Last Modified on Aug 30, 2015
If you have acne, you want to know how to get rid of acne fast. You have probably spent too much money on products and treatments that either didn’t cure acne at all or that only helped for a little while. Also, a remedy that works very well for one person may not help someone else.
Most people suffer from acne at some point in their lives. Over the years, Earth Clinic readers have discovered many simple, easy and inexpensive natural cures for acne. You probably have at least one of these home cures in your kitchen right now, without even realizing it. Curing acne at home with these treatments will be much kinder to your skin – and your wallet - than harsh chemicals or scrubs.
Be sure to take a look at the Editor's Choice posts for some wonderful suggestions and advice on effective home remedies for acne.
Ted, Earth Clinic's long-time and well-respected contributor, has some excellent recommendations for healing acne naturally that can be found here.
Earth Clinic’s Best Home Remedies for Acne
Earth Clinic readers have discovered many safe, natural cures for acne. We have listed the five most popular home remedies below. We welcome you to try these effective home cures for yourself. Please let us know how they work for you.
The #1 Acne Cure – Raw, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
How Apple Cider Vinegar Works to Cure Acne
Raw, organic apple cider vinegar is the #1 home remedy for many different health issues. It is often used and recommended as a natural treatment for acne. Apple cider vinegar has both antibacterial and antiseptic properties, enabling the vinegar to remove the bacteria and oil in the clogged hair follicles.
Bodily pH is extremely important. A slightly alkaline pH is healthiest. However, Western diets tend to cause people’s bodily pH to be acid, which contributes to many health problems. It seems strange that something as acidic as vinegar would actually have an alkaline effect on our bodies, but it does. Apple cider vinegar can be used as a daily tonic to promote overall health, as a toner and cleanser for acne and acne-prone skin, or both.
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar as a Daily Tonic for Acne, Alkalizing and Overall Health
- 2 teaspoons unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
- 16 ounces of water
- Mix together in a container, refrigerate, and drink over the course of the day. Drinking this amount every day will usually be adequate for general health needs. This daily tonic will also help to achieve the correct, slightly alkaline bodily pH necessary to control acne.
How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar as a Skin Toner and Cleanser for Acne
- Clean and sterilize a glass bottle for the toner.
- Pour ½ cup apple cider vinegar and ½ cup water into the bottle.
- Shake bottle to mix solution.
- Wash skin.
- Pour a small amount of vinegar/water solution onto a cotton ball and apply to blemishes.
- Reapply several times during the day after washing face.
- Leave on skin for a minimum of 10 minutes or overnight.
- If the skin becomes too dry, use a moisturizer.
Read reports from Earth Clinic readers who have successfully treated their acne with apple cider vinegar. Let us know if this works for you.
The #2 Acne Cure - Hydrogen Peroxide
How Hydrogen Peroxide Works to Treat Acne
Hydrogen peroxide is a magic combination of hydrogen and oxygen that can attack the infection associated with acne. Bacteria cannot live in an oxygen-rich environment. Hydrogen peroxide adds oxygen to the area, killing the bacteria and healing the acne. It also helps to prevent future acne breakouts by making the skin drier and less oily. Check here for more information and reports on how Earth Clinic readers have used hydrogen peroxide for their acne.
How to Use Hydrogen Peroxide for Acne
- Clean skin with a gentle cleanser.
- Dip cotton ball into hydrogen peroxide.
- Dab soaked cotton ball over the affected skin, holding on blemishes for 1-2 minutes.
- Allow hydrogen peroxide to dry on skin.
- Apply a light, oil-free moisturizer if dry skin is a concern, especially if skin is normally dry or sensitive.
The #3 Acne Cure - Dietary Changes
Earth Clinic readers have been researching and using themselves as ‘guinea pigs’ to find out what foods may be triggering their own acne and have then passed on reports of their experiences to guide others. There are some general diet guidelines that have been useful for many in successfully treating their acne, but, sorry to say, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Keep a food log, recording what you eat every day. If your acne is getting worse, look back at what you have been eating. Then, one at a time, eliminate the possible cause(s) of the acne outbreak. Don’t try to change everything at once or it will be impossible to know for sure who the ‘bad guys’ are. Check here for more information and reports from Earth Clinic readers about how dietary changes will heal acne.
