Treat Acne At Home: 18 Natural Remedies

Acne bumps and sores may get better with certain home remedies. Some things you can do to treat acne at home include using gentle herbal creams and gels, essential oils, natural supplements, and making changes to your lifestyle.
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18 ways to treat acne at home
Some natural treatments may help reduce inflammation and breakouts caused by acne.

Acne happens when pores get clogged up or bacteria gets into them. Acne is a common skin problem in the United States. About 50 million people in the country have it.

People can use certain remedies to treat acne at home, help keep the oil levels of their skin in balance, reduce inflammation, kill bacteria, and stop acne from coming back.

Most home remedies, on the other hand, don’t have much scientific proof that they work. This article talks about what people know about some home remedies that may help them.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not test home remedies for safety and effectiveness, so be careful about using them instead of going to a doctor. It is always best to talk to a doctor about your symptoms and the different ways to treat acne at home.

How To Treat Acne At Home

Herbal extracts are used in many of the most popular home remedies to get rid of acne fast. Many of these extracts are also used in traditional medicine.

Below, we talk about the best remedies to treat acne at home, what research says about them, and how making changes to your lifestyle can help.

If someone wants to try a topical treatment, they should talk to a dermatologist first or do a patch test by putting a small amount of the treatment on their wrist or hand to see if their skin reacts to it.

1. Tea tree essential oil

Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, which means it might kill P. acnes, the bacteria that causes acne.

Because tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory properties, it can also help make pimples less red and swollen.

A review study from 2019 looked at the evidence we already had about tea tree oil and acne. Because tea trees are antimicrobial, the researchers found that tea tree oil products can help people with acne have fewer sores.

This same review also talked about research that showed after 8 weeks of using tea tree oil facial products, the number of acne lesions in study participants went down from 23.7 to 10.7.

How to use: Tea tree extract can be put on acne in the form of creams, gels, or essential oils. A 2016 review article, on the other hand, says that some people can have allergic reactions to tea tree oil and that people should use tea tree oil products with less than 5% concentration to avoid skin irritation.

Even though research suggests that essential oils may have some health benefits, it is important to remember that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not check or regulate the purity or quality of these. Before using essential oils, a person should talk to a doctor or nurse and do research to find out how good a brand’s products are. A person should always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.

2. Jojoba oil

Jojoba oil is made from the seeds of the jojoba shrub, which are waxy and natural.

Jojoba oil has waxy substances that may help repair damaged skin and speed up the healing of wounds and acne lesions.

Some of the chemicals in jojoba oil might help reduce inflammation in the skin. This could make pimples, whiteheads, and other irritated lesions less red and swollen.

In a study done in 2012, 133 people were given clay face masks with jojoba oil. When people used the masks twice or three times a week for six weeks, their acne improved by 54%.

How to use: Use jojoba essential oil on acne by mixing it with a gel, cream, or clay face mask. If that doesn’t work, put a few drops of jojoba oil on a cotton pad and gently rub it over the acne.

3. Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, which means it may make acne look less bad and stop it from getting worse.

Aloe vera has sugar molecules, amino acids, and zinc, which make it a great way to protect and moisturize the skin. It works especially well for people whose skin gets dry from other acne treatments.

In a study done in 2021, researchers found that the number of bumps, sores, and patches of dry skin went down when aloe vera was used with ultrasound and soft masks.

How to use: After washing with soap, a person with acne should put a thin layer of cream or gel on the sores twice a day.

4. Honey

Honey has been used to treat skin problems for thousands of years. It has a lot of antioxidants that can help clear out clogged pores.

There is evidence that honey has some antimicrobial effects, but a 2016 review did not find strong evidence that honey helps treat acne at home.

How to use: Rub a little honey into the pimples with a clean finger or a cotton pad. If not, add honey to a mask for your face or body.

5. Zinc

Zinc is often recommended as a way to reduce acne lesions and redness because it can stop inflammation.

A 2021 article says that research on zinc’s effectiveness is mixed. But a person can get better results when they put the supplement on their skin directly. The reason is that when you take a supplement by mouth, some of it breaks down during digestion and may lose some of its effectiveness.

How to use: Zinc can be put on the skin or taken in the form of a supplement.

6. Green tea

Green tea has a lot of antioxidants called catechins, which are a type of polyphenol.

Some people with acne have too much sebum, which is natural body oil, and not enough antioxidants in their pores. Antioxidants help the body get rid of chemicals and waste that can hurt cells.

