Acne is one of the most common skin conditions worldwide.
Conventional acne treatments, such as salicylic acid, niacinamide, and benzoyl peroxide, have been proven to be the most effective acne remedies, but they can be costly and have undesirable side effects, such as dryness, redness, and irritation.
This has prompted a number of individuals to attempt to treat acne naturally at home. According to a 2017 study, 77% of acne patients had tried alternative acne treatments.
There is a need for further research into the efficacy of numerous home remedies that lack scientific support. However, if you are looking for alternative treatments, you still have options.
This article describes 10 Natural Acne Treatments from teamxstore.
What is acne?
Acne is a skin condition caused by the blocking up of skin follicles with oil and dead skin cells. Acne is a very common condition, and the majority of people have experienced it at some point in their lives, especially during teenage years when sebaceous glands produce more oil.
However, acne has no age limit, and many people in their 40s and 50s suffer from it.
What causes acne?
Acne begins when your skin’s pores become clogged with oil and dead skin cells.
Each pore is linked to a sebaceous gland that produces sebum, an oily substance. Extra sebum can clog pores, leading to an increase in Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes, bacteria.
Your white blood cells attack P. acnes, causing inflammation and acne on your skin. Some cases of acne are more severe than others, but whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples are common symptoms.
Many factors may contribute to the development of acne, including:
- hormone changes
Acne is most effectively treated with standard clinical procedures. Additionally, there is a need for additional research on the effectiveness of home remedies. Below are 10 natural remedies for acne.
Apply apple cider vinegar
- Pros: affordable, easy to find, improves the appearance of acne scars
- Cons: may irritate the skin
Apple cider vinegar is produced by fermenting either unfiltered apple juice or apple cider.
Similar to other vinegars, research has demonstrated its antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Organic acids such as citric acid are present in apple cider vinegar. In conjunction with zinc oxide, citric acid has been shown to kill P. acnes, according to 2016Research.
2017 research suggests that the lactic acid in apple cider vinegar may also reduce the appearance of acne scars.
Although some components of apple cider vinegar may help with acne, there is no evidence to support its use for this purpose at this time. As it may irritate the skin, some dermatologists advise against using apple cider vinegar at all.
How to apply
- 1 part apple cider vinegar combined with 3 parts water (use more water for sensitive skin).
- Using a cotton ball, apply the mixture to the skin after cleansing.
- Allow it to sit for 5 to 20 seconds, then rinse and pat dry.
- Repeat this procedure once or twice per day, as necessary.
Applying apple cider vinegar to the skin can cause burns and irritation, and most dermatologists do not recommend it. If you decide to test it out, use it minimally and dilute it with water. (teamxstore)
Take a zinc supplement
- Pros: supported by scientific studies, wide variety of benefits
- Cons: can irritate the stomach or gut, not beneficial when applied topically
Zinc is a nutrient essential for cell growth, hormone production, metabolism, and immune function.
Compared to other natural acne treatments, it is relatively well-studied.
According to a 2020 meta-analysis, zinc treatment significantly reduced the number of inflamed blemishes compared to placebo treatment.
The safe upper limit of zinc is 40 mg per day, so unless you’re under a doctor’s supervision, it’s probably best not to exceed that amount.
A zinc overdose may result in adverse effects such as stomach pain and intestinal irritation.
It is also important to note that zinc applied to the skin has not been proven effective. This could be because zinc is poorly absorbed by the skin.
Make a honey and cinnamon mask
- Pros: antibacterial, easy to make
- Cons: not enough research to back up the claims
Honey and cinnamon bark extract were found to have antibacterial effects against P. acnes in a 2017 study.
According to research conducted in 2020, honey alone can inhibit or kill P. acnes. However, this does not necessarily imply that honey is an effective acne treatment.
A 2016 study involving 136 acne sufferers determined that applying honey to the skin after using antibacterial soap was no more effective than using the soap alone.
Honey and cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties may reduce acne, but additional research is required.
How to apply
- Create a paste by combining 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
- After cleansing the face, apply the mask and allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove the mask with water and pat your face dry.
Spot treat with tea tree oil
- Pros: don’t need a lot of product, can be left on overnight, natural
- Cons: drying, essential oils aren’t FDA approved
Tea tree oil is an essential oil extracted from the leaves of the small Australian tree Melaleuca alternifolia.
A 2018 study found that the topical application of tea tree oil may reduce acne.
