Acne vulgaris and its associated scarring and comedones (blackheads) are commonly seen in adolescents, but can also occur in adults. Acne isn’t always an easy condition to deal with because of the often complicated underlying causes. Natural therapists are frequently called on to assist in the resolution of acne and homeopathic medicines should be thought of as a first line treatment, given the holistic nature of this type of therapy. While constitutional treatment aimed at prescribing on the totality of the symptoms is always the preferred method of using homeopathic medicines for acne, there are a number of remedies that are commonly prescribed for those suffering from this condition and these have been cited by some notable authors of homeopathic texts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. For those who fail to respond to the remedy in a reasonable period of time, the services of a competent professional homeopath should be sought.
The appearance that draws attention to this remedy is pimples that mainly appear on the cheeks and chin. The skin has a tendency to develop cracks and warts. The acne lesions themselves, which are frequently burning and itching in character, become pustules and then develop into boils. The acne may be associated with gastrointestinal complaints and the symptoms are worse at night, from cold bathing and worse in the heat of the summer sun.
The need for Carbo veg is indicated by pimples with mottled cheeks and a red nose. The pimples may suppurate, exhibit an offensive odour, and may develop into carbuncles. The skin is moist and itchy and weakness and flatulence may be seen in those requiring this remedy. Symptoms are worse for warmth and rich food.
In this case, hard and indurated itching pimples may be seen that ooze a gluey moisture if scratched. The lesions bleed easily and may be accompanied by comedones. They commonly appear on the face, behind the ears, on the scalp, chest and back. The lesions tend to form keloid and the skin symptoms alternate with digestive disorders. Symptoms are worse at night and before the onset of menses.
This remedy is applicable in adolescents with unhealthy skin suffering from acne, where sensitive, painful pimples are present. The pimples are small (or often pea-shaped) and may suppurate with white pus. They bleed easily and may ulcerate if scratched or injured. Lesions appear more frequently on the forehead and/or lips. Symptoms are improved by damp weather and aggravated by washing or touch.
This is one of the most commonly used remedies in acne. It may be needed in cases of aggressive teenage onset acne, beginning with burning or prickling large blue-red pimples with yellow pussy heads and depressed centres and which leave discoloured and depressed scars. The area round the lesions may feel numb. The lesions frequently occur on the forehead (especially the centre), shoulders, chest and back. The facial skin has a blotchy appearance and the acne often arises after sexual excess. Symptoms are improved by cold weather and aggravated by anxiety, mental stress, and during summer heat.
This remedy is characterised by severe acne in those people with oily, dirty skin suffering from anxiety and constipation. The tongue may appear to be mapped and the lips may be dry and cracked. Acne occurs predominantly on the face, back, and at the hairline. Symptoms are better in the open air and from cool bathing and worse from heat, bread and fatty foods.
Acne that corresponds to Nux vomica is often seen after the excessive use of alcohol, food or stimulants, particularly where the skin symptoms are associated with gastrointestinal complaints. Part of the action of the remedy may be explained by the fact that it appears to have a detoxifying effect that improves the symptoms. Symptoms are aggravated by mental exertion or anger, cheese and fatty or spicy foods.
Those acne sufferers who respond to this remedy are often adolescents who are thirstless and have menstrual disorders, circulatory problems, allergies or ear, nose or throat disorders. The acne lesions themselves may be itchy and have a slightly cyanotic appearance. Symptoms are worse for heat, rich, starchy or fatty foods or ice-cream.
Sepia types may develop acne during pregnancy or after the birth of their child. The acne may co-exist with menstrual disorders. The acne lesions are often yellow tinged pimples appearing on the face and especially on the chin. The condition is improved after the cessation of menses and worse before menses and from breastfeeding.
The acne that responds well to this remedy consists of hard, deep pimples that fail to show pus or come to a head. The lesions commonly arise on the cheeks and forehead and then resolve, leaving a pitting scar. Associated lymph glands may be swollen and the sufferer may have a history of boils and various forms of nail pathology.
Useful indicators for this medicine include pale, dry, dirty looking facial skin with bright red lips, large, painful, burning or itching superficial acne lesions, often on the nose, as well as comedones showing significant amounts of underlying pus. The condition may be improved by dry warm weather, is worse for washing, before menses and after consuming fatty foods and may be found to alternate with other complaints such as asthma.
Not an acne medicine, Thiosinaminum in low potency has been found by the author to be a very effective means of hastening the resolution of the scars that may result from acne.
The Thuja respondent will usually exhibit very oily skin, dilated pores, and express feelings of great shame in regard to their acne. The lesions themselves often have sunken centres and appear commonly on the forehead, upper lip and adjacent to the nose. Symptoms are worse during menses.
- Rai Bahadur Bishambur Das Select Your Remedy, 14th Edition, May 1992, B Jain, New Delhi, India.
- Clarke JH, A Clinical Repertory to the Dictionary of the Materia Medica, Health Sciences Press, England, 1979. ISBN 0 85032 061 5.
- Dewey WA, Practical Homoeopathic Therapeutics, 2nd Edition, B Jain, New Delhi, 1991.
- Bouko Levy M. Homeopathic and Drainage Repertory, Editions Similia, France, 1992. ISBN-2-904928-70-7.
- Raue CG, Special Pathology and Diagnostics with Therapeutic Hints, 4th Edition, 1896, B Jain, New Delhi.
- Kalvin KB, Repertory of Hering’s Guiding Symptoms of our Materia Medica. 1997, B Jain, New Delhi. ISBN 81-7021-241-3
- Lilienthal S, Homoeopathic Therapeutics, 3rd edition, 1890, Indian Books and Periodicals. ISBN 81-7021-000-3
- Master FJ, Diseases of the Skin. 1996, B Jain, New Delhi. ISBN 81-7021-136-0