- Natural acne treatments include topical products, plant extracts and dietary supplements
- These options are effective against mild-to-moderate acne symptoms
- Natural acne treatments are easily to obtain and incorporate into your regular skin care routine
There are multiple therapies available to address acne including natural acne treatments. While more severe forms of acne typically require stronger medications, natural treatments can be effective for mild-to-moderate acne symptoms. These include inflammation, redness and pimples.
Natural acne treatments can treat current outbreaks by killing acne-causing bacteria and helping to prevent future breakouts.
Can You Get Rid of Acne Naturally?
Depending on your skin and your response to treatment, yes, it is possible to get rid of mild-to-moderate acne naturally – by using the right combination of ingredients for your skin type and condition.
The most effective natural acne treatments work to reduce inflammation and kill the bacteria that cause acne.
Active ingredients in natural acne treatments include antioxidants, antibacterial chemicals and agents that increase cell turnover and help regulate oil production.
Can you treat acne scars at home?
You can treat mild acne scars at home, but it could take several months of consistent treatment to see results. While they can’t be eliminated entirely, these treatments can help speed up healing and lighten the scars.
For moderate-to-severe scarring, optimal results will be seen with over-the-counter (OTC) products and professional treatments.
Some natural acne treatments contain components that help lighten skin.
- Aloe vera contains chemicals aloin and aloe to lighten hyperpigmented skin and can help reduce the appearance of scars
- Apple cider vinegar contains lactic acid which encourages exfoliation and treats hyperpigmentation
- Vitamin C lightens scarring, aids in wound healing and promotes collagen production
- Vitamin A exfoliates and reduces the appearance of some scars
13 Effective Natural Acne Treatments
You can choose from a number of effective natural OTC acne treatments to combat mild-to-moderate acne. These treatments range from topical plant extracts to oral dietary supplements and are prized for their anti-inflammatory, antibacterial or antioxidant properties.
Aloe gel can be used on its own but you can also find it in a number of skin care products such as cleansers and creams. It is considered to be safe for topical application and is not likely to cause side effects.
Aloe vera can be applied as a spot treatment or used in a DIY face mask.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a natural acne treatment that can be used as a toner or a spot treatment; It’s naturally acidic and helps to balance the skin’s pH.
Apple cider vinegar is well known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been proven to kill a range of bacteria and is thought to have the ability to kill Cutibacterium acnes (formerly Propionibacterium acnes), the bacteria associated with acne. However, there have been few studies to date to prove this theory.
This treatment may not be appropriate for all skin types as it can irritate dry or sensitive skin due to its acidic properties. It must be diluted first to avoid burning the skin.
A cold compress is a fast and easy way to reduce redness and inflammation brought on by an acne breakout. Apply a cold washcloth or wrapped frozen gel pack to inflamed pimples to soothe irritation, reduce swelling and help quickly minimize the appearance of blemishes.
Echinacea is an herb that is widely used to boost the immune system, and fight viruses and bacteria. It is available as an oral supplement or topical application.
In one laboratory study, echinacea extract was found to have a strong anti-inflammatory effect on cell cultures. It was hypothesized that these results could have the potential to be an effective acne treatment and be instrumental in eliminating bacterial inflammation.
Green tea is a common natural ingredient used in skin care products as well as DIY face mask recipes. When used topically, its antioxidant characteristics help fight inflammation and redness caused by acne.
One research review examined the results of 59 studies to find a link between green tea and reduced sebum production. While the researchers indicated the need for further studies on the topic, they did find evidence to support that topical application of green tea is effective in reducing sebum production.
As such, this tea is a favorable treatment for acne.
It can help regulate oil production as its makeup is so similar to the sebum the body produces. Jojoba oil is noncomedogenic, meaning it doesn’t clog pores, and is considered safe for all skin types.
Rosemary is an herb that when used as an extract has anti-inflammatory properties to reduce the redness and swelling of acne lesions. It is also an antibacterial, antimicrobial and antioxidant.
Rosehip oil is an acne-fighting powerhouse that’s available both as a topical treatment and an oral supplement.
Rosehip oil is high in linoleic acid to regulate oil production, essential fatty acids to hydrate skin, vitamin A to encourage cell turnover and vitamin C to support collagen production. It’s also an anti-inflammatory and a natural skin lightener that can lighten hyperpigmentation.
Rosehip oil is especially effective against inflammatory acne, is generally safe, and has few side effects associated with it.
Tea tree oil
A patch test is advised before using this oil as it can cause burning, dryness, itching, redness and swelling.
