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September 13, 2017

By Susan Callahan, Featured Columnist

Acne is the most common skin condition in the US.
According to the American Academy of Dermatologists,
about 50 million people suffer from acne.
And acne can
persist long after
your teenage years end. Over 42% of
men and over 50% of women between the ages of 20 and
29 years have acne, according to a 2008 study from the
University of Alabama at Birmingham.  Over 20% of men in
their thirties experience acne. Even 12% of men in their
forties and over 7% of men in their fifties have acne.

Little wonder, then, that for many people acne is a source
of both physical damage and emotional pain.  

Garlic has long been discussed as a home remedy for acne.
But little attention has been given to the science behind
this possible home remedy.  Does garlic actually work as a
natural remedy for acne?

What's In Garlic That May Kill Acne Bacteria?

Garlic contains several powerful compounds which
through the years have been identified as anti-oxidants
and anti-virals.  Some of these compounds such as alliin
contain sulfur. Others are enzymes such as alliinase. Still
others are compounds produced by enzymes such as
allicin.  Garlic is also rich in arginine, an amino acid,
selenium, a mineral as wells as oligosaccharides and

Garlic is also a powerful anti-bacterial. For centuries, garlic
has been used all over the world to fight bacterial
infections. When you crush fresh garlic, allicin is released.
Eating this raw, crushed form of garlic inhibits bacterial

Allicin kills bacteria when the two are mixed, many studies
have found. For example, a 1999 study from the
Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel found thatallicin in
garlic exhibits " antibacterial activity against a wide range
of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, including
multidrug-resistant enterotoxicogenic strains of
Escherichia coli".

What Type of Bacteria Causes Acne?

The type of bacteria that causes acne is
"propionibacterium acnes".  This bacterium lives close to
or in the sebum at the root of hair follicles and in your
intestines. Essentially, sebum is acne's food source. This is
why one of the best ways to get rid of facial or prevent it
is to frequently wash your hair to get rid of as much of the
waxy sebum as possible.

Garlic is effective in killing a wide range of bacteria, but
until now, no specific study had addressed its effectiveness
in killing the bacteria that causes acne.

Nonetheless, there is some powerful anecdotal evidence of
garlic's effectiveness against acne.

How to Prepare Garlic to Heal Acne

I have found that a blend of 4 cloves of raw, crushed
garlic blended at high speed with 8 ounces of water helps
to heal acne on my back.  Pour the diluted garlic juice over
the skin and leave it on for 30 minutes before showering.

In about 3  weeks, I noticed a significant change. The acne
bumps were considerably smaller, less red and generally
less angry-looking.  In  two months, they were gone.

I don't get acne often on my face but I did have one
outbreak last year and dabbed my garlic juice on the
outbreaks.  The results were the same. The bumps
disappeared, this time in only two weeks. They a first dried
into a red scab which then healed rather quickly.

To prepare yur skin before pouring the garlic juice on it,
open your pores with a warm, not hot shower.

If you plan to use the garlic juice on your face, open yor
pores with a warm cloth first.

Dangers of Using Garlic on Your Skin

Garlic contains powerful compounds which can cause skin
irritation. In some people, garlic will be just too irritating
to use. It will cause a burning feeling or a contact
dermatitis rash.

You should test the garlic juice on a small patch of your
skin other than your face before trying it more generally
anywhere, especially on your face.

You may need to dilute the juice with even more water,
even if you are not particularly sensitive to the garlic.

Eating Cloves of Garlic Also Helps

Eating cloves of garlic will help to lower the amount of
bacteria in your body generally. Many people in fact eat 4
cloves of garlic daily to fight bacterial infections, boost
their immune systems and
lower blood pressure.

Eating garlic is a learned habit.  It's a powerful herb and
can be too intense for some palates. One trick I use is to
eat an apple at the same time as I do the clove of garlic.

Bite a bit of the clove and then a bit of the apple. Chew
them both at the same time.  Make the last thing you chew
the apple.

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You must crush garlic cloves before use to help
clear up acne
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