Illustrated by Sydney Hass.
What's even worse than having acne as a teen? Having it as an adult. And, by acne, we mean persistent pimples that can take over an entire area of your skin — not just a random zit. So, when skin distress sets in, the first reaction most of us have is to get on the strongest medication possible to get those buggers zapped in time for date night. But, according to Antonia Balfour, an herbalist specializing in treating skin conditions, there are holistic alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs that will do the trick without risking potentially dangerous side effects.
To prove her point, Balfour outlined her five main steps for treating acne, while comparing them to their pharmaceutical-treatment counterparts. "For severe cases of acne, I always prescribe internal herbal remedies together with botanical topical products," explains Balfour on MindBodyGreen. "For acne that's mild-to-moderate, simple botanical ingredients can create a successful protocol to completely clear the skin."
For example, Balfour suggests you cleanse your skin with Moroccan rhassoul clay, whereas a dermatologist might prescribe a topical vitamin-A derivative. While the latter dries sebum and exfoliates your skin's top layers, the simple clay also reduces oil production without causing dryness. She also suggests adjusting your diet. "The underlying root of acne comes from within the body," says Balfour. "The best way to make internal changes is through diet." That sounds a heck of a lot easier (and safer!) than popping some isotretinoin (also sold under other names), which has been linked to birth defects, depression, liver disease, and other complications.