Acne Treatments

33 Home Remedies for Acne

From your kitchen to your medicine cabinet

There are plenty of home remedies for acne that you can try. We’ve selected 33 of the best, based on results, and detailed them on this page.

Woman with natural skin

These home remedies for acne are grouped according to where in your house you’ll use them. So there is stuff you can use from your kitchen, bathroom, and elsewhere.

The main criteria: each remedy must use something you can find in your home. And each remedy must really do something to help reduce pimples, redness, inflammation, and improve the appearance of your skin. Enjoy!

Part One: Kitchen Home Remedies for Acne

1. Honey

Image of manuka honey

Manuka honey is a golden home remedy for acne and blemishes. It is nature’s first aid with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. These two factors help deal with the root of an acne problem.

  • Use it as a cleanser nightly—massage onto dry skin and remove with a warm wash cloth.
  • A mask: apply it directly to skin and leave on for up to one hour.
  • Spot treatment: apply a small amount to a pimple or cyst, cover with a bandaid and leave it on for several hours. See another great cyst treatment here.
  • Honey can also brighten skin: so this is a great remedy to help lighten acne scars.

For more details, uses and tips for using honey for acne see this article.

2. Baking Soda

Jar of baking soda and spoon

The easiest way to use baking soda for acne is as a twice weekly mask:

  • Make a paste with baking soda and water, then apply to your skin for 20minutes 2-3 times a week.
  • Add half a teaspoon to your normal cleanser. This is a great way to get your skin used to baking soda which can irritate in the beginning.

See this article for more tips and details on how to use baking soda for acne

3. Natural Yoghurt

Bowl of yoghurt

Natural yoghurt has a soothing effect on skin when applied as a face mask. This is good for acne since its an inflammatory condition.

But perhaps the main benefit of yoghurt for acne comes from eating it:

  • Greek yoghurt has a high protein content. Protein helps keep your blood sugar levels balanced, which can have a significant effect on your skin —if your blood sugar levels are unstable your skin may be red, inflamed, and prone to breakouts
  • Yoghurt is a great way to get probiotics in your diet (more on these below)

Look for brands with natural probiotic cultures—soothing your gut can soothe your skin!

4. Turmeric Spice

Turmeric spices lined up on white background

A turmeric mask 2-3 times weekly can help clear acne at home and brighten your skin tone. Here’s how to use it (see more here):

  • One of the easiest ways to use turmeric as an acne remedy is to mix it with coconut oil
    • Melt the coconut oil if needed (make sure its not too hot) then mix in turmeric to form a deep orange paste
    • Apply to skin for 20minutes then remove with a warm wash cloth

The big bonus with turmeric is it brightens skin; it really can give your skin a “glow”. Try it!

5. Ice Cubes

Three ice cubes

The single best, and cheapest, of all home remedies for acne is ICE!

The best thing for a sprained ankle is to ice it on and off, and you can lessen the impact of a bruise  by applying ice to it. The same is true for pimples. So use ice to lessen the impact of a pimple, or prevent one from forming in the first place:

  • Wrap an ice cube in a paper towel and hold it on top of a pimple for 5minutes on, 5minutes off.
  • Repeat as many times as you can, ideally on and off several times. Refresh the ice cube when needed.

Seriously—using ice alone can prevent or reduce a deep blind pimple

6. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar bottles with apples

One much-loved home acne remedy is apple cider vinegar (ACV). The easiest way to use it is as a toner or spot treatment:

  • Mix equal parts ACV and purified water and apply with a cotton ball after cleansing. You can apply all over your face or just to each pimple.
  • It might sting for a few seconds but this will stop. If not, rinse.
  • Let it absorb and dry for a few minutes, then apply your usual moisturizer.
  • You may need to increase the water ratio until your skin gets used to it. If you notice dryness, irritation, or more pimples after using, increase the amount of water you use and see if that helps.
  • Build up from there. Pure AVC on your skin can be harsh. It’s a good idea to do a “patch test” on a small area of skin first.
  • See more details about using apple cider vinegar for acne here

Caution: sometimes it just doesn’t agree with your skin. If using it with more water doesn’t help your skin, stop using it. There are plenty of other home remedies for acne you can try!

7. Fasting to “reset” your body

Side image of a lady's face

A short fast can be a great way to “reset” your body. Check with your doctor before embarking on one. But even just one day of lots of water and very light eating can be helpful as a home acne remedy.

