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Zits are the pits. There's just no silver lining to a traffic-stopping pizza face. From pimply proms to boardrooms and blackheads, there's no place for facial acne in a respectable sister's life. If applying chemicals to your fabulous face makes you cower, you may want to add natural alternatives, such as jojoba oil and aloe vera gel, to your anti-acne treasure chest.
The acne war wages when your sebaceous glands start working overtime producing excess sebum -- your skin's natural lubricating oils. If oils become blocked in your skin's pores, bacteria set up camp, and pimples and pustules start marching in. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting 40 to 50 million Americans. Typically relegated to facial eruptions, blemishes also can appear on the baby-soft skin of the nape of your neck, back and buttocks.
Jojoba oil is not an oil at all, but a wax ester that works as a gentle facial cleanser and moisturizer. While further scientific research is needed, the theory goes that because jojoba is so similar to human facial skin oil, it can trick your complexion into thinking it has produced enough sebum. If true, this effect might cut down natural oil production and inhibit bacteria-causing acne. The verdict is still out, but a 2005 study conducted at Ain Shams University in Egypt indicates that jojoba does have anti-inflammatory action, a property that helps battle inflamed blemishes.
Aloe gel soothes and moisturizes your face. It also has anti-inflammatory and astringent qualities that may make it a valuable asset in your acne arsenal. Phyllis A. Balch, author of the book "Prescription for Herbal Healing," claims that aloe stimulates macrophages, those warrior-like immune cells that work to fight bacterial infections. Aloe gets your blood circulating near the surface of your skin and fast-forwards the flow of oxygen to your facial complexion. According to California's Acne Research Institute, as an added bonus, aloe's antibiotic action accelerates wound healing and generates new skin-cell growth. While research shows, however, that jojoba may offer benefits in the battle against acne, there is not yet any scientific data that specifically focuses on aloe vera as an effective acne remedy.
Organic jojoba oil is on the costly side, but it spreads and absorbs well. At high doses -- more than 10 drops -- it can leave an unwanted sheen on your face, so use it sparingly. Dispense about six drops into your palm and spread it on your affected areas once daily. You can safely use aloe more often, and it doesn't break the bank. Keep a plant on your windowsill for acne emergencies. Snip off a leaf, cut it open and scoop out the gel. Apply the gelatinous juice directly on your facial blemishes up to five times per day. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, it rarely occurs, but watch out for allergic skin reactions.