Introduction and background
Even the American Medical Association (AMA), once known for its position against alternative medicine, is now promoting the idea that patients must be given the option to choose natural treatments. In fact, the AMAâs journals will be covering more topics on alternative medicine. Health and wellness are top concerns, and we have witnessed the trend towards curing our health problems with safer and more natural medicine.
To prove the point that natural treatments are preferred over prescription medicine, sales of herbal medicine alone have reached $2.5 billion a year. The AMA says that doctors must keep up with that challenge and keep an open mind to the wishes of their patients. If patients want to discuss herbal treatments, they should not be too quick in criticizing this option. Evidence exists that millions of people have developed more trust and confidence in herbal preparations, essentially because of the safety factor.
Natural or alternative acne treatments can be further subdivided into the following subtypes:
Homeopathic medicine rests on the principle of âlike cures like.â This means that it uses treatments with extremely diluted portions. Homeopaths treat symptoms similarly and go straight into the causes of the problem. Homeopathic medicine contains only natural ingredients and hence produces no side effects. Today, there are over 3,000 cures that are based on homeopathy principles.
There have been few studies examining the effectiveness of specific homeopathic remedies. Professional homeopaths, however, may recommend one or more of the following treatments for acne based on their knowledge and clinical experience. Before prescribing a remedy, homeopaths take into account a person’s constitutional type. In homeopathic terms, a person’s constitution is his or her physical, emotional, and intellectual makeup. An experienced homeopath assesses all of these factors when determining the most appropriate remedy for a particular individual.
Belladonna: For people who experience flushes of heat to the face or who have inflamed pustular acne that improves with cold applications
Calendula: For skin conditions involving pustules or blisters
Hepar sulphur: For painful, pus-filled acne
Kali bromatum: For deep acne, especially on the forehead, in persons who are chilled and nervous
Silicea: For pustules or pit-forming acne
According to Ayurveda, acne is generally considered as an excess of pitta. Therefore, Ayurveda approaches acne from symptomatic and causative levels to remove symptoms, herbs and herbal preparations can be used. Simultaneously, the excess pitta and toxins inside the body should be reduced. If neglected, pitta and toxins will cause acne to reappear or manifest as illness in another part of the body. For causal balancing and healing, persons should follow a fire reduction diet, which reduces pitta.
Ayurvedic medicine may help improve acne symptoms, although further studies are needed. In one study, a combination of ginger (zingiber officinale), Holarrhena antidysenterica, and Embelia ribes reduced the number of inflammatory and non-inflammatory lesions in acne. In another study, combined oral and topical use of Aloe barbadensis, Azardirachta indica, turmeric (Curcuma longa), Hemidesmus indicus, Terminalia chebula, Terminalia arjuna, and ashwagandha (Withania somnifera ) also reduced the number of lesions. However, the use of ayurvedic medicine has its own limitations and drawbacks such as:
â˘ Access to a licensed, ayurvedic medicine is not easy for everyone and everywhere.
â˘ It could be quite expensive as compared to other modes of acne treatment.
â˘ Ayurvedic medicine many not be suitable for all acne sufferers.
Hydrotherapy or hydrotherapeutics is sometimes referred to as hydropathy. It is said to incorporate the use of the âhealing powersâ of water. Its use dates back to as early as 2400 BC. Many practitioners of âhydrotherapyâ feel water has significant curative properties and that, unlike other medicinal agents, is not harmful nor potentially toxic and, therefore, can be effectively used to treat acne. Possible hydrotherapy remedies to treat or heal acne lesions and scars include:
â˘ Applying ice to skin sores
â˘ Soaking in ocean water
â˘ Quickly rubbing the body (not the face) with a cold, damp washcloth
The light, heat and color of vibrant rainbow waves create effective vibration not only in human but animal tissues (especially skin) as well. Therapists usually use a combination of Green and Blue color, creating a typical âTurquoise-Blueâ. This color energizes skin tissues and is the best cure for burnt skin from sunlight and itching. It creates tightness in shrunk and skin full of wrinkles, pimples and pustules and which becomes the cause of attraction in your personality.
However, the full effectiveness of color therapy and its usefulness in acne treatment is still under research and a topic of debate. Also, it is not easy to find an expert color therapist who could specifically target acne affected skin and tissues and will treat them all successfully.
Speaking of acne, meditation is a method of shifting your âillness-affectedâ thoughts, by getting in touch with your true essence where beauty is more than skin-deep. Sitting for meditation once or twice daily can ease anxiety about physical appearance, reduce emotional stress, and combat depression. The negative emotional factors associated with acne can lead to more issues in the body, creating a positive feedback system producing more acne. One of the frequently practiced methods in this regard is the powerful tool of visualization in which you “close your eyes and visualize that the acne is clearing up and going away, as if you are communicating with the tissues in your skin that are bursting out with acneâ. This is a practice in positive thinking that can help to shift negative thoughts that may be stuck in your mind, preventing the skin from healing. However, meditation has its own share of limitations such as:
â˘ Most adolescents find it hard to practice meditation with the much-needed concentration
â˘ Most meditation methods require a lot of time, dedication and practice to be fully effective
When acne is caused by stress, you may find that yoga; massages and relaxation techniques can help control the problem. Yoga helps to keep the channels of the body open to help move toxins out. Yoga brings blood and oxygen to the skin in more efficient ways than any other exercise. However, no single study has so far demonstrated that Yoga, alone, can be effective against any type of acne. Like other forms of alternative treatment, Yoga requires a lot of time, dedication, practice, regularity and punctuality to be fully effective. Also, many believe that Yoga has more benefit in helping one in âpreventionâ, rather âtreatmentâ of acne.
According to Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture principles, acne is a skin condition associated with an abundance of heat in the body. Depending on the severity and duration of the condition, it is associated with dysfunction of the Lung, Spleen, Stomach, Large Intestine and Heart channels. Wind-heat, damp-heat, phlegm and stagnation are the primary factors involved in its development. Acupuncture treatment for acne is based on specific needling and can be successful only if applied correctly, i.e. by using a combined approach of local channel-based and systemic zangfu-based treatment.
Finally, statistics andÂ recommendationsÂ show that herbal acne therapy, currently, is the fastest developing mode of alternative therapy of acne. Because of the entry of unique whole or complete anti-acne kits in herbal acne market, acneÂ sufferersÂ now have more choices and freedom ofÂ flexibilityÂ when it comes to choosing the best alternative therapy for the treatment and prevention of acne lesions and scars.