ACNE TREATMENT-Using Basil to Treat Acne Breakouts and Pimples N Why You SHOULD NOT Use Proactiv - acne

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ACNE TREATMENT-Using Basil to Treat Acne Breakouts and Pimples N Why You SHOULD NOT Use Proactiv


Using Basil to Treat Acne Breakouts and Pimples

Basil for Acne
This is one of the newer home remedies in acne treatment and prevention.  Basil has long been used in cooking, but few know about it's powerful antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Since acne is primarily caused by an overgrowth of bacteria, any remedy that contains antibacterial properties should be helpful; however, basil has extremely powerful antibacterial properties in comparison to other home remedies. In fact, it has been shown to stop the growth of some bacterias that have become resistant to antibiotics (such as staph infections).  Due to it's strong antibacterial properties, it is a very effective method of treating and preventing acne breakouts. It's anti-inflammatory properties help keep down swelling of pimples, especially cystic acne. The antioxidants provide excellent benefits for overall skin health.  Basil really is an all around great natural remedy for acne.

Does using basil for acne actually work? The International Journal of Cosmetic Science has conducted a study on the effectiveness of basil for acne and pimples.  The study concluded that the antibacterial properties of basil are very effective in eliminating acne causing bacteria.

There are various ways that you can use basil to treat your acne.  You can simply purchase fresh basil (organic, if possible) and use those to make your own basil toner or you can purchase an all natural basil essential oil.  If you're interested in using basil for acne, here's a few easy home remedies using basil:

  • Boil 6-10 basil leaves in 1 cup of water for about 5 minutes.  Allow it to cool completely and then strain out the basil leaves. Apply the basil liquid with a cotton ball all over your face as you would with any other toner. This basil and water mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 week. (To make this method more effective, pack the basil leaves into a small bowl and use the round end of spoon to mash up the leaves until they are bruised.  This will help them release more of the oils while boiling.)
  • Boil 2-4 teaspoons of dried basil in 1 cup of water for 8-10 minutes. Strain out the basil particles and store in a glass container in the refrigerator, use as you would any other toner. The mixture will keep in the fridge for 1 week.
  • Use basil essential oil to make your own toner.  Mix 8-10 drops of basil oil into 1/4 cup of water.  Use this mixture as a toner, store in fridge for about 1 week.

If you liked this article on using basil oil for acne, be sure to browse this blog for other great natural remedies for acne! 

Why You SHOULD NOT Use Proactiv

Does Proactiv Actually Work?

Proactiv has become one of the most popular acne clearing products on the market. Millions of people have tried Proactiv, and many have considered using the products based on the testimonies of others. Proactiv commercials, infomercials, and advertisements are everywhere. People seem to rave about how Proactiv cleared up their acne and gave them flawless blemish free skin. However, does Proactiv really work? Is it worth the money and the time?
The short answer is yes, Proactiv can help get rid of your existing acne and prevent future breakouts. Based on the studies, clinical trials, and testimonials, Proactiv seems to do the job for preventing and treating acne. However, many don't consider the consequences of using Proactiv. Acne sufferers are often blinded by the promises that a certain product will completely get rid of their acne and give them beautiful clear skin. Very few acne sufferers are concerned with the other factors that may be involved in using a particular treatment to get rid of their acne. Take Accutane, for example. Accutane is a prescription drug that was prescribed to many individuals suffering from acne and it had astounding results in treatment of acne. Recent studies have linked Accutane to various adverse side effects, such as birth defects, hair loss, and nosebleeds to name just a few. In the end, it really comes down to weighing the pros against the cons.

Why you Shouldn't use Proactiv...

While Proactiv may produce results, it has many adverse side effects on the overall health of your skin. Here are the primary side effects of using Proactiv:
  • Dryness
  • Itching
  • Peeling
  • Stinging
  • Allergic Reaction
These are just the basic reactions that one can have to Proactiv products.
One of the main ingredients found in Proactiv Solution is Benzoyl Peroxide, which is a commonly known ingredient in many acne treatment products. Benzoyl Peroxide is NOT something that you want to use on your skin on a regular basis (or ever).

Why do so many products contain Benzoyl Peroxide if it's so bad for you? Many acne product lines, such as Clearasil, Clean & Clear, Neutrogena, and Proactiv utilize Benzoyl Peroxide (BP) because it does work against acne for most people (not all). However, these companies do not care about the adverse side effects that Benzoyl Peroxide has on your skin or the fact that your skin can actually become dependent on the product thus lining their pockets long-term. For the companies marketing these products, it is simply money in their pocket. For you, it may seem like a miracle that your acne has cleared up by using a product by one of these companies that contains BP as their main ingredient. You may feel relieved to have clearer skin. BUT, if you stop using the product, your acne WILL come back. In some cases people have seen a worsening of their acne once they stop using the Benzoyl Peroxide.   Are you willing to dedicate the rest of your life using a product that contains Benzoyl Peroxide knowing that it is damaging your skin AND your health in other ways?

Here's a direct quote form the CDC regarding some of the chemical dangers of Benzoyl Peroxide:

CHEMICAL DANGERS:May explosively decompose on shock, friction, or concussion. May explode on heating above 103-105°C. On combustion, forms irritating and toxic fumes and gases of benzoic acid (see ICSC 0103) and carbon monoxide (see ICSC 0023). The substance is a strong oxidant and reacts violently with combustible and reducing materials. Reacts violently with many organic and inorganic acids , alcohols and amines causing fire and explosion hazard.  

EFFECTS OF SHORT-TERM EXPOSURE:The substance is irritating to the eyes , the skin and the respiratory tract . EFFECTS OF LONG-TERM OR REPEATED EXPOSURE:Repeated or prolonged contact may cause skin sensitization

You can view this and more information about the dangers of Benzoyl Peroxide on the CDC website HERE

So, after reading some of the dangers, would you still be willing to use it on your skin every day?  I sure wouldn't.  I don't feel comfortable using something flammable and/or explosive on my skin.  It says on the CDC website that it can be irritating to skin and that it can cause skin sensitization, so why on earth don't they advertise that on the Proactiv commercials?  Oh yeah, probably because that wouldn't help their bottom line.   

 Furthermore, the CDC even states that Benzoyl Peroxide causes skin sensitization.  Essentially that means that over time you have to keep increasing the amount of the chemical in order to achieve the desired affect.  That could be why some people may see results at first only to be disappointed when the product stops working after a while.

Benzoyl Peroxide is a harmful and potentially dangerous chemical. That in itself should be enough to make you reconsider using it on your skin for an extended period of time. It is also known to cause free radicals in the skin and has been linked to an increase in cancer risk and premature aging of the skin. 

Did you know that the FDA has categorized Benzoyl Peroxide as a Category III, which means that their determination of this particular chemical is "Safety is unknown." So, why are companies continuing to use Benzoyl Peroxide in their products? Well, the regulation of cosmetic products differs in that it is not as strict, therefore BP can be used in cosmetic products without being banned.

How Does Proactiv get rid of acne?

Proactiv, like many other mass marketed acne products, gets rid of acne by utilizing Benzoyl Peroxide's bacteria killing qualities. BP kills acne causing bacteria, which is how it is effective in treating and preventing acne. However, BP also causes redness, drying, and other skin irritations AND it causes skin sensitization which means that you have to keep increasing the amount in order for it to keep working. On a personal note, when I first tried Proactiv it really dried out my skin and left it flaky and red. I'll admit, it did get rid of the acne so I kept using it.  After a while it seemed to stop working and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why.  So, after doing some research it all started to make sense.  It had basically lost it's effectiveness because of the skin sensitization quality of Benzoyl Peroxide.  While using Proactiv I had to slather on moisturizers just to keep my skin from being dry and flaky. It really was not the wonder cure for acne that I hoped it would be. That's when I stopped using Proactiv and started researching alternative home remedies for acne because I didn't want to torture my skin anymore with mass marketed acne products. I knew there had to be a natural remedy that worked as much, if not better, than products like Proactiv.

