Home Remedies for Acne
Our skin reflects our overall health, which is why glowing, beautiful skin often results from proper care, hydration, and eating a nutrient-dense diet.
On the other hand, the skin was ridden with whiteheads, blackheads, and different types of pimples that can indicate oxidative damage,
poor nutrition, and hormonal imbalances — making it all the more important to find home remedies for acne.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the most common skin condition in the United States.
Occasional breakouts and chronic acne plague tens of millions of Americans of all ages every year.
About 85 percent of teens experience some acne type, but many adults deal with occasional breakouts.
Nearly half of teens and young adults suffering from acne will have severe enough symptoms to seek professional help from a dermatologist.
From mild to severe, acne can cause painful and unsightly outbreaks on the face, back, chest, and even arms.
Left untreated, acne can also lead to diminished self-esteem and long-term hyperpigmentation or scarring.
Genetics, changing hormone levels, lack of sleep, and stress are all contributing factors to acne.
The good news is this: many safe home remedies for acne, blackheads, whiteheads, and hyperpigmentation due to acne scars are all available.
Below I’m sharing my favorite natural home remedies to get rid of pimples and keep them from returning.
If you’re someone who has chosen to use potentially dangerous prescription drugs and topical medications on your skin instead of natural home remedies for acne, then know that clearing your skin naturally is possible, as is minimizing acne scars.
A healthy diet, applying essential oils, proper, gentle cleansing, and balancing hormones are home remedies for acne.
You can restore your skin’s health, reduce unsightly pimples or other types of irritation, and prevent scars.
What Is Acne?
Acne vulgaris is the phrase for a team of skin conditions that trigger most acne pimples.
Acne is usually categorized into 2 primary types: inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne. Cystic acne is referred to as gentle, moderate, or serious acne, or maybe occasionally granted a grade from 1 to 4-degree type acne.
The primary forms of acne include:
- Non-inflammatory acne: – recognized by blackheads and whiteheads, however, not cysts/nodules.
- Inflammatory acne: – generally due to tiny infections due to P. Acnes bacteria.
- Cystic acne (also called nodulocystic pimples) – a rigorous type of pimples that leads to big, inflamed cysts and also nodules which show up on skin Acne fulminans – a serious type of inflammatory acne which usually affects adolescent men on the mouth, chest, and returned.
- Acne fulminans: – a serious type of inflammatory acne that usually affects adolescent men on the mouth, chest, and back.
- Acne Mechanica: – caused by additional pressure, friction, and high heat. Frequently affects athletes, causing little bumps and several inflamed lesions.
Here’s how acne is graded based on the kind of symptoms it causes:
- Grade I— causes mild whiteheads, blackheads, along with little pimples that aren’t inflamed.
- Grade II— great deal of inflammation, some nodules and, pustules and numerous papules.
- Grade III— large amount of inflammation, numerous papules and pustules, and some nodules.
- Grade IV— probably the most serious type of zits, leading to papules, pustules, cysts, and many nodules, which usually show up on the face, neck, chest, back, and buttocks.
Signs & Symptoms of Acne
Acne symptoms will depend on the specific type of acne someone has and the underlying cause of the skin irritation/inflammation. The most common signs that acne causes include:
- Blackheads, or small black dots on the skin, usually around the nose, forehead, or chin. These are also called “comedones” and result from debris getting trapped inside of a follicle.
- Whiteheads, which can form when pus builds under the skin and creates a “head.” These result from follicles getting plugged with sebum and dead skin cells.
- Papules and pustules (the scientific name for pimples) cause small or medium-sized bumps on the skin that are round, red, and don’t always have a visible “head.” These are caused by “moderate” acne types and are not as severe as cysts or nodules. (5)
- Cysts or nodules, which are severe pimples that are infected and painful. They can form deeper layers of the skin, become very swollen or tender, and take longer to heal than papules and pustules.
- Dark spots on the skin (hyperpigmentation).
- Scars, most often left behind from nodules or cysts, especially if they have been “popped” or picked.
- Increased sensitivity to products, heat, sweat, and sunlight.
- Decreased self-esteem, self-consciousness, anxiety, and depression.
Common Causes of Acne
The leading causes of acne include:
- Clogged pores, caused by things like excess oil production and dead skin cells. Sebum is the type of oil released into hair follicles that can become trapped beneath the skin’s surface and clog pores.
- Hormone fluctuations or imbalances. For example, when androgen hormones increase, oil production rises. This often happens in teens and young adults suffering from acne, especially women experiencing PMS, irregular periods, pregnancy, early menopause, and other hormonal conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
- Like the “Standard American Diet,” a poor diet contains many refined unhealthy, sugar, and grains oils.
- Very high amounts of stress and similar problems like psychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression.
- Use of specific medicines, which includes corticosteroids, androgens, birth control pills, and also lithium
- Lack of Sleep
- Irritation and friction on the skin, like from backpacks and sports equipment, can result in acne breakouts on the face, jawline, forehead, and returned.
- Genetic predisposition.
- Other sources and smoking of inflammation.
Once believed to strike usually during teen years, pimples are currently impacting millions of adult females, many of whom have never had a challenge with acne in previous times.
Some women (and males too) will only cope with acne during puberty and the teenage years.
Still, others will suffer well into adulthood, particularly during periods of hormonal changes and stress.
While acne among adult females is generally connected to hormonal imbalances and shifts that arise in the menstrual cycle or even when transitioning into menopause,
you must consider elevated levels of stress, a shortage of rest, and a bad diet may also be root causes.
A review posted in the Archives of Dermatological Research found proof that sleep deprivation, anxiety, and various other “modern life” areas are connected to adult female acne.
The investigators point out that “Modern living presents so many stresses such as urban noises, light stimuli, along with socio-economic pressures.
Ladies are especially affected by anxiety during the everyday schedule of theirs. Ladies also have a greater risk of acquiring psychiatric problems like stress and depression.
Sleep restriction is put into these variables, with many adverse effects on wellness, which includes hormonal secretion as well as the immune system.”
Conventional Treatments for Acne
Most people either choose to live with acne or, out of frustration, turn to medications or chemical treatments that often have side effects or simply don’t work at all.
Dermatologists can prescribe medications to treat acne, including gels, lotions, cleansers, and even antibiotics.
The harsh chemicals used in over-the-counter and prescription acne products can cause further irritation to already-sensitive or inflamed skin, so using these is not always the best option or safe for continued use.
According to doctors, which is the best medicine for treating acne?
- Two ingredients used in many acne treatments are called benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Concentrated vitamin A derivatives are also sometimes used, in addition to sulfur or zinc compounds.
- Benzoyl peroxide helps kill bacteria found inside pores, which helps prevent pore-clogging. This can reduce infections, redness, and inflammation but sometimes causes adverse reactions like dryness, burning, and peeling. Always start with a lower concentration to test your response, such as a lotion with 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide.
- Salicylic acid is another common active ingredient that helps remove excess cells that trap sebum and bacteria inside pores. It can also cause redness and dryness, especially on sensitive skin. Start with a product containing 0.5 percent to 3 percent salicylic acid.
- Dermatologists sometimes prescribe antibiotics to help reduce the number of bacteria getting trapped inside pores. Examples of medicines prescribed to treat acne include clindamycin, doxycycline, erythromycin, and tetracycline. (8)
- Once acne is resolved, how do dermatologists remove acne scars? A peel might be recommended to remove the appearance of dark spots or injuries, such as a glycolic peel. Peels and other acne treatments can increase photo-sensitivity, so you’ll need to protect your skin from the sun.
12 Best Home Remedies for Acne & Acne Scars
Everyone’s skin is different, so keep in mind that effectively treating acne breakouts at home requires a multi-disciplinary approach.
The home remedies for acne described below can be used in combination to provide the best results. However, keep in mind that while you overcome acne, it’s also essential to avoid the biggest mistakes that can make skin irritation or scar worse:
- Picking blemishes
- Over cleansing with harsh chemicals and cleansers
- Believing only topical care of the skin is necessary to fight acne.
- Not giving skin the chance to adapt to new care.
- Failing to stay properly hydrated
- Failing to start treating acne from the inside, out
1. Cleanse Gently
Getting rid of stubborn pimples, blackheads and whiteheads start with a thorough but gentle cleansing of the skin.
Try my recipe for Homemade Honey Face Wash to cleanse skin without irritating.
It features apple cider vinegar, honey, coconut oil, probiotics, and essential oils (like tea tree oil).
The honey soothes the skin, the coconut oil helps to fight bacteria and fungus, and the tea tree oil helps to invigorate the skin.
Dampen skin with warm water, and massage into face and neck.