A 2019 study found that participants using a tea tree oil ointment for acne experienced less dry skin and irritation than those using benzoyl peroxide. Additionally, they were more pleased with the treatment.
According to a study published in 2017, tea tree oil may be an effective replacement for topical and oral antibiotics that may cause bacterial resistance if used for an extended period of time.
Tea tree oil is extremely potent, so it should always be diluted before being applied to the skin.
How to apply
- Combine 1 part oil of tea tree with 9 parts water.
- Apply the solution with a cotton swab to the affected areas.
- If desired, moisturiser should be applied.
- Repeat this procedure once or twice per day, as necessary.
Apply green tea to your skin
- Pros: easy to make, a variety of benefits, natural
- Cons: not enough studies done
Green tea is rich in antioxidants, and its consumption is beneficial to health. Additionally, it may reduce acne.
According to research conducted in 2017, this is likely due to the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of green tea polyphenols, which are two of the leading causes of acne.
Insufficient research has been conducted on the benefits of drinking green tea for acne, and more research is required.
In a 2016 study involving 80 female participants, participants consumed 1,500 mg of green tea extract daily for four weeks. At the conclusion of the study, women who consumed the extract had less acne on their noses, chins, and lips.
Green tea applied to the skin may also be beneficial.
A 2020 study discovered that applying green tea extract to acne-afflicted skin significantly reduces sebum production and acne.
You can purchase creams and lotions containing green tea, but it is just as simple to create your own at home.
How to apply
- Steep green tea for three to four minutes in boiling water.
- Allow the tea to cool down.
- Apply the tea to your skin with a cotton ball or spray it on with a spray bottle.
- After allowing it to dry, remove it with water and pat your skin dry.
Additionally, you can combine the remaining tea leaves with honey to create a mask.
Apply witch hazel
- Pros: natural, found in many products
- Cons: very little research to back up the claims
The bark and leaves of the North American witch hazel shrub, Hamamelis virginiana, are used to extract witch hazel. It appears that very little research has been conducted on witch hazel’s ability to treat acne.
Thirty participants with mild or moderate acne used a three-step facial treatment twice daily for six weeks in a 2017 study funded by a skin care company.
In the second step of the treatment, witch hazel was one of the ingredients. By the end of the study, the majority of participants had experienced a significant improvement in their acne.
Also according to 2019 research, witch hazel may inhibit bacterial growth and alleviate skin irritation and inflammation, which can contribute to acne.
How to apply
- In a small saucepan, combine 1 tablespoon of witch hazel bark and 1 cup of water.
- After soaking the witch hazel for thirty minutes, bring the mixture to a boil on the stove.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes with the lid on.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
- Strain the liquid and store it in an airtight container.
- Apply with a cotton ball to clean skin once to twice daily, or as desired.
It is important to note that commercially prepared versions may lack tannins, as they are oftenly lost during distillation.
Moisturize with aloe vera
- Pros: natural, found in many products, can be combined with other ingredients
- Cons: not a lot of studies to back up the claims, many products contain additives
Aloe vera is a tropical plant that produces a clear gel from its leaves. Frequently, the gel is incorporated into lotions, creams, ointments, and soaps.
According to 2018 research, it’s commonly used to treat:
- skin inflammation
Aloe vera contains salicylic acid and sulphur, which are both commonly used to treat acne. According to research conducted in 2017, applying salicylic acid to the skin reduces acne.
Aloe vera gel, when combined with other substances such as tretinoin cream or tea tree oil, may improve acne, according to a 2018 study.
The anti-acne benefits of aloe vera necessitate additional scientific investigation, despite promising preliminary findings.
How to apply
- Using a spoon, scrape the gel from the aloe plant.
- As a moisturiser, apply the gel directly to freshly cleansed skin.
- Repeat once to twice daily, or as desired.
You can also purchase aloe vera gel from a store, but make sure it contains only aloe and no additional ingredients.
Take a fish oil supplement
- Pros: easy, found in food
- Cons: takes some time to see results
Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats with numerous health benefits. There are two primary types of omega-3 fatty acids in fish oils: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (DHA).
High levels of EPA and DHA can reduce inflammatory factors, which may reduce the risk of acne, according to a 2019 study.
You can also get omega-3 fatty acids by eating:
- chia seeds
- ground flax seeds
- fish oil supplements
- Pros: easy to do at home, many products on the market, both chemical and physical options available
- Cons: possibility to over-exfoliate
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. By removing the skin cells that clog pores, it may help acne.
