Keeping in mind that this is a 30% everything else blog, I chose this morning to write an entry about natural remedies. I am a big fan of them, and because I'm my own guinea pig, I don't say or recommend herbs or natural remedies that I haven't tried myself and seen success from. I have a few serious articles floating about the internet concerning natural remedies and their effects. This one in particular, titled "The Silent Enemy of Your Birth Control Pill" talks about the way in which certain herbs and berries can lower the effectiveness of your birth control pill without you even knowing it. It's lengthy and in-depth, so if you're not interested in really reading some precise information and details of an experiment, you probably shouldn't click the link. What I will mention though is what I have discovered to significantly or completely get rid of acne in myself.
A little history. Acne and me have been mortal enemies throughout the years. I'm talking the worst acne you can think of. If it's a type of bump, I've had it in multitudes. I couldn't eat anything sugary without flaring up; not even fruits. I couldn't eat anything oily otherwise the blackheads came to visit. Doctors told me again and again that eating sugar doesn't cause acne, but all I knew was that certain "bad" foods made my face flare, regardless of how impeccably clean I kept my skin. My skin is also naturally very oily. Wash it now and in an hour or less I'm shining like a marble. I went on diane-35 (not officially a "bcp" but you'll have to google that controversy) to control my acne, and it certainly did that. It cleaned it up perfectly for years. It was my "cure", but unfortunately diane-35 caused other health complications that weren't worth the benefit. You're supposed to use it for a limited time, but as I learned, and as many people discover, coming off a bcp will make your acne come back with a vengeance, and you'll regret ever stopping it. So I said to myself I had to find some natural remedies that DO exactly what "the pill" does for my acne.
But what does the pill do to fight acne anyhow? What exactly is going on? I'll try and lay it out simply.
Some people can use topical medications like a Clean and Clear wash and their acne problems are gone. For others like me, it's more internal. Hormones are involved. An overproduction of androgen, a type of hormone, and a subsequent overproduction of oil (Dihydrotestosterone or DHT promotes oil production which can lead to your pores getting clogged) cause acne in a lot of women, including myself. And of course stress is another factor for me. You first have to understand that for you, it may not be just about washing your face and keeping it clean or taking an antibiotic once. The best birth control to fight acne has low androgen potency and high levels of estrogen like Yasmin, Ortho Cyclen, Brevicon, etc., but you've seen the drug recall commercials for some of these pills. The risks with birth control pills were no longer worth it for me.
So I said, fine, I know that I've gotta tackle this androgen thingy and this DHT monster. What's next? What herbs do it? What vitamins, if any, do it?
I'll introduce you to the three things I use now and SWEAR BY. Without these three things as a part of my DAILY routine, my face would look like a mountainous dart board. Excuse my descriptiveness, but I've had it bad over the years. You may have heard of these three remedies before, or even mentioned together in aregime.
---> Zinc, Saw Palmetto (The standardized extract people! Important), Stinging Nettle
Taken from http://www.nutritional-supplements-health-guide.com/zinc-for-acne.html
The idea behind the zinc skin care concept is very reasonable. There are two good reasons for this. First, zinc facilitates the production and regulation of about 200 hormones in your body, and one of that is testosterone. You should know that testosterone is one of the main promoters of acne. Intake of zinc may prevent potential hormone imbalances that can lead to outbreaks.
Second, zinc is closely involved in protein synthesis and in collagen formation in your body, both of which are essential in the maintenance of healthy skin and in normalizing production of skin oils. If you have been to a dermatologist and have been advised to take tetracycline, you may find it interesting that zinc is as effective as this antibiotic for preventing acne.
Taken from same website as above
The effects of saw palmetto are attributed solely to its ability to suppress the production of dihydrotestosterone or DHT from testosterone. Testosterone is a naturally occurring androgen which is needed by the body, while DHT is a more potent hormone produced from it. Testosterone is converted into DHT through an enzyme called 5-alpha-reductase which is inhibited by saw palmetto.
Saw palmetto is primarily used therapeutically for treating enlarged prostate or prostatitis in men. However, they are also seen to provide benefits in women, such that saw palmetto standardized extract.
Taken from http://www.alive.com/1310a4a2.php?subject_bread_cramb=222
Since both dissolving and flushing actions are most important for the purification of the blood, stinging nettle juice is the remedy par excellence for all complaints where toxicity and/or over-acidity of the blood are the source of the problem, including rheumatism and arthritis. Given its ability to dissolve and flush waste, nettle juice is also a “natural” for weight reduction. As stinging nettle stimulates gland secretion, particularly of the digestive tract, various eczemas and acne can be cleared up by regularly drinking nettle herbal tea.
Ok, you got that? According to the info, zinc balances testosterone and normalizes oil production, saw palmetto supresses DHT from existing testosterone and is an anti-inflammatory, and stinging nettle is a good ol' buddy that cleans you out. Simple enough. How did I get this to work for me? A lot of research on how others were doing it and having success, what kind of dosages work for women, and then fine-tuning it to me.
So, what does my routine look like?
Saw Palmetto Standardized (85-95% Fatty Acids) 1 pill 160mg
Stinging Nettle- 2 capsules of stinging nettle (Serving size 2 capsules 870mg nettle (leaf))
Zinc (1/3 of a tablet. Many people, like me, find that taking even a 50mg of a zinc supplement makes them terribly nauseous. I cut my tablet into thirds and take throughout the day.)
Afternoon- 1/3 of zinc tablet with meal
Evening- Repeat morning
What has this done for me? My oily skin is no more. Some will want to adjust dosages to ensure their skin does not become too dry. Breakouts only occur when I'm overly stressed (but tweaking to a higher dosage combats that) and haven't been sticking to my routine. THIS is what has worked for me in weaning off my birth control pill. I thought it couldn't be done, but no challenge is gonna get the better of me. I had tried several times to actually come off of diane-35 but to no avail. The very day and the very last time I quit diane-35 I went on this regime to essentially hope I could fool my body into thinking I was still taking the pill, which the herbs provided similar benefits to. And I'll say this in all honesty. It worked. The only time I experienced a drawback or two when weaning off the pill was when my pharmacy ran out of the standardized saw palmetto (i.e. higher potency) and I had to take the weaker dose, or when I forget to take one of the stuff in the regime.
Certainly, if you choose any regime, you should always talk to your doctor first, or ensure you're not taking anything else that these herbs might impact. Some doctors may give you the "Meh, herbs aren't really effective" look, but I also got the "Well, technically there's nothing wrong with using a birth control pill" look and statement from a doctor and I'm off diane-35 because of side effects. So you be the judge. Always be careful and always consider healthier options to your ailments.
Best of luck,