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If you suffer from acne breakouts, know that you aren’t alone. In fact, 85% of people experience breakouts in their lifetime. While seeking treatment for acne, it can be overwhelming finding an affordable option and many medications have negative side effects, such as redness, dryness, and irritation of the skin. It is possible, however, to help prevent breakouts from the comfort of your home. Here are some home remedies to try the next time you have a breakout.
- Apple cider vinegar. This type of vinegar is known for helping fight different types of bacteria and viruses. In fact, it contains organic acids that have actually killed acnes, a strain of bacteria that is linked to acne. The succinic acid in the vinegar suppresses inflammation caused by P. acnes, which helps prevent scarring, and the lactic acid in the vinegar improves the appearance of acne scars. In addition, this vinegar can also help get rid of the excess oil on the face that triggers acne breakouts. To use this treatment, mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water (more water will be needed for sensitive skin). Clean your skin first, and then apply the mix to the skin with a cotton ball. Allow the mix to sit on the face for 5-20 seconds, then rinse and pat dry. Repeat 1-2 times each day as needed. Don’t forget to mix the vinegar with water, as applying straight apple cider vinegar onto the skin can cause burns and irritation. It should always be used in small amounts and should always be diluted with water.
- This nutrient is beneficial for cell growth, hormone production, metabolism, and proper immune function. Studies have shown that those who have acne also have low levels of zinc in their blood. For one study, in particular, 48 patients took zinc supplements three times a day. After eight weeks, 38 of those patients saw an 80-100% reduction in acne. The recommended daily amount is 40mg; do not take more than this unless directed by your doctor, as consuming too much zinc can lead to stomach pain and irritation of the gut.
- Honey and cinnamon. Both are excellent sources of antioxidants and studies have proven that applying antioxidants to the skin helps reduce acne. Honey and cinnamon are also great at fighting bacteria and reducing inflammation, two factors that trigger breakouts. Make a mask out of honey and cinnamon by mixing 2 tablespoons of honey with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Form a paste with the mixture. Clean the skin first, and then apply the mask onto the face. Leave the mask on 10-15 minutes, then rinse and pat dry.
- Tea tree oil. This oil comes from the leaves of a small tree in Australia and fights bacteria while also reducing inflammation. Studies have shown that applying 5% tea tree oil to the face can help reduce breakouts. It may not show results as quickly as other methods, but benefits can be seen after using the oil for three months. Tea tree oil also has fewer negative effects in comparison to other treatments; it doesn’t cause redness, irritation, or burning. This oil is quite potent, so it’s important to remember to dilute it with water. For application, mix 1 part tea tree oil and 9 parts water. Using a cotton swab, dip into the mix and apply a spot treatment onto the affected areas. Use a moisturizer afterward if needed or desired. Repeat 1-2 times a day as needed.
- Green tea. This type of tea is rich in antioxidants and many benefits come from drinking it. While we don’t know if drinking green tea helps with acne, we do know that applying it to the skin helps with breakouts. This is because of the flavonoids and tannins in the tea, which fight bacteria and reduce inflammation. One of the tea’s antioxidants, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, reduces sebum production, fights inflammation, and inhibits the growth of acne. Studies have shown that applying 2-3% green tea extract onto the skin can reduce sebum production and pimples. While there are many creams and lotions containing green tea, here’s how you can make your own mixture at home. First, steep the tea in boiling water for 3-4 minutes. Allow the tea to cool; using a cotton ball, apply to the skin or pour it into a spray bottle and mist onto the face. Allow your face to dry, and then rinse with water and pat dry. If any leaves are leftover, add them to honey and make a face mask.
- Witch Hazel. This comes from the bark and leaves of the North American witch-hazel shrub. This plant contains tannins, which have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agents. Witch hazel can be used to treat different skin conditions in addition to acne, such as dandruff, eczema, varicose veins, burns, bruises, and insect bites. Applying this product onto the skin can help it fight bacteria, reduce inflammation, and assist with healing. To apply, combine 1 tablespoon of witch hazel bark to 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Allow the witch hazel to soak for 30 minutes, and then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook covered for 10 minutes. Strain then store the liquid in a sealed container. Use a cotton ball to apply 1-2 times a day or as desired. While witch hazel can be bought in a store, it’s likely it will not contain tannins, as those are removed during the distillation process of the product.
- Aloe vera. This gel can be found in lotions, creams, ointments, and soaps, and is used to treat abrasions, rashes, burns, and various other skin conditions. When used on the skin, aloe vera can help heal wounds, treat burns, and reduce inflammation. This gel contains salicylic acid and sulfur; both help treat acne. Scrape the gel from an aloe vera plant using a spoon. Apply onto clean skin as you would a moisturizer. Repeat 1-2 times a day or as desired. While aloe vera can be purchased from a store, you’ll want to look at the ingredients and make sure it’s pure aloe vera (in other words, has no other added components).
- You can find most of these at Hodgsons Pharmacy.