I am an 18-year-old girl. I recently had a severe case of breakout after taking the advice of a friend and consuming a tsp of castor oil with warm water. What do I do?

Acne occurs when the hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells.

Sebaceous glands secrete an oily substance known as sebum to lubricate your hair and skin. Sebum normally travels up along the hair shafts and then out through the opening of the hair follicle onto the surface of your skin.

When your body produces an excess amount of sebum and dead skin cells, the two can accumulate in the hair follicle and solidify as a soft plug. This plug may cause the follicle wall to bulge and produce a whitehead. Or, the plug may be open to the surface and may darken, causing a blackhead.

This plug causes the inflammation of oil glands producing acne. A number of factors including hormones, bacteria, certain medications and heredity play a role in increased sebum production.

Castor oil is cosndiered hot in ayurveda and sharp in potency, therefore, can result in skin allergies in some people.

Acne treatments work by reducing oil production, fighting bacterial infection. Avoid oily or greasy cosmetics, sunscreens, hair-styling products. Use products labeled ‘water-based’ or ‘non-comedogenic’. Keep scalp and hair clean. Picking or squeezing can cause infection or scarring. Wash acne-prone areas twice a day. Washing removes excess oil and dead skin cells. But too much washing can irritate the skin. Use oil-free, water-based skin-care products.

• Wash face with a paste of Thriphala powder.

• Favour fresh, whole organic foods, leafy green vegetables, sweet juicy fruits, legume soups and olive oil.

• Use an exfoliating mask with papaya once a week

Internal use of Pitta-Kapha Meet an ayurveda doctor for a detailed consultation.