With so many different causes for acne, including trapped skin oils, outside dirt and hormonal or stress-related breakouts, it might seem hopeless to fight it. However, rather than needing expensive or irritating medical treatments, there are many home remedies for acne. Most of these home remedies are safe, effective and use all-natural ingredients. They’re cheaper than prescription or over-the-counter acne medications and far less irritating for sensitive skin. For persistent breakouts or even just the occasional pimple, try out these 12 tested-and-true home remedies for acne.
1. Honey-Cinnamon Mask
This simple mask combines honey and cinnamon for a natural skin-clearing effect. Cinnamon contains antimicrobial properties, working to kill the bad bacteria living on the outside of your skin. Honey, on the other hand, acts as a natural antibiotic. It also kills bacteria, while reducing redness and inflammation. While this is intended to be a full-face mask, you can also use it as a spot treatment. Because it contains just two ingredients, unless you’re allergic to either cinnamon or honey, this is one of the home remedies for acne that is safe for everyone.
– 2 tbsp. raw honey
– 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Mix the cinnamon into the honey until it’s completely blended. Rub it into facial skin, gently massaging in small circles until whole face is covered, being sure not to get it in eyes. Leave mask on for 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Allow face to air dry, or pat with a clean towel (don’t rub!).
2. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is great for a lot of things, and it turns out it’s also one of the best home remedies for acne. According to dermatologist Aurora DeJuliis, it’s perfect for drying out the sebum and oils that create blackheads and white heads, while also getting rid of bad bacteria and disinfecting pores. It is quite harsh, though, so as a treatment it should never be used in its undiluted form. People with sensitive skin will also want to exercise caution and try it on a small patch of skin first before using a full treatment.
– 1 tbsp. aloe vera gel
– 3 drops tea tree oil
Mix the tea tree oil into the aloe vera gel until very well blended. Use a cotton swab or fingertips to gently pat onto affected areas before going to bed. Wash face very well in the morning. It’s possible to use water rather than aloe vera gel, but the gel keeps sensitive skin from becoming irritated by the tea tree oil.
3. Oatmeal-Honey Mask
Honey has already been mentioned on this list due to its natural antibiotic properties. Oatmeal, on the other hand, will work to reduce redness and inflammation, while also acting as an exfoliator. If using this mask to exfoliate, be careful, as rubbing too forcefully can make redness worse and lead to skin irritation.
– ½ cup steel-cut oats, prepared according to package directions
– 2 tbsp. raw honey
The first step is to make the oatmeal according to directions. Don’t use instant oatmeal, as it has a lot of preservatives and other ingredients that won’t be good for skin. Once oatmeal is finished, stir in honey until well-blended. Wait for it to cool to room temperature to prevent burns, then gently rub into face, being sure to keep it out of your eyes. Leave the mask on for 25-30 minutes, then wash away with warm water. Air dry or pat dry.
4. Crushed Mint
In addition to smelling wonderful, mint has a lot of menthol in it. It’s a fantastic natural anti-inflammatory and works wonders for reducing swelling and redness. While not as effective for getting rid of pimples themselves, it will make them far less noticeable and reduce any pain they may be causing you.
– Small handful fresh mint leaves
Crush the mint leaves, either in a blender or food processor, or by hand. Rub the crushed mint and resulting juices into face, being careful not to get it in eyes. Leave the mint/juice on skin for 10 minutes, and then wash away with cool water. It will feel slightly tingly, but that’s a good thing.
5. Mashed Papaya
There are a ton of beauty products on the market today that contain papaya, but it’s just as possible to use it in home remedies for acne – without paying a lot. Papaya contains enzymes that have natural anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Not only that, but it’s an amazing exfoliator, getting rid of dead skin and nourishing the new skin underneath.
– ½ fresh papaya, peel and seeds discarded
Mash the papaya in blender, food processor or with a fork until it’s of a smooth consistency. Slather it generously on skin. Leave on for 20 minutes and then rinse off with cool water. Because of the anti-bacterial properties, it may leave skin dry. Wait 30 minutes before using moisturizer.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
One of the most powerful home remedies for acne, apple cider vinegar works in several capacities. It not only balances your skin’s pH levels, but can minimize pores and kill acne-causing bacteria with its anti-bacterial and anti-septic properties. It also acts as a natural exfoliator, giving you soft, clear skin with repeated use. It can smell a bit harsh, so use it at night, then wash your face in the morning as you normally would.
– 3 tbsp. cool water
– 1 tbsp. pure apple cider vinegar
Mix water and vinegar together, then use a cotton pad or paper towel to rub the mixture into skin. Leave on overnight, then wash face as normal in the morning.
