if you continue to re-infect or aggravate your condition.


    What causes acne?

    According to most experts, four factors contribute to typical acne outbreaks:

    > Abnormal keratinization (thickening of skin cells)

    > Abnormal or excessive oil secretions

    > Bacterial invasion

    > The male hormone androgen (in females, androstenedione produced in the ovaries or androstenediol, a byproduct of progesterone)

    However, it’s actually factors like heredity, allergies, oral contraceptive use, emotional stress, environment, diet, hygiene, or a weak immune system that make the skin pone to outbreaks in the first place.


    Common mistakes

    As many dermatologists agree, it’s important to avoid certain conditions once acne appears because no matter how bad your condition may seem, it can always get worse.

    For example, at the first sign of an outbreak, avoid going out in the sun. Even though it may appear that a little color has improved the condition, in reality, sunning weakens the immune system and stimulates the sebaceous glands–which triggers the production of more oil.

    Another thing to avoid is cosmetics (and this applies to both men and women). In addition to being the cause of an estimated 30% of acne in teens, cosmetics — and that includes blemish-hiding products used by men — block the pores and start a cycle which effectively spreads acne. Also, skin-care products that use isopropyl myristate and acetylated lanolin (they may be listed under other names on the label), can wreak absolute havoc on the skin and complicate the condition considerably.

    Additionally, many new studies report that glucose/white sugar (found in pasta, bleached flour, white bread, and rice) may play a greater role in causing or aggravating acne than ever thought before. And since forms of glucose and white sugar are present in many junk foods, you are lengthening your recovery time with each unhealthy bite.


    Other contributors

    As the experts point out, repeated outbreaks to the same location on the skin is usually indicative of a bad personal habit. Do you press your cell phone to your face while you talk? Cell phones are contaminated with immeasurable bacterium.

    Are your outbreaks confined to certain areas? If you are breaking-out where your hair constantly touches your face, for instance, consider that hair holds untold bacteria and that hair-care products can be very irritating to the skin.

    Do pimples erupt from just around your lips or eyes? The fact is, shampoos, conditioners, hair sprays and gels, and lipsticks are notorious for aggravating the skin.  Once you have an outbreak, it’s time to discontinue use.

    And like it or not, kissing transfers bacteria mouth to mouth that can and will manifest as tiny, unsightly pimples.


    How to treat acne: Steps

    The first step to getting this condition under control is to wash your skin regularly–but no more than three times a day. (More will interfere with the healing process). Use an unscented, pH-balanced glycerin soap (don’t hesitate to ask a pharmacist.)  It’s best to use your fingertips to cleans the skin (clean hands, of course), followed by soft patting with a clean towel. (The towel should be washed with no laundry soap and dried with no fabric softener.)

    After following these steps throughout the day, at bedtime, add the following step: Lightly daub the affected areas with a toner brewed from one or more of the herbal home remedies for acne suggested below.


    Herbal options

    Sassafras, chaparral, burdock root, Echinacea, licorice root, and yellow dock have all been used for centuries to treat skin outbreaks with remarkable results.

    To create an excellent home remedy for acne which is both a skin toner and detoxifier: Put one cup of the herb of your choice into a quart-size canning jar or other heat-tempered glassware with a tight lid (if you have all six herbs you have the option of using them one at a time to see which is most effective, or blending them for maximum affect). Bring a sufficient amount of fresh water to boil in a clean pan (make sure it’s clean with no soap residue), turn off the heat and let the bubbling stop, then pour the water over the herbs until the jar if filled. Immediately seal the top and let steep for at least one hour. (Never pour boiling water over herbs you are unfamiliar with; it can cause them to become toxic.) Once cooled, the herbal toner can be applied liberally to the affected area with sterile gauze each night before bed.  (You can store the remaining portion in the frig.)


    Final note:

    When using herbs or herbal concoctions, it’s important to bear in mind that not all people respond to all herbs in the same way. Should you experience any ill-effects whatsoever, discontinue use immediately. But, should that occur, that doesn’t mean that no herbs will work for you, only those particular herbs.


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