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No matter how much we may hope for the discovery of one, there is no such thing as a cure-all for acne. Inflamed and unsightly activity on our faces and bodies is a part of life that’s often associated with adolescence, but don’t be confused-adults do deal with it, too. If you’ve ever struggled with acne, you’re probably familiar with the money and time wasted on products that didn’t work, frustrating visits with your dermatologist and ineffective home remedies that might treat the symptoms but not the cause of this skin condition. A lot of the time, it feels like an uphill battle, because no topical treatment on the market is going to address every single cause of acne. Stress, poor health and other factors can cause blemishes to appear at the most undesired time-though, is there ever a good time for a breakout?

As Ottawa’s holistic acne specialist, Essence of Beauty wants you to be aware that there are numerous causes of acne. Sometimes, in fact, acne is a symptom of something else such as a liver that is struggling to filter out impurities, or hormonal changes that cause pimples-such the menstrual cycle. If you want to heal your acne for real, and not just treat the surface symptoms, you need to get to the heart of the matter and address why your skin is flaring up with activity.

Below are some tips that can help you to remedy your acne with a few changes to your lifestyle. These alterations will not only help you to look better but to feel better as well.

Choose a diet that’s rich in nutrition.

Eliminate all processed foods from your diet, and opt instead for fresh produce. Try to take in more vegetables than fruit if you can. Avoid artificial colors, preservatives, MSG and trans fats, and select organic produce and meats whenever possible. There are various oils that you can add to your diet to make it better-rounded and include all of the nutrition that you need, including: flax seed oil, fish oil, krill oil and Omega-3 oils.

Do your very best to avoid processed sugar, as it feeds bacteria and yeast, which can add to skin problems.

Concern yourself with your gut health.

There are “good” and “bad” bacteria in your gut, and if the balance of these bacterium is off, then your entire system will be undergoing an onslaught of changes caused by the buildup of bad bacteria and yeast. When this happens, it produces a condition called Candida. Read more about Candida here.

Check your shower products.

If you’re using “conventional” soaps and shampoos, consider ditching them for more organic products that will help your skin and scalp with natural compounds that are proven beneficial for the skin. If you use antibacterial soaps, you could very well be killing off all of the good bacteria on your skin that functions to keep the “bad” bacteria in balance.

Clean up thoroughly.

When it comes to putting your hands on your skin-keep them off! If you must touch your skin, such as to treat blemishes with a topical cream or wash, make sure that your hands and any washrags that you use are clean beforehand. Make sure to change your pillowcases often, even daily, to avoid the spread of bacteria from the pillowcase to your face while you sleep. For the same reason, put any long hair back into a ponytail and away from your face, especially when sweating or sleeping.

For many people, it can be impossible to clear up blemishes completely until your hormones and diet are in check. However, there are a few natural remedies that can help you to soothe existing acne while you work on improving other aspects of your health.

Try these natural remedies to help heal acne.

Apple cider vinegar. This antibacterial agent kills yeast while correcting the skin’s pH. You can choose to use it straight, which many people find very offensive in odor. Many choose to dilute the apple cider vinegar in a water : vinegar ratio of 3 to 1. Use a cotton ball to apply this to your face as an astringent after washing and drying.

Coconut oil. Drying out your skin, such as through the use of topical acne treatments, can cause your oil production to increase as the skin tries to compensate for what it has lost. Coconut oil will help to keep your skin moisturized, while helping to retain its healthiness with antifungal and antibacterial properties. You can use coconut oil all by itself, or mixed with essential oils like tea tree oil for their skin-relieving qualities as well. If you choose to add essential oils to coconut oil as a treatment for your skin, add only 3 to 8 drops of oil per every tablespoon of coconut oil.

Baking soda. A baking soda paste made with water can be used as an exfoliating agent, a topical treatment on blemishes or as a mask. Not everybody has such good results with it, however, and even if they do at first there is a chance that the alkalinity of this product can cause problems for your skin over time.

Aloe vera. Aloe vera makes for an excellent spot treatment, and can also be mixed with essential oils much like coconut oil can. It may also be used as a mask, either in the commonly-available gel form or straight from the plant itself. If you use this as a mask, rub it onto the skin and leave it there for twenty minutes before rinsing.

Holistic approaches to your acne will not cause any long-term damage to your skin or make your condition any worse, helping to reduce acne while you sort out your intestinal flora and balancing your hormones. For most people, after they have done these things, they will notice that they’ve had the clearest skin they’ve had since before adolescence.