- Natural acne treatments include topical products, plant extracts and dietary supplements that combat the symptoms of acne.
- Many natural treatments for acne are effective against mild to moderate acne symptoms.
- Natural acne treatments are easy to obtain and incorporate into your regular skin care routine.
- Some natural acne treatments work quickly to help blemishes disappear.
- For those who prefer OTC acne medications, there are several commercially-available acne treatments that are proven to be effective.
There are many natural treatments for acne available today, including natural acne treatments. Natural remedies for acne are most often effective against mild to moderate symptoms of acne, including inflammation, redness, and pimples. It’s possible for natural acne treatments to not only kill acne-causing bacteria, but to also help prevent future breakouts.
Can You Get Rid of Acne Naturally?
It’s possible to get rid of mild to moderate acne naturally using the right combination of ingredients for your skin type and condition. Natural acne treatments work most often by reducing inflammation and killing the bacteria that causes acne.
Active ingredients in natural acne treatments include antioxidants, antibacterial chemicals, agents that increase cell turnover and agents that help to regulate the natural production of oil.
Can you treat acne scars at home?
It’s possible to reduce the appearance of mild acne scars at home. Some natural acne treatments contain components that help to lighten skin. Natural treatments for acne scars include:
- Aloe vera lightens scarring
- Vitamin C lightens scarring
- Vitamin A exfoliates and reduces the appearance of some scars
- Apple Cider Vinegar contains lactic acid which may help encourage exfoliation and treat hyperpigmentation
15 Effective Natural Acne Treatments
There are a number of effective natural acne treatments that may be used to combat mild to moderate acne. These treatments range from topical plant extracts to oral dietary supplements.
Aloe gel may be used on its own to treat acne. It is also often an ingredient included in over-the-counter (OTC) skin care products such as cleansers and creams. Aloe vera is considered to be generally safe for topical application and is not likely to cause side effects.
Aloe vera may be applied as an all-over moisturizer or used in a DIY face mask.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a natural acne treatment that can be used as a toner or a spot treatment (always diluted). It’s naturally acidic and helps to balance the skin’s pH.
ACV is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been shown to kill P. acnes, the bacteria that causes acne. However, ACV may not be right for all skin types. It’s possible that it could cause burns or skin irritation, especially for those with sensitive skin.
A cold compress is a rapid, easy way to reduce redness and inflammation brought on by an acne breakout. Using a cold washcloth or gel pack on an inflamed pimple could help to quickly minimize the appearance of a blemish.
Echinacea is an herb that is widely used to boost the immune system and fight viruses and bacteria. It has been found to effectively combat P. acnes bacteria. While P. acnes induces the secretion of cytokines in healthy cells, in one study, Echinacea completely reversed the secretion of cytokines.
Echinacea may be a significant factor in reducing inflammation associated with acne, as well as helping to prevent future breakouts. It may be taken as an oral supplement or applied topically.
Fish oil supplements
Taking a daily supplement of fish oil that contains 250 to 500 mg of DHA and EPA daily has been proven by science to reduce inflammation, regulate the skin’s oil production and to help treat and prevent acne. In one study, participants who supplemented with fish oil for 10 weeks reported significantly reduced acne symptoms.
Green tea is a common natural ingredient used in both OTC skin care products as well as DIY face mask recipes. When used topically, its antioxidant characteristics help to fight inflammation and redness caused by acne.
Honey–especially manuka honey–is often used on its own and as an ingredient in skin care products that address acne. There is very little scientific proof that honey is effective against acne, even though it is widely used. For thousands of years, raw honey has been used as a wound-healing remedy.
Eating processed or raw honey will not treat acne. To treat acne with honey, it’s best to apply raw honey to the skin. The natural hydrogen peroxide present in honey is said to kill acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation.
Honey is appropriate for all skin types, except for those who are allergic to honey, bee-derived products, or bee venom. It may be easily used on its own or as a DIY face mask.
Jojoba oil is a natural oil that fights acne and is often found in over-the-counter skin care products. Its makeup is similar to our natural sebum, which helps it to regulate our skin’s production of oil.
Jojoba oil is noncomedogenic, meaning it doesn’t clog pores. It’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and is generally considered safe for all skin types. Side effects of jojoba oil are rare.
Rosemary is an herb that has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant characteristics. Its extract can be used to treat acne because it kills P. acnes bacteria. Research suggests rosemary is effective in fighting the inflammation associated with P.acnes.
Rosehip oil is a common acne-fighting extract that’s available both as an OTC topical treatment and an oral supplement. Rosehip oil is high in linoleic acid, essential fatty acids, vitamin A and vitamin C. It’s also an anti-inflammatory and a natural skin lightener that can be used to correct hyperpigmentation.
Rosehip oil is effective against inflammatory acne, is generally safe, and has few side effects associated with it.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree essential oil is widely used for treating multiple skin conditions, including acne. It is antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, and it helps to treat and prevent pimples. Tea tree oil has been proven to effectively treat acne.
Tea tree oil, like all essential oils, should be diluted before you use it on your skin. It should never be directly applied without a carrier oil.
There are no severe side effects associated with tea tree oil, although it can cause burning, dryness, itching, redness and swelling in some individuals. Use caution when applying, particularly if you’ve never used tea tree oil on your skin before. Never ingest tea tree oil.