Rinse thoroughly and pat dry. Do this each morning and evening and, if needed, after workouts. Refrain from cleansing more often, as this can irritate the skin and cause an overproduction of oil.
If you find that acne appears around your hairline, commercial hair products may be to blame.
Shampoo, conditioner, hair spray, gels, and mousses contain acne-causing ingredients, including petroleum, parabens, silicone, sulfates, panthenol, and other chemicals.
Try Homemade Honey Citrus Shampoo that is void of harmful chemicals and leaves hair soft and manageable.
Follow with a coconut oil touch or Homemade Conditioner made from apple cider vinegar and essential oils.
Like hair products, makeup, and skincare products contain ingredients that can cause acne.
Common offenders include lanolin, mineral oil, aluminum, retinyl acetate, alcohol, oxybenzone, triclosan, parabens, polyethylene, BHA, and BHTformaldehyde-based preservatives.
Read ingredient labels to stay away from putting these kinds of chemicals on sensitive skin.
2. Tone to Restore pH Balance
Toning is an essential step in proper skincare. It helps to remove any residue after cleansing and helps to restore the skin’s natural pH levels.
You can use pure apple cider vinegar (with the mother culture) as your evening and morning toner.
Apple cider vinegar is packed with potassium, magnesium, acetic acid, and various enzymes that kill bacteria on the skin.
Chronic acne can result from bacteria and fungi that continue to spread and grow on the skin’s surface.
With a cotton ball, smooth ACV over the skin, paying particular attention to active breakouts and acne-prone areas.
3. Use Healing Masks
To hydrate and heal your skin, try applying masks a couple of times per week. Yogurt, honey, cinnamon, essential oils, and other ingredients can create soothing masks that help hydrate the skin and fight common causes of acne.
Here are two mask recipes that are easy-to-make home remedies for acne:
- Yogurt and Honey Mask: Mix one tablespoon of raw honey with one tablespoon of yogurt. Apply to the face, paying particular attention to the hairline, jawline, and other acne-prone areas. Relax for 10 minutes and gently wipe off with a damp cloth.
- Cinnamon and Honey Mask: Mix two tablespoons of raw honey, one teaspoon of coconut oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Smooth over face. Keep away from the eyes, as the cinnamon can be an irritant. Relax for 5–10 minutes and gently remove with a damp cloth. Honey and cinnamon help fight acne because of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties.
Add a few drops of tea tree oil to either of the masks above during an active acne breakout. Tea tree oil is deemed one of the best home remedies for acne.
4. Exfoliate Regularly (But Gently)
Clogged pores and dead skin both contribute to acne.
It’s important to exfoliate properly to remove buildup; however, keep in mind that commercially available scrubs are ridden with chemicals that can further irritate the skin.
DIY scrubs to fight acne and keep skin fresh are easy to make and economical.
First, you need something gritty. Sea salt, brown sugar, and ground oatmeal are good choices. Besides, you need a base.
Coconut oil, kefir, and honey are all excellent choices. These bases help fight bacteria, fungi, and candida overgrowth on the skin, while the textured ingredients help unplug pores and remove dead skin.
To make your own exfoliate, mix two tablespoons of the dry element of choice with 1–2 tablespoons of the base of choice.
Rub into skin in a circular motion. Start at the forehead and work your way down, paying particular attention to problem areas. Remove with a damp cloth and rinse thoroughly.
5. Spot Treat with Tea Tree Oil
Acne responds well to melaleuca, more commonly known as tea tree oil. It’s used the world over as an antiseptic and to treat wounds. Like coconut oil, honey, and cultured milk products, it fights bacteria and fungi.
According to medical research, tea tree oil gels containing 5 percent tea tree oil may be as effective as medications containing 5 percent benzoyl peroxide.
Researchers indicate that tea tree oil may work more slowly for some individuals, so try to be patient.
To make a simple home remedy for acne using tea tree oil, mix 4–8 drops of tea tree oil and one teaspoon of coconut oil or jojoba oil.
Dap lightly onto the problem areas. Slight tingling is normal, but if the application causes lots of burning, then discontinue use.
Always use a carrier oil, as tea tree oil can be too harsh when applied directly to the skin.
You can also use other substances on the skin to reduce inflammation, like chamomile crude oil and aloe vera.
These may particularly be helpful when your skin is irritated on account of working with products that contain salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or perhaps both.
These can especially be beneficial if your skin is irritated due to using products containing salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or both.
