One of the most common skin conditions, acne, affects around 85 percent of people at some point in their lives. Yet as common as it is, it can have devastating effects on the quality of life. It’s no wonder there is an endless number of solutions and remedies for acne.
Today’s treatments include any combination of chemicals and products that have side effects and problems that just aren’t healthy.
Your natural response may be to hide until the breakout is gone. But cheer up, because there are safe, effective, all-natural treatments for acne.
Acne begins when your skin pores become clogged with dead skin cells and waxy oil. Sebaceous glands that produce sebum, an oily substance, connect to every skin pore on your body. Excess sebum often plugs up pores allowing the growth of Propionibacterium acnes, a bacterium, also known as P. acnes.
White blood cells attack the bacteria, leading to acne and skin inflammation. Typical symptoms are blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples. Acne cases vary in severity, but even minor cases cause stress and social anxiety.
Infections, genetics, stress, diet, and hormone changes are all known factors that contribute to acne development. Let’s look at some natural ingredients that fight acne.
1. Cinnamon and Honey Mask
Cinnamon and honey are terrific antioxidant sources. Research shows that when applied to the infected area, antioxidants are better at diminishing acne than retinoids and benzoyl peroxide.
While these two ingredients don’t contain antioxidants that studies have proven decrease acne like vitamin B3, sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP), and linoleic fatty acid, one can infer that other antioxidants may similarly combat the condition.
Making a Cinnamon and Honey Mask
- Mix one teaspoon of cinnamon and two tablespoons of honey into a paste.
- Next, make sure your face is clean and dry, then put the mask on your face. Leave the mask on for approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Finally, wash off the mask and dry your face.
2. Tea-Tree Oil
This blemish-fighter has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial benefits that help reduce acne and inflammation. Research shows that 5% tea-tree oil treatments produce the same results as 5% benzoyl peroxide. This natural remedy in its purest form may be too harsh for people with eczema or sensitive skin so be careful when using it.
How to Dilute it for Those with Sensitive Skin
- Mix nine parts of oil with one-part tea tree oil.
- Dab a cotton ball or swab with the mixture and put it directly on the affected area.
- If needed, apply moisturizer.
- Repeat this as needed, usually once or twice a day.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Fermenting the unfiltered juice from pressed apples or apple cider creates apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar consists of a variety of organic acids known to kill P. acne and other types of viruses and bacteria.
The succinic acid suppresses the inflammation caused by the bacteria and may prevent scarring. Lactic acid improves acne scars and may help dry up extra oil that causes acne to begin with.
How to Mix and Use It
- Combine three parts water (more can be used for sensitive skin) and one-part apple cider vinegar.
- Clean and dry your face, then using a cotton pad or ball apply the mixture to your skin.
- Leave the mixture on for 5-20 seconds, before rinsing and patting the area dry.
- Repeat as needed, about once or twice a day
4. Green Tea Application
Rich in antioxidants, green tea isn’t just healthy to drink, applying it to your skin directly has been known to help reduce inflammation and fight bacteria. The tannins and flavonoids are likely the helpful culprits.
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the primary green tea antioxidant, fights inflammation, reduces the production of sebum, and stops acne growth in chronic acne cases.
Studies show that green tea extract applied to the affected area significantly reduces pimples and the production of sebum.
How the Tea is Made and Used
- In boiling water, soak green tea for approximately 3-4 minutes.
- Wait for the liquid to cool.
- Apply the tea to your skin with a cotton pad or ball or spritz on your face with a spray bottle.
- Allow the tea to dry and then rinse it off with water and pat dry.
- Mix the remaining leaves with honey, and you can make a mask.
5. Aloe Vera Moisturization
Aloe Vera, a tropical plant, produces a clear gel that is often used in ointments, soaps, creams, and lotions that treat burns, abrasions, and rashes. It helps treat burns, heal wounds, and fight inflammation.
Aloe Vera contains two elements, sulfur, and salicylic acid, used to treat acne. Studies illustrate that applying sulfur is an effective acne treatment and salicylic acid is used as an application to reduce acne considerably.
This solution is simple to use. Remove the gel directly from the aloe plant and apply it like a moisturizer 1-2 times daily, or as needed.
6. A Healthy, Anti-Acne Diet
Eating the right foods, and avoiding the wrong foods, can go a long way toward preventing and healing acne.
Eat plenty of fresh, organic vegetables, esp. green leafy, orange, yellow and red vegetables, which are rich in antioxidant polyphenols. Also, eat a moderate amount of fresh, organic fruit, esp. blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and pomegranates.
Limit your intake of refined carbohydrates (bread, pasta, cake, cookies, chips, crackers, pastries, pretzels, ice cream, etc.), and sugar (candies, etc.)
Avoid all fried fatty foods, fast foods, and other junk foods.
Safe Acne Treatment
Regardless of your treatment plan for acne, the important thing to remember is the safety of the remedy. The products above are natural and tested to ensure that the ingredient isn’t harmful to the user. Another added benefit is that the cost of most of these treatment options is low.
So next time you go to buy that acne product off the shelf, seriously consider these options first.