Acne on the body is similar to acne on the face but it is not as frequent. It can occur anywhere on the body except for the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands. It is most commonly seen on the back, shoulders, chest and buttocks.
Sebum is a substance the sebaceous glands produce to protect the skin. An overproduction of sebum or keratin, the main component of hair, nails and the outermost layer of skin, blocks pores on the skin causing acne. High levels of testosterone, most common in boys going through puberty, can cause an increase in the production of both sebum and keratin. When pores become blocked, a bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes is allowed to overgrow causing inflammation.
So are there fast remedies for acne on the body? The following natural remedies may not work overnight, and may not work for everyone, but they do have the ability to fight body acne.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil comes from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, also known as “tea tree”. This oil has antiseptic properties and can fight many organisms including 27 of 32 strains of Propionibacterium acnes. When applied, tea tree oil absorbs easily into the skin and is generally nonirritating. In fact, unlike most essential oils, it does not have to be diluted with a carrier oil.
In one study, a 5 percent tea tree oil solution was shown to have the same effects of getting rid of acne as a 5 percent benzoyl peroxide solution, but with significantly fewer side effects. For moderate to severe acne, a stronger solution of tea tree oil, up to 15 percent, may be necessary. Apply tea tree oil directly to the acne.
Neem oil is derived from the seeds of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica). It has antibacterial properties and more than 60 medicinal uses have been documented for neem including acne.
Add 1 tablespoon of neem oil to 1/2 cup of carrier oil (such as olive or sweet almond oil), mix and apply to the acne.
Herbal Teas (Body Wash)
The following herbal teas can be used as a body wash to help get rid of acne on the body:
• Amaranth - Bring 3 cups of water to a boil, add 2 teaspoons of amaranth seeds, cover, simmer for 5 minutes, remove from the heat, add 1 teaspoon of amaranth leaves and steep for 30 minutes.
• Burdock - Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, reduce heat, add 4 teaspoons of burdock root (dried and cut), cover, simmer for 7 minutes, remove from heat and steep for 2 hours.
• Calendula - Pour 2 cups of boiling water over 4 teaspoons of calendula flowers, cover and steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
Other natural and fast remedies for acne on the body include:
• Aloe vera - You can either use the pulp from the plant or a commercial product that is 100 percent pure.
• Apple cider vinegar - Apply directly to the affected skin.
• Cucumber - Peel a cucumber, blend to liquify and apply to the acne.
• Garlic - Peel and cut a clove of garlic in half. Rub the side of the garlic that was cut over the acne.
• Oatmeal - Apply cooked oatmeal to the affected area, leave on for 15 minutes and wash off.
Treating & Preventing
To help treat and prevent body acne:
• Eat a healthy diet (learn about foods to prevent acne).
• Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Avoid coffee and sodas.
• Exercise regularly. Shower afterwards.
• Gently wash your body with a mild soap using your fingertips and rinse with lukewarm water.
• Wear loose and breathable clothes.
• When using a moisturizer or sunscreen, use an oil-free and noncomedogenic product.
Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (1998)
Health 911: Acne - https://www.health911.com/acne
Image courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (NLM)
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