6. Fight Bacteria With Holy Basil
According to a report posted in the International Journal of Cosmetic Sciences, holy basil and sweet basil essential oils are already discovered fighting pimples brought on by bacteria.
In this particular research, sweet basil oil somewhat outperformed holy basil oil in topical applications.
Holy basil oil tea, and Tulsi tea, supports good blood glucose and hormone levels.
As these 2 circumstances are associated with pimples, consuming organic tea regularly helps balance hormones naturally combat acne from the inside out, making this particular one of the greatest cross over home treatments for cystic acne.
Additionally, Holy basil tea could be put on topically to the skin as a toner, serving as an additional of the countless home treatments for cystic acne.
Either sweet basil and/or holy basil essential oils may also be put into the masks, cleansers, or perhaps exfoliating dishes mentioned above.
In contrast to popular belief, acne-prone skin still has to be moisturized.
Using topicals that concentrate on becoming dry, the epidermis tricks the skin into creating more oil, therefore adding clogged pores and acne.
What is the best product for acne if you have dry skin? Coconut oil is one of the most versatile and healthy fats on earth.
While it can be too heavy for some skin, coconut oil is generally an excellent moisturizer.
A study published in Biomaterials found that lauric acid found in coconut oil demonstrates the most potent bacterial activity against acne caused by bacteria.
There is an increasing demand for coconut oil beauty products because the lauric acid, antioxidants, and medium-chain fatty acids hydrate and restore skin and hair.
To make a homemade daily skin moisturizer, warm ¼ teaspoon of coconut oil in the palms of your hands. Smooth over your cleansed face and neck.
Allow soaking into the skin for five minutes. Gently wipe off excess fat with a dry cloth. The amount that has been absorbed is all your skin needs, but any excess may cause a breakout.
8. Avoid Too Much Sun Exposure
For acne-prone skin during breakouts, it’s essential to protect against sun exposure. Ultraviolet rays stimulate pigment-producing cells, increasing the risk of acne scarring.
The best option is to use natural sunscreens to get an appropriate amount of direct sun exposure daily (about 15–20 minutes most days).
Commercial sunscreens are packed with harmful chemicals that can irritate sensitive skin and acne-prone skin.
Research shows that coconut oil has an SPF value of 8, as does olive oil.
To use sun protection, put a reasonable quantity of exposed skin every few hours and stay away from spending more than time in strong sunlight during the good time, and that is approximately ten am 3 pm daily.
9. Take a Probiotic Supplement
Remember, fighting acne requires both external treatment and internal treatment. Live probiotics support healthy digestion and immune system functioning, plus improves skin health by fighting acne.
According to a recent study published in the Dermatology Online Journal, researchers indicate that probiotic foods and supplements are promising and safe home remedies for acne.
The research shows that more extensive trials are still needed, but evidence thus far promises to use probiotics to improve gut health and fight acne.
10. Take Guggul
For individuals suffering from the cystic form of acne, a controlled clinical trial has found that Guggul supplements (also known as guggulsterone) outperformed 500 milligrams of tetracycline by a small margin.
In the study, 25 milligrams of guggulsterone taken twice daily for three months resulted in the reduction of acne, but more importantly,
50 percent fewer participants had acne relapses. Researchers noted that patients with oily skin responded remarkably better to guggul than others in the study.
11. Eat A Healthy, Low-Glycemic Index Diet
There’s evidence that eating a low glycemic diet, meaning one that doesn’t include lots of processed grains/flour products and adds sugar, is one the best home remedies for acne because it can help prevent it.
The Glycemic index measures how quickly foods raise blood sugar. Like those familiar in the Western diet, processed and refined foods are high-glycemic, while meats and whole plant foods are low on the glycemic scale.
Glycemic load is a measure of glycemic index times carbohydrates minus fiber. Most of the time, refined and processed food will have a high glycemic index AND high glycemic load, while certain vegetables will have a higher glycemic index but a very low glycemic load on the body.
In 2007, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that glycemic load can significantly affect acne.
Forty-three males with acne, aged 15 to 25, were separated into two groups.
For 12 weeks, one particular group ate a twenty-five % protein diet regime and forty-five % low glycemic carbohydrates.
The other group ate carbs with no command of the glycemic index, leading to a greater glycemic diet.
After the research, the pimples had decreased in the low glycemic group by nearly two times the high glycemic group rate!
