12 Surprising Home Remedies for Acne
If you have acne, proper skin care and treatments can help. However, you may also consider natural home remedies like these, which include aspirin, honey, green tea, and more.
Fight acne at home
It's frustrating to fight any type of acne. While there are skincare habits and acne treatments that help, it's also possible that your skin could improve with home remedies. Although there is some evidence that these acne home remedies may work, there isn't enough research and science to say for sure that they will do the trick. These might not necessarily be scientifically proven acne remedies. However, if you have these ingredients at home it could be worth a shot to try them.
Acne home remedy: Tea Tree Oil
With its natural inflammation-fighting properties, tea tree oil is less harsh than benzoyl peroxide but may be just as effective against acne, according to Jeannette Jacknin, MD, a San Diego-based board-certified dermatologist specializing in holistic dermatology. She recommends mixing 12 drops of tea tree oil with 1/2 teaspoon of goldenseal powder to make a paste. "Apply it on acne spots for 20 minutes twice a day, then rinse it off," says Jacknin. "It's too potent to leave on and could dry out or irritate your skin."
Acne home remedy: Green Tea
Green tea has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that may be beneficial for the skin. To get its effects, use a cooled cup of green tea as a face wash or lay the bag over the affected area. "This will be helpful in soothing irritated skin and reducing the inflammation of acne lesions, but don't expect it to completely clear your complexion," says Jacknin. (Find out the 8 surefire ways to get rid of acne once and for all.)
Acne home remedy: Honey
Honey’s antibacterial properties may help improve acne. Apply a teaspoon of honey to affected areas, or make a mask by mixing 1/2 cup of honey with 1 cup of plain oatmeal and leaving it on for 30 minutes.
Acne home remedy: Echinacea
Echinacea is traditionally used to speed wound healing and prevent colds and flu. But several studies—including one published in the Journal of Dermatological Science, have shown that its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects may also improve inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema. And those same properties may help with acne as well, says Dr. Jacknin. Use echinacea tea as a daily face wash by soaking a cloth with it, or put a few drops of tincture on a cotton ball and dab it on blemishes.
Acne home remedy: Aspirin
Salicylic acid is the main ingredient in aspirin. It is also a go-to for acne treatments. You can harness the acne-fighting power of salicylic acid by making a zip-zapping paste of crushed aspirin and water. Apply it just to pimples. "You never want to spread something like this over your entire face," says Dr. Jacknin. "It could be very drying and irritating."
Acne home remedy: Chamomile
Chamomile helps decrease skin inflammation and may help with acne, according to a review published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. In a blender or coffee grinder, combine the contents of a chamomile tea bag with enough water to form a paste, and apply that to acne. Alternately, steep two chamomile tea bags with 1 cup boiled water for 15 minutes. Let the tea cool, then use a cotton ball to dab it on your face after cleansing.
Acne home remedy: Witch Hazel
Witch hazel acts as an astringent, naturally drying and shrinking blemishes, according to Dr. Jacknin. To get its benefits, pour witch hazel onto a cotton ball and wipe your face each morning and night.
Acne home remedy: Aloe
Aloe, known for its burn-relieving properties, may promote healing, fight infection, and even reduce scarring. Scrape the gel from an aloe plant out with a spoon or buy aloe gel from health-food stores—just make sure it’s pure aloe, with no added ingredients. Dab it onto blemishes or spots at risk of scarring. (Find out what skin habits may lead to scarring.)
Acne home remedy: Lemons
Lemons act as an exfoliant, skin lightener, and antiseptic to reduce the appearance of scars and prevent new pimples from forming. On a clean face, dab acne with a cotton ball or cotton swab dipped in lemon juice, then rinse with cool water. Dr. Jacknin also suggests mixing lemon juice with witch hazel and using it as a spot treatment. (Find out what other solutions dermatologists recommend for clearing up acne.)
Acne home remedy: Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains malic and lactic acids that may help exfoliate skin and dry out acne. For a DIY toner, mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water and apply to skin with a cotton ball, making sure to shake well before each use. Dr. Jacknin recommends starting by dabbing the toner only on pimples to make sure it doesn't irritate your skin.
Acne home remedy: Acidic foods
Acidic foods like citrus fruit juice or vinegar are astringent and may help dry out acne. Dab a little onto a cotton ball to help battle acne; gently swipe the cotton on the affected areas. (Don't miss these 8 acne-fighting ingredients to add to your routine.)
Acne home remedy: Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that may improve acne. Get the benefits from taking a multi-nutrient capsule containing fish oil, or add more salmon, albacore tuna, flaxseeds, and walnuts to your diet. Studies have shown that getting more of omega 3s may reduce acne breakouts. Now, find out the daily habits of people who never get acne.
- International Journal of Microbial Agents: "Treatment of acne with tea tree oil (melaleuca) products: A review of efficacy, tolerability and potential modes of action"
- Jeanette Jacknin, MD, dermatologist, San Diego, CA.
- The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology: "Moisturizers for Acne."
- Journal of Dermatological Science: "Echinacea purpurea-derived alkylamides exhibit potent anti-inflammatory effects and alleviate clinical symptoms of atopic eczema."
- ActaDV: "Effect of dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acid and gamma-linolenic acid on acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial."