Acne or Pimples are known as Yauvana Pidakas in Ayurveda. Their simple translation reads ‘Yauvana’ means teenage and ‘Pidaka’ means skin eruptions. Yavana pidakas are also called Tarunya pidaka ( skin eruptions seen at a young age), ‘Mukha dooshika’ ( that which disturbs the facial skin). Acne or Pimples are the most common problem faced by most teenagers and some adults too continue to suffer from acne for a longer period.
Many studies say that acne can affect one’s quality of life by anxiety, depression, emotions, self-identity, self-esteem, etc…Ayurvedic treatments for Acne or pimples include dietary changes, medications, applications with a healthy lifestyle.
Is it acne? Is it just a pimple? We all have been there questioning our acne possibilities. Acne is not just a group of persistent pimples. Instead, it has diverse causes behind it. Each acne you see may be an entirely different one from those you know. There are a whole lot of different and large stories about acne which we don’t often see clearly.
What is Acne?
- Acne can be described as the clogging of the hair follicle cells with dirt, sebum, dead cells, whiteheads, blackheads, bacteria, etc. it is a long-term condition. It is not just a group of pimples that breakout before the period or in PMS.
- And acne is all about teenagers and their hormones are a well-trusted misconception. Well, it is not. Seemingly there are no age barriers to acne. Teenagers to anywhere up to old age anyone can complain of acne.
- Another myth that acne carries is that it happens only in oily skin people. No, it does not.
- It does not only happen in humid, hot, and tropical countries. It is all over the globe and can be seen in any nook and corner of the world. Acne does not confine to oily skin or tropical countries.
- An adult who has healthy skin during the teenage years has not passed the risk of acne. There is also something called adult acne which can come uninvited and settle down stubbornly on the skin even in adulthood.
- Also, an adult with non-oily, entirely dry, or normal skin tone as a teenager can get acne in adulthood.
Causes of acne:
- Let us begin to explore it from where it commonly shows up, the teenagers.
- When an individual hits puberty, the body undergoes a lot of changes physically and hormonally. The androgens increase bringing the all-over change. The increased androgens enlarge the oil glands of the skin. This ends up in excessive production of oils on the face. Eventually clogging the follicles, and forming acne.
- The more fascinating thing we often leave out unnoticed as neonatal acne. It can be traced in neonates of the first four weeks. Though it goes away by time and leaves no scars, it can be usually seen in children. Also, there is another rare acne called infantile acne in a little grown baby up to six months. It leaves kind of permanent scars, it is the rarest of acne.
- As we are still speaking of hormones, women should be discussed from a bigger perspective. Those women that developed acne as teenagers which are hormonal tend to show a clear face by adulthood. While some of them still face a breakdown which is temporary once in every while. Also, the women who did not see any traces of acne can notice its advent and adverse breakouts even after 25 years of age.
- In both women, the worst and recurrent breakouts occur during puberty, menstrual cycles aka periods, and during pregnancy. All of these times, the androgens rise to the peak and fall. These androgens and other hormones bring a great level of secretions, again giving heads up to acne breakouts.
- The hormones that are responsible for these drastic breakouts are testosterone, androsterone, growth hormones, and insulin-like factors. Hormone replacements therapy and anabolic steroids usage also develop acne.
- Though genetics got nothing entirely with the cause of acne, 80 percent of the acne is genetic. A patient complaining of acne may have a sibling or first cousins dealing with acne.
- Though it does not follow the traditional pattern of inheritance, it is inherited under the influence of multiple genes. Certain genetic disorders such as chromosomal diseases, inherit acne too. Having parents, brothers, sisters who have acne shows a high risk of inheriting one.
- That can be adult acne very often.
- Stress can be the reason for many fluctuations in the body. Stress has a direct connection with acne breakouts. Those people dealing with acne can show flareups, each time they undergo stress.
- Premenstrual syndrome is a direct indication of stress. Women deal with this acne every month right before the periods. Some women under depression, or facing constant stress, evidently shows a persistent acne breakout. Those that do not give a break to the skin.
- Although stress is not said as a direct cause of acne, it makes the acne worse than one can know.
- Acne also challenges self-esteem and raises stress levels too.
- People often relate eating junk food to acne. The chocolates and greasy foods were always seen as friends in support of acne. While there is little to considerable harm caused by them to the skin or the acne in actuality. Food has a large role to play in this evidence, but this is a myth about acne.
- Indeed, there are certain foods, like dairy, vitamin B12, whey protein, high glycemic acid loaded foods, high sugars, foods with cholesterol, etc can be listed as few.
