by SABU VARGHESE, May 27, 2018
Acne is by far the most common skin condition in the 21st century. Although prevalent among the teens, quite a number of old people are also struggling with this skin condition. Acne can appear in different places such as the back, neck, and face. Its effects range from mild to severe. Blackheads, whiteheads, papules, and nodules are some of the symptoms associated with acne (1). Primarily, this comes out because of hormonal imbalance causing the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum (an oily substance that nourishes the skin). Overproduction of sebum results to the clogging of hair follicles. When this happens, dead skin cells, dirt, and Propionibacterium acnes (P.acnes) bacteria tend to build up in the hair follicles. The pores become more clogged, and inflammatory reactions are triggered in the surrounding skin surface causing various types of pimples.
There is a plethora of treatments dubbed as the go for remedies for acne in the cosmetics market. However, most fall under the class of overrated junk and in any case, they tend to do you more harm due to their chemical composition. How then do you treat acne? You may want to consider natural products. There exist quite a number of proven and effective acne herbal remedies than most people realize. Among that list is Echinacea, one of the nature's super-medicine. However, the big question is, can Echinacea cure acne or is it just a myth?
What is Echinacea?
Echinacea plant has its roots from the daisy family known as Asteraceae (purple coneflowers). It resembles the common daisy plants with its showy heads. These plants are grown for their ornamental value while a vast majority are used as herbal treatments. The herbal treatment is made from the flowers, roots, and leaves of the Echinacea plant. For decades, it has mostly been used as a detoxifier and as an antibiotic, although with recent discoveries, it has become quite popular in the herb world due to its astonishing capabilities (2). So, let us dig deep into its usefulness in fighting acne:
Echinacea Strengthens the Immune System
Studies show that Echinacea may be used to boost your immune system. By strengthening the immune system, Echinacea helps fight acne by ensuring the skin can resist and withhold acne bacteria (3). As aforementioned, when the P.acnes bacteria are trapped in the clogged pores, they result to the drastic acne breakouts. Echinacea comes in to salvage the situation by making the blood vessels walls stronger and increasing white blood cells (3). This makes the skin more resistant and less penetrable from either the bacteria or free radicals that promote the development of acne.
Echinacea Cuts Down on Inflammation
Propionibacterium bacteria has been proved to a major factor in acne breakouts and inflammation. This is because the moment the pores are clogged, the bacteria becomes reactive and secretes chemicals which damage the walls of the pores causing acne lesions. One, it causes inflammation, and the pimples that erupt are usually filled with pus. If the inflammation becomes severe, the acne breakouts will infect the surrounding areas and produce painful cysts (not to mention how ugly they look!). Echinacea may be used to lower the inflammation levels due to its antibiotic and antibacterial properties (4). It eliminates the Propionibacterium present on the skin and fights off its effects and can therefore be helpful in tackling acne (5).
Echinacea Enhances Good Circulation
Good circulation means that the skin will be clear and free from dirt and dead skin cells that otherwise clog the pores. Also, good circulation ensures that the toxins in the body are effectively flushed out hence will not bring about side effects such as hormonal imbalances which trigger acne. Echinacea helps this course by accelerating the body's natural mechanisms of flushing out toxins and its natural process of getting rid of pimples (6). Besides, it may help in reducing the toxicity of various compounds that aggravate acne prone skin. In doing so, the skin will be healthy and future acne outbreaks will be minimized.
Echinacea Stimulates Phagocytosis
Phagocytosis is the process by which living cells (phagocytes) engulf or ingests dying cells, dead cells, bacteria, and harmful foreign particles (all these lead to clogging of follicles) and contributes to the development of acne. By enhancing this process, the skin will be free from those substances that lead to acne development such as bacteria and dead skin cells (7).
Waysin Which Echinacea Can Be Used
This herb can be ingested as a tea or taken in the form of a supplement. First, you can consume Echinacea in the form of its supplements and extracts readily available in the market. The supplements are usually in the form of pill and capsules thereby increasing the ease of consumption. Also, to increase the level of absorption, you can drink Echinacea tea.
The other pathway entails applying it to the affected areas of the skin in the form of topical treatments such as gels, lotions, and creams that contain Echinacea. You can also decide to use both mechanisms as you will treat acne from the inside and the outside and in doing so, you will tackle acne on two fronts, therefore, eliminating it within no time.
No need fill up your beauty cabinet with needless and overhyped chemical acne treatments when Echinacea can help fight off acne. The herb has been proven to have beneficial properties such as anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that may be used to fight acne. For these reasons, it should not come as a surprise that Echinacea is one of the commonly used ingredients in acne treatment products.
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