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Home Remedies for Acne

Thursday 14 January 2021
Skin Conditions
5 minute(s) read

Table of Contents

I. Conventional Acne Treatments

II. Home Remedies for Acne

III. Essential Oils

IV. Spot Treating with Green Tea

V. Other Astringents and Antibacterial Remedies

VI. Lifestyle Changes

Conventional Acne Treatments

The most effective and proven way to treat acne is with conventional acne solutions. These include salicylic acid, niacinamide, and benzoyl peroxide. [1] Acne may sometimes precede other common skin conditions. If your acne worsens into rosacea or psoriasis, your doctor may prescribe Oracea (Doxycycline Delayed Release) or Tazorac (Tazarotene).


On its own, acne is typically treated with gels like Retin A (Tretinoin) or Aczone (Dapsone). Conventional acne treatments can be expensive, and some people find that they cause side effects like irritation, redness, or dryness. [1] Since acne isn’t life-threatening, you can safely try alternative home remedies. [2]

Home Remedies for Acne

There are many natural cures for acne, but most of these treatments currently lack scientific support. Some people report that natural ingredients are ideal, while others claim that home remedies do not work. [3] [4] Despite contrasting opinions, research has shown that some natural remedies include properties that may suppress inflammation and prevent scarring. [1] Read on for some home remedies that are worth trying.

grinding herbs

Essential Oils

Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts that capture the plant’s core aroma. [5] One of the most popular essential oils used to treat acne is tea tree oil. Tea tree oil isn’t as harsh as benzoyl peroxide, yet it fights inflammation and may be just as effective against acne. [6] To treat acne with tea tree oil, make a paste by mixing around 12 drops with half a teaspoon of goldenseal powder (goldenseal is an herb). Then, apply the paste on your acne for 20 minutes, twice a day. Remember to rinse it off after 20 minutes because leaving it on for too long could irritate your skin. [6]

Tea tree oil isn’t the only essential oil that contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Other essential oils can help clear acne as well. One scientific review found that clove-basil oil is more effective and faster at reducing acne than benzoyl peroxide. Cinnamon, rose, clove and lavender essential oils have also been found to fight two acne-causing bacteria called S. epidermidis and P. acnes. Another study found that orange and sweet basil essential oils healed pimples 75 percent faster than if left untreated. Like with tea tree oil, all essential oils are potent and may possess acne-clearing abilities. {7}}

Spot Treating with Green Tea

Most people know that drinking green tea is great because of its antioxidant properties. Green tea can actually be beneficial for the skin as well. Like essential oils, green tea is anti-inflammatory. You can use a cooled cup of green tea as a face wash. Alternatively, you can use the tea bag (after it has cooled) to cover acne-affected areas. [6]

a pot of green tea

Other Astringents and Antibacterial Remedies

Astringents are substances that can shrink your pores and tighten your skin. [7] There are many botanical astringents that you can try at home to treat your acne. Witch hazel naturally dries and shrinks blemishes. You can include witch hazel treatment into your routine by pouring it on a cotton ball and wiping your face in the morning and once at night. Another common astringent is aloe. The gel from a pure aloe plant has burn-relieving properties that can help fight infection, promote healing, and reduce scarring. [6] Other astringents or antibacterial remedies include:

Honey: apply honey directly to affected areas or mix it with plain oatmeal to create and apply as a mask. 

Echinacea: traditionally used to promote healing, echinacea is a type of flower that has recently been found to improve skin conditions like eczema. The same properties that help eczema may help acne, too. You can use echinacea by soaking its tea in a cloth, then dabbing the affected areas.

Chamomile: blend chamomile with just enough water to create a paste. Apply the paste for 15 minutes before removing it. You can also use chamomile the same way you treat spots with green tea. Cool a cup of chamomile tea and then use it as a face wash.

Acidic foods: fruits like lemons and oranges may help dry out acne. To use, apply the citrus fruit juice on a cotton ball and dab affected areas. [6] 

Lifestyle Changes

A possible way you can indirectly treat acne is by changing your diet. Research suggests that spikes in insulin can trigger increased sebum production, which may lead to the development of acne. You should be able to avoid spikes in insulin by avoiding foods that are high in glucose. A helpful dietary guide is to eat foods that are low on the glycemic index. One study found that a two-week period of consuming fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains instead of pastries, soft drinks, and anything that is highly refined or processed can lower your chance of getting acne. [1]

a glass of milk besides some cookies

Cutting back on your dairy intake may improve your acne condition, too. Multiple studies show that dairy products contain the hormone IGF-1, a hormone associated with acne. The relationship between dairy and acne needs further study, but it has been theorized that hormones in milk may cause hormonal changes in the body, leading to acne breakouts. [1]

A healthy lifestyle overall will go a long way in reducing the frequency of acne breakouts. Imbalances in hormones, excess stress and persistent anxiety can worsen acne. Exercising often can regulate your hormones, decrease your stress, and reduce anxiety. Experts still maintain that conventional treatments like Retin A (Tretinoin) or Aczone (Dapsone) are the most effective when it comes to treating acne. Severe acne may require attention from a dermatologist as well. With that being said, some people prefer to treat their acne at home with some of these natural remedies. You just have to find what works best for your skin. [1]

The content provided in this article is based on thorough research and in some cases, reviewed by a medical professional. Our goal for the information is to provide helpful, general health informational. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice.