Every once in a while I’m questioned by several different people about the same condition. I take it as a sign to write about it. So, over the last so many days the topic has been acne and my suggestions for the most effective treatments and the best essential oils. A discussion about acne should include the related condition of inflammation, and some discussion about the soul – yes, I will work soul into the conversation.
Acne: What it is and what causes it
What is acne? Easy – it’s inflammation, infection and congestion of the follicles, causing an eruption (whiteheads, blackheads, pustules, nobules or cysts) in the skin.
What causes acne? As professionals would point out, cause is not so easy to determine. There are several factors involved, with the conditions being different for teenage acne, mostly related to the rise of the androgen hormone during puberty, and adult acne, also having a relationship to hormonal balance, though the cause of the imbalance is quite different.
And, the big $3.50 to a $250/hour doctor’s visit plus meds question; What is the best treatment for acne?
First let’s dissect the symptoms and potential causes of an acneic skin breakout.
When looking at a pustule it’s pretty easy to see what’s going on, inflammation being the most obvious. The skin is visibly swelling with fluids or is congested.
Potential root causes of acne
Though bacteria can not be seen to the naked eye, their presence is a definite in acne. Infection is considered a top causing factor of acne and is responsible for some of the resulting inflammation and congestion.
Studies that dissect the potential beginning causes of acne have looked at inflammatory compounds produced by excess sebum, the bacteria p.acnes, linoleic acid decrease, and damaged kerotinocytes. The initial causes to all of this are the androgen hormones and the stress-response hormones (neuropeptides), the corticotropins.
Stress and acne
Stress is a major factor in acneic skin conditions. Stress does two things that relate to the causes just listed. Stress produces excess sebum and triggers the inflammatory stress hormones. The “fight or flight” response – an autonomic response that triggers quickened breath and heart rate resulting from such things as high anxiety and fear - produce damaging inflammation in the body, the skin being the system most apparent.
The soul and acne
This is where I’d bring a bit of soul into the conversation. Consciousness, inner self, self-talk, Universal connection – whatever your reference is to the spiritual or immaterial part of the human being – your relationship with your “soul” is a factor in acneic skin. Especially important is self talk and sense of inner self or inner comfort (satisfied relationship with the unknowns of life). How this relates to acne is in how these things affect your anxiety, self worth and fears. Something to think about. But don’t stress over it.
Diet and acne
Diet needs to be addressed. It’s also a blog in itself. Inflammatory foods – high carbs, wheat, some saturated fats, processed food-product, etc – cause acne. Don’t eat them. Best diet is the “rainbow diet” with lots of antioxidant health providing colors and nutrients. Vegetarian or not is a matter of discretion, opinion and quality.
Taking Supercritical CO2 supplements known to reduce inflammation is recommended (Ginger, turmeric, etc). These are supplements that have high concentration of the compounds that give the rainbow diet its value.
Essential oil treatments for acne
Now, the essential oil choices and a potential formula. The list for acne could look something like this:
- Anti-inflammatory – Cape chamomile (Eriocephalus punctulatus), German chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Helichrysum italicum, katrafay (Cedrelopsis grevei)
- Antiseptic (antibacterial) – Eucalyptus oils, MQV (Melaleuca quiquenervia viridiflora), tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
- Purifying – Citrus oils and the antiseptic oils
- Regenerative – helichrysum, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), rosemary verbenone (Rosmarinus officinalis CT verbenone)
- Reduce stress – Cape chamomile, lavender, geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), bergamot (Citrus bergamia) and specific to ”fight or flight”; cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica), anise seed (Pimpinella anisum), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)
Other essential oils with a synergy of properties beneficial in acne treatment are:
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii), melissa, neroli, peppermint, rose (Rosa Damascena) , Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) and so much more.
Therapeutic healing with vegetable and fruit oils
It should be noted that fixed oils (vegetable and fruit carrier oils) can be extremely good for acne. These oils help to reduce inflammation and break down hardened sebum in the pores. There are many opinions about which are best and which are so-called comedogenic. I find it an individual experience, with many oils to choose from. A short list of my favorites includes:
Argan, camellia oil, cranberry seed, jojoba oil, marula, olive oil, raspberry seed, rosehip seed and sunflower seed oil.
Making an essential oil treatment for acne
An essential oil blend can be put into a number of alternate base choices; creams, lotions, sprays or treatment oils. In this example we’ll use a combination of fixed oils in a 30 ml or 1 ounce bottle.
4 drops – lavender
3 drops – Cedarwood
3 drops - katrafay
3 drops – MQV
2 drops - Cape Chamomile
*Add to bottle and roll bottle between hands to mix the oils
15 ml – organic sunflower seed oil
5 ml – organic jojoba seed oil
5 ml – organic South African marula oil
5 ml – organic rosehip seed oil
*Adjust amount to fill to the round of the bottle.