Acne is a common presentation at this Perth naturopathic clinic. Dietary and lifestyle advice are combined with accurately prescribed homeopathic medicines for any underlying hormonal imbalance, which is usually the main cause. This results in a good improvement, mostly within a month or two. Both common acne (acne vulgaris) and acne rosacea respond well to similar natural treatment strategies.
Consistent natural therapy for between three and nine months is usually enough to completely resolve acne and pimples. The amount of treatment time needed will usually depend on the severity of the problem and how long it has been there. However at least 80% of patients see a significant improvement within the first month.
After a course of treatment over several months, there is no need to continue with treatment indefinitely. The focus is to get the body to balance itself to get to the root of the problem. If you maintain your health and look after your lifestyle and diet, all things being equal, the improvement should maintain.
The traditional understanding of the cause of acne is as follows. To keep the skin moist, the skin’s sebaceous glands produce an oil called sebum. In some individuals these glands may become overactive. Provided the oil is released through the pores onto the skin, it can be washed off with daily cleansing. However, in some the skin’s natural exfoliation process is compromised and the pores become blocked with dead skin cells. A pimple results; pressure builds and inflammation occurs. This can be further complicated by infection with bacteria from the surface of the skin.
But why are some more susceptible to acne than others? The usual explanation is hormonal factors. Acne flares at puberty in both boys and girls and at menopause and before the period in women; and this why the contraceptive pill is usually the first medical prescription for women. The imbalance can be caused by an oestrogen dominance (characterised by pre-menstrual breast tenderness and weepiness and heavy and/or painful periods) or by an androgen dominance (irregular periods, infertility, thinning hair, abnormal hair growth and deeper cystic acne). While this is true, such an imbalance in the hormones should not be occurring in a state of perfect health or harmony.
Homeopathy is ideally placed to balance the hormones and treat acne. A homeopathic consultation enquires in great detail about all aspects of a woman’s menstrual cycle: the cycle length, the premenstrual symptoms, the period symptoms, history of use of the oral contraceptive pill and many other factors. The Pill itself, while used to treat acne, is also one of the main causes of acne by upsetting the natural hormonal balance in women who eventually cease using it.
Homeopathy also takes into account everything else about the patient and their health and makes a “constitutional” prescription, which is usually able to restore that state of health and harmony. This remedy works on and resolves the unique pattern of imbalance in that patient, fixing the true underling cause in the holistic imbalance that triggered the hormonal problem in the first place. Positive changes in the menstrual cycle and the symptoms of acne are usually apparent in the first month of treatment.
However, there is more to acne than just hormonal imbalance. Diet is important, and indeed a poor diet can be a contributing factor to the hormonal problems. These need to be addressed if the problem is to be completely and permanently resolved.
From a naturopathic point of view, there are several different dietary factors to consider, but overall the diet to help acne is not much different to that needed for optimum health in general.
At this Perth clinic we can tailor the specific recommendations to your needs. It includes avoidance of “trans” fatty acids in most processed foods and the inclusion of omega 3 from sea foods and monounsaturated fatty acids from olive oil, nuts and avocados (providing fats that allow the sebum to flow more naturally); the avoidance of sugar and processed foods (abnormal blood sugar fluctuations aggravate acne); plenty of fruits and vegetables; and adequate hydration, meaning around two litres of water daily, with minimal tea and coffee, as these things can aggravate.
Above all, blood sugar levels must be kept stable to help prevent acne. This means avoiding simple carbohydrates such as white flour products and sugar. It is important to choose foods with a low glycaemic index (GI).
The mineral zinc is important, but this is best obtained from dietary sources: we find that pumpkin seeds are the best, as they also contain beneficial fats and hormone balancing factors. Last but not least, exercise and stress management are important in the management of acne.
In this 2007 study into skin issues including acne a total of over 88% of people experienced more than 50% improvement. Out of 60 people enrolled in the study, 6 were completely recovered, 23 found a 75% improvement, 24 had a 50% improvement and 7 a 25% improvement.