Natural Remedies

Acne - Editor's Choice

Over the years, Earth Clinic readers have sent us many reports about their treatments for Acne. The editors at Earth Clinic consider the below posts to be some of the most helpful and informative and have named them 'Editor's Choice'. We hope that you will find this useful.

Pantothenic Acid

Posted by Ellie L. (San Diego, CA) on 09/10/2021

I battled with acne pretty much my entire adult life. It wasn't too bad when I was on birth control, but as soon as I went off in my mid-20s, I began to develop much worse acne. I would get regular pimples but also cystic acne that would hurt. I was in my early 30s with acne...wondering will this ever go away??! I'd always have 5-10 painful pimples on my face. When one would finally go away, another would pop up. That is, UNTIL I WENT ON PANTOTHENIC ACID (vitamin b5).

Oh my gosh. This was literally the answer to my prayers. I had been praying to God to either help me find a cure for my acne or help me to accept it (it made me so insecure). And He lead me to b5. I started with a mega-dose of it - taking 8 500mg capsules per day (in smaller doses throughout the day).

I would say most of my acne was totally gone within the first month. I was shocked. I maintained the high dose "just in case" for a while after. I have since reduced it down and now take 2-4 500mg most days. I haven't had a cystic pimple since I started this over a year ago. Once in a great while I will get a very small pimple and I notice if I take a high dose of b5 it's gone within a day or two.

This was my miracle cure. I tried almost everything to cure it and nothing worked until I found this. I went on a mostly raw vegan diet for 6 months, drank the celery juice, cut our dairy, coffee, cut out sugar...nothing worked or seemed to touch it. I also put ACV on my face and it didn't do much either. The one thing I did not try was internal ACV... but all I know is b5 was finally the answer after a 10+ year fight with acne.

Hope this helps someone!

Witch Hazel

Posted by Mike (Kent, Uk) on 08/23/2020 26 posts

Worked great! When I was in my teens I had quite bad acne and tried so many things to get rid of it. The only thing that worked for me back then was witch hazel in a gel form which as I remembered I used to apply quite thickly over the areas with acne and leave it on overnight.

I don't know if it has to be in gel form or if it has to be as long as hours/overnight, but what I do know is it worked very well :)

Vitamin C

Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 01/09/2018

I have/have had 6 teens so far. They have been blessed with pretty clear skin. I wonder if there is a hereditary component as my husband and I had pretty clear skin as teens also and I say we had pretty typical teen diets. (I worked in a fast food restaurant from ages 16-19 and ate lunch there every day that I worked, which was daily in the summer! )

But they do have some mild acne. Never enough for them to be bothered to try and improve it though.

After 6 weeks of very regular use of liposomal vitamin C for whooping cough, however, I have noticed that one teen in particular has notably clearer skin.

If you have a teen with acne, vitamin C would be easy to try. The easiest way to get a higher dose is the store bought lypospheric vitamin C. It costs $32 for 30 packets. One packet of liposomal a day and in a month you would see if it was worth making your own for regular use, which is much cheaper once you invest in the materials.

~Mama to Many~


Posted by Pzolnir (Az) on 06/26/2017

Suffering with acne and getting no help with western medicine - try Goldenseal. This is the secret remedy no Dermatologist wants us to know about. It's working wonders for us. My son is 18 and has had a bad experience with acne since he was 14. We have seen a Dermatologist for four years and everything he tried did nothing to make a difference. I came across an article for Goldenseal uses and pulled it from my arsenal and he started taking it as instructed. 1 capsule 3 x daily. Include a daily facial wash or two made of Goldenseal. If using a capsule to make the facial wash, boil it for a couple minutes while stirring.

It's been a week now and the Goldenseal has reversed the bacteria that was causing the acne scarring that will now heal. The Goldenseal appears to be healing his face.

Vitamin A

Posted by Stephanie (Napa, Ca) on 12/12/2016

Vitamin A is the answer! We tried it all, cut out dairy, cut out wheat, which both helped to a certain extent but nothing came close to Vitamin A. My son had terrible ace and even some very red cystic acne, we started by giving him 50mg day of chelates zinc which helped a little until I read that Accutane mimics Vitamin A in high doses. We then added 40,000iu of Vitamin A per day for a week and now just 20,000iu daily with the zinc, taken with food and his acne is now GONE. It has only been less than a month but we initially started seeing results within the first few days all the cyctic bumps reduced in size almost immediately! Stick with it, I know it's frustrating but you are worth it!

