Acne is well-treated using naturopathic medicine.
Acne is primarily a cosmetic condition, but may be painful, cause scarring and for some, become a source of frustration and social anxiety. Although most common in the teenage years, acne affects persons of all ages.
Acne occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. This plug may develop into a “whitehead”, “blackhead”, “pimple” or cyst, depending on whether the plugged hair follicle bulges, is open to the surface, becomes inflamed or is found deep in the hair follicle. The cause of increased sebum production is unknown, but hormones, bacteria, certain medications and heredity all seem to play a role.
Seek professional healthcare if your acne is painful, or you are concerned that your acne may result in scarring.
Symptoms of Acne
Possible symptoms of acne include:
- Whiteheads (raised, skin-coloured bumps)
- Blackheads (dark, flat “plugs”)
- Papules (raised, red, possibly painful bumps)
- Pustules (raised, red, possibly painful, white pus containing bumps)
- Nodules (painful lumps beneath the surface of the skin)
- Cysts (painful, pus-containing lumps beneath the surface of the skin that may cause scarring)
Treatment of Acne at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine
At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, the goals of acne treatment are to reduce acne symptoms, heal acne scars and correct any underlying hormonal imbalances or bacteria that may be contributing to acne recurrence.
Conventional treatment for acne may include laser therapy or chemical peel, and a variety of medications including topical vitamin A derivatives, antibiotics or oral contraceptives. These treatments may have short- or long-term side effects.
For this reason, you may choose to try natural treatment to possibly avoid use of conventional medications, or together with conventional medications in order to decrease dosages of conventional medications required to manage your acne symptoms.
Naturopathic treatment of any chronic health concern must be recognized as a process that involves:
- Identifying specific treatment goals
- Development by your naturopathic doctor, of a thorough understanding of all factors affecting your health, including physical, psychological, emotional and lifestyle factors
- Development of a comprehensive treatment plan
- Implementation and maintenance of that plan through periodic monitoring and adjustment
At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, a typical approach to treating acne may be to:
- Identify and address underlying factors in your lifestyle (e.g., incorrect hygiene, medication use, stress) or general health (e.g., polycystic ovary syndrome) that may be contributing to your acne symptoms
- Identify and remove dietary triggers using a supervised food elimination and challenge protocol or laboratory testing
- Prevent or reduce acne recurrence by “balancing” hormone levels using metabolic detoxification protocols or botanical (herbal) medicines
- Soothe and heal the skin using botanical (herbal) medicines
Where appropriate, a number of therapeutic options are available, to be used alone, or more often in a complementary fashion, including:
- Nutritional counseling
- Nutritional supplements
- Metabolic detoxification protocols
- Botanical (herbal) medicines
- Bowen Therapy
- Exercise prescription
- Relaxation (meditation) training
- Lifestyle medicine and counseling
Treatments provided by naturopathic doctors are covered by most extended healthcare plans.
Acne. [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 18 Feb 2009]. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/acne/DS00169.