If you’re someone who’s suffering from acne on a regular basis, you might be wondering what you can do to resolve this issue. You’ve tried topical treatments and while they may work, the issue is that they significantly dry out your skin. Leaving you with skin feeling less than amazing. As dry skin is almost worse than acne-prone skin, you’re left trying to decide which is the worse situation.
Not to mention, if your skin becomes overly dry, this will only cause it to produce more oil. So try to keep it as moisturized as possible. In which case the entire situation is only going to repeat itself once more.
Plus, it’s not a pleasant way to go about dealing with this issue.
So what is? How can you get rid of acne without suffering dry skin in the process? Or, if those topical treatments just plain didn’t work, what can you do to get them working again?
Let’s take a closer look at some of the best at-home treatments you have to choose from.
The Types of Acne
Before we dive into the best home remedies to remove acne from the picture, it’s important that you come to realize the types of acne that are present. Understanding the types is going to help better guide your decision on how to manage them down the road.
First, we have non-inflammatory acne. This acne is usually going to be seen as blackheads and whiteheads. This type of acne tends to not be too disturbing to the sufferer. It’s rarely painful and while you can see it if you look close, it’s not extremely apparent.
Next, we have inflammatory acne, which is often linked to the bacteria called the P. Acnes bacteria. This form of acne is going to be more painful when it’s in full bloom, so to speak, and can cause more noticeable bumps on the skin.
Cystic acne is one of the worst forms of acne and what most people think of when they hear the term ‘pimples’. In this form of acne, you’ll see large, inflamed cysts showing up on the skin and these often look swollen and red. They may also have white in the core, which is an indication of fluid build-up inside the cyst.
Those who suffer from acne fulminans typically notice acne appearing on their jaw, chest, as well as their back. It’s acne that is most common in males, so females typically get the easy route out of this one.
Finally, the last kind of acne – acne mechanica is a form that is triggered by pressure, heat, and friction. This acne is most common in those who are performing repetitive movements and their skin is rubbing against a particular surface. Athletes are the most common targets of this sort of acne.
So now that you know the different types of acne, let’s quickly go over the causes.
Causes Of Acne
There are many different causes of acne so you’ll never really be able to pinpoint it to just one thing. The good news is that because acne is something that is dependent quite heavily on environmental factors, often it’s something that can be quite easily controllable.
Some of the main reasons you may be suffering from acne include:
· Your pores have become clogged. This typically happens when there is excessive oil production in the skin and that is mixed with dead skin cells. This is one reason why you want to avoid letting your skin become overly dry. Dry skin will lead to an increase in oil production and the potential for problems will then exist.
· A build-up of bacteria on the skin. In many cases, it’s simply because you came into some form of bacteria that your skin is reacting to and the acne has erupted.
· Hormonal imbalances. Females know this story all too well – when your hormones shift, such as at menstruation, for example, it’s totally normal to see acne taking place.
· A diet full of processed and unhealthy foods. Diet does matter. While you won’t erupt in full-blown acne from eating a cheeseburger, if you aren’t eating the right mix of foods, you can be guaranteed it’s going to impact you.
· High levels of stress on an ongoing basis. Being stressed out all the time is a sure-fire way to get yourself suffering from acne.
· Certain medications. As unfortunate as it is, some medications also are linked with the higher occurrence rate of acne. Talk to your doctor about potential medication alternatives if necessary. For instance, certain birth control pills will lead to a greater occurrence of acne in women. While others may help to resolve it. Simply changing brands may be all that’s necessary.
· Not getting enough sleep at night. Sleep is vital for everything so make certain you are getting enough.
· Genetics. Some people are sadly just more prone to getting acne and that’s the way it is.
· Smoking. If you’re a smoker, there’s a higher chance that you may begin to suffer from acne.
As you can see, there are many reasons why you may suffer from acne. It’s safe to say, it’s not a one-size-fits-all treatment approach. Oftentimes, people think that only adolescents and teens get acne as they go through puberty. But many adults often find they are riddled with this problem as well.