Omit Towels

Posted by Cibitka (Europe) on 06/26/2016 6 posts

Long story short:

Acne appeared on my face and shoulders and chest when I turned 13. From that time I tried various creams, tonics, external and internal antibiotics, fasted, even juice from cabbage and onion applied ext. and int., visited dermatologists and cosmetic salons where my closed eyes often filled up with tears from pain caused by the acne being squeezed. Only those who have it, can imagine how I felt - face covered with raw red 'LEDs' - the consciousness when lifting my face up to talk to someone and knowing that the person sees it all. Adolescence was not easy with acne and it caused me psychological damage that I still have not solved yet. As if I did not suffer enough, when 21, the 'normal' acne (covering every cm of my face, but still 'normal') turned into 'deep-skin' cysts, which were no longer possible to squeeze. These left deep scars all over my cheeks. By that time (though a bit too late) I decided to take the matter to my own hands and cure my self with my own logic. Since then I am acne-free (unfortunately with scars). How I know that it was my protocol, that cured me? - because every time I violate the main 2 rules, I get flashing red 'LED' warning on my face... : )

This is how I got rid of acne + the 'deep-skin' cysts:

Most important rules:


Use kitchen paper towels instead. Always.
This removed 90% of the problem in my case.

The rest I killed with following:

Stopped all 'artificial' cosmetics and applied 'kitchen' cosmetics instead. In the evening, before going to bed, I would make a mixture of water and splash of non-pasteurized and non-filtered ACV in a small bowl, I would dip a cotton pad into it and wash my face. I would then wash it off while showering and dry face with paper towel.

If my face felt dry, I would use any un-refined oil I had available and apply small amount on face while it was still wet after shower - oil and water created nice emulsion, which dried out leaving my skin not so greasy as when applying oil on skin when already dry. This was all. I went to sleep and in the morning I would not wash nor apply anything on the skin. It looked nourished after the night emulsion anyway.

I believe other things contribute to good skin condition as well - like physical activity on fresh air, food, environment, sleep and bad type of stress elimination. But what I observe all the time (I am now 36) is that when I violate touching or towel rule, within a day at least one 'LED' is flashing.

I wish a lot of courage for healing to all those who have acne.
Often a small change - seemingly insignificant (and often dirty cheap if not completely free) - might cause big results.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Castor Oil

Posted by Susi_nola (New Orleans, Louisiana) on 01/15/2016 2 posts

I discovered Earth Clinic last week when I looked up remedies for removing a splinter. I was floored at how well it worked! So I perused the site and looked up remedies for adult chin acne that I seem to get once a year. This year, though, the rash of acne has lasted about 6 months on the right side of my chin.

Per various posts, I diluted Apple Cider Vinegar, unfiltered and organic, maybe about 1 part ACV and 3-4 parts tap water. I keep it in a little jar in the bathroom and dip a cotton square in it and rub all over my face like a tonic. (Make sure to shake the solution before using.) Unbelievably the rash decreased overnight. This is after using a prescription for months and months which only helped a little. The ACV makes a dramatic decrease in the rash everyday and it is practically gone now. However, the redness remained. So I used Castor Oil, per some other posts. Amazingly, two days later the redness is gone and the rash is just there, but barely.

The first night I just dabbed the Castor Oil onto the rash with a q-tip, letting it stay thick. (I put a towel over my pillow and let it permeate my skin overnight.) Then last night I spread it over my entire face and let it permeate all night. In the morning I put it on, too, but wipe it off before leaving the house because it's REALLY thick. I am absolutely amazed. I am going to keep using the ACV and Castor Oil every single day. I've also started gently scrubbing my face with Epsom Salts, and my face is as soft as a baby's bottom. I'm getting rid of all my traditional cleansers, etc. The only thing I'm keeping is my daily face cream because it has SPF in it.

Good luck! I hope this post will help someone else as much as I've been helped by others I've read.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Posted by Jessica (California) on 04/09/2015

After suffering from adult acne and melasma for several years, and spending thousands of dollars at my dermatologist's office I was about to give up on ever having nice skin again. Then a friend mentioned that she had been using ACV as a toner, so I decided to give it a try. I am so thankful that I did! I used a 50/50 solution of ACV (with "the mother" in it) and water on a cotton ball twice per day after washing my face. My acne dried up within a week, my pores shrank, and two overactive oil glands that were on my face shrunk as well! I had my two acne prone teenage boys try it as well and they were clear within a week too! While it didn't help my melasma, I highly recommend this inexpensive acne solution for adults and teens.

Dietary Changes

Posted by Sandra (Media, Pa) on 12/04/2013

I am an ESTHETICIAN and a HOLISTIC HEALTH COACH which means that look at the whole system of the body to find the root of the problem. With all my clients who suffer from blackheads, acne, and cystic acne, I make correlations between skin health and digestive health.

