Did you know that 70–90 percent of young adults suffer from acne? It’s pretty common in adult women too. Genetics, changing hormone levels and stress are all contributing factors.
Lots of people opt for over-the-counter and prescription medications to get rid of acne. The problem is that the harsh chemicals used in most products can cause further irritation and may not be safe for continued use.
Why not try natural remedies? They work and do not have side effects if properly used. You may have heard of Manuka honey for acne or other natural remedies, such as witch hazel or tea tree oil.
Find out why it’s worth considering these natural remedies and how to use them for best results!
Do natural remedies work for acne?
Acne is a chronic disorder of the skin’s sebaceous glands (oil glands), leading to the development of comedones, also known as pimples.
Almost every teenager will have an occasional acne outbreak. Acne develops most of the time when teens hit puberty, this is usually due to hormonal changes. But acne is also affecting millions of adult women, who never had a problem with acne before!
According to Dr. Axe (source):
Our skin is a reflection of our internal health. Glowing, beautiful skin shows proper care, hydration and a healthy acne diet. Skin ridden with whiteheads, blackheads and other pimples indicates oxidative damage, poor nutrition and hormonal imbalances.
Many people choose potentially dangerous prescription drugs and topical medications over natural home remedies for acne. But getting rid of acne using natural remedies is a better approach in the long term.
While there are not a lot of medical studies that prove the effectiveness of natural remedies such as witch hazel or Manuka honey for acne, years of use and the positive reports of its effectiveness by actual users show that these remedies work for acne.
Tea Tree essential oil is also a popular remedy to get rid of pimples. One clinical trial compared a 5 percent tea tree oil gel to a 5 percent benzoyl peroxide product for the treatment of acne and found that the benzoyl peroxide worked slightly better, but that the tea tree oil had fewer side effects (source).
Witch Hazel for acne
Witch hazel is an astringent that is produced from the leaves and bark of the North American Witch-hazel shrub (Hamamelis virginiana).
Witch hazel can help reduce redness, oiliness, inflammation and bleeding. It’s a great natural cleanser for acne as it reduces bacteria growth on the skin. The tannin content in witch hazel has strong astringent as well as antioxidant properties.
It is ideal to cleanse the skin, while minimizing the size of skin pores and stopping excess oil production, sweating, and development of blackheads or whiteheads.
It is possible to show why witch hazel can help reduce the outbreaks and severity of acne from past studies done on its medicinal properties.
How to use witch hazel for acne?
Witch Hazel may be applied twice a day (max) to the acne-infected skin straight from the bottle using cotton balls. You can also combine it with tea tree oil, coconut oil or apple cider vinegar for best results!
Manuka Honey for acne
This type of honey originates from New Zealand and is derived from the bees that are commonly found pollinating the Manuka bush. What makes it stand out from regular honey is the fact that it has a higher level of enzymes and it has very strong anti-bacterial properties.
Honey is a source of natural antibiotics that can speed up the healing process, as well as help prevent infections. Low pH, the presence of hydrogen peroxide, and hygroscopic properties give most honey varieties their anti-bacterial properties.
But Manuka honey is even more potent! It has been shown to have exceptionally strong anti-bacterial effects against a wide range of microbes, including acne-causing bacteria such as P. acnes. It contains other compounds that have strong antibiotic qualities.
One of the main anti-bacterial compounds that is found in large quantity in Manuka honey is Methylglyoxal (MG). This is what differentiate Manuka honey to other types of honey.
The topical application of Manuka honey for acne not only has healing benefits, but it also helps to maintain a good balance of bacteria on the skin.
The therapeutic potential of the Manuka honey for acne also depends on its Unique Manuka Factor, which is a global standard that is used to measure the strength of its antibacterial properties.
Manuka honey with a UMF of 10 and above is recommended to support healing and for use as a topical barrier against infections.
How to use Manuka honey for acne?
