As mentioned in our last post, we’re celebrating Acne Awareness Month with articles, tips and giveaways related to physical, emotional and nutritional wellness. And because we’re all about natural acne solutions (as in no bad stuff like parabens, alcohol and sulfates), we’ve rounded up five holistic treatments to try next time you are looking to explore some new ways to keep your skin clear.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
The often overlooked skin care step - toning - can also be one of the most important steps for people with acne prone skin. Toners help balance skin and remove pore-clogging dirt and makeup left behind after cleansing. However, if a strong astringent toner doesn’t appeal to you, there’s a more natural solution: pure apple cider vinegar (ACV). Chock full of potassium, magnesium, acetic acid and enzymes that kill bacteria, ACV can help clear and stop the spread of acne. Use a cotton ball or pad to smooth ACV (the kind with the mother culture) across a freshly washed face, paying special attention to cover breakout areas.
2. Oil Pulling
When you think of clearing acne, you probably don’t naturally make a connection to a clean mouth. However, oil pulling, which is the ancient Ayurvedic dental practice of swishing oil in your mouth, can eliminate toxins in your body and improve acne. First thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, take a tablespoon of coconut, olive or sesame oil and swish it around in your mouth before spitting it out and brushing your teeth.
If the idea of bitter oil in your mouth before breakfast doesn’t exactly have you chomping at the bit to try oil pulling, Keeko has developed a delicious Morning Mint (spearmint & peppermint) oil blend that will awaken your mouth and freshen your breath. Want to give oil pulling a go? Right now, you can try Keeko Morning Mint for free with any purchase on our website.
Research suggests that acne is sometimes triggered or worsened by dairy products. When we digest milk proteins, they release a hormone similar to insulin, called IGF-1. This hormone itself can cause breakouts or negatively interact with our own hormones, confusing the endocrine system and resulting in acne. The natural sugar in milk, or lactose, might also be a factor in breakouts. After infancy, it often becomes difficult for humans to break down lactose, and if you belong to the 65% of people who are lactose intolerant, milk and ice cream may trigger acne breakouts.
RELATED READ: The Gut-Skin Connection
Since adult acne is often caused by hormonal imbalances and inflammation, acupuncture can help reduce breakouts by bringing the body into a more balanced state. Originally a component of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is now widely used all over the world to strengthen, stimulate and relieve symptoms of disease. During acupuncture treatment, small, sterile needles are inserted into specific points of the body. This can help reduce acne by stimulating the release of immunomodulatory cytokines, which decreases bacteria and inflammation while also balancing hormones.
Yet another treatment that has been used for centuries in Eastern medicine, tumeric can decrease P. acnes (the bacteria that causes acne), as well as inflammation. Using it topically not only helps clear breakouts, but also brightens dark spots and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. How to use it? Most DIY recipes call for half a teaspoon of generic ground turmeric mixed with a tablespoon of generic honey. However, some derms believe that honey can clog your pores, so you can also try mixing one-and-a-half tablespoons of turmeric with half a cup of flour and two tablespoons of water. With either recipe, you should smooth the mask evenly onto your face and leave it there for 20 minutes before rinsing clean.
As a general rule for any holistic treatment, keep in mind that these are not quick fixes (luckily, you can use Mighty Patch to zap zits overnight). They require patience and consistency and should be incorporated into your regular routine and lifestyle in order to see real results.