15 home remedies for acne

15 home remedies for acne

Some of the most popular home remedies for acne involve natural herbal extracts, many of which traditional medicine practitioners may use.

Below, we discuss the best home remedies for acne, what the research says, and lifestyle changes that can help.

If an individual is interested in trying certain topical remedies, it is a good idea to talk with a dermatologist before applying the topical remedy directly to the skin, or do a patch test first, which consists of putting a small amount of the topical treatment on the wrist or hand to test for skin reactions.

1. Tea tree oil

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

Tea tree oil’s anti-inflammatory properties mean that it can also help reduce the swelling and redness of pimples.

A 2019 review study looked at the existing evidence for tea tree oil and acne. The researchers found that tea tree oil products can reduce the number of acne sores in people because of tea trees’ antimicrobial capabilities.

This same review also noted research showing the total number of acne lesions of study participants was reduced from 23.7 to 10.7 after 8 weeks of using tea tree oil facial products.

How to use tea tree oil

People can apply tea tree extract to their acne in creams, gels, or essential oils. However, a 2016 review article points out that tea tree oil can cause allergic reactions in some individuals, and suggests people use tea tree oil products under 5%Trusted Source concentration to avoid skin irritation.

Although research suggests that essential oils may have some health benefits, it is important to remember that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor or regulate the purity or quality of these. A person should talk with a healthcare professional before using essential oils, and they should be sure to research the quality of a brand’s products. A person should always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.

2. Jojoba oil

Jojoba oil is a natural, waxy substance extracted from the seeds of the jojoba shrub.

The waxy substances in jojoba oil may help repair damaged skin, which may also help speed up wound healing, including acne lesions.

Some of the compounds in jojoba oil might help reduce skin inflammation, which may reduce redness and swell around pimples, whiteheads, and other inflamed lesions.

In a 2012 study, researchers gave 133 people clay face masks that contained jojoba oil. After 6 weeks of using the masks two to three times per week, people reported a 54% improvement in acne.

How to use jojoba oil

Try mixing jojoba essential oil with a gel, cream, or clay face mask and apply it to acne. Otherwise, place a few drops of jojoba oil on a cotton pad and rub this gently over acne sores.

3. Aloe vera

Aloe vera is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, meaning it may reduce the appearance of acne and prevent acne breakouts.

Aloe vera contains sugar molecules, amino acids, and zinc, making it an excellent skin moisturizer and protectant. It is especially suitable for people who get dry skin from other anti-acne products.

In a 2021 studyTrusted Source, researchers determined that the number of bumps, lesions, and dry skin lowered when using aloe vera combined with ultrasound and soft mask applications.

How to use aloe vera gel

An individual should clean acne sores and then apply a thin layer of cream or gel twice daily after cleansing with soap.

4. Honey

For thousands of years, honey has treated skin conditions because it contains many antioxidants that can help to clear clogged pores.

However, while there is evidence that honey has specific antimicrobial effects, a 2016 reviewTrusted Source did not find strong evidence for honey’s effect on acne specifically.

How to use honey

Using a clean finger or cotton pad, rub a little honey into pimples. Otherwise, add honey to a face or body mask.

5. Zinc

With its anti-inflammatory properties, zinc is often touted as a method to reduce acne lesions and redness.

According to a 2021 articleTrusted Source, research is conflicting on zinc’s effectiveness. However, a person can expect better results when applying the supplement directly to the skin. The reason is that when taken orally, some of the supplement gets broken down in the digestion process and may lose efficacy along the way.

How to use zinc

People can apply zinc topically onto the skin or take it via supplement form.

6. Green tea

Green tea contains high concentrations of a group of polyphenol antioxidants called catechins.

Some people with acne have too much sebum, or natural body oils, in their pores and not enough antioxidants. Antioxidants help the body break down chemicals and waste products that can damage healthy cells.

