Acne treatments – in our daily lives, we are surrounded by advertisements for acne products and treatments, all displaying a wide range of benefits. However, these acne treatments can often be expensive, harmful or even just ineffective.
Home acne remedies are often looked down upon by large skincare corporations as holistic nonsense. Yet, many acne sufferers praise simple home remedies over the abrasive acne treatments seen on the wider market. This article will explore what may be triggering your breakouts and offer 8 simple home remedies and at home acne treatments to help try and relieve them.
What causes acne breakouts?
Acne forms when oils are released onto the skin, causing pores to become clogged and further irritated by bacteria. There are a variety of different reasons why an excess of oil can be released on to your skin.
Firstly, certain foods, or more specifically, ingredients, may be making your acne worse. Ingredients such as sugar, dairy products and refined grains, help to increase our blood sugar level, allowing more insulin to be released. As a result, when a hormone, such as insulin, is secreted frequently, it causes the oil in our skin to be released as well, leading to more acne breakouts.
Thus, it might be a good idea to use a food diary as this will help you to identify personal food triggers, which further contribute to your acne breakouts.
Moreover, stress and anxiety can also lead to acne breakouts. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have been cooped up inside, staring aimlessly at our screens and trying to make sense of the uncertain new world that we live in.
Therefore, if you have noticed an increase in breakouts during the last year, it could be due to stress. When our body senses a threat, it releases the hormone cortisol, which triggers our famous ‘Fight or Flight’ response.
As cortisol is released into the body, our skin releases oil and our hair follicles begin to rise. Therefore, it is more likely that when we are under pressure, oil and hair follicles will clog our pores, causing acne.
Acne could also be the result of an infection. Cystic acne occurs when a pimple becomes infected with bacteria, causing red, swollen and inflamed cysts. Adding on to this, if your cystic acne begins to burst, it can further increase the spread of infection around your face. This type of acne must be treated quickly and can often be reduced with oral antibiotics.
Furthermore, acne can also be due to your genetic makeup. Even though there is not a specific gene for acne, our genetics can play a role in whether we are prone to acne. For example, you may have inherited a particularly oily skin tone, making your pores more likely to be clogged.
Although there is not a way to change your genetics, it may be wise to experiment with some natural spot treatments to see if you are able to reduce your breakouts.
Now that you have some idea about what might be causing your breakouts, here are a list of home remedies for you to try.
If you have noticed an increase in breakouts during the last year, it could be due to stress. When our body senses a threat, it releases the hormone cortisol, which triggers our famous ‘Fight or Flight’ response.
Take a zinc supplement
Zinc is a very powerful mineral found in the layers of Earth’s crust. Although it is not a pure element, small traces of the substance can be found in the oceans and even the air. Zinc is found in food such as red meat, chicken and fortified breakfast cereals, so with a balanced diet, your body should be able to obtain plenty of sources of zinc. However, it is advised to take an additional zinc supplement in order to reduce acne breakouts. This is because zinc helps to control oil production within the skin, which, in turn, reduces the amount of oil that can get clogged within the pores, allowing for less acne to form.
Apply spot acne treatments with salicylic acid or lactic acid
Salicylic acid and lactic acid help to exfoliate the skin remove layers of dead skin. These products also help to increase cell turnover, giving you more youthful skin. By removing the layers of dirt and dead skin, your pores remain clear and less prone to acne breakouts.
Increase your Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acid intake
The benefits of Omega 3 and Omega 6 have been explored and further proven for decades, especially we in comes to improving skin conditions such as acne. Omega 3 and Omega 6 are often found in a variety of fish, nuts and seeds and plant oils such as flaxseed oil.
However, it is believed that Western diets to not give us the recommended doses of these substances. Therefore, it may be beneficial to increase our intake with changes in our diets or further supplements.
In terms of treating acne, Omega 3 and Omega 6 have anti-inflammatory properties, which help to soothe the skin and reduce redness. As a result, your skin obtains a calmer complexion and appears less irritated.
Exfoliate regularly to remove dead skin cells
As mentioned previously, both salicylic acid and lactic acid are incredible exfoliators, which help to remove dead layers of skin and keep your pores clear.
However, exfoliation can be achieved with a variety of products. For example, there is a wide selection of acne treatment scrubs which have a slightly abrasive texture, helping to rub away dead skin and keep your skin clear.
It is recommended that you only exfoliate your face 2-3 times a week to avoid any damage to your skin.
Wear sunscreen every day to protect your skin from UV damage
Sunscreen is not only used in hot weather, in fact, our skin is vulnerable to sun damage all of the time. By using sunscreen every day, we are able to prevent our skin from drying out or developing sunspots.
As a result, sunscreen helps to keep our skin plump and reduces the amount of dead skin that can further clog our pores.
Cut out sugars for a low glycaemic load diet
As you already know, sugar causes an influx of insulin within our bodies, which further increases oil production in our skin, leading to more frequent acne breakouts.
By adhering to a low glycaemic load diet, we can reduce our sugar intake overall, and see the health benefits in our skin.
This diet has proven to have anti-inflammatory properties, reduce the size of oil glands and produce fewer acne scars. Not to mention, less sugar has a variety of benefits for our wider health too.
Dairy could trigger breakouts
Although many dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yoghurt, have tremendous benefits for our diets and biological functioning, certain products could be responsible for your frequent breakouts. For example, cow’s milk gives calves the nutrients and growth hormones they need to survive and function fully.
Yet, when human’s consume cow’s milk, it releases a hormone similar to insulin, allowing more oil to be produced and leads to pores being clogged further.
Thus, if you believe that you have a sensitivity to certain products, it may be a good idea to try out a non-dairy alternative.
Practice relaxation techniques to reduce stress
As mentioned in the beginning on this article, stress hormones lead to more oil being released into the skin, causing your pores to become clogged and inflamed. We can reduce stress in a number of healthy ways. For example, by keeping a regular sleep cycle, we are able to improve our sleep hygiene. This simply means that we are allowing our bodies to have an adequate amount of rest, which as a result, helps us to become more relaxed throughout the day. Moreover, regular exercise helps to release endorphins into our bloodstream. This helps us to feel more positive and enlightened, which of course, helps us to combat stress.
If you want to incorporate certain exercises into your relaxation techniques, try practicing yoga regularly. These exercises help you to focus on the movement and natural flow of your body, allowing to become more present and less distracted.
Finally, try using meditation practices before you got to sleep, to help you achieve a calmer and more relaxed bedtime routine.
Although there are a wide variety of acne treatments on the market, it is best to tackle acne with an inside-out approach. This is because a lot of natural home remedies tackle the root causes of acne, helping you to achieve more clarity and control of your condition.
So, if you feel as if you have tried every skincare product on the market, try delving into these home remedies and see if they can help soothe your acne troubles.
You can read more about types of stress and relaxation techniques here as well: https://shop.dermoi.com/blog/stress-and-skin/
Author: Melody Day