The word acne is used to describe lesions such as pimples, blackheads, white heads and cysts that mainly appear on the face, arms, back and chest. Acne is usually troublesome during early adolescence, although can appear and continue into adult years.


  • Pimples are red, irritated and sometimes sore to touch blemishes on the skin. They may or may not have a white head and tend to appear on the face, back, shoulder and upper arms
  • Blackheads are pores blocked with sebum which is responsible for keeping the skin moisturised and can appear dark, light or yellow in colour
  • Cysts are sore lumps underneath the skin that do not come to a head and are the most likely to scar


  • Acne usually appears from block pores in our skin and is generally caused by dead skin cells or when the body starts to make lots of sebum. Instead of rising out, the cells and sebum can get trapped and block the pore causing a lesion
  • A buildup of the bacteria in sebum can infect a pimple causing pus to build up below the skin
  • Cysts occur if secretions and pus build up underneath the block pore and within the hair follicles
  • For females, acne may occur prior and during the menstrual period, or during hormonal change including pregnancy
  • Stress can aggravate acne or if a poor diet is consumed
  • Zinc deficiencies may contribute to the problem
  • Natural therapists believe acne is indicative of poor toxin elimination, and recommend treatments that enhance the functioning of the liver, bowel and kidneys

Nutritional & Herbal Support

  • Zinc helps wound healing and the functioning of the bodies oil glands, and therefore may help acne. Zinc is also important for hormone function, so is specifically indicated for teenagers, and for acne that occurs as part of the premenstrual syndrome
  • Vitex, or chaste berry is a herb that has traditionally been used to balance female hormones and PMT support
  • Milk Thistle is a Liver-cleansing herb that increases bile output and supports digestive function. This may be beneficial in cases when indigestion is due to Sluggish Liver or gall bladder function

Diet & Lifestyle advice

  • Practicing good hygiene helps prevent the spread of infection. Keep your face clean, avoid touching acne lesions with your fingers, and wash your face regularly
  • Don't be tempted to squeeze acne lesions, as this increases the likelihood of scarring
  • Avoid oily cosmetics and moisturisers, and instead use light products, especially those including antibacterial and healing herbs
  • Stick to a healthy, high-fibre diet, and avoid oily, greasy and sugary foods
  • Avoid any foods (such as chocolate) that seem to trigger breakouts
  • Drink at least two litres of water every day - this supports the elimination of toxins

If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional. Information provided is of a general nature and should not replace that of your healthcare professional.

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