To use tea tree oil for acne:
- Wash your face with a gentle cleanser. Pat dry with a soft washcloth.
- Moisten a cotton ball with diluted tea tree oil and swipe over the skin. (Dilute at least 1:1, or more if skin is sensitive.)
- Let dry and continue your normal skin care routine by applying anti-acne treatments and your usual moisturizer.
There are a number of vitamins that are effective against acne breakouts, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D and vitamin E. Vitamins can help fight acne-causing bacteria and inflammation to both prevent and treat breakouts. They may be used both topically and orally to address acne’s symptoms.
- Vitamin A may be taken orally or used topically in a formulation called retinol. Antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory, topical vitamin A encourages healthy cell turnover and may help reduce the appearance of acne blemishes and acne scars.
- Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties may help to boost collagen and fight inflammation. Its skin-lightening properties help it to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation caused by acne, as well as acne scars.
- Vitamin D helps to bolster the immune system. Research shows that vitamin D deficiency can make the symptoms of acne worse, so supplementing with vitamin D may help alleviate any symptoms associated with vitamin deficiency.
- Vitamin E can help to moisturize the skin and reduce acne symptoms when used topically. In one study, combining vitamin E with lactoferrin was an effective acne treatment.
Warm compresses are sometimes recommended as a rapid way to treat acne because the warm moisture helps draw pimples to the surface. When an open comedone is nearer to the surface of the skin, it’s easier for topical acne treatments to penetrate the blemish and help it to begin drying up.
Witch hazel is a naturally-occurring astringent that is often used to target acne breakouts. It is anti-inflammatory and helps regulate the skin’s natural oil production. OTC toners often contain witch hazel, which helps to soothe irritated, dry and inflamed skin.
It’s easy to incorporate witch hazel into your skin care routine. There are no recorded adverse side effects of witch hazel, but people with sensitive skin should use with caution. Witch hazel could further dry or irritate sensitive skin.
Zinc is an effective oral supplement that helps to fight acne breakouts. Although it can be used topically, it has been found to work better as a nutritional supplement.
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.
Taking too much zinc can cause side effects such as appetite loss, headache, upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting weakness and numbness in the extremities. Oral zinc supplements can negatively impact HDL (healthy cholesterol) and might interact with some antibiotics and immunosuppressant drugs.
Can You Get Rid of Pimples Overnight?
It’s possible for a natural treatment to help reduce the appearance of pimples overnight, but it’s not likely you’ll be able to get rid of them completely. Even over-the-counter acne medications can take a day or two to start providing visible results.
Fastest Natural Acne Treatments
Some natural acne treatments can work quickly, but results are highly individualized and depend on the type of acne and the person’s skin type. Warm and cold compresses can both provide quick results, but neither will make acne disappear completely.
Warm compresses can draw a blemish closer to the skin’s surface so medication is more effective against it. A cold compress can quickly reduce redness and inflammation so it’s less noticeable.
When it comes to natural acne treatments, tea tree oil is the fastest and most effective method of targeting pimples. Tea tree oil is often compared to benzoyl peroxide for effectiveness. Benzoyl peroxide spot treatments can begin working quickly, but it’s unlikely to see full results for four to six weeks.
Generally speaking, it can take up to 12 weeks to start seeing full results and benefits from acne treatments (both natural and OTC).
If natural acne treatments aren’t right for you, there are several proven, effective over-the-counter alternatives.
Benzoyl peroxide is a widely-used, popular acne treatment that’s available in both OTC and prescription formulas. This treatment can be used all over the face or as a spot treatment on specific pimples and lesions.
An antimicrobial agent, benzoyl peroxide clears and opens the pores. It’s available in creams, cleansers, toners, moisturizers and gels.
In terms of effectiveness, benzoyl peroxide is often compared to tea tree oil. It can take about four weeks to begin working, and up to four months to experience full results. If you use a highly concentrated spot treatment, you could see results overnight.
Retinol is a topical acne medication derived from vitamin A. It’s used to address acne, acne scars, and other mild to moderate skin conditions.
Retinol encourages healthy cell turnover and helps to rejuvenate the skin. It could take several weeks of consistent use to begin seeing results.
Salicylic acid is an OTC acne treatment for non-inflammatory acne symptoms such as blackheads and whiteheads. It is oil-soluble and helps to exfoliate the skin and clear the pores.
Salicylic acid is also antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and helps to regulate the skin’s production of oil. It’s available in facial serums, face washes, masks and spot treatment formulas. With regular use, it could take up to 12 weeks to see full results.
Natural acne treatments may help reduce the symptoms of mild to moderate acne in some people. Some natural treatments, such as tea tree oil, are comparable to OTC acne treatments.
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 honey and green tea. Many naturally-derived topical treatments may be used on their own, as an ingredient in an OTC formulation or in a DIY face mask.
Like OTC treatments, natural treatments may take up to 12 weeks for full results to be noticeable. Also, like many OTC treatments, one natural treatment alone may not be enough to clear acne symptoms. You’ll likely need a combination of acne-fighting treatments in your skin care routine in order to alleviate your symptoms.
f you experience side effects, signs of an allergic reaction or other adverse reactions after using a natural acne treatment, stop use and contact your doctor immediately. For cases of severe acne, you may need a more powerful treatment, such as prescription acne medication.
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