Last Updated on July 22nd, 2020
Anyone who has struggled with acne understands the frustration that goes hand in hand with this common skin issue.
Acne treatments are vast and varied, from serious medications to over-the-counter topical creams. However, these cost money and often call for regular check-ups with the doctor or dermatologist.
While it’s very important to take acne treatment seriously, there are certain remedies you can try at home, with ingredients you can find in your kitchen or on your supermarket run.
Many readily available, natural ingredients offer anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and soothing properties that may help to shrink pimples and reduce acne severity from the comfort of home.
In saying that, not all home skin treatments (acne-prone or common pimples) call for slapping a kitchen product onto zits. Many home treatments for acne are based around removing certain ingredients from your diet, taking a regular supplement, or following a well-balanced over-the-counter skincare system.
This article covers a range of medically-reviewed home remedies for acne that may help to reduce the size, severity, pain, and inflammation associated with acne-prone skin. We also answer the most common questions regarding the effectiveness of toothpaste, apple cider vinegar, and tea tree oil home remedies.
Article Table of Contents
Many people fall prey to the lure of calorie-free, sugar-free diet drinks and sodas as a misguided way of staying “healthy”. However, they can seriously disrupt your gut bacteria, friendly “🐛 bugs” that help to manage acne by supporting the immune system.
Probiotics train the immune system to treat gut bacteria as non-threatening, therefore, it doesn’t attack the bugs with inflammation. This relationship extends to the skin, so the immune system treats bacteria associated with acne gently, without excessive inflammation.
Drinks and diet foods containing sucralose (under the brand name Splenda) raise the pH of your intestines, creating a hostile environment where good bacteria cannot thrive. Stick to plain carbonated water with a squeeze of lemon, or still water with mint and cucumber.
Antibiotics do a great job of making us well when we have a chest infection or UTI, and they can even help to clear up acne. However, they also kill the friendly bacteria in our gut. As previously mentioned, a well-populated gut is important for reducing inflammation associated with acne.
Taking a regular probiotic supplement will preserve your gut bacteria when taking antibiotics.
Probiotic supplements are great because they are encapsulated to protect the bacteria from passage through the digestive tract.
Exposed Skincare is an acne-focused skincare brand scientifically designed to treat, reduce, and prevent acne. As well as skincare products, they sell a probiotic complex that contains good bacteria as well as skin-loving vitamins such as Vitamins A and E.
When the skin heals after acne clears, the skin-making cells known as keratinocytes send out chemicals to dissolve packets of pigment in the skin. The melanin pigment in these melanosomes relieves inflammation and helps the skin begin the healing process. However, this process also leaves the skin darker in places, causing uneven skin tone.
Soy contains a protease inhibitor that blocks the enzyme that breaks up these packets of pigment. Eating soy-based foods while your acne is healing will reduce discoloration and spotting down the track. It only takes a small amount of soy each day to make a difference—as little as 1/2 oz (14 grams) of tofu or a dozen edamame a day is enough.
The benefits of green tea are widely known, especially when it comes to anti-aging and weight loss.
However, green tea is also a helpful home remedy for acne. Black and green tea contain an antioxidant called polyphenol that has anti-inflammatory properties as well as the ability to destroy free radicals before they can destroy your cells.
Further, green tea can also positively affect your sebum production levels, resulting in less sebum and, therefore, reduced acne. Sip 🍵 plain green tea as a daily way to wind down and relax, (stress can also inflame acne, so take a break!).
Bentonite clay skin treatments are tried and true (used by people for centuries for their detoxifying properties). Plus, a homemade bentonite clay mask is affordable and only requires two ingredients: clay and warm water. It soaks up excess sebum, kills bacteria, and draws acne-causing toxins from the pores. Other affordable and easy homemade mask ingredients that may help with acne include aloe vera (calming), oatmeal (anti-inflammatory), and honey (antimicrobial).
To make a home treatment for acne, mix bentonite clay with warm water to form a thick consistency. Apply the mixture to your face and leave to dry before washing off with warm water and washcloth.
The great thing about bentonite clay home remedies for acne is that you know exactly what you’re putting on your face, without any nasty ingredients such as alcohol or menthol which may irritate or dry your skin.
You may feel tempted to lie out in the baking sun to dry out your pimples. However, it doesn’t quite work that way, unfortunately! Too much time spend in the sun can dry out and damage your skin, causing long term repercussions.
Sun exposure can cause pore linings to shed flakes of skin, clogging the pores with sebum and dead skin cells, excellent food for acne-causing bacteria. If you are using a prescribed treatment such as Accutane or benzoyl peroxide, your skin may be more sensitive to the sun, increasing the risk of serious sun damage. For this reason, you should use a daily sunscreen and avoid prolonged sun exposure
On the flip side of this, a little sun can be beneficial for clearing up pimples. It comes down to Vitamin D, which is formed in your skin when exposed to sunlight. This vitamin is not only essential for healthy bones but it also reduces the production of oil in the pores of your skin. Aim for no more than 20 minutes of sun exposure per day to strike the perfect balance.
We all know olive oil is a healthy cooking ingredient. However, not many people know that olive oil can cleanse and rejuvenate the skin, even oily skin! This is because olive oil dissolves and removes the oil clogging your pores. Plus, olive oil is a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins that help to prevent signs of aging (why not look youthful as well as clear?).