7. Egg Whites
The protein and collagen found in egg whites can help skin in a variety of ways. They soak up excess oil and can reduce both acne and scars left by acne. While they recommend having a professional egg white treatment, a simple mask is cheap and easy to whip up at home. Just be careful about using additives, as they can have an adverse effect on sensitive skin.
– 3 egg whites, yolks discarded or saved for cooking
– Bowl and whisk or electric mixer
Whisk the egg whites in the bowl until frothy. This may take a few minutes, so use an electric mixer if you feel tired. Let frothy egg whites sit for 3-5 minutes. Use fingertips to spread mixture on face, concentrating on most problematic areas. Apply several coats (wait for each to dry before adding another), then let sit for 25-30 minutes, or until face feels tights. Rinse off with warm water and pat dry or let air dry.
8. Orange Peel
Vitamin C is incredible for speeding up skin’s recovery. While dermatologist Dendy Engelman recommends a variety of commercial products, you can achieve the same effect in your kitchen! A simple paste made from crushed or ground orange peels mixed with clean water will give skin a huge boost in Vitamin C, making it firmer and helping it to heal from breakouts faster.
– Fresh peel from 1 orange
– 1-2 tsp. water
Grind up the orange peel. It’s possible to use a mortar and pestle, but a food processor or blender is faster and more efficient. Add water a few drops at a time. A thick paste is preferred, and too much water will make it runny. Apply to face and wait at least 20 minutes, or until mask is firm to touch. Rinse with cool water and pat dry or let air dry.
9. Aspirin Paste
Believe it or not, the salicylic acid in generic aspirin is the same active ingredient in many expensive acne medications. A simple paste made of aspirin and water can help clear pores, brighten skin and leave a soft, silky feeling. Be careful with how much aspirin you use, and if you have sensitive skin, apply first to a small patch behind the ear to test for irritation.
– 3 aspirin tablets (the small, chalky white kind)
– 1 tbsp. clean water
Use the back of a spoon to crush aspirin tablets into powder. Slowly mix in water until thin paste forms. Spread paste across face, or concentrate on most problematic areas. Leave on 20 minutes, then wipe off with damp washcloth. Moisturize well.
10. Strawberry Honey Mask
This mask not only sounds like a delicious dessert, but the strawberries also contain a lot of natural salicylic acid, helping your skin heal and brightening and softening its overall appearance. Combined with the natural antibiotic powers of honey, this is one of those home remedies for acne that is gentle on your skin, but provides acne-fighting powers you wouldn’t believe. The seeds in strawberries also act as a gentle exfoliator, but go easy – they can also cause micro-damage if rubbed too harshly. Use only organic, fresh strawberries to avoid pesticides and harsh chemicals.
– 3-5 fresh, organic strawberries
– 1 tbsp. raw honey
Crush strawberries in bowl with back of spoon or fork until pulpy and juice is released. Mix in honey until paste forms. Smooth mixture on face, rubbing in gentle circles, concentrating on problem areas. Let set for 20-25 minutes, or until slightly firm. Rinse off with warm water and pat dry or let air dry.
Garlic has substantial antibiotic properties, making it great for healing skin during a breakout. It may smell a bit harsh, so this is a treatment best used at night before bed. Depending on the sensitivity of skin, garlic may be diluted in plain water or aloe vera gel. Aloe vera will also help with healing, and provide a soothing effect for inflamed skin.
– 3 cloves garlic, mashed
– 2 tbsp. water or aloe vera gel
Place the mashed garlic in a small bowl with water or aloe, let sit for at least 15-20 minutes. The garlic must be thoroughly infused in the water, as rubbing raw garlic on skin is never advised. Use a cotton ball or edge of a clean washcloth to rub garlic water or gel over face before going to bed. Wash face as usual in the morning (it will smell quite strongly).
12. Green Tea
Whether you drink green tea or apply it topically, it contains antioxidants proven to lessen sebum production, promote clearer, brighter skin and reduce oil production. Dermatologists recommend either drinking one cup of green tea per day for its detox value, or using it topically to soothe and clear up skin ailments. Because it’s so gentle, anyone can harness the healing powers of this simple face rinse.
– 1 organic green tea bag (unused)
– ½ cup boiling water
Pour boiling water over tea, steep for 5 minutes, then remove tea bag. Let tea cool to room temperature, then use a cotton ball or clean washcloth to apply all over face. The tea provides a soothing feeling, so leave it on if you prefer. Otherwise, wash off after 10-15 minutes with cool water and pat dry.
To summarize, while acne can plague just about anyone, from teenagers to adults, and vary in severity from a few pimples to huge breakouts, there are many home remedies for acne that not only work but are easy to use. All you need is a few standard ingredients, a little time and to stick with whatever method you’ve chosen. Results may not be apparent immediately, but applying these home remedies for acne twice a week for a few weeks will definitely improve both the health and look of your skin.