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Natural Remedies for Taking Care of Your Skin

Wednesday, May 6th 2020 | Written By: Dr. Diane Fulton

Many are afflicted with skin conditions throughout their lives. Nature provides an astounding number of plants and substances that can help heal your skin and restore a healthy balance. The skin is the largest organ of the body, totaling 20 square feet, and acts as an important facet of your health as a protective barrier of your body.[i]

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) in your skin controls the proper and well-balanced care of skin cells (growth, differentiation, survival and immunity), but when the balance is disrupted, multiple pathological conditions and skin diseases can occur, such as:[ii]

  • Acne

  • Eczema (atopic or allergic dermatitis)

  • Pruritus (itchy skin)

  • Psoriasis

  • Seborrheic dermatitis (flaky scalp)

  • Alopecia (hair growth disorders)

  • Necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating skin disease)

  • Systemic sclerosis (hardened skin and organs)

  • Cancer

Ten of the most common skin conditions are:

  1. Acne

  2. Rosacea (red patches)

  3. Eczema (red itchy rash)

  4. Moles/cancer

  5. Hives

  6. Psoriasis (itchy, flaky skin)

  7. Athlete's foot

  8. Candidiasis (yeast infections)

  9. Shingles (herpes zoster)

  10. Cold sores (herpes simplex virus)

Skin Balance Both external conditions and internal issues, from viruses and bacteria to allergies and environmental factors like harsh chemicals and perfumes in household products, can disrupt the balance of your skin. For example, 90% of all food allergies come from the "Big 8" (milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and crustacean shellfish)[iii] and can trigger skin redness, hives or eczema and cause breathing issues, nausea, diarrhea or chest pain.[iv] Avoiding these foods is a safe way to prevent allergic reactions. Some of the top scientifically researched alternative treatments to naturally restore your skin's balance include turmeric/curcumin, cannabis, tea tree oil, propolis (bee glue), aloe, vitamins/minerals, plant extracts, honey and black seed oil.

Turmeric/Curcumin A meta-analysis of 18 studies shows scientific evidence that turmeric/curcumin products (oral and topical) may provide therapeutic benefits for skin diseases including:[v]

  • Acne

  • Baldness

  • Eczema

  • Facial photoaging

  • Oral lichen planus (lesions in mouth)

  • Pruritus (itchy skin)

  • Psoriasis

  • Radio dermatitis (side effects of cancer treatment radiotherapy)

  • Vitiligo (loss of skin color in blotches)

  • Turmeric was very helpful for flaky scalps as well.[vi]

Cannabis Research suggests the cannabis plant and its cannabidiol (CBD) oil combine lipostatic (stops overproduction of oil in the skin), anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory properties, which are effective in treating acne.[vii] Researchers are finding that cannabinoids have a role in inflammatory and neoplastic (tumor-growing) skin diseases.[viii]

Data also suggests that of the cannabis family, cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabigerovarin (CBGV) have more potential to treat dry-skin syndromes like eczema or psoriasis, whereas cannabichromene (CBC), cannabidivarin (CBDV) and especially tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) show promise to become highly efficient against acne; phytocannabinoids also could help manage cutaneous inflammations (skin, hair, nails).[ix] Using a 3% cannabis seed extract cream was shown to be safe and to significantly reduce overly oily and red skin, which could effectively treat acne and flaky scalp conditions.[x]

Tea Tree Oil, Propolis and Aloe Use of tea tree oil significantly improved mild to moderate acne and was also well tolerated.[xi] Tea tree oil had slower onset of results but was as effective as benzoyl peroxide with fewer side effects (nausea, trouble breathing, rash, itching/swelling, severe dizziness) for acne.[xii] Researchers found a cream containing 20% propolis extract, 3% tea tree oil and 10% aloe vera was as effective as the antibiotic cream erythromycin in treating acne, but without the toxicity and harmful effects of antibiotics.[xiii],[xiv] A cream containing propolis also had a significant positive effect on recurrent herpes and shingles.[xv]

