What is acne?
Acne is a skin inflammation in which oil glands and hair glands (sebaceous glands) become inflamed and filled with pus.

Acne by 1stChineseHerbs

What causes acne?
Even though there is no known cause for acne, there are contributing factors: heredity, onset of puberty, oral contraceptives, allergies, stress, and excess junk food. When the pores become plugged, clogged, or congested, pimples occur. These pimples, spots, or zits can be found on the face, neck, back, chest, shoulders, and the bum. Although acne is usually not a serious health risk it can be a source of significant emotional anguish and embarrassment. Severe acne can lead to permanent scarring. Other predisposing factors and common causes are:

  • diets high in refined carbohydrates
  • hormonal insufficiency
  • insufficient zinc, magnesium and vitamins A and E
  • diets high in hydrogenated fat
  • gland and hormone imbalances
  • sugar-saturated skin
  • poor liver function
  • constipation
  • emotional stress 

The primary factors contributing to the development of acne include:

  1. Excess Sebum Production: Sebaceous glands in the skin produce an oily substance called sebum. During puberty, hormonal changes can lead to an overproduction of sebum, which can clog hair follicles and contribute to the formation of acne.

  2. Dead Skin Cells: As skin cells die and shed, they can mix with sebum and become trapped in hair follicles, creating a plug called a comedo.

  3. Bacterial Growth: The bacterium Propionibacterium acnes, which is normally present on the skin, can multiply within clogged hair follicles, leading to inflammation and the development of red, swollen pimples.

  4. Inflammation: When the hair follicle becomes clogged and infected, the body's immune response triggers inflammation, causing the surrounding area to become red, swollen, and painful.

  5. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal fluctuations, such as those that occur during puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and certain medical conditions, can contribute to the development of acne by increasing sebum production.

  6. Genetics: A family history of acne can increase the likelihood of an individual experiencing acne themselves. 

What are blackheads and whiteheads?
Blackheads and whiteheads are formed when skin cells (pores) are completely blocked trapping bacteria and dead skin cells. This cause the blockage to become visible on the top of the skin. The blockage can range in color, hence the name blackhead or whitehead.



Natural Support For Acne

Several herbs are believed to have properties that could potentially help in the treatment of acne. Keep in mind that while some people may find relief from using these herbs, individual responses can vary, and it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before trying any herbal remedies, especially if you're using other medications or have underlying health conditions. Here are some herbs that are often mentioned in relation to acne treatment:

  1. Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the growth of acne-causing bacteria and inflammation on the skin.
    It's important to dilute tea tree oil before applying it to the skin, as it can be quite potent and might cause irritation if used undiluted.

  2. Lavender: Lavender oil has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that could potentially help calm irritated skin. Like tea tree oil, it should be diluted before use.

  3. Calendula: Calendula has anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties. It might help reduce redness and promote healing of acne lesions.

  4. Aloe Vera: Aloe vera gel is known for its soothing and moisturizing properties. It can help alleviate redness and inflammation associated with acne.

  5. Chamomile: Chamomile has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may be beneficial for soothing irritated skin.
    It can be used in the form of tea or as an ingredient in skincare products.

  6. Witch Hazel: Witch hazel is an astringent that can help reduce oiliness and inflammation. It's often used as a toner in skincare routines.

  7. Green Tea: Green tea is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory effects. Some studies suggest that applying green tea extract
    topically or drinking green tea may help improve acne.

  8. Turmeric: Turmeric contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It may help
    reduce inflammation and redness associated with acne.

  9. Neem: Neem has antimicrobial properties and has been used traditionally to treat various skin conditions, including acne.

  10. Burdock Root: Burdock root is believed to have detoxifying properties and may help improve skin health.
    It's often used in herbal teas or supplements.

  11. Licorice Root: Licorice root has anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing properties. It might help reduce redness and irritation caused by acne.

  12. Echinacea: Echinacea is thought to have immune-stimulating and anti-inflammatory effects that could potentially aid in managing acne.
 What can I do to prevent acne?

There are some things that you can do to prevent acne.

  • Never sleep with makeup on. Leaving your makeup on can cause breakouts or worsen existing breakouts. Additionally, wash your makeup brushes a few times a week so they do not harbor bacteria.
  • Do not pick at your skin. Picking at your skin can make pimples worse and even cause more pimples to form. Resist the temptation to pick at your skin.
  • Keep your face clean. Keeping your face clean (washing in in the morning and at night) can help prevent dirt from getting in your pores and causing zits.
  • Change your pillowcase often. All of the sweat, dirt, bacteria, and dead skin cells from your face is seeping into your pillowcase every night while you sleep. Using a clean pillowcase is a proven method to help prevent breakouts.
  • Shower or bathe right after exercise. Regular exercise is great for your whole body (including your skin). Just make sure to bathe soon after exercise so you aren't leaving sweat and dirt on your face as it might cause pimples.

  • Topical Treatments: These include over-the-counter products containing ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or alpha hydroxy acids.

  • Prescription Medications: Topical or oral prescription medications, such as antibiotics, retinoids, and hormonal therapies, may be recommended by a healthcare professional for more severe cases.

  • Lifestyle Changes: Maintaining good skincare practices, such as regular cleansing and avoiding excessive skin irritation, can help manage and prevent acne.

  • Procedures: Dermatological procedures like chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser therapy can be used to treat acne and reduce its effects.

  • Diet and Supplements: While the impact of diet on acne is still debated, some studies suggest that a diet low in processed food 


  • Astor, Stephen. Hidden Food Allergies. N.p.: Avery Group., n.d. Print.
  • Bland, Jeffrey, and Donald R. Davis. Medical Applications of Clinical Nutrition. New Canaan, CT: Keats Pub., 1983. Print.
  • Erasmus, Udo. Fats and Oils: The Complete Guide to Fats and Oils in Health and Nutrition. Vancouver, Canada: Alive, 1989. Print.
  • Rector-Page, Linda G. Linda Page's Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-healing for Everyone. Carmel Valley, CA: Healthy Healing, 2004. Print.
  • Taylor, Mark. Chinese Patent Medicines: A Beginner's Guide. Santa Cruz, CA: Global Eyes International, 1998. Print.
  • Wigmore, Ann. Be Your Own Doctor; Let Living Food Be Your Medicine. New York: Hemisphere, 1975. Print.