After removing the outermost layer of skin, exfoliation may make acne treatments for the skin more effective by allowing them to penetrate deeper.
Research on exfoliation and its ability to treat acne is limited at present.
In a small study conducted in 2016, 38 acne patients received eight microdermabrasion treatments at weekly intervals. Participants with acne scars exhibited some improvement after receiving treatment.
A small study conducted in 2017 found that six weekly microdermabrasion treatments promoted skin repair.
While these results suggest that exfoliation may improve the health and appearance of the skin, additional research is required on acne.
There are numerous exfoliation products on the market, but you can also make a scrub at home with sugar or salt.
Physical exfoliation can be irritating and may cause skin damage. Consequently, some dermatologists suggest a gentle chemical exfoliation with salicylic or glycolic acid products.
If you choose to use mechanical exfoliation, avoid damaging your skin by rubbing it gently.
Try the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant from Paula’s Choice.
How to apply
- Mix equal parts sugar (or salt) and coconut oil.
- Gently rub the mixture into your skin, then thoroughly rinse off.
- Exfoliate as desired, up to once per day.
Follow a low glycemic diet
- Pros: reduces insulin, good for the body
- Cons: harder to track, not enough studies to back up the claims
The glycemic index (GI) of a food measures how quickly it raises blood sugar levels.
Consuming foods with a high GI causes an insulin spike, which likely increases sebum production. Consequently, foods with a high GI may directly influence the development and severity of acne.
In a 2018 study, 66 participants either followed a standard or low glycemic diet. After two weeks, the individuals consuming a low glycemic diet had decreased levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a hormone involved in the development of acne.
In a 2017 study involving 64 individuals, it was discovered that those with moderate or severe acne consumed more carbohydrates and had a higher glycemic load than those without acne.
These small studies suggested that a diet low in glycemic index may aid acne-prone skin. Additional studies with larger sample sizes and longer durations are required.
Foods with a high glycemic index include processed foods, such as:
- white bread
- sugary soft drinks
- sugary breakfast cereals
Foods with a low glycemic index include:
- whole or minimally processed grains
- Pros: can reduce acne, good for the body, regulates hormones
- Cons: not washing your face after exercising could lead to more acne
Few studies have examined the effects of exercise on acne. Nonetheless, exercise influences bodily functions in ways that may aid in acne improvement.
A 2018 study found that exercise plays a role in the regulation and maintenance of hormone levels.
Another 2018 study suggested that exercise can reduce stress and anxiety, both of which have been linked to acne development.
The CDC recommends adults engage in two types of physical activity for a total of 150 minutes per week. This may involve walking, hiking, running, and weightlifting.
Always protect your skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays when exercising outdoors with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30.
How to prevent acne
While there is no foolproof method to permanently eliminate acne, there are habits you can adopt that may help keep breakouts at bay. Here are some thoughts:
- Wash your face properly: To help prevent pimples, it’s important to remove excess oil, dirt, and sweat daily.
- Use a moisturizer: Even if you have acne, keeping your skin hydrated is essential. When skin is dry, it produces oil to counterbalance, which may result in excess sebum and clogged pores.
- Limit makeup: Using a lot of makeup may clog pores and trigger breakouts. If you do use makeup, make sure it’s noncomedogenic and fragrance-free to prevent skin irritation. Always wash makeup off, especially before bedtime.
- Resist touching your face: Touching your face can transfer bacteria — and pore-clogging impurities — onto your skin.
- Limit sun exposure: Frequent sun exposure dehydrates the skin, which, over time, causes it to produce more oil and block pores.
- Don’t pop pimples: Popping pimples may cause bleeding, severe scarring, or infection. It may also increase inflammation and clog surrounding pores, making your pimple problem worse.
When to see a doctor
Those suffering from moderate to severe acne should seek professional assistance for relief.
If you experience any of the following conditions, it may be time to consult a dermatologist:
- tried everything and nothing seems to help
- have recurring breakouts that clear up and return
- get acne in places like your thighs or upper arms
- have acne that’s painful and deep under the skin
- have breakouts that have been going on for years
- have acne that affects your confidence, self-esteem, and social life
- think your acne may be linked to a new medication you’re on
- have acne that leaves dark spots
Even if you have a mild case of acne, it may be beneficial to see your doctor regularly to monitor the condition of your skin.