First, we discuss PROPER HOME CARE & CLEANING METHODS - NEVER use soap-use a cleanser with some type of alpha or beta hydroxy acid. Salicylic or lactic acids works well. In some cases, a Clarasonic type rotating brush can keep pores clear of debris and excess oil - but careful not to overdue it or can irritate your skin. Gently remove cleanser with a warm cotton wash cloth ALWAYS - great for exfoliation. Other surface causes could be: dirty makeup brushes & applicators, mineral oil in foundation, dirty pillowcases, and of course, using the wrong cleansing products-so find a cleanser that is appropriate for your skin type. An esthetician can guide you, so get facials on a regular basis - they really do help for deeper cleansing.

Second, and really IMPORTANT. Look at your DIGESTIVE SYSTEM and the FOOD you're eating. Your skin is a direct reflection of what's going on in you GUT. So, first thing is rule out are FOOD ALLERGIES -

DAIRY & WHEAT are two triggers. Most people won't even consider that conventional dairy products are injected with hormones that upset YOUR hormones - feed lot cows are eating TONS of grains loaded with antibiotics, pesticides, and hormones. It could be the milk protein, casein, that you're allergic to. You can also try to eliminate ALL DAIRY for 2 WEEKS and see what happens OR, switch to GRASS-FED milk or RAW milk which you can find at a health food store. Drinking organic milk doesn't guarantee that the cow was grass-fed, only that it might have eaten a percentage of organic grains. Not the same thing. Buy 'cultured butter' which has naturally occurring fermentation (good for the gut) and eat 'pastured' eggs which are rich in Omega-3s bc the eggs come from chickens that eat what they're supposed to eat: insects & clover.

WHEAT is the other trigger. The actual wheat grain has been cross-bred with so many different types of grasses that your body is not meant to digest - and of course, there's GLUTEN. Conventionally processed wheat products are loaded with gluten and your body is reacting - which can show up as cystic acne. Stay away from anything made with flour...even whole grains. Your gluten sensitivity w/o digestive symptoms, as with Celiac, could show up as migraines, fatigue, and brain fog. For more information, please read, 'Wheat Belly'. You will be amazed.

STRENGTHEN YOUR GUT with fermented foods that contain probiotics - like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir (dairy, so be careful) and miso. Can also take probiotics in powder form (I like Green Vibrance products) or find probiotics in gel caps.

DRINK GREEN SMOOTHIES to alkalinize your system - the standard American diet (S.A.D.) is way too acidic. Eat LOTS OF GREENS (kale, collards, swiss chard, spinach, etc.) You can google 'green smoothies' for great recipes. EAT MORE RAW FOODS...for the enzymes.

Third, there's SUGAR. Sugar produces spikes in insulin and really does a number on your pancreas. The spike in insulin causes increases sebum (oil) production which leads to clogged pores. Going back to refined carbs (there's that flour again) creates the same reaction in the body as pure sugar so it's a vicious cycle. Make an effort to cut back and again, see what happens.

Good luck!! I love this site ~ thank you!!!!

Hydrogen Peroxide

Posted by Thelawofone (South Florida) on 09/20/2013

I have been ingesting drops of 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide in distilled water. It has cleared up my acne about 90% up till now. I will continue to take it, but so far, it has been the only thing that has worked and given me dramatic results fast. I've been taking it for about 3 weeks till now and am constantly improving. I suffer from facial and body acne.

Background: I've had acne on and off for 17 years. I was on topical medications for a long time, but they were not a cure. They only covered up the real problem which is internal. Then I started taking orthotricyclen, a birth control pill. It completely cleared me up, but then I started to notice that I had no libido whatsoever. So I got off it. My body then stabilized on the hormones but I broke out worse than before.

Then I started trying alternate remedies. Several things helped. Enemas and colonics cleared me up about 50%. Taking fresh yeast mixed with tomato sauce cleared my face up completely but I would still get acne on my back.

Then, I had to take antibiotics and they messed me up again. The acne came back full fledged.

I contacted a psychic who told me that the problem was that I had leaky gut. My gut was toxic. She recommended the hydrogen peroxide ingestion therapy along with a digestive enzyme and probiotics.

Tried the probiotics and several different digestive enzymes but I didn't see results till I started taking hydrogen peroxide.

