Acne isn't just the plight of hormonal teenagers; it afflicts many people long past puberty, causing anxiety before big events and sometimes scarring the skin. But you don't have to resort to smearing harsh, toxic creams onto your face in order to fight it. Try these eight easy, natural home remedies for acne and you could be seeing clearer, more beautiful skin within days.
1. Tea tree oil - The essential oil extracted from the leaves of a tree native to Australia, tea tree oil has been proven to work just as well against acne as benzoyl peroxide, an ingredient commonly found in conventional acne creams. Apply sparingly to blemishes and avoid the area around the eyes. Tea tree oil is not the best remedy for those with acne rosacea, as it can cause irritation. Never take tea tree oil internally.
2. Baking soda - This common household product acts as an exfoliator, whisking away dead skin cells before they can clog pores, and is also thought to lower the acidity of the epidermis. It also makes the skin smoother and softer, reducing the appearance of large, open pores. Mix it with water or gentle castile soap and apply to the skin in circular motions. It can also be left on for up to 10 minutes as a mask, though this may irritate sensitive skin.
3. Milk of magnesia - Applying a laxative to the skin in order to battle acne may sound strange, but many acne sufferers maintain that this remedy really works. Highly alkaline, milk of magnesia (magnesium hydroxide) lowers the acidity of the skin and also seems to suppress oil production. Apply to the skin with a clean cotton ball not more than once a day in order to prevent excessive drying.
4. Aloe - Long valued for its skin healing properties, aloe vera is the soothing gel of a succulent plant. While aloe may not prevent acne from occurring in the first place, it does ease swelling, redness and inflammation and helps heal existing blemishes. Simply rub the gel on the affected area twice a day.
5. Jojoba oil - Believe it or not, drying out your skin too much can worsen acne, causing your skin to ramp up oil production in compensation. If you have combination skin, which is partly oily or normal but partly dry, jojoba oil is an ideal moisturizer when used sparingly because it won't clog pores. It's also helpful as a makeup remover that won't cause breakouts.
6. Apple cider vinegar and aspirin - This remedy is recommended both as a topical solution and an internal detox for clearing up acne. Julie Gabriel, author of the book “The Green Beauty Guide,” mixes three ounces of mineral water with a half-ounce of apple cider vinegar and adds five plain, uncoated crushed aspirin tablets for a toner which is applied to the skin twice a day with a cotton ball. Aspirin is a natural source of salicylic acid, which is known to clear up blemishes.
7. Zinc supplements - Playing a crucial role in healing wounds and reducing inflammation, zinc can help acne flare-ups subside more quickly. Take zinc supplements with a high-fiber meal to aid absorption and prevent stomach upset.
8. Activated charcoal - Consisting of charcoal that has been treated with oxygen to make it highly porous, this product is used to trap carbon-based impurities. Taken internally, it may help clear toxins from the system, potentially assisting in the prevention of acne. It also can be applied to the skin topically in a paste with water or gentle soap or as a mask with bentonite clay. Find it in capsule form in drugstores or health food stores.