Holistic Solutions for Acne

woman with acne and clear skin before and after

Acne is the most common skin condition. It is estimated that 80% of people between ages 11 and 30 have acne outbreaks at some point.1 This condition not only affects appearance, but can also cause oily skin as well as skin that is painful or hot when touched.


What causes acne?

Acne is a toxic condition of the blood and the lymph. It happens when the body cannot properly remove toxic waste through its primary elimination channels: the kidneys, the lungs, and the bowels. The toxins are instead excreted through the skin follicles, not the pores.


It is important to understand that a pore is something that we sweat through, but a follicle actually has a hair, a blood supply, and an oil gland. So we actually get acne through our follicles, not our pores.


When fat-soluble toxins are pushed out through the skin, they can clog the pores and then the microbes begin to feed on this waste. This usually affects the face also, and may also affect the neck and the back the chest. In severe cases, it can be anywhere on the body.


Current Western solutions for acne

There are a variety of things a traditional doctor may recommend for acne. These include:

  • Antibiotics – These work in the interim because they kill the microbes that feast on fat-soluble waste. With no bacteria to feed on the waste, there can’t be a blemish. However, as soon as you stop taking the antibiotic, your problems are going to return. Now you have a decreased immune system and your gut microbiome is going to be off.
  • Topical creams – You may have experienced how much these dry you out. The creams damage the skin, causing it to crack and peel. Topical retinoids particularly increase the skin’s cellular overturn. They actually permanently thin the skin and make it susceptible to sun damage.
  • Steroid injections – For larger cysts, doctors may inject a steroid shot directly into the cyst to bring down the inflammation. These will not stop new breakouts from forming, and they may cause depressions or acne scars on the skin.
  • Facials – These are good to keep the skin clean and help mitigate the damage on the surface. However, they are not going to really prevent the cause of the breakout.
  • Isotretinoin (Accutane) – May be prescribed for acne, especially if these other treatments are ineffective. A 6-month treatment can lead to a complete remission of acne. However, there are negative side effects, some of which may last beyond the actual treatment.2


Holistic solutions

Chinese 5 element diagram

In my practice, I use a variety of holistic solutions to treat acne. These protocols are better for you than traditional Western treatments because they focus on the root of the problem.


The first thing I do to address acne is find the suspected cause. To do this, I use the Chinese 5 Element Theory and Face Mapping combined with ZYTO scanning.


As an example, if a client has acne located heavily on their forehead and a ZYTO scan shows the lung and large intestine Virtual Items are out of range, I have a pretty good indicator that the gut (colon) and lung are out of balance. (In Chinese Element theory, this means that the entire metal/air element needs to be addressed.) In this case, my best course of action would probably be to optimize the gut and support the respiratory system.


Once I know what area needs to be addressed, I then recommend a cleanse for that area. In this scenario, I would focus on cleansing the colon and the large intestine. As a side note, cleansing is something I put in all my protocols to treat the skin, not just acne.


The next thing we want to do in this scenario is restore the healthy gut bacteria. I like to do a ZYTO scan for this to see the biological preferences of various probiotics because I use so many different probiotics in my practice. This way, you can scan for the different ones that are most coherent.


I also love the ZYTO Foods for Wellness scan because it can give you clues not only about what the person should not be eating, but also what they should be eating that’s going to be helpful for them for that month.


Skin-supporting supplements

woman drinking green drink

Like cleansing, I also put all my clients on specific skin-supporting supplements regardless of whether they have acne or not. These supplements are:

  • Vitamin A & D
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Probiotics
  • A green powder drink
  • Glutathione


Along with these supplements, there also needs to be some kind of topical support for acne. I personally use colloidal silver gel almost on a daily basis. I use it for all kinds of things, but it is really great for acne because it doesn’t dry out the skin. It doesn’t cause cellular turnover or anything like that—it just ensures that no bacteria is growing.


A healing salve with tea tree oil or any sort of anti-inflammatory herbs is also great for treating acne. You can even apply a tea tree essential oil to your face neat (directly without a carrier oil).


A spa treatment or facial can also be effective for acne. If you do this, just make sure that the practitioner is natural and uses organic products—you don’t want them putting a bunch of toxic things on your face.


Additional solutions for hormonal acne

holistic solutions concept - various herbs and supplements on spoons

In addition to cleansing and using skin-supporting supplements, additional support is typically needed if the acne is hormonal. If the answer is yes to one or more of these questions, hormones are likely responsible for the acne:

  • Is the acne all over the face?
  • Do several areas of the endocrine system show up as out of range on a ZYTO scan?
  • Has there been improvement with acne in the past by getting on birth control?
  • For a teen, has there been acne since puberty?
  • Are breakouts common when near a menstrual cycle?
  • Is there acne with menopause?


For hormonal acne, I like to use a glandular pack for the endocrine system. I like to get all of the glands, so I use a pack that supports the entire endocrine system. You can also do a ZYTO scan to see what specific support may be needed within the endocrine system.


As far as individual herbs for hormonal acne, I recommend:

  • Chaste tree berries
  • Zinc
  • Lymph purifier
  • Blood purifier
  • Sarsaparilla for boys (blood purifier)
  • Dong quai for girls (blood tonic)
  • Wild yam



About Diana Dannelly

Diana Dannelly is a licensed esthetician and clinical herbalist. The owner of Denver Holistic Skincare Clinic, she specializes in whole-body solutions for inflammatory skin conditions. To learn more, visit Diana’s website at dmdnaturalmedicine.com.






1. Elsaie, M.L. “Hormonal treatment of acne vulgaris: an update.” Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology 9 (2016): 241-248.

2. “Accutane.” RxList. Rxlist.com.


The information provided in this article is intended to improve, not replace, the direct relationship between the client (or site visitor) and healthcare professionals.

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