5 Home Remedies for Acne That Work and 5 to Avoid

5 Home Remedies for Acne That Work and 5 to Avoid

Homemade solutions for acne can appear to be a natural and affordable way to treat acne, and oftentimes they do have certain helpful properties. However, these solutions may not be as curative as they seem.

There are certain home remedies for acne that have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. However, these ingredients only address one or two of the various causes of acne and likely won't cure your acne alone.

For that reason, if you try to use at-home remedies for pimples on your own, they may cause skin inflammation and could potentially make acne worse. That's why we recommend using certain "home remedy" natural ingredients in small doses and as part of a larger treatment plan. Learn more here.

Ingredients found in your kitchen or local supermarket like witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, fish oil, or toothpaste may have properties that can serve as acne treatments, but without careful formulation, they can actually leave your skin worse. Read on to learn which at-home remedies for pimples to use, which to avoid, and how to use home remedies responsibly.

Home Remedies as Natural Ingredients

Green Tea

Research has shown that green tea is an effective treatment of acne vulgaris. When used properly, it can:

  • Reduce skin inflammation and skin irritation

  • Help reduce sebum (oil) production

  • Act as an antioxidant

Instead of applying green tea directly to your acne at home, we recommend using green tea or green tea extract as ingredients in other products so that you can address all the causes of your acne.

For example, here at Exposed we use green tea in many of our products, such as our tonics, serums, and scrubs. We use green tea extract as one ingredient in order to reduce inflammation and make our treatment healthier for sensitive skin.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties, meaning it can assist in wound healing and disinfecting in general, and because an excess of bacteria is one cause of acne, it also may help with reducing acne.

Because tea tree oil disinfects your skin, we don't recommend using it at home, as too much of it can irritate your skin and potentially make your acne worse. That's why we typically pair tea tree oil with calming ingredients like green tea extract, so that while it disinfects your skin, other ingredients calm your skin and help prevent irritation.

Aloe Vera

Some studies have shown that aloe vera can be a useful ingredient in reducing acne, and that there are little to no side effects.

This is because aloe can speed up healing, soothe and moisturize. While we should mention that aloe alone will not get rid of acne, it can be a useful ingredient in your skin care routine, especially if your acne is caused by inflammation and dryness.

Foods High in Zinc

By consuming foods that are high in zinc, you may help clear your acne. Some studies have shown that diets rich in zinc may help with reducing breakouts.

Zinc modulates the immune response, so eating zinc-rich foods can keep your immune system from overreacting, which creates less inflammation and therefore acne.

Some foods that are high in zinc include:

  • Oysters

  • Crab

  • Lobster

  • Beef

  • Pork

  • Cashews

  • Yogurt

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Baked beans

  • Chicken

  • Oatmeal

Remember, these foods can be helpful acne treatment options when eaten- please do not apply beef directly to your skin!

Foods High in Omega 3 Fatty Acids

While more research is needed, the existing research on Omega 3 Fatty Acids is promising. These studies have shown that people suffering from acne may benefit from including more healthy oils in their diet.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids have many other benefits as well, and you can easily add them to your diet with foods like nuts, fish, fish oil, and plant oils.

It is again worth mentioning that changes in your diet in order to treat acne are best supplemented by a holistic topical acne treatment plan.


Applying honey to acne-prone skin will, at best, give you a sticky mess and, at worse, further irritate your skin.

Many bottles of honey actually have various other ingredients aside from honey, and those are the ingredients that cause irritation. Manuka honey was previously marketed as a cure-all solution, but research has shown that it is not actually effective in treating acne.


Probably one of the most popular at-home acne treatments, toothpaste is all hype and no healing. That's because toothpaste is designed for your teeth, not your skin.

Because toothpaste effectively kills the germs in your mouth, some sources have claimed it can also kill P. acnes bacteria and “dry out” acne. But your teeth are much tougher than your skin. Your teeth can withstand harsh chemicals in toothpaste such as sodium lauryl sulfate, fluoride, and baking soda, which can irritate the skin, cause inflammation, and lead to acne.

In fact, if you have acne around your mouth, your toothpaste might be causing it.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy on the Internet, but unfortunately, there’s no science to suggest it actually works. If anything, there’s proof that it could make acne worse.

The most common explanation for this vinegar’s efficacy is that its acidity helps exfoliate the skin. But in reality, it is too acidic. Although excess oil can cause acne, we still need a thin layer of oil to protect our skin from irritants, and apple cider vinegar can easily strip the skin of all oil, leaving it irritated and exposed.

Baking Soda

While apple cider vinegar is too acidic for our skin, baking soda is too basic. For that reason, baking soda can throw off the natural pH balance of your skin. As a result, baking soda can make your skin feel raw and unprotected.

Coconut Oil

While coconut oil can help soothe and moisturize your skin, it is also very likely to clog your pores causing whiteheads and blackheads. If you have acne-prone skin, we don't recommend using coconut oil.

Natural ingredients and home remedies are important for treating acne, but they aren't the whole picture. Ingredients like tea tree oil or aloe vera can be found at your local store and have properties that disinfect, heal, and hydrate skin. However, these ingredients must be combined with other, scientific ingredients.

When used effectively, the properties of natural ingredients can be harnessed to help diminish the appearance of acne without an increase in irritation. But simply applying these ingredients to your skin without a larger treatment plan in place is not effective. If used alone, not only will treatment occur at a slower rate, but there is also very little research as to how effective and safe these remedies are on their own.

Exposed Skincare utilizes natural ingredients along with other scientifically proven ingredients to provide an acne cure that really works. Proven scientific ingredients such as Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid, and Azelaic Acid are able to target the build-up of oil and bacteria and help to unclog pores and promote the shedding of dead skin cells while working side by side with home remedies like green tea extract to soothe inflammation.