20 Home Remedies for Acne & Pimple ( Backed By Evidence)

Home Remedies for AcneAcne is one of the most common skin problems affecting 40 to 50 million people in the United States alone [1, 2].

Over 95 percent of adolescents suffer from this skin condition [2].

Although it’s considered a “disorder of adolescence”, there has been an increase in acne rates among adults over the last 10 years [3].

According to Mayo Clinic, acne develops as a result of plugged hair follicles, excessive oil production, bacterial infection and accumulation of dead skin cells.

To put an end to this skin issue that can negatively affect your self-confidence and well-being, here are some tested home remedies that you should try.

1. Honey

Historical records show that honey has been used by the early civilizations for skin and health problems [4].

Dubbed as the “golden healer”, honey has been used for thousands of years for its amazing healing properties [10].

Several studies suggest that it’s a useful and practical treatment for inflammatory acne [5, 6, 7].

Researchers from UK believe that combating the growth of pimple-causing bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes require targeting the environment in which they thrive [5].

One of the best ways to do that is to limit the water content and activity on the skin with the use of honey [5].

A team of scientists from New Zealand, meanwhile, analyzed the efficacy of 90 percent honey and 10 percent glycerine in treating facial acne [7].

The study was participated in by 136 individuals ages 16 to 40 years suffering from acne [7].

They were made to use an antibacterial soap and honey twice a day for 12 weeks [7].

It was found that honey reduced the number of lesions between four to 12 weeks, and prevented acne from worsening [7].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of honey

Recommended Directions:

  • Wash face with warm water.
  • Using a cotton ball, dab a little amount of honey on your pimples.
  • Wait for 15 to 30 minutes before rinsing with cool water.
  • Do this remedy once a day until zits are cleared.

2. Aloe Vera Gel

A cactus-looking plant that thrives in hot locations, aloe vera is promoted for a wide array of medical and skin conditions [8].

The gel obtained from the aloe vera leaf is commonly used to make cosmetic products [8].

Topical application of this gel has been proven to significantly reduce facial acne, reports a 1999 study [8].

That’s because aloe vera has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and wound healing properties that results in a 100 percent mortality rate on acne-causing bacteria within a 24-hour period [9].

Moreover, it has been found to enhance the anti-acne effects of other natural remedies like basil [10].

In one study, 84 participants with severe cases of acne were divided into several groups, with each group required to use basil oil lotion and aloe gel, basil oil only, or a placebo for four weeks [10].

It was reported that basil oil worked more effectively when combined with higher amount of aloe vera gel, resulting in more than 50 percent reduction of acne lesions [10].

The basil oil and aloe vera combination was also said to be more potent than 1 percent Clindamycin in treating pimples [10].

There were a few side effects reported, but most of these are mild and tolerable [10].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 aloe vera leaf
  • 3 drops of basil oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Break the leaf into two.
  • Squeeze the leaf to release the gel.
  • Add basil oil to the gel.
  • Wash your face with warm water.
  • Apply a thin layer of the mixture on your face.
  • Leave it on for 30 minutes before washing off with cool water.
  • Repeat remedy twice a day until you get rid of acne.

3. Avocado

Avocado was the main ingredient used in a formulation designed to combat acne [11].

Scientists assessed the product’s efficacy by testing it on some of the 68 patients with acne [11].

Some of the other patients were asked to use 0.025 percent tretinoin [11].

Results show that out of those who completed the study, the ones who used the avocado formulation had just as much reduction in papules and pustules, which are two types of acne [11].

The conclusion was it was just as effective as tretinoin but with fewer side effects [11].

Experts explain that the anti-inflammatory properties of avocado’s lauric and linoleic acids successfully inhibited the activities of microorganisms that trigger acne [12].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of avocadoes
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

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  • Mash avocadoes and add olive oil.
  • Mix to form a paste.
  • Wash face with warm water.
  • Slather mixture on the face generously.
  • Gently rub it in for five minutes.
  • Rinse with cool water.
  • Do this everyday until symptoms subside.

