Acne is one of the most stubborn skin conditions you can deal with on a daily basis. Not only is it caused by hormonal acne which can start because of puberty, but it can also be brought on by other hormonal imbalances when you reach middle-age, or it can be a result of cystic acne when the body is not able to process excess sugar and fat in the diet. It is the condition that can be very painful surrounding your head, face and body with tender, inflamed, and deep, swollen boils that are painful to touch and can appear unsightly. If left untreated for long enough, the experience of dealing with the pain and appearance of acne can affect one’s self-esteem and confidence which can then affect other areas of life like school, work, and relationships.
This article is here to help you consider new ways of treating acne in a way that will be effective, gentle, and healthier for you in the long run. It’s better than just going to the dermatologist and getting a drug prescription that might be so strong it sucks the skin of its natural moisture or upsetting your hormones by using birth control pills which can possibly later affect your ability to have children if you want to down the line.
Hands off your skin
First things first. Avoid trying to pop the pimple to prevent spreading the bacteria inside more parts of your body.
It is a good idea when you first get an outbreak, to ice the breakouts to constrict blood vessels and lower swelling. Not only that, the cold temperature encourages the warmer to hot pus inside to rise to the surface and be more likely to create a head which over the course of one to two days depending on the depth of the boil, will allow you to more easily heal from it, or more gently pop and drain it externally.
Sleep Is another important way that you can help the body regulate its hormone level. Lack of sleep can also lead to increased stress which can put your hormones out of balance and possibly lead to skin conditions like acne.
Exercise if you have been sedentary lately while having acne. Moving your body can be helpful to get the lymph fluid to flow and help it to carry out toxins, relieve stress, and to help the liver process any excess fat from your diet.
If you observe that you have a pattern of getting new outbreaks after eating certain types of food, then having more alkaline food rich in water rather than sugar and fat will be helpful. Food that contains a lot of water are fruits and vegetables, especially grapes, cucumber, apples, and celery. Juicing can also be a helpful way of getting more of these hydrating foods in your system so that they can help you detox and clear out the acne faster. Usually, it takes at least two to three weeks of consistent effort to see the fruits of this labor, no pun intended.
Herbs that help strengthen the liver can be helpful are dandelion and milk thistle. Having them as a tea can be a nice addition to your meal to help clear out boils.
Stress management will be very useful for many ailments including acne. Using meditation apps like Calm on a daily basis first thing in the morning for even just 5 minutes can be a great start to your day and help set the tone to maintain balance in your mind and your body.
You can also hop over to my article, How to relieve stress naturally to get tips on how to calm yourself.
Topical treatments to help keep acne away and to treat it if it appears are tea tree oil, which is a good antimicrobial and will help prevent the spread bacteria that could lead to more outbreaks. Another good product is Nelson’s Pure and Clear Acne Treatment Gel which does not contain benzoyl peroxide or hydrogen peroxide which can be super harsh and drying on the skin. It will help dry out the pus and if used consistently it can help acne completely disappear without the need to pop it.
Lymphatic drainage massage can be helpful to get the fluids moving and prevent stagnation and the accumulation of acne in certain pores. There are many great videos on how to do this on yourself on YouTube. Here is a really good one that you can try at home. Otherwise, a great way to get your lymph fluid moving is also to increase your physical activity in. Even just walking 30 minutes a day or so can be very helpful.
Safe Squeezing and Popping (if you can’t help it)
Harm reduction (safe popping and squeezing techniques) – If you really can’t keep your hands off your skin and feel the need to try popping it anyway, the best thing to do is to wait a day or so until a head forms on top. It will usually look white to yellowish and should stick out so that the head is at least 50% protruding from the skin. If the majority of the head of a pimple is pretty buried deep and if it only looks like you can fit a needle through, then it is too deep to make any real progress. If you tried to squeeze it, it might just push the pus in deeper, irritate the skin underneath making it more swollen and painful and take longer to heal from.
Hope these tips have been insightful and helpful for you and that you experienced faster and more effective healing!
Terry Alabata is a 7-year experienced makeup artist and hairstylist and the Bay Area’s premiere beauty artist specializing in eco-friendly and cruelty-free makeovers. Her passion for makeup and hair grew from a desire to find safe, hypoallergenic options for people with sensitive skin and eczema, like her.