Although I'm only in my early twenties, I do often worry about wrinkles and controlling the aging process. If you're using Proactiv, be prepared for your skin to age at a very rapid rate. You may be too blinded by the fact that it is working to help with your acne to realize that it is causing lasting damage to the overall health of your skin. If you can live with signs of premature aging like wrinkles and lines, then by all means feel free to use products containing BP. For me, I want my skin to be healthy in all aspects, not just acne free.

Are home remedies a better option?

After quite a bit of research and years of trial and error, I've determined that there are some home remedies that work just as well, if not better, than over the counter acne products that contain chemicals such as BP.

Why do people continually purchase popular acne products rather than going with natural remedies? The answer is simple. Have you ever seen a commercial or an infomercial for a natural remedy for acne (such as honey, coconut oil, jojoba oil, tea tree oil, etc.) The answer to that is no, there has never been a marketing strategy for natural acne remedies. People are strongly influenced by what they see in the media, so when they hear of an acne product that can "cure" their acne, they will go out to the store and buy that product without even considering what harm it may do to their skin. If you saw a commercial that gave information on how to use apple cider vinegar to treat and prevent acne, would you try it? Chances are you probably would. The same goes for all of the mass produced chemical based acne products, like Proactiv. People see or hear about it on television, the radio, or in magazines, and a switch is automatically flipped in their brain telling them to go buy this product because it will "cure" their acne. If everyone turned to natural remedies as a means to treat and prevent their acne, these companies would not profit. You do the math. Do you believe that these companies truly care about your health?

There are many natural remedies for acne. Chances are not all of the remedies will work for everyone, but it's about finding the right natural skincare routine that will work for you. Natural remedies also cost less than store bought acne products, not to mention they are healthier for your skin and your body. Before you spend the money on a product that is chemically based, like Proactiv, at least consider trying a natural remedy for your acne.
For more information on the natural remedies that have worked for me, check out these articles:

Evening Primrose Oil for Hormonal Acne
Natural Honey Acne Remedy
Coconut Oil for Acne Treatment
Apple Cider Vinegar for Acne
All-Natural Facial Toner Recipes

I also have informative articles that discuss some of the causes of acne as well as some of the best store bought products that you can find to treat/prevent acne. Check those articles out here:

Top 5 Acne Cleansers and Face Washes

People who suffer from acne or have skin that is prone to frequent breakouts know just how important a good face wash is to an effective skincare routine. There are many well-known products that claim to be effective in treating and preventing breakouts, but majority of these products contain Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid which actually do more harm than good for acne breakout prone skin.

Basis Cleaner Clean Face Wash

Basis cleaner clean face wash is a gel based face wash that uses gentle botanicals like lemongrass and aloe vera to cleanse the skin without stripping it of it's natural oils. This cleanser is soap and oil free, which makes it an excellent option for breakout prone skin. This cleanser has a light lemony citrus scent but is not too heavily scented like some face washes. This cleanser is best for normal to oily skin. It creates a great lather that helps wash away makeup and other impurities without leaving the skin feeling dry and tight. This cleanser is reasonably priced in comparison to other well-known acne face washes. Typically it costs around $4.00, but the price may vary from store to store.

Simple Refreshing Facial Wash Gel

The Simple skincare product line is an excellent line for those with sensitive and breakout prone skin. The Simple Refreshing Facial Gel Wash is great for acne prone skin because it is non-comedogenic (it won't clog pores), fragrance free, oil free, soap free, and alcohol free. It also has essential vitamins (pro-vitamin B5) and minerals that help nourish your skin and prevent irritation. This product is effective for removing dirt, oil, and makeup and provides a good lather. It is on the pricier side and can run anywhere from $4.99 and up depending on the store. This cleanser is great for all skin types, especially sensitive skin.

Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser

This new line by Neutrogena provides excellent cleansing without the harsh chemicals found in other acne products. Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser clearly states that it contains no harsh chemical sulfates, parabens, petrochemicals, dyes, or phthalates. It does contain a natural form of salicylic acid derived from Willowbark which is said to help detoxify the skin. This is a gel based formula that creates a nice thick lather to get rid of dirt, oil, and makeup. It does have a slightly heavy scent, which is attributed to the Willowbark. It can cost upwards of $5.00.



Basis Sensitive Skin Bar Soap

Here's another great facial cleanser by Basis. This is a bar soap for sensitive skin which utilizes soothing elements like chamomile and aloe vera extracts to sooth irritated and inflamed skin. While this is a very mild soap, it does create a great lather for thoroughly cleansed skin. It is best for oily or sensitive skin types. One bar can last several months and only costs around $1.97. It is an excellent option for those seeking clear skin on a tight budget.


Yes to Tomatoes Daily Clarifying Cleanser

Yes to Tomatoes Daily Clarifying Cleanser is made of 96% natural ingredients. This cleanser contains organic tomato extracts. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant which helps balance skin's PH levels for clear and healthy skin. It also contains watermelon extracts and sea minerals which help remove excess oil. It has a light fragrance that is not too overpowering. Other products by the 'Yes to' line include Yes to Cucumbers, Yes to Carrots, and Yes to Blueberries. This cleanser is a bit pricey and can run upwards of $8.00.

Things to Remember When Choosing a Cleanser for Acne Prone Skin...

Choosing the right cleanser may seem a bit intimidating. Maybe you've tried hundreds of cleansers. Perhaps you've spent hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars on popular brands that promise to get rid of your breakouts and "cure" your acne. No matter what has driven you to try a specific cleanser, the ultimate goal is often the same for each gain control over their breakouts for more manageable, healthy, clearer skin.
While it is easy for the media and popular commercial products to mislead buyers into thinking that their product is the miracle that will solve all skin problems, do not be fooled. Here are a few key things that you need to remember when choosing a face wash for breakout prone skin...
  • Avoid products with Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid (unless naturally derived.)
  • Try to find products that are fragrance and dye free (if it smells good enough to use as a perfume...don't put it on your face.)
  • Always read the ingredients before purchasing.
  • When in doubt, go for the all-natural option.
  • Just because something costs more does not mean that it is going to work better.
  • Try to buy oil-free, soap-free, and alcohol-free products when possible.
  • Rather than purchasing products meant for acne prone skin, try products meant for sensitive skin (some acne breakouts are actually caused by the very same products that are meant to treat the breakouts!)
  • Never believe what you hear on TV commercials or magazine ads...these companies are only concerned with their own pockets, not your face.
  • Store bar soaps in clean containers to avoid bacteria growth. (Try using a small bowl or a bar soap container which can be found in the travel section.)
  • Do your research! Before spending money on a product conduct some research of your own. Check online forums and reviews to help you determine if the product is right for you. ( for some excellent reviews from acne sufferers.)

Overnight Acne Treatments that Work!

Treating your acne overnight is a great way to rid yourself of breakouts by morning. Getting rid of acne can be difficult and an overnight solution is not for everyone, but it's a step in the right direction for anyone suffering with acne. Why only treat your skin during the day, when it's being exposed to pollution, dirt and grime at the same time? Treating your acne overnight is a great way to reduce the size and redness of the affected area, and in some cases, rid yourself completely of a pimple or two.
Here are a few simple ideas for treating your acne overnight!


Using warm water, rinse your face every night before bed, and wash with a mild cleanser. Depending on your skin type use the following based cleansers;
  • Oily skin – gel based
  • Dry – soap free, the less it lathers up the better. Look for gel based with added moisturizers
  • Combination – water based, light cleansers
A side note for combination skin: Treat the predominant condition, for example if your acne is concentrated in the t-zone, use a oily-skin specific product and focus less on the dry skin affected areas. 
Make sure you remove all traces of dirt and make up, working in circular motions upwards and outwards. Rinse with fresh water and pat dry.