The best way to use olive oil as an acne treatment is to use sparing amounts. After you wash and towel-dry your face, apply about 1/4 teaspoon or just 1 ml to your face as a moisturizer. Remember that your skin must be completely clean before applying olive oil, otherwise, it can seal bacteria and dirt in your pores, potentially causing more acne. What’s more, it may seal irritating chemicals into your skin from toothpaste, hair products, mouthwash, and skincare products, especially those containing known irritant Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS).
Many acne treatments can dry the skin out, leaving people with acne struggling with tight, uncomfortable, flaky skin. This can cause people to feel even more frustrated and uncomfortable in their skin, possibly even abandoning their treatment.
The solution? An acne-friendly moisturizer.
Moisturizers are more than a mere barrier to prevent dryness and flaking. In fact, they can be an important step in your skin treatments (for acne and other conditions) in their own right. Oil-free moisturizers that do not contain alcohol can keep your skin flexible and supple while preventing irritation of capillaries. Flexible skin allows the pores to drain, preventing acne breakouts, while remaining soft, hydrated, and comfortable.
Exposed Skincare offers an oil-free Moisture Complex designed to hydrated and calm acne-prone skin sing medically-reviewed ingredients. Pumpkin seed extract soothes the irritation associated with acne, while caffeine tones down redness. Green tea extract keeps oil production under control, ensuring acne breakouts are kept at bay.
Exposed Skincare features a balanced mixture of acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide to zap those zits. However, their formula also nourishes the skin to ensure it never feels tight, dry, or flaky. This differs to some popular, and very expensive, acne systems that dominate the market. For example, Proactiv is widely recognized due to lots of celebrity-based marketing. However, Proactiv reviews paint another picture, describing dry skin, high prices, and even issues with auto-billing.
Over-the-counter steroid creams such as Cortaid and hydrocortisone are designed to stop inflammation for people suffering from itchy, irritated skin due to conditions such as eczema or dermatitis. However, they can actually cause inflammation, leading to tiny pimples caused by rosacea.
In teens, the most likely site of an outbreak is around the nostrils or mouth, often causing discomfort and self-consciousness. Simply avoiding 💊corticosteroid ointments whenever possible can spare a teen the embarrassment of zits breaking out on the face.
Believe it or not, your shaving routine can cause and exacerbate acne. Shaving can cause ingrown hairs, (when hairs are trapped under the skin), leading to an infection called keloidalis nuchae.
To prevent ingrown hairs, always shave whiskers or hair with a new razor and throw away safety razors “while they are still good” (don’t wait till they begin to rust or look clogged!) to prevent injury. Kicking your poor-quality shaving habits can help to avoid irritation and inflammation.
1. How can I clear up acne fast?
Acne takes time to clear up, but you can get a head start by using a medically-reviewed skincare system such as Exposed Skincare. You get everything you need in one pack, from cleanser to spot treatment, all with the right amounts of medically-reviewed ingredients such as salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and azelaic acid. This will treat existing acne and prevent future acne, all the while ensuring the skin is comfortable and soothed.
However, you need to practice a little patience. It’s understandable for people to want to banish acne immediately, especially when celebrations such as weddings are on the horizon! But the reality is, the acne-clearing process takes time.
2. How do you get rid of acne in one day?
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy, and acne cannot be cleared up in one day. However, you can take measures to reduce the size and redness of pimples overnight by using topical treatments such as benzoyl peroxide. Plus, sip a hot cup of green tea and get a good night’s sleep! Remember that when you sleep, your cells renew and repair, and your stress levels balance out, reducing inflammation that can exacerbate acne.
If in doubt? Use an acne-appropriate concealer to reduce the appearance of acne if you’ve got a special occasion to attend.
3. Is toothpaste good for acne?
You may have seen people in movies dab toothpaste onto their pimples before going to bed, sparking the notion that toothpaste may help to treat acne. This is because many common toothpaste ingredients may kill bacteria and reduce pimple size, such as baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.
While it may be one of the most cliched acne treatments tried by people across the globe, it’s not worth your while. It could cause soreness, irritation, and excessive dryness, ultimately making your acne worse. Stick to medically-reviewed systems, or safer home remedies such as bentonite clay, olive oil, and honey.
4. Can I put apple cider vinegar on my pimples?
Apple cider vinegar is known as a wonder ingredient for gut health, weight management, and blood sugar levels. It is also assumed to help clear pimples due to the presence of acetic and lactic acid, as these acids can kill bacteria. However, research on the safety and effectiveness of apple cider vinegar on pimples is lacking. What’s more, it may cause burns to the skin so should be approached with caution.
5. Is tea tree oil safe for acne?
Tea tree oil is one of the most commonly recommended home remedies for acne. The internet is full of tips and advice stating that tea tree oil should be diluted and dabbed onto pimples, or included in acne face products or body washes. This is because tea tree oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, killing acne-causing bacteria while treating inflamed skin. However, tea tree oil as an at-home acne treatment should be used with caution as it can cause painful side-effects such as burning, redness, rashes, and dryness when used undiluted.
6. Should I use coconut oil as a pimple treatment (acne or general zits)?
Coconut oil has become extremely popular in mainstream skincare over the past few years, with some people claiming that it’s great for treating acne. This is based on the fact that coconut oil has antibacterial properties due to the presence of lauric acid and medium-chain fatty acids. However, coconut oil is comedogenic, meaning that it clogs pores, leading to increased acne and skin irritation. Refrain from putting coconut oil on your skin, especially if you suffer from severe acne.