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Although most people associate acne with the troublesome teenage years, it can erupt at any age. Indeed up to 8% of those who had clear skin in their youth develop acne as adults. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to control outbreaks - no matter how old you are when they occur.
What it is
Spots and other eruptions are the hallmarks of acne, a sometimes chronic condition of the face back chest neck shoulders and other areas of the body. The most common form (acne vulgaris) encompasses blackheads, whiteheads, and raised red blemishes with semisolid centres In severe cases (cystic acne) clusters of painful fluid filled cysts or firm, painless lumps appear beneath the skin's surface; both can lead to unsightly permanent pitting and scarring. For teenagers especially, acne can be an embarrassing and emotionally difficult condition
• Hard red bumps or pus-filled lesions on the skin.
• Red, inflamed skin with fluid-filled lumps or cysts
What causes it
Acne occurs when the sebaceous glands at the base of the hair follicles of the skin secrete too much sebum. This thick, oily substance is normally released from the pores to keep the skin lubricated and healthy. If the sebum backs up, it can form hard plugs, or comedos, that block the pores and cause spots. Should one of these oil plugs rupture beneath the skin's surface, a localised bacterial infection can develop.
Hormonal imbalances can lead to an overproduction of sebum - a common problem during adolescence, especially in boys. In women, menstrual periods or pregnancy can also create acne-producing hormonal disturbances. Other acne triggers include emotional stress; the friction or rubbing or clothing against the skin; and certain medications, particularly steroids, contraceptives or drugs that affect hormone levels. Heredity may play a role as well.
Contrary to popular belief, acne is probably not caused by eating chocolate, shellfish, nuts or fatty snacks or by drinking colas. However, some doctors - and patients - contend that acne can be brought on or aggravated by certain foods or food allergies.
How supplements can help
Most people will benefit from trying all the supplements recommended in the chart; they can be safely combined. It often takes three to four weeks, or longer, to notice results. All can be used long term.
Vitamin B6 may be useful for acne aggravated by menstrual cycles or the menopause. Vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium promote a healthy immune system, helping to keep acne-causing bacteria in check. Taken with any or all of these vitamins, Zinc enhances immune function, reduces inflammation and promotes healthy hormone levels. Long-term use of zinc inhibits copper absorption, so it should be taken with that mineral. It may help to take zinc together with omega-3 essential fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids, found in margarine, vegetable oil and many processed foods, tend to predominate in the modern diet, and a correct balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids helps to reduce inflammation.
Vitex, also known as chasteberry, is traditionally used to help with the treatment of menstruation-related acne. Other herbal remedies that are traditionally used for the treatment of acne include burdock, yellow dock, red clover and echinacea. Evening primrose oil may be used when the lesions are disappearing. It should not be used during acute flare-ups.
All of these supplements can be used long term, as well as in conjunction with conventional medications.
Dosage: 50 mg each morning.
Dosage: 500 mg twice a day.
Dosage: 400 iu a day.
Dosage: 200 pg a day.
Dosage: 15 mg twice a day.
|Vitex Agnus-Castus (Chasteberry)|
Dosage: 100 mg standardised extract once a day.
|Evening Primrose Oil|
Dosage: 1000 mg twice a day.
Note: consider using supplements in red first; those in blue may also be beneficial.
When evaluated by a group of physicians in one study, patients with acne who received 30 mg of zinc daily for two months had clearer complexions than those in a control group who had received a placebo. In another study, zinc produced results equal to those of the antibiotic tetracycline. But not many dermatologists have embraced zinc supplements because other research has failed to show that this mineral has any benefits to offer against acne.
DID YOU KNOW?
Holding the receiver of a telephone too tightly against your skin can cause acne to break out above your ear or along the side of your chin.
FACTS & TIPS
• Fighting acne with natural supplements may be an attractive option for women of childbearing age, most of whom cannot take the powerful prescription drug isotretinoin (a derivative of vitamin A) because it may cause birth defects.
• A 5% solution of topical tea tree oil is as effective as, but gentler than, 5% benzoyl peroxide for drying up mild acne blemishes, according to a study conducted in Australia. Higher doses, containing up to 15% tea tree oil, may be helpful for more severe cases of acne.
What else you can do
- Wash daily, using ordinary soap and water.
- Eat a balanced diet; avoid foods you feel may act as acne triggers.
- Choose cosmetics labelled 'noncomedogenic' or oil-free'.
- Avoid squeezing spots; it increases inflammation and can cause scarring.
SEE YOUR DOCTOR....
• If acne does not respond to self-care within three months.
• If severe acne develops; fluid-filled lumps, red or purple inflammation, cysts or hard nodules under the skin.
• If skin is continually red and flushed, even if no spots actually appear.
