Almost all of us can say we’ve grappled with acne at one point or another in our lives. According to UC Davis Medical Center, 85% of teens have acne, with girls starting to see acne as early as 11 years of age, and boys a few years later. It’s the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million Americans each year. What exactly is acne? Acne is a skin condition that’s caused when blocked skin follicles form a plug caused by oil. There bacteria and dead skin cells clump together and swell. Pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, cysts, and nodules are all types of acne.
There isn’t an acne medication on the market that doesn’t come with its fair share of side effects. Some individuals are allergic to benzoyl peroxide, a common ingredient in acne medications. Symptoms include severe burning, peeling, redness, and scabbing of the skin. Even swelling of the lips, tongue, and eyes has been reported.
Harsher acne medications can cause even more severe reactions. These can be back pain, joint pain, drowsiness, dryness, inflammation of the whites in the eyes, and nose bleeds to name a few. Severe allergic reactions to certain medications range from hallucinations to depression, and even seizures. While these medications can be excellent in treating acne, the side effects often make us worry about our health.
There are ways to combat acne naturally. Natural remedies are incredible and readily available, however individuals with severe cases of acne may need a prescription for acne medication in addition to natural remedies. If an individual dealing with acne is experiencing constant pain, swelling, bleeding from the pimples, and depression they may need outside help, and in most cases that is a visit to a dermatologist and a prescription for acne medication. Make sure to be constantly monitored by a doctor or a dermatologist while taking acne medications, and pay attention to the side effects and what you are feeling.
Humans have been deriving pharmaceuticals from nature for centuries. Studies show that about 70% of new drugs introduced for the past 25 years have been derived from natural products. Researchers say that half of all anti-cancer medicines that have been introduced since the 1940’s are either natural products, or medicines created from natural products. Plants have long been used by us for medicinal purposes. Many of today’s pharmaceuticals have a long history as herbal remedies. So, we know that natural remedies work. Here’s a list of 10 natural ways to treat acne at home.
1. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil contains anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. These properties are useful for use against acne because acne is caused by bacteria. Tea tree oil can help reduce harmful bacteria and inflammation, and its natural moisturizing properties calm irritated skin and heal lesions. Though tea tree oil is natural, it can also be harsh on the skin causing dryness and peeling with overuse. How do you use tea tree oil for acne?
How To Use:
Tea tree oil may be used on the entire face, but because of its possible harshness on the skin, some experts recommend using it as a spot treatment. But before applying it directly to your face, they suggest diluting it with a carrier oil like Argan oil. Once you’ve mixed the two together you may apply it to problem areas.
2. African Black Soap.
So many of today’s acne fighting products are harsh, even natural ones. But African black soap is an amazing little secret not many know about. It’s so gentle on the skin that it can be used frequently, and over time has the power to transform the texture of your skin. African black soap contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which help reduce acne flare ups. It gently and naturally exfoliates the skin and clears clogged pores of sebum, oil, and debris with the ash that is in the soap.
Since dry skin produces more oil than necessary, keeping skin moisturized and hydrated is important when fighting acne. The shea butter and coconut oil help to hydrate and moisturize skin. If you’re looking for a gentle cleanser, get your hands on a bar of African black soap.
How To Use:
You may use African black soap as you would any other cleanser or soap bar. Lather your hands with the soap, and massage into wet face. Use circular motion to aid in circulation. Rinse your face with water and pat dry with a fresh towel. African black soap is gentle enough to use twice per day.
3. Baking Soda And Lemon.
Baking soda reduces acne breakouts thanks to its anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties. The anti-inflammatory properties in baking soda soothe irritated, inflamed skin and reduce swelling and redness. And the anti-septic properties fight the bacteria that causes acne. Baking soda is also a natural exfoliant, and more gentle than most store bought exfoliating cleansers.
Skin is acidic during an acne breakout, and baking soda is alkaline in nature. It helps to neutralize the pH of your skin. If used regularly as a face mask, it can reduce pigmentation and scarring from acne.
How To Use:
As A Scrub For Blackheads:
Combine baking soda and water to form a thick paste. Cut a lemon in half. Apply baking soda paste onto cut lemon, and using circular motions cleanse black head problem areas such as your nose, chin, and cheeks. Rinse with water and pat dry with fresh towel.
Honey is an incredible natural ingredient. It’s often used for medicinal purposes. Honey has natural healing, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant properties. Application of raw honey on acne prone skin reduces redness and inflammation, and research suggests that certain honey can kill even antibiotic resistant bacteria. It’s known to be wound healing, and can heal acne scars.
How To Use:
Raw honey is preferred. Apply raw honey to face. Let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse with water and pat dry with fresh towel.
5. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera is abundant in health benefits. One of aloe vera’s most popular benefits is the ability to accelerate burn healing. But it has benefits that are less known such as reducing constipation, lowering blood sugar levels, and it’s good for your skin, too. Aloe Vera contains anti-bacterial properties that are very effective against acne. It prevents bacteria from infecting acne wounds, and accelerates the healing process.
How To Use:
You’ll need to find aloe vera in its pure form. Cut a leaf off an aloe vera plant. Use a sharp knife to avoid damage to the plant. You’ll see a yellow substance ooze from the cut, but that is not the aloe vera gel. Make sure it does not contaminate the gel, which should be clear. Before you’re able to get to the gel, cut off the spines on the side of the leaf. Lay your leaf flat on a cutting board and slice away the skin carefully. Extract the aloe vera gel and apply to your face. Leave it on your face for 30 minutes, rinse with water and pat dry with fresh towel.
6. Reduce Your Stress.
Research suggests that the correlation between stress and acne is strong. Though stress isn’t a direct cause of acne, it can certainly contribute to more breakouts. The stress related hormone called CRH is a culprit. CRH can drive up the skin’s oil production as it binds to the skin’s sebaceous glands, which can cause inflammation and acne. When stressful situations arise, our adrenal glands, who are responsible for regulating stress, stimulate oil glands and create more sebum. Studies are showing that acne is on the rise for women, and stress may have a lot to do with it.
While seemingly counterintuitive, dry skin can be responsible for excess oil production. That’s why it’s important to bring moisture back into our skin. A great moisturizer, and even oil serum is necessary for individuals with dry skin for daily application. But let’s not forget the most important way to hydrate our organs- and skin is an organ. Remember to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day to stay hydrated. Keeping skin hydrated from the inside out is the most effective way to fight off excess dryness.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar.
Apple Cider Vinegar contains organic acids that can aid in killing acne causing bacteria. It reduces the appearance of acne scars and pigmentation. The best way to use apple cider vinegar for acne is topically.
How To Use:
Use apple cider vinegar as an astringent, or toner. Drench cotton pad with apple cider vinegar and apply to face. Let air dry. Use moisturizer as normal.
9. Remove Gluten From Diet.
Studies show that gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease can affect more than your digestive system; it can affect your skin as well. It’s noted that about 25% of individuals with Celiac disease also suffer from dermatitis herpetiformis. Dermatitis herpetiformis is a chronic, intensely itchy recurring rash due to gluten sensitivity. People with cystic acne reported an improvement in their skin after following a gluten free diet.
10. Go Dairy Free.
Countless people who suffered from acne for years and went on a dairy free diet reported their adult acne cleared up. According to dermatologists, food allergies are directly related to our skin. Inflammation and swelling in the GI tract and intestines from a food allergy can cause rosacea and acne. Try to remove all dairy products for a few months, and see if you notice an improvement in your skin. If you have an allergy to dairy, you will be able to notice a difference.