For many women, what was once thought of as an adolescent right of passage—acne—has actually still remained a problem well into adulthood. Those of us who still have acne-ridden skin know that it is an ongoing battle to not only treat the blemishes already on our faces but to prevent them from ever coming back.
Sometimes the best thing to do when fighting acne is to go back to basics, to go natural. We spoke to UMA Oils founder Shrankhla Holecek, S.W. Basics founder Adina Grigore, and celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salon, Joanna Vargas, about the natural remedies for acne. We asked them what ingredients should we be looking for, what can we do with the natural ingredients we’ve found, and what about these ingredients make them ideal for treating acne.
Scroll down to see what their picks.
“Technically baking soda and water soften blackheads and any clogged pores in the skin. It’s best for congested skin,” says Vargas. She recommends a DIY baking soda mask.
Apple Cider Vinegar
“It’s the best astringent in nature because it helps to balance the skin’s pH, making you both less oily and less dry,” says Grigore. She warns that apple cider vinegar is very pungent and that you must always dilute it before using. “I recommend using a mixture of one part vinegar to four parts water. Apply to your face with cotton or a spritzer. No need to wash it off,” she says.
According to Holecek, turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. She recommends it in gentle, exfoliating bases like chickpea flour, oat powders, or kaolin clay.
Holecek says honey is a soothing remedy for those pesky acne scars. For a DIY facial, she suggests mixing honey, aloe vera, one teaspoon of chickpea flour, and a pinch of turmeric to make a paste. Spread the paste on your face. Once you rinse off with cool water, use an ice cube on the skin for 30 seconds to treat a congested face.
“Fine-grain salt cleans deeply, removes dead skin cells, balances moisture, and pulls toxins from pores, making it especially great for preventing acne or quick treatments during flare-ups on the face and body,” Grigore says. “The simplest way to use sea salt is to wet your face or body, put some salt on your wet hand so it sticks, then pat it gently onto your skin. You can leave it for a few minutes or rinse immediately. Just make sure not to scrub too hard—it is too abrasive by itself.”
Tea Tree Oil
According to Grigore, tea tree oil is known as a “miracle antiseptic.”
“It’s renowned for its antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal properties, making it an easy and effective spot treatment,” she says. She suggests diluting tea tree oil in a little bit of extra virgin olive oil or organic jojoba oil and applying it directly on a zit.
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Pimples are a common problem that people of all ages can face. When someone has a breakout, they may want to know how to get rid of their pimples fast.
While a person may not completely eliminate pimples in a day, they can make some significant progress in shrinking blemishes and reducing redness.
Keep reading for the fastest ways to eliminate the appearance of pimples.
Share on Pinterest Washing with a gentle cleanser may help treat pimples.
The following tips can help with treating pimples on any area of the body, but apply particularly to pimples on the face.
Treating pimples on the face
A person should not pick at, squeeze, or otherwise “pop” a pimple. Doing so can spread the bacteria that cause acne, risking infection of the pimple, and acne scarring.
Instead, try these methods to get rid of pimples fast:
- Wash the affected area with a gentle cleanser. Pat the area dry with a clean towel.
- Apply a spot treatment that can dry out the pimple. Examples of spot treatments include tea tree oil, benzoyl peroxide, or salicylic acid. Apply to the pimple and area around it, using clean hands, to target the pore and oil builtup underneath.
- If a person does not have any spot treatments available, they can try home remedies instead. Examples of these include crushing an aspirin and mixing it into a paste with a small amount of water. Applying calamine lotion may also help to dry out the lesion.
- Consider specialized spot treatments or masks that you apply directly to the pimple. Examples include clay masks for acne blemishes, or acne “dots.” Acne dots are patches that cover blemishes and contain drying solutions, such as tea tree oil or salicylic acid.
While a person is waiting for the pimple to go completely, they can apply a medicated concealer or cosmetic drying lotion. These contain ingredients, such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, to treat the blemish further while it heals.
Treating pimples on the body
Pimples on the chest and back are highly treatable but may require a different approach than facial treatments, due to variations in the skin.
Some potential treatments include:
- Using a body wash that contains benzoyl peroxide. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommend leaving the body wash on the chest or back for 2–5 minutes before rinsing. If a person has sensitive skin, they can use a 5.3% benzoyl peroxide solution. Those with very oily skin may use as much as a 10% solution.
- Applying a 0.1% adapalene gel to any skin lesion areas. A person can purchase this gel over the counter. If someone has difficulty reaching their back to apply the gel, they can buy a device to apply the medicine.
- Changing clothing immediately after exercising to reduce sweat and oil buildup. If an individual cannot shower immediately after exercising, wiping the skin with a cleansing wipe or flannel can help.
- Refraining from picking or scratching pimples. Picking at pimples can make them worse and increase the risk of more severe symptoms.
- Using oil-free sunscreens when in the sun. Manufacturers sometimes label oil-free products as noncomedogenic. Using these can help prevent oil building up under the skin.
