45 of the best home remedies for acne – from stuff already in your fridge, to your bathroom medicine cabinet and everywhere in between…
“Home” is taken literally for this list – so any remedy or treatment you can do in your home is included (e.g. DIY masks, diet hacks, things-to-do-with-your-pillow, etc)…
Try as many as you want (or all of them) – because you might find your “holy grail” acne treatment!
Below you have 45 of the best options for treating acne that don’t include buying expensive skin care products, along with the details you need on exactly how to use each one.
45 of The Best Home Remedies For Acne
Manuka honey in particular is a golden home remedy for acne and blemishes. It’s like nature’s own first aid:
- Antibacterial and anti inflammatory – two 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
The easiest way to use baking soda for acne is as a twice weekly mask:
- Simply make a paste with baking soda. Then apply it to your skin for 20minutes 2 -3 times a week
- You can also add half a teaspoon to your normal cleanser. This is a great way to get your skin used to baking soda as it can be irritating in the beginning
This article has all the tips and details you need on how to use baking soda for acne >
3. Tea Tree Oil
If you were to use one natural remedy for acne, tea tree oil would be it!
It has antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It smells clean and refreshing. And it 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 an anti-inflammatory massage routine. See this article for details >
Natural yoghurt applied as a face mask can have a soothing effect. This is good for acne since its all about inflammation.
And yes – yoghurt does contain lactic acid which is good for unclogging pores and softening skin.
However, how well it works when applied to your face is questionable. If you want the results of lactic acid, you really are better off using a lactic acid product.
The main benefit of yoghurt for acne actually comes from eating it:
- Greek yoghurt in particular has a high protein content. Protein helps keep you full and your blood sugar levels balanced. This can have a significant effect on your skin – if your blood sugar levels are unstable your skin may be red, inflamed, and very prone to breakouts
- Yoghurt is a great way to get probiotics in your diet.
Look for brands with natural probiotic cultures – as soothing your gut can seriously soothe your skin.
See probiotics below (#24)…
This powerful spice has anti inflammatory properties that would give Ibuprofen a run for its money 🙂
Well, perhaps not quite… But a turmeric mask 2 – 3 times weekly can really clear up acne and also brighten and even out your skins tone / pigmentation.
Here is how to use it (you can see more here):
- One of the easiest ways to use turmeric is to mix it with coconut oil
- Melt the coconut oil first (make sure its not too hot), and mix in turmeric to form a paste
- Apply to skin for 20minutes then remove with a warm wash cloth
A massive bonus with using turmeric is its skin brightening properties. It really can give you a “glow”. Try it!
The single best and cheapest (free) of all the home remedies for acne is ICE!
You know how if you sprain your ankle the best thing to do is ice it on and off? Or how you can prevent a bruise from forming too deeply with ice?
The same is true for pimples.
- 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
Seriously – using ice alone can prevent or reduce a deep blind pimple!
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
One much-loved natural/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 shouldn’t last…
- 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 even more pimples after using – increase the amount of water you use and see if that helps
- You can build up from there. Pure AVC on your skin usually isn’t recommended as it can be harsh. It’s a good idea to do a “patch test” on a small area of skin first to make sure.
- 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 you can use!
A simple way to open pores and “detox” skin, doing your own facial steam at home is also 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. Here’s how to do a quick at-home steam routine:
- Cleanse your skin thoroughly – a double cleanse may be a good idea. This ensures that when your pores open with the steam, old makeup, products, or gunk won’t get in and cause havoc
- Pour some hot steamy water (be very careful!) into a large bowl, or simply use your bathroom sink if you can bothered standing 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 gap to breath
- Relax like this for about 10mins, 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
9. Drawing Salve
This is what you might call your grandmother’s home acne remedy. Old fashioned drawing salve (or Icthammol Ointment) is excellent at drawing a deeper pimple to a head, or helping acne cysts.
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 – it’s black and smelly!)
- Cover with a bandaid, and let it do its thing
- It should at least draw it to a head and speed up healing!
For more details on these steps please see this article
10. Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol disinfects and really dries things out. Applying it to cuts helps prevent infections…
Applying it to pimples can help shrink them!