There are also chemicals in green tea that may help:

  • Reduce the amount of oil your skin produces.
  • Cut down on P. acnes. 
  • Lessen the pain and swelling.

How to use: People can drink green tea or put green tea extract on their skin, but researchers say there isn’t a lot of evidence for either one right now.

One 2017 study, on the other hand, found that using a polyphenol green tea extract for 8 weeks cut whiteheads and blackheads by 79–89%.

Green tea can be found in most grocery stores. Green tea extract is harder to find, but you can buy it online or at some health food stores.

7. Echinacea

Echinacea, which is also called purple coneflower, may have chemicals in it that kill viruses and bacteria, including P. acnes.

Many people think that echinacea can boost the immune system and reduce inflammation to help fight infections like colds and flu or stop them from happening. There is some evidence that echinacea can stop the spread of P. acnes and reduce inflammation caused by bacteria, but there isn’t much research on it right now.

How to use: Acne spots can be covered with echinacea creams, or echinacea supplements can be taken by mouth. You can buy supplements or creams with echinacea at health food stores or online.

8. Rosemary

Rosemary extract, also called Rosmarinus officinalis, is made up of chemicals and compounds that fight inflammation, bacteria, and free radicals.

More research needs to be done to figure out how well it works.

But a 2016 research article suggested that P. acnes-causing bacteria can cause inflammation. Rosemary extract could help reduce this inflammation.

9. Purified bee venom

Bee venom that has been cleaned has antibacterial properties, but it is not easy to get.

In a 2016 study, people with mild to moderate acne who used a gel with purified bee venom on their faces for 6 weeks saw their acne get better.

Even though more research needs to be done, purified bee venom could be a useful ingredient in acne medicines in the future.

10. Coconut oil

Like some of the other natural remedies on this list, coconut oil has compounds that reduce inflammation and kill bacteria.

Because of these qualities, coconut oil may help kill bacteria that cause acne and make pimples less red and swollen. Coconut oil may help open acne sores heal faster because it is soothing and keeps the skin moist. But there isn’t much research on coconut oil as a way to treat acne at home.

How to use: Try rubbing pure, unrefined coconut oil right on the acne. Look in the natural foods section of grocery stores or online for coconut oil.

11. Aspirin

Most of the time, aspirin is used to treat pain, but if you crush it into a paste, you can use it to treat acne at home. Aspirin, which is also called acetylsalicylic acid, is chemically similar to salicylic acid, which is often used to treat acne at home.

Aspirin has strong anti-inflammatory properties like salicylic acid, which can help reduce swelling and redness caused by inflammation. However, aspirin doesn’t work as well as salicylic acid at getting rid of oil and sloughing off dead skin, Zeicher says.

Even though salicylic acid might be best, experts say that aspirin can help if you don’t have any stronger treatments on hand.

How to use: To use aspirin for acne, crush up two or three pills and mix the powder with water until it forms a paste. Put this paste on any spots, wait about 10 to 15 minutes, and then wash your skin with water.

12. Rose water

Rose water is a beauty product that has been used for a long time and has many uses, such as making your skin look better and reducing the appearance of acne.

Acne is caused in large part by inflammation. Rose petal extract has been shown to make the skin less red and swollen.

A study from 2015 also found that an extract from rose petals has some antibacterial properties. Another 2015 study showed that it was effective against Cutibacterium acnes, a bacterium that can cause inflammation and acne (C. acnes).

How to use: Rose water can be used as a toner by dabbing it on your face with a cotton ball or spraying it on with a spray bottle.

13. Basil

A paper published in 2018 said that sweet basil was a good anti-inflammatory and antioxidant that could be used in skin creams to treat acne at home.

A 2019 study found that the C. acnes bacteria can be killed by the antibacterial effects of sweet basil essential oil. Other kinds of basil, such as holy basil and Thai basil, were also found to kill germs.

How to use: Crushed fresh basil leaves can be used to make a tea that can be used as a toner at home. You can also make a paste out of basil leaves and put it on your face like a mask. Before you put basil essential oil on your skin, you should mix it with a carrier oil first.

14. Spearmint tea

Spearmint tea might help get rid of acne caused by hormones.

People have said that drinking spearmint tea can help get rid of hormonal breakouts. Even though there isn’t much research on how spearmint tea affects acne, it has been shown to lower hormones that can cause acne. Researchers have found that too much of a group of hormones called androgens, which includes testosterone, makes the skin produce more sebum.

Hormonal acne often shows up around the mouth and jawline, and it can show up when a woman is having her period.