Even though we have been told since day one to religiously cleanse, tone and moisturize, most toners are alcohol based and act as an astringent, stripping away layers of skin. If you really must use a toner, use one that is alcohol-free. Apply with a clean cotton pad in light sweeping motions. This will remove any further dirt and make up, but if you cleanse properly there shouldn't be any left to remove!


Ever wonder why moisturizers come in both day and night timer versions? Moisturizers designed for night time use often contain more hydrating and moisturizing ingredients, which help heal and replenish the skins protective barrier and lipids. As they are more hydrating they tend to be much greasier – not a great look to wear out and about during the day! Similar to cleansing, you want to choose your evening moisturizer based on your skin type;
  • Oily skin – gel
  • Dry skin – water based
  • Combination – you may consider using two separate moisturizers to treat the separate areas.

Product Layering

Now, our skin is clean and ready for those acne busting products! Product layering became a big hit in Asia, where a poll showed the average woman used almost 10 products of an evening, compared to around the 3 or 4 they used during the day time. The reason behind this? When we sleep, it's our bodies time to rest and rejuvenate, both inside and out. Layering on treatments overnight give the products the best chance of penetrating beneath the layers of skin and getting to work. The more products we use, the more obvious it can look on our skin, and the last thing we want to do it go out covered in lotions, potions and gunk – best keep it behind closed doors!
So what kind of products should we be looking at?
  • Targeted spot treatment – use a targeted spot treatment for treating individual spots and pimples. These products aim to dry the spot out, reducing size, redness and puffiness of the affected area. Just be careful as these products can be pretty harsh, containing the likes of Benzoyl Peroxide which can lead to severely dry skin. Use sparingly and only once a day. For a more natural alternative, try Burt's Bees targeted spot treatment with natural salicylic acid.
  • Clearing gels – These aim to not only calm inflammation of any current breakouts, but with long term use, should help prevent future breakouts. Though acne is not 'curable', these gels can minimize any future breakouts. They reduce the excess oils/sebum produced and also help clear out any previously clogged pores – all whilst you're sleeping!
  • Oil control lotions - ideal for oily skin, these lotions control the oils your sebaceous glands produce, much like the clearing gels above. Non-greasy and light weight, they not only prevent excess oils, they also absorb any excess oil on the skin – perfect for those hot summer nights and a great base for other products.

Can you treat acne overnight with natural/organic products?

Sometimes, too many harsh chemicals used over a period of time can irritate your skin, no matter how good it claims to be on the bottle, you are still layering unnatural chemicals onto your face on a daily basis, which can lead to further breakouts in the future. To avoid this, I would suggest having at least one product free day in the week – if not two! If you can't stand the thought of not using any products, give these natural remedies a go;
  • Honey – naturally antibacterial, put a dab on the spot/pimple and a plaster over the top to stop it being rubbed off in your sleep. By morning the spot should be reduced in size and inflammation. Just be sure to rinse it all off! Use an all natural organic honey. 
  • Toothpaste - so it might not be an wholly 'natural' product, but you're always going to have some to hand! Mint contains menthol which is a natural anti-inflammatory. This will help reduce the redness that makes acne seem so unsightly and painful. Pop a dab on before bed and a plaster over the top if you want to avoid smearing it all over your pillowcase!
  • Ice – give yourself an ice facial before you go to bed! When pores get really cold they close up, which in turn will force the pore to squeeze the oils and dirt to the surface. Put the ice into a little food bad, then wrap in a clean towel or muslin cloth and hold against the affected area for 10 – 15 minutes. Rinse your face to remove any dirt brought to the surface.

How else can I cure acne overnight?

Be sure to change your pillowcase at least once a week, you don't want to go to all this trouble only to sleep on a dead skin cell covered pillowcase and undo all your hard work.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and have a good drink before bed too to flush out the toxins and impurities in your system.
  • Tie your hair back and keep it out of your face whilst you sleep, making sure to clip back your bangs/fringe too!
  • Try and sleep on your back. This means your face is not touching or rubbing against any sheets, pillowcases or body parts, reducing the risk of bacterial contamination.

Using Honey to Treat Acne

What Makes Honey an Effective Acne Treatment?

Honey has been a natural remedy for wound treatment and skin conditions for hundreds of years due to it's natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory characteristics. Additionally, honey has been proven effective against drug resistant strains of bacteria. These properties make it effective at fighting off bacterial infections and keeping skin from becoming inflamed. As the world became more technologically and medically advanced, remedies like honey, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, and other natural means of healing or curing common ailments became less popular. People have slowly come to rely on heavy antibiotics or other chemically based products to help treat their acne, and yet acne still plagues a large portion of our society. What does this say about the effectiveness of these mainstream convenient products that are marketed as acne "cures" or treatments? Have you ever read the ingredient list for any of these mainstream acne products? I have, and I typically recognize maybe one or two ingredients at most. I can't even pronounce most of the ingredients listed on the label, so why would I use it on my skin?

I'll admit, I fell into the trap of mainstream acne cures and treatments. All the promises of being acne-free and having perfect skin in a matter of days was appealing, and I couldn't resist. After many years of trying over-the-counter acne products I realized that all of them essentially had the same primary ingredients, and if one didn't work for me, neither would the others. That's when I turned to natural remedies for treating my acne.

Honey- Nature's Cure

Natural remedies for healing and treating acne breakouts are becoming increasingly popular as most people have realized that over-the-counter acne products are not as effective as they often claim to be. Many acne sufferers have discovered the benefits of using honey to address acne breakouts. As mentioned earlier, honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which address two major issues that can lead to acne breakouts. The antibacterial qualities address the pesky bacteria that initiates breakouts while the anti-inflammatory properties help reduce redness and swelling. Honey has actually made a big comeback in other countries as well. In Australia, honey has been approved for medical use. In the UK, honey has been used to dress wounds in hospitals and is also sold in pharmacies in creams and ointments.

How to use honey to treat and heal acne...

Before you go check your cupboard and pull out that old honey bear in the back of your shelf, we need to talk about how to use honey effectively. You should only use raw, organic, unprocessed honey. The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of honey are lost when it has been processed and heated and put in those cute little honey bear jars that you see on your grocery store shelves. When you use raw organic and unprocessed honey, you are getting those beneficial qualities that make honey an effective acne treatment. If you can't find raw organic unprocessed honey at your local store, you can purchase it online. The goal is to get as close as you can to the honey that comes straight from the honeycomb. Manuka honey is said to be the best product when using it to treat acne, however it is hard to find in stores.

Amazon is one of the best places to find reasonable prices on organic Manuka Honey, here's the brand that I always use!

Okay, now that you have your honey you need to know how to apply it. Your face should be cleansed and makeup free before applying the honey. Any acne sufferer knows that you should avoid using your fingers to apply products as you have oils and bacteria on your hands that can exacerbate acne. That being said, you should use a cotton ball or even the back of a spoon to apply the honey all over your face, like a mask. Leave the honey on your face for about fifteen minutes to allow it to work. Then, just rinse with warm water and pat your face dry with a clean towel. You'll notice after just one use that your skin will feel smoother and more hydrated. If you can do this daily, that is great. If you don't have the time to do so, try to use the honey on your breakouts at least 2-3 times per week. You can also use it as a spot treatment rather than an all over facial treatment. You should start seeing results within the first few weeks of using the remedy. As with any acne remedy, it will not work for everyone. It's a process of trial and error, and if everything goes as planned the honey treatments will help heal and prevent acne breakouts leading to clear and radiant skin.

Coconut Oil Natural Acne Remedy

Benefits of Coconut Oil for Facial Skincare

Natural coconut oil is a truly amazing thing. Most people use coconut oil for cooking or as an ingredient in recipes, but I would encourage you to consider using it outside of the kitchen as well! After doing some research I've discovered that coconut oil is known as an effective natural acne remedy. There are so many different uses for coconut oil, but I'll just stick to the benefits of coconut oil for acne prone skin.