Another tip: A small amount on your nose or other really oily areas once or twice a day can 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!)
And, apply it after popping or squeezing a pimple is a good way 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 really misinformed scare mongering. Used properly it can be very beneficial indeed.
A short fast can be a great way to “reset” your body. Of course, check with your doctor before embarking on one. But even just one day of lots of water, and very light eating if at all, can be helpful.
12. Green Tea – drink and apply!
- Freeze some green tea in an ice tray and use it for “ice cube” massages. Simply run one over your skin for a few minutes (wetting it slightly beforehand helps it slide and prevents that awful burn). This is really good before applying makeup or heading out to an event. It not only reduces redness but also reduces swelling and puffiness, so your face will look “slimmer” and more toned
- Drink it! The consensus seems to be 3-4 cups a day to make a proper difference, which is too much for me at least (I’d need to curb my coffee intake to fit it in…). But if you really like green tea, go for it! An improvement in your acne is certainly worth it.
13. Egg White Mask
An egg white face mask is a helpful, quick, and incredibly cheap way to reduce oiliness.
Another bonus is it can temporarily tighten skin. AKA it works as natural facelift!
- Whip up one or two egg whites and apply to your face (using a cotton ball can make this easier, 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 fully removing it, as the dried egg white can be stubborn
14. Aspirin Mask
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, it can be a great way to reduce inflammation. And it can be very helpful as a spot mask if you’re in a crunch with a red, angry pimple.
- Drop one aspirin 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!
15. Jojoba Oil
This natural oil is light enough to not clog pores, yet is able to hydrate and help rebalance your skin.
This is important since an overly dry skin can make acne worse!
16. Calamine Lotion
Ahhh Calamine Lotion, so soothing to all those insect bites as a child!
Of course, this medicine cabinet staple is also a beneficial home remedy for acne for the same reasons. It contains zinc oxide (more on that below, #23), which helps to reduce redness and pain from an inflamed pimple:
- Apply some with a cotton ball directly over the spot, you can also use it as an all over face mask if needed (this can be very 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!
17. Lemon Juice and Baking Soda – overnight
These two powerful ingredients work together to almost dissolve a pimple overnight!
You 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 can 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!
Is this a myth, or does it work?!
*Important – it must be plain toothpaste! None of that whitening or sensitive 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
19. Milk of Magnesia
This is one of the best home remedies for oily skin, and works great as a DIY mattifier / skin primer.
No need for those expensive brand primers. This stuff mops up oil and keeps your skin from getting shiny.
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 and gently dissolve it a bit
- You can also apply foundation or concealer over top to hide the whiteness. This really is a good makeup primer!
20. Oatmeal and Honey Mask
Oats are well known for their calming benefits – they soothe itchy, inflamed skin. A handful of colloidal oatmeal in your bathtub can be a great way to soothe and hydrate the skin on your body.
Mixed with honey, it makes the perfect acne mask:
- You can use normal oatmeal but colloidal oats are finer so are recommended for skin care use (alternatively, simply grind up regular oats in a blender!)
- Simply mix up a sticky paste with honey and apply to skin for 20minutes
- The easiest way to cleanse it off is in the shower… !
Nature’s cooling aid…. cucumber ain’t just for your eyes!
Here’s how to use it the right way to help with acne:
- It is the flesh of the cucumber (the white inside) that has all the anti inflammation and soothing properties
- So, peel it and grate it – it gets mushy and watery but that’s ok
- Apply this cucumber paste either as a spot treatment to help reduce redness…
- Or all over your face as a mask 2 or 3 times a week to reduce inflammation and irritation
- Keep your cucumbers in the fridge as this helps with the cooling and soothing effect!
Of course, eating the green things is also a great way to increase your hydration.
Start “eating your water” and you may notice a significant difference in your acne condition and overall appearance!
22. Lavender Oil
This essential oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. And the smell is just nice, soothing and calming.
This makes lavender oil a really nice “night time” home acne remedy – it can help you sleep!
