Looking for home remedies for acne? Beware! Not all "Pinteresting" solutions are created equally and some, such as putting lemon juice on your face (which can cause severe burns), can be downright dangerous. One of the easiest ways to ease the symptoms of acne is to switch to a Clean diet and include an easy-to-digest liquid breakfast every day.
Acne can be a frustrating and complex skin condition. The beauty and skin care industry has created a billion dollar business on selling us solutions for problem skin -- but we don’t have to spend a fortune to get clear skin! We can find relief from acne with simple, natural products that may already be in our kitchen cabinets.
Home Remedies for Acne That Do NOT Work
There are a lot of myths around home remedies for acne, here are a few that you should definitely not try at home:
- Lemon: Lemon is touted as being antiseptic and brightening, which is true -- for your kitchen counter. As a skin care product lemon is far too acidic, irritating the skin and upsetting your skin’s pH balance. Not to mention, this acidity could actually burn your skin. Save the lemons for your tea, and keep them off of your face.
- Sugar: This is a DIY skin care scrub to avoid. As we explained above, these physical exfoliants can irritate and inflame the skin when their large jagged edges, scratch the skin, and actually cause microtears in the epidermis. Avoid refined sugars in your food and your skin care.
- Baking Soda: This powder is too rough to use as a scrub and way too alkaline to be put on the skin, upsetting pH balance and disturbing the moisture barrier that protects the skin. Baking soda has amazing antiseptic properties, but it is better to use it as a cleaning agent for your sink than your skin.
- Toothpaste: One of the oldest home remedies for acne is the myth that toothpaste can be used as a spot treatment. The truth is that toothpaste is full of irritants that will only make your blemishes more red and inflamed. Stick with our suggestions above for spot treatments and keep the toothpaste on your teeth.
Home Remedies for Acne That DO Work
Many common conventional acne treatments are too harsh for the skin. Acne targeted cleansers, spot treatments and astringents are overly drying and can be irritating, increasing oil production and inflammation -- not awesome for acne. The best home remedies for acne are gentle enough to maintain the integrity of your skin, but can still do some serious work on pimples. Here are our favorite home solutions for acne:
- Honey: A hydrating superfood with antibacterial properties, when used topically honey does double duty in the skin department to keep skin plump, glowing and acne-free. Honey is our favorite base for powerful treatment masks and can also be used as a gentle cleanser.
- Papaya: Blemishes are a result of clogged pores, usually a mixture of oil, bacteria and dead skin cells. Exfoliating to remove this buildup is helpful with acne, but physical exfoliants like scrubs and the Clarisonic can irritate already red, inflamed skin. Instead, using an active exfoliant like fruit enzymes in papaya will gently clear pores without further irritating red skin.
Use it once a week in a treatment mask: either fresh mashed papaya or a papaya powder, mixed with honey. If you have dry skin, add organic yogurt to the mix for extra exfoliation and intense moisture. Leave on for no more than 10 minutes.
- Aspirin: One of the more unexpected home remedies for acne, aspirin provides a natural source of bacteria-fighting salicylic acid, as well as anti-inflammatory and gentle exfoliating properties. Uncoated aspirin tablets can be dissolved in water and used as a spot treatment for pimples or mixed with honey and used as an occasional face mask.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: This antibacterial health tonic can also be used on the skin as a clarifying toner. When used correctly, apple cider vinegar helps to support the skin’s natural pH, regulate oil production and kill acne-causing bacteria. Dilute 1 part apple cider vinegar (ACV) to 3 parts water and spritz or pat on with a soaked cotton pad after cleansing. For folks with sensitive skin, try mixing 1 part ACV with 3 parts rose water or a soothing tea like chamomile. Never apply undiluted ACV to the skin.
- Green Tea: Studies have shown that topical use of green tea can have a big impact on acne by reducing sebum/oil production and reducing inflammation. Green tea is also very antioxidant-rich and the skin loves antioxidants. Using antioxidants on the skin like green tea, papaya (rich in Vitamin C), and Vitamin E oil help to prevent the oxidation of sebum which is a major contributor to acne.
You can incorporate green tea into your skin care routine by using fresh brewed green tea as a toner or make a face mask using matcha.
- Lavender & Tea Tree Essential Oil: These antibacterial, anti-inflammatory essential oils are powerful spot treatments for pimples. They are very strong, so they should be diluted with water, witch hazel or a carrier oil like jojoba or grapeseed oil. Spot test on your inner arm first to make sure you’re not sensitive to essential oil
Whole Body Acne Prevention
What we put on our skin is important but remember that it is only one piece of the acne puzzle. Stress, hormones, and diet are also major contributors to acne-prone skin. One of the best home remedies for acne is on your plate. Choosing foods to feed and support your skin, and using tools like the 21-Day Clean Program to identify food triggers are key in fighting acne. Stay tuned, we’ll be exploring the best foods for healthy skin in the next article in our acne series.