- Daily consumption of dairy products, or milk contains certain proteins that are acne friendly. When a person is overweight or obese, taking foods with high sugars, and fats is an addon to acne breakouts.
- Studies say that intake of vitamin B in more than the daily need for the body can enhance the probability of acne flare. All the oils, sugary candies, high glycemic valued foods, foods lacking necessary vitamins are another bunch of acne-causing foods.
- More often the dermatologists, suggest avoiding most of the foods, in an attempt to control acne. This may not go well with underweight people or malnutrition. Avoiding weight-gaining foods in their diet makes them even more deprived.
- However, often detoxing the body, with citrus fruits, oranges, berries, leaves, etc, can keep the skin clear. This practice has shown results. The excessive sebum stagnation has been lowered. This goes well with all ages and with every weight.
- We often think the acne on our skin is a result of our weight, food we take, and nextly our hygiene. This is not an amendable fact. People with acne, who think it is caused by unhygienic and not cleaning the face properly, often scrub it.
- Scrubbing is the process of using light abrasives to rub the face with. It is not how one should deal acne with. This opens the pores and worsens the acne. Talking of open pores, what one vomits out as a cause of acne is infection.
- Bacteria can cause acne. It is the last thing we want to hear about it. Though it sounds terrible, there are both fungal and bacterial acne. Bacteria have no history of causing acne, but its support causes inflammation in the skin.
- The bacteria gets settled on the skin from the makeup one puts on, the pollutants and the air that one gets exposed to, and the debris around. That bacteria gets clogged in the follicles. The sebum and bacteria produce the blackheads and whiteheads in the clogged pores. Thus acne breakout happens. However, it is treatable.
- There is another thing called fungal acne. Do not go by the name. As the name says it is not caused by a fungus, but by yeast. The yeast gets trapped in the follicles and causes tiny bump-like pimples. This condition is also differentiated as a condition of acne.
- How to differentiate bacterial and fungal acne and its symptoms, we shall know in-depth about its characteristic features in the symptoms of acne.
- Undergoing treatments for any disease involve medications.
- Women undergoing the treatments including hormonal therapies, containing testosterone as a medication, can invite acne as a side effect.
- High levels of testosterone are a direct cause of acne as we were told in the first place. Treatments involving corticosteroids when stopped also have a triggering effect for acne.
- It may be scary to learn that the skincare products and the things we use on our skin can lead to really bad acne breakouts. A person who is already dealing with acne should take care in considering a product for her face thoroughly. Non-acnegenic, non-comedogenic, non-oily, water-absorbent formulas are a must for acne-prone skin.
- Nowadays the market has a wide range of products stipulated for acne-prone skin. Still going for a picky choice is important whilst shopping for skincare if you are dealing with acne.
- A wrong choice of products worsens acne vastly. Putting on makeup to cover the acne is the most done hack by women. However, there are products also for acne-prone skin available now in the market in a wide range.
Symptoms and signs of acne:
Let’s now look in-depth at what acne looks like, how to differentiate one from the other and the symptoms of acne breakouts etc, and all about it.
- Before that let us discuss what is called the comedones. A comedone is a bump in the skin. Whether caused by a blackhead or whitehead comedones indicate acne underneath. Now when a comedone is caused by a blackhead, the bacteria underneath the bump undergoes a chemical reaction with the sebum and turns black. These black pimples have open pores. This is what a blackhead looks like. While the whiteheads do not undergo any chemical reaction with the bacteria underneath the bump, instead they are closed ores. It stays white.
- Now, let us talk about the different appearances of acne. Keeping aside the acne caused by the whiten whites, let us sneak into inflammatory and noninflammatory acne.
- The blackheads and whiteheads in the skin come under the noninflammatory types of acne. While the inflammatory type of acne means the skin is responding against the bacterial invasion by inflammation.
- The inflammatory acne can be recognized by papules, pustules, and cysts in the acne.
What is the process that happens inside the skin for an inflammation to take place?
- A clogged pore in the skin and a bacterial habitation together form comedone under the skin. It first shows off on the skin as micro comedones, which gets bigger appearing as comedone. If it stays so there would not be any inflammation instead there would be only the appearance of blackheads or whiteheads.
- But if the bacterial comedone thus formed, ruptures in the skin surface rather than on the skin surface, it leads to another reaction. The bacteria draws attention from the skin cells, creating an inflammatory reaction. The skin is the first line of defense in our body and it leaves no stone gone without fighting back the slightest disturbance caused. Thus the inflammation of the skin around the pimple happens making it large, painful, swollen, and red bump-like.