- Add one or two drops to your moisturizer at night time and apply
- You can also do this to your body lotion to help with body acne – and this will further help you sleep. Especially if you apply it to your neck and shoulders
- Another use: mix around 10 drops of lavender oil and distilled water, pour into a spray bottle and you have a refreshing, anti-acne DIY toner! You can use this all throughout the day even over makeup. This is especially good if your skin tends to redden as the day goes on
23. Zinc Oxide
This soothing mineral is so much more than a baby bum ointment!
The main job of zinc oxide is as a skin protectant. It can help reduce redness and inflammation, and protect skin from further harm.
Combined with other acne fighting ingredients it can make 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 details on how to use zinc oxide for acne.
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 very beneficial remedy for you.
If you live in a climate that is humid, using a dehumidifier can be a great way to reduce moisture in the air. This in turn can help to control acne.
A dehumidifier also helps reduce allergens, mold etc, and some people may be surprised at the difference this can make for their 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 nice compact one with good reviews on Amazon.com)
26. Vicks Vapor Rub
This is one of those home remedies for acne that is a bit iffy.
However, some people do swear by it, especially for cystic acne.
Here’s how to use it:
- Apply a thin layer of Vicks Vapor Rub to your face at night and leave it on
- If you only have a few spots you might like to use it as a spot treatment instead
- Cleanse your skin gently in the morning
27. 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 (this is great)
- 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 it into skin (this is really great)
It’s best to choose an organic aloe vera gel. Keep it in the fridge for an extra soothing skin treatment!
28. Vitamin E Oil
Vitamin E Oil is super for skin healing. Using it as a moisturizer for acne can help to speed up the healing from breakouts and lessen the appearance of scars.
It’s full of antioxidants and is absorbed easily – your skin really loves it!
29. Epsom Salts
Epsom salts are the perfect addition to a twice weekly bath!
Especially if you suffer from body or back acne, soaking in a tub with 1-2 cups of these salts and 1-2 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide can help to dry out pimples and cleanse your skin.
Not to mention the benefits of soothed muscles. Epsom salts contain magnesium, so soaking in a tub full of them a couple of times a week is an amazing way to destress and help your body.
(Dr Teal’s Epsom Salts with lavender and essential oils are absolutely amazing!)
30. Cinnamon and Honey Mask
A very simple mask that is awesome for two reasons:
- Mix up 1 teaspoon of cinnamon with 2 teaspoons of honey and apply to skin for 15minutes
Cinnamon may be great when applied to skin but its also incredibly beneficial to consume…
31. Cinnamon in Coffee / in the morning
Spikes in blood sugar can interrupt your hormone balance (in particular your insulin levels) and cause breakouts.
One way to help keep blood sugar stable is by using cinnamon. One easy and delicious way to use cinnamon is by adding half a teaspoon to black coffee!
You might be surprised at just how yummy that tastes!
32. Increase Protein Intake (blood sugar topic)
A diet change for acne that is arguably more important than the usual “eat more vegetables” is this – make sure you eat adequate protein!
Protein helps to keep you satiated so you don’t reach for the sugar later. This in turn keeps your insulin levels under control, preventing inflammation and keeping your skin calm.
Further, protein is an important building block for processes in the body – especially to build muscle.
You could also call this the “vanity solution”. Filling up on protein helps prevent water retention as you are less likely to binge on refined carbs – your face will look slimmer and tighter (and younger)! Seriously!
33. Echinacea Toner
Echinacea is a herb that works like an astringent – which helps to “shrink” pores and reduce oil production. It also has an anti-inflammatory action.
This makes it a GREAT remedy for a natural/home made toner:
- Chop up some Echinacea (from the garden or you may need to get some from a natural store)
- Place in a handful in a jar and fill with witch hazel
- Close the lid and store for 2weeks – an unfortunate amount of time but it is needed for the herbs to infuse!
- Then dilute it slightly with some distilled water
- Pour your homemade toner into a spritz bottle – this just makes life easier! You can spray on as often as desired, especially if your skin tends to get oily during the day this can be a good pick-me-up
- It is best to keep this in the fridge to help it last longer and to provide some extra refreshment for your skin! More details here
34. Chamomile Tea Compress
A very simple acne home remedy!
Steep a chamomile tea bag, allow it to cool in the fridge, and apply to pimples and areas of redness.
