Black Walnut

Black Walnut Extract is prepared from the hulls of the nuts of the Black Walnut Tree (Juglans nigra). Black Walnut is a deciduous flowering tree that is native to Eastern North America, but is now naturalized in many regions. Black walnut was used for centuries by Native Americans for both medicinal purposes and as a dye.

The use of Black Walnut is fairly common in modern Homeopathic and Naturopathic medicine. Black Walnut Extract is a common Naturopathic acne treatment and it is purported to have astringent and antibacterial properties that can help control acne symptoms. For the treatment of acne, Black Walnut Extract is most commonly blended with other active ingredients and administered topically, but it can also be consumed orally as an herbal supplement.

The husk of Black Walnuts contain some compounds that may have biological activity, such as juglone and plumbagin. Juglone has been reported to have antibacterial, antiparasitic and antifungal properties. Black Walnut trees actively secrete chemicals into the surrounding environment that suppress the growth of other plants, in order to give the Black Walnut a competitive advantage. Juglone is one of those chemicals. These chemicals may also help the plant protect against bacterial, fungal, parasitic and viral pathogens. Some Naturopathic practitioners believe that these molecules can also help suppress the growth of acne-causing bacteria, such as Propionibacterium acnes.

Unfortunately, there has been minimal scientific research into whether Black Walnut hull extracts are toxic to acne-causing bacteria, or whether treatments that contain Black Walnut extract help reduce the frequency or severity of acne symptoms. There are some people who claim that their acne symptoms improved after incorporating Black Walnut into their treatment regimens, but these claims can not be independently evaluated. Overall, the effectiveness of Black Walnut extracts for the treatment of acne remains unclear.

References

Topical herbal therapies an alternative and complementary choice to combat acne. Kapoor, et al. 2011.
Herbal remedies for acne. Kumar, et al. 2005.
Antibacterial activity of juglone against Staphylococcus aureus: from apparent to proteomic. Wang, et al. 2016.
Plumbagin inhibits LPS-induced inflammation through the inactivation of the nuclear factor-kappa B and mitogen activated protein kinase signaling pathways in RAW 264.7 cells. Wang, et al. 2014.
Dermatitis due to black walnut juice. Siegel. 1954.
Potential phytotherapy of atopic dermatitis, acne, psoriasis, vitiligo. Khan, et al. 2016.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is a succulent plant that is widely cultivated for ornamental and medicinal purposes. Aloe Vera gel is extracted from the pulp of the Aloe leaf and is widely used as a topical treatment for skin irritation and to accelerate wound healing. Aloe Vera gel may also be consumed orally, and it is reported to have laxative and other effects.

Aloe Vera gel is commonly used for the treatment of active acne and acne scars. However, there is little evidence that the use of Aloe Vera gel can significantly reduce the frequency or severity of acne symptoms.

Aloe Vera gel has been used for centuries in the traditional medicine of the people who live in its native range. When used topically, Aloe Vera gel appears to be quite safe with minimal risk of side effects. In contrast, Aloe Vera can be toxic when consumed orally in large quantities. Aloe Vera may have some antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that are helpful to people with acne symptoms. For some acne sufferers, topical Aloe Vera preparations may be worth trying. Use of fresh or unprocessed Aloe Vera gel may be more effective than processed Aloe Vera products.

Aloe Vera gel contains a mixture of polysaccharides (complex carbohydrates), proteins, minerals and other molecules which may have biological activity.There is some scientific research has shown that Aloe Vera can help decrease swelling and redness associated with sunburns, first or second degree burns. This anti-inflammatory effect may make Aloe Vera a suitable treatment for the redness and inflammation associated with acne breakouts. Aloe Vera may also have moisturizing properties that can help ameliorate the symptoms of certain anti-acne treatments that cause skin dryness, such as Retinoids (eg. Accutane).

Aloe Vera gel is commonly added to many moisturizers, facial washes, masks and other anti-acne formulations. However, some of the compounds found in Aloe Vera gel may be unstable and it is unclear whether these prepared formulations have the same therapeutic properties as fresh Aloe Vera gel. This discrepancy may also explain some of the contradictory research reports regarding the utility of Aloe Vera as a skin care product.

References

Aloe vera: a systematic review of its clinical effectiveness. Vogler, et al. 1999.
The Stimulation of Postdermabrasion Wound Healing with Stabilized Aloe Vera Gel‐Polyethylene Oxide Dressing. Fulton. 1990.
Influence of Aloe vera on collagen characteristics in healing dermal wounds in rats. Chithra, et al. 1998.
Effect of Aloe vera topical gel combined with tretinoin in treatment of mild and moderate acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind, prospective trial. Hajheydari, et al. 2014.
Use of aloe in treating leg ulcers and dermatoses. Zawahry, et al. 1973.
Evaluation of aloe vera gel gloves in the treatment of dry skin associated with occupational exposure. West, et al. 2003.
Isolation, purification and evaluation of antibacterial agents from Aloe vera. Lawrence, et al. 2009.
Comparative antimicrobial activity of Aloe Vera gel on microorganisms of public health significance. Shahzad, et al. 2009.
Compositional features of polysaccharides from Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis Miller) plant tissues. Femenia, et al. 1999.