Struggling with acne? Fret not, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. There are many home remedies that will help you clear up your skin blemishes – and you may have some of the best-working ingredients in your kitchen already.
It doesn’t need to cost a fortune for you to have great skin. There are tons of excellent products on the market but if you’re feeling adventurous, why not create your own? Anything from honey, to aspirin, to toothpaste, could be used in place of a professional grade product. But whatever you try, avoid things that make it worse like picking it or squeezing it.
If you have something you want gone ASAP, you might be able to get rid of it overnight but keep in mind, acne usually takes a few days to clear up. While you might not be able to completely rid yourself of a pimple overnight, with proper care they will start to go away sooner rather than later, and with regular maintenance you can keep them away for good.
The skin is the largest organ in the body and the first thing people come into contact with when they see you. Everyone wants glowing, bright skin unmarred by red splotches and bumps.
I’ve personally struggled on and off with mild acne for my entire adult life.
Pimples seem to know exactly when to show up, like when you have some important event and you wanted to look your fantastic best without a volcano-crater erupting on your face.
In order to keep healthy skin you have to put in a little work, but you really don’t have to break the bank.
Try some of the recommended home-made skin care tricks below. If one doesn’t work, try another. Unfortunately, what works for one person doesn’t always work for another – but don’t lose hope.
Keep at it and you will find your holy grail of skincare solutions.
Critical Steps for Good Skin Health
- Exfoliate your skin using a deep pore mask or chemical exfoliant
- Use a toner to even out the skin’s PH level (you can use Apple Cider Vinegar which works great)
- Moisturize your face with a good quality lotion or Vitamin E oil
- Dry out your pimple(s) with a spot treatment – (use a drying lotion or toothpaste)
Causes of Acne
Any of these can be a contributor for acne breakouts – some of them are within your control and some are not:
- Dry Weather
- Polluted Environments
- Clogged Pores
- Poor Diet
Pay attention to your specific triggers to try and combat them as effectively as possible.
For example, if a certain makeup seems to correlate to your breakouts, try a different makeup or go without makeup for a week to see if it’s the cause.
If certain foods seem to cause a breakout, stop eating those.
Establish a skin-care routine that promotes healthy cell turnover.
Best Practices for Great Skin
- Wash Your Skin Every Night – Make sure the makeup you use every day and the dirt that accumulates throughout the day is coming off your skin nightly. For daily cleansing, use a gentle cleanser, nothing too drying. I recommend trying African Black Soap – which will help reduce acne, eczema and psoriasis as well. For those of you who have never used African Black Soap, it is one of the most creamy but cleaning soaps ever and will keep your skin in healthy shape all over your body, not just on your face. But the look of it in solid form is off-putting, which is why I recommend the liquid version to start. However, the bar version is wonderful too if you can stomach the weird looking chunks.
- Exfoliate – Using either a chemical exfoliant or a scrub like Philosophy’s microdelivery system (one of my favorites), slough off that old, dead, dry skin a couple of times a week. Don’t do this every day, but maybe once during the week and once on the weekend. It will help revitalize, refresh, and renew your skin cells, which will also help keep acne at bay from pores clogged by all those old layers.
- Moisturize – This is a very important second step to follow up with after washing your face. Dry skin is the reason acne happens (as well as wrinkles). You want to use a quality moisturizer, but it doesn’t have to be face caviar that will cost a full paycheck. Find something that works for you in price and ingredient list.
- Avoid Trigger Foods – Some people have these and some people seem to be immune to it, but there are usually things that can trigger acne in your system like sugars or grease. If you are finding after certain meals your acne becomes worse, try an elimination diet where you cut back to no sugar, dairy, meat, and try adding things back one at a time. This can also help with allergies and figuring out what foods you might be allergic or incompatible with.
- Eat your Fruits and Veggies – Diet is an important part of your skin’s health. Get your 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, including fruits that are high in vitamin C. Try adding more omega-3’s into your diet – they are known to help create great skin. Of course, if you are allergic to any of these don’t eat them. Items high in omega-3 include:
- Fatty fish like salmon and trout
- Sunflower seeds
- Flax seeds
- Olive oil
- Water – You should already know how important this is, but as a reminder, water helps to flush toxins (like acne). You’re supposed to drink 8 glasses a day. If you want a great way to stay on top of your water, you can print off our free weekly planner which has a water tracker on it.
