The Best Natural Remedies for Acne, According to a Dermatologist

By April Dupee

By April Dupee

Clear skin seems like it’d be easy enough to achieve—but much like limitless energy, good sleep, and work-life balance—it can feel like an impossible feat for some people. And contrary to popular belief, acne does *not* stay where you left it in high school. Adult acne is 100 percent a thing, and if you have it, you want it G. O. N. E., like yesterday.

Problem is, traditional acne treatments often come with high price tags or unpleasant side effects like dryness, redness, or irritation, which is why many people want to add natural remedies to their acne-fighting routines.

RELATED: 5 Foods That Prevent Acne Naturally

Where to start? Well, the next time you’re tempted to poke at a blemish, try reaching for one of these natural remedies—courtesy of Michele Green, MD, New York City-based dermatologist—for an easy and affordable acne treatment instead. (Note: It’s always a good idea to see a derm to find the best acne treatment for your skin type, but these are solid options for lots of people. And start slowly: Natural doesn’t always mean gentle—nature is powerful, people!)

Tea Tree Oil

Have a pimple that just won’t budge? This essential oil extracted from the leaves of an Australian tree may be the spot treatment you need. With powerful antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, Dr. Green says tea tree oil can be highly effective at reducing acne. Dilute a few drops and dab onto blemishes for an easy at-home treatment.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Green Tea

You already love matcha lattes for their antioxidant content and earthy flavor—and we’ve got another reason to sip up…Turns out, green tea’s antioxidants can help reduce oil production and inflammation when applied directly to skin. Simply steep some green tea, let it cool (no burns, pls!), and apply to your face after cleansing.

RELATED: 7 Teas That Reduce Bloating the Natural Way

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Apple Cider Vinegar

You’re definitely going to want this one in your natural acne-fighting arsenal. Apple cider vinegar “contains many organic acids that have been proven to kill P. acnes, the bacteria responsible for breakouts,” says Dr. Green. It also removes the excess oil that causes breakouts. Just be sure to dilute it with water—as in, add three times as much H2O—since the acidity can cause irritation, redness, or burns when applied directly to the skin. Apply with a cotton ball, let it dry, and then rinse with water.

(Photo: Shutterstock)


Good news: The same sweetener you add to your cuppa can double as an effective acne treatment since honey contains powerful antioxidants that can help reduce oil production. A few tablespoons of honey + a teaspoon of cinnamon = your next self-care Sunday mask. How sweet!

(Photo: Shutterstock)

(Featured Photo: Shutterstock)

About April Dupee
MS in Nutrition Interventions, Communications, and Behavior Change

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