Acne is one of the world’s most common skin conditions, affecting an estimated 85 percent of young adults.

Traditional acne treatments, such as salicylic acid, niacinamide, or benzoyl peroxide, have been shown to be the most effective acne treatments, but they can be costly and have undesirable side effects, such as dryness, redness, and irritation.

This has prompted many people to seek natural acne treatment at home. In fact, according to a 2017 study, 77% of acne patients had tried alternative acne treatments.

Many home remedies lack scientific support, and more research on their efficacy is required. However, if you’re looking for alternative treatments, you still have options.

This article looks at 14 popular acne home remedies.

What exactly is acne?

Acne is a skin condition that occurs when the follicles of your skin become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Acne is a very common condition, and most people have had it at some point in their lives, especially during their adolescence when their sebaceous glands produce more oil.

Acne, on the other hand, has no age limit, and many people in their 40s and 50s have adult acne.

What exactly causes acne?

Acne develops when your skin’s pores become clogged with oil and dead skin cells.

Each pore is linked to a sebaceous gland, which produces sebum, an oily substance. Extra sebum can clog pores, promoting the growth of the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes.

P. acnes is attacked by your white blood cells, resulting in skin inflammation and acne. Acne can be severe in some cases, but common symptoms include whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples.

Acne can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

hormonal shifts

The most effective acne treatments are standard clinical treatments. You can also try home remedies, though more research on their efficacy is required. The following are 14 acne home remedies.

Use apple cider vinegar.

Pros: low cost, easy to find, reduces the appearance of acne scars
Cons: may cause skin irritation
Fermenting apple cider or the unfiltered juice from pressed apples yields apple cider vinegar.

Like other vinegars, research has found it to be effective against a wide range of bacteria and fungi.

Citric acid, for example, is found in apple cider vinegar. Citric acid, in conjunction with zinc oxide, has been shown in research from 2016 to kill P. acnes.

According to 2017 research, the lactic acid in apple cider vinegar may also help to reduce the appearance of acne scars.

While some apple cider vinegar components may help with acne, there is currently no evidence to support its use for this purpose. Some dermatologists advise against using apple cider vinegar at all because it can cause skin irritation.

How to:

3 parts water to 1 part apple cider vinegar (use more water for sensitive skin).
After cleansing, apply the mixture to the skin gently with a cotton ball.
Allow it to sit for 5 to 20 seconds before rinsing with water and patting dry.
As needed, repeat this process 1 to 2 times per day.
It’s important to note that applying apple cider vinegar to your skin can cause burns and irritation, and it’s not something most dermatologists recommend. If you decide to try it, use it sparingly and dilute it with water.

Use green tea on your skin.

Pros: simple to make, numerous benefits, natural
Cons: insufficient research
Green tea is high in antioxidants, and drinking it can help you stay healthy. It may also aid in acne reduction.

According to a 2017 study, this is likely due to the polyphenols in green tea, which help fight bacteria and reduce inflammation, both of which are major causes of acne.

There hasn’t been much research into the benefits of drinking green tea for acne, and more research is needed.

Participants in a small 2016 study with 80 women took 1,500 mg of green tea extract daily for 4 weeks. Women who took the extract had less acne on their noses, chins, and around their mouths by the end of the study.

Green tea applied to the skin may also be beneficial.

According to a 2020 study, applying green tea extract to the skin significantly reduces sebum production and pimples in acne patients.

Green tea creams and lotions are available for purchase, but it is just as simple to make your own at home.

How to:

Green tea should be steeped in boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes.
Allow the brewed tea to cool before serving.
Apply the tea to your skin with a cotton ball or spritz it on with a spray bottle.
Allow it to dry before rinsing with water and patting your skin dry.
You can also make a mask with the remaining tea leaves and honey.

Use witch hazel.

Advantages: natural, found in many products
Cons: There has been very little research to back up the claims.
The bark and leaves of the North American witch hazel shrub, Hamamelis virginiana, are used to make witch hazel. There appears to be very little research on witch hazel’s ability to treat acne specifically at the moment.

30 people with mild to moderate acne used a three-step facial treatment twice daily for 6 weeks in a small 2017 study funded by a skin care company.

One of the ingredients in the second step of the treatment was witch hazel. By the end of the study, the majority of participants had seen significant improvement in their acne.

According to 2019, witch hazel may also fight bacteria and reduce skin irritation and inflammation, which can all contribute to acne.

How to:

In a small saucepan, combine 1 tablespoon witch hazel bark and 1 cup water.
After soaking the witch hazel for 30 minutes, bring the mixture to a boil on the stove.
Reduce to a low heat and cover for 10 minutes.
Remove the mixture from the heat and set aside for 10 minutes.
Strain the liquid and store it in a tightly sealed container.
Apply with a cotton ball to clean skin 1 to 2 times per day, or as needed.
It is important to note that commercially prepared versions may lack tannins because they are frequently lost during the distillation process.

Aloe vera moisturizer

Advantages: natural, found in a variety of products, and can be combined with other ingredients
Cons: there haven’t been many studies to back up the claims, and many products contain additives.
Aloe vera is a tropical plant that produces a clear gel from its leaves. Lotions, creams, ointments, and soaps frequently contain the gel.

According to research from 2018, it is commonly used to treat:

Inflammation of the skin

Aloe vera contains salicylic acid and sulfur, both of which are commonly used to treat acne. According to 2017, applying salicylic acid to the skin reduces acne.

According to a 2018 study, when combined with other ingredients such as tretinoin cream or tea tree oil, aloe vera gel may help with acne.

While research shows promise, the anti-acne benefits of aloe vera require more scientific investigation.

How to:

Using a spoon, scrape the gel from the aloe plant.
As a moisturizer, apply the gel directly to clean skin.
Repeat 1–2 times daily, or as desired.
You can also purchase aloe vera gel from a store, but make sure it is pure aloe with no added ingredients.

How do you remove acne scars?

Acne scars do not fade on their own. However, in-office procedures such as lasers, micro-needling, microdermabrasion, resurfacing, or fillers can help them look better.

Acne scars can be reduced with regular exfoliation and home remedies such as apple cider vinegar.

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