You wish you did not have to read this article. Because no one likes acne and getting rid of acne is not a fun activity when you just want your skin to look flawlessly beautiful and smooth. However, here in this article I assembled tips and tricks from the best in cosmetology and natural esthetics on ways to get rid of acne.
You can get rid of acne fast and you can also get rid of acne naturally. To do so, you need to understand skin chemistry. I will try to explain the best natural ways I have learned from the best in natural beauty, medical beauty and beauty all around the world.
Skin loves balance. And even when you use the best products to help clear acne, you might not get the desired result. Why? Again, because skin loves balance, it is called pH-balance and to treat acne effectively, you need to put skin in a neutral pH-balance zone.
Why is pH-balance so important for skin? Skin, as well as human blood has pH of around 7.00. Anything above or below this neutral level creates an environment too acidic or too alkaline. And while by itself pH might be ok, to keep acne bacteria from growing, you need to neutralize their favorite environment by creating an environment that is great for skin and really really bad for acne.
Acne hates neutral environment and loves anything that helps its bacteria grow. So what makes it a neutral environment and how do you get there? Before we jump into a good protocol for natural acne treatment, let me introduce another important skin mechanic - cell turnover.
Cell turnover or skin cell regeneration cycle - is quite important when you are on a mission to clear skin and make it acne-free. This takes time. Nothing happens quickly. Even the world took 7 days to create (and that was a rush order!). Just kidding. I think it took a bit longer.
Skin has its own regenerative cycle. It takes normal skin 21 days to shed old layer and get another one. Sometimes skin gets out of its normal healthy skin regeneration cycle and starts shedding cells much faster - and you get psoriasis. It is obviously more complex than that, but you get an idea.
Even if you do most advanced procedures and treatments, you cannot possibly get results within hours or overnight. It is just the name of the game - any change takes time. To truly change your face or back (if it is back acne), you need a little bit of time and patience and understanding of the risks and rewards of choosing how fast you want to fix your skin.
The options for clearing acne are plentiful today -
- medications (internal and external)
- laser therapy
- hormonal therapy
- oil cleanses
- mineral masques
- do nothing and wait for it to go away
Only you can decide what option fits your lifestyle, budget and timeframe the best. And only you will have to weight any side effects or negative effects from each option and then make an opinion of what's worth it for you. And, honestly, each option has some negatives, depending on what you view as a negative, of course.
Let's take a look at each options to help you decide on the best approach to fixing skin and getting rid of acne.
Medications can be topical or systemic and your dermatologist can recommend internal applications, like creams to apply on acne-affected skin or pills that you ingest. Medications typically come with a cost - doctor visits and prescription costs. Some medications are over the counter or are available online and might have a monthly subscription. Based on popularity of some of the medications like Clerocyl or other ones; they obviously work, otherwise, no one would be buying them.
However, systemic medications can affect not only skin but other organs too. They can change balance of those organs and potentially affect them; hence, lists of side effects that every medication has. For me personally, the worst effect is on my hormonal balance and with that a lot of other things - mood, headaches and anything that is reproduction-related (for young women it can be of a great concern). Some acne sufferers do start with harsh medications and then back off when something else becomes an issue.
2. Laser / Light Therapy
Proven to work really well, it kills acne bacteria in the skin. It is an amazing alternative to taking pills or applying creams. It is probably not the most time-effective, as you will have quite a few trips to the laser center that come with a cost. Everything in life is a trade off - cost vs. time, quality vs. price, result vs. price, and so on and so forth.
Side effects from lasers might be less harsh, though it is your due diligence to find a true professional experienced in what she or he is doing. Turns out some professionals have a laser but don't have the correct laser or don't know how to properly use it (lack training). Some have the wrong laser that does not do the job.
I did not even think about the 'wrong' or 'bad' laser until I met an esthetician, friend of mine who owns a laser hair removal clinic and a med spa. From blissfully ignorant I became mildly concerned and a bit apprehensive about my overall lack of knowledge about lasers. After being explained more about lasers and intricacies of using them, I quickly realized that for anything that touches my skin I have to do a lot more research both on people who touch my skin and on every item, product or treatment.
Additionally, if you remember the circle of skin cell life - 21 days, it is again pretty important here too. Even when your skin is completely healed and you look perfect, in 21 days you might be running back to the same clinic for more laser! Why? Because what you do with your skin in-between treatments or after you are done with treatments will manifest in acne-free skin for good or in more breakouts.
3. Hormonal Treatments.
Acne can definitely be a result of hormonal dis-balance. Adding hormones on top of hormones can suppress your natural hormonal responses and can potentially affect what you body is capable of doing naturally.
