13 Home Remedies To Get Rid of Acne (Medication-Free)
Acne is one of the most common skin problems in the world, affecting 85% of people at some point in their lives.
Conventional treatments can be very expensive and often cause side effects such as dryness, redness and irritation.
This has led many people to look for ways to cure acne naturally at home. The Internet is full of suggestions, but do these remedies really work?
This article explores 13 natural acne remedies that are supported by science.
What are the causes of acne?
Acne starts when the pores of your skin become clogged with oil and dead skin cells.
Each pore of your skin is connected to a sebaceous gland, which produces an oily substance called sebum.
Excess sebum can clog your pores, causing the growth of a bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes.
Your white blood cells attack this bacteria, causing inflammation and acne. Some cases of acne are more severe than others, but the most common symptoms are blackheads, whiteheads and other pimples.
Many factors contribute to the development of acne, including genetics, diet, stress level, hormonal changes and infections.
Now that you know what acne is, let's move on to the 13 natural remedies that you might want to try.
1. Cider Vinegar
Cider Vinegar is made by fermenting apple cider, or unfiltered pressed apple juice.
Like other vinegars, it is known for its ability to fight many types of bacteria and viruses.
Cider vinegar contains several organic acids that have proven their ability to kill the Propionibacterium acnes bacteria.
In particular, succinic acid has been shown to be very effective in suppressing the inflammation caused by the Propionibacterium acnes bacterium, which could prevent scarring.
Also, lactic acid has been shown to be effective in countering the appearance of scars. In addition, cider vinegar can help dry the excess oil that causes acne in the first place.
How to use it?
- Mix 1 part cider vinegar to 3 parts water (use more water for the most sensitive skins).
- After cleansing, delicately apply the mixture to the skin using a cotton ball.
- Let rest for 5 to 20 seconds, rinse with water and pat dry.
- Repeat this procedure once or twice a day as needed.
It is important to note that applying cider vinegar to your skin can burn or irritate, so always use a small amount and dilute it with water.
In short :
The organic acids in cider vinegar can kill the bacteria that cause acne and reduce the appearance of scars. Applying it to the skin can burn or cause irritation, so it must be used with care.
Zinc is an essential nutrient that is very important for the growth of our cells, hormone production, metabolism and immune functions.
It is also one of the most studied natural treatments for acne. Several studies show that people with acne have lower levels of zinc in their blood than those with clear skin.
Several studies also show that supplementing with zinc orally helps reduce acne.
In one study, 48 acne patients were given oral zinc supplementation 3 times a day. After 8 weeks, 38 patients experienced a reduction in their acne ranging from 80 to 100%.
The optimal dosage of zinc for fighting acne has not been established, but several studies have shown a significant reduction in acne using 30-45 mg of elemental zinc per day.
Elemental zinc refers to the amount of zinc present in the supplement you choose. Zinc is available in different forms, and each form contains a different amount of zinc.
For example, zinc oxide has the highest concentration of elemental zinc at 80%.
The safe limit for zinc supplementation is 40 mg per day, so it is probably best not to exceed this dosage except under the supervision of a health care professional. Taking too much zinc can cause a reverse reaction, resulting in stomach pain and other gastrointestinal problems.
It is also important to note that applying zinc directly to the skin has shown no positive effects on the skin. This may be due to the fact that zinc is not effectively absorbed through the skin.
In short :
People with acne tend to have lower zinc levels than people with clear skin. Several studies show that taking zinc supplements can reduce acne.
3. Make a mask with honey and cinnamon
Honey and cinnamon are both excellent sources of antioxidants.
Several studies have proven that applying antioxidants to the skin is more effective in fighting acne than benzoyl peroxide and retinoids (two common antibacterial drugs used to treat acne).
The antioxidants studied were vitamin B3, omega 6 and sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a derivative of vitamin C.
We do not find these antioxidants in honey and cinnamon, but it is likely that different antioxidants could have similar effects.
Honey and cinnamon also have the ability to fight bacteria and reduce inflammation, both of which are important factors in the development of acne.
Although the anti-inflammatory effects, antioxidants, and antimicrobial properties of honey and cinnamon may benefit acne-prone skin, no studies have proven their ability to cure acne.
How to make a honey and cinnamon mask
Mix 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon together.
After cleansing, apply the mask to your face and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes.
Rinse the mask thoroughly with water and pat the skin dry.
In short :
Honey and cinnamon have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. For this reason they can have beneficial effects in people with acneic skin.
4. Treat the buds with Tea tree essential oil
Tea tree essential oil is extracted from the leaves of a small tree native to Australia, the Melaleuca alternifolia.
This oil is well known for its ability to fight bacteria and reduce inflammation.
In addition, several studies have shown that applying oils composed of 5% Tea tree essential oil to the skin reduces acne very effectively.
