8 Home Remedies For Acne That Will Absolutely Save Your Skin
by Jessica Banks
Skip the expensive store bought acne products and try these easy and affordable home remedies for acne—your wallet and skin will thank you!
So, we survived puberty (and we have the scars to prove it), but for some reason, acne is still with us like the plague. We figured out how to style our hair and apply our makeup like pros, but when it comes to our skin, we’re making no progress. But come on, we’re grown ass women. Shouldn’t we have outgrown the whole acne thing? Unfortunately, our experts say no.
“Acne is more than just the bane of teenagers,” says Dr. Michael Carlston, M.D and author of Better Than Medicines—The Ten Essential Health Habits. “Many others are also afflicted.”
So, there’s the bad news—we won’t age out of acne. The good news? There are lots of doctor-recommended home remedies for acne that are natural, safe and effective. Here are our experts’ eight favorites.
1. Tee Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a great natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial agent that can minimize the bacteria that causes acne,” says Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, dermatologist and clinical instructor at the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine. It’s an easy application, but Levin says it can be irritating to some, so she recommends diluting this oil and applying it to a test patch of skin before putting it on your face.
2. Baking Soda
Yep, it’s good for more than just odor elimination. According to Dr. Lindsey Bordone, Dermatologist at ColumbiaDoctors Midtown, baking soda has mild antiseptic properties that can help clear up acne in a pinch. She suggests mixing it with a small amount of water and using it as a scrub—bonus points for exfoliation and acne-fighting properties. As far as home remedies for acne go, this one is pretty great.
This spice is making waves, and for all the right reasons. It’s been used topically in India for thousands of years, and it’s finally catching on elsewhere as a skincare powerhouse. “The spice turmeric contains curcumins which are anti-inflammatory and anti-infective agents,” says Carlston. It’s great to use a spot treatment—mix two tablespoons of turmeric with one tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil, let it sit for up to ten minutes and reap the benefits.
These guys aren’t just good for banishing headaches. Levin says they contain salicylic acid, which is a common ingredient in acne fighting products. “If it is applied to pimples early enough, salicylic acid can help unclog pores and prevent further build up over time,” she says. For this home remedy, you don’t need to pop any pills—you’ll need to create a paste instead. “I tell my patients to crush a tablet of aspirin, add a few drops of water or dissolve 4 tablets in 2 tablespoons of water, and apply it as a paste,” Levin explains.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Like turmeric, apple cider vinegar has a variety of uses, from hair care to weight loss to, yes, acne elimination. Bordone says apple cider vinegar makes is great as a home remedy for acne because it has antibacterial properties and, when it’s used as a toner, it can decrease oil on the skin. Always use a diluted solution, and be sure to rinse your face after application to avoid stickiness and smelliness.
6. Green Tea Extract
“Green tea extract is a powerhouse antioxidant which can reduce inflammation and neutralize free radicals,” says Levin. “And green tea bags can gently decrease inflammation and soothe the skin from breakouts.” There are a lot of ways to use green tea to treat acne, including tea bags, extract, and lotions, so use whatever works best for you—which may just be a matter of what you have on hand.
Carlston says garlic kills a lot of “undesirable bacteria,” so it’s no surprise it can be an effective home remedy for acne, too. He said he found it to be effective when he applied it to his skin as a teen, though there are some particularly stinky downsides with this remedy. Garlic might be better left as a last resort treatment—clear skin is great, but the odor might not be.
Levin says research for the effectiveness of probiotics on acne is promising, with both oral and topical applications being effective. Apparently, if the bacteria in your gut is balanced, your skin will be, too. This sounds a little complicated, but the practical application is not. Levin says foods like yogurt, Korean kimchee, sauerkraut, kombucha, and pickles can help lead to clearer skin, so get eating!
You’re officially armed with an arsenal of weapons to ward off acne with, so get fighting! These expert-backed home remedies for acne should get your skin where you want it in no time. There are other, every day decisions you can make to benefit your skin, too—experts recommend drinking lots of water, eating a nutritious diet (and avoiding sugar), washing your face regularly and avoiding sun damage to keep your skin radiant and beautiful.