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Those pesky pimples pop up at the most inopportune times. No matter your age, you’re bound to face a blemish every now and then. While it’s tempting to pop them, resist the urge. Instead, focus on prevention and natural remedies. Your skin will thank you.

The Lowdown on Zits

Acne, zits, pimples—it doesn’t matter what you call them, they’re a nuisance. These blemishes occur when skin pores produce too much oil and become clogged and accumulate dirt, debris, and bacteria. The blockage is called a plug or comedone. The top of the plug may be dark (blackhead) or white (whitehead).

Acne can be triggered by:

  • Hormonal changes in the body (related to menstrual cycle, pregnancy, or stress)
  • Prescription medications
  • Greasy cosmetic products
  • Humidity and sweating

Although many people believe that chocolate and fatty foods contribute to the development of acne, there is little data to support this theory.

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Treating Acne

There is no single remedy that is perfect for treating zits. What works for one person may not work for the next. There are, however, a few guidelines for optimal skin care:

  • Keep skin clean, but avoid excessive cleaning, which will only serve to dry out the skin and exacerbate the problem. Wash with a mild soap once or twice a day and especially after exercising. Always remove make-up before bed.
  • Avoid touching your face with your hands.
  • Shampoo hair regularly, especially if it is oily.
  • Use water-based cosmetics or creams rather than oily ones.
  • Remove blackheads regularly to prevent build-up and blockages. (A professional esthetician can help with this.)
  • Resist the urge to pick and pop! This will only make it worse and can lead to scarring and skin infections.

Natural Remedies

If acne is an ongoing problem for you, you may wish to consult a doctor or a professional esthetician to discuss your options. If you are faced with the occasional pesky pimple, there are some home remedies that have been shown to be effective:

  • Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is derived from the Melaleuca alternifoliais tree, which is found in Australia. The oil has natural anti-bacterial properties and can improve the quality of your skin. It can be used on pimples or as a face wash. Inquire at your local health foods store to find tea tree oil or products that contain the oil.
  • Aloe Vera: Aloe vera has been shown to be an effective remedy for acne. The gel or juice is rich in enzymes and has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used topically or taken internally.
  • Zinc: Zinc has been shown to strengthen the immune system and repair damaged skin. Zinc can be taken in capsule form.
  • Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant that has been shown to be good for the skin. You can find vitamin E supplements in most health food stores.
  • Garlic: Garlic has natural anti-bacterial properties. Rub the affected area with garlic and consume garlic daily to see benefits with skin blemishes.
  • Wheatgrass: Drinking a shot of wheatgrass daily has been shown to help remove toxins from the body and leave skin glowing and radiant.
  • Lemon juice: Apply a few dabs of fresh lemon juice on a blemish before bed and leave on for several minutes before wiping clean.
  • Homemade mask: Blend a fresh tomato, honey, and rose water and apply to your face for 10 minutes before removing.

Pimples are pesky, but there are several home remedies that work. Keep your skin clean and reach no further than the kitchen cabinet when a blemish presents itself.