Concentrate on drinking at least 3 liters of water, lean protein, and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. You don’t need to fast entirely, with just a few days of eating like this you should notice your skin is less red and inflamed looking.

8. Egg White Mask

An egg white face mask is a helpful, quick, and incredibly cheap way to reduce oiliness on your skin. It can also temporarily tighten skin— a natural facelift!

Heres how:

  • Whip up one or two egg whites and apply to your face (use a cotton ball to apply, egg whites are slimy things).
  • It will dry and feel tight.
  • Remove after 10minutes with warm water. You might need to wet your fingertips and massage your skin before removing it, as dried egg white can be stubborn.

9. Lemon Juice and Baking Soda—the overnight acne home remedy

Yellow lemons

These two powerful ingredients work together to basically dissolve a pimple overnight.

Simply make a paste of baking soda and lemon juice and apply it directly to the pimple. Leave it on. Overnight is ideal, however it will still work if you can leave it on for at least 30 minutes.

Important: make sure to apply to the spot only, as this mixture can really dry out and irritate skin.

8. Cinnamon and Honey Mask

A range of oils honey and spices

A very simple mask:

  • Mix up 1 teaspoon of cinnamon spice powder with 2 teaspoons of honey and apply to skin for 15minutes.
  • Remove with a warm wash cloth for glowing skin.
  • Cinnamon helps increase blood flow to the skin, which in turn improves its nourishment and appearance. Honey is anti-bacterial and soothing—this is a winning combination!

9. Increase Protein Intake (blood sugar topic)

Photo of knife and fork and plate

When it comes to diet and acne this tip is arguably more useful than “eat your vegetables”: Make sure you eat your protein!

Protein keeps you satiated so you don’t reach for sugar later. This keeps your insulin levels under control, preventing inflammation and therefore keeping your skin calm. Further, protein is an important building block for numerous processes in the body.

This might also be called the “vanity solution”. Filling up on protein helps prevent water retention as you are less likely to binge on refined carbs—meaning your face will look slimmer, tighter and younger, seriously!

10. Oatmeal and Honey Mask

Oats are known for their calming benefits—they soothe itchy, inflamed skin. A handful of colloidal oatmeal in your bathtub is a great way to soothe and hydrate the skin on your body.

Mixed with honey, oatmeal makes the perfect calming acne mask:

  • You can use normal oatmeal but colloidal oats are finer so are better for skin care (or simply grind up regular oats in a blender).
  • Mix up a sticky paste with honey and apply to skin for 20minutes.
  • The easiest way to cleanse it off is in the shower!

11. Probiotics

Pill supplement in lady's mouth

The gut has a powerful impact on your skin. If you notice your skin breaks out more when you are stressed or run down, taking a probiotic supplement may be a beneficial remedy for you.

See this article for details.

12. Chamomile Tea Compress

Teabags lined up in a row

A very simple acne home remedy!

Steep a chamomile tea bag, allow it to cool in the fridge, and apply to any pimples and areas of redness for about 10minutes. Steep a couple more and apply to your eyes to soothe dryness and irritation!

Part Two: First Aid Kit Home Remedies for Acne

These home remedies for acne use stuff you may already have in your first aid kit or medicine cabinet.

14. Tea Tree Oil

Skin Care Dropper Bottle

If you had to use only one natural remedy for acne tea tree oil would be it! It has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, it smells clean and refreshing, and it is just plain soothing.

Tea tree oil can be used in a number of different ways for acne: from drops in your moisturizer (easiest), to using it in a special anti-inflammatory massage routine. See this article for details

15. Old-fashioned Drawing Salve

This is your grandmother’s home acne remedy. Old fashioned drawing salve (or Icthammol Ointment) is excellent at drawing a deeper pimple or acne cyst to a head.

Drawing salve is simple to use and you might already have some in your home medicine cabinet (for splinters and boils):

  • Apply a small mount of ointment to the pimple. Warning: it is black and smelly.
  • Cover the spot with a bandaid and let the ointment do its thing.
  • The pimple should at least be drawn to a head, which will speed up healing time. See this article for more details

16. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol for skin in bathroom

Rubbing alcohol disinfects and dries things out, this is why it is used as a first aid remedy for scraps and cuts. As a home acne remedy it can help shrink a pimple. Simple dab it on. Other uses:

Don’t be put off by the word “alcohol”! It gets a bad rap in the skin care realm —but this is misinformation. Used properly, rubbing alcohol can be very beneficial indeed.