At the end of the study, the acne had decreased in the low-glycemic group by almost twice the high-glycemic group rate!
As part of the protocol to treat acne from the inside out, it’s essential to eat foods that don’t cause blood sugar spikes or increased inflammation. Here are tips for following an acne-free diet:
- Focus on eating lots of leafy green vegetables, berries, and clean protein.
- Increase consumption of wild fish, grass-fed meat, and cage-free chickens.
- Healthy fats are essential to good skin health and treating acne breakouts at home, including foods rich in omega-3s like wild-caught salmon.
- Add zinc-rich foods such as kefir, yogurt, lamb, pumpkin seeds, and chicken. According to a recent study published in BioMed Research International, there is a correlation between low zinc levels and acne severity. (18)
- Eat more high fiber foods since fiber found in vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds supports cleansing the colon and growth of good bacteria in the gut.
- Add vitamin A-rich foods to your diet, including spinach, carrots, and beef liver.
Foods to avoid for acne-free skin include hydrogenated oils, gluten, wheat, sugar, and conventional cow’s milk dairy products.
- If you must have your dairy milk, consume goat’s milk or raw milk, as researchers have found that conventional milk products can contribute to acne. (19) In addition to conventional dairy, it’s important to exclude known allergens or foods you have a sensitivity to — common food allergens include gluten, tree nuts, soy, peanuts, and shellfish.
- Sugar and carbohydrate-rich foods — Consuming excess amounts of sugar and grain products can feed yeast and candida in the body, increasing acne.
- Gluten and wheat — These foods cause inflammation of the gut, which also affects the skin.
- Chocolate — Is high in compounds that can trigger acne. Eliminate chocolate if possible, but if you consume it, make sure it’s pure dark chocolate.
- Fried and fast foods contain several ingredients that cause inflammation, including hydrogenated oils, sodium, chemicals, flavorings, and sugar.
- Hydrogenated oils — Causes oily skin and are one of the leading causes of acne. Hydrogenated oils can be found in foods like pizza and packaged foods containing soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, and vegetable oil.
12. Use Essential Oils to Reduce Acne Scars
If you’ve ever suffered from acne in the past, then you’re probably wondering how to get rid of acne scars that can remain for months or even years.
Treating acne scars takes patience and perseverance. The sooner you start treating an injury, the better the possible results.
The vast majority of individuals who get acne will experience some degree of scarring.
The most important thing you can do to prevent scarring? During a breakout, never pick or pop pimples, whiteheads, or blackheads!
For 6–12 months after an acne breakout, stay out of the sun as much as possible to avoid making dark spots and scars worse.
When you are in the sun, use an all-natural sunscreen to protect the skin.
If injuries do develop, dot a drop of rosehip seed oil or carrot seed oil on the blemishes twice per day until you notice a difference in the damage.
Coconut oil, lavender essential oil, honey, and gentle exfoliation can also help prevent injuries, depending on your skin tone and texture.
To naturally help treat acne scars, you can make a paste of raw honey, lavender essential oil, tea tree oil, and frankincense oil. Check out my recipe for a homemade acne scar removal face mask.
Related: How to Use a Konjac Sponge (+ the Benefits for Skin)
Precautions Regarding Acne Treatments
Acne will sometimes go away on its own with time, especially if you get acne as a teenager or during a stressful period of your life.
But if you’re suffering from ongoing cystic acne, then it’s best to visit a doctor for help since this usually points to a bigger problem.
Big, inflamed, painful cysts under your skin indicate that an underlying health problem may be to blame, such as PCOS, a thyroid problem, etc.
Talk to your doctor about potential causes and ways to treat acne holistically, depending on your unique situation.
Final Thoughts on Home Remedies for Acne & Acne Scars
- Acne (acne vulgaris) describes several different skin conditions that cause acne symptoms like whiteheads, blackheads, papules, pustules, cysts, and discoloration or scars.
- Causes of acne include clogged cores, bacterial infections, hormonal imbalances or fluctuations, inflammation, a poor diet, stress and lack of sleep,
- Some of the top home remedies for acne and acne scars are gently cleansing skin, toning, moisturizing, balancing hormones, protecting skin from sun damage, using essential oils, and eating a healthy diet.
- After you have gotten rid of acne using home remedies for acne, it’s necessary to stick with a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, keep up with your new skincare routine and change your pillowcase every week to prevent breakouts from returning.