What is coconut oil?

Coconut oil is derived from the flesh of the coconut. Unlike most oils that may come to mind, natural coconut oil actually comes in more of a solid form, but it slowly melts and becomes liquefied as it warms up. It is found in many beauty products and even some cosmetics products. It has excellent moisturizing qualities which is why it is often used in soaps and lotions. Before we talk about how coconut oil helps treat and prevent acne, we should first talk about what kind of coconut oil is most effective. If you intend to use coconut oil on your face or skin you should choose an organic variety of coconut oil. Additionally, to get the full benefits of the “good” stuff in coconut oil, go for natural and organic extra virgin coconut oil. The goal is to get as close to the original untouched version of coconut oil as you can without having to actually buy tons of coconuts and make it yourself. The coconut oil that I use on my skin is unrefined extra virgin organic coconut oil by Spectrum.

Doesn’t oil clog your pores?

Not necessarily. While there are a lot of oils out there that can clog pores and make breakouts worse, coconut oil is not exactly one of them. Olive oil and jojoba oil are two other well-known oils that are known to help with acne prone skin. The key is to use the coconut oil in moderation. You don’t want to slather it on morning, noon, and night (this would most likely clog your pores). When used correctly it can work wonders for your skin. I have been using coconut oil for a while now and have not had any problems with it clogging my pores.
Note: There have been claims that coconut oil has exacerbated acne in some cases based on reviews that I have found. However, majority of what I have found while researching coconut oil and its effect on acne states that it has actually helped reduce and prevent acne.

Why is coconut oil an effective acne remedy?

Natural coconut oil contains two important elements that make it great for treating acne, lauric acid and capric acid. Organic coconut oil is naturally antibacterial, antiviral, anti fungal, and antimicrobial. All of these beneficial properties are attributed to the lauric acid and capric acid found in the oil. In fact, lauric acid is basically only found naturally in coconut oil and in breast milk in these high quantities. Lauric acid has been said to be effective against the bacteria linked to acne (P. acnes) which is why it is slowly gaining popularity as a natural remedy for acne. Since lauric acid is found in breast milk, this means that it is something that naturally occurs in the human body. This may actually make it more effective in treating acne because the body can easily recognize the compounds in lauric acid and how it can best be used to benefit the skin.

How to use coconut oil to treat acne...

Okay, now that we've covered all the necessary information relevant to how and why coconut oil is a good natural remedy for acne, lets discuss how to use it to reap these benefits. Once you have your coconut oil you can get started.

As I mentioned, the coconut oil comes in solid form. All you have to do to get it into liquid form is put a small amount (about the size of a pea) between your fingers and allow it to slowly dissolve (the warmth of your fingers is enough to melt it). You DO NOT need a lot of the coconut oil, a little goes a really long way. A 14 oz. jar of coconut oil can last me over five months.  Once you have your coconut oil dissolved on your fingers simply apply it in circular motions all over your face and neck, just as you would any other facial moisturizer. Keep in mind that it is an oil, so your skin will tend to look a little greasy just after application.  After a few minutes it absorbs nicely. Be sure to only apply the coconut oil to cleansed skin. Do not apply it over makeup or other products because it will not absorb properly.

Coconut oil is great for more than just treating acne. You can use it as an all-over body moisturizer, hair conditioning treatment, and as a healthy ingredient in recipes. There are really hundreds of uses for coconut oil. Additionally, ingesting coconut oil regularly can also help improve the overall health and appearance of skin!
I'd also like to mention that because my skin is acne-prone, I cannot use chapstick or lip glosses because they cause breakouts. I recently started using the coconut oil on my lips as a lip moisturizer and I am amazed at how great it works in place of regular chapstick! I keep a small jar of the coconut oil in my purse and apply it like any other lip moisturizer. Since the coconut oil comes in solid form it works just like any other lip moisturizer that you can buy in the little miniature jars.

Using Sea Salt to Treat Acne

I recently moved to a town near the ocean, which means that I've been spending a lot of time at the beach.  After moving here I noticed a huge difference in my skin and a lot less random breakouts.  I decided to do a little research and I discovered that sea salt is really good for breakout prone skin.

I found that a lot of people stated that whenever they went to the ocean, their face actually cleared up after being in the salty sea water.  This would make sense because I've seen a really great improvement in the overall health of my skin.  As I've mentioned before I still get  a breakout from time to time, usually around that time of the month, but since I've been spending a lot of time swimming in the ocean my breakouts are practically nonexistent!

This led me to wonder if I could recreate this sea salt effect at home, so I figured I'd give it a shot.  Based on all of my research I found out that you can create a toner with sea salt and purified water.  The important thing is that you get pure sea salt with no other ingredients.  I typically buy my sea salt at the Dollar Tree, but when I checked the label I noticed that they add in something that helps prevent the salt from clumping, so I didn't want to use that on my face.  I ended up ordering some Celtic Sea Salt online instead.

Here's the recipe for the toner:

1 teaspoons sea salt
1 cups distilled/purified water

That's it!  It's really easy and the sea salt will last forever so you can just keep mixing up batches of the toner when you run out.  I saved a glass Snapple bottle that I rinsed out really well and I use that to keep my toner in.  I prefer to store things in glass rather than plastic because of the toxins found in plastic.  Anyhow, I've been using the sea salt toner for about a month now and it really has been working just as well as actually swimming in the ocean.  It's tourist season where I live so I don't go to the ocean as much, but the sea salt toner has continued to improve my breakouts and I haven't had to deal with any new pimples since I started using it.  It tends to dry out your skin a bit, so I only use it at night before I go to bed.  I've been alternative the sea salt toner with my ACV toner.  So far so good!  I highly recommend that you try this, especially if you have moderate-severe acne.  The salt is very cleansing and helps get rid of the acne causing bacteria, which is why sea water is so good for your skin.  Also, the sea salt water also helps heal cuts and wounds quickly, so it really helps heal any pimples that you may have picked or popped.

Another thing that I like to use the sea salt for is to exfoliate once a week.  All I do is use my regular cleanser and add a 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt right into the cleanser and then gently scrub my face in circular motions.  There's no need to spend money on a store bought exfoliator, just use your regular cleanser and add a little sea salt once or twice a week to help get rid of dead skin cells and unclog your pores.

So, give sea salt a try and let me know how it works for you!! I'd love to start hearing from some of my readers...I'm always looking for new ideas on how to treat and prevent acne, so please feel free to leave comments and let me know what you guys think and how these remedies have worked for you!

Hormonal Acne: Causes and Solutions

What Causes Hormonal Acne?

I've been struggling with hormonal acne for years, so I know how frustrating and persistent it can be.  Hormonal acne is caused by hormonal imbalances, which can be linked to a variety of causes.  Actually, one of the main reasons that teenagers are often plagued with acne is because of the hormonal fluctuations that are occurring during puberty and sexual maturation etc.  For many people the teenage acne phase ends once puberty ends, but for an unfortunate few, acne continues on into adulthood.  I suffered from severe acne during my teenage years, but I thought that it would eventually go away on it's own once I was out of the awkward teenage phase.  Well, I waited...and waited...and waited some more only to be disappointed when I hit my 25th birthday and was still struggling with acne and breakouts. 

When I turned 25 I swore of any harsh store bought acne product and went the all-natural route, which has had a HUGE improvement on my acne.  If I do end up using a store bought product I go for products meant specifically for sensitive skin and I always look at the ingredient list and go with the product with the least amount of ingredients as possible (and of course no harmful irritants). Although this has greatly improved my acne, it has not completely solved the problem.  Until you solve the hormonal imbalance that is causing acne, no product will completely eliminate your breakouts.  So, treating the cause of the hormonal imbalance is a must!

