Acne - A skin condition that causes whiteheads, blackheads, and inflamed red growths (papules, pustules, and cysts) to form. These growths are commonly called pimples or "zits."
Sally, a 14 year old, fair and beautiful girl felt not as much of confident and had withdrawn from her friend's circle. She felt unappealing because of the unsightly spots on her lovely face, which she thought were the bane of growing up.
She tried every cosmetic and anti-acne cream available in the market and her bedroom was no longer the same; it resembled a little pharmacy. This is not just the story of Sally; with the onset of puberty, adolescents become more conscious about their looks and the skin becomes a matter of grave concern. Acne is a major problem during this time. Why acne is so stubborn and dreadful? Can it be cured? Is there any herbal treatment for the same? All these queries are discussed by the authors in this article. Let us begin with the beginning....
The beginning of Acne
Acne starts with the over-production of sebum from the sebaceous glands which results in the blockage of the pores with a sticky mass of the dead cells and oil. It results in infection that occurs due to bacteria normally present in the skin. These convert the mass into compounds that cause inflammation and unattractive raised surfaces. Skin irritation may also result from the use of artificial cosmetics. The problem becomes worst by pinching, squeezing, scratching or rubbing the skin area plagued with acne.
One of the most common causes is hormonal imbalance that occurs at the time of adolescence. Some other causing factors that send invitation to acne are emotional stress and sex hormones. When active during puberty, Androgen (a sex hormone), stimulates the oil glands typically on the face, chest, back and shoulders. Many girls are prone to acne usually in the week before menstruation.
Although junk food is linked to the problem at times but the prime suspects are sugars, saturated fat and iodized salt (liberally used on crisps, chips, and other fast foods) contained in them. Diet based on junk foods, snacks, chocolates, soft drinks, and alcohol is low in several vital nutrients. Deficiency of these nutrients may result in eruptions of acne.
Role of Nutrients
One must eat regular and healthy meals. A healthy diet can play a major role in the prevention as well as cure of acne. It is not just a matter of what you eat, but it's about what you don't eat.
Many acne sufferers are deficient in Zinc, Nuts, Yogurt, Skimmed milk and skinless poultry can supplement this mineral in the diet.
A diet rich in poly-unsaturated fats has been claimed to counteract the problem in people suffering from acne.
People with acne should eat plenty of green and orange vegetables and fruits (Carrots, Spinach, Apricot, Mangoes, etc.), and eggs. These are a good source of Vitamin A which helps to maintain healthy skin.
Several of the B vitamins are believed to prevent blackheads and leave the skin less greasy. It helps prevent appearance of acne. Acne sufferers should eat a diet rich in vitamin C as it makes them less vulnerable to infections. Vitamin E has a healing effect on the skin. It is found in Wheatgerm, eggs and cold-pressed vegetable oils.
Herbal and folk remedies
There are several herbal and folk remedies available for curing acne. Few of the most common practices are mentioned below:
About the Authors:
Garima Sancheti : Research scholar, working at Department of Zoology, Radiation and Cancer Biology Laboratory, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India. She is currently working on herbs and their efficacy against cancer and radiation. She has to her credit various research papers in scientific journals as well as articles on web.
Dr Deepak Acharya - Head of Pistiss Herbal Research Lab Pvt Ltd.