10 Home Remedies for Acne
Acne is considered to be a chronic and inflammatory skin condition. Pimples and spots around the face, chest, back, and upper arms are the most visible symptoms of this inflammation. This is the most common skin condition in the USA and affects around 50 million people every year1, and is thought to impact about 85% of the world’s population to some degree. Blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, spots, nodules, and cysts are all considered acne.
Acne develops when the pores of your skin become blocked with oil, dead skin, and bacteria, but there are other underlying causes as well:
- Certain foods, especially greasy and fried foods.
- Lack of hygiene
- Pressure from clothing, glasses, helmets, etc.
- Certain medication
- Certain jobs cause exposure to certain products and chemicals which may help develop acne
Although acne isn’t usually considered to be dangerous, it’s important to note that there are a few risks associated with it. Acne is very visible and can cause emotional and self-esteem issues in the person suffering from it. Acne may cause permanent scarring in certain cases, if left untreated, or treated improperly.
Although acne is something that many people have no control over, in most cases there are some things that can be done to help stop it before it even occurs. Although acne is often hereditary or hormonally driven, it’s good to know that you aren’t powerless in the face of it. Here are 10 home remedies for acne:
#1 – Foods to avoid Although it’s quite obvious today that greasy, fried, and fast foods can contribute to acne and other health problems, there are other foods that you might not have expected that promote acne. If you’re suffering from acne, you should avoid these foods:
- Refined sugars and grains
- Whey protein powder
- Any foods you’re sensitive to in any way
- Foods rich in Omega-6 fatty acids such as soybeans, corn, sunflower oil, nuts and seeds, meat, poultry, eggs, and fish
- Fast food
- Dairy products
#2 – Foods to consume There are foods that should be avoided if you’re fighting acne, but there are also foods that promote healthy skin. If you’re looking for foods that are safe to eat and skin-friendly, you should add these to your diet4:
- Whole wheat bread
- Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, apricots, etc.
- Brown rice
- Dark leafy greens
- Beans, peas, and lentils
- Fatty fish
It’s also important to remember that if you prepare any of the foods listed above using a lot of greases, or by frying, then the benefits of these foods will be mitigated.
#3 – Exercise Exercise is perhaps the best prophylactic for almost every health condition, and it also has many benefits for the skin. Exercise increases blood flow, helps you sweat out toxins that may cause acne, help control hormonal fluctuations that cause acne, and helps control stress-related acne by reducing stress. Exercise helps every part of your body work better and more efficiently, and it does wonderful things for your skin.
It’s important to note, that exercise may also cause some ideal conditions for bacteria causing acne due to sweating. It’s a good idea to take a shower as soon as possible after your exercise is over, to clean off sweat and bacteria.
#4 – Apple cider vinegar Apple cider vinegar is a great remedy for a myriad of health conditions, and it can also help with your acne. Similar to other types of vinegar, it works great at fighting bacteria and viruses, and it contains several organic acids that are known to kill acne6. Apple cider vinegar also works to reduce inflammation that is caused by acne, helps eliminate acne scarring,
Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar and 3 parts water, gently apply to the affected areas of your skin using a cotton ball or pad, let it sit for 15-20 seconds, and rinse off with water. You can repeat this process 2-3 times per day.
#5 – Zinc If you have a zinc deficiency, you might be increasing your chances of acne and breakout. Zinc is one of the most studied treatments for acne and it’s known to be vital for cell growth, hormone production, immune system function and metabolism. There is a direct correlation between people who have lower levels of zinc in their body and acne.
You can take a zinc supplement, but it’s probably a better and healthier idea to get your zinc requirements directly from your diet. Here are some foods rich in zinc:
- Cashew nuts
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Ground linseed or cold-pressed linseed oil
#6 – Honey and cinnamon mask Honey and cinnamon are both strong anti-oxidants. Applying anti-oxidants to the skin has been found to be more effective in fighting acne than commonly used and recommended medicines based on benzoyl and retinoids. Both honey and cinnamon also have strong anti-bacterial properties which is often the main cause of acne.
Mix two tablespoons of honey, one teaspoon of cinnamon to form a paste. After cleansing your skin, apply the mask and leave it on for 15-20 minutes. Rinse the mask off and pat your face dry.
#7 – Tea tree oil Tea tree oil is another great age-old remedy used to treat many types of health issues, and acne is one of them. Tea tree oil is known for its anti-bacterial properties and its ability of effectively fight inflammation. What’s important to note, is that studies show that applying a 5% tea tree oil to the skin effectively fights and reduces acne.
Mix one part tea tree oil with nine parts water, dip a cotton swab in the mixture, and apply it only to the acne-affected areas. It’s important to note that tea tree oil is a very potent substance, so it’s a good idea to try this on one part of your skin first to make sure you don’t have any adverse reactions.
#8 – Green tea Green tea is another strong antioxidant, and it can work great at helping reduce your acne. The flavonoids and tannins contained in green tea are known to effectively fight bacteria and also help reduce inflammation. These are the two main causes of acne, and applying green tea to your skin can help effectively reduce it.
You’ll need to steep green tea in boiling water for 3-4 minutes and then allow it to cool. Apply to your skin using a cotton ball or pad, you can also use a spray bottle to spray the tea onto your skin. Allow the tea to dry, rinse and pat dry.
#9 – Aloe vera While aloe vera might not be the most effective way to fight acne, it’s the safest way to moisturize your skin if you’re prone to it. Aloe vera is commonly used to treat wounds, abrasions, and other skin conditions and it’s also great at fighting inflammation. Even though this might not be the most effective natural remedy for acne, aloe vera contains salicylic acid and sulfur, both of which are known to fight it.
Using the gel directly from the aloe plant or store-bought aloe gel, apply to your skin as you would a regular moisturizer. You can repeat this 2-3 times per day.
#10 – Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate Exfoliating means removing the top layer of dead skin cells from your face, and this can help improve your acne by removing the dead skin clogging up your pores. Exfoliating on a regular basis is an effective way of keeping your acne under control. There are many natural ways to exfoliate, it’s a good idea to find and use the method that best works for you.
There are many effective medications that can help fight your acne, but there are natural methods that can not only help fight it, but also help reduce or eliminate any future outbreaks. It’s always a good idea to use natural methods if possible, avoiding pharmaceuticals.
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Acne References and Acne Information
- Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/107146
- Medicine Net: https://www.medicinenet.com/acne/article.htm
- Healthline Magazine: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-that-cause-acne
- Healthline Magazine: https://www.healthline.com/health/anti-acne-diet
- Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/04/18/in-addition-to-other-health-benefits-exercise-helps-prevent-acne/#59f2169754e0
- Pub Med (Scientific Study): https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24265031/
- Pub Med (Scientific Study): https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25811473/
- Pub Med (Scientific Study): https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23826827/
- Europe PMC (Scientific Study): http://europepmc.org/article/MED/21668835
- Pub Med (Scientific Study): https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17314442/
- Pub Med (Scientific Study): https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17584048/
- Cochrane Library (Scientific Study): https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD011368/full