17. Calamine Lotion

Pink tube of lotion

Aah Calamine Lotion, you were so soothing on those insect bites as a child.

This medicine cabinet staple is also a beneficial home remedy for acne for the same skin-calming reasons. It contains zinc oxide (more on that below), which helps to reduce redness and pain from an inflamed pimple:

  • Apply some lotion with a cotton ball directly over the spot, or use it as an all over face mask (great for acne rosacea).
  • Use a thin layer in the morning, which you can then cover with makeup—this helps keep your skin calm for the day.

18. Aspirin Mask Acne Home Remedy

Aspirin mask on skin

Aspirin contains salicylic acid—which is one of the best ingredients for acne. Although aspirin isn’t as effective as using a salicylic acid product—it is a bit like comparing the lactic acid in yoghurt to a lactic acid product—it is still a great way to reduce inflammation.

If you’re faced with a red angry pimple, use it as a spot mask. Here’s how:

  • Drop one aspirin tablet into a small amount of water (preferably distilled). You want just enough water so it dissolves and makes a paste. You might need to crush it slightly with the back of a spoon.
  • Apply this paste directly to the pimple and leave on skin for 10 minutes.
  • Remove with warm water.
  • This can be drying so don’t use more than once a day. Of course, if you’re allergic to aspirin do not use it at all.

19. Milk of Magnesia

This is one of the best home remedies for oily skin, and it works great as a DIY mattifying skin primer. There’s no need for those expensive store-bought primers, this stuff mops up oil and prevents shine all day. Here’s how to use it:

  • Apply a small amount using a cotton ball to any areas that are clogged and oily (usually the nose and T zone).
  • You can leave it on all day. If it looks white you can wet your finger tip to dissolve it slightly.
  • You can also apply foundation or concealer over top to hide the whiteness.

20. Aloe Vera Gel

Image of Aloe Vera Plant with gel

Aloe vera is another one of nature’s great soothers. There are a few ways you can use Aloe Vera Gel for acne, depending on your goals:

  • Simply use it as your normal moisturizer, twice daily. This might not be hydrating enough for some, so experiment with what works.
  • Mix it with a drop of tea tree oil for added acne-fighting benefits, and use it as a sport treatment for any large zits.
  • Keep it in the fridge and apply a thick layer as a soothing, anti-redness mask a few times a week. Leave it on for 20minutes then massage any remaining gel into skin.

Part Three: Bathroom and “Other Room” Remedies for Acne

21. Steam

Image of shower steam for acne home remedy

Your own facial steam at home is a simple way to open pores and it is a nice way to relax. Do it alone or as a pre-treatment to blackheads extractions or deep cleansing and exfoliation. At least twice a week is best.

How to do an at-home steam routine:

  • Cleanse your skin thoroughly—a double cleanse is a good idea. This ensures that when your pores open any old makeup, products, or gunk won’t seep in.
  • Pour hot steamy water carefully into a large bowl, or simply fill your bathroom sink if you can stand over it.
  • Place your face over the steam, close enough to feel it but not close enough to burn or be uncomfortable.
  • Use a towel over your head to form a “tent” and keep the air in, be sure to leave a small gap.
  • Relax like this for about 10 minutes, then splash your face with cool water. After 5 minutes (to let your pores close and skin calm down) apply moisturizer.
  • For an added bonus add one or two drops of your favorite essential oil to the water.

22. Toothpaste

Tube of toothpaste

Is this classic and controversial home remedy for acne just a myth? Surprisingly, it can work. But it must be plain toothpaste—no whitening or sensitive-tooth stuff.

  • Apply a small amount directly to the pimple and leave it on, preferably overnight. And that’s all it is…

See details about toothpaste and pimples here

23. Jojoba Oil

This natural oil is light enough to not clog pores, while hydrating skin. This is important since overly dry skin can make acne worse.

24. Lavender Oil

Splash of Oil

This essential oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Plus the smell is just nice—soothing, calming, wonderful.

  • Add one or two drops to your moisturizer at night and apply normally.
  • Add some to your body lotion to help with body acne.
  • This can also help you sleep, especially if you apply it to your neck and shoulders (also great for shoulder acne).
  • As a DIY anti-acne spray: mix about 10 drops of lavender oil with distilled water and pour into a spray bottle. You can use this throughout the day, even over makeup. This is especially good if your skin tends to redden as the day goes on.