- Chemical Peel – As a once in a while maintenance for your face, get a chemical peel at a spa (or try a do-it-at-home one if you’re brave enough). These can really help with your skin turnover and keep acne at bay.
- Kill the Pimple(s) – For specific spot treatments, you can use any of the below ideas to attack acne head to head. Try not to pick at them if possible as this can leave permanent, damaging scars.
Home-Made Acne Cures
Vitamin E Oil
It might seem counter-intuitive to slather your face in oil when your skin is making excess acne-causing oil, but your skin actually over-produces oil when it doesn’t have enough and is trying to compensate. This often happens in very dry climates where the skin is craving moisture. Use a good quality Vitamin E oil either as a nightly moisturizer or if you can’t stand the greasy feel of it, rub your face with it at night then wash it off with a hot washrag, enough will remain on your skin to keep a moisture barrier which will prevent your body from overproduction of oil. Some people also claim Jojoba oil works well but I’ve always preferred Vitamin E for the healing properties. Make sure you get one that has a high IU count, like this Vitamin E Oil from Amazon.
Apple Cider Vinegar & Honey
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is a cure-all for just about everything you can think of, from a common cold to nail fungus. The reason it works as well as it does is because it is highly anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. It has been used for over 5000 years as a topical treatment for infections and wounds. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used Apple Cider Vinegar on his patients to protect open skin wounds. It works so well to balance your skin because it can lower your PH levels and is also high in acetic and alpha-hydroxy acids. But due to its high acid content it can also burn and dry your skin out at full concentration. Because of this, it should be diluted with water to avoid any negative effects. It’s important to buy organic, raw, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar that has “the mother” in it – I use Bragg’s. ACV can be used by itself as a daily toner or mixed with honey as a spot treatment for pimples. To Use ACV as a Toner: Mix 4 tbsp of water with 1 tbsp ACV. Directions: Clean face thoroughly. Using a cotton ball, apply to skin and let dry. Follow up with a moisturizer. To Use ACV and Honey as a Spot Treatment: Mix 1 tbsp of water with 1/2 tbsp ACV and 1/2 tbsp honey. Directions: Clean face thoroughly. Using a q-tip, apply to acne spots and let dry. Best if left on overnight.
Cinnamon, Honey & Turmeric
The combination of these powerful anti-oxidants bring with them great healing power. Mix a little cinnamon, turmeric, and honey together to form a paste and apply this as a spot treatment to acne areas or as a mask for your entire face. Leave this on for 20 minutes and when you remove it, your skin will feel very soft. Warning: turmeric will stain your face a bit with a yellow tint. This will come off eventually but you probably want to give it a few hours in between applying this mask and going somewhere (work, school, the store). If you need to get turmeric stains off in a hurry, use a little lemon juice mixed with coconut or other oil and scrub repeatedly. Obviously, if you are allergic to any of these ingredients DO NOT use them on your face.
This mask is a small miracle worker. Since the only ingredient is really Aspirin, which is actually salicylic acid, be careful here on three counts: 1) Don’t leave this on too long or you may end up with a severe burn. 2) If you are allergic to Aspirin, DO NOT use this mask. Ingredients are absorbed through the skin much like they are absorbed through consumption. 3) Don’t get it in your eyes. To make this mask, buy uncoated aspirin (cheapest one is fine) and put 2 on your counter on a napkin. Take the back of a spoon and squish down until you have powder. You can mix this with something thick like yogurt (to help it adhere) or you can just mix it with some water, until it forms a paste. Dab it on your spots or wash your face thoroughly and then apply it to your whole face. Once you have your paste you can apply it one of two ways. Spot treatment: using a q-tip apply to problem areas and leave this on overnight. Or, full face mask: only leave it on about 20 minutes, wash, and be sure to moisturize afterwards with something non-irritating but hydrating like a hyaluronic acid.
