7 Natural Remedies For Acne You Need To Know
Dr. Hamza A. Khan – MBBS
While for some people, Acne is just a phase in their life, for others, it presents as a continuous health challenge. It can be stubborn to eliminate and may persist for a long-time. Acne is a chronic inflammatory condition that occurs when pores in your skin get clogged with oil, dead bacteria, or skin cells.
Although many conventional products claim to treat Acne, these do not offer a permanent cure, unfortunately, but rather just temporary management of symptoms. If you have a similar story, are tired of using expensive products, or just researching different ways to manage your condition, natural remedies may offer a good alternative.
Natural remedies help reduce inflammation, keep skin clean, reduce oil production, kill bacteria and microbes or work in other ways to show their effects. In fact, nearly 77 percent of people with acne report using alternative remedies to manage their condition (1).
This article discusses various evidence-based home remedies that may not only treat your existing acne but also prevent future breakouts.
1. Apply Tea Tree Oil To Your Skin
Tea tree oil is one of the most effective natural remedies to treat acne. According to 2018 research, it might be better at reducing acne lesions and scars than the erythromycin cream — a prescription medication used to treat acne (2). To add more, a 2019 review of the literature showed that tea tree oil has strong antimicrobial properties and significantly reduces acne lesions and sores (3).
In addition, a 2019 study showed that participants showed more adherence to tea tree oil herbal extracts because of less dryness and irritation compared to 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxidase — another medication that kills bacteria and treats acne (4). However, essential oils are not monitored or regulated like medications, and you should always be aware of the risks. If possible, consult a medical professional before using essential oils.
2. Make A Turmeric Mask
Turmeric is a traditional Indian spice that has many benefits for the body. It exerts its effects through the powerful compound curcumin, which also gives turmeric its yellow-orange tinge. Besides its antimicrobial benefits, its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are what make turmeric useful against acne (5).
A 2016 review of the literature suggests that early evidence of turmeric use — be it oral intake or in the form of a skin mask — against various skin conditions like acne is promising (6). Although more research is needed to reach conclusive results, current evidence makes turmeric an excellent natural remedy since it not only improves acne but is free of harmful effects as well (7).
The only catch here is that topical application of turmeric may turn your skin yellow to orange for some time. However, it is not permanent and you can get rid of this discoloration with soap and warm water.
3. Take Green Tea
Green tea is loaded with a group of antioxidants known as polyphenols, making it an excellent remedy for conditions involving inflammation. According to a 2017 literature review, polyphenol extracts from green tea, and other tea significantly reduce sebum (an oily substance) secretion and treat acne vulgaris — a type of Acne that occurs when oil or dead skin cells clog the hair follicles (8).
In a 2013 study, 80 women received either green tea extract or the placebo (cellulose) daily. After four weeks, women who received green tea extracts experienced a significant reduction in acne lesions on the nose, chin, and around the mouth compared with the placebo group (9). In addition, a 2020 review of clinical trials notes that oral intake of green tea extracts is not as effective as a topical application in reducing acne lesions (10).
Unfortunately, green tea extracts for skin application can be challenging to find. However, you can drink green tea in the meanwhile to put yourself on track.
4. Use Honey
Honey is a traditional natural remedy for many health conditions, including acne. It has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it useful for skincare (11). According to research published in 2017, honey, especially in combination with the extracts of cinnamon bark, exerts antimicrobial effects against P. Acnes — the primary bacteria that causes inflammation and leads to acne (12).
Similarly, a 2020 study supported the claims that honey not only blocks the growth of P. Acnes but also kills it effectively (13). However, using honey does not mean you will get rid of your acne, as acne can have many different causes.
5. Apply Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar might be an effective natural remedy against acne. Plenty of research suggests it is very effective against many bacteria and fungi found on the skin, like Staph. Aureus (14) (15). Thus, reducing the likelihood of acne breakouts. Furthermore, apple cider vinegar is rich in organic acids like citric acid and lactic acid. According to research, citric acid kills P. Acnes, and lactic acid improves acne scars (16) (17).
However, know that apple cider vinegar may irritate your skin. In addition, there is no conclusive evidence on whether it is effective against acne or not, and as a result, some dermatologists do not recommend its use.
6. Take Omega-three Supplements
Omega 3 supplements benefit nearly all body systems; as a result, you may see every other health article talking about them. Plenty of evidence suggests that omega-three fats are effective against inflammatory acne, especially in mild to moderate cases (18) (19).
Furthermore, a study involving 45 participants showed that supplementation with omega-3 fats significantly decreased both; the inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne lesions in the study group compared with the control group (20). In addition, a 2019 study suggests that omega-3 fats decrease inflammatory mediators, thus reducing the risk of acne (21).
Thus, giving omega-three supplements a shot is not a bad idea, as these not only improve skin health but also have countless benefits for the rest of the body.
7. Give Liquid Chlorophyll A Shot
Chlorophyll is a naturally occurring pigment that gives plants their green color. While social media, especially Tiktok, is flooded with miraculous claims of chlorophyll treating acne, there is no conclusive evidence. However, initial research seems promising, and chlorophyll may prove an effective natural remedy against acne. Lab research suggests chlorophyll may have antimicrobial properties against P. Acnes (1).
In addition, a 2014 study involving 24 participants compared the efficacy of topical application of chlorophyll-a in combination with blue and red light phototherapy on one side of the face to only phototherapy on the other. After eight sessions over four weeks, the number of acne lesions, their severity, and sebum production were significantly less on the side treated with chlorophyll-a and phototherapy compared with the side treated with only phototherapy (1).
7. Make Use Of Aloe Vera Gel
Besides aloe vera’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, it also contains salicylic acid — a medication used extensively in acne treatment (22). It is also rich in essential amino acids and minerals like zinc, which help reduce acne breakouts (23). Furthermore, like tea tree oil, aloe vera application to the skin also provides better results than erythromycin (24).
According to 2021 research, aloe vera gel, in combination with ultrasound and soft mask applications, reduces acne lesions, bumps, and scars from mild to severe cases of acne (25). Aloe vera is an excellent moisturizer, especially if the skin gets dry from other anti-acne products. Make sure you apply aloe vera cream or gel twice daily to get the benefits.
Unfortunately, no one knows which natural remedy for Acne provides the most benefits. And you may have to try out many before you find the one that works for you. Although the process of finding the right natural remedy can be frustrating, finding a solution to your acne problem is always worth the effort.