Green tea also contains compounds that may help to:

  • reduce the skin’s sebum production
  • reduce P. acnes
  • reduce inflammation

How to use green tea

An individual can either drink green tea or put green tea extract on their skin, though researchers say current evidence is limited.

However, one 2017 studyTrusted Source found a 79–89%Trusted Source reduction in whiteheads and blackheads after using a polyphenol green tea extract for 8 weeks.

People can find green tea in most food stores. Green tea extract is more challenging to find but available from some health stores or online.

7. Echinacea

Echinacea, also known as purple coneflower, may contain compounds that help destroy viruses and bacteria, including P. acnes.

Many people believe that echinacea can boost the immune system and reduce inflammation to fight off or prevent infections, including colds and flu. While there is some evidence that echinacea can help stop the spread of P. acnes and reverse inflammation caused by bacteria, current research is minimal.

How to use echinacea

People can apply echinacea creams to areas with acne lesions or take echinacea supplements. Echinacea products are available from health stores or online as creams or supplements.

8. Rosemary

Rosemary extract, or Rosmarinus officinalis, contains chemicals and compounds with antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Further research is needed to measure its effectiveness.However, a 2016 research article suggested that rosemary extract can reduce inflammation from the acne-causing bacteria P. acnes.

9. Purified bee venom

Although it’s not wildly available, purified bee venom contains antibacterial properties.

In a 2016 studyTrusted Source, people who applied a gel containing purified bee venom to their face for 6 weeks saw a reduction of mild to moderate acne lesions.

Though more research is needed, purified bee venom may be a beneficial future ingredient in acne medication.

10. Coconut oil

Like some other natural remedies listed, coconut oil contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds.

These properties mean that coconut oil may help eradicate acne-causing bacteria and reduce the redness and swelling of pimples. Due to its soothing and moisturizing effectsTrusted Source, coconut oil may help speed up the healing of open acne sores. However, focused research on coconut oil as an acne deterrent is lacking.

How to use coconut oil

Try rubbing pure, virgin coconut oil directly into the area with acne. Look for coconut oil in the natural foods section of grocery stores or online.

Along with home remedies, specific lifestyle changes can have a powerful effect on keeping the body healthy, making the skin less oily, and reducing acne flare-ups.

11. Avoid touching pimples

It can be very tempting, but touching acne sores will irritate the skin, may make the pimple worse, and can spread pimples to other areas.

Touching, rubbing, squeezing, or popping acne sores can also introduce more bacteria into the lesion, causing further infection. Squishing a pimple can push bacteria and debris further into the skin, so the spot may come back worse than it was before.

Talk with a doctor about large sores or those deep under the skin to find out how to treat them safely.

12. Choosing the right cleanser

Many regular soaps have an acidity, or pH, that is too high and can irritate the skin, making acne worse.

Choose mild cleansers, rinses, and washes to reduce the risk of acne flare-ups and let sores heal.

13. Using oil-free skin care

Oil-based or greasy products can block pores, increasing the risk of clogged and growing acne sores.

Look for skin care products and cosmetics labeled as “oil-free” or “noncomedogenic,” which contain ingredients that allow pores to breathe.

14. Staying hydrated

When the skin is dry, it can become irritated or damaged, which can make acne worse. Staying hydrated also ensures new skin cells develop correctly as sores heal.

There is no standard daily recommended water intake because each person’s water needs vary depending on age, how active they are, temperature, and any medical conditions.

Making a concentrated effort to drink more water during the day is a good starting point.

15. Reducing stress

The American Academy of Dermatology lists stress as a possible cause of acne flare-ups.

Stress causes levels of the hormone androgen to increase. Androgen stimulates hair follicles and oil glands in pores, increasing the risk of acne.

Tips for managing stress include:

  • talking with family, friends, a doctor, or other supportive people
  • getting enough sleep
  • eating a healthful, balanced diet
  • exercising regularly
  • limiting alcohol and caffeine consumption
  • practicing deep breathing, yoga, mindfulness, or meditation