Acne – Holistic Treaments

An article came out on the BBC this week (and a subsequent documentary) about the overuse and damaging side-effects of drugs prescribed to treat Acne, in particular ‘Roaccutane’. It is a heavy and commonly prescribed acne treatment and has raised a lot of debate based on claims of depression and suicidal desires that it evokes in a number of patients.

Skin problems can be psychologically very difficult to deal with, especially blemishes of the face, and Acne often occurs in teenagers and young people. Stress and worry can exacerbate if not outright cause symptoms, and at a socially difficult age this common affliction can take a big emotional toll and be very hard to live with. Stress, worry, embarrassment: all these negative emotions can have varying effects on the body, and all-round health and well-being are affected.

So what alternative treatments can be sought for Acne? There are a number of options within the Alternative and Complementary Therapy world, namely Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Nutritional Therapy and Aromatherapy. Other alternatives could include talking therapies such as Psychotherapy, NLP and Hypnotherapy. These can help resolve and understand the emotional effects and reduce stress, which could in some cases ease symptoms, or at least make the condition easier to deal with.

Our Herbal Therapist, Marion, kindly supplied me with some advice and tips on the Herbal treatment of Acne:

Acne is treated internally as well as externally. Several factors predispose a person to acne and they include genetic disposition, nutrition, hormonal changes and skin flora. At the core of the herbal treatment of acne is a group of herbs called ‘Alteratives’, which help the body’s detoxification and metabolic process to restore it back to normal function. The most commonly used herbs are Burdock, Cleavers and Nettle. All can be taken in tincture form but Cleavers and Nettle make a pleasant tea which has the additional effect of ‘flushing’ the system. Topically, an infusion of Marigold and Witch hazel makes an antimicrobial and soothing skin wash.

For treatment of more severe cases, other factors will have to be taken into consideration and it is advisable to see an herbal practitioner who will tailor the treatment to the individual’s needs.

For more information on the use of Acupuncture for treating Acne, this is a good website.



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