More natural acne-fighting tips
Research-backed herbal remedies tea tree oil, witch hazel, and willow bark remain top natural ingredients for acne relief, says Jeanette Jacknin, MD, author of Smart Medicine for Your Skin (Avery, 2001). A 2012 study points to another standout that trumps even prescription acne medications: thyme.
Thyme killed Propionibacterium acnes, a bacterium that exacerbates acne-inducing inflammation, after only five minutes. What’s more, it had greater antibacterial effect than benzoyl peroxide—the ingredient found in most prescription acne products. In the same study, marigold and myrrh also fought acne-related bacteria.
De-stress and rebalance.
Stress can trigger overgrowth of the intestinal bacteria linked to topical inflammation. In contrast, practicing mind-balancing exercises encourages a healthy gut-skin system. Bauer recommends developing a stress-management program as part of an overall lifestyle approach to battling acne.
Relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation may also regulate hormones, which are another major acne culprit for women in various stages of life, including puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, says Jacknin. Imbalanced menstrual cycles can lead to over- production of sebum oil, which clogs pores and triggers breakouts.
To help balance hormones and avoid a likely allergen, Dattner recommends eliminating most dairy products from your diet. Large, controlled trials link cow’s-milk consumption to acne prevalence and severity.