Acne & Pimples

33 Home Remedies for Acne

Woman with natural skin

Below are 33 of the best home remedies for acne—using stuff that you probably already have in your home.

We’ve divided these home remedies for acne up via “house part”—using stuff found in your kitchen, first aid kit, or bathroom/elsewhere.

Acne Home Remedies

Click on any remedy below to jump ahead to the details. Or keep scrolling and browse them all.

From the Kitchen:

Honey
Baking Soda
Yoghurt
Turmeric
Ice
Apple Cider Vinegar
Fasting
Egg White Mask
Lemon Juice and Baking Soda
Cinnamon and Honey Mask
Increase Protein
Oatmeal and Honey
Probiotics
Chamomile Tea Compress

First Aid Kit Remedies

Tea Tree Oil
Drawing Salve
Rubbing Alcohol
Calamine Lotion
Aspirin Mask
Milk of Magnesia
Aloe Vera Gel

Bathroom and “Other Room” Remedies for Acne

Steam
Toothpaste
Jojoba Oil
Lavender Oil
Zinc Oxide
Dehumidifier
Vitamin E Oil
Epsom Salts
Bentonite Clay
Change Towels (the towel method)
Water Softener
Keep a Skin Diary
Sea Salt

Home Remedies for Acne—the details

Kitchen Home Remedies for Acne:

1. Honey

Manuka honey in particular is a golden home remedy for acne and blemishes. Nature’s first aid:

  • Antibacterial and anti inflammatorytwo factors that deal with the root of an acne problem

How to use it:

  • Use it as a cleanser nightly – massage onto dry skin and remove with a warm wash cloth
  • A mask – apply it to skin for up to one hour
  • As a spot treatment – apply a small amount to a pimple or cyst, cover with a bandaid and leave it on for several hours
  • Honey can also brighten skin – making it 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 for Acne Home Remedy

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 irritate in the beginning

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

3. 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

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 (make sure its not too hot) then mix in turmeric to form a paste
    • Apply to skin for 20minutes then remove with a warm wash cloth

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

5. Ice

Ice cubes sitting on counter

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

You know the best thing for a sprained ankle is to ice it on and off, or how 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, and sometimes 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

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

6. Apple Cider Vinegar

One much-loved home acne remedy is apple cider vinegar (ACV).

The best 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 or just to each pimple
  • It might sting for a few seconds but this will stop
  • Let it absorb and dry, 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 after a week or two, then stop using it. There are plenty of other home remedies for acne you can use!

7. Fasting to “reset” your body

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.

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—it works as 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—overnight acne home remedy

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

Simply make a paste and apply it directly to the pimple then leave it on. Overnight is ideal however it will still work if you leave it on for at least 30 minutes.

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

8. Cinnamon and Honey Mask

A very simple mask:

  • Mix up 1 teaspoon of cinnamon with 2 teaspoons of honey and apply to skin for 15minutes

 

9. Increase Protein Intake (blood sugar topic)

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

Protein helps keep 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 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—so your face will look slimmer and 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 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

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

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.

First Aid Kit Home Remedies for Acne

The home remedies for acne below use stuff you may already have in your first aid kit.

14. Tea Tree Oil

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 is just plain soothing.

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

15. Drawing Salve

This is what you might call 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.

It is simple to use and you might already have some in your home medicine cabinet (for drawing out 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

For more details on these steps see this article

16. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol disinfects and dries things out, this is why it can be used as a first aid remedy on a cut.

And applying it as a home acne remedy to a pimple can help shrink it, simply dab it on.

  • Apply a small amount over your nose or other oily area once a day to reduce oil production. This is also good before applying makeup to help ensure it doesn’t slide off. For men, it is good on its own to prevent the “11am shine”.
  • It can make pores appear smaller (especially good for blackheads).
  • Apply it after popping or squeezing a pimple to help prevent further inflammation or infection.

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

Ah Calamine Lotion, so soothing on those insect bites as a child.

This medicine cabinet staple is also a beneficial home remedy for acne for the same calming reasons. It contains zinc oxide (more on that below), which helps to reduce the 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 if needed (this is beneficial 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 contains salicylic acid—which is one of the best ingredients for acne

Important note: using Aspirin is not as effective as using an actual salicylic acid product. It is a bit like comparing the lactic acid in yoghurt to an actual lactic acid product.

