Natural Treatments for Acne

By Scott J. Banks, Joe Kraynak, J. J. Virgin

Acne is related more to what you put into your body than what you put on it. Therefore, the most effective approach to treating acne is to adjust your diet. Here are some suggestions:

  • Lower the glycemic load in your diet by avoiding sugar, bread, rice, cereal, pasta, and all flour products.

  • Stop drinking cow milk, because it has high levels of androgens, which have been linked to acne outbreaks. (Androgens are hormones produced in both male and females that cause the sebaceous glands to produce more oily secretions.)

  • If you eat chocolate (some is okay), opt for dark chocolate over milk chocolate and look for a variety of dark chocolate that contains the lowest amount of sugar.

  • Eat a healthy, plant‐based diet rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants along with lean animal protein. Increase your consumption of vegetables and low glycemic fruits (eight to ten servings daily).

  • Supplement your diet with the following:

    Supplement Dosage
    Evening primrose oil 1,000 to 1,500 mg twice daily
    Zinc glycinate chelate 20 mg twice daily
    Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate and beta‐carotene) 2,500 IU daily
    Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) 400 IU daily
    Probiotics (quality multistrain consisting of
    Lactobacillus acidophilus and
    Bifidobacterium)
    5 billion CFU
  • Increase the ratio of omega‐3 to omega‐6 fats you consume. Omega‐6 fats, found in meat, dairy, and shellfish, are pro‐inflammatory. A small amount of omega‐6 benefits your health; however, the standard American diet now has a much higher ratio of omega‐6 to omega‐3, putting the entire body, including the skin, into an inflammatory state.

    The majority of inflammatory omega‐6 comes from the oils used in packaged snack foods and chips. Instead, consume a diet high in omega‐3 essential fatty acids (EFAs), found in deep‐sea, cold‐water ocean fish and in flax oil.

A latent food allergy may also contribute to acne. The biggest offenders are wheat, corn, soy, eggs, dairy, and yeast. Several medications, including corticosteroids, lithium, and androgens are also known to cause acne.

Avoid using long‐term antibiotics and Accutane to treat acne. These prescription medications are associated with significant harmful side effects that can last for many decades after you stop using them.