Drink More Water
Drinking more water will help to eliminate toxins and improve the natural balance of your body. Your body and skin will function more effectively.
The most likely food triggers for acne are:
The milkshake may be what is causing your acne outbreak, not the hamburger or fries. Hormones in the feed given to the cows are passed into the milk and can interact with the bodily hormones, triggering an acne outbreak. Many people’s bodies cannot handle milk, cheese or other dairy products.
Many have suspected, and a small study has indicated, that chocolate is linked to acne for some people.
Most of us eat too much sugar, which is related to many health problems, including candida and diabetes. Sugar is also responsible for glucose-related acne for some people. Eliminating unnecessary sugar can help to eliminate acne for those individuals.
Wheat and Gluten
Many people have learned that the source of a multitude of health problems is the gluten in wheat. They are gluten-intolerant – meaning that their bodies cannot process gluten. Bread is only one of the many foods that contain gluten. It will be necessary to research and look at labels to identify ‘gluten-free’ foods. Learn more here about gluten intolerance and how to treat it.
Look at the ingredients listed on the box, can or bag. Any or all of those long, unknown additives may be contributing to skin irritation and acne. Generally, the less the food has been processed, the better it is for you.
The #4 Acne Cure - Tea Tree Oil
How Tea Tree Oil Works to Treat Acne
Tea tree oil is found as an ingredient in many beauty products, but is also used on its own to treat many ailments, including acne. It is an essential oil produced from the leaves of a tree native to Australia.
Tea tree oil is a natural product containing no harsh chemicals. It is a powerful antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral that can eliminate the bacteria associated with acne. Frequently, tea tree oil will be effective in a short time. Check here for more information and reports from Earth Clinic readers who used tea tree oil as a natural cure for acne.
How to Use Tea Tree Oil for Acne
Tea tree oil is used as a topical application; do not drink it.
- While many people use straight tea tree oil, you can also make a blend of tea tree oil and another oil or hydrogen peroxide.
- Use a q-tip or cotton ball and dab onto pimples or red areas.
The #5 Acne Cure - Coconut Oil
How Coconut Oil Works to Treat Acne
Coconut oil attacks the bacteria as it is a natural antibacterial (in addition to being a natural antifungal and antioxidant). It reduces inflammation and infection, allowing the skin to begin the healing process. Coconut oil is also packed with important nutrients, including vitamins E and K, caprylic acid, lauric acid and capric acid. Check here for more information and reports from Earth Clinic readers about how coconut oil helped their acne.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Acne
Here’s a tip for using coconut oil. It becomes solid at about 78 degrees. If purchased in a bottle with a narrow neck, warm the bottle in hot water until the coconut oil becomes liquid, shake and pour into a clean glass container with a wide opening, such as an empty cold cream jar.
For cleansing the skin:
- Wash skin thoroughly with a mild cleansing agent.
- Apply a small amount of coconut oil to the skin as you would a moisturizer. The oil will be absorbed into the skin over a lengthy period, so it is best to do this at night.
For internal use:
- Use in cooking.
- Take 1 tablespoon by mouth with each meal.
What Causes Acne
Acne won’t disappear, no matter how fervently someone wishes that it would. If acne is not treated, it will get worse. Unfortunately, there is no definitive cure – but acne can be controlled.
About 80% of teenagers have suffered from acne. Although a person can develop acne at any age, the increased hormone levels teens experience make them most likely to develop acne.
The face, neck, back, shoulders and chest are usually where acne appears, as these skin areas have the most oil glands. When hair follicles are plugged with dead skin cells and oil (sebum), they develop into whiteheads, blackheads or pimples.
The major causes of acne are hormones (especially true for teenagers), some medications (such as corticosteroids), stress (and who isn’t stressed?), not enough sleep and an unhealthy diet. It’s important to remember that the skin is the largest bodily organ and reflects a healthy – or unhealthy – lifestyle. Many people find that a healthier lifestyle combined with one or more of the acne remedies recommended by Earth Clinic readers prove to be the best acne treatments.