Hormonal acne typically appears in areas along the jawline, chin, cheeks, and temples (as shown in the photo).  It can even extend down the neck.  If you have tried everything to get rid of your acne but nothing seems to work, you may be suffering from hormonal acne.  To find out for sure you will need to see a physician who can do some blood work to determine whether or not you have any hormonal imbalances.  Based on my experiences a dermatologist typically doesn't focus on hormonal causes of acne, they tend to prescribe topical treatments that may help, but unless you get your hormones under control the acne will not completely go away.  So, if you have tried every product known to mankind and you still have acne, you might want to ask your doctor to check your hormones.  Hormonal acne is more than just skin-deep.  The cause of the acne lies on the inside, which cannot be addressed by simply putting a layer of benzoyl peroxide on your face.

A hormonal imbalance can be cause by a number of things.  Some common causes of hormonal imbalance can include high stress levels, food allergies or intolerance, birth control pills, and other environmental factors that can affect hormones within the body.  If you're an adult female with acne you might want to ask to be tested for Polycystic Ovary Syndrom (PCOS) which can cause acne and high levels of testosterone in females. 

Possible Solutions...

Seeking professional medical help is the first step in eliminating hormonal acne.  As previously mentioned, hormonal imbalances can be linked to a number of causal factors. Doctors can help pinpoint what is causing a hormonal imbalance and an appropriate treatment plan can then be implemented.

There are some products available that may help prevent hormonal fluctuations for females which can in turn help with hormonal acne.  One such product isMigreLief+M which helps to manage hormonal and blood sugar fluctuations in females by harnessing the power of several key supplements, like Chasteberry, biotin, and feverfew, which are all known to help level out hormones naturally.  

*If you decide to give MigreLief+M a try, click here for valuable coupons!

What worked for me...

To address my hormonal acne I decided to eliminate all dairy products from my diet.  Dairy products are full of hormones, which can throw of your body's natural hormone balance and cause breakouts.  In order to keep dairy cows producing milk they pump them full of hormones, which are then transferred to the milk and dairy products that we consume.  If you're suffering from hormonal acne, you might want to consider going dairy-free for a few months to see what effect it has on your acne. (Check out my blog post that focuses specifically on how dairy can cause acne)

In addition to cutting out dairy I also started taking Evening Primrose supplements.  Evening Primrose helps balance hormones naturally, which can help alleviate hormonal acne.  Evening Primrose is also great for hair, skin health and anti-aging, and alleviating premenstrual symptoms.  Read more about Evening Primrose here.

The combination of going dairy-free and taking EPO supplements has basically eliminated my hormonal acne.  I tend to get occasional breakouts, but they are typically linked to my stress levels.  I'm still working on lowering my stress levels, but that's a work in progress.  I've started exercising more, which is said to help lower stress levels.  (My idea of exercising is speed walking 2 need to run a marathon or anything!)  So far this has really helped, so if you have hormonal acne you may want to consider adding some light exercise to help lower stress levels.

If nothing seems to be working for your hormonal acne, you may want to further consult with a physician who can point you in the right direction.  Sometimes there's no easy fix for balancing hormones, but there are prescriptions and drugs that may be able to help which your doctor can help you with.

*Always consult your doctor prior to adding or eliminating any supplements to your diet. 

My Acne Story

Welcome to The Natural Acne Cure, a blog inspired by my real-life acne story!

I hope that you have been finding some helpful information here on my blog!  My inspiration to start this blog comes from my own struggles with acne.  I suffered from acne for over ten years.  I had moderate-severe acne all throughout high school and moderate acne into my early adulthood as well.  Over the years I kept telling myself that the acne would eventually go away on it's own as I got older, well...that never happened.

I had basically given up all hope when all of these "miracle" products like Proactiv, Murad, Acne Free, Clean & Clear, Neutrogena, etc. were doing nothing to improve my acne.  That's when I went the all-natural route, and thank goodness I did!  I stopped throwing away money on over the counter acne products and started treating my acne naturally, which has helped me get my skin under control and I can finally describe my skin as "normal." If you have acne you know how much of a success it truly is just to be able to say that you have normal skin.  I get the occasional breakout around my time of the month, but it's easy to treat and prevent using the natural products and remedies mentioned in this blog.

I know what you're going through, trust me!  I had low self-esteem, hated going out in public, and woke up every morning only to spend an hour in the mirror popping all the new pimples that had turned up over night.  I avoided having my picture taken like it was the plague! Acne is a debilitating skin condition that really affects all aspects of your life. Not only is it unsightly and embarrassing, but it is also a painful condition to deal with.

My goal in starting The Natural Acne Cure is to help people who also suffer from acne.  If it can work for me, I know that it can work for you too!  Browse my blog and you'll find tons of helpful information on natural home remedies, all-natural homemade recipes for skincare products, tips on preventing acne, and lots of other good stuff!

Best of luck on your journey to clear skin!

I love hearing from my readers, so feel free to contact me

Alisha Renee
The Natural Acne Cure

Witch Hazel Toner for Acne Breakouts

Witch hazel has been used as a natural remedy for centuries. Native Americans were the first to derive witch hazel from the leaves and bark of the witch hazel plant. The primary benefits of witch hazel include its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and healing properties.

Witch hazel is a cheap and natural way to help treat and prevent acne breakouts. Witch hazel can be purchased in pure form at nearly any drug or grocery store. Sometimes it is combined with other healing ingredients, like rose water and aloe vera. Not only does witch hazel help get rid of acne causing bacteria, but it also helps tighten pores and improve tone and texture of the skin.

To use witch hazel as a toner or astringent simply apply with a clean cotton round all over the face, paying close attention to breakout prone areas. Allow it to dry completely before applying any moisturizer.

You can also use witch hazel as a spot treatment by pulling off small pieces of cotton and soaking them in the witch hazel and apply directly to a pimple. Allow it to sit on the pimple until it dries and then repeat as often as needed. Another option is to soak a hot washcloth in witch hazel and place it over your face for 5-10 minutes. This will help clear and tighten your pores!

Oily Skin Home Remedies

The Truth About Oily Skin

Those suffering from oily skin know how persistent and bothersome the issue of oily skin can be. When you have oily skin you may feel the need to constantly wash your face to prevent that unappealing shine. While that "I just worked out" glow can be attractive, it's not something that you want to sport 24/7. There are many products out there that are used to address this common skin issue, but why spend a lot of money when you can utilize home remedies to address the oily skin? Before trying every product on the shelf, at least give home remedies a shot.

I'd like to note that many people who suffer from oily skin may also suffer from acne breakouts. This is due to the fact that sebum production is in overdrive, leading to more clogged pores and eventually breakouts. Dermatologists often treat acne by addressing this overproduction of sebum in the skin, which in turn helps prevent clogged hair follicles and bacteria buildup.

While there are many downsides of having oily skin, there is at least one positive aspect. Oily skin helps to slow the common signs of aging, including wrinkles and fine lines. It may seem hopeless now, but eventually you may reap the benefits of your oily skin!

In the meantime...