4. Green Tea

You’ve always known that green tea is good for your health, and that it can efficiently aid in weight loss.

In fact, green tea tops the list of weight loss remedies everywhere.

Now, did you know that it can also work wonders for your pimple-ridden skin?

In a 2009 clinical trial, 20 patients with mild to moderate cases of acne were asked to apply 2 percent green tea lotion on their affected skin twice a day for six weeks [13].

The total count of lesions dropped from 24 to 10, indicating an average reduction of 58 percent [13].

The severity of acne, meanwhile, has decreased by 39 percent [13].

Results indicate that green tea is a cost-effective means of controlling such cases of acne [13].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of green tea leaves
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 bottle of organic facial cream

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil green tea leaves in water.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Let it cool.
  • Strain the mixture
  • Wash your face with green tea.
  • Rinse with cool water.
  • Do this twice a day for up to six weeks.
  • Or you can also mix the tea with a bottle of organic facial cream.
  • Apply on your face after washing, twice a day for four to six weeks.

5. Turmeric

Widely recognized for its curative purposes, turmeric has been used in Asian countries for the last 2,500 years [14].

It is common to find turmeric in kitchens, as it is a great way to enhance the flavor and aroma of dishes, and at the same time, add a striking color to make it more appetizing [14].

That’s not all, turmeric is also hailed as a wonder medicinal herb [14].

One of the many skin and health issues that it can resolve is acne [14].

Indian researchers report that turmeric works not only by suppressing P. acnes (the bacterial strain responsible for acne) but also by reducing inflammation [15].

Turmeric tones down swelling by preventing the activities of pro-inflammatory cytokines and reactive oxygen species (ROS) [15].

In fact, it is one of the few herbs that have been found to have the strongest suppression of ROS [15].

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 tablespoons of turmeric powder
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of milk

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  • Put in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
  • After washing your face with water, apply this mixture evenly on your skin.
  • Massage for 10 minutes.
  • Leave it on for one hour.
  • Rinse with cool water.
  • Use this procedure once a day for up to two weeks.

6. Calendula

For many years, calendula has been used therapeutically in countries like India, China and the United States [16].

Its flowers and leaves are the main source of its medicinal and cosmetic effects [16].

The extracts of these parts have long been used to treat many types of ailments, including skin diseases [16].

Eczema, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and psoriasis are just few of the many skin disorders that it can successfully help treat [16].

Calendula is also a popular natural remedy for acne.

There are many ways it works: it facilitates healing, reduces inflammation, and suppresses the activity of pimple-causing bacteria [16].

In one study, 79 percent of the 24 participants with acne were cleared after using calendula extract for several weeks [16].

Flavonoids in calendula are said to be responsible for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory actions [16].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of calendula flowers
  • 2 cups of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Boil calendula flowers in a pot of water.
  • Simmer until only half remains.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Strain mixture.
  • Wait for mixture to cool.
  • Use it to wash the face three times a day.
  • Repeat procedure for up to one week.

7. Neem Oil

With its antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and anticancerous properties, neem has been called many times the “panacea of all diseases” [17].

It’s also a sure way of keeping acne at bay.

A study published in the Journal of Acute Diseases stated that oil extracted from neem is an excellent treatment for acne, inhibiting the activities of P. acnes [18].

It was noted in the study that the higher the amount of neem oil, the higher its efficacy was [18].

It was also concluded that this oil can be used for long-term treatment of acne, without having to worry about adverse reactions on the skin [18].

As with other essential oils, it’s imperative to dilute it first with a carrier oil before using it.

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of neem oil
  • 1 teaspoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Dilute neem oil in almond oil.
  • Wash your face.
  • Use a cotton ball to apply oil mixture on face.
  • Do this remedy once a day for up to two weeks.

8. Onion

Some people tend to avoid using onion on the skin because of its strong odor, but it’s actually a potent remedy for skin issues like acne.