25. Zinc Oxide

Zinc oxide is much more than a baby-bum ointment!

The main job of zinc oxide is a skin protectant. This mineral helps reduce redness and inflammation, and protects skin from further harm. Combined with other acne fighting ingredients (e.g. bentonite clay or sulphur) it makes up a “dream team.”

You can buy specific zinc oxide creams, but if you have a tube of diaper cream in your bathroom cabinet or even a physical sunblock… you can use that. See this article for more details on how to use zinc oxide for acne

26. Dehumidifier

If you live in a humid climate using a dehumidifier is a great way to reduce moisture in the air, which can help control acne. You might be surprised at the difference this can make to your skin.

Remember there are many different causes of acne so if you are in a humid place this may be worth a try. (See this small compact one with good reviews on Amazon.com)

27. Vitamin E Oil

Oil Droppers on a glass table

Vitamin E Oil is excellent for skin healing. Use it as a moisturizer for acne to help speed up healing from breakouts and lessen the appearance of scars. Massage it gently into skin nightly.

28. Epsom Salts

Epsom salts are the perfect addition to a twice weekly bath, and this is one of the most relaxing home remedies for acne you can do. If you have body or back acne, soaking in a tub with 2 cups of epsom salts plus 2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide helps dry out pimples and cleanse your skin.

And epsom salts contain magnesium—which is a powerful muscle soother. So soaking in a tub full of them a couple of times a week is an amazing way to destress!

(Dr Teal’s Epsom Salts with lavender and essential oils are absolutely amazing).

29. Bentonite Clay

Clay mask on woman's face

This is a natural clay that was used back in ancient times. It helps to “draw out” impurities from the skin, like a magnet, and is calming and soothing. It instantly soaks up oil and leaves your skin matte.

Bentonite clay can be used by itself as a DIY mix up mask or with other ingredients.

30. Change Towels Frequently (the towel method)

Stack of towels

This very simple acne home remedy doesn’t require anything but fresh towels. But don’t let that fool you—it can make a surprising difference!

Towels collect residue from skin products, soap, hair products, self tan spray, or whatever you apply after your shower. Plus can just gather all sorts of stuff from sitting in the bathroom.

So, try using a separate, clean towel for your face only:

  • A simple way to do this is to buy a bunch of cheap cotton face cloths. Use a new one every time you dry your face and throw it in the washing basket.
  • This also applies to your pillow case! Think of your hair, with oils and products soaking into your pillow all night, and consider investing in a few pillow cases you can change daily. A small effort for clearer skin!

31. Water Softener or Purifying Shower Head

Lady splashing water on her skin

Don’t underestimate the effects of water on your skin! “Hard” water contains chlorine, which can dry out skin and cause irritation, possibly leading to breakouts.

Try using a water softener shower head. You can find them at home supply stores for reasonably cheap. Or begin washing your face at the sink with purified water and avoid wetting it in the shower.

p.s. A water softener can also seriously help keep your hair soft, manageable, and shiny!

32. Keep a Skin Diary

Image of a calendar

One excellent way to get clear skin is to monitor it with a “skin journal.” Which is much simpler than it sounds. It’s hard to know what really effects your skin; there may be things within your control.

You can gain a lot of useful information from keeping a basic “diary” for a month. For example—you might realize you break out around your chin every 4 weeks like clockwork…

Or that after eating pizza you get at least one inflamed red pimple the next day… Or that new product you just started using coincided with new breakouts…

And it doesn’t have to be fancy diary, just a piece of paper will do! Note dates and skin condition, and review it frequently.

33. Sea Salt/Pink Himalayan Salt

Pink himalayan salt

The last (but not least) home remedy for acne is sea salt or Pink Himalayan Salt. These natural crystals soak up excess oil and help rebalance skin.

While you can use this as an exfoliator, it’s pretty harsh. Instead, use these salts in the following ways:

  • Add about 4 teaspoons to a cup of boiling water and let the salt dissolve.
  • Once cooled, pour this into a spray bottle and spritz your skin after cleansing.
  • After a few minutes, once the salt solution has dried out, rinse your skin and apply moisturizer.
  • You can also use this is as a water cleanser instead of plain water. Spray a generous amount on your skin or apply directly with a cotton pad and wipe until clean.
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