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Wouldn’t it be wonderful if acne concerns were non-existent for those of us who have survived adolescence and lived to tell about it? The irritating truth is, adult acne is a prevalent condition in the United States, and the number of sufferers continues to rise annually.

According to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, adult acne plagues approximately 54 percent of women and 40 percent of men over the age of 25. Consequently, our nation spends over one million dollars per year on healthcare treatments related to acne concerns.

While high stress levels, pollution and some prescription medications may significantly aggravate this condition, recent studies show that the typical Western diet may be largely to blame. Processed sugars and refined grains work in the body by spiking blood sugar levels, leading the pancreas to produce excess insulin.

The overload of insulin, in turn, triggers the production of sebum by the sebaceous glands. Sebum is the oily substance found in our pores which, in excess quantities, leads to breakouts. Experts have suggested that staying away from processed foods containing refined sugar and refined flours may have dramatic results on the clarity of your skin.

It follows that for adult acne, as for a multitude of health conditions large and small, sticking to whole foods and organic fruits and vegetables is key. To give your skin that extra boost to fight existing acne and keep skin clear and beautiful, there are certain foods and natural, topical applications you can try that have been shown to work wonders.

Green tea: This delicious beverage is filled with antioxidants, including the catechin EGCG, which has strong anti-inflammatory properties. EGCG soothes the skin and can help keep new pimples from forming.

However, make sure that you brew your own green tea, or if you must buy it bottled, check the ingredient label for additives such as extra sugars, which will likely negate the clarifying effects you are seeking.

Fish: In their book, The Clear Skin Diet, Alan C. Logan and Valori Treloar highlight oily, cold-water fish such as salmon, mackerel, anchovies and sardines for their powerful skin-clearing properties.

These types of fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which have anti-inflammatory effects on the skin and other body systems.

Deep red and purple foods: Fruits and vegetables of this particular pigment grouping, such as blackberries, acai, bilberries, pomegranates, black grapes, beets, purple carrots and red cabbage contain anthocyanins, a category of flavonoids which one study found to have the strongest antioxidant properties of the 150 flavonoids tested.

While anthocyanins have tremendous positive effects on a number of health conditions, serving as anti-inflammatory agents to both the nervous system and skin’s collagen, they also keep blood flowing to the skin and consequently keep pores clear.

Mint: The menthol contained in mint leaves soothes the skin and dries up pimples. For facial acne, simply apply fresh mint juice every night to see a reduced number of breakouts.

skincareFor body acne, make a paste of mint leaves and lemon juice, mix it with warm water, and apply all over affected areas. Wait until the paste dries, and rinse with warm water. Your skin will feel refreshed and begin to look noticeably clearer.

Neem: An ancient plant hailed by many Asian cultures for its detoxification effects, antibacterial and antiviral properties, Neem is great to keep oily, acne-prone skin from flaring up. You can make your own treatment at home by mixing half a teaspoon of neem powder, found at health-food stores, with two tablespoons of natural yogurt.

Apply twice a week to blemish-prone areas after cleansing, and let it soak in for about 15 minutes before rinsing with cool water. This practice will help unclog your pores and keep pimples from forming.

Tamanu oil: The tamanu tree is native to tropical Southeastern Asian countries including Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia. Its oil is hailed as a powerful topical healing agent with antioxidant, antibiotic, antimicrobial and antineuralgic properties.

Applying this oil not only promotes clear, healthy skin, it can also be used to reduce the appearance of acne scarring. Apply every day to enjoy the healing and clarifying benefits of this exotic oil.

With a healthy diet, plenty of water, fresh air and the above-listed remedies, you will be well on your way to a glowing, acne-free complexion. Choosing the natural approach instead of succumbing to abrasive pharmaceutical treatments will ensure a healthy and lasting transformation, and in time, your problem skin will truly become a distant memory.