Embarassing, painful and debilitating... Having acne is hard enough but knowing how to treat it can be a whole other challenge especially with so many choices on the market.
Currently a person can go to a chemist and buy something off the shelf that will generally contain a benzyl peroxide or salicylic acid or they can go to the dermatologist and be prescribed an antibiotic.
Convinced there must be a more natural way, University of South Australia researcher Tamara Agnew has begun a clinical study looking at an alternative treatment.
“There has been some studies done on essential oils and acne particularly tea tree - tea tree is known to be useful in the treatment of acne mainly because it can fight the bacteria involved and there's other that will be useful for the inflammation,” says Tamara.
It was the promising results of those scientific studies that encouraged Tamara to conduct a world first 300 person clinical trial that will look at the effectiveness of treating acne with up to 19 different essential oils.
“Things like lavender, lemon, cedarwood, frankincense and these are all oils that are good for anti-bacteria and anti-inflammatory,” says Tamara.
And already there's some anecdotal proof that it works.
“I used the natural products and it actually worked really well and I felt like my skin is a lot healthier from that,” says 24 year old Rachel Potter.
Rachel struggled with acne since her teens... She tried almost every product on the market, even antibiotics... But was left disappointed.
“I used a lot of the really strong chemical topical creams and they caused my skin to breakout in rashes and I actually developed quite large patches of eczema on my face and I didn't have great experiences with them,” says Rachel.
Now she uses a South Australian product based on essential oils and claims she noticed a difference within days.
Adelaide mum Gemma Page is proof that acne doesn't just affect teens... She also had success using the same natural products.
“Upon being pregnant with my son, who is now two, the hormones just wreaked havoc and I had adult acne whilst I was pregnant so the last thing that you want with everything else going on… being pregnant and being conscious of what I was putting on my skin there are a lot of things that are out there for acne that have warnings not to use them while you're pregnant or nursing so that led me to go down the road of organics… basically the condition of my skin was immediately better,” says Gemma.
The products are the brainchild of Adelaide Cosmetic Scientist, Rose Bradshaw and former geo-physicist Barbara Gare... Two Adelaide women who started up y natural skincare... Based on certified organic essential oils...
“Those products are based on aromatherapy and essential oils and they have high anti-bacteria levels… the ones that we use specifically for problematic skin are things like rosalina and lemon scented tea tree, nayoli and those are of the tea tree family but are more gentle on the skin than the traditional tea tree oil,” says Rose.
There's this tendency when you've got skin that's producing too much oil and its' breaking out, what do you do? You try to rip out all that oil because you see it's the bad guy whereas all that does makes that skin go mad creating more,” explains Barbara.
Now their own products will be part of a different clinical trial, still being kept under wraps, but Rose says she's been convinced of the positive effects of plant oils in treating skin conditions for more than 30 years.
“If they're used correctly they are so powerful and have so many beneficial effects,” says Rose.
While it's no cure yet, Tamara is hopeful her trial participants get the same clear-skinned results.
And there's still room for more people to take part in Tamara's university trial... For more details go to:
University of South Australia acne trial
Y Natural skin + hair