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People have been using aloe vera for acne for a long, long time. It’s health benefits are not new to us. Happily, for people with acne who are looking for alternative treatments, the use of aloe vera for acne has been studied quite extensively by scientists. It turns out that our ancestors were right, aloe vera has healing properties, anti-inflammatory action, boost the immune system, is an antiviral and an anti-aging agent.
The Causes of Acne
How acne occurs is still not very well understood. It affects nearly 90% of humans at some point in their lives but there are still many things that the scientific community does not know. However, what is understood about acne is useful for finding effective treatments.
Acne is a bacterial infection. The bacteria that cause it are usually present in every healthy person’s skin. It is usually when the hormonal changes that occur during puberty that acne occurs. This is because the sebaceous glands that reside in hair follicles are triggered to produce more sebum, the oil the skin uses to clean itself. Too much oil production causes follicles to clog with dead skin cells and dirt, which are then food for the acne bacteria.
The body recognises the infection and starts to fight it off. The blood flow to the infected area is increased, so it swells up and turns a red colour. Lots of immune cells flock to the area to kill the bacteria, which they do by consuming it and then exploding. This forms the pus in the spot. Immune reactions to infection make the area itchy, painful and swollen.
Current Acne Treatments
To treat acne, there are countless methods. Some reduce acne symptoms, others eliminate it entirely. Unfortunately, there is no treatment that totally rids the patient of acne without some potentially severe side effects. Antibiotics, for example, can include disrupted digestion, depression, secondary infections and worse. They are therefore used only as a last resort. Acne at its most severe can cause scarring that can last a lifetime, so using antibiotics can be the most sensible course of action for those facing having scars.
For most people, however, acne will not scar and is only a temporary condition. That is not to say it does not have debilitating effects. The psychosocial developmental issues caused by acne and the accompanying body image and bullying issues are well known. Even a small outbreak of pimples can have a seriously deleterious effect on a person’s self-confidence, especially during adolescence. For this reason, there are thousands of businesses trying to sell their acne products to emotionally vulnerable and impressionable young people.
When you are looking for effective treatments for acne, it is well worth becoming familiar with the evidence. Unfortunately, a lot of the studies around acne are relatively small scale and unrepresentative. For this reason, it is advised that the reader checks up on as much evidence as possible, identifies potential treatments, and then experiments with them.
There are a number of home remedies, such as essential oils, that can help acne. Tea tree oil is one particularly popular and effective treatment. It has similar effects to aloe vera, as well as antibacterial properties, so if the reader has responded badly to aloe vera, they might be able to try tea tree oil. It is highly tolerable and very few people have adverse effects from it. Coconut oil has a lot of hype flying about around it at the moment but there is currently zero evidence that it has any effect on acne. It does taste and smell nice though.
Fresh aloe vera plant can be harvested by hand in many places. In some, it is considered a weed. However, it is cultivated on a large scale for the pharmaceutical industry and the products produced by some companies are consistent, pure and affordable. Unless you want to spend a lot of time finding, harvesting and processing aloe vera, it is recommended that you go to a shop and buy some.
Aloe vera is an antiseptic, in fact, it contains 6 known antiseptic agents: lupeol, salicylic acid, urea, cinnamomic acid, phenols and sulphur. These help kill the bacteria causing the infection in a way that does not harm the body so are very useful for the treatment of acne.
The healing-promotion effects of aloe vera are also worth a look. There is a chemical called glucomannan that, along with a growth hormone called gibberellin, stimulates the growth of collagen. This improves the healing time and the eventual strength and appearance of acne scars. It also has the added benefit of reducing wrinkles and fine lines which develop with age. Who doesn’t want that?
One of the main problems with acne is the inflammation. It is itchy and sore, and by itching or scratching at it the acne can be worsened significantly. So finding anti-inflammatories that are non-toxic and tolerable is important. Aloe vera has a well understood anti-inflammatory effect, so it reduces the problems associated with acne.
Cannabidiol is one of the 100+ cannabinoids found naturally in the cannabis plant. It has an effect on the brain but does not produce the high (psychoactive effects) that THC, another cannabinoid, does. This makes it a much more suitable drug for treating chronic or low-impact conditions like acne. Like aloe vera, it has anti-inflammatory, immunoregulatory, and antiseptic effects.
The Legality of CBD
Cannabis has been illegal in most of the world since the 1920s. The consequence of this, other than the millions of lives lost in a futile drugs war, is that studies into cannabis have been rare and of little scientific value when they are studied. The consequences of the difficulty with studying cannabis means there is very little good evidence regarding the true effects. For years governments have focused on the supposed negative effects of the drug, and on finding only small harms, have incomprehensibly refused to legalize. This is changing, albeit slowly. As this process gains speed, the number of studies is only going to increase. Already billions of dollars are being invested into the burgeoning industry, especially into CBD.
Until then, people will have to make their own choices. The studies that do exist regarding CBD (and there are only a few that address CBD and acne specifically) are of dubious quality, but what they all agree on is that CBD is a remarkably safe drug. It is very tolerable (it can be taken in large doses without serious side effects), it is basically impossible to overdose on, is non-toxic, and has a wide range of effects.
CBD and Aloe Vera for Acne
The burning question is: do CBD and aloe vera for acne work? The answer is: nobody knows. This particular combination has been tried, but there have been no studies on the two in combination and so far, the best evidence is anecdotal and therefore unreliable. But do not be put off. Just because nobody has properly studied it does not mean it is not a potentially fantastic treatment. The safety record of both plant extracts has been well established, and lots of people can be found to testify that they work very well.
Because of this almost complete lack of proper scientific guidance, the reader has to find out for themselves what works best. This is frustrating to many, as it can take some time to discover the correct doses and timings for treatments.
Using Aloe Vera and CBD for Acne
Combining the two should be fairly straight forward. Both can be bought as oils or in creams. Putting them both together could be effective, as could applying them separately. Always measure the dose. This not only keeps you safe but allows you to compare the effectiveness of different doses. Start with a small dose and work up to what appears to be an effective one. Before you try it on the affected area, dab a little onto an unaffected part of the skina and wait 24 hours to see if you have an allergic reaction. It will be much safer here than on your face so no need to worry too much.
When applying any kind of cream or oil to acne, it is important that you dab the liquid on and do not rub. Rubbing will increase the irritation and increase the risk of further infection. If you are applying pure oils, dab them on and let them dry naturally to get maximum absorption. Creams should be applied according to the instructions on the packaging. Aloe vera gel is widely available and effective. Initially, try the treatment every day after washing your face. If adverse effects occur, stop the treatment or reduce the dose. If it is not successful, try increasing the dose up to a reasonable level.
CBD and aloe vera are no magic bullets. Acne is a complex condition with a variety of causes. Improving diet, reducing stress, and keeping the skin clean will all contribute to having clear skin and a reduced chance of acne outbreaks. To get rid of acne completely, hormone treatments and antibiotics can be used, but only as a last resort and only at the direction of a doctor.
Click here to learn more about how CBD can treat acne!
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