Treatment for Acne Sufferers
Treatments for those affected by acne include, eating a healthy, whole food diet, rich in vitamin A and zinc, omega-3 fish oils and evening primrose oil.
Acne is a very common problem which primarily affects those in their teenage years, with around one in 20 acne sufferers being in their 30s. Especially in the case of teenagers, acne can result in being bullied and thus cause low self-esteem and decreased self-confidence. Thankfully, there are plenty of different treatments available which can help alleviate the condition.
Causes and Symptoms of Acne
Acne is a form of skin disease which makes the sebaceous (oil) glands become overly sensitive to the effects dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a male hormone. The main symptoms associated with acne, include oily or greasy skin, blackheads and pimples, requiring treatment to avoid resulting in scars. In The Essential Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements, Brewer (2010) highlight the causes of acne symptoms, to include the following:
- increased secretion of skin oil (sebum) under influence of DHT
- blockage of sebaceous gland ducts by skin cells
- trapped oil forms black head spots
- colonisation of black heads with skin bacterium
Treatment for Acne – Improved Diet
Acne symptoms may improve significantly through better nutrition and simple changes to one’s diet, as identified by Brewer (2010):
- healthy, wholefood diet
- plenty of fruit and vegetables
- nuts, seeds
- wholegrain cereals
- oily fish and omega-3
- dairy-free or low dairy diet
- low GI foods
- limit red meat, eat more fish
- high intake of antioxidants e.g. goji berries
- zinc-rich foods
- vitamin A (not while pregnant)
It is important to seek medical advice before starting a new diet or taking food supplements, as some may cause side effects. The first port of call for acne sufferers should be the family doctor, where one may request a referral to a dermatologist (skin specialist) and/or qualified nutritionist.
Alternative Acne Treatments
In addition to making some of the above changes to diet, there are different food supplements or herbal remedies which may help to both prevent and treat acne-related symptoms. In Healing Supplements, Lakin et al. (2006) recommend key supplements used for acne treatment and prevention, as follows:
- tea tree oil
- zinc supplements
- vitamin A supplements
- evening primrose oil
All of the above alternative remedies for the treatment and/or prevention of acne are widely available from health food shops and pharmacies. Tea tree oil is particularly helpful, as it helps to minimise scarring, which can often occur following acne and causes less scaling and dryness than many traditional, over-the-counter acne lotions.
As highlighted above, acne causes blackheads, pimples and oily skin, which is particularly unhelpful for teenagers who may already be lacking in self-esteem or self-confidence. Key acne treatments and prevention methods, include healthy diet, tea tree oil, zinc supplements and evening primrose oil.
Brewer, S. The Essential Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and Herbal Supplements London: Constable Robinson
Lakin et al. Healing Supplements London: Reader’s Digest