Contributing to its anti-acne effects are its antibacterial, keratolytic and anti-inflammatory properties [19].

This mode of action is primarily due to the presence of flavonoids in onion [19].

Like garlic, onion also has strong inhibitory effects on bacteria that cause acne [19].

What it does is that it prevents the bacteria from growing, forming and multiplying so that no infection can occur.

If you don’t mind the smell, go ahead and try this practical treatment for acne breakouts.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 small onion
  • 1 teaspoon of parsley
  • 1 cup of distilled water
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients in a blender.
  • Chill blended mixture in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Massage gently on the skin for 10 minutes.
  • Rinse it off with cool water.
  • Do not use onion mask right away without putting in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  • Use this remedy three times a week.

9. Basil Oil

Another practical way to clear up zits on your face is with the use of basil.

Basil oil has been found to have strong antibacterial effects on P. acnes, as stated in a 2006 study [20, 21].

Researchers from Thailand use an agar disc diffusion method to assess the antibacterial powers of different varieties of basil [20].

All varieties of basil except for hoary basil showed high activity against P. acnes bacterium [20].

Acting as antibacterial agents are the main compounds in basil which include methyl chavicol, eugenol, gamma-caryophyllene and methyl eugenol [20].

It was also mentioned that the non-thickened version of basil was more effective in combating bacteria than the thickened formulation [20].

In another study, essential oils from different Thai medicinal plants were tested for their efficacy against P. acne [21].

This one used both disc diffusion as well as agar dilution methods [21].

Basil was found to be one of the 19 oils that can remarkably disrupt the growth of the bacteria that causes acne [21].

As if all these are not enough, basil can also help reduce the appearance of unsightly post-acne scars [22].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of basil oil
  • 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine basil oil and aloe vera gel.
  • Spread a thin layer of oil mixture on your face.
  • Leave it on for one hour before rinsing with cool water.
  • Use this procedure once a day until pimples have disappeared.

10. Pumpkin

Natives from India and Central America were among the first to use pumpkin seed oil in treating inflamed lesions on the skin caused by acne [23].

It’s a cheap and highly effective antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent [23].

Thanks to its linoleic and oleic acids, it does a great job toning down swelling caused by acne [23].

Its antibacterial activities meanwhile halt the growth and spread of bacteria in other parts of the skin [23].

Amazingly, this herbal remedy also works for other skin issues like blackheads and herpes lesions [23].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of pumpkin seed oil
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine the two oils in a bowl.
  • Transfer mixture in a glass jar.
  • Blend by shaking.
  • Use a cotton ball to apply on face after washing with warm water.
  • Repeat remedy once a day until face is free of zits.

11. Tea Tree Oil

This list will definitely not be complete without the inclusion of tea tree oil.

It has been well-established in scientific literature that tea tree oil is a potent remedy for acne.

In one of these studies, researchers conducted a comparative analysis of tea tree oil and benzoyl peroxide as acne treatment [24].

A total of 124 patients with mild to moderate acne were asked to use either 5 percent tea tree oil gel or 5 percent benzoyl peroxide lotion [24].

According to the findings, both products worked in reducing the amount of inflamed and non-inflamed lesions [24].

Although the onset of tea tree oil’s action was slower, it was more advantageous to use because it resulted in fewer side effects [24].

In another study conducted in Iran, 60 patients diagnosed with mild to moderate cases of acne were made to apply on their skin either tea tree oil gel or a placebo [25].

After 45 days, the users of tea tree oil exhibited great improvement in their condition [25].

There were few reports of side effects, most of which were mild and well-tolerated [25].

Tea tree oil’s efficacy as an acne treatment is due to its primary components, which include terpinen-4-ol, oc-terpineol and alpha-pinene [26].

These active compounds are powerful antibacterial agents that suppressed the growth of common infection-causing bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Propionibacterium acnes [26].