Regimen: I start off with 3 drops of 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide mixed in 6-8 oz distilled water three times a day (so total 9 drops in one day). The next day, I take 4 drops in water three times a day. The day after, 5 drops and so on. I take this about 10 days and then have a few days of rest where I don't take it (like 3-5 days). Then I start up again in a cycle. If I notice any nausea, I take longer to build up the amount of drops. Everyone is different, so some people might not be able to build up to such a high amount of drops. Important! To avoid any reaction with food, take on an empty stomach, aka 3 hours after eating and don't eat for up to an hour after taking it.

Please check out food grade links on Amazon regarding this therapy. Just check people's reviews and see the success rate of this therapy. This is oxygenation therapy which also works for multiple other diseases such as cancer.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Posted by Eva (San Diego, California, United States) on 03/04/2012

I have been desperate for a relatively cheap, effective, holistic cure for acne. I have had acne since high school -- I'm almost 30 now -- and tried almost everything (I refused the most extreme) and spent tons of money on different products to get rid of it. No one knows the psychological effects of bad skin until they've had it. After a particularly bad and long-lasting breakout I came across this page looking for anything that might help. Last weekend, I read the different comments about ACV and decided a $5 product was at least worth the try. I was frankly not optimistic.

One week later, I am here to advise anyone and everyone to try it or at least consider it. I am shocked at the amazing results I have seen so far. My face has cleared up CONSIDERABLY, my giant cystic acne (the biggest - about 1. 5 cm across - had been hanging out for about 2 weeks and looked like a blood blister) along my chin line is nearly gone, and I am receiving lots of comments about how great my skin is looking! SEVEN days later!

Here's what I've done:

I went to a local store that carries organic food and bought an organic, filtered, unpasteurized raw Apple Cider Vinegar with "the mother" in it.

The first day I used a toner of straight ACV on a cotton round, and doused a q-tip with ACV to hold on the largest acne for around 20 seconds each (this will sting just a bit but not like some other products I've used)

Since then: I use a very popular acne face wash, a toner of half filtered water/half ACV, and finish with a repairing lotion from the same line as the face wash. Morning and night. I have used oil-control moisturizer a few times when it felt necessary. I've also continued to put straight ACV on a q-tip and held it to the largest acne every few days.

I drink 2 tbsp. Of straight ACV morning and night. This is the hardest part. I don't drink juice, but did have some soda water that I drank immediately afterward that seemed to cut the horribleness. I also put a drop of honey in my mouth afterward a few times to deal with the aftertaste. I take it just like a shot to get it done with because sipping it in water almost made me vomit. Don't take it on an empty stomach because it made me feel queasy (I DO have a sensitive stomach, no vitamins or supplements without food in there). The 2 or 3 minutes of this awfulness has definitely been worth it in the long run.

I would really encourage you to try this if you have been struggling to find anything that actually WORKS. I have sensitive, combination skin and was very concerned that this would play out like some of the products I've used and just burn my skin and make it red and chapped. My skin looks brighter, more translucent, and the redness from older scarring has gone way down. My littler pimples and blackheads seem to be nearly gone, and I just seem to have a few different areas where the acne was deep under the skin and is working its way out. I am totally impressed with this remedy and want to say THANK YOU to all the people who have shared their stories here and to for hosting these stories. Thank you so much everyone, and I hope this story can help others like me!

Dandelion and Burdock

Posted by Linde (St. Paul, Minnesota) on 04/23/2010

I had an acne issue when I was in my 30's. The zits would be a collection of 3-5 small zits in one big bump!!!

A local herbalist gave me two tinctures to take - dandelion and burdock. (5 drops per day of each for the first week, then 3 drops a day of each for 3 months).

He told me that it would be a slow process. As I remember, he said it was candida that had gotten its tentacles into the bones of my face and it would take a while to get them 'weeded' out.

I didn't change my diet at all, I just took the drops in a glass of water the first thing in the morning. Sure enough, after 3 months I never had one of those big zits again. And that was almost 20 years ago.

Milk Thistle

Posted by Erica R (Miami, Florida) on 09/25/2008

Milk Thistle cured my acne! I'm now 21 and have had acne for a few years. After many trips to the dermatologist, I was prescribed Accutane which gave me acne-free skin for about a year. I then did acid peels which only made my skin worse. I was also put on birth control - that didn't help either. After lots of research, I finally decided it was time to attack the CAUSE of acne, and not the actual problem. For those of you who don't know it, acne is the cause of a poor functioning liver. If the liver is not functioning properly, acne forms (these are the toxins trying to get out of your body). Therefore, MILK THISTLE is a great natural herb that promotes healthy liver function by getting rid of the damaged liver cells, and creating new, healthy ones. I have not had a pimple since I started taking it, but be patient, it could take up to two weeks for you to see great results! Also, I take the liquid herbal extract - about 30 drops in a glass of water, twice a day.