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As Moon Unit Zappa, daughter of late rock musician Frank Zappa, put it:
“I spent most of my life locked in my bedroom, miserable about my raging acne.”
So what is acne exactly, and what can be done to stop acne—whether it’s “raging” or occasional spots? Read on:
Acne is a skin condition that arises because hair follicles and pores become stopped up with dead skin cells and oil (sebum) from the skin.
Blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, oily skin, and possible scarring are all associated with acne. Acne is typically seen on the face, as well as on the chest and back—these are areas with a high density of oil glands.
There are different varieties of acne. The one that is most common appears during the adolescence, when hormone levels are elevated. Because of this change, skin glands produce more oil. When this oil mixes with dead skin cells, pores become clogged and bacteria begin to grow. As the oil, dead cells, and bacteria leak into adjacent tissues, there is redness, swelling, raised bumps or pimples, and pus.
Acne may continue into adulthood. Adult acne may be mild, moderate, or severe. Mild acne is characterized by occasional clogged pores that are limited to the face. Moderate acne involves a a greater number and frequency of outbreaks on the face and perhaps the chest or back. Severe acne occurs when extensive and painful lesions or cysts (nodules) occur not only on the face and trunk (chest and back) but even the extremities, such as thighs and upper arms.
The cause of adult acne has not yet been definitively established. Some researchers believe it results from stress or environmental causes. Others attribute it to high-glycaemic-load diets (a diet rich in sweets, for example). Some studies have shown that a predisposition to acne is hereditary and genetic.
Still other scientists suspect that Propionibacterium acnes or P. acnes, an anaerobic bacterial species, is the culprit.
It is widely believed that hormonal activity, as during puberty or during adult menstrual cycles, is a contributing factor. In addition, certain medications can cause acne; these include those containing hormones, such as oestrogen, testosterone, or anabolic steroids.
The use or overuse of certain cosmetics and skin-care products, especially those dense in pore-clogging material (such as cheap make-up and oily moisturizers), may add to the skin’s oils and dead cells, exacerbating a tendency toward blocked follicles and pores.
Conversely, products high in alcohol can have a drying effect, causing the skin to compensate by overproducing oil, which can again lead to clogged pores and spots.
Uncleanliness, such as touching the face with dirty hands, is one of the worst things for acne. Of course, it goes without saying that you should never pick, pinch, or squeeze your spots.
Other types of uncleanliness include wearing make-up to bed, and not regularly cleaning cosmetic implements such as brushes and sponges. Addition problems include infrequent laundering of towels and flannels, as well as pillowcases, duvet covers, and sheets.
Finally, over- or under-cleaning the skin are likely to make acne worse. Scrubbing with cleansers sounds like a good idea to keep the body clean, but when products are harsh or abrasive, the practice irritates and inflames skin, exacerbating rather than eliminating acne.
Prescription treatments can work to stop acne, but they may have harsh contents that dry the surrounding skin. For a more natural remedy, consider honey and cinnamon.
Honey has long been known for its antibacterial properties. The ancient Egyptians, for example, used it on dressings for wounds to block infections. Bacteria have a hard time surviving amid honey’s high sugar concentration.
Cinnamon, too, has a long history of use as a healing agent and against inflammatory skin conditions. It has mild astringent properties which can help shrink pores and smooth the complexion.
Together, these two tasty condiments can help stop acne, especially when the honey is Manuka honey, and the spice is powdered “true” or Ceylon cinnamon from Sri Lanka.
Step 1: Get the ingredients.
You may be able to find Manuka honey and powdered Ceylon cinnamon at your local health-food store. If not, you can easily find and buy these online.
Step 2: Mix.
Combine two to three tablespoons of Manuka honey and one tablespoon of powdered Ceylon cinnamon in a microwaveable glass or ceramic (not metal) container to make a paste-like substance.
Step 3: Heat.
Put the mixture in a microwave for 15 to 30 seconds. Make sure it’s not too hot. Test the temperature on your wrist, not on your fingers.
Step 4. Apply.
Wash your hands and face well prior to application. Using a clean piece of fabric or cotton wool, or your clean fingers, put the warm mixture on your skin, focusing on spots and acne-prone areas. You may want to put a towel around your neck as you apply to catch any drips.
Step 5. Relax.
Let the mixture remain on your skin for for 10 minutes. You may wish to sit or stretch out with a towel under you, again to catch drips.
Step 6. Rinse.
Wash the honey and cinnamon from your skin with warm water, using your hands or another clean flannel.
Step 7. Dry.
Pat your face dry with a clean dry towel.
Note that because some people are allergic to either ingredient, it’s recommended that you apply a pea-sized amount to the back of your hand and let it set for at least 10 minutes to check for a reaction before applying the mask to your face; if you experience difficulty breathing or swallowing, itching, inflammation, swelling, etc., seek medical help and don’t use the mask. In addition, this mask is not recommended for pregnant women.
However, most people can use this honey/cinnamon solution to stop acne without any problems.
Some experts suggest using the treatment twice a day; others recommend two or three times per week for a few weeks until you see results.
Try our DIY honey-and-cinnamon mask a few times (at least two or three) to stop acne, and post the results.
Post your before and after pictures on social media with the hashtags #cinnamonhoney, #acnefree, #stopacne, #acnechallenge, #cinnamonhoneychallenge, etc. Use the hashtag #elladirocco, too, and we’ll take a look and choose the best.
The winner receives her choice of a free Ella di Rocco anti-acne treatment, or free anti-acne products from FabbriMarine®, a company internationally known for its outstanding skin-care solutions.