Compared to a product composed of 5% benzoyl peroxide, products composed of 5% Tea tree essential oil do not give results as quickly but greatly improve the condition of acne-prone skin after 3 months of use.
Moreover, this oil causes much less side effects such as dryness, irritation and burns, unlike benzoyl peroxide.
Tea tree essential oil is very powerful, it must always be diluted before applying it to the skin.
How to use it
Mix 1 part tea tree essential oil with 9 parts water.
Dip a cotton pad in the mixture and apply to affected areas.
Apply a moisturizing cream or mask as needed.
Repeat the procedure once or twice a day as needed.
In short :
Tea tree essential oil has powerful antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. When applied to the skin it has proven to be very effective in reducing acne.
5. Apply Green Tea to your skin
Green tea is very rich in antioxidants, and drinking green tea can help improve health.
There are no studies that explore the benefits of drinking green tea for acne, but when applied directly to the face it has been shown to be a real help.
It is most certainly thanks to its flavonoids and tannins that green tea is known to fight bacteria and reduce inflammation, which are two causes of acne.
The major antioxidant in green tea - epigallocatechin (ECCG) - has the ability to decrease sebum production, reduce inflammation and inhibit the growth of P.acnes bacteria on the skin.
Several studies have shown that applying a 2-3% concentrated solution of green tea to the skin significantly reduces acne production and the appearance of pimples in acne sufferers.
You can buy creams and lotions that contain green tea, but it is much easier to make your own product at home.
How to use it
Soak green tea in boiling water for 3-4 minutes.
Allow the tea to cool.
Using a cotton pad, apply the green tea to your skin (it is also possible to apply it using a sprayer)
Let dry, then rinse with water.
You can also use the remaining tea leaves and mix them with honey to make a mask.
Although there is no scientific proof that drinking green tea can fight acne, some research suggests that it can still be beneficial.
For example, drinking green tea has been scientifically proven to lower blood sugar and insulin levels, which are factors that can contribute to the development of acne.
In short :
Green tea is rich in antioxidants that help fight bacteria and reduce inflammation. Applying green tea directly to the skin can significantly reduce acne problems.
6. Apply Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is extracted from the eastern bark of the leaves of the North American shrub, Hamamelis Virginiana. It contains tannin, which has great antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
This is why Witch Hazel is used for a wide variety of skin problems including eczema, varicose veins, bruises and acne.
Unfortunately, there are no studies that prove its ability to specifically fight acne.
However, there are several studies that show that applying Witch Hazel essential oil to the skin can fight bacteria, reduce inflammation and repair the skin.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that commercially available Witch Hazel may not contain tannins as they are often lost in the distillation process.
How to use it
- Mix 1 tablespoon of witch hazel bark with 1 glass of water in a small saucepan.
- Let the Witch hazel soak for 30 minutes then bring back to the boil.
- Leave over low heat and cover for 10 minutes.
- Remove the mixture from the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes.
- Pour it and keep it in an airtight container.
- Apply to the skin using a cotton ball once or twice a day.
In short :
It has been shown that applying Witch Hazel directly to the skin fights bacteria, reduces inflammation and helps to heal the skin. This essential oil may be beneficial for people with acne, but more research is needed.
7. Moisturize your skin with Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a tropical plant whose leaves produce a very clear frost.
The gel is often added in lotions, creams, ointments and soaps. It is very often used to treat burns, scratches, rashes and other skin problems.
Applied to the skin, aloe vera gel can help heal scars, treat burns and fight inflammation.
Aloe vera also contains salicylic acid and sulfur, both of which are widely used in acne treatments.
Several studies have shown that applying salicylic acid to the skin helps to significantly reduce acne.
Similarly, sulfur applied to the skin has proven to be a very effective treatment.
While the effects are very promising, the anti-acne benefits of aloe vera require more research.
How to use it
- Scrape the gel from an aloe vera plant with a spoon.
- Apply directly to the skin as a moisturizer.
- Repeat once or twice a day.
You can also buy aloe vera in the store, but make sure it's pure aloe vera with no added ingredients.
In short :
Applied to the skin, aloe vera gel can help heal scars, treat burns and fight inflammation. It may be beneficial for people with acne, but more research is needed.
8. Use Omega 3
Omega 3 are incredibly healthy fatty acids.
It is essential to get these good fatty acids from your diet, but research has shown that most people do not consume enough of them.
Fish oils contain two types of Omega 3: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
EPA is very beneficial to the skin in many ways, starting with sebum production, maintaining proper hydration and preventing acne.
A high intake of EPA and DHA reduces inflammation, which helps reduce acne.
In one study, 45 people with acne supplemented themselves with Omega 3 (EPA and DHA). After 10 weeks, the acne had significantly reduced.
