Powerful Home Remedies for Acne/Pimples
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?
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 some home remedies for acne/pimples 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.
Apple cider vinegar contains several organic acids that have been shown to kill P. acnes.
In particular, succinic acid has been shown to suppress inflammation caused by P. acnes, which may prevent scarring.Also, lactic acid has been shown to improve the appearance of acne scars. 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.
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.
Both honey and cinnamon are excellent sources of antioxidants.
Studies have found applying antioxidants to the skin is more effective at reducing acne than benzoyl peroxide and retinoids.
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, whicHoney and cinnamon have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Because of this, they may be beneficial for acne-prone skin.h are two factors that trigger acne.
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 powder 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. Honey and cinnamon have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Because of this, they may be beneficial for acne-prone skin.
Green tea is very high in antioxidants, and drinking it can promote good health.
There aren’t any studies exploring the benefits of drinking green tea when it comes to acne, but applying it directly to the skin has been shown to help.
This is likely because the flavonoids and tannins in green tea are known to help fight bacteria and reduce inflammation, which are two main causes of acne.
The major antioxidant in green tea — epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) — has been shown to reduce sebum production, fight inflammation and inhibit the growth of P. acnes in individuals with acne-prone skin.
Multiple studies have shown that applying a 2–3% green tea extract to the skin significantly reduces sebum production and pimples in those with acne.
You can buy creams and lotions that contain green tea, but it is just as easy to make your own mixture at home.
How to Use It
- Steep green tea in boiling water for 3–4 minutes.
- Allow tea to cool.
- Using a cotton ball, apply tea to skin or pour into a spray bottle to spritz on.
- Allow to dry, then rinse with water and pat dry.
You can also add the remaining tea leaves to honey and make a mask.
Even though there isn’t any evidence that drinking green tea can fight acne, some research suggests it may still be beneficial.
For example, drinking green tea has been shown to lower blood sugar and insulin levels, which are factors that can contribute to the development of acne.
Green tea is high in antioxidants that help fight bacteria and reduce inflammation. Applying green tea to the skin has been shown to significantly reduce acne.
Aloe vera is a tropical plant whose leaves produce a clear gel.
The gel is often added to lotions, creams, ointments and soaps. It’s commonly used to treat abrasions, rashes, burns and other skin conditions.
When applied to the skin, aloe vera gel can help heal wounds, treat burns and fight inflammation.
Aloe vera also contains salicylic acid and sulfur, which are both used extensively in the treatment of acne.
Several studies have shown that applying salicylic acid to the skin significantly reduces acne.
Similarly, applying sulfur has been proven to be an effective acne treatment.
While research shows great promise, the anti-acne benefits of aloe vera itself require further scientific evidence.
How to Use It
- Scrape the gel from the aloe plant out with a spoon.
- Apply gel directly to clean skin as a moisturizer.
- Repeat 1–2 times per day, or as desired.
You can also buy aloe vera gel from the store, but make sure it is pure aloe without any added ingredients.
When applied to the skin, aloe vera gel can help heal wounds, treat burns and fight inflammation. It may be beneficial for individuals with acne-prone skin, but more research needs to be done.
Exfoliation is the process of removing the top layer of dead skin cells. It can be achieved mechanically by using a brush or scrub to physically remove the cells. Alternatively, it can be removed chemically by applying an acid that dissolves them.
Exfoliation is believed to improve acne by removing the skin cells that clog up pores.
It is also believed to make acne treatments for the skin more effective by allowing them to penetrate deeper, once the topmost layer of skin is removed.
Some studies show that microdermabrasion, which is a method of exfoliation, can improve the skin’s appearance, including some cases of acne scarring.
In one small study, 25 patients with acne received eight microdermabrasion treatments at weekly intervals. Based on before and after photos, this helped improve acne.
96% of the participants were pleased with the results and would recommend the procedure to others. Yet while these results indicate that exfoliation may improve acne, more research is needed.
There are a wide variety of exfoliation products available in stores and online, but it’s just as easy to make a scrub at home using sugar.
How to Make a Scrub at Home
- Mix equal parts sugar/brown sugar and coconut oil.
- Scrub skin with mixture and rinse well.
- Exfoliate as often as desired up to once daily.
The relationship between dairy and acne is highly controversial.
Drinking milk and consuming dairy products exposes you to hormones, which may cause hormonal changes and lead to acne.
Two large studies reported that higher levels of milk consumption were associated with acne.
However, participants self-reported the data in both of these studies, so more research needs to be done in order to establish a true causal relationship.
Some studies found a positive association between drinking milk and acne. Limiting milk and dairy consumption may be a good idea for those with acne-prone skin.
The hormones released during periods of stress may increase sebum production and skin inflammation, making acne worse.
In fact, multiple studies have linked stress to an increase in acne severity.
What’s more, stress can slow wound healing by up to 40%, which may slow the repair of acne lesions.
Certain relaxation and stress-reduction treatments have been shown to improve acne, but more research needs to be done.
Ways to Reduce Stress
- Get more sleep
- Engage in physical activity
- Practice yoga
- Take deep breaths.
Hormones that are released during times of stress can make acne worse. Reducing stress may help improve acne.
Exercise promotes healthy blood circulation. The increase in blood flow helps nourish the skin cells, which may help prevent and heal acne.
Exercise also plays a role in hormone regulation.
Several studies have shown that exercise can decrease stress and anxiety, both of which are factors that can contribute to the development of acne.
It’s recommended that healthy adults exercise for 30 minutes 3–5 times per week. This can include walking, hiking, running and lifting weights.
Exercise promotes healthy blood circulation, regulates hormones and helps reduce stress.
Acne is a common problem with a number of underlying causes. However, conventional treatments can cause dryness, redness and irritation.
Fortunately, many natural remedies can also be effective. The home remedies listed in this article may not work for everyone, but they just might be worth a try.
Nevertheless, you may want to consult a dermatologist if you have severe acne.