Dip and clean cotton swab in Manuka honey, put it directly on the affected area and leave it on for half an hour. You can also try one of these DIY recipes to make your own face wash for oily skin!
Tea Tree oil for acne
Tea tree essential oil can help get rid of pimples on the face. Tea tree oil is one of the most effective essential oils used for acne. It is a natural antibiotic and antiseptic.
Studies have found it just as effective as benzoyl peroxide, but it is better tolerated. It is suggested to use lotions or creams with max 15% tea tree oil (source).
How to use tea tree essential oil for acne?
The best way to use tea tree oil is to dilute it in witch hazel (see this recipe).
Note about essential oils: Most essential oils should never be used undiluted on the skin. Tea tree oil has become very popular, and many people have started applying it directly to deal with acne and skin infections. But the skin can dry out, blister or form a rash.
Essential oils can sometimes irritate the skin, especially if you are allergic. You can test for allergies by rubbing the oil into a small patch of skin. If the skin becomes irritated, don’t continue to use the oil.
If you are pregnant, there are essential oils that you should avoid (check this page). Avoid using the oil on young children who may have more sensitive skin.
Other tips for acne
Steam your face
Steaming helps clear pores and aids in detoxification. It’s an easy natural way to give yourself a facial at home, and it won’t cost you anything! The steam opens your pores and helps get rid of oils, dirt and bacteria trapped in the pores that can cause infection or inflammation.
Learn how to do a facial steam here!
Nourish your body and skin with a healthy diet
A healthy diet for acne includes lots of fiber, good fats and water.
Why include more fiber in your diet? Fibre supports detoxification and elimination; flaxseed is particularly helpful as it is high in both fibre and essential fatty acids, which can help with acne. Omega 3s help reduce inflammation and support hormone balance.
Probiotic-rich foods can also boost immunity and kill off yeast and bad bacteria. They are recommended for acne.
In addition, sugar consumption should also be reduced as it lowers immune function and may increase bacterial growth.
If you’re interested in nutrition, read this interview with Nutritionist Bo Bosch and watch the video belo. Learn about the importance of a proper diet in treating acne and how to change bad eating habits!
Consider supplements of vitamin A and zinc
Vitamin A and zinc are the top supplements recommended by The Canadian Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Vitamin A regulates sebum and keratin production. Zinc promotes tissue healing, balances hormones, and reduces inflammation.
Recommended by Sherry Torkos, B. Sc. Phm.:
– Vitamin A: 5,000–10,000 IU daily. Higher doses should be taken only under medical supervision. Women who are pregnant or trying to conceive should not exceed 5,000 IU daily.
– Zinc: 25–50 mg daily. Choose a supplement that also contains copper (3–5 mg) because chronic use of zinc can reduce copper absorption.
If you want to get rid of pimples, why not try natural remedies such as tea tree oil, witch hazel or Manuka honey for acne? They work well for many people, and they do not have the side effects that you can have with topical medications.
There are other home remedies that can also be effective, such as apple cider vinegar or even lemon juice. Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C and helps pimples dry up faster. You can dip a clean cotton swab in fresh lemon juice and apply it to the pimples before going to bed.
Also, it’s best to minimize wearing cosmetics or use only water-based and hypoallergenic cosmetic products. Look for products that say “non-comedogenic” on the label. This means that the product is specifically designed not to clog your pores.
Using gentle products can definitely help with acne, but another important thing is to avoid picking or squeezing blemishes, which can cause tissue damage, infection, and scars. Do not scrub hard or use abrasive cleaners as this can irritate acne!
Don’t forget that your diet can play a big role in skin health. I strongly recommend that you consult a qualified practitioner that will be able to help you find what triggers acne in your case. For severe cases, where there are multiple lesions or cysts, you should consult a dermatologist.
Have you ever tried tea tree oil, witch hazel or Manuka honey for acne? Which remedies work for you? Feel free to leave a comment below!