The formation of acne occurs when pores are obstructed or infected by bacteria. This prevalent skin condition affects approximately 50 million individuals in the United States.
To maintain the skin's oil balance, diminish inflammation, eliminate bacteria, and deter future acne outbreaks, individuals can employ various home remedies.
Causes of acne
Acne happens when the skin's oil glands become extra sensitive. Things like hormones, bacteria, and swelling can make acne bumps show up on the skin.
Other reasons for acne can be:
- Some medicines like lithium, steroids, and anticonvulsants.
- Wearing tight clothes like shoulder pads, backpacks, underwire bras, or headbands.
- Hormone problems like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
- Inheriting acne from family members.
- Smoking, especially in older people.
Home remedies for acne
A lot of people like using natural plant extracts as home remedies for acne. These are often used by traditional medicine practitioners.
Here, we talk about the top home remedies for acne, what studies say about them, and some lifestyle changes that might help.
If you want to try a specific cream or lotion, it's a good plan to chat with a dermatologist first before putting it on your face. You can also do a test by putting a little bit on your wrist or hand to check if your skin reacts.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a natural substance that fights bacteria and reduces inflammation, possibly killing the bacteria (P. acnes) responsible for causing acne.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, tea tree oil can also help shrink swollen and red pimples.
In a study from 2019 that checked all the available evidence on tea tree oil and acne, researchers found that products containing tea tree oil can lessen the number of acne sores due to its ability to fight microbes.
This review also pointed out another study where the total number of acne spots on participants decreased from 23.7 to 10.7 after using tea tree oil facial products for 8 weeks.
How to use tea tree oil
To treat acne, individuals can use tea tree extract in creams, gels, or essential oils. However, a review article from 2016 notes that tea tree oil might trigger allergic reactions in some people. It recommends using tea tree oil products with a concentration below 5% to prevent skin irritation.
Jojoba oil is a natural, waxy substance obtained from the seeds of the jojoba shrub.
The waxy elements in jojoba oil can aid in fixing damaged skin, potentially accelerating the healing of wounds, including those from acne.
Certain compounds in jojoba oil may contribute to reducing skin inflammation, leading to a decrease in redness and swelling around pimples, whiteheads, and other inflamed skin spots.
In a study from 2012, participants used clay face masks containing jojoba oil two to three times a week for six weeks. After this period, they reported a 54% improvement in their acne.
How to use jojoba oil
You can blend jojoba essential oil with a gel, cream, or clay face mask and put it on your acne. Alternatively, you can apply a few drops of jojoba oil on a cotton pad and gently rub it over your acne spots.
Aloe vera is a natural substance with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help minimize the visibility of acne and prevent new breakouts.
Containing sugar molecules, amino acids, and zinc, aloe vera is a great skin moisturizer and protector. It's particularly beneficial for individuals experiencing dry skin from other acne-fighting products.
According to a study from 2021, the use of aloe vera, along with ultrasound and soft mask applications, led to a decrease in the number of bumps, lesions, and dry skin.
How to use aloe vera gel
To manage acne, clean the affected areas and then apply a thin layer of cream or gel twice a day after washing with soap.
For centuries, honey has been used to address skin issues due to its numerous antioxidants, which can aid in unclogging pores.
Despite evidence supporting honey's antimicrobial properties, a 2016 review did not identify strong evidence regarding honey's impact on acne specifically.
How to use honey
Apply a small amount of honey to pimples by gently rubbing it in with a clean finger or cotton pad. Alternatively, incorporate honey into a face or body mask.
Zinc, known for its anti-inflammatory qualities, is frequently recommended to help minimize acne lesions and redness.
Research on zinc's effectiveness is mixed, as mentioned in a 2021 article. However, applying the supplement directly to the skin tends to yield better results. This is because when taken orally, some of the supplement undergoes breakdown in the digestive process and may lose effectiveness along the way.
How to use zinc
People have the option to apply zinc directly onto the skin or take it in supplement form.
Green tea is rich in a group of polyphenol antioxidants known as catechins.
Individuals with acne may have excess sebum (natural body oils) in their pores and insufficient antioxidants. Antioxidants aid in breaking down chemicals and waste products that could harm healthy cells.
Additionally, green tea comprises compounds that may:
- Decrease the skin's sebum production.
- Reduce P. acnes (acne-causing bacteria).
- Alleviate inflammation.
How to use green tea
You can consume green tea by drinking it or applying green tea extract directly to your skin. It's important to note that current evidence on the effectiveness of green tea for acne is limited, but a study from 2017 discovered a 79–89% reduction in whiteheads and blackheads after using a polyphenol green tea extract for 8 weeks.
Green tea is commonly available in most food stores, while green tea extract may be a bit more challenging to find. However, it can be purchased from some health stores or online.
Echinacea, also referred to as purple coneflower, might have compounds that can combat viruses and bacteria, including P. acnes.
Some individuals believe that echinacea can enhance the immune system and reduce inflammation to fend off or prevent infections, such as colds and flu. Although there is some evidence suggesting that echinacea could inhibit the proliferation of P. acnes and alleviate inflammation caused by bacteria, the existing research is limited.
How to use echinacea
Individuals can use echinacea creams on areas with acne lesions or take echinacea supplements. Echinacea products, whether in the form of creams or supplements, are accessible at health stores or online.
Rosemary extract, also known as Rosmarinus officinalis, has chemicals and compounds known for their antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Although more research is required to precisely measure its effectiveness, a 2016 research article hinted that rosemary extract may help reduce inflammation caused by the acne-producing bacteria P. acnes.
Similar to other natural remedies mentioned, coconut oil possesses anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds.
These characteristics suggest that coconut oil might assist in eliminating acne-causing bacteria and diminishing the redness and swelling of pimples. The soothing and moisturizing effects of coconut oil could potentially expedite the healing process of open acne sores. However, there is a lack of specific research focused on coconut oil as a preventive measure for acne.
How to use coconut oil
Experiment with applying pure, virgin coconut oil directly onto the acne-affected area. You can find coconut oil in the natural foods section of grocery stores or online.
Natural remedies like tea tree oil, jojoba oil, honey, green tea, echinacea, rosemary extract, and coconut oil may offer benefits for acne due to their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. While some studies show positive effects, more research is needed to confirm their effectiveness. Individuals interested in trying these remedies should consult healthcare professionals and ensure product quality from reliable sources.