Until you are able to appreciate the anti-aging effects of oily skin, you are probably desperate to get rid of that pesky oil and shine on your face. Before I tell you about the effective home remedies for addressing oily skin, let's talk about preventive measures.
  • Wash your face twice a day, morning and night. Your daily skincare routine can help prevent excess shine. When you choose your facial skincare products, make sure to check the labels to ensure that the products you use are oil-free and alcohol free. Alcohol strips the skin of it's natural oils, and as a normal reaction to this sebum production increases making skin more oily. For more info about skincare routines for acne prone skin, click here.
  • Don't touch your face! Many people don't realize how often they touch their face. Our hands and fingers have oils on them, which can be transferred to your face, thus making your face more oily than it is. Also be aware of other things that touch your face, such as cell phones, sun glasses, and so on.
  • Be aware of the cosmetic products your are using. Many makeup products are oil-based, which only exacerbates already-oily skin. Make it a habit to read all the labels on your cosmetic products. Look for oil-free and non comedogenic products to avoid added shine. You should also be washing your makeup brushes weekly as oil can build up on the bristles.Click here to read more about washing makeup brushes.
  • Have you ever heard the phrase you are what you eat? Well, it's true. Make sure you eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and veggies because what you eat does have an influence on your skin. While we're talking about it, make sure you drink enough water as well! (typically 8 glasses of water a day is recommended- 8oz. per glass)

Home remedies

Okay, now that we've gotten the logistics out of the way, let's discuss some of the most effective natural home remedies for oily skin.
  • Baking Soda: Baking soda has been known to help balance the PH levels of skin, so it can have a positive effect on oily skin. It also exfoliates the skin and removes dead skin cells so that oil production on the face is more regulated. You should only use baking soda 2-3 times a week at most. Just mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of water and massage into your facial skin. You can leave it on for 5 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
  • Cucumber: Cucumbers are rich in vitamins and minerals including vitamins A & E, magnesium, and potassium. It also has a soothing effect on skin. These characteristics make cucumber a good option for oily skin. The easiest way to use cucumbers on your oily skin is to get a fresh organic cucumber, slice off a few pieces, and rub them on your face thoroughly. Leave it on overnight and rinse with warm water in the morning. You can do this treatment daily as a nighttime toner.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is not only good for treating acne due to it's antibacterial properties, but it can also help combat oily skin. You can either apply it topically or take it internally. Topically it helps remove excess oil and clean out pores. When taken internally, ACV helps to balance hormones, which can help reduce oil production in skin. Read about the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar for acne here.
  • Lemons: Lemons contain citric acid which acts as an astringent to soak up excess oil. To use lemons for oily skin get a lemon and slice it in two. Squeeze half of the lemon juice into a small bowl or cup, and mix in a tablespoon of water. Use a cotton ball to apply as a toner all over the face. Leave it on overnight and rinse the next morning. (Bonus- lemons help fade acne scars too!)
  • Homemade Blotting Papers: Blotting excess oil off of the skin is the quickest fix for oily skin, especially throughout the daytime when you are struggling with that extra shine. To make your own blotting papers at home you will need: a pack of tissue paper (the kind used for gift bags), scissors, and a small container that will fit in your purse or makeup bag. Simply cut the tissue paper into small rectangles of the same size and place in your small container. Whenever your face is feeling heavy with oil and shine, just pull one out and blot the excess oil from your skin. 

Using Green Tea to Treat, Prevent, or Cure Acne and Breakouts

Drinking Green Tea for Acne

Green tea is known for it's amazing health benefits.  There is a long list of reasons why you should be drinking green tea if you suffer from acne.  Green tea has natural antioxidants which helps promote healthy skin from the inside out.  It also has anti-inflammatory properties, making it excellent for soothing irritated and inflamed skin that can result from acne.  Additionally, it helps boost the immune system and balance hormones, which means that your body will be better prepared to fight off acne causing bacteria naturally.

In order to see benefits of drinking green tea, you should be drinking at least 3 cups a day (more if possible) before it will have any affect on your acne.  Some people suggest drinking up to 6 cups a day.  Keep in mind that green tea does contain caffeine, so you may want to opt for decaffeinated green tea if you are sensitive to caffeine.  Don't worry too much if you stick with regular green tea that does contain caffeine, it only contains a small amount (a cup of coffee contains much more caffeine than a cup of green tea.)  Also, if you need to sweeten your tea avoid sugar or artificial sweeteners.  Try using honey, it's amazing with green tea!  You can also mix it with other things like almond milk or coconut milk to make a nice creamy green tea drink that tastes delicious! 

Here's how I make my green tea:

Brew 1 cup of hot green tea (1-2 cups of water, depending on how strong you like it)

Take a clean jar (with a lid) and pour in about 1/2 cup of almond milk (I use an old spaghetti sauce jar)

Place the lid on the jar and shake vigorously until the almond milk becomes frothy

Mix the tea and almond milk together until well blended. Enjoy!

What I love about this recipe is that by shaking up the almond milk it seems more like a green tea latte instead of a boring cup of green tea.  I drink it this way every day.  Additionally, I brew big batches of green tea which I then store in a glass pitcher in the refrigerator.  During the summer months I simply mix the cold almond milk with the chilled green tea from the fridge for a nice cold beverage.  Keeping a pitcher of green tea in the fridge also makes it easier to drink green tea more often because I don't have to brew it each and every time.  I usually keep a pitcher for about a week, if it lasts that long.  Since I drink so much green tea I usually go through a pitcher every 3 days or so.  To brew a pitcher I simply take about 6 tea bags and place them into a pan of hot water that I've boiled.  Allow to steep for 5-10 minutes.  Fill the pitcher about 3/4 of the way full with cold water.  Once the green tea has cooled down, pour it into the pitcher mixing it with the water that is already in the pitcher.

Using Green Tea Topically for Acne

Green tea also has benefits when used topically.  As mentioned before, it has anti-inflammatory properties which will help calm the skin and reduce inflammation caused by acne.  Another great benefit is that green tea leaves (called Camellia sinensis) contain polyphenolic components with act against a wide spectrum of microbes, which means that green tea is antimicrobial making it effective in fighting acne causing bacteria and other microbes found on the skin that can lead to breakouts.  Green tea has also been said to help reduce acne scars, another excellent benefit for acne sufferers. 

Green Tea Toner Recipe

  • 1/4 cup of fresh brewed organic green tea
  • 1/4 cup of purified water
  • Apply with a cotton ball morning and night
  • Store toner in the refrigerator in a glass container for up to 2 weeks
Green Tea and Apple Cider Vinegar Toner (great for acne!)

  • 1/4 cup of fresh brewed organic green tea
  • 2 tablespoons organic ACV (with the mother)
  • 1/4 cup of purified water
  • Apply with a cotton ball morning and night (before moisturizing)
  • Store in refrigerator in glass container for up to 2 weeks

Honey and Cinnamon Mask for Acne

Honey Cinnamon Mask for Acne
I've already discussed the benefits of using organic honey to treat acne, but recently I've discovered a way to combine honey and cinnamon into a powerful acne treatment mask.  You probably know that honey has natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, but few are aware that cinnamon also has strong antimicrobial properties.  Chemicals found in the cinnamon plant fight bacteria and fungi growth, which makes it a great remedy for acne.

Honey Cinnamon Mask for Acne
To make a honey cinnamon mask you will need:

Pure cinnamon powder
Organic honey (preferably Manuka honey)

Mix together 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 tablespoon of cinnamon into a paste.  If the paste seems thin you can add more cinnamon to thicken it so that it sticks to your face without melting off.  Apply the past all over your face using clean fingers or a clean (unused) makeup brush.  *Keep a makeup brush handy just for applying your face masks* Leave the mask on for about half an hour (less if it starts burning) and then rinse with warm water.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Acne

There are many benefits to using apple cider vinegar for acne...

Acne is something that many adolescents and adults struggle with, but few are aware of how Apple Cider Vinegar can help. As a teenager I always told myself that I just had to survive a few years with acne before my skin would clear up and I would be rid of acne breakouts forever. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case for me. I am now twenty-four years old and have been dealing with acne breakouts since I was sixteen. Over the past eight years I have tried countless remedies and treatments to help with my acne breakouts. The money that I have spent on acne cures and acne treatments is ridiculous. I could buy a new car with all of the money that I have spent trying to rid myself of acne!
Over the years I've learned to live with acne, but every time I look in the mirror I'm reminded that my skin is less than perfect. Acne has a major influence on self-esteem, and as much as I tried I just couldn't shake the horrible self-thoughts when I looked in the mirror and saw all the scars and breakouts staring back at me.