What You’ll Need:

  • 5 drops of tea tree oil
  • 1 tablespoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Put the two oils in a bowl.
  • Mix well.
  • Pour oil blend in a glass jar.
  • Pour a few drops on a cotton ball.
  • After washing your face with warm water, apply oil blend.
  • Do this procedure twice a day for up to one month.

12. Rose Oil

Most commonly used in perfumery for its sweet scent, rose oil in fact has a multitude of other uses for skin health.

For acne, it works primarily by inhibiting the activities of P. acnes [27].

It also reduces inflammation and soothes the skin to alleviate the severity of acne [27].

On top of these, this oil can help restore the proper balance of pH in the skin to stimulate the repair and regenerative process [27].

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 drops of rose oil
  • 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Dilute rose oil in jojoba oil.
  • Put mixture in a glass jar with lid.
  • Pour a few drops on a cotton pad.
  • Press cotton pad gently on inflamed parts of the skin.
  • Use this technique once or twice a day until condition improves.

13. Baking Soda

You’ll be amazed when you find out the countless uses of baking soda for your home and health.

For one, it can be used as an alternative to household cleaners, and save you and your family from exposure to harmful chemicals.

It can get rid of skin irritation, alleviate heartburn and indigestion, and resolve other minor issues.

It’s also a quick and easy way to put an end to embarrassing skin blemishes like acne.

Not only is baking soda a gentle exfoliant that removes dead skin cells, it is also a powerful antibacterial that kills the source of infection [28].

It’s an efficient way to neutralize the activities of acne-causing bacteria before they spread and infect the skin.

Moreover, it helps restore pH balance in the skin, which is another sure way of averting the formation of acne.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 tablespoons of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 tablespoon of baking soda

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix the first four ingredients.
  • Use this to wash your face.
  • Let it sit for five minutes before rinsing with warm water.
  • Do this everyday for two to three weeks.
  • Or mix equal parts of baking soda and water.
  • Spot apply on acne.
  • Leave it on for 15 minutes before washing off.
  • Do this twice a day for up to three weeks.

 

14. Oatmeal

When you think of oatmeal, what do you imagine?

If you’re like most people, you’re likely to imagine a hearty and healthy breakfast.

Here’s what some people don’t know: oatmeal can also be used on the skin.

It was in the 1930s when oatmeal was first used for skincare in the form of face mask and bath solution [29].

It’s also a great way to combat acne.

Recent studies show that oatmeal indeed does a great job combating acne and other skin issues [30, 31].

In 2006, researchers from Washington D.C., USA used oatmeal to treat skin rashes in 11 patients [32].

Out of the 11 participants, six of them recovered completely from the skin problem, while the rest were healed partially [32].

There was a response rate of 100 percent with no side effects [32].

Apart from oatmeal’s anti-inflammatory properties, it also helps cleanse the pores and get rid of excess oil.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients.
  • Mix well.
  • Slather mixture on your skin.
  • Rub gently for 10 minutes.
  • Let it sit for 20 minutes.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • Use this technique once a week.

15. Fenugreek

Many benefits have been associated with the use of fenugreek.

This annual plant, which has yellowish brown aromatic seeds, has been a traditional treatment for wounds, insomnia, respiratory ailments, loss of appetite, anemia, stomach pain, fever, sore throat, mouth ulcer and diabetes.

If you’d like to get rid of acne once and for all, you can also use fenugreek seeds as a topical solution.

A 2011 study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science favors the use of herbal remedies in the treatment of acne as these have fewer adverse effects than synthetic agents [33].

Among the herbs noted for anti-acne effects is fenugreek, which is known to contain mucilage and active compounds that fight infection [34].

After a series of clinical trials, it was found that fenugreek was highly effective in reducing the number of pustular and popular lesions and alleviating severity of acne inflammation [35].

Fenugreek’s saponins have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activities while mucilage keeps the skin moisturized and speeds up healing of lesions [35].

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Grind seeds to turn it into powder.
  • Add water to form a paste.
  • Spread a thin layer of paste on your skin.
  • Wait for 20 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
  • Repeat three times in a week.

