RadarOpus blog - Acne | Causes, Symptoms & Homoeopathic RemediesJan 7, 2022
What is acne?
Acne occurs when hair follicles are clogged with oil and dead skin cells, leading to inflammation and pimples. The condition can be identified by blackheads, whiteheads, papules, nodules, or cysts, with outbreaks of pimples occurring on the face, back, chest, and shoulders.
Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the world, with 95% of people aged 11 to 30 affected, ranging in severity. While there are conventional treatments for acne, they tend to be short-term, and acne is a condition that persists over time.
Depending on the severity, acne can result in scarring of the face or back; it can also result in emotional distress and insecurity.
Cystic acne is a type of acne that shows up as large, deep and painful bumps in and under the skin. It is very different from common types of acne such as blackheads and whiteheads because cysts are not caused by clogged pores. Cystic acne can show up on your cheeks, chin, chest or back and can last for weeks if left untreated.
If you have this type of acne it's important to know that there are treatments available that include prescription topical medications like Retin-A, Differin cream or antibiotic pills like doxycycline. These medications of course involve side effects, so each individual needs to inform themselves and weigh up the options before embarking upon a course of treatment. Suppressing skin conditions with topical medications can help achieve short term gains, but also deprive the body of its chosen 'outlet' for symptom expression. From the homeopathic point of view, the long-term suppression of skin eruptions can have a detrimental effect on your overall health and wellbeing, predisposing some towards chronic complaints at a deeper level of the organism. The skin is the outermost organ, and if symptoms there are suppressed, this can have the long-term effect of driving symptom expression to a more internal organ system, such as the mucous membranes.
Acne is a common skin condition that affects people of all ages. There are many different types of acne, but one type that is often overlooked is fungal acne. Fungal acne is caused by a fungus called Pityrosporum ovale or Malassezia folliculitis, and it can be difficult to treat because it isn't caused by an oil or bacterial build-up in your pores. The yeast infection results in clusters of itchy whiteheads that are usually all the same size.
What causes acne?
There are many things that can cause acne but not all of them have been pinpointed by scientists yet. What we do know is that hormones, stress levels, genetics, certain medications or medical conditions may be factors in causing acne breakouts.
We also know some other contributing factors - such as diet or excessive exposure to sunlight - which make it difficult for your body to fight off bacteria on the surface of your skin, resulting in an increased chance of breakouts.
Issues relating to sebum (oil), which can clog your pores and skin, results in issues with the lubrication of your skin. Issues that affect oil production include:
1. Follicles producing too much oil
2. Bacterial infection or build up in pores
3. Dead skin accumulating in pores and creating a build-up
Risk factors for developing acne
For some people, acne is a problem that comes and goes. For others, it's something they live with every day. Acne can be frustrating to deal with because it often affects one's self-esteem and quality of life. It also takes time to treat conventionally - sometimes up to six weeks for maximum results.
The below are risk factors related to acne:
- Hormonal changes due to menstrual cycle or period
- Genetics and having parents who had/have acne
- High sugar and carbohydrate diet
- Certain medications like birth control pills and corticosteroids
Homoeopathic acne treatment
Acne can be treated with topical medications, oral antibiotics and other systemic treatments, but there are also many natural remedies to try before resorting to these more aggressive methods. One such option is using homeopathic acne treatment.
Note: If you would like to use RadarOpus and practise homeopathy, take a look at our beginner's course.
Disclaimer: Homeopathy does not work by treating named conditions; that is the domain of Allopathic Medicine. Homeopathy employs natural remedies in potentised doses to encourage your own innate healing response - supporting your overall wellbeing. For the best results in helping your condition, we advise you to visit a professional Homeopath rather than rely on anything mentioned in this article. By consulting with a Homeopath, your individual treatment plan will help you gain a better understanding of yourself and what triggers your emotional or physical disease. When you develop an illness, the way you experience your symptoms is unique to you – therefore your Homeopathic prescription will be based on your subjective symptoms and individual reactions rather than your diagnosis. That being said, there are remedies which do have an elective affinity to certain organ systems, physiological and pathological processes. These are outlined below for the treatment of acne.
Leading Homeopathic remedies indicated in acne
Applicable in persistent cases of Acne with pimply eruptions and discharge - typically infected and very tender. A keynote for Sulphur patients is that water or bathing aggravates their condition. Another guiding symptom is early morning diarrhoea which drives them out of bed. Sulphur types tend to run hot, dislike standing for any length of time, and are blissfully unaware of the mess strewn around them whilst they are lost in the clouds; reading, following creative pursuits, or going down YouTube wormholes!
A good choice where there are many sensitive, painful red spots and boils which suppurate (discharge pus). The pains are sharp or splinter-like and extremely sensitive. The patient is much worse for drafts of cold air, cold drinks and eating in general. Swollen glands are also common. These types feel very vulnerable to the world around them, fearing they have no way of protecting themselves. This leads to an oversensitivity to pain, even intolerance of it. This might eventually lead to angry, abrupt and rude outbursts – the emotional counterpart of the red, angry eruptions on the skin.
A deep-rooted remedy for purulent conditions (discharge of pus). Silica is a good choice of remedy when the skin also develops scarring. It is well-suited to delicate and refined constitutional types who, whilst being conscientious and bookish, are prone to suffer from anticipatory anxiety. In such types, there can be an unusual combination of obstinacy and mildness - going along easily with others of a stronger opinion, yet internally refusing to change their own mind.
If the Acne is related to menstrual problems or puberty, Pulsatilla is one of the go-to remedies. It is also useful if the Acne is accompanied by digestive problems. These patients are typically weepy, thirstless, aggravated by fatty foods and worse for heat. It is often a good remedy for children, particularly in Conjunctivitis and Otitis and where problems are brought on by separation – e.g., starting school. There are flushes of heat, blushing and a great deal of changeability – shifting emotions and wandering pains are characteristic.
Less common Homeopathic remedies indicated in acne
Another first-rate remedy for chronic acne – particularly during puberty where it is primarily located on the upper body and face. The spots are sore and itching. These are restless patients, suffering from poor sleep, nightmares and fear of being alone. The problems can be triggered by grief, excessive anxiety and can even lead to states of extreme paranoia and OCD-type thoughts; where they cannot pass a certain point or imagine they are going to be poisoned.
A valuable remedy for acne where itching and scratching has led to infection with offensive-smelling discharges. The patient will be worse for heat, having rough skin which is scabby and greasy in appearance. In a deep-seated Psorinum state, the patient is very pessimistic, fearing they will become impoverished – they might even be under the impression that they will never get well again. One of the contradictory things about Psorinum patients is that they can feel very well just before they get sick – one of those strange, rare and peculiar symptoms so valuable in Homeopathy!
Finally, there is actually a Homeopathic remedy prepared from Gunpowder(!), which is chiefly of service for acne where the spots are infected, red, painful, angry and inflamed. Chemically speaking, it is a mixture of potassium nitrate [saltpetre], carbon [charcoal], and sulphur. It is a good remedy for wounds that refuse to heal. As the 19th century British Homeopath, John Henry Clarke puts it, “in the old days of ‘black powder’, gunpowder was recognized by soldiers as a remedy for certain forms of suppuration”.
If you would like to use RadarOpus and practise homeopathy, take a look at our beginner's course.