I was on hormones in my early 20-ies and my body did not like them at all. Yes, some hormonal treatments can help with clear skin; but I was having horrible migraines and terrible mood swings on top of belly aches. It was not worth it for me personally. We all have different reactions to hormones.
If a proper level of hormones is balancing your hormonal levels and helps out with the skin, what would stopping this treatment do to you and your skin? Sometimes stopping taking hormonal treatments can throw your system into havoc. Hopefully not; but anything, as we discussed before, takes time. Even after you stopped taking hormones, it will take your system a bit to adjust and to start creating sufficient amounts of hormones to self-regulate all those functions that were previously artificially regulated by added hormones.
Some bodies can start functioning on their own and some go back to old ways or even worse.
4. Oil Cleanse.
Finally, in the United States, cosmetology started using oils for fixing oily skin. Sounds counterintuitive, but actually it works really well. Some recommend a double cleanse - one with water-based cleanser and one with oil.
Why do oils work so well to stop breakouts and curb acne? Let's go back to skin chemistry for a second. Our skin contains natural oils - skin sebum. When we break out (generate extra sebum), our natural reaction is to neutralize or stop oil production. Another natural reaction will be to use something that contains alcohol or something a bit harsh to really get that oil out. Sounds familiar?
So what happens when you do it? Skin freaks out and literally goes on defensive. When you strip natural oils out of the skin, even if those are 'excess oils', skin starts overproducing to compensate for the oils lost. And instead of getting rid of acne and making skin less oily, you get exactly the opposite effect.
In reality, what our skin wants is to have is more oil. When you add oil to oil, it actually curbs natural oil production and hopefully gets it to an optimal level. This is exactly what you need if you have issue with acne. You want natural oils to be balanced.
You can talk to your esthetician about best ways for you to incorporate an oil cleanse into your regimen, or simply try Katari Hoba to cleanse your face after you rinsed it with water and applied anti-inflammatory Roseau or Geran (flower waters).
5. Mineral Masques.
And when I say mineral, they have to be pH-neutral minerals; and of course it is good to know where the heck they came from. Not all minerals are created equal and not all are good for sensitive skin or any skin.
A good way to start is by trying a clay masque, a green clay to be exact.
Why is green clay perfect for skin and especially for acne-affected skin? Simply put, because it has a great combination of minerals to pull impurities and extra oils on the surface. But not only. Clays especially those containing gypsum (an ancient acne-fighting mineral found even in ancient Egyptian recipes) are great for normalizing oily skin and putting skin cell growth into a normal cycle. Remember that 21 day skin cycle we talked about? That's right. Clay does it - normalizes skin building capacity and puts skin cells to work at a normal pace.
Good thing about green clay is that it is the most potent type of clays. When it is extracted from an arid location where there is virtually no rain, it stays super charged and very effective. And when it is also pH-neutral, you got your skin-fixing hero. It does not sting, does not burn, does not irritate and does not clog pores. It is a cool natural way of giving skin a treatment without any side effects.
You can read about Argil (green clay) facial masque and do sign up for our newsletter to read more about recipes and ways to use all-natural single ingredient products like Argil.
6. Do nothing and wait for it to clear on its own.
Sometimes doing nothing is just fine. It could be less damaging to you, your skin, you budget and your time. If acne in your life comes and goes, it might be something you can really figure out or just wait out. Maybe it does not bother you enough to take any action and then it is ok to do nothing. Maybe you can rule out a by answering a few simple questions and changing a few simple things about your daily routine.
Questions to ask yourself before you do anything else to get rid of acne:
- what products do I use on my skin and are they pH-neutral?
- do my products contain alcohol that is drying my skin?
- do I wash my linen and pillowcases regularly? (product from hair can create build up on fabric and affect skin)
- do I sleep with hair down and have hair product build up that can transfer to skin? (for men it is as relevant, as back acne can be a real issue and solution could be just in clean sheets, pillow cases and minimizing hair product transfer to them)
Sometimes simple things like changing some of your habits can make a big difference in the way skin feels and looks. They can simply eliminate acne pretty fast and pretty naturally - by doing very little.
Many solutions are available to treat acne. My suggestion as a trained data junkie and a person obsessed with detail, is to arm yourself with knowledge, data and analyze what you have going on. By simple method of elimination, you can narrow down your issue with acne and pin-point the best solution that works for you.
And while I am not a skin care expert, unlike all the people that I get to work with, I am ingredient expert, obsessed with finding the best ways to simplify life while helping the all the humans in the world.
I welcome your questions and will be happy to share more details, tips and recommendations for what is best for YOU, personally. And bring expert opinions and advise from people I closely work with at Katari Beauty.
~ Kate | Clean Beauty Enthusiast | Purveyor of Simple Ingredients | Founder of Katari Beauty