The Problems with Acne Treatment Creams
There are many different acne treatment creams available, which tend to share two problems. First, these creams are usually expensive. Second, many of these creams contain harsh ingredients, such as salicylic acid. While these creams may be effective when first used, ultimately the acne may worsen because the chemicals in the creams irritate and dry the skin.
Diet and Acne
Some people find that certain foods trigger acne. Avoiding dairy products or foods rich in carbohydrates (bread or bagels, for example) may be helpful. The cows producing milk may have been fed a lot of hormones – which upsets your hormones and can lead to an acne outbreak. Wheat contains gluten, which many people are sensitive to. Some people find that chocolate can either cause an acne breakout or make acne worse. Anyone troubled by acne should try to discover if there are particular foods that are acne triggers for them.
- Dirt does not cause acne. The black center of a blackhead is not dirt but oil and bacteria. Hard scrubbing with harsh soaps and chemicals will actually make the acne worse because it will irritate the skin.
- Eating greasy foods does not cause acne. That cheeseburger may put pounds on your hips, but it did not cause your acne. For most people, eating greasy foods does not make acne breakouts worse. (However, working in a greasy kitchen can irritate the skin and lead to an acne breakout because the oil can get on the skin and block hair follicles.)
- Oil-free cosmetics will not make acne worse. Of course, makeup must be removed regularly.
How Long Will it Take to Cure My Acne?
We understand that yesterday is when you wanted to be rid of acne. There are many acne solutions that have worked for Earth Clinic readers in addition to the five shown above. Many have found that a multi-prong approach works best, combining dietary changes with daily use of apple cider vinegar, for example.
Some people see results much faster than others do. It will take effort and commitment to heal your acne and have the glowing, clear skin that you have wanted so desperately. However, a regular skin care routine and improved overall health will definitely make a big difference for your happiness and self-confidence. Cure your acne and greet the world with a smile!
Please contact us and let us know how these home cures for acne have worked for you.
[YEA] Drinking lots of water, washing your face with a gentle soap and warm water, and avoiding foods high in cream, fat grease, etc will have your acne infested skin clear in no time. I agree accutane is to be avoided. I was on it for several months and while it did clear things up sometimes I wonder what long term health problems it may cause me later in life.
Don't ever take Accutane. The side effects are too dire and not worth it!! Any decent, informed doctor will tell you this. There are natural remedies out there that are incredibly effective for keeping acne at bay. Apple Cider Vinegar 2 teaspoons in 8 ounces of purified water 3 X a day. B vitamins are also incredible for helping to clear acne, particularly in Coenzymated forms (if you get an initial breakout don't worry - that's a good sign it's clearing things out). Ground Flaxseeds and Hemp seeds are also great for skin. Tea Tree Oil works amazingly well as a spot treatment, it's more powerful than Benzamycin and without the toxic effects. Just know there are natural remedies out there that clear skin! You don't have to rely on medication that will damage your body.
Also, it is crucial to stay away from all dairy from a cow (goat is ok). It is the most acne producing food and best to stay clear of if you want clear skin!
I've struggled with adult acne for years but finally got it under control by not using commercial soaps/moisturizers, only handmade soap and a moisturizing mix of grapeseed oil, castor oil, jojoba oil, lavender & tea tree & lemongrass essential oils. However, sometimes even though I haven't changed any of my skin treatments, I've experienced breakouts.
Recently I connected the breakouts to starting a new vitamin supplement. I stopped the supplement and the breakouts stopped. A similar thing had happened about a year ago and I compared the ingredients of the two supplements (one was Vitamin C and the other was a multi). The only thing they seemed to have in common was silicon dioxide. I checked the supplements I take that don't seem to bother me (flax oil, magnesium, Vit D, and another brand of Vit C) and none of them have silicon dioxide in them. It's hard to be sure what exactly it is, but I just wanted people to consider that perhaps their supplements are causing breakouts!
