Acne is called as “Yuvan Pidika” in Ayurveda, which means boils affecting the youth. Disturbed “kapha”, “pitta” and “rakta” (blood) together produce boils, mostly on the face. As the Ayurvedic name suggests, these are present mostly in the age group of 15 – 25 years, and in some, may extend till 35 years of age. Some physicians believe that disturbed ” meda” is also involved in the production of acne.
For the sake of treatment, acne is considered to be of recent onset, chronic, and resulting from or coinciding with menstruation in females. Acne is believed to have a very close relation to the stomach, and therefore, it is believed that excessive salty, sour, sweet, oily and non-vegetarian food-stuffs aggravate, or cause acne. Stress, chronic constipation, menstruation, and obesity, all are believed to contribute to acne.
The main principles of treatment in acne are: treatment of “rakta” (blood) impurities (this includes control of infection), reduction in stress, and proper regulation of bowel movement. As mentioned above, avoiding food products which aggravate acne is also very important. Use of irritating cosmetics is best avoided.
For red boils, with burning sensation, Praval, Kamdudha, and Chandanadi vati are useful. Those with excessive “heat” in their bodies should take, in addition, Triphala and Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus) at bed time. Those women with scanty or irregular menses should take compounds containing Kumari (Aloe vera). Obese patients with acne benefit from medicines like Triphala Guggulu and Gokshuradi Guggulu.
Local applications containing Shalmali (Bombax malabaricum), Lodhra (Symplocos racemosa), Kushtha (Saussurea lappa), Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Turmeric (Curcuma longa), Vacha (Acorus calamus), Chandan (Santalum album), Dashanglep and Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus) are beneficial in acne. Local application of Khas-Khas and Jayphal (Myristica fragrans) is believed to give very good results. For dry skin, application of Shatadhout Ghrut is beneficial.
Ayurvedic combination medicines like Arogya-vardhini, Gandhak Rasayan, Sukshma Triphala, and Chandraprabha are good for internal use. Shankh Bhasma can be applied locally and taken orally too.
Those who have very severe or cystic type of acne benefit from blood letting by leech, or induced vomiting (Vaman) or induced purgation (Virechan), however, these procedures are best done by qualified personnel in well-equipped clinics. Patient selection for these procedures is important.
Adequate sleep, a sensible diet, and breathing techniques like “Pranayam” are beneficial.