So all of this said, let’s go over the best ways to manage acne at home without having to use over the counter topical ingredients.
First, be sure that you are checking your facial cleanser. Don’t use one that is overly drying and when you cleanse, avoid using hot water or scrubbing too hard. Both of these can irritate the skin and lead to a higher occurrence rate of acne.
It is very important that you wash your face regularly, however, especially at night if you are a female wearing make-up. Going to bed in make-up is one of the best ways to suffer from clogged pores, which will surely lead to an acne flare-up shortly afterward.
Some people swear by using coconut oil to cleanse their skin as it also has anti-inflammatory properties as well.
You might make a homemade facial cleanser out of apple cider vinegar, honey, coconut oil, and tea tree oil. If you look online, there are many recipes available.
One important element of skincare that many people often overlook is getting the skin’s pH balance back to normal. You can do this by simply dabbing on some apple cider vinegar in the morning and night as part of your regular skincare routine1.
Use a cotton ball to just dab this right onto the skin and try to use it regularly, even when you don’t have acne. This will help to maintain the right balance and prevent it down the road.
Try A Facial Mask
Treating your skin to a little R&R from time to time is another way to help ensure that you aren’t going to suffer from any unwanted acne. These should be performed once a week or so and can be done while taking a bath to help penetrate your pores so the magic can happen.
Some of the ingredients you’ll want to look for in a mask (whether you’re making it at home or using a commercially prepared mask) include yogurt, honey, cinnamon, essential oils, and coconut oil.
It can be as simple as just mixing together some yogurt and honey and then smearing this on the skin and letting it sit for 10 minutes. Then cleanse the mask off thoroughly and you should feel a difference.
Honey is especially powerful for assisting with acne because it provides anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and antibacterial properties2.
Use Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is one of the best remedies for combating acne when you are actually suffering from an active flare-up. So this is a solution you don’t want to overlook.
You can simply apply it on topically to the areas that are impacted or add it to a face mask you are using instead. Both will work quite well to help improve recovery and get you back to feeling your best.
In fact, some research has shown that tea tree oil can be just as effective as 5% benzoyl peroxide solution, which is found in many medications3.
You might also want to consider the benefits that exfoliation can bring to your skin when done in a gentle and semi-regular manner.
While you never want to overdo exfoliation as it can strip the skin of essential oils that it needs, you do want to make sure that you are getting rid of the dead skin cells that can eventually clog your pores.
What you will want to do however is prepare your own exfoliation scrub rather than using a commercially prepared one. The ones you purchase in the store are by no means ideal because they are full of harsh chemicals that may cause skin irritation.
Instead, make your own by using either sea salt, brown sugar, or ground oatmeal as the base of the exfoliator. This will help provide the grittiness you need to slough off the dead skin cells.
Next, mix it with something that is nourishing to your skin such as coconut oil, kefir, yogurt, or honey. All will work great to help bring back moisture and nutrients to the skin.
Mix these two components together in a 1:1 ratio (say 2 tbsp. of each) and then apply to the skin and rub in a gentle circular manner.
Consider Holy Basil
Another natural treatment method you might use to help manage your acne is holy basil. Many people have never heard of this, but this essential oil has been scientifically backed up to help prevent acne formation4.
Holy basil works to help support optimal blood glucose levels and keep your hormones optimized. Since an imbalance in hormones is closely connected to the development of acne, whatever you can do to keep those hormones in their places will help your efforts.
This can be applied directly to the skin, or if you prefer, it can also be used in cleansing and exfoliating recipes as well.
Another thing that’s critical to do is to consider the diet you are eating on a day to day basis. Like many factors revolving around your health, diet does matter. The more attention you pay to your diet, the fewer chances are that you will suffer from acne breakouts down the road.
While diet may not help you clear up the acne you already have per se, it will definitely help you fight future acne down the road.