Replied by Skinnythia
[YEA] I agree with stopping the use anything containing sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). I got canker sores in my mouth repeatedly for a month until I switched to a sensitve toothpaste (pronamel or sensodyne are good and inexpensive) and my canker sores vanished w/in 1 day - the only different ingredient was the absence of SLS. Read up on it and SLS is a strong detergent used in toliet cleaner/bath&kitchen cleaner to make the "foaming" soapy action... Everything has this - shampoo, bottled soaps, toothpaste, and all household cleaners. I started developing cysts and dandruff problems on my head after a while and was shedding a lot of hair, I found some good shampoos - David Babaii's Wildaid (from ULTA) and Renpure Organics (from Walgreens) - they don't have SLS and have safer, less harmful ingredients for the environment - my scalp problems vanished w/in 1 week and I haven't had problems for the last 2 years since I've cut SLS out of my life.
I was on Retin-A for years w/o much help, still broke out and it turned my face red. Using face wash w/o SLS has reduced my acne outbreaks to only 3-4 days out of the month when I'm cycling, all other times my face is pretty clear and I don't have to apply harsh chemicals anymore.
I suffered from acne for years. As I got older, it got worse. After trying numerous OTC remedies, at great expense, I started doing research on what the problem could be. Chemicals! SLS/ALS's trigger acne. Propylene glycol triggers acne. Parabens trigger acne. Mineral oil triggers acne. The list goes on and on. All these chemicals were linked to my bad skin. So, I stopped using everything - shampoo, face/body wash, toothpaste, deodorant, lotions, creams, etc. I started over. K.I.S.S. - keep it super simple. Natural is the key with the fewest ingredients possible. There are cosmetics out there that are natural and pigmented with fruit. There are soaps out there that are just made with castille soap. Baking soda for deodorant. Read the labels - you'd be surprised. The stuff is even in our food. Moisturize with an organic oil (yes, you can put natural oil on your face if you have acne). Look into essential oils and adding a few drops. Eliminate everything and then start adding in a few natural things. After I eliminated all the chemicals, my skin cleared. I get a zit here and there (PMS related), but rarely. Read your labels! Note: the cosmetic industry is self-regulated. Even if it says "natural" it may not be. Don't be fooled - read the ingredients.
Replied by Karenmarie
Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
I am an aesthetician and treat acne clients on a regular basis. The first thing I teach my clients is how to wash their face. When washing your face use a good quality product and apply it using a light hand, don't press or push to hard. You do not want to stimulate more oils by pressing to hard. Use a very light touch in circular motions for 1 to 2 minutes. Yes, 1 or 2 minutes, you want to cleanse the skin and the pores. Always use a clean wash cloth with warm (not hot) water to rinse your face. It is important to use a wash cloth to pick up the oils from the face as well as exfoliating . (this is one thing I find that most of my acne clients don't do), but when you think of it we use some kind of cloth to wash our dishes, our cars, or the counter top. Washing in the morning and evening should be enough. So make sure you have plenty of clean wash cloths on hand.
Replied by Ellen
Replied by Nancy7711
County Cork, Ireland
Replied by Aubrey
Replied by Lindsay
Here are a few tips to help control acne. Whenever I sway from these I pay the price.
- Wash face Twice in a row
- Rinse face Thirteen splashes
- Exfoliate once a week
- Have good oral hygiene
- Plucking eyebrows invites bacteria-clean the area well after
- Don't bite inside your cheeks or lips
- Use a water filter on the shower
- Change pillowcases every other day (I use aloe soaked pillowcases)
- Do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets and use only chemical free laundry soap
- Use chemical free shamp/Cond and hair products (what you put on your hair ends up on your face)
- Clean your phone often (a must)
- Use a natural deodorant
- Use chemical free hand-soap and moisturizer (what you put on your hands ends up on your face)
- Wash your hands after you touch your pets
- Wash your hands and chin after you brush your teeth because bacteria from your mouth drips on your face
- Never use Old make-up
Do Not leave your face wash and shamp/cond in the shower, store it in a dry place
[YEA] STOP USING DEODORANT IF YOU HAVE ACNE!