Tea tree oil has been found to have anti-inflammatory, anti-itch and superior scabicidal (mite-killing) properties, as well as being less costly, when compared with widely used treatments for mite bites such as permethrin cream and ivermectin.[xvi] Tea tree oil is also recommended as a natural treatment for candida infections.[xvii] Although the aloe extract of A. ferox was superior to that of A. vera in reducing skin inflammation, both are useful alternatives to antihistamines and topical corticosteroids for the treatment of patients suffering from recurring chronic acne.[xviii] Vitamins and Minerals Deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals have been associated with skin conditions. Due to its immune properties, vitamin D modifies disease susceptibility, symptoms and evolving complications (nerve pain) during treatment of shingles.[xix] In addition, vitamin D had a positive effect on the progress of melanoma cancer[xx] and the severity of eczema.[xxi] Vitamin C has also been found to have positive therapeutic benefits in porphyria cutanea tarda (a blood disorder affecting the skin), eczema, malignant melanoma, and shingles and its resultant nerve pain.[xxii] Supplementation with both vitamins D and E in a randomized trial of 45 eczema patients showed highly beneficial results.[xxiii] Taking vitamin E orally helped eczema symptoms decrease with no side effects.[xxiv] A vitamin and mineral mix of nicotinamide (vitamin B3), zinc, copper and folic acid (B9) showed the same improvement in symptoms for acne and rosacea as oral antibiotic creams.[xxv] Plant Extracts Plant extracts from Usnea (lichen moss from Africa), Rosmarinus (rosemary), Salvia (sage), Boswellia (Indian frankincense from the Boswellia serrata tree) and Harpagophytum (devil's claw from the desert regions of southern Africa) proved to be effective against a panel of bacteria affecting the skin and successful as topical treatments for skin disorders, including acne and eczema.[xxvi]

Honey Honey has been used throughout the centuries for its healing and antibacterial properties.[xxvii] More recently, a case study shows honey as a cheap, readily available and very effective oral wound cleanser that overcomes the common resistance to antibiotics, makes wound cleansing less painful, heals faster and eliminates drug-related side effects due to its anti-inflammatory properties. In some cases, honey may even remove the need for plastic surgery for necrotizing fasciitis (fast-spreading disorder resulting in tissue and skin loss).[xxviii] Honey has also been a remarkable treatment for skin conditions including scalp itch/rash and chronic dandruff.[xxix]

Black Seed Oil In the article "Skin Healing Properties of Black Seed Oil," studies are cited showing black seed oil effectively treated psoriasis, eczema, athlete's foot, acne, common skin cancers and vitiligo.[xxx],[xxxi] Massaging black seed oil directly into the skin, as a moisturizer, helps restore healthy skin and reduce effects of aging.[xxxii]

Natural Treatments for the Skin Although there are hundreds of diseases and conditions of the skin, many skin disorders can benefit from natural substances and alternative treatments. Plants (tea tree, black seed, aloe, cannabis, rosemary, sage, turmeric) and honey have natural skin-healing properties. Taking vitamins (B complex, C, D and E) and minerals (zinc and copper) can restore the skin's protective ability.

