5 Most Powerful Home Remedies for Acne

1. Apply Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apple cider, or the unfiltered juice from pressed apples.

Like other vinegars, it is known for its ability to fight many types of bacteria and viruses (123Trusted Source).

Apple cider vinegar contains several organic acids that have been shown to kill P. acnes (4Trusted Source5Trusted Source).

In particular, succinic acid has been shown to suppress inflammation caused by P. acnes, which may prevent scarring (6Trusted Source).

Also, lactic acid has been shown to improve the appearance of acne scars (7Trusted Source8Trusted Source). What’s more, apple cider vinegar may help dry up the excess oil that causes acne in the first place.

How to Use It

  1. Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar and 3 parts water (use more water for sensitive skin).
  2. After cleansing, gently apply the mixture to the skin using a cotton ball.
  3. Let sit for 5–20 seconds, rinse with water and pat dry.
  4. Repeat this process 1–2 times per day, as needed.

It is important to note that applying apple cider vinegar to your skin can cause burns and irritation, so it should always be used in small amounts and diluted with water.

SUMMARY:The organic acids in apple cider vinegar may help kill acne-causing bacteria and reduce the appearance of scars. Applying it to the skin may cause burns or irritation, so it should be used carefully.

2. Take a Zinc Supplement

Zinc is an essential nutrient that’s important for cell growth, hormone production, metabolism and immune function.

It is also one of the most studied natural treatments for acne. Research shows that people with acne tend to have lower levels of zinc in their blood than those with clear skin (9Trusted Source).

Several studies have shown that taking zinc orally helps reduce acne.

In one study, 48 acne patients were given oral zinc supplements three times per day. After eight weeks, 38 patients experienced an 80–100% reduction in acne (10).

The optimal dosage of zinc for acne has not been established, but several studies have shown a significant reduction of acne using 30–45 mg of elemental zinc per day (11Trusted Source12Trusted Source13).

Elemental zinc refers to the amount of zinc that’s present in the compound. Zinc is available in many forms, and each one contains a different amount of elemental zinc.

Zinc oxide contains the highest amount of elemental zinc at 80%.

The recommended safe upper limit of zinc is 40 mg per day, so it is probably best to not exceed that amount unless under the supervision of a medical doctor. Taking too much zinc may cause adverse effects, including stomach pain and gut irritation.

It is also important to note that applying zinc to the skin has not been shown to be effective. This may be because zinc is not effectively absorbed through the skin.

SUMMARY:Individuals with acne tend to have lower zinc levels than people with clear skin. Several studies show that taking zinc orally can significantly reduce acne.

3. Make a Honey and Cinnamon Mask

Both honey and cinnamon are excellent sources of antioxidants (141516Trusted Source17Trusted Source18Trusted Source).

Studies have found applying antioxidants to the skin is more effective at reducing acne than benzoyl peroxide and retinoids (1920Trusted Source2122).

These are two common acne medications for the skin that have antibacterial properties.

The antioxidants studied were vitamin B3, linoleic (omega-6) fatty acid and sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP), which is a vitamin C derivative.

These specific antioxidants are not found in honey or cinnamon, but there is a possibility that other antioxidants may have a similar effect.

Honey and cinnamon also have the ability to fight bacteria and reduce inflammation, which are two factors that trigger acne (23Trusted Source24Trusted Source25Trusted Source).

While the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties of honey and cinnamon may benefit acne-prone skin, no studies exist on their ability to treat acne.

How to Make a Honey and Cinnamon Mask

  1. Mix 2 tablespoons honey and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together to form a paste.
  2. After cleansing, apply the mask to your face and leave it on for 10–15 minutes.
  3. Rinse the mask off completely and pat your face dry.

SUMMARY:Honey and cinnamon have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Because of this, they may be beneficial for acne-prone skin.

4. Spot Treat With Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an essential oil that is extracted from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a small tree native to Australia.

It is well known for its ability to fight bacteria and reduce skin inflammation (26).

What’s more, several studies show that applying 5% tea tree oil to the skin effectively reduces acne (27Trusted Source28Trusted Source).

When compared to 5% benzoyl peroxide, 5% tea tree oil did not act as quickly, but it did significantly improve acne after three months of use (29Trusted Source).

It also resulted in fewer adverse effects like dryness, irritation and burning, compared to benzoyl peroxide.

Tea tree oil is very potent, so always dilute it before applying it to your skin.

How to Use It

  1. Mix 1 part tea tree oil with 9 parts water.
  2. Dip a cotton swab into the mixture and apply it to affected areas.
  3. Apply moisturizer if desired.
  4. Repeat this process 1–2 times per day, as needed.

SUMMARY:Tea tree oil has strong anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Applying it to the skin has been shown to reduce acne.

5. Apply Green Tea to Your Skin

Green tea is very high in antioxidants, and drinking it can promote good health.

There aren’t any studies exploring the benefits of drinking green tea when it comes to acne, but applying it directly to the skin has been shown to help.

This is likely because the flavonoids and tannins in green tea are known to help fight bacteria and reduce inflammation, which are two main causes of acne (30Trusted Source3132).

The major antioxidant in green tea — epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) — has been shown to reduce sebum production, fight inflammation and inhibit the growth of P. acnes in individuals with acne-prone skin (33Trusted Source).

Multiple studies have shown that applying a 2–3% green tea extract to the skin significantly reduces sebum production and pimples in those with acne (34Trusted Source35Trusted Source36Trusted Source).

You can buy creams and lotions that contain green tea, but it is just as easy to make your own mixture at home.

How to Use It

  1. Steep green tea in boiling water for 3–4 minutes.
  2. Allow tea to cool.
  3. Using a cotton ball, apply tea to skin or pour into a spray bottle to spritz on.
  4. Allow to dry, then rinse with water and pat dry.

You can also add the remaining tea leaves to honey and make a mask.

Even though there isn’t any evidence that drinking green tea can fight acne, some research suggests it may still be beneficial.

For example, drinking green tea has been shown to lower blood sugar and insulin levels, which are factors that can contribute to the development of acne (37Trusted Source).

SUMMARY:Green tea is high in antioxidants that help fight bacteria and reduce inflammation. Applying green tea to the skin has been shown to significantly reduce acne.

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