Why? I have no idea but I have tried every remedy in the book for acne and it would not cure it. From benzaclyn, proactiv, retina micro, hydrogen peroxide, acv, etc. You name it, I prolly tried it. So one day I decided to get away from regular deodorant and go to a natural deodorant because of the Aluminum in deodorant. Little did I know days later my face was clear and has been clear for 2 months now. It has been the clearest it has ever been since I was a kid. I went to my local supermarket and found this deodorant called Toms Natural Deodorant and it is Aluminum free. Maybe the ingredients in my deodorant I had always used was the cause for my acne. I wish I knew this in high school! Try it, It's amazing!
[YEA] My decade-long bout with facial acne ended when I (1) Quit using liquid make-up, and (2) Started using a facial wash with alpha hydroxy acid. My absolute favorite is the brand Alpha Hydrox Foaming Facial Wash. Awesome AND inexpensive. I think that quitting using concealers and liquid make-up to cover up the skin is crucial to stopping the acne cycle. Even if a liquid make-up claims to be non-codemogenic it may aggravate the acne. For a while I used powder make-up, which didn't cause break-outs, but now I rarely even use that.
[YEA] STOP USING SLS (SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE, SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE) AND ANY SULFATES IN YOUR BATH PRODUCTS!!! This ingredient is found EVERY body and face soap...and EVERY shampoo. IT IS ALSO WHY YOUNG MEN ARE GOING BALD!!! For acne, I'm trying the lemon juice exfoliation and the cucumber juice face mask. Seems to be working.
|BETTER BUT NOT CURED (1)||50%|
[YEA] Lots of great acne tips here. If you drink 1 tbs baking soda in a glass of water and 1 or 2 tbs apple cider vinegar in a glass of water, it will make your body alkaline (rather than acidic - the US diet is almost 100% acidic which promotes... Cancer and disease). An alkaline body actually makes your body a very poor host for disease and bad bacteria. Having an acidic body is like posting your houseparty on Facebook... They ALL show up. Incluing acne.
I would also suggest a wakeup and before going to bed rinse of your face with a cottonball or cottonpad dampened with witch hazel. It gently removes a lot of the oil from your skin without drying you out. Keep a small bottle of it with you during the day and it is great for a midday removal of any oil that may accumulate on your face.
Research the skin vitality vitamins, minerals and supplements also. A base vitamin regime of a multi vit/min, vit C, vit E, vit D will help keep that healthy glow to your visage and prevent you from getting sick with all the colds and flu that come around. The US diet is very deficient in vitamins and minerals, one of the reasons that hypo/hyper thyroidism is so prevalent. 90% of Americans checked have low levels of vit D (get more Sun... But choose short exposures), magnesium and vit B12. In the past 30 years the soil has been depleted, so you cannot trust the produce to provide vits/mins anymore. Some vits/mins are as much as 90% less than 3 decades ago. Take your vitamins.
Also be aware of the 3 stooges that appear in virtually all processed food and drink. Aspartame, MSG and high fructose corn syrup. They are excitotoxins which play havoc on your digestive, neuro and endocrine systems... Which could manifest as acne breakouts. If you switch to an organic diet you will find you eat less (because your body is geting nutrition and doesn't need to signal you to gorge so that it gets the proper amount of nutrients).
Sleep much? 8 hours or more per night to ensure that your face gets the restorative and healing rest it needs. Research good sleepijng methods and be sure that you have a comfortable, dark (wear a face mask if necessary) and peaceful place to rest.
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] I do agree about the alkalizing. Whenever I am more consistent drinking my sea salt, baking soda, and lemon juice drinks I can tell my face is clearer. One other thing that has helped me is making sure I take a couple tabespoons of granulated lecithin each day to help flush out those rancid oils in my body. I also use ACV on my face with a cotton swab and I do not dilute it. I've struggled with adult acne for years and have tried many things but what I've mentioned above seems to have helped me more than anything else.
[YEA] Aloe Vera for Acne: it works, I tried it last night got up and voala! smaller pimples.
[YEA] I was suffering from acne scars , and severe red cheeks , now I've been only drnking Aloe vera juice, and it did wonders , my face has a clear , compelxion , the scars are there but the redness minimized , I can't wait till it gets better!!
Replied by Norma
[YEA] When I had acne, I used aloe vera gel which u can find in walgreens. It cleared up my acne in no time I. also drink plenty of water to cure the acne.