For additional scientific research, see: here References [i] Web MD, Skin Problems and Treatments, [ii] Tamás Bíró, Balázs I Tóth, György Haskó, Ralf Paus, Pál Pacher. The endocannabinoid system of the skin in health and disease: novel perspectives and therapeutic opportunities. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2009 Aug ;30(8):411-20. Epub 2009 Jul 14. PMID: 19608284 [iii] FDA, What You Need to Know About Food Allergies, [iv] Health, Food Allergies and Symptoms, [v] Alexandra R Vaughn, Amy Branum, Raja K Sivamani. Effects of Turmeric (Curcuma longa) on Skin Health: A Systematic Review of the Clinical Evidence. Phytother Res. 2016 May 23. Epub 2016 May 23. PMID: 27213821 [vi] Bahraini P, Rajabi M, Mansouri P, Sarafian G, Chalangari R, Azizian Z. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018 Jun; 17(3):461-466. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12513. Epub 2018 Apr 1. Turmeric tonic as a treatment in scalp psoriasis: A randomized placebo-control clinical trial. PMID: 29607625, DOI: 10.1111/jocd.12513 [vii] Attila Oláh, Balázs I Tóth, István Borbíró, Koji Sugawara, Attila G Szöllõsi, Gabriella Czifra, Balázs Pál, Lídia Ambrus, Jennifer Kloepper, Emanuela Camera, Matteo Ludovici, Mauro Picardo, Thomas Voets, Christos C Zouboulis, Ralf Paus, Tamás Bíró. Cannabidiol exerts sebostatic and antiinflammatory effects on human sebocytes. J Clin Invest. 2014 Sep ;124(9):3713-24. Epub 2014 Jul 25. PMID: 25061872 [viii] Rose Milando, Adam Friedman. Cannabinoids: Potential Role in Inflammatory and Neoplastic Skin Diseases. Am J Clin Dermatol. 2018 Dec 12. Epub 2018 Dec 12. PMID: 30542832 [ix] Attila Oláh, Arnold Markovics, Judit Szabó-Papp, Pálma Tímea Szabó, Colin Stott, Christos C Zouboulis, Tamás Bíró. Differential effectiveness of selected non-psychotropic phytocannabinoids on human sebocyte functions implicates their introduction in dry/seborrheic skin and acne treatment. Exp Dermatol. 2016 Apr 20. Epub 2016 Apr 20. PMID: 27094344 [x] Atif Ali, Naveed Akhtar. The safety and efficacy of 3% Cannabis seeds extract cream for reduction of human cheek skin sebum and erythema content. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2015 Jul ;28(4):1389-95. PMID: 26142529 [xi] Harsimran Kaur Malhi, Jenny Tu, Thomas V Riley, Sujith Prasad Kumarasinghe, Katherine A Hammer. Tea tree oil gel for mild to moderate acne; a 12 week uncontrolled, open-label phase II pilot study. Australas J Dermatol. 2016 Mar 21. Epub 2016 Mar 21. PMID: 27000386 [xii] I B Bassett, D L Pannowitz, R S Barnetson. A comparative study of tea-tree oil versus benzoyl peroxide in the treatment of acne. Med J Aust. 1990 Oct 15;153(8):455-8. PMID: 2145499 [xiii] V Mazzarello, M G Donadu, M Ferrari, G Piga, D Usai, S Zanetti, M A Sotgiu. Treatment of acne with a combination of propolis, tea tree oil, andcompared to erythromycin cream: two double-blind investigations. Clin Pharmacol. 2018 ;10:175-181. Epub 2018 Dec 13. PMID: 3058812 [xiv] GreenMedInfo, Antibiotics. [xv] F Giurcăneanu, I Crişan, V Eşanu, V Cioca, N Cajal. Treatment of cutaneous herpes and herpes zoster with Nivcrisol-D. Virologie. 1988 Jan-Mar;39(1):21-4. PMID: 3376426 [xvi] Thomas J, Carson CF, Peterson GM, Walton SF, Hammer KA, Naunton M, Davey RC, Spelman T, Dettwiller P, Kyle G, Cooper GM, Baby KE. Therapeutic Potential of Tea Tree Oil for Scabies. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2016 Feb;94(2):258-266. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.14-0515. Epub 2016 Jan 19. PMID: 26787146; PMCID: PMC4751955. [xvii] Healthline, Skin Natural Remedies. [xviii] M J Finberg, G L Muntingh, C E J van Rensburg. A comparison of the leaf gel extracts of Aloe ferox and Aloe vera in the topical treatment of atopic dermatitis in Balb/c mice. Inflammopharmacology. 