Within the past year I started researching natural remedies to heal acne and prevent breakouts. I was surprised at how many natural remedies existed for the treatment of acne. I have tried any and all over the counter products available (i.e. ProActiv, Clearasil, Murad, Neutrogena, Clean and Clear) and none of them produced significant results in the treatment or prevention of my acne. As a last resort I changed gears and started trying cheap, natural remedies. One of the first natural home remedies that I tried was Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). Apple Cider Vinegar has natural antibiotic properties which make it effective in treating acne causing bacteria. Unlike some OTC acne treatments, Apple Cider Vinegar is all natural and has no harsh added ingredients or chemicals that can harm your skin or make your breakouts worse. Only raw, organic, all natural Apple Cider Vinegar will work in the treatment of acne. Don't waste your money by buying ACV that has been processed and pasteurized. It won't work because all the natural goodness of the Apple Cider Vinegar has been taken out.

After finding a raw organic ACV (I use Eden Organic) I made a simple toner to use on my acne breakouts. Just mix 1 part ACV with 2 parts distilled water, and voila! An all natural acne treatment that costs a little over five dollars. I store my homemade ACV toner in a glass bottle in the fridge so that it's cool and refreshing when I apply it. To apply, just use a cotton ball and apply generously all over the face, focusing on breakout prone areas. Leave the toner on overnight. Don't worry about the smell, once the ACV is dry you can barely smell it at all. I used this simple ACV toner on my face every night, and after the first week I saw a noticeable difference in the severity of my acne. I had less breakouts and my existing acne was healing beautifully. I was also surprised to see my old acne scars fading as a result of the ACV toner. I have been using this home remedy ACV toner for five months now, and my skin is nearly flawless. I still get an occasional pimple here or there, but in comparison to my massive acne breakouts prior to using the toner, I can handle a pimple or two!
While researching this home remedy I also learned that drinking two tablespoons of organic ACV per day will help clear up acne from the inside out. It does so by clearing the body of toxins.

Additionally, if you are suffering from hormonal acne (like me) drinking organic ACV can help regulate your hormones and calm acne breakouts. I couldn't bring myself to drink the liquid form of Apple Cider Vinegar, but I found that they make Apple Cider Vinegar in pill form as well. I have only been taking the capsules for two weeks but am already seeing promising results. Not only do I feel better overall, but my skin has continued to improve and is more clear and radiant than it has been in the past eight years!

Urine Therapy for Acne...Does It Work?

Your first thoughts might be "EWW, GROSS, I'M NEVER DOING THAT!"  At least that's what I said when I first heard of this somewhat disturbing natural remedy for acne.  Urine therapy or urotherapy has been said to help treat and prevent acne.  I researched it for weeks trying to figure out WHY putting your own urine on your skin would have an effect on acne.  I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I actually gave in and tried it for a few weeks.  If you have acne you are pretty much willing to do ANYTHING to get rid of it, am I right?  Well, I was so fed up with my acne that I thought I would give urine therapy a try. 

Urine therapy is not a new thing.  It's been around for ages.  They even have conventions about Urine Therapy and it's ability to treat or cure many different health issues.  Many people believe that urine is a waste product produced by the body, but that's not true.  It's actually pretty much just water that the body didn't absorb along with some natural stuff that your body produces.  Have you ever seen the ingredient "urea" in any of your skincare products?  Well, that's basically lab-created urine.

So why do people think urine will help with acne?  Well it's said to have natural antiseptic and antifungal qualities.  Since it's produced by the body people believe that it's one of the rawest forms of natural remedies that exist.  Ever heard of someone peeing on a jellyfish sting?  Well, apparently there's SOMETHING to this urine therapy stuff.

So, back to my urine therapy trial.  I tried it for about three weeks.  I drank TONS of water so that my urine was as "clean" as possible.  I basically used the urine as a mask each night before bed.  I would cleanse my face and then apply the urine all over my face with a cotton ball.  Fresh is better, so they say. You can also apply the urine as a toner and leave it on overnight or use it as a spot treatment if you don't want to put it all over your face.   I've even read that drinking your own urine can help, but that's where I draw the line.

I felt disgusting, but as I mentioned earlier, I was desperate.  After a few weeks I still saw no improvement whatsoever, so I stopped.  It may work for some people but it did not work for me.  I'm not saying that it won't work for anyone, but maybe you should consider some other natural remedies before deciding to put your own urine on your face.  For example, manuka honey and apple cider vinegar worked much better for my acne than urine therapy.

**Disclaimer: I do not recommend, condone, or suggest that you should drink your own urine or apply it to your skin.  Consult your doctor if you think that you would like to try this remedy.

Is Dairy Causing Your Acne? Try Going Dairy-Free!

Going Dairy-Free to Prevent Acne

Since I still struggle with acne I have done a lot of research on what may cause or increase acne breakouts. While researching I came across some information stating that dairy can cause or exacerbate acne. I was intrigued, so I did more research and talked to my dermatologist about whether or not dairy could be causing my acne. I found out that there are studies that have proven that there is in fact a link between dairy (lactose) intolerance and acne. I also discovered that many people are lactose intolerant but have no idea that they are, so they continue consuming dairy which can have a lot of negative side effects on their health. As far as I knew, I wasn't allergic to intolerant to anything, so I questioned whether or not dairy could really be causing my acne if I wasn't lactose intolerant.

I decided to go dairy-free for a month to see if it had an influence on my acne. I am currently five days in to my dairy-free diet, and I can already see an improvement in my acne. Actually, I don't have any new emerging pimples and the ones that I do have are in the process of healing. I was visiting my mother yesterday and mentioned that I was on a dairy-free diet to see if it helped with my acne. She said that she could really see a difference in my skin already. Then, all of a sudden she said "Oh my gosh, you are lactose intolerant!" She then told me that when I was an infant I had to be on lactose free formula, but then as I got older I seemed to be okay with dairy and she never gave it another thought. When I told her about the link between dairy and acne, she felt horrible because she had no idea that this lactose intolerance could be linked to my acne breakouts.

I'm going to continue my dairy free diet and see if it truly is the underlying cause behind my acne. I'm actually hoping that it is so I can get rid of my acne once and for all.

How Dairy Causes Acne

Why do humans drink cows milk anyways?
I actually read a few books several years ago that really opened up my eyes when it comes to nutrition and diet and how it can impact our overall health, including our skin health (The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone and Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman & Kim Barnouin, in case you're interested), and these books mention in the book that humans are not meant to drink cows milk. It makes perfect sense when you really think about it. Cows milk is meant for their offspring, not for human consumption. When it really comes down to it, we would be better off putting breast milk into containers and selling that in stores (sorry if that is a bit crude for some of you), because in all reality that is what humans are truly meant to consume. I don't think I've ever seen a goat drinking horses milk, or a horse drinking dogs milk, etc. Humans are actually the only species that consumes another species milk...isn't that comforting...?

Cows milk has a lot of androgen hormones, which are known to cause acne breakouts. Additionally, cows only produce milk when they are pregnant and when they are feeding their offspring. In order to keep up with the demand for milk and dairy products among society, most dairy cows are continuously injected with even more hormones. As a result, cows milk is really high in the growth factor known as IGF-1, which is also a hormone commonly found in adolescents during puberty (when acne is said to be at it's worst).
Clearly this is not healthy for the cows, let alone for the humans consuming the dairy that is being produced. The hormones pass through the cows system and into the cows milk, which then passes to the people who consume it. Hormonal imbalances are a major cause of acne, so if you look at the facts here, it is clear that these hormones that are given to cows do nothing to help people suffering from hormonal acne. Not to mention that increased levels of androgen hormones are linked to an increase in sebum (oil on the face) by putting the sebaceous glands into overdrive. Anyone with oily skin knows just how important this information is when it comes to treating and preventing acne.