There are a number of vitamins that can be used as effective topical treatments against acne breakouts, including vitamins A, C and D. Vitamins can help fight acne-causing bacteria and inflammation to both prevent and treat breakouts:
- Vitamin A is most effective when used in the form of retinol; antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory, it encourages cell turnover which can reduce the appearance of acne blemishes and scars
- Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties can help boost collagen production and fight inflammation; it’s skin lightening properties work to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation caused by acne, as well as acne scars
- Vitamin D helps bolster the immune system; one small study linked a deficiency in vitamin D to increased severity of acne
Warm compresses can help heal active acne lesions as the warmth draws the contents of a blocked pore to the surface where it can be expelled.
Additionally, this allows any topical application of medication to be more effective as they can better penetrate the blemish to begin the healing process.
Witch hazel is an astringent that can quickly address oiliness, tighten pores and help regulate the skin’s natural oil production. It also has anti-inflammatory qualities to help soothe dry, irritated and inflamed skin.
Witch hazel is an appropriate choice for normal or oily skin that shows signs of mild-to-moderate acne. It is not advised for sensitive or dry skin as it could exacerbate those conditions.
You can use witch hazel in its pure form or opt for witch hazel toner to alleviate your acne symptoms.
Zinc is a supplement that can be used topically, but has been found to offer better results when taken orally.
Zinc fights inflammation, kills bacteria, and helps to regulate cell turnover and oil production in the skin. It works best for addressing mild to moderate acne.
In a systematic study review, researchers found that patients treated with zinc had a significant improvement compared to those who were not.
It is important to not take too much zinc as this can cause side effects such as appetite loss, headache, upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea. It can also negatively impact HDL (healthy cholesterol) and interact with some antibiotics and immunosuppressant drugs.
Can You Get Rid of Pimples Overnight?
While some natural treatments can help reduce the appearance of pimples overnight, it isn’t likely they can be completely eliminated by morning.
Whether natural, OTC or prescription, it takes time for the active ingredients to work.
Fastest Natural Acne Treatments
Some natural acne treatments can work more quickly, but results are highly individualized and depend on the type of acne and the person’s skin type.
Warm compresses can quickly address the accompanying sensations of itchiness, pain and swelling. They also draw the contents of the pimple closer to the surface where the material can then be gently expelled. Topical medication can then be better absorbed and the healing process is accelerated.
A cold compress can also quickly reduce redness, swelling and inflammation so that breakouts are less noticeable.
When looking at natural acne treatments, tea tree oil is the fastest and most effective method of targeting pimples. This oil is often compared to benzoyl peroxide due to its ability to provide such effective results.
In general, it can take about 4 weeks to start seeing results, no matter what type of treatment you choose. It is important to adhere to your treatment and be consistent in order to obtain the best results.
If natural acne treatments aren’t right for you, there are several proven, effective OTC alternatives.
Benzoyl peroxide is a staple in treating mild-to-moderate acne and is available in both OTC and prescription formulas. This treatment can be used all over the face or as a spot treatment; it can be used as monotherapy or used alongside other medications depending on the severity of the acne.
An antimicrobial agent, benzoyl peroxide clears and opens the pores allowing other medications to absorb easier and be more effective. It’s available in creams, cleansers, toners, moisturizers and gels.
Retinol is a topical acne medication derived from vitamin A that encourages healthy cell turnover and helps rejuvenate the skin.
Like benzoyl peroxide, it can unclog pores and make it easier for medicated products to be better absorbed. By preventing dead skin cells and debris from accumulating within pores, this also serves to reduce the risk of future acne outbreaks.
Salicylic acid is an OTC treatment for noninflammatory acne such as blackheads and whiteheads. It is oil-soluble and can penetrate deeply into pores to dissolve plugs, clear pores and exfoliate the skin.
Salicylic acid can soothe itchiness and regulate the skin’s oil production. Due to its antibacterial qualities, it can kill bacteria brought about by infection.
You can find salicylic acid in many skin care products including serums, face washes, masks and spot treatment formulas.
Natural acne treatments can alleviate the symptoms of mild-to-moderate acne for many people. Some natural treatments, such as tea tree oil, are comparable to OTC acne treatments. These treatments work to heal active acne breakouts and prevent future breakouts from forming.
Natural treatments for acne include plant extracts such as aloe vera and tea tree oil, oral supplements such as Vitamin A and fish oil, and food-based treatments such as green tea. Many naturally-derived topical treatments may be used on their own, or as an ingredient in an OTC formulation or DIY face mask.
As with more conventional treatments, natural treatments can also take up to 12 weeks for full results to be noticeable. Oftentimes, another medication must be used alongside in order to gain the greatest results. This is especially true for stubborn or more severe forms of acne.
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