Acne is one of the most common skin concerns. Unfortunately, desperation for a naturally clearer complexion can cause many of us to seek out alternative—and sometimes detrimental—treatments for acne breakouts. To help navigate the world of alternative home treatments, here are seven proven and safe DIY acne treatments for clearer skin.
Create a Natural Toner
The acne-fighting benefits of ingesting apple cider vinegar have been debunked, but it is still touted as an effective natural astringent toner to treat active acne breakouts. Apple cider vinegar has acetic acid content, which boasts anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. If you’re using it as a toner, dilute a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with two cups of filtered water, and apply using a cotton round or ball. Do not spray it directly onto the face, as the acid could irritate the eye area.
Get an Essential Oil Fix
Essential oils can be potent additions to any skin care regimen for problem skin. To soothe and clear active acne breakouts, dilute one-part 100% pure essential tea tree oil in nine parts water. Apply the solution with a cotton swab or round to each breakout area. Alternatively, combine two drops of tea tree oil with 20–40 drops of witch hazel and apply to problem areas as needed, to a maximum two times per week.
There’s a reason that clay masks are having a moment right now—they really work! When combined with the acne-fighting benefits of acetic acid, clay masks gently pull out impurities, leaving the skin feeling soft and clean. To create an easy, weekly at-home mask, thoroughly mix together equal parts bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar. Apply the mask, avoiding the eye and lip areas, and leave on for 45 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. You may want to apply a light moisturizer afterwards to help stave off dry skin—astringents can risk stripping the skin of its natural oils, causing it to produce extra oils to overcompensate.
Introduce Tea Time
With their antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties, green and Echinacea teas can be soothing treatments for acne breakouts. Soak a cloth in a warm cup of steeped green or Echinacea tea and wring out excess liquid. Use the damp cloth to gently cleanse the face (do not rinse off). Alternatively, apply a damp, warm green or Echinacea tea bag to active breakouts, and let sit until cooled.
Go for the Green Thumb Acne Fix
Brighten a space while having easy access to a soothing acne-fighting treatment with an aloe plant. Snip off a leaf as needed. The gel inside an aloe plant’s leaves can be scooped out and applied directly to acne breakouts to speed up recovery, minimize the risk of scarring, and fend off further infection. Apply at night and leave it on while you sleep for best results.
Consider a Diet Change
The skin’s condition is often a reflection of how diet affects the body’s natural functions. Some people find that certain foods, particularly dairy products, and those with a high glycemic index (think cookies, white rice and breads, or Russet potatoes), are common culprits of acne breakouts. The best way to determine the cause is by elimination—stop eating these foods for three months, then slowly reintroduce them (if it’s impossible to keep them cut out completely) to determine the culprit causing your acne breakouts.
Add a Supplement
Just as diet can be the culprit, it can also be the solution to acne woes. Inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids can be an effective acne-fighting addition to any diet. Try adding a regular source of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, walnuts, or flaxseeds, to your diet daily. Alternatively, supplement with an omega-3 fatty acid or fish oil capsule. Pro tip: Store fish oil capsules in the freezer to avoid the unpleasant “fish burps” that often go hand-in-hand with these supplements.
For a Little Extra Help…
For those looking for a gentle, non-invasive solution to treating active acne breakouts, consider seeking a little outside help from a certified Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) acne treatment provider. Using IPL technology and a cooling system to ensure comfort, these treatments utilize light to produce heat below the skin’s surface, zapping acne-causing bacteria. For best results, look for a treatment that combines blue and red light—the blue light destroys the functioning of acne-causing bacteria in the oil glands, while the red light reduces existing inflammation and promotes faster healing.