However, aspirin can be a great way to reduce inflammation. And it can be helpful as a spot mask if you’re faced with a red, angry pimple.

Here’s how:

  • Drop one aspirin tablet into a small amount of water (preferably distilled). You want enough water for it to dissolve and make a paste
  • Apply this paste directly to the pimple and leave on skin for 10minutes
  • 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 this at all

19. Milk of Magnesia

This is one of the best home remedies for oily skin, and works great as a DIY mattifying skin primer.

No need for those expensive brand primers. This stuff mops up oil and keeps your skin from getting shiny all day.

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 and dissolve it slightly
  • You can also apply foundation or concealer over top to hide the whiteness.

20. Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera is another one of nature’s great soothers.

There are a few ways you can use Aloe Vera Gel for acne to really make a difference, depending on your goals:

  • Simply use it as your normal moisturizer, twice daily. This may not be hydrating enough for some, so experiment with what works
  • Mix it with a drop of tea tree oil for added benefits
  • 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 into skin

It’s best to choose an organic aloe vera gel.

Bathroom and “Other Room” Remedies for Acne

21. Steam

Your own facial steam at home is a simple way to open poses and a nice way to relax.

Do it alone or as a pre-treatment to blackheads extractions or exfoliation. At least twice a week is best.

How to do a quick at-home steam routine:

  • Cleanse your skin thoroughly—a double cleanse is a good idea. This ensures that when your pores open with the steam old makeup, products, or gunk won’t seep in
  • Pour some hot steamy water carefully into a large bowl, or simply use 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, being sure to leave a small gap
  • Relax like this for about 10mins, then splash your face with cool water and after 5minutes (to let your pores close and skin calm down) apply moisturizer
  • For an added bonus use one or two drops of your favorite essential oil in the water

22. 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 it…

See the details about toothpaste and pimples here

23. Jojoba Oil

This natural oil is light enough to not clog pores yet hydrates and helps rebalance skin.

This is important since overly dry skin can make acne worse.

24. Lavender Oil

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

  • Add one or two drops to your moisturizer at night and apply
  • Also 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
  • 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

So much more than a baby bum ointment!

The main job of zinc oxide is as a skin protectant. This mineral can help reduce redness and inflammation and protect skin from further harm.

Combined with other acne fighting ingredients it makes up a “dream team” (such as bentonite clay and sulphur).

If you have a tube of diaper cream in your bathroom cabinet or even a physical sunscreen containing zinc oxide… you can use it to help acne.

See this article for more details on how to use zinc oxide for acne.

26. Dehumidifier

If you live in a climate that is humid 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. (Here’s a small compact one with good reviews on Amazon.com)

27. Vitamin E Oil

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

28. Epsom Salts

Epsom salts are the perfect addition to a twice weekly bath, and one of the most relaxing home remedies for acne you can do.

Especially if you have body or back acne, soaking in a tub with 1-2 cups of these salts along with 1-2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide helps dry out pimples and cleanse your skin.

Plus, epsom salts contain magnesium, which is a powerful muscle soother. 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 and is calming and soothing.

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

30. Change Towels Frequently (the towel method)

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 or soap, hair products, self tan spray or whatever you apply after your shower. They can also gather all sorts of stuff from just 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 its 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

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.

If you suspect this could be the case—try using a water softener shower head. You can find them at home supply stores for reasonably cheap.

Or begin washing your face with purified water and avoid wetting it in the shower. See if it makes a difference.

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

32. Keep a Skin Diary

One simple but overlooked way to get clear skin is to monitor it with a “skin journal”.

It is hard to know what really effects your skin, and with acne there are probably things in your control that make it better or worse.

You might be surprised just how much information you can gain 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 your 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 after a few weeks.

33. Sea Salt/Pink Himalayan Salt

Seal salt or Pink Himalayan Salt soak up excess oil and helps to rebalance skin.

While you can use this as an exfoliator, it can be too 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 rinse your skin (the salt solution will dry out) and apply moisturizer
  • You can also use this is your water cleanser instead of using plain water. Spray a generous amount on your skin or apply directly with a cotton pad and wipe until clean.
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