How to Naturally Prevent Acne
What is Acne?
Many of us have dealt with acne at some point in our lives. The teen years and during menses always seem to be the worst time for those pesky pimples to make an appearance. Not to mention, they have an uncanny way of popping up during proms, weddings, and other times when we’re stressed and need to look our best.
While many of us have had acne or have at least seen it on friends and peers, very few of us actually know what acne is, what causes it, and how to prevent it.
Acne is a type of inflammation that occurs when dead skin cells become trapped in our pours. It is perfectly normal for our bodies to “sluff off” dead skin, but sometimes the skin cells don’t completely flush away from small skin pores, thus causing acne.
While acne isn’t fatal, it can cause lack of self-esteem and further skin issues like scarring if not taken care of right away. The best way to treat acne is to prevent acne from ever occurring in the first place. Not only will preventing pimples help treat the blemishes already present, but practicing acne preventative measures will help your skin stay healthy, youthful, and vibrant.
Can Acne Be Prevented?
Acne tends to rear its ugly head during various stages of life. Women going through menses and menopause tend to get acne, as do some women during the early stages of pregnancy. Men also are often afflicted with pimples during puberty. People who experience stress, anxiety, or inflammation from injuries can also struggle with acne.
Some schools of thought assume that acne is just a natural part of life and cannot be prevented. This is absolutely false. While acne is certainly more prevalent in certain situations, going through those life changes certainly doesn’t have to involve acne. These situations do not mean that you have to sacrifice your skin to annoying blemishes.
Methods to Naturally Prevent Acne
When you go to the doctor to treat your acne, they will often recommend you begin taking birth control pills or begin using prescription creams to treat your acne. These work for some people, but not all. Not to mention, there are numerous natural ways that may help to prevent and treat acne without ever having to take a pill or use a pharmaceutical cream.
You can usually naturally prevent acne through simple measures such as eating healthy and washing your bed sheets. There are also numerous natural over-the-counter products that you can try that can help to nourish the skin and keep it balanced to prevent acne.
Most of these natural methods are perfectly safe to use in conjunction with any medications your dermatologist might also recommend, but be sure to consult with your doctor before trying any herbal or holistic remedies for acne.
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1. Keep Your Face Clean
Before you ever even consider trying a pharmaceutical or a holistic remedy, make certain that you’re keeping your face clean and nourished on a daily basis. Often times implementing a simple daily face washing routine is all a person needs to prevent annoying pimples from appearing.
Generally all you need to do is wash your face with a gentle facial cleanser once or twice a day to establish a daily facial hygiene routine. It is also important that you moisturize after each wash. Never use soaps, especially bar soaps, to wash your face, as these strip your face of the healthy oils it actually needs and leaves your face dry. A mild facial scrub once or twice a week can also be good for your skin, as it will help remove the dead skin cells clogging your pores.
Keeping your face washing routine simple and with few ingredients is one of the best ways to treat and prevent further breakouts. Don’t try to make it too complicated by purchasing multiple products, because all that will lead to is further stress and irritation of the skin. Instead, choose simple and natural products, such as herbal scrubs for exfoliating and coconut oil for moisturizing, to minimize the amount of chemicals you are exposing your skin to.
2. Eat a Varied and Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is absolutely vital for healthy skin and to prevent pimples. Foods rich in vitamins A, D, E, Zinc, and Omega 3’s will help your skin to stay healthy, elastic, and youthful. It is also important that you avoid overly greasy foods, such as fried foods, in order to minimize excessive amounts of oil excreted onto your skin. Additionally, it is incredibly important that you keep yourself and your skin hydrated by consuming enough water throughout the day, especially during warmer months.
Maintaining a healthy diet and drinking enough water alone are often times all you need to do to reverse acne problems and should be one of the first lines of defense, along with a good facial washing routine.
Vitamin D is Also Important for Healthy Skin!
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3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a wonderful product that can be used for so many things, that it isn’t any wonder that it can be used for preventing acne. Apple cider vinegar is a natural antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial, making it an excellent addition to your skincare routine.
To use apple cider vinegar for skin care, mix it in an equal ratio of water and apply it to the skin with a cotton ball or washcloth. Apply it to both blemished areas and non-blemished areas to increase its ability to prevent further acne. Leave it on the skin for at least 30 minutes, then wash off with just water. You can also apply a gentle moisturizing oil, such as coconut or olive, to help ease any irritation that may occur. There may be some light stinging upon application, but this is normal, as the vinegar is acidic. If peeling or severe irritation occur, you may have an allergy and should discontinue use altogether.
When trying to decide what kind of apple cider vinegar to get, always go with an organic brand that is raw. These will often say that they contain “the mother” in them, which means they have the useful bacteria inside of them that are needed to help cleanse your skin. One of the most common organic and raw brands of apple cider vinegar out on the market is Bragg’s, which can often be found at WalMart and your local health food store.