Cows that are raised to produce milk are often given heavy antibiotics to keep them from getting infections or illnesses. As such, these antibiotics are passed on to the milk. While you may not need to worry about this issue if you drink organic milk (which is much better, but much more expensive), most of us don't buy organic milk. This means that all of these antibiotics that are given to dairy cows are also being consumed by people who drink the milk or eat dairy products. If you've been drinking milk since you were a toddler, that's a lot of years that you have been consuming trace amounts of antibiotics. That doesn't seem too healthy to me. Actually it is said that prolonged exposure to any antibiotic will cause mutations in bacteria resulting in antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria...not good!

Foods That Contain Dairy

Okay, so if dairy truly does cause acne for some people, the switch to a dairy free diet will not be easy. Personally, I have been eating dairy my entire life and I never really stopped to think of how many foods I consumed that had some sort of dairy. Cheesecake is out, along with ice cream and milk chocolate. Not to mention the endless list of other foods that contain's a few to give you an idea:

Cheese Products (Alfredo, cream cheese, cottage cheese, etc.)
Milk or cream based soups (chowders etc.)
Whipped Cream
Cereals that are frosted (i.e. Frosted Mini Wheats)
The list goes on!

I haven't even been on this dairy free diet for a week, and I have already noticed that there are A LOT of foods that contain dairy products. Now that I'm actually being diary conscious, I can't believe how hard this is truly going to be! Just think, if dairy truly is the culprit behind my persistent acne, I won't be able to have dairy...ever! Come to think of it, I don't think that cheesecake is something that I'll ever be able to give up is one of my all-time favorite things in the whole world. I would take a pimple over giving up cheesecake any day! I will definitely be able to cut back on everything else dairy related, but cheesecake is where I draw the line!

If anyone reading this article decides to go dairy free to see if it causes acne, please leave a comment and let me know how it goes for you! I'm really interested in hearing about other people's experiences with this, and it would be nice to know that I'm not the only one depriving myself of dairy!

How to fade acne scars and hyperpigmentation: all-natural remedies

If you have acne you most likely also struggle with the unsightly scars that acne can leave behind.   Even if the actual pimple has healed you may still find scars left behind.
  This blotchy redness is referred to as hyperpigmentation, which can last for weeks before it actually fades.  The redness from the scars and hyperpigmentation can be difficult to cover up, even with the best concealer.  Here are some natural remedies that will help with acne scars:

  • Lemon juice toner- Lemon juice helps reduce redness and even out your complexion.  To make a lemon juice toner just juice 1 whole lemon and mix with about 1/2-3/4 cup of purified water (depending on how strong you want it to be).  Store the mixture in the fridge and use nightly to fade scars left by acne.
  • Jojoba Oil- This particular oil makes a great moisturizer for acne-prone skin.  If you keep your skin well nourished and moisturized, the scars and hyperpigmentation will fade faster than if you were to leave your skin dry and flaky.  Utilize organic Jojoba oil to help with acne scars and to help prevent more acne.  Apply just a few drops and massage into your skin once or twice daily.
  • Aloe Vera- Natural aloe vera gel is a great way to help heal acne scars and hyperpigmentation.  If you do decide to use aloe gel be sure that you get 100% aloe vera gel, organic if possible, with no added ingredients.  There are a lot of aloe products that have numerous ingredients which could do more harm than good for acne prone skin.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar- This healthy vinegar helps improve and even out overall skin tone and slough off dead skin cells which means faster healing of scars and hyperpigmentaiton.  Make a toner using all natural organic ACV (with "the mother") and purified water.  Typically I use 1 part ACV and 2 parts water when I mix ACV toner.  I also store it in the fridge because I like the cooling effect it has after cleansing.

Evening Primrose Oil for Hormonal Acne

Do you suffer from hormonal acne?  Have you ever noticed that teenagers are twice as likely to suffer from acne than adults? Well, when you take into account the fact that teenagers are going through puberty (which can cause fluctuations inhormone levels) it's really not too surprising. Unfortunately, for some adults, hormonal acne doesn't end when puberty stops. Hormonal acne can plague people well into adulthood, and it can sometimes take years for someone to realize that hormonal imbalances are the root cause of their adult acne. Women are typically more likely to suffer from hormonal acne, however men may also be victims of hormonal acne. Women go through regular periods of hormone fluctuations (menstrual cycles, menopause, etc.) which is why they have a higher risk of suffering from hormonal acne.

Why topical acne treatments won't work for hormonal acne...

While topical treatments may help in treating existing acne sores and emerging acne, it will not completely alleviate acne breakouts for those suffering from hormonal acne. In order to treat and prevent hormonal acne you must treat the root of the cause, which is hormone imbalances. Until the hormones are under control and regulated to normal levels, the hormonal acne will persist despite great efforts to treat it topically using products like Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid.

How does Evening Primrose help with hormonal acne?

Evening primrose oil is extracted from the seeds of the Evening primrose flower. Evening primrose oil contains Linolenic Acid and Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) which are both Omega 6 fatty acids. This particular fatty acid plays a role in insulin absorption, cell structure, regulating hormones, improving nerve function, promoting skin elasticity, regulating the heart and regulating mood. Omega 6 is not created naturally by the body, so it must be derived from food sources (or supplements.)
Due to it's ability to help balance hormones, many women who are going through menopause often turn to Evening Primrose Oil for a natural remedy. Some also say that Evening Primrose Oil is beneficial in anti-aging and wrinkle prevention due to it's beneficial influence on the skin. Individuals who decide to take Evening Primrose Oil may also want to consider pairing it with a fish oil supplement as this particular combination has been said to increase overall effectiveness for the treatment of hormonal acne by improving absorption.
While it is more common to take Evening Primrose Oil internally, some also choose to apply it topically. It is said to help speed the healing process and to help overall skin appearance and health. If you decide to also apply EPO topically, try looking for it in a health food store or a supplement store in liquid form. If you are unable to find it in liquid form, you may also pop open the capsules and apply it with a q-tip or cotton ball.
If you decide to take Evening Primrose Oil supplements for your hormonal acne, it is important to first consult your doctor. Do not take EPO without first discussing it with a doctor as it may interact with other medications or conditions and produce adverse side effects.
My personal experience using Evening Primrose Oil for hormonal acne...

I have been taking Evening Primrose Oil for three months. I always make sure to purchase natural EPO that is hexane free (it should say this on the label.) For the first few weeks I took one 500mg capsule per day and I also applied it topically to breakout prone areas on my face. Applying it topically did not seem to improve my breakouts, so after several weeks I stopped applying it topically and continued taking it orally. While using it as a topical treatment I did notice that my skin was much smoother and had an overall healthy glow to it, but my main objective was to treat my acne so I discontinued it topically.

After the first three weeks of taking one 500mg capsule of EPO per day, I increased it to taking two 500mg capsules per day, for a total of 1000mg of EPO per day. After doing some research I found that some people take up to 2000mg per day, but I opted to stick with the 1000mg per day. During the first month of taking the EPO I did not notice a significant difference in my hormonal acne. I continued to take the capsules because they were improving my nail and hair growth. About a month and a half later, I started noticing an improvement in my acne. My pimples were healing much faster than usual and I was not having as many new pimples appearing on my face. Prior to using the EPO I would likely have one or two new pimples each morning. I also noticed that my scars were fading at a much faster pace than they had previously. Now that I have been taking EPO for three months I can say that I am a real believer in the effectiveness of Evening Primrose Oil for hormonal acne. My husband has even noticed a significant difference in my acne since I've started taking the EPO (and he didn't even know that I was taking it!) He has made several comments about how great my skin looks and clear and healthy it is! I am simply amazed that I have found something that works for hormonal acne that I can purchase over the counter. It's an all-natural remedy, which is another selling point for me. Although my skin has not completely cleared up 100%, I do believe that it will continue to improve over the next few months and I may eventually have completely clear skin.
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