Over 20 million North Americans suffer from acne. Here’s why when it comes to fighting pimples, nature should be your first line of defense.
By Nancy Ripton
w hen your skin breaks out it’s easy to resort to drastic measures, unfortunately sometimes that can only make things worse. “Chemically-based products can be harsh on your skin,” says Shannon O’Brien, president of Abundance Naturally.
When you try to get rid of natural oil production, your skin over compensates and produces more oil. “It can become a bit of an addiction. You’ll reason: ‘I’m oily I have to wash my face more and with harsher products.’” The result is your skin produces more oil to protect itself and your skin dries out, however your acne may actually get worse.
Keep Clean, Naturally
Skin is part of the excretory system. “You want to make sure your skin isn’t coated and blocked with oily creams that don’t allow your skin to breathe and excrete toxins,” says O’Brien.
Look for a cleanser, toner and face cream that contain natural ingredients. If you are prone to acne, a product line with natural ingredients like tea tree oil, chamomile, aloe vera and lavender (such as Thursday Plantation) can keep your skin clean, cleanse pores and help get rid of black heads without creating any unnecessary build up.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
Benzoyl peroxide is an ingredient commonly found in many over the counter acne preparations. Using products with this or other harsh chemicals causes itching, stinging, redness and dryness in 79 per cent of people. A study published in the Medical Journal of Australia found that five per cent tea tree oil is just as effective in treating acne as five per cent benzoyl peroxide, but without any of the negative side effects. Using a medicated gel that contains tea tree oil is a great way to target flare-ups, while calming your skin. “Tea tree oil targets bacteria found in acne and eliminates and dries out pimples,” says O’Brien.
A Norwegian study found a relationship between acne and a high intake of chocolate and chips and a low intake of vegetables. The results were especially pronounced in girls, and researchers feel that eating a low-glycemic index diet helps prevent acne. Another study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics confirmed that high glycemic index foods and dairy are linked to acne. “When it comes to fighting acne, your diet matters,” says O’Brien. It’s also important to drink lots of water to keep your skin hydrated. VM