2015 Oct 28. Epub 2015 Oct 28. PMID: 26510768 [xix] Chia-Ter Chao, Chih-Kang Chiang, Jenq-Wen Huang, Kuan-Yu Hung. Vitamin D is closely linked to the clinical courses of herpes zoster: From pathogenesis to complications. Med Hypotheses. 2015 Jul 2. Epub 2015 Jul 2. PMID: 26163058 [xx] Alvin Lim, Ramin Shayan, George Varigos. High serum vitamin D level correlates with better prognostic indicators in primary melanoma: A pilot study. Australas J Dermatol. 2017 Mar 23. Epub 2017 Mar 23. PMID: 28332194 [xxi] Sonal R Hattangdi-Haridas, Susan A Lanham-New, Wilfred Hing Sang Wong, Marco Hok Kung Ho, Andrea L Darling. Vitamin D deficiency and effects of Vitamin D supplementation on disease severity in patients with atopic dermatitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis in adults and children. Nutrients. 2019 Aug 9 ;11(8). Epub 2019 Aug 9. PMID: 31405041 [xxii] Kaiqin Wang, Hui Jiang, Wenshuang Li, Mingyue Qiang, Tianxiang Dong, Hongbin Li. Role of Vitamin C in Skin Diseases. Front Physiol. 2018 ;9:819. Epub 2018 Jul 4. PMID: 30022952 [xxiii] Mohammad Hassan Javanbakht, Seyed Ali Keshavarz, Mahmoud Djalali, Fereydoun Siassi, Mohammad Reza Eshraghian, Alireza Firooz, Hassan Seirafi, Amir Hooshang Ehsani, Maryam Chamari, Abbas Mirshafiey. Randomized controlled trial using vitamins E and D supplementation in atopic dermatitis. J Dermatolog Treat. 2010 Jul 24. Epub 2010 Jul 24. PMID: 20653487 [xxiv] Fariba Jaffary, Gita Faghihi, Arghavan Mokhtarian, Sayed Mohsen Hosseini. Effects of oral vitamin E on treatment of atopic dermatitis: A randomized controlled trial. J Res Med Sci. 2015 Nov ;20(11):1053-7. PMID: 26941808 [xxv] Neil M Niren, Helen M Torok. The Nicomide Improvement in Clinical Outcomes Study (NICOS): results of an 8-week trial. Cutis. 2006 Jan;77(1 Suppl):17-28. PMID: 16871775 [xxvi] S Weckesser, K Engel, B Simon-Haarhaus, A Wittmer, K Pelz, C M Schempp. Screening of plant extracts for antimicrobial activity against bacteria and yeasts with dermatological relevance. Phytomedicine. 2007 Aug ;14(7-8):508-16. Epub 2007 Feb 8. PMID: 17291738 [xxvii]  Manisha Deb Mandal and Shyamapada Mandal.  Honey: its medicinal property and antibacterial activityAsian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2011 Apr; 1(2): 154-160. doi: 10.1016/S2221-1691(11)60016-6 , PMCID: PMC3609166, PMID: 23569748 [xxviii] Chaudhary AR, Sharma S, Shukla A, Joshi A, Chaudhary UK (2015) Honey 'The Life Saviour' in Necrotising Fascitis: A Case Report. Dermatol Case Rep 1:102. [xxix] GreemMedInfo, Honey Heals Chronic Dandruff, Scaly and Itchy Scalp. [xxx] GreenMedInfo, Skin Healing Properties Black Seed Oil, [xxxi]  G Sarac, Y Kapicioglu, S Sener, I Mantar, S Yologlu, C Dundar, M Turkoglu, E Pekmezci. Effectiveness of Topical Nigella Sativa for Vitiligo Treatment. Dermatol Ther. 2019 Apr 25:e12949. Epub 2019 Apr 25. PMID: 31025474 [xxxii] Mahdieh Jafari Shahroudi, Soghra Mehri, Hossein Hosseinzadeh. Anti-Aging Effect of Nigella Sativa Fixed Oil on D-Galactose-Induced Aging in Mice. J Pharmacopuncture. 2017 Mar ;20(1):29-35. PMID: 28392960

Dr. Diane Fulton is Emeritus Professor at Clayton State University. She holds Ph.D./MBA in Business (University of Tennessee - Knoxville) and B.S. with Math/Secondary Education majors (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee). During her 45-year career as administrator/professor teaching research and business, she authored 10 books, over 50 articles, and is now writing children’s books about the body, mindfulness and cross-cultural awareness. Her passion is to share her knowledge to integrate a healthy body, mind and soul. To reach her: Clayton University’s Emeritus Professors Diane Fulton LINKED IN or Diane Fulton FACEBOOK.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

"© [May 6th 2020]GreenMedInfoLLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfoLLC. Want to learn more fromGreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here//"


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