Treat acne naturally
Dr. med. Heinz Lüscher
Acne and blemished skin can be accompanied by a great deal of suffering, especially in young people during puberty and when the skin problems persist for a long time and manifest themselves in a pronounced form. Is it possible to treat acne naturally? I am happy to inform you about some exciting active ingredients from nature, which fight impure skin and acne and complement each other and support each other synergistically.
Wonder organ skin
Our skin is an incredibly versatile organ with a wide variety of functions. It serves as protection against environmental influences, is an important metabolic organ, has countless different sensory cells and is essential for our immune system. Under normal circumstances, our skin performs all its important functions almost as a matter of course. Only when it causes us problems do we become aware. For example, when a troublesome acne develops. In healthy skin, special glands ensure that an appropriate amount of sebum is always produced. This fat-rich substance reaches the surface of the skin via an excretory duct along the hair shaft, where it forms a protective film. This process is disturbed in acne.
What is acne?
In acne, too much sebum is produced, for example because of the hormonal change during puberty. Sebum production is in fact mainly influenced by the sex hormones. Acne mainly affects adolescents, but not only. Hormonal changes or fluctuations occur not only during puberty, but also during pregnancy or menopause, for example. Acne is a collective term for all skin diseases that primarily affect the sebaceous gland apparatus and the hair follicles. Too much sebum is produced and at the same time the excretory ducts are increasingly clogged due to cornification. This is why so-called blackheads (comedones) form. In the accumulated sebum, bacteria can also multiply, such as Propionibacterium acnes, which leads to inflammation of the surrounding tissue. The clinical picture of acne thus shows comedones, pimples and pustules, and in severe forms also scars. Acne most often affects the face and décolleté, as well as the neck and upper back. Acne, especially if it lasts longer and is accompanied by disfiguring scars, can lead to great suffering, especially in adolescents during puberty! But how can blemished skin and acne be treated? More and more sufferers want natural care products, so-called active cosmetics.
How to treat acne naturally?
In the following, I will gladly discuss some active ingredients or combinations of active ingredients that I can recommend for acne and blemished skin.
What requirements should a natural active cosmetic against acne meet?
A natural cosmetic product for acne should be a formulation containing various effective ingredients that support each other synergistically. The combination of active ingredients should fight acne bacteria, have an anti-inflammatory effect, soothe skin irritations, stop itching, pleasantly cool and moisturize the skin and support wound healing. There are several exciting active ingredients that come from nature that fulfill these conditions. But it is not an easy task to keep these substances stable and bioavailable, which is, however, imperative for an effective product. Care must also be taken to ensure gentle manufacturing so that the valuable ingredients are preserved. Unfortunately, many skin care products do not remain on the affected skin long enough, which is why I prefer a fat-free, water-based gel that forms a thin layer on the skin. In it, the individual ingredients remain enclosed and are available to the skin significantly longer.
Artemisia annua anamed
Since the Artemisia plant can also be assumed to have an antibacterial effect, among other things, a natural acne care product should contain Artemisia. The species Artemisia annua is very well researched, 245 different active ingredients have been isolated and proven so far. In addition to the best-known ingredient, artemisinin, these include numerous anti-inflammatory polyphenols. Artemisia annua has been known in Chinese folk medicine for 2000 years. The Artemisia plant is a mugwort plant, it is an annual plant that grows into a man-sized bush in the summer and is also comfortable in our temperate climate. An effective acne product should contain a highly concentrated extract from the leaf tips (no stems, no woody goods, etc.) of Artemisia annua with all active ingredients.
Beard lichen (Usnea barbata) contains usnic acid, an antibiotic active ingredient that is particularly effective against skin infections, as shown in studies. Formulations with extracts from the beard lichen effectively combat typical acne bacteria, such as Propionibacterium acnes. The great advantage, however, is that the remaining skin flora (microbiome) is preserved. Our skin contains a large number of bacteria that are important for us and with which we live in symbiosis. We speak of the so-called microbiome of the skin; this is, so to speak, our invisible, living protective layer, which is part of the immune system. That is why we do not generally want to fight all germs, which unfortunately often happens with common acne remedies. For these reasons, remedies that contain ingredients from the beard lichen are very suitable for an effective acne remedy.
An active ingredient extracted from licorice root (Glycyrrhiza Glabra) is glycyrrhetinic acid. Extracts from licorice root are known in various cultures in their traditional medicine for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. Glycyrrhetinic acid has already been shown to have numerous pharmacological effects. The most important is the anti-inflammatory effect, but the substance also has antibacterial, antioxidant and skin-soothing effects, which also makes it a very suitable ingredient in a natural acne remedy.
D-panthenol (also called dexpanthenol or provitamin B5) is a substance that is contained in many skin care products, wound creams, etc.. D-panthenol has been used for a long time for topical application on skin and mucous membranes and should not be missing in an acne remedy. It not only keeps the skin moist and elastic, but also stimulates the formation of new skin cells and supports wound healing. It also has anti-inflammatory and antipruritic properties. D-panthenol is very well researched, as it has been used in skin products for decades, it has virtually no side effects.
The water-soluble vitamin C supports the connective tissue metabolism and the collagen production in the skin, so it is involved in building the skin. A certainly better known effect of vitamin C is cell protection as an antioxidant, which neutralizes free radicals. It has positive effects on the protective barrier of the skin and can improve inflammatory, blemished skin conditions. But unfortunately, vitamin C is very delicate to process, it is chemically very unstable and could enter the skin in this form only in small quantities. For this reason, it is also used in the form of sodium ascorbyl phosphate. This is a water-soluble salt of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which is only converted to vitamin C in the skin and can develop its positive effect there.
Aloe vera is also well known from various cosmetics and care products, but even the ancients knew about the many positive effects of the desert plant. The gel from the inner leaf of aloe vera is very quickly absorbed by the skin and is quickly absorbed into the deeper layers of the skin. It has a moisturizing, pleasantly cooling, anti-itching and anti-inflammatory effect and supports cell renewal. Last but not least, it also has an antibacterial component, which also makes it a suitable candidate for acne treatment.
Application of a natural acne care product
The affected skin should first be cleaned with a suitable mild soap. Then the acne remedy is applied sparingly and massaged in very thoroughly (improves the effect). This process can be repeated several times a day, but at least in the morning and evening. During the day, the skin does not necessarily need to be cleaned beforehand.