- Depending upon the formation there will be pustules, papules, and cysts.
Papules are the ones with no pus, no formation of any fluids in the swelling. If the inflammation severity increases, white fluid-like pus forms at the center of the papule forming it into a pustule. The pustule is more grief-causing. There is always this temptation to pop the pustules, but popping so can end up in scarring and pits. Triggered by the excess production of sebum by oil glands, the excess activity of hormone papules is worsened by stress, sugar intake, and as side effects of medication.
Pustules are pus-filled, acne. Pus is a reaction to inflammation in the comedone. The bacteria clogging in the hair follicles and bursting in the skin drag inflammatory action. This inflammation ends up in the formation of pustules. Once they break on the surface of the skin they are more likely to spread all over the skin surface. Pustules when they become dry and painful, they become cystic acne. These are hard pustules. Some pustules can be extremely painful too. Some cause fever and are seen all over the neck, face, back, hairline and underarms.
Nodular acne is another painful acne. It is seen as swollen bumps under the skin. These nodes are caused by the excessive production of oil glands under the skin. These are vastly different from their appearance from the typical comedones.
This can be the sweetest news to hear. To say most of the acne is treatable and curable. However, there are grades for acne.
It can be classified into four grades to be helpful.
Grade one showcases a few pimples which are either blackheads or whiteheads.
Grade two of acne shows its advancements to pustules and papules.
Grade three acne shows numerous pustules and also nodules. As we said underlining bumps are called nodes of acne.
And the final grade four of acne shows a large number of everything and it does not confine to the face.
When you visit a dermatologist, he or she evaluates the grade of your acne, its type, and the skin type in a quick physical examination. As everyone says, is it a necessity to visit a dermatologist? Yes, it is. After knowing a whole lot about and causes of acne, one should understand that no product can work the same for everyone. Knowing the type of acne, its severity or grade, the type of products the skin is sensitive to, the do’s and don’ts on the skin are to be known before starting any treatment.
How does a dermatologist treat acne?
- A dermatologist can assess the acne, to its roots within no time. Sometimes what appears as acne can not be acne as we think. Depending on the severity and type here it is how it works.
- If the acne includes only blackheads and whiteheads, which means it is just under a grade one, a retinoid, a salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and azelaic acid and an antibiotic is included in the treatment which is often topical applications.
- The grade two showing pimples like pustules or papules eliminates salicylic acid and involves the rest. More severe and stubborn acne involves hormonal therapy alongside all these. Women who still get acne breakouts while using these, are said to be dealing with stubborn acne. Hormonal therapy means treating with birth control pills. Isotretinoin is another most established medication for nodular and severe acne. It is approved and has shown results. Apart from all these, acne that persists needs extra support. In women, birth control patches and hormonal therapy are done.
- However, for more effective results, laser therapy, corticosteroid therapy, and dietary changes are taken help from.
- Laser therapy or light therapy uses light along with other acne treatments to clear out acne. That works best this way.
- Corticosteroid therapy is the one prescribed when there is a severe and painful acne breakout. It relieves pain and inflammation. This can not be done each time there is an acne breakout but should be confined to very few breakouts. However, using corticosteroids can leave adverse side effects.
- And lastly, dietary changes and diet restrictions are taken into consideration while making the treatment process.
- Chemical peels are another way of treating acne.
Now let us learn how these medications act on the skin.
- Benzoyl peroxide acts on the bacteria directly. This may worsen the acne. But it has proven effective in treating acne when used in lower concentrations. Usually given as gels.
- Salicylic acid gets rid of the dead cells, it prevents the clogging of the follicles with dead cells.
- Azelaic acid is a natural acid that is known to kill microorganisms.
- Retinoids are the actual comedone breakers and most vital component in the treatment of acne. The retinoids are to be applied on the spot and all over the acne to prevent any newer pimples. They break down the black and whiteheads and cleans away the clogging pores. Antibiotics as you think do not take away the inflammation, instead, they increase the inflammation. They surely act against the bacteria but encourage the swelling of acne. It would be more painful.
Home remedies for acne:
As many of us think, acne goes away only by treatment. It is not so, acne can also be treated by natural ways and home remedies. There are vast things available in our kitchens and gardens that can ease our acne breakouts and alleviate the pain caused by them.
Let us know what not to apply to acne first.
