I really empathize with the struggles of teenagers today. Aside from all the pressures of school, social media and family life, as many as 80% of the population are struggling with acne1. Acne vulgaris is a common condition exhibiting red swollen bumps on the surface of the skin. This inflammation is caused by hair follicles that have been clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Acne can start off mild with just a few small bumps on the skin or what look like blackheads. Not treated properly, acne can get severe and even cause scarring. While the most common trigger for this condition is puberty and its accompanying hormonal changes, teens aren’t the only ones who get acne. Many adults struggle with it as well. Reports differ on whether or not diet is a variable in causing acne. Some studies indicate that high fat, high carb diets increase sebum production2. Another theory is that the hormones occurring in most cow’s milk or byproducts of its digestion can be an additional trigger.
Along with discomfort and health risks (such as infection), it’s important to understand the emotional challenges of acne as well. When we wake up in the morning, it is time to face the world. Acne is most visible on the face although it can appear on the neck, chest, and back, and therefore, it is very difficult to hide. Young women at this age may start wearing makeup and will often try to cover up skin lesions with different cosmetics. However, this only exacerbates the situation by clogging the hair follicles even more and not allowing the skin to breathe.
It can become a compulsion to keep washing our face attempting to “dry out” the excess oils on our skin. However, washing our face with harsh soaps will only strip the acid mantle of the skin and cause it to produce more sebum (sebum is the natural oil secretion from our sebaceous glands).
Mild Facial Acne Routine
You will need:
- 4 ounce bottle with spray top
- 2 ounces Aloe vera gel
- 2 ounces witch hazel hydrosol
- Jojoba Oil
- Essential oils of Tea Tree, Yarrow, Lemon, Juniper and Clary Sage
Aloe vera naturally contains salicylic acid which helps detoxify the skin by helping to unclog pores. Both Aloe vera gel and witch hazel hydrosol contain anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and have a cooling and cleansing effect. Hydrosols are the byproduct of the distillation process of essential oils. Hydrosols contain some of the therapeutic properties of essential oils but are largely water soluble elements of the distilled plant making the hydrosols gentler on the skin. Commercial witch hazel products contain a fair amount of alcohol which could be too drying.
In a 4 ounce bottle, combine:
2 oz: Aloe vera gel (Aloe barbadensis)
2 oz: Witch hazel hydrosol (Hamamelis virginiana)
Add the following essential oils to the Aloe vera/hydrosol mixture:
(These essential oils are known for their wound healing, hormone balancing, astringent, detoxifying, antiseptic, antibacterial and soothing qualities for the skin.)
|Essential Oils||Latin Name||Amount|
|Tea Tree||Melaleuca alternifolia||6 drops|
|Yarrow||Achillea millefolium||4 drops|
|Lemon||Citrus limon||13 drops|
|Juniper||Juniperus communis||9 drops|
|Clary Sage||Salvia sclarea||4 drops|
Directions for Use:
Shake well and spray generously on a cotton pad – wipe affected area.
Then, apply a small amount of Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis) to the face. Jojoba oil is actually not oily but is instead rich in wax esters and can help clear clogged pores and soothe inflammation. Allow the Jojoba Oil to penetrate the skin a few minutes while you are brushing your teeth or getting comfortable for the night. Then, soak a washcloth in very warm water, wipe your face gently and pat dry. The steam from the washcloth not only feels good on your skin but it also allows the pores to open up naturally helping dirt to surface. Though it may be tempting for some, don’t extract pimples yourself. This usually makes things worse and could lead to scarring.
In the morning, you may repeat the “oil” cleansing portion again. If at any time this irritates your skin, stop use immediately.
Always consult a doctor before trying anything new and remember, beauty comes from within…you’re beautiful no matter what!
1 Keri, Jonette E. “Acne.”, Last revision Dec. 2018, www.merckmanuals.com
2 Makrantonaki, Evgenia, Ganceviciene, Ruth, Zouboulis, Christos. “An update on the role of the sebaceous gland in the ]pathogenesis of acne.” Dermoendocrinology 2011 Jan- Mar; 3 (1): 41-49