Conventionally or allopathically, the main goals of acne treatment are to prevent scarring, reduce the number of painful lesions, and minimize the stress and embarrassment related to the condition. The basic principle of skin care is to wash the affected area no more than one to two times per day with a mild, non-drying soap. Frequent washing and the use of harsh soaps however, can actually make this condition worse.

Healthcare providers may recommend topical medications as their first choice for treating acne (generally either benzoyl peroxide or a class of drugs known as retinoids), which are designed to wear away the top layer of skin (exfoliate) as well as to reduce abnormal clumping of cells in the follicles, oil and bacteria production, and inflammation. Additionally, facial steaming with accompanying manual extraction of the comedones is valuable for exfoliation as well. Expect to use medications and/or complementary and alternative remedies for at least 6 to 8 weeks before seeing a noticeable improvement in symptoms.

The naturopathic treatment for acne focuses on getting to the root cause of acne and treating the cause in order to prevent future flare-ups and breakouts, heal scars and skin and of course optimize health through diet and lifestyle.

How our naturopathic clinic can help you?

If you suffer from acne and you are unsure what is causing it, and would like to treat it naturally, and prevent future breakouts and scarring, we can help. The primary goals at the clinic are to identify and treat the underlying root cause, and correct damaging lifestyle practices that could potentially make your symptoms worse. Our naturopathic doctor can help you in identifying the cause and help you with a natural treatment strategy that is specific for your symptoms. *

Your symptoms will be discussed in depth to find out what exactly is the root cause of your problems at the first visit, accompanied with a standard blood and urine test. Our clinic offers conventionally accepted medical approaches of assessment for this condition, which include a physical exam and various laboratory tests that help identify the type of acne you have, and reveal any underlying conditions that may impede your body’s ability to function optimally. In the case of hormonal based problems, a hormonal panel will be suggested in order to identify what area of the endocrine system is responsible.

Your customized comprehensive treatment plan may include a range of complementary and alternative therapies such as lifestyle, diet changes, supplements and other naturopathic treatments. Please call us at 416 913 4325 to schedule an initial naturopathic appointment or alternatively you can email us at

Here are some suggestions that may be helpful for your condition:

  • A diet based on whole, unprocessed foods may benefit people with acne. Try to eat at least five servings of vegetables per day and at least one serving of fruit per day. Avoid eating refined sugar. Fried foods and trans fats such as milk, milk products, margarine, shortening, and other hydrogenated vegetable oils should be eliminated.
  • Foods containing healthy omega-3 oils such as ground flaxseeds and sardines should be increased. Some people find that chocolate, caffeine, carbonated beverages, iodized salt, shellfish, wheat and / or milk products aggravate acne
  • Regular bowel movements are important. Drink at least 8 glasses of day of water. Increase fiber intake. In addition to eating fresh vegetables and fruit, choose whole grains. Some people may benefit from a one to four week liver detox diet based on fresh vegetables and fruit.


Once your naturopath has identified what lifestyle and dietary factors affect or aggravate your acne, they may decide to give you a combination of herbs that are specific to your case and symptoms.


Tea tree oil contains antimicrobial substances that help eliminate Propionibacterium acnes (the bacterial strain associated with acne), thereby potentially reducing inflammation associated with the skin condition. One study compared the effectiveness of tea tree oil gel with benzyl peroxide lotion in 119 people with mild to moderate acne. Individuals in both treatment groups showed a significant reduction in the number of inflamed and non-inflamed lesions over a 3-month period. Seventy-nine percent of the benzyl peroxide group compared to 44% of the tea tree oil group reported side effects included stinging, itching, burning, and dryness.


Auricular (acupuncture applied to the ear) and electro-acupuncture therapies may reduce the symptoms of acne. Cosmetic acupuncture works great to reduce redness and helps to heal the size and duration of pimples. It is also very beneficial in reducing acne rosacea. Results can be seen after a single treatment!


There have been few studies examining the effectiveness of specific homeopathic remedies. Usually one or more homeopathic remedies are prescribed for acne based on the homeopath’s knowledge and clinical experience. Before prescribing a remedy, homeopaths take into account a person's constitutional type – i.e. is his or her physical, emotional, and intellectual makeup.


Emotional stress can worsen acne, therefore that relaxation therapies such as hypnosis, biofeedback together with cognitive imagery may improve acne symptoms. Through relaxation using hypnosis, an individual becomes more relaxed and this positively influences the activity of hormones and the immune system (which may contribute to reduced inflammation).

Biofeedback is a technique in which an individual is trained to control certain internal bodily processes that normally occur involuntarily, such as heart rate (measured by an EKG) and muscle tension (measured by an EMG). During biofeedback training, an individual participates in a relaxation technique, such as guided imagery, while hooked up to an EKG or an EMG. Guided imagery involves the formation of mental pictures to promote a variety of favorable physical and emotional effects. This combination of biofeedback and cognitive imagery allows the person to visualize and understand the bodily changes that occur when he or she changes from being tense to being relaxed.


Acne is not a serious health threat, but severe acne can be painful, emotionally upsetting, and may cause permanent scarring. Squeezing lesions can rupture comedones and cause inflammation. Infants with acne have an increased risk of developing acne in adolescence. Symptoms generally diminish after adolescence and disappear by age 30. However, the incidence of adult acne, especially in women, seems to be increasing and is not unusual in women in their 30s and 40s to have sudden breakouts due to hormonal imbalances and lifestyle factors. However, these can be treated with naturopathic medicine.

Please ask your doctor or naturopath before starting on any supplements. Its is better to first identify the cause and then treat it with the right remedies, even though those mentioned above have minimal side effects.

* DISCLAIMER: The information on this page is the property of Dr. Sushma Shah, Naturopathic Doctor, and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any diseases or promote any services or products mentioned on the website.

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