Acne is one of the common disorders addressed by teenagers and young adults. It is a chronic inflammatory dermatosis that is caused by an obstruction in the orifice of hair follicles by retention of sebum and keratinous material. The lesions are more common in the face, neck, upper chest, and upper back.
What causes acne?
Acne is a self-limited disorder affecting the pilosebaceous units of the skin. It appears when the orifice gets filled with dead skin, oil or dirt, bacteria, etc. The factors that cause acne are:
- Hormonal imbalance appearing during puberty.
- Family history of acne.
- Hair follicles produce too much oil.
- Bacterial infection by Propionibacterium acnes.
- Friction or trauma rupture pre-existing micro comedones and elicit acne lesions in persons using headbands or chin straps.
- Use of certain cosmetics or hair products.
- Use of glucocorticoids topically or administered systematically in high doses.
- Use of systemic medications containing lithium, isoniazid, and halogens for a long time can cause acne.
- Certain diseases like PCOD, and Cushing’s syndrome.
Signs and symptoms of acne
The disease is characterized by an increase in sebum production resulting in the colonization of pilosebaceous ducts by Propionibacterium acnes. The ducts get inflamed and occluded resulting in acne.
The pimples give the skin a rough texture. Along with that the individual experiences:
- Greasiness of the skin.
- Swelling and inflammation.
- Pain and tenderness on touching.
- Discolouration of the skin including redness, and hyperpigmentation.
- Scarring of the skin.
Types of acne
Acne can take several forms such as:
- Blackheads (open comedones): These are dilated keratin-filled follicles. They have a large dilated follicular orifice filled with oxidized, darkened oily debris.
- Whiteheads (close comedones): These appear as 1-2 mm pebbly white papules, which are precursors of inflammatory lesions of acne vulgaris.
- Papules: These are small red or pink bumps formed by inflamed or infected hair follicles.
- Pustules: These are red pimples filled with pus.
- Nodules: These are solid, painful lumps.
- Cysts: These are large lumps seen beneath the skin and are very painful.
Acne Vulgaris in Ayurveda
Acne vulgaris is explained under Kshudra Rogas by the Acharyas. It can be correlated to Mukha dooshika or Youvana pidaka. By the aggravation of Vata and Kapha doshas and rakta dhatu, the eruptions resembling the thorns of the salmali tree arise in the face of youth resulting in Mukha dooshika.
The symptoms include:
- Eruptions resembling the thorns of salmali tree.
- Sarujam- associated with pain.
- Ghana- solid, hard/ indurated.
- Medogarbha- filled with medas (pus).
Ayurvedic Management for Acne Vulgaris
The acne treatment principle aims at pacifying the aggravated vata and Kapha doshas. The treatment approaches include:
- Nidanaparivarjanam: Avoid etiological factors like cosmetic and hair products, intake of fried and junk food items, stress and anxiety, etc.
- Pacifying therapy (Samana chikitsa): Medicinal supplements, that are vata Kapha pacifying in nature can be taken orally. Along with internal medications, external application of certain medicines can be beneficial.
- Purification therapy (sodhana chikitsa): If the acne persists for a long period, and doesn’t cure by Samana treatment, then a purificatory method must be followed that includes:
a) Medicated vomiting (Vamana therapy): Medicated vomiting helps to pacify the aggravated Kapha dosha and bring it back to normalcy.
b) Medicated purgation (Virechana therapy): As per Ayurveda, pitta dosha and rakta dhatu had similar properties. Hence virechana the ideal treatment for pitta dosha can be administered here.
c) Nasyam; Instillation of medicated oil or ghee into the nostrils.
d) Bloodletting (siravyadham): As per Ayurveda classics, bloodletting in the forehead region helps to pacify acne.
- Detoxification (Panchakarma): One of the best way to resolve skin disorders in Ayurveda is by removing the toxins from the body, especially from the blood tissue. Skin inflammation (Pitta imbalance) including acne is generally caused by toxins, so cleansing the body by removing the toxins with special Ayurvedic Panchakarma practices will allow the body to heal from inflammation. Certain Panchakarma therapies like Purvakarma, Pradhan Karma and Paschat Karma are the most common detox treatments suggested for managing Acne.
Do’s and Don’ts in Acne.
- Areas must be kept clean.
- Remove surface oil from the face.
- Eat easily digestible food items.
- Include fruits and raw vegetables in the diet.
- Practice pranayama for reducing stress.
- Drink lukewarm water.
- Don’t prick or puncture acne.
- Avoid deep-fried or junk food items.
- Have healthy sleeping habits.
- Avoid the use of cosmetics and hair products that cause allergy.
- Long term use of medications containing lithium, halogens, etc.
In the current era, Acne vulgaris is one of the most common disorder affecting adolescents and may persist into adulthood. Modern remedies are spontaneous, but they might not always be successful thus leaving the individual with more side effects. Also to be noted that once the treatment is stopped, the reoccurrence is high. As such, Ayurveda offers safe and effective treatment in balancing the imbalanced doshas which may help eliminate the occurrence of Acne vulgaris and similar skin issues.
At Ayurclinic Melbourne, we undergo many frustrated patients with serious long term acne, seeking natural solutions. Our experienced team of Ayurvedic doctors and Ayurvedic practitioners can help you find the cause of acne and to manage and restore your skin’s health by allowing the body to balance using natural healing processes.
We are eager to help you on your journey to wellness. Contact us at our Ayurveda Clinic Melbourne to plan for an effective treatment plan for your health concerns.