So what dietary changes should you be making? Here’s a list to consider.
· Avoid sugar-laden foods. Instead, you want to focus on foods that rank low on the GI index and keep your blood glucose under control.
· Fill your diet with leafy green vegetables as well as berries. They contain powerful antioxidants that promote health and better skin.
· Eat enough omega-3 fatty acids. These help keep overall inflammation in the body down, thus can help to control certain forms of acne. The best sources for omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, as well as considering supplementation.
· Add sufficient amounts of zinc-rich foods to your diet plan. These include foods like yogurt, pumpkin seeds, chicken, oysters, beef, and lamb. Those who have low levels of zinc typically experience higher occurrences of acne5.
· Eat plenty of dietary fiber. Not only will it help to control your blood sugar as noted earlier, but it’s also great for providing enough prebiotics to the gut. Which helps to encourage the development of healthy probiotics.
· Eat more probiotic-rich foods. In addition to getting enough prebiotics, you’ll also want to ensure you’re eating sufficient amounts of probiotic-rich foods as well. Or consider a probiotic supplement such as P3-OM. By maintaining a healthier gut, you’ll keep your immune system stronger and can help to ward off acne before it starts.
· Consider cutting back on your consumption of chocolate. It is true. Chocolate does, unfortunately, contain a compound that can be linked to higher levels of acne. So it’s best if you can avoid it entirely (or minimize it) if you are acne-prone.
You’ll need to play around with your diet and see what triggers your own acne. For some people, certain foods do it. For instance, they always break out whenever they eat dairy or some may even find that spicy foods trigger a flare-up.
Whatever the case may be for you, once you figure this out and start avoiding these foods, your acne issues should start to tame down.
Use A Good Moisturizer
Finally, the last at-home treatment method to consider is using a good at-home moisturizer. Now, you need to be careful with this one because the wrong moisturizer can actually make your acne even worse. By using one that is oil-free however and hydrating but not oily, can help prevent the production of excess sebum. Which then can clog pores and lead to acne.
Some moisturizers are medicated and help combat acne, so you might look into one of those, but any good quality natural moisturizer should also work just fine.
So there you have the main things you can do at home if you hope to minimize the appearance of acne in your life and ensure that you are keeping your skin looking as fresh and healthy as possible.
It definitely does take some work to figure out what could be causing your acne and then test different strategies as you try and work to control it. Remember that acne can flare up for many reasons, so don’t get discouraged. Because you might feel you have it figured out but then a month later, get another flare-up. That flare-up could be related to another underlying cause, so you’ll simply have to pinpoint that again.
But by learning what causes acne and what may be a trigger for you, you’re already one step in the right direction.
Also always remember that if your acne is very painful, severe, or almost never goes away, it’s worth it to be seen by a dermatologist and also potentially a specialist. There could be a bigger underlying cause for the acne at work that will be very essential to figure out.
- Sharma, Shailesh. “Skin pH–Why It Matters More than You Think.”
- Yaghoobi, Reza, and Afshin Kazerouni. “Evidence for clinical use of honey in wound healing as an anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory anti-oxidant and anti-viral agent: A review.” Jundishapur journal of natural pharmaceutical products 8.3 (2013): 100.
- Bassett, Ingrid B., Ross St C. Barnetson, and Debra L. Pannowitz. “A comparative study of tea‐tree oil versus benzoyl peroxide in the treatment of acne.” Medical Journal of Australia 153.8 (1990): 455-458.
- Viyoch, J., et al. “Evaluation of in vitro antimicrobial activity of Thai basil oils and their micro‐emulsion formulas against Propionibacterium acnes.” International journal of cosmetic science 28.2 (2006): 125-133.
- Rostami Mogaddam, Majid, et al. “Correlation between the severity and type of acne lesions with serum zinc levels in patients with acne vulgaris.” BioMed research international 2014 (2014).