One of the joys of being an aromatherapist is the knowledge that acne can be successfully treated, without the use of harsh ingredients.
This condition is generally due to hormonal imbalance and occasionally there is a genetic predisposition. If acne is seen in a person passed their mid 20s it is possible that it is due to an allergy and a different approach will be needed.
Too much of the oily substance produced by the sebaceous glands, called “sebum”, is poured onto the surface of the skin. There, dirt from the environment, particles from clothing, and dead cells which are always flaking off from the surface of our skin, stick to the sebum and form a breeding ground for bacteria.
Pores become blocked, forming blackheads, and the congested hair follicles become infected, giving rise to the familiar “spots”.
During puberty, the fluctuating hormones can also cause acne to worsen.
Journaling the relationship between the menstrual cycle and the worsening of the acne can help discover a pattern which can be very valuable at the time of agreeing a skin treatment plan.
Acne can definitely be exacerbated by stress: school exams, busy lives, social relationships, family issues…
The collaboration of the teenager in his/her own treatment is vital and can help to alleviate some of the feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that comes with acne.
This collaboration can break the cycle…
“stress causing acne, acne causing stress”
Aromatherapy tackles acne in several ways:
These essential oils treats the skin externally to help clear the infection and reduce the amount of sebum produced, detoxifying the skin and promoting scar healing. Bearing in mind, that essential oils work on multiple levels, through skin absorption, they also help to reduce stress levels and hormonal imbalances.
We are talking about young skin so the less harsh ingredients on the skin the better.
A great combination is Lavender and Bergamot, which are both bactericidal and antiseptic, controlling the bacteria on the surface of the skin.
Bergamot reduces sebum production because its astringent, as well as antidepressant, which is useful because many young people become understandably depressed about their acne and the depression may even make the condition worse.
Lavender has a balancing effect, soothes, heals and promotes the growth of healthy new cells.
Geranium and Sandalwood/Cedarwood are also very effective. They have balancing effect on sebum production. They are both balancing oils in many ways: skin, body and mind.
Tea Tree (or Melaleuca), a very well know oil for acne, its also restorative for the nervous system.
Copaiba essential oil, one of the safest oils to use on the skin, is emollient, astringent and anti-inflammatory. Therefore, it has great healing powers, reduces redness, scarring and inflammation. The lack of aroma (utterly mild), makes it a good choice for teenagers that dislike strong ones.
Juniper berry is a skin and mental detoxifier, especially useful for weeping acne.
Palmarosa: a cousin of the rose with a delightful light young feminine aroma, great for skin as it is antiseptic, stimulates cell production, and lower stress levels.
The use of Jojoba is useful in the treatment of acne.
Most people will think: adding more oil to the skin? No! jojoba has a similar structure to sebum, it is actually a wax not an oil, and can control excessive sebum production & prevent the build-up. Jojoba is a “big friend” here.
The avoidance of heavy make up on the acne areas is really important as this will make the condition worse.
We need to keep it light and fresh, young aromas for our young teenagers, with light textures that don’t feel heavy on the skin. The use of aloe vera and hydrolats will add more anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits to the blend with these specific essential oils.
Soak a cotton pad with hydrolat and gently pat the skin morning and evenings. Even better if you can use a reusable cotton pad.
The most useful ones would be:
Thyme sweet Hydrolat
Mildly antiseptic, antiviral, promotes healing and balance sebum production
Anti-stress to the central nervous system, effective during times of high pressure such us exams, very astringent with a tightening effect, reduces heat, redness and irritation.
Wonderful for the healing of scars.
Some toners can actually cause pimples. Toners with 60%-70% of alcohol significantly trigger breakouts on sensitive and acne-prone skin. The alcohol dries out the skin and, in turn, increases the skin’s sebum/oil production.
Mixing Eucalyptus and Tea Tree Hydrolats with some drops of Geranium essential oil can function as a natural Toner.
Spray directly onto the skin to reduce those wide pores.
To treat specific spots with Tea Tree, Geranium, , or any aromas of their choice. Simply apply on the spot.
They can use them on the go to prevent scratching the skin if it becomes itchy or painful.
Light texture lotions as moisturisers:
Based on the favourite aromas of our teenager: Copaiba, Lavender, Tea Tree or more masculine ones like Cedarwood / Sandalwood, and the addition of aloe vera and hydrolats can result in a great moisturising light lotion.
“Taking care of your skin is more important than covering it up”
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