Acne is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the pilo-sebaceous follicles, which usually occurs in adolescents of both sexes. The disorder is caused by an excessive secretion of an oily substance called sebum by the sebaceous glands. In some clients, acne may appear during late adolescence. It usually stops by the age of 25. The types of lesions vary from client to client, but majority of the clients have multiple types of lesions.
The characteristic lesions of acne are the comedones, which are dark, horny, follicular plugs. These plugs may be open to the air, where they are called blackheads or closed, in which case they are known as whiteheads. The majority of clients have scars of different sizes and shapes on their faces.
Acne is believe to be caused by many factors including:
- Puberty; increased testosterone levels
- Excessive use of cosmetics
- Hormonal disturbances and PMS
- Use of oral contraceptive pills
- Constipation and lack of fibre
- Some vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Inadequate probiotic levels in the gut
The Orthodox Approach
Treatment usually includes topical medications, such as benzoyl peroxide, topical antibiotics, and topical retinoids; or oral medications, such as oral retinoids, systemic antibiotics, or hormonal therapy. Note that the medication Roaccutane is associated with later development of Crohn's Disease and other illnesses, so it should be avoided.
Cosmetic skin treatments such as dermabrasion and laser treatment can also be used to treat acne and its scars.
The IMI Approach
Our practitioners will recommend and instruct clients in proper skin hygiene. Clients should clean the skin properly, although over-washing (more than twice daily) is contraindicated. Some washes include mild tea tree preparations, which can be useful.
Clients will also be advised to stop using hair oil as well as any greasy make-up on the face, as it can aggravate the condition.
The Naturopathic Approach. Naturopaths will look for and treat the underlying cause of acne, which could include dietary factors, allergies, problems with digestion, and nutritional deficiencies. Hormonal imbalances – excess testosterone, menstrual irregularities, or PMS — may also have to be corrected.
Many supplements and food recommendations are available to treat dietary or nutritional deficiencies that can contribute to acne, including probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, sulphur, beta carotene, and selenium. Vitamin supplements include Vitamins B5 and B6, and Vitamins A, C, and E.
Some acne arises from an unclean colon. The detoxification process used to treat this condition is usually successful in clearing the skin within three months.
Other alternative treatments for acne include herbal medicine, especially to cleanse the colon and lymph systems, or to balance hormones (for PMS-related acne). Tea tree oil is used to manage the problem topically.
The Homeopathic Approach. Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. Remedies are selected based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity. The aim of homeopathy is to not only treat the symptoms, but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. The only way complete health can be regained is by removing all the signs and symptoms from which the client is suffering.
As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several proven medicines are available for acne treatment that can be selected on the basis of cause, location, sensation, modalities and extension of the acne. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the client should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor.
A few important medicines for the acne are given below for reference purposes only:
Thuja. For acne on the face and nose, especially in cases due to vaccination.
Dulcamara. Rash on the face before menses.
Calcaria phos. Acne in anaemic girls at puberty.
Psorinum. Acne that worsens during menses by consuming sugar, fat, coffee, and meat.
Bovista. Acne due to the use of cosmetics.
Heper sulph. Acne which suppurates with white pus, especially in hypersensitive clients.
Hydrocotyle. Excellent remedy for acne over the face.
Asterias Rub. One of the best remedies for acne that appears on the face at puberty.
Sulphur. This remedy has a marvellous action in case of acne.
Selenium. Used mainly on oily skin with blackheads.