There are no specific dosage recommendations, but most health organizations recommend that an adult consume a minimum of 250 to 500 mg per day of Omega 3 EPA and DHA.
You can also find Omega 3 naturally by eating Salmon, Sardines, Anchovies, Nuts, Chia and Flax seeds.
In short :
Fish oil contains Omega 3 EPA and DHA. Supplementing with fish oil can help fight acne.
9. Exfoliate your skin regularly
Exfoliation is a technique that consists of removing the top layer of skin and dead skin. This can be done mechanically using a skin brush. These dead skins can be removed chemically by applying acid to dissolve them.
Exfoliation is known to help with acne by removing dead skin cells that can clog pores.
It also makes acne treatments more effective by allowing them to penetrate deeper into the skin once the top layer is removed.
Unfortunately, there is little research on its effectiveness.
Some studies show that microdermabrasion, which is an exfoliation technique, can improve the appearance of the skin, including scars.
In one small study, 25 acne patients performed 8 microdermabrasions, one per week. Based on before and after pictures, they helped improve the skin condition of these patients.
96% of the participants were very satisfied with the results and recommended the procedure. Although these results show that exfoliation can be effective against acne, there is still little research about it.
There are a wide variety of exfoliating products available online and in stores, but it is simpler to make a home exfoliant with sugar and salt.
How to exfoliate your skin at home
- Equal parts sugar (or salt) and coconut oil.
- Brush the skin with the mixture and then rinse it off.
- Exfoliate as often as you want (maximum 1 time per day).
In short :
Exfoliation is a technique that consists of removing dead skin from the upper layer of the skin. This technique can help prevent scarring, but more research is needed regarding its ability to fight acne.
10. Favour foods with a low glycemic index
The relationship between diet and acne has been debated for years. Recent experiments have shown that diet-related factors, such as insulin and glycemic index, can be associated with the development of acne.
The glycemic index of a food measures the impact of a food on blood sugar levels.
Eating foods with a high glycemic index can cause spikes in insulin, which can lead to increased sebum production. More and more experts believe that high GI (glycemic index) foods have a direct effect on the development and severity of acne.
Foods with a high GI are white bread, sodas, cakes, pastries, candy, corn flakes and other processed products.
Foods with a low GI are fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains.
In one study, 43 people followed either a diet based on high GI foods or a diet based on low GI foods. After 12 weeks, people with a diet based on low-GI foods saw significant improvements in skin condition and insulin sensitivity.
Another study with 31 participants this time showed the same results.
These small studies suggest that favouring low GI foods may help people with acne problems, but more research is needed.
In short :
Eating foods with a high glycemic index can cause an increase in sebum production and aggravate acne problems. More research is needed to determine if a diet based on low glycemic index foods can help treat or prevent acne.
11. Stopping Dairy Products
The relationship between dairy products and acne is very controversial.
Drinking milk and consuming dairy products exposes you to certain hormones, which can cause hormonal changes and lead to acne.
Two major studies have reported that drinking too much milk is associated with the development of acne.
However, participants reported giving it themselves in both studies, so more studies need to be done to establish a true cause and effect relationship.
In short :
Some studies have shown a link between the consumption of dairy products and acne. Limiting or eliminating their consumption for a certain period of time can be interesting for people who suffer from acne, but there are still few studies on this subject.
12. Reduce your stress level
Hormones that are released during periods of stress can increase sebum production and inflammation of the skin.
In fact, several studies have shown that stress is a real source of acne aggravation.
In addition, stress can slow down the disappearance of scars and the repair of acne lesions.
Some relaxation and stress treatment techniques have been shown to be effective against acne, but studies are still limited.
How can we reduce our stress level?
- Sleep more
- Getting into sports
- Practicing Yoga
- Practicing meditation
- Use breathing techniques
In short :
Hormones that are released during periods of stress can make your acne worse. Reducing stress levels can help get rid of it.
13. Practice a sport on a regular basis
Physical exercise allows for better blood circulation and thus more effectively nourishes skin cells, which can help prevent or even cure acne.
Sport also plays an important role in the regulation of hormones.
Several studies have shown that sport can have a positive effect on stress and anxiety, two important factors that contribute to the development of acne.
For an adult it is recommended to exercise at least 30 minutes 3 to 5 per week. This can be walking, hiking, running or weight training.
In short :
Doing sports helps to have a good blood circulation, regulate hormones and reduce stress.
Acne is a problem that can have many causes and conventional treatments are not without drawbacks as they can lead to other skin problems.
Fortunately, many natural remedies can be just as effective. The ones presented in this article may not work on some people, but at least they are worth a try.
However, if your acne is very severe and none of the remedies work, consider seeing a dermatologist.