35. Omega 3 / Fish Oil
Omega 3 supplements are one of the best things you can take for skin health. It helps reduce inflammation from the inside, and also promotes softer, more hydrated skin.
You will need to take it for at least one month to see any effects, but it is definitely worth it.
36. Bentonite Clay
This is a natural clay that was used way 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.
37. Clove Oil
Clove oil is especially good for cystic acne, as it has strong anti bacterial properties. Pure clove oil is very strong so it’s better to mix it with a carrier such as jojoba oil, rather than using it neat.
Simply apply to pimples and cysts to reduce swelling and redness.
A bonus for using clove oil is a slight numbing effect, which can be helpful for painful acne cysts. An old wive’s remedy for a tooth ache is to bite down on a dried clove!
38. Change Towels / Separate Face Towels
This is a very simple home remedy that doesn’t require anything but fresh towels.
But don’t let that fool you – it can make a surprising difference!
Bacteria can stay in your towels, and if you have acne already this is an even more important point.
Further, towels also contain residue from skin products or soap, hair products, that self tan spray you apply after your shower… you name it. It can all be transferred to your skin when you use the towel on your face.
- The really simple way to do this is to buy a bunch of cheap cotton face cloths. Then use a new one every time you dry your face, and throw it in the washing basket
- This can also apply to your pillow case. Think of your hair – 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!
39. Water Softener / Purifier in the Shower
Don’t underestimate the effects of water on your skin! I moved cities once and could not work out why I suddenly had breakouts along with extra dry skin.
Turns out – the hard water, that also contained a lot of chlorine. After installing a water softener shower head (in order to stop the rust…), my skin really cleared up in about a week.
If you suspect this could be the case – try it. Or, begin washing your face with purified water and just avoid wetting it in the shower. See if it makes a difference, it really can!
p.s. A water softener can also seriously help keep your hair soft, manageable, and shiny 🙂
40. Keep a Skin Diary
One very simple but overlooked way to get your best skin is to monitor it with a “skin journal”.
Especially because it is hard to know what really effects your skin, and with acne there are likely some things that are in your control that better or worse.
You might be surprised just how much you can gain from keeping a basic “diary” for at least a month. For example, it might show you that you always 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 or worsening breakouts…
The list goes on!
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!
41. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is naturally antibacterial and is a good natural moisturizer for acne.
And that really is the best way to use it… apply a small amount nightly instead of your moisturizer!
42. Raw Tomato
This is one of the weirdest home remedies for acne: but also one of the simplest!
- Just slice a ripe tomato in half and gentle rub it over your face for about 2 minutes
Tomatoes are acidic which helps to control oil, so this is really good for areas like your T Zone.
This also helps to brighten your complexion so it can be a great general facial treatment. For more tomato beauty information see this page.
43. Rice Water Toner
This is a bit time consuming, but rice water is great at brightening skin and extra great at soaking up oil.
Using it as a toner after cleansing in the morning is a good way to help control the daily oil slick. Here’s how to make it and use it:
- Soak white rice in purified water for 45mins (use double the amount of water to rice)
- The water will become cloudy
- Drain this off into a container with a lid
- Apply to skin with a cotton ball after cleansing, allow to dry, then apply moisturizer
- You can keep the rice water out (use the lid though!) for 3 days, then change it
44. Sea Salt / Pink Himalayan Salt
Seal salt or Pink Himalayan Salt soaks up excess oil and helps to rebalance skin.
While you can use this as an exfoliator, I don’t actually recommend this as it is really harsh. Instead use it 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 once or twice a day
- 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 at all! Spray a generous amount on your skin or apply directly with a cotton pad, and wipe until clean.This can be super beneficial for some people.
45. Lemon Juice in Water Drink
One way to really kick start clear skin on a daily basis is to drink a glass of warm water and lemon juice in the morning.
Awesome bonus – this can significantly improve cellulite!
You might start noticing the difference after about 3 days, but try it for at least a week. It’s also a super hydrating way to start the day, so your skin will be clear and soft!
And there are 45 of the absolute best home remedies for acne. Do you have one that works for you that is or is not on this list? Let us know in the comments!