4. Tea Tree Oil
Like many essential oils, tea tree oil is an antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, an antibacterial, and just all around awesome to have on hand. It is often used for a variety of skin issues, but is especially effective against acne. When it is applied to the acne-prone areas of the skin, tea tree oil works to dislodge things that are clogging pores, while also working to disinfect the pore.
When using tea tree oil to treat acne, there are some safety measures that must be followed, as any essential oil can be volatile due to the potency of the herb in its distilled state. To begin with, only use the oil topically to treat and prevent acne. Ingesting it can cause serious complications, such as fainting. When applied topically, it is best to dilute the oil in a carrier oil (such as olive oil or coconut oil). Applying the oil directly to the skin can cause further irritation if it isn’t diluted.
Various websites provide some excellent tips and ideas on different ways to dilute tea tree oil that involve things that you likely have at home. Two of such suggestions, yogurt and honey, are both great options. If you choose to use yogurt, look for a yogurt that has active cultures, or probiotics, in it, such as Greek Gods or Chobani brands. These active cultures will help to nourish your skin, while also assisting it in fighting off yeast and any other harmful bacteria that may be lurking on your skin’s surface.
Aside from the few precautions you need to take, tea tree oil is a superb option for those looking for ways to naturally prevent acne. Not only is is effective and natural, but it is relatively easy to find due to its popularity in dealing with skin issues, aches and pains.
5. Reduce Stress
Stress actually plays a huge roll in not just your overall health, but the health of your skin. Obviously, it's not easy to avoid stress. Stress is everywhere, from the moment we wake until we go to bed (and even while we sleep, for some of us).
But how does all of this stress create acne?
Several scientific studies have found that when you're stressed, your body secretes more oils than normal along your skin, thus create clogged pours, which in turn can cause acne.
If your acne is stress-induced, then try to find ways to manage the tension. By managing your stress, you will be able to manage and eventually eliminate your acne. Look towards stress management techniques, such as yoga, breathing exercises, and meditation, to help you find a sense of calm during a intense times.
Also, watch what you eat and how you take care of your skin when you're stressed out. Often times, we tend to slack off on our skin care regimes and eat unhealthy foods when we're anxious or feeling stretched. By sticking with a healthy routine, your body will be better equipped to handle difficult situations.
6. Use Natural Hair and Skin Products
Many people don’t realize this, but the skin and hair care products they apply on a daily basis can be the main cause behind their acne. The added fragrances and chemicals to conventional hair and skin care products are almost guaranteed to cause some irritation for people with sensitive skin. Be sure to read labels and only use products that are safe and natural.
Some of the best skin and hair care products are the ones that are organic and contain few ingredients. Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap is a safe and natural product that can be used for both your skin and hair. It has few ingredients and works well for people with sensitive skin.
Additionally, use minimal makeup, or better yet, avoid makeup altogether. Not only is makeup not necessary, but it can irritate your skin and cause your pores to remain clogged. If you must wear makeup, choose mineral-based makeups that are natural and allow your skin to breath. Oil-free based makeups are also another option, as the added oils in traditional makeup can cause clogged pores. Also, look for makeup labeled "noncomedogenic”, which means the makeup shouldn’t cause acne. And lastly, always remember to wash off any makeup you’re wearing before going to bed. Leaving it on overnight will only further prevent your skin from being able to breathe and thus cause irritation and damage.
7. Wash Your Bed Sheets Frequently
Oils from your hair and skin build up on your sheets as you sleep. Those oils can irritate your skin and trigger acne. Washing your sheet, in particular your pillowcases, frequently can help prevent these oils from irritating your skin, and thus, act as a very simple acne preventative for those searching for natural ways to prevent acne. Otherwise, if you don’t wash your sheets, all you’re doing is causing more oils and dirt to build up onto your skin each and every time you lay down to sleep.
In order for this method to work, you need to wash your sheets at least once a week to see any results. For very severe cases of acne, or if you have very oily hair that seeps into your pillowcases, try washing your sheets daily or every other day until you begin seeing results.
Also be mindful of the laundry detergent that you use, as some are more caustic than others and can be irritating to the skin. Try using gentle, plant based ones, such as Seventh Generation, and see if that helps improve the condition of your skin.
While acne is certainly not the end of the world, it is crucial that you try to treat it and prevent further acne from appearing. Not only will preventing it help with your self-esteem, but it will also help you to have healthier skin as you age.
If you try all of these methods and you’re still suffering from acne, then it is best to seek out a doctor. Your skin not responding to these natural methods may be a sign that you have an underlying condition that needs to be treated first before your acne can be cured. Your doctor might also be able to provide suggestions for other natural methods you can try before having to use pharmaceuticals.
Remember, your skin is an organ and a reflection of your health. Nourish it and keep it healthy through regular maintenance and it will glow and be radiant. Very rarely does your skin need a prescription cream or a pill to help it ward off acne. Often times it just needs a little bit of attention and gentle care.
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