 

16. Fuller’s Earth

Otherwise called as multani mitti, fuller’s earth is a natural clay that’s abundance with minerals such as dolomite, calcite, iron, calcium, quartz, silica and magnesium.

It comes in various colors such as green, brown, olive, white and blue.

Now, what does clay have to do with acne?

According to a few research journals from India, Fuller’s earth has been used to fight acne and other skin irritations since the ancient times.

It’s a sure way to resolve pimples as it absorbs excess oil while keeping skin moisturized.

Not only that, it also cleanses and purifies the skin to remove bacteria-causing infection.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of fuller’s earth
  • 1 tablespoon of rose water
  • 1 tablespoon of sandalwood powder

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix all ingredients.
  • Spread mud pack on your face.
  • Wait for it to dry up.
  • Rinse with cool water.
  • Do this remedy once a week.

17. Cinnamon Oil

One of the world’s oldest spices is cinnamon.

All these years, it has been used for its many benefits for the health.

The oil derived from the leaves and bark of the cinnamon tree has been found to have numerous important applications in aromatherapy.

In cosmetics, it’s often added to lotions, shampoo, creams, and other skin products due to its health- and skin-promoting properties.

A 2003 study found that water distillation of cinnamon essential oil made it effective in inhibiting the growth and spread of acne-causing bacteria [36].

Another study investigated the effects of five essential oils and herbal extracts on Staphylococcus epidermidis and Proprionibacterium acnes [36].

It was reported that cinnamon oil had the highest antimicrobial activities on these bacteria that are known to cause acne [36].

Researchers conclude that cinnamon oil is a safe and effective natural remedy for acne.

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 to 4 drops of cinnamon oil
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Combine cinnamon oil and olive oil.
  • Apply on your skin.
  • Leave it on for three to five minutes.
  • Wipe it off with a clean towel.
  • Do this three times a week.

18. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice combats acne in several ways.

With its highly acidic properties, it disinfects the skin, kills bacteria that cause acne, and removes dead skin cell to prevent oil blockage in the pores.

It also helps tone down inflammation.

Since lemon is also an excellent source of vitamin C, which boosts the production of skin collagen, it can also speed up the healing of skin lesion caused by acne.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of rose water

Recommended Directions:

  • Mix lemon juice and rose water.
  • Wash face with this solution.
  • Do this three times a week.

 

19. Garlic

Many ailments have been resolved by garlic.

These include bacterial infections, viral diseases, high cholesterol levels, stomach ulcers, parasitic infections and so on.

However, garlic is probably not the first thing on your mind when it comes to acne treatment.

Studies have shown that topical application of raw garlic on affected areas of the skin can do wonders in alleviating the symptoms of acne [37, 38].

Its antibacterial properties have been well-documented in scientific literature [39, 40, 41].

It has strong inhibitory effects on bacteria that are proven to cause acne and other types of skin infections.

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon of water

Recommended Directions:

  • Put crushed garlic in water for 10 minutes.
  • Use a cotton pad to apply mixture on skin.
  • Let it sit for 10 minutes before rinsing off.
  • Do this everyday for one week.

20. Lavender

The most popular use of lavender is for inducing relaxation.

Did you know that it can also be used to treat acne-ridden skin?

According to Chinese researchers, lavender has bactericidal effects against microbes that cause acne namely Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis [42].

In another study that can be found in the Journal of Convergence Information Technology, 54 participants with acne lesions were given lavender oil for four weeks [42].

At the end of the trial, it was observed that there was a marked reduction in the number of lesions and great improvement in inflammation [43].

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 drops of lavender oil
  • 1 teaspoon of almond oil

Recommended Directions:

  • Add lavender oil to almond oil.
  • Spread a thin layer of this oil blend on your skin.
  • Leave it on for 30 minutes before wiping it off.
  • Repeat once a day until acne is cleared.

Acne rarely causes serious complications.

But so that it doesn’t affect your self-confidence, resolve this issue with these safe and easy-to-make home remedies.