Saw Palmetto for Acne
Acne is a common skin condition that can affect individuals of any age. Acne can be caused by a hormonal imbalance or clogged pores, with symptoms varying from blackheads and whiteheads to inflamed, welt-like lesions on the skin. Although most acne treatments consist of a daily routine of washing with an antibacterial soap, then applying numerous lotions and creams, there is new research that shows taking saw palmetto for acne can be beneficial.
Saw palmetto is a palm-like plant that produces berries that were used as food and medicine by the Native Americans of the southeastern United States. The berries were used to treat urinary afflictions in males in the early 1900s, and was even known to boost libido and sperm production.
Although saw palmetto is traditionally used to treat prostate ailments in men, studies conducted by the University of Maryland Medical Center have shown that the active ingredients within it may help to diminish the appearance of acne. The effectiveness lies in the plant’s high levels of fatty acids and plant sterols. Saw palmetto also contains high levels of polysaccharides which work to boost the immune system, therefore reducing the inflammation caused by acne. One of its primary benefits is its ability to stop testosterone from transforming into dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Even though the studies on the effects saw palmetto has on acne are limited, the ones that have been conducted have proven that oral consumption of this herb did indeed help to reduce the appearance and recurrence of hormone-driven acne. Researchers at the Southbury Clinic for Traditional Medicine have discovered that when testosterone converts to DHT, the resulting hormonal imbalance can cause acne flare-ups in individuals that have already achieved puberty.This conversion has also been proven to cause prostate enlargement and baldness in men.
Another main cause of acne is clogged pores due to an overproduction of sebum in your oil glands. This sebum overload causes inflammation, which in turn causes the characteristic pimples associated with an acne outbreak. Excessive face washing can only aggravate this situation, and should be avoided.
Because the studies of how saw palmetto affects acne are sporadic and incomplete, researchers have not yet determined what a truly effective dosage of this supplement should be. Researchers suggests a starting dosage of 160mg of pure saw palmetto twice a day. To ensure optimal results, make sure the supplement you choose contains at least 85% plant sterols and fatty acids.
Saw palmetto is generally thought to be safe when used as directed and the side effects are rare, with some individuals complaining of very minor headaches and stomach cramping. Because saw palmetto can produce results similar to hormones, it is advised that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding not take it in any form until it is deemed safe to do so by her doctor. Also, individuals who have had hormone related cancers should not take this supplement. Because it may interfere with the absorption of iron, your doctor may want to perform lab tests to ensure you do not become anemic.