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.

By Marissa Laliberte from Kitchen Cabinet Cures (Reader's Digest Association Books)
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    Tea Tree Oil

    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.

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    Green Tea

    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. 

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    Honey

    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.

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    Mint

    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

    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. 

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    Asprin

    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. 

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    Chamomile

    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.

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    Witch Hazel

    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

    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.

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    Lemons

    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. 

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    Apple Cider Vinegar

    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. 

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    Acidic Foods

    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 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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