- Always using oil- and fragrance-free lotions. Avoiding oils and fragrances on acne-prone areas of the body can reduce the likelihood for body acne breakouts.
As with pimples on the face, acne blemishes on the rest of the body can take time to fully clear. If a person does not see results in 6–8 weeks, they can consult a dermatologist.
It is advisable to speak to a doctor before attempting to treat acne or breakouts with new products. Many of the treatments listed above are available for purchase over the counter, in pharmacies, or online:
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Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the world, affecting an estimated 85% of people at some point in their lives.
Conventional acne treatments can be expensive and often have undesirable side effects like dryness, redness and irritation.
This has prompted many people to look into how to cure acne naturally at home. The internet is filled with suggestions, but do natural treatments actually work?
This article explores 13 home remedies for acne that are backed by science.
Acne starts when the pores in your skin get clogged with oil and dead skin cells.
Each pore is connected to a sebaceous gland, which produces an oily substance called sebum. Extra sebum can plug up pores, causing the growth of a bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes.
Your white blood cells attack P. acnes, leading to skin inflammation and acne. Some cases of acne are more severe than others, but common symptoms include whiteheads, blackheads and pimples.
Many factors contribute to the development of acne, including genetics, diet, stress, hormone changes and infections.
Below are 13 home remedies for acne that you might want to try.
Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apple cider, or the unfiltered juice from pressed apples.
Like other vinegars, it is known for its ability to fight many types of bacteria and viruses (1, 2, 3 ).
Apple cider vinegar contains several organic acids that have been shown to kill P. acnes ( 4 , 5 ).
In particular, succinic acid has been shown to suppress inflammation caused by P. acnes, which may prevent scarring ( 6 ).
Also, lactic acid has been shown to improve the appearance of acne scars ( 7 , 8 ). What’s more, apple cider vinegar may help dry up the excess oil that causes acne in the first place.
How to Use It
- Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar and 3 parts water (use more water for sensitive skin).
- After cleansing, gently apply the mixture to the skin using a cotton ball.
- Let sit for 5–20 seconds, rinse with water and pat dry.
- Repeat this process 1–2 times per day, as needed.
It is important to note that applying apple cider vinegar to your skin can cause burns and irritation, so it should always be used in small amounts and diluted with water.
Summary: The organic acids in apple cider vinegar may help kill acne-causing bacteria and reduce the appearance of scars. Applying it to the skin may cause burns or irritation, so it should be used carefully.
Zinc is an essential nutrient that’s important for cell growth, hormone production, metabolism and immune function.
It is also one of the most studied natural treatments for acne. Research shows that people with acne tend to have lower levels of zinc in their blood than those with clear skin ( 9 ).
Several studies have shown that taking zinc orally helps reduce acne.
In one study, 48 acne patients were given oral zinc supplements three times per day. After eight weeks, 38 patients experienced an 80–100% reduction in acne (10).
The optimal dosage of zinc for acne has not been established, but several studies have shown a significant reduction of acne using 30–45 mg of elemental zinc per day ( 11 , 12 , 13).
Elemental zinc refers to the amount of zinc that’s present in the compound. Zinc is available in many forms, and each one contains a different amount of elemental zinc.
Zinc oxide contains the highest amount of elemental zinc at 80%.
The recommended safe upper limit of zinc is 40 mg per day, so it is probably best to not exceed that amount unless under the supervision of a medical doctor. Taking too much zinc may cause adverse effects, including stomach pain and gut irritation.
It is also important to note that applying zinc to the skin has not been shown to be effective. This may be because zinc is not effectively absorbed through the skin.
Summary: Individuals with acne tend to have lower zinc levels than people with clear skin. Several studies show that taking zinc orally can significantly reduce acne.
Both honey and cinnamon are excellent sources of antioxidants (14, 15, 16 , 17 , 18 ).
Studies have found applying antioxidants to the skin is more effective at reducing acne than benzoyl peroxide and retinoids (19, 20 , 21, 22).
These are two common acne medications for the skin that have antibacterial properties.
The antioxidants studied were vitamin B3, linoleic (omega-6) fatty acid and sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP), which is a vitamin C derivative.
These specific antioxidants are not found in honey or cinnamon, but there is a possibility that other antioxidants may have a similar effect.
Honey and cinnamon also have the ability to fight bacteria and reduce inflammation, which are two factors that trigger acne ( 23 , 24 , 25 ).
While the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties of honey and cinnamon may benefit acne-prone skin, no studies exist on their ability to treat acne.
How to Make a Honey and Cinnamon Mask
- Mix 2 tablespoons honey and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together to form a paste.
- After cleansing, apply the mask to your face and leave it on for 10–15 minutes.
- Rinse the mask off completely and pat your face dry.
Summary: Honey and cinnamon have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Because of this, they may be beneficial for acne-prone skin.