Before smothering your face with the latest pimple cream or gulping down that acne management pill, consider healing your skin from the inside out.
That's the advice of Felicity Marsland, a naturopath at Adelaide Natural Health clinic.
When it comes to the treatment of acne and pimples, Marsland says what we put onto our face may not be nearly as important as what we put into our mouths.
"Treating pimples from the outside when the problem comes from within just doesn't make sense," she says.
"If we can get our bodies as healthy as possible, ideally: the digestion strong and hormones balanced, then we will be happy with how our skin looks."
Julie Gabriel, author of The Green Beauty Guide, says people who have pimple or acne-prone skin too often go for the overkill.
"They tend to over-indulge in strong, often abrasive cleaners, caustic astringents and oil-free moisturisers," she says.
"This triple whammy leads to increased sensitivities, new breakouts, and faster-aging skin due to a broken skin barrier."
Brisbane-based naturopath and acupuncturist David McLeod says the solution to acne may be through our stomachs.
"Gut health is critical in solving the issue of acne," he says.
"Most importantly. look at the channel of elimination - look at constipation.
"Constipation means there is pressure for toxins to come out through the skin."
A whole food diet high in fruit and vegetables and low in processed foods, unrefined sugars, white bread, pastas and white rice is best, Marsland says.
He says a healthy digestive tract (colon, liver and kidneys) is crucial if you want blemish free skin.
"If the bowel and liver are not working well, hormonal surges are not cleared efficiently. Hormones then recycle through the system, and women see a premenstrual breakout," Marsland says.
"To aid digestion, a small amount of raw food can be added to each meal. Raw foods contain enzymes that clean and sweep the bowel and bitter foods such as rocket, baby spinach, and lemon juice in water, stimulate the liver."
Acupuncture can also be helpful, as can herbal remedies.
Skin problems can sometimes by helped by medication, Mcleod says, although this can produce side effects.
"Women who are put on the pill for acne reduction will have to remain on the pill long-term so it continues to work," he says.
"One long-term consequence is that women can become chronically tired.
"Antibiotics can upset intestinal balance and cause further digestive problems, and Retinol can be harsh on the liver whilst drying the mucus membrane."
Mcleod recommends herbal tonics instead.
"Vitex Agnus Castus (a traditional remedy for relief of premenstrual symptoms) can assist with hormonal acne and is helpful in balancing the hormones and regulating the cycle," he says.
Blood cleansers like dandelion and burdock, as well as home made vegetable juices, can also help.
In cases where acne is caused by immune factors, echinacea and stinging nettle can support the lymphatic system. So can calendula and marigold, which also deal with hormonal imbalance."
Multivitamin supplements can also help skin repair, Marsland says.
These nutrients include zinc, magnesium, potassium, and the B vitamins.
Omega 3 oils, found in olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, olives and fish, are also important for skin repair.
Natural topical remedies include diluted lemon juice, aloe Vera and tea tree oil which can be combined with antibacterial jojoba oil.
Choose a toner that contains witch hazel, calendula, or chamomile and opt for a daily moisturiser with antioxidants such as green tea, B5 or echinacea, Gabriel recommends.
By Suzanne Heaton