- Well, we all know that lemon is a good source of vitamin c. although that’s true, applying lemons to skin only dries up the skin and irritates the acne. Rather than applying to the skin, drinking lemons with an empty stomach first thing in the morning can detox the body and flush out the toxins.
- Applying tubes of toothpaste and baking sodas on the pimples aggravates the acne. These are all not meant to clear the acne from within, instead, they have a not-so-good effect on the skin. Using scrubs, and abrasives to get rid of the blackheads and whiteheads and pimples is another worsening habit.
- Rather than all these, taking a proper skincare routine and dietary habits keeps acne at a controlled level.
- Include a skincare routine that has non-comedogenic moisture, acne-prone skin-friendly, and non-oily. Apply it all the time no matter the breakout. A non-greasy sunblock that is intended for oily skin, a cleanser containing salicylic acid, a night cream containing retinoids, and the antibiotics fill up a fair skincare routine.
If you are so sensitive to take on these despite any assurance from your dermatologists, you can rely on home remedies. It may take a long while to clear out the skin completely but this always works.
The most trusted remedies out of grandma’s kitchen can be this
- Aloe vera gel. It has soothing effects on inflammation and pimples.
- Cucumbers, eating or applying them softens and cools down the heat.
- Turmeric and milk are often relied upon as sources to cleanse and treat acne.
- Ayurvedic secrets work even more effectively. The mulethi, neem, tulsi, and kasthuri turmeric together proved a great antibiotic.
- Using milk, barley, oats, turmeric, sandalwood, etc has shown considerable enhancement in clearing the blemishes.
- Drinking detox waters and green tea reduces inflammation.
What are the causes for Acne according to Ayurveda?
Kapha, Rakta & Vata dosha is causative factors of Mukhadushika. Among the Tri-dosha’s Kapha and Vata are vitiated along with the blood and fats.
Manifestation of Acne
Consumption of causative factors such as incompatable food causes aggravation of doshas in the body. The aggravated doshas then travel all over the body and produce yauvana pidakas where these aggravated doshas get settled such as the face, neck, or back.
Signs and symptoms according to Ayurveda
- Swellings on the face that resemble the thorns of the Shalmali (Bombax malabaricum) tree
- Burning Sensation
Ayurvedic Treatment for Acne and Pimples
Ayurvedic treatment for Acne and pimples depends on the severity of the disease.
- Palliative Treatment (Shamana Chikitsa)
- Purificatory Treatment (Shodana Chikitsa)
When the symptoms are mild, a palliative line of treatment is adopted and when the symptoms are severe then purificatory procedures are done to eliminate excess doshas so that medications can act effectively and bring quick results.
Ayurvedic medicines for Acne
Various ayurvedic medications are used in treating acne or pimples depending on the cause, state, and stage of the disease and patient. Here are the few common medications that are prescribed for acne and pimples
- Amruthotharam Kashayam
- Thiktaka Kashayam
- Navakarshika Kashayam
- Kaishora Guggulu
- Triphala Guggulu
- Manibhadra Lehyam
- Madhusnuhi Rasayanam
- Arogyavardhini Vati
- Thiktaka Ghruta
- Manjisthadi Kashayam
External applications used in Acne
- Triphala Choorna
- Lodhradi Choorna
- Nalpamaradi Choorna
- Haridradi Choorna
- Mukhadoodhikari Lepam
- Kumkumadi Thaila
- Nalpamaradi Thaila
- Nimba Choorna
Detoxification for Acne
When the acne or pimple becomes severe due to various causative factors it’s ideal to perform suitable detoxification or panchakarma treatment to eliminate the aggravated doshas from the body. As we know Acne or pimples are formed due to the predominance of Kapha vata and rakta depending on the dosha predominance Vamana (therapeutic vomiting), Virechana (therapeutic purgation) are administered considering the patient’s strength.
What to eat in Acne
Eating right helps in healing acne along with treatments. One should follow these food habits
- Eat only when you feel hungry
- Eat freshly prepared food
- Eat seasonal & local fruits
- Drink boiled water
- Eat whole food
- Moderate your sugar intake
What to avoid in Acne
- Avoid oily and spicy food
- Avoid processed food
- Avoid Dairy and animal products
- Avoid old and fermented foods
- Avoid habit-forming substances
Lifestyle Changes that helps in Acne and Pimples
- Have a healthy daily routine
- Exercise daily
- Get exposed to sunlight
- Practice breathing exercises
- Practice meditation
Though many of us don’t rely on ayurvedic substitutes, using them assures no side effects and worse breakouts. Instead of using flours and powders, using these naturally extracted remedies helps a ton for clearer skin.