13 Surprising Home Remedies for Acne

Instead of shelling out for expensive acne treatments, learn how to get clear skin with these natural at-home remedies.

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Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree OilPhotodisc/Thinkstock
With its natural inflammation-fighting properties, a 5 percent solution of tea tree oil is less harsh than a 5 percent benzoyl peroxide solution and can be just as effective against acne, though it may clear up a little less quickly. Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with between 20 and 40 drops of witch hazel, then use a cotton swab to apply. Try this remedy up to twice a day; more could dry your skin and make the acne worse.

Green Tea

Green TeaiStock/Thinkstock
Green tea has antimicrobial and antioxidant compounds that can help fight acne. To get its effects, use a cooled cup of green tea as a face wash or lay the bag over the affected area. 


Honey’s antibiotic properties can help improve acne. Apply a teaspoon to affected areas, or make a mask by mixing 1/2 cup of honey with 1 cup of plain oatmeal and leaving it on for 30 minutes.


Mint can help remove pore-clogging oil. To help clear acne before it begins, mix 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh mint with two tablespoons each of plain yogurt and oatmeal (use a blender to pulverize the oatmeal to powder). Leave the concoction on your face for 10 minutes, then rinse off with water.

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Echinacea is traditionally used to speed wound healing and prevent colds and flu, but its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties can help with acne as well. Use echinacea tea as a daily face wash by soaking a cloth with it, or put a few drops of tincture on a cotton ball and dab it on blemishes. 


The salicylic acid in aspirin is a go-to for acne treatments, and the aspirin can dry up pimples and reduce inflammation. To take advantage of its benefits, form a paste by mashing aspirin in a little water, or dissolve four pills in 2 tablespoons of water. 


Chamomile helps decrease inflammation from acne. In a blender or coffee grinder, combine the contents of a chamomile tea bag with enough water to form a paste, and apply that to acne. Alternately, steep two chamomile tea bags with 1 cup boiled water for 15 minutes. Let the tea cool, then use a cotton ball to dab it on your face after cleansing.

Witch Hazel

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Witch hazel can act as an astringent, naturally drying and shrinking blemishes. To get its benefits, pour witch hazel onto a cotton ball and wipe your face each morning and night. 

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Aloe, known for its burn-relieving properties, can promote healing, fight infection, and even reduce scarring. Scrape the gel from an aloe plant out with a spoon, and apply to acne. You can also buy aloe gel from health-food stores—just make sure it’s pure aloe, with no added ingredients.


Lemons act as an exfoliant, skin lightener, and disinfectant to reduce the appearance of scars and prevent new pimples from forming. On a clean face, dab acne with a cotton ball or cotton swab dipped in lemon juice, then rinse with cool water. 

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider VinegariStock/Thinkstock
Apple cider vinegar contains malic and lactic acids that can exfoliate, reduce red marks, and treat acne. For a DIY toner, mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and water and apply to skin with a cotton ball, making sure to shake well before each use. 

Acidic Foods

Acidic FoodsiStock/Thinkstock
Acidic foods like citrus fruit juice or vinegar can flush pores. Dab a little onto a cotton ball to help battle acne; gently swipe the cotton on the affected areas. 

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 Fatty Acids iStock/Thinkstock
Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can improve acne. Get the benefits from a taking a multi-nutrient capsule containing fish oil, or add more salmon, albacore tuna, flaxseeds, and walnuts to your diet.

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