While you might not have raw bentonite or kaolin around the house there are a few different inexpensive products that have clay in them. Clay has drawing abilities, meaning, it might actually make you think you are getting worse not better for a few days because it will suck the pimples to the surface. With that being said, you might not want to use this right before a big event. But you want this eventually because it will help you purge and ultimately prevents acne from festering. Clay is also drying, so if you have already treated your pimple with something chemical put a little dab of clay on that spot and leave it overnight to dry that pimple up. Neutrogena’s Clear Pore is a great, inexpensive option which has a combination of clays as well as benzoyl peroxide in it, and can be used as a mask or a cleanser. Aztec Secret is another top notch facial clay that can really make a huge difference in your skin if used correctly – make sure you mix it with Bragg’s ACV if you buy it, otherwise it is not as effective. For the men: While men can actually benefit from any of the remedies listed here, this clay whiskey mask is made to help your dude feel less fru-fru about the ordeal. Women love this one too.
Peppermint Oil & Tea Tree
Using either one or the other as a spot treatment can be very effective. Most people will swear by either one or the other. If you are using Peppermint Oil and it is concentrated, be careful. You will most likely want to dilute this down some as the full strength oil might cause burns. Add a few drops of Peppermint or Tea Tree oil to a carrier oil (jojoba, vitamin E, or another favorite choice you might have) and then use this on problem acne areas. Both of these oils can be used for many other purposes such as bug repellent, anti-fungal, anti-dandruff, anti-lice treatments, so if you purchase these (or already own them) they shouldn’t go to waste. If you don’t have any of these items in your home, try placing a dab of toothpaste on your pimple at night before you go to bed. Toothpaste typically has ingredients like spearmint in it that will dry your pimple out.
Store-Bought Acne Solution
Bye Bye Blemish. Literally. Or use some version thereof. I found this about 15 years ago in a dollar store and I bought a bottle for $2.00. After using it that night, I immediately went back the next day and bought the rest of the store’s supply. This is only a spot treatment but all you do is (don’t shake it, you will want to) dab a q-tip ALL THE WAY DOWN into the bottle, dab that on your pimples, then say “goodbye” to them. This stuff works like magic, but the actual chemistry of it is sulfur and salicylic acid. Active Ingredient: Sulfur 10% Inactive Ingredients: Isopropyl Alcohol, Water (Aqua), Zinc Oxide, Salicylic Acid, Camphor, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Iron Oxides (Cl 77491).
Slow Rub Benzoyl Peroxide
Slowly Rub Benzoyl Peroxide over your entire face. What does this mean? Well, I watched a video a LONG time ago (waaay before YouTube was popular) when I was breaking out all the time and I tried this. It works! What you do is you take Benzoyl Peroxide to a VERY cleaned face, place a strip of it on your index finger and SLOWLY (like, painfully slowly) slide your finger over all of your acne affected area… as slow as you possibly can. If you think you’re going too slow go even slower. Something about the technique of applying it actually helps get this stuff absorbed better (or it’s a mental thing, but it really seems to work). Try it with any of your existing products or pick up the one recommended above. Afterwards, make sure you apply a good moisturizer to keep your face from breaking out even worse from the dryness caused by the Benzoyl Peroxide. And PLEASE let us know if this works for you in the comments below!
Most of these treatments deal with the problem once it’s already been created. But to prevent acne from forming in the first place, make sure that you are taking care of your skin from the inside out.
Ways to Create Beautiful Skin Internally:
• Drink lots of water and stay hydrated
• Avoid sugary foods and dairy
• Eat foods which are high in anti-oxidants and essential fatty acids like vegetables and fish
• Take a skin supplement which includes zinc
• Make Lemon, Lime and Cucumber water as a “Skin-Drink” once a week
Other Tips For Great Skin:
• Wash your face regularly and follow with a good moisturizer
• Exfoliate but don’t damage your skin with harsh exfoliants
• Don’t wear makeup that doesn’t breathe
• Use Sunscreen regularly
• Use a humidifier when you can to keep your skin from getting too dry.
If you’ve been fighting with acne, give some of these treatments a try and find out which one works best for you. Just give it enough time to see results, and don’t try them all at the same time.
Also remember, sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. If things are surfacing, that can be a good thing.