A 2019 study found that the levels of testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S) may affect how bad acne is. The study also found that hormonal treatments that focus on androgens and their receptors in the skin may be effective at treating this type of acne.

In a randomized controlled trial done in 2010 on women with polycystic ovary syndrome, drinking spearmint tea decreased the amount of testosterone in the women. But it has not been found that spearmint tea lowers DHEA-S levels.

How to use: Drink two cups of spearmint tea every day for at least a month to see if it helps your hormonal acne. Talk to your doctor before starting this routine if you take any medications, especially ones that affect your hormones (like the birth control pill).

15. Grapes

Grapes are a refreshing snack that can be eaten on their own, cut in half and added to a salad, or frozen and eaten as a healthy dessert. But when you think of acne treatments, you probably don’t think of grapes.

Yet, an article from April 2016 in the journal Advances in Dermatology and Allergology says that the resveratrol in the skin of red grapes may kill Cutibacterium acnes. C. acnes is a type of bacteria found in the sebaceous glands. It used to be called Propionibacterium acnes. (2)

How to use: So grab a few fresh grapes from the fridge and you have a simple way to clean your face. For example, Fran E. Cook-Bolden, MD, a dermatologist in New York City, says to cut two or three grapes in half and rub the flesh all over your face and neck. Then rinse with cool water.

16. Cucumber

If you’ve ever been to a spa, you’ve probably had cucumber slices put on your eyes to reduce puffiness, and they may not be a fake treatment.

A review from the past says that cucumbers can make the skin feel better by calming irritation, swelling, and pain. Because of this, they might be able to reduce the inflammation caused by acne.

Dr. Zeichner says that acne happens when the oil gland and hair follicle become inflamed. This causes red, angry bumps on the skin. When acne gets deep into the skin, a lump called a cyst may form and fill with oil. “A strong inflammatory reaction often happens if the cyst wall breaks and the oil gets into the deeper layers of skin,” he says.

How can cucumbers help?

“Cucumbers can calm and hydrate the skin, so if your skin is red and inflamed from acne, they may help a little bit,” says Zeichner. But he warns that they won’t work to get rid of the pimples underneath.

How to use: “Mix together one small cucumber and one cup of oatmeal to make a paste,” says Dr. Cook-Bolden. Mix 1 teaspoon (1 tsp) of this paste with 1 tsp of yogurt and put it on your face. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then wash it off.

17. Oatmeal

According to research published in January 2015 in the Journal of Drugs and Dermatology, oatmeal’s anti-inflammatory properties make it naturally soothing. It may also help relieve irritation caused by skin conditions like rashes, erythema, burns, itches, and eczema.

Zeichner says that oatmeal can protect the skin, keep it moist, and reduce inflammation. “It doesn’t help with acne in particular, but it can soothe dry, irritated skin.” I often suggest oat-based moisturizers to my patients who use acne treatments that can be irritating,” he adds.

How to use: Mix 2 teaspoons of oatmeal, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and as much water as you need to make a paste. Spread the paste over your whole face and rub it in gently. After that, give it a good rinse.

18. Turmeric

Cook-Bolden says that before their wedding, Indian brides use a turmeric mask to make their skin look beautiful. A review published in August 2016 in Phytotherapy Research says that this is likely because the spice has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties and can make skin conditions like acne, alopecia, atopic dermatitis, oral lichen planus, pruritus, and psoriasis much better.

You can get the ingredients for this acne treatment at spice shops and stores that sell foods from other cultures.

How to use: Mix together 1/2 cup of chickpea flour, 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder, 2 teaspoons of sandalwood powder, and 2 teaspoons of ghee (clarified butter) or almond oil. Add enough water to make a paste. Cook-Bolden says to put it on and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes. “Press down on the paste with your palms and fingers to get rid of it all.” Use water to wash it well.

In Conclusion

In the US, acne is the most common skin problem.

There are a lot of products made to treat acne at home, but there are also some good home remedies that can make it look better and help clear it up.

Tea tree oil and aspirin that has been crushed can be used to treat acne at home. As a toner, green tea or rose water can also help clear up acne and keep it from happening. Aloe vera is also a good way to treat acne, especially when used with retinoids or other treatments.

Even though there isn’t much research on it, spearmint tea may help balance the hormones that cause breakouts and help clear the skin.

Making sure you get enough zinc and eating a diet low in processed foods can also help fight the inflammation that causes acne and improve your skin from the inside out.

If you have severe acne or home remedies aren’t working, you can see a dermatologist to find out what over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription treatments they recommend.


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