REMINDER- If you have a medical condition, consult your doctor before taking supplements
Based on 'The Practitioner's Guide to Supplements'. This 416 paged book is packed with information covering over 70 popular supplements and more than 90 common disorders. PLUS 400 photographs and charts. RRP £24.99.
In the last 50 years an enormous amount of research has been published all over the world to confirm the many beneficial properties of garlic. Allicin is a natural defence mechanism of garlic. It is produced when garlic bulbs are crushed, or attacked by bacteria, microbes or fungi. Allicin is described as the 'mother' substance of&nb..
When fresh garlic is cut or crushed, a sulphur compound, allicin combines with an enzyme, allinase and a chemical reaction starts. The first compound that is formed is allicin. Allicin is the described as the 'mother' substance of garlic, which is responsible for the majority of its remarkable properties. Alliderm Gel (AlliGel) ..
The Salcura Antiac ACTIV range is formulated using natural ingredients proven to ease symptoms of acne. Ideal for moderate to severe acne prone skin, when used on an occasional basis in conjunction with the Antiac DAILY range, results can be seen in as little as 4 hours. The range is packed full of omega rich Sea Buckthorn and other natural ingredi..
The Salcura Antiac Liquid Spray forms part of the ACTIV range and is for occasional use - bringing flare-ups under control. The spray application is ideal for use over a wide area or those more hard to reach patches. We recommend combining the ACTIV range with products from the DAILY range for maximum results - either the Face Wash or the Face Wipe..
The Salcura Antiac Face Wash forms part of the DAILY range and is for regular use - maintaining clear skin and reducing light blemishing. For moderate to severe outbreaks we recommend combining the DAILY range with products from the ACTIV range - either the Liquid Spray or the Gel Serum...
Rich in natural goodness, this naturally active face wipes are perfect for 'on the go' maintenance of blemish free skin. The Salcura Antiac DAILY range is formulated using naturally active ingredients that, when used on a regular basis, can help to maintain clear skin. Packed full of omega rich Sea Buckthorn and other natural ingredients such ..
Neem Oil is cold pressed from the fruit and seeds of the Neem tree (Azadirachta indica); it contains compounds known as triglycerides and triterpenoids. The oil is generally reddish in colour and has a strong odour arising from the active ingredient known as azadirachtin. Neem Oil is not used in cooking, but has a long history of use in A..
Transparent gel with strong antibacterial action to fight spots. Cleanse, clear and control spots with this see-through gel Black Willow Bark has powerful activity against bacteria Tea Tree extract has a long tradition in maintaining spot-free skin Reduces redness and soothes irritation Transparent gel makes thi..
Salcura DermaSpray 'Intensive' has a proven track record and is Salucra's most effective and practical solution for eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, rosacea and other related skin conditions. Salcura DermaSpray 'Intensive' Skin Nourishment Spray is both innovative and unique. Developed specifically for adults & children (12 Months) with eczem..
Instant spot clearing serum with strong antibacterial action. Highly effective spot-zapping action - gets to work immediately Black Willow Bark has powerful activity against bacteria associated with acne Deep-cleansing action, removes dead skin cells and speeds up cell renewal Reduces redness and soothes irritati..
2010 Natural Health Beauty Awards - Highly Commended Organic Young range - Oy! These fab organic skin care products are filled with amazing natural spot-fighting ingredients, they have been designed especially for young skin. WILLOW BARK, GREEN TEA & TEA TREE Thoroughly cleanse your pores with this daily antibacterial face wash..
GRAPEFRUIT SEED EXTRACT Use diluted Grapefruit seed extract to gargle or consume a few drops in water or juice. Also use as a mouthwash, facial and nail cleanser, skin rinse and household cleanser. Ideal for travelling. See suggested intake and usage information below. Also available as Citricidal ™ Tablets. All-time best seller ..
Vitamin E in its natural form (as d-alpha Tocopherol) Current research suggests that a daily intake of 400iu is a sensible level. However, it is often difficult, if not impossible, to get this level from a typical diet. For example, 0.45kg (1 lb) of sunflower seeds are needed to obtain 400iu of vitamin E. This is our most popular strength vit..
With Bioflavonoids and Rose Hips These tablets are specially formulated to release the vitamin C gradually over 6-8 hours after swallowing, which means that the absorption of vitamin C into the bloodstream also occurs gradually. This is believed to create a more stable level of vitamin C in the blood for a longer period. Lamberts® Time Rel..
Involved in more processes in the body than any other B vitamin This supplement is made in the UK to pharmaceutical GMP standards and each tablet provides a full 50mg of Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is probably involved in more processes in the body than any other B vitamin. It is known to contribute to normal psychological functio..