Acne is a very common skin problem which affects young people at their puberty and few adults till they reach 45. Acne are referred as Youvana pitikas (which means the eruptions of youth) in ayurveda. This shows the prevalence of acne from ages. Ayurveda has described the causes of acne and recommends the best natural herbal acne remedies too.
What causes acne?
A large number of oil producing glands called “sebaceous glands” are present under the skin on face, back, chest and shoulders. During puberty or menopause due to the influence of the sex hormones, which are produced in male and female, these glands become more active and produce an oily secretion called “sebum”. The sebum makes the skin more oily .The excessive sebum clogs the skin pore or the pit of the hair follicle forming acne.The blocked pore or acne acts as an excellent habitat for bacteria. The bacterial infection causes inflammation (red, painful swelling of the infected area) of the clogged pore or hair follicle leading to eruption of pimples.
Vata and Kapha are two main doshas, which are involved in eruption of acne and pimples. Rakta dhatu or blood also plays an important role in formation of acne.
Vata when gets vitiated due to unhealthy diet and lifestyles affects other two doshas (kapha and pitta) to aggravate them. Aggravated pitta affects rakta dhatu or blood. The vitiated blood affects the skin and causes excess secretion of oil from sebaceous glands. Kapha has sticky property. The aggravated kapha imparts the stickiness to the oil produced by sebaceous glands of skin. Thus the thick sebaceous plugs are formed in skin pores and hair follicles leading to eruption of acne.
Acne worsens when
1. grease, dirt or other harsh chemicals accumulate on skin.
2. you have Increased stress levels.
3. you indulge in Squeezing or pinching of acne.
4. when there are hormonal imbalances during menstrual cycle, menopause and puberty.
5. you are under medications like steroids or hormonal therapy.
Precautions to be taken to avoid exaggeration of acne eruptions:
• Avoid foods which are spicy, dry and oily. These may cause indigestion and lead to vitiation of vata.
• Keep a habit of emptying bowels regularly this always normalizes vata.
• Avoid fast foods and soft drinks.
• Wash your face twice daily with mild cleanser.
• Put a hair band to avoid falling of hair on face. The sweat and dirt accumulated on hair may fall on facial skin through hair strands
• Avoid application of scrubs.
• Wash your hair regularly with mild shampoo to keep it clean and avoid dandruff.
• Squeezing and pricking of pimples cause scaring. Hence avoid this
• Avoid exposure of skin to severe climatic conditions.
• Avoid oil based moisturizers. Water based moisturizers are always beneficial.
• Drink plenty of water.
• Practice a regular exercise regimen
Natural Herbal acne Home remedies :
• Wash your face with lukewarm water and mild soap twice a day.
• Wash fresh methi leaves (fenu greek leaves) and grind it to make a paste. Apply it on face and wash it off with lukewarm water after 10 minutes.
• Grind juicy tender neem leaves with turmeric to a consistency of paste. Apply this paste on acne and pimples. Wash this off after it dries.
• Apply a face pack of ripe tomato pulp and wash it off as soon as it dries naturally (preferably after 45 minutes) .
• Do not keep the make up while sleeping. Cleanse it with a mild herbal cleanser.
• Mix besan flour (gram flour) with rose water and apply a face pack.
• Consuming fresh vegetable salads and fresh fruits keeps the skin healthy and resistant to blemishes.
• Drink plenty of water (15 glasses a day)
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Alternative Medicine is Holistic, Western Medicine is Reductionist
The major difference between alternative medicine, or what I'll call holistic health and Western medicine, is in approach.
A Western doctor, or MD, sees his duty as searching out disease, diagnosing it, and treating it. If he does that correctly and effectively, he's done his job. Most often, this means the doctor prescribing a pharmaceutical drug or a surgical procedure to remedy the situation. The patients is passive in all of this.
A holistic health practitioner sees her duty as an educator and a facilitator. She feels that the body can heal itself, and it doesn't necessarily need outside influences (drugs, surgery) to heal from an illness or to prevent an illness. In holistic health, the patient is an active participant.
This is the best and the worst thing about holistic health! The patient is actively involved in the healing process. Everything you know about your body says that this is the right approach. It makes so much sense. That's the good part. The bad thing about this is that it is HARD WORK for the patient. In most cases, the patient must make changes to their lifestyle. Change your diet, do more exercise, stop using sugar, do these stretches, stop negative thoughts, meditate twice a day, etc.
Making lifestyle changes is immensely difficult. The only time it's easy is when you are faced with a life-threatening disease. When you find out you have lung cancer, it's pretty easy to quit smoking. However, it's far too late by that time. Lifestyle changes need to come before the illness becomes manifest.
Let's examine one of the big differences between holistic health and Western medicine: holism versus reductionism.
Holistic versus Reductionist
This is a major shift in perspective. Taking a holistic perspective means that you cannot understand a single problem with a single part of the human body without looking at the whole person. We use the short-hand “mind, body, spirit” to refer to the whole person.
This is not how a Western doctor is taught to see a patient. He sees the patient the disease. “This is an epileptic,” it is not a whole person who has epilepsy. He feels that he can administer a drug or perform a surgery that will cure a person's liver without making any difference to the rest of the person. Of course, this is never possible, so when the inevitable “complications” arise, the Western doctor deals with those one at a time, often causing additional problems for the person, whether in body, mind or spirit.
Even those three parts of the person are treated by separate people in Western society. The body is the domain of the medical doctor. The mind is the domain of the psychiatrist. Spirit is left to the priest, rabbi or pastor. There is no overlap in roles, except for referrals from one to the other. In our bodies, of course, there is tremendous overlap. A loss of connection to God or the universe will cause no end of mental and physical problems. Mental stress causes many physical diseases, as we well know. Who can coordinate between these in the Western system? No one. Problems falling “through the cracks” between mind, body and spirit is a common failure of Western medicine.
A holistic practitioner understands the interconnections between mind, body and spirit. They work on the connections, and, although the practitioner may not be an expert in all three, they focus on the overlaps rather than ignoring them.
In my opinion, a holistic approach is better in almost every case for almost every person. Understanding the linkages between mind, body and spirit is essential to understanding how to stay well and how to heal. Western medicine can play a part within the scope of holistic health by offering emergency solutions to problems that arise quickly and need to be fixed immediately.