Acne can leave its mark emotionally as well as physically, and can be the cause for low self-esteem and social anxiety. With a plethora of acne treatments available, finding an effective solution can be confusing. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Simply opening your kitchen cupboards and digging around for products you likely already have can be all it takes to finding a remedy that works for you. By going natural with these 10 treatment ideas, you may just find a household ingredient that brightens your skin – and your day.
It’s a household item that almost everyone has in their freezer. When rubbed on problem areas such as zits, ice can help relieve the redness, swelling and discomfort of painful acne by constricting blood vessels under the skin and causing the skin to compact. Ice has also been said to shrink the size of pores, leaving less room for bacteria and allowing subsequently applied treatments such as face masks and creams to do their job more quickly.
It may take some experimenting to find the method with the best results, but start by trying ice cubes wrapped in a napkin or cloth. Other options include using icepacks or a single exposed ice cube.
Massage the entire face for around 15 minutes by rubbing the ice in circular motions over the skin. Attend to problem areas by pressing the ice into large pimples and holding it there for a couple seconds or up to a few minutes.
For the best results, repeat the process daily after washing your face and before applying any skin treatments. And avoid doing it right before heading out the door – you may find the cold creates temporary redness that takes a few moments to fade.
2. Olive Oil
It may taste great on salads, but this edible oil has some natural healing properties as well. Loaded with vitamin E, olive oil has been used on acne scarring to reduce redness while also serving as an effective moisturizer – especially for those with dry, flaky skin.
Gently massage a small amount onto the skin and let it sit for five to 15 minutes before rinsing off.
Because the oil is quite heavy, use moderation when applying it to your face by sticking to just a few drops.
Give your acne scarring a tangy treatment by using apple cider vinegar to improve the look of your skin. Packed with antibacterial properties, apple cider vinegar is also rich in malic and lactic acids, which exfoliate the skin by removing dead skin cells. This natural toner’s acidity will also help balance out your skin’s pH level.
Simply dilute some apple-cider vinegar in water and soak a face cloth in the mixture. Wipe the damp cloth over your skin or drape it over your face before rinsing. Alternatively, use a cotton swab to dab a small amount to problem areas.
You may just find this inexpensive and accessible product is all you need to get the fresh-faced look you’ve been after.
4. Baking Soda
Pull out the baking ingredients in your pantry and what are you likely to find? Baking soda is another household item that can be used to improve the look of acne scarring. Use as a spot treatment or face scrub by mixing the powder with water to create a paste. Apply to the skin in circular motions and rinse with water after. The course consistency of this natural remedy will help remove dirt, oil and dead skin, giving your face a softer, clearer look. Its anti-inflammatory properties can also help address inflamed acne.
5. Lemon Juice
Get a fresh start with your skin by using a natural and inexpensive fruit to fight the effects of acne. Lemons are a citric acid rich in vitamin C, making them an effective combatant against bacteria. Additionally, the fruit’s astringent qualities help eliminate oil and redness on the skin.
And you don’t need a lot to see big results. To use it as spot treatment, cut a lemon open and insert a cotton swab until it absorbs a generous amount of the juice, before dabbing the swab over problem areas. Or you can try squeezing the juice of a couple lemons into a bowl and soaking a dishcloth in the liquid. Drape the cloth over your face or use it to lightly wipe your skin. Leave the juice on for about 20 minutes before rinsing off.
While this natural remedy can have great results, it also dries everything out. Be careful not to leave it on for too long, especially if you already have dry skin.
6. Egg Whites
Want to tell acne scars to beat it? Say it with egg whites by using them as a natural face mask. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and vitamin A, the latter of which is used to treat scarring.
Apply the egg whites over your face and leave the mask on for approximately 10 minutes before rinsing.
This natural method has been said to remove blackheads and whiteheads, and leaves skin feeling lighter.
Nothing is as sweet as smooth skin, especially when it’s the result of a natural – and delicious – product such as honey.
This edible ingredient is a natural antiseptic, and can reduce redness, help keep acne at bay and leave skin feeling silky smooth. Honey is also a natural humectant, which means it retains moisture.
Use it as a face mask by smoothing 1 tsp. over your face and leaving it for 20 minutes to an hour before rinsing it off. Or, dip your finger into the honey pot and dab a small amount onto problem areas. For added exfoliation while rinsing, try raw honey with bits of honeycomb.
8. Tea Tree Oil
When found in its purest form, tea tree oil can put up a big fight against skin damage from acne. This essential oil is a natural antibacterial that can help disinfect and dry out pimples, whiteheads and blackheads.
Use it as a spot treatment by applying it to pimples with a cotton swab, and leaving it for a few hours before washing off. If the oil is too harsh on its own, dilute it with water or add a couple drops to your moisturizer, aloe vera or coconut oil before smoothing over your skin.
While the oil’s strong herbal smell may take some getting used to, you may just find it’s a welcome scent after watching your acne scarring improve.
9. Witch Hazel
Achieve calmer, softer skin by picking up a bottle of witch hazel at your local drug store and putting it to the test. The tannins found in witch hazel give it an astringent quality that helps reduce the size of pores, making it more difficult for them to become clogged by dirt or bacteria. This plant extract has also been known to reduce swelling and fight bacteria when applied directly to the skin.
Use it as a toner after cleansing or apply to specific areas by soaking a cotton ball and pressing it over problem pimples.
Not only does this natural product come with some promising results, it can generally be purchased for $10 and under.
10. Aspirin Mask
If dipping into the fridge and pantry for acne treatment ingredients hasn’t worked for you, trying checking your medicine cabinet. Aspirin contains a form of salicylic acid, which is used in some acne treatments, and can be effective to reduce acne’s impact on the skin.
Put between one and five tablets (depending on how thick of a paste you want) into a bowl and add a few teaspoons of water to dissolve. For a thicker consistency, add honey to the mixture. Apply the mask to your face, careful to avoid sensitive spots, such as the area around the eyes. Leave the mask on for five to 15 minutes, then rinse. For the best results, try the mask a couple times a week.
Skin is a finicky body part, and because it reacts differently for everyone, there can’t be a one-size-fits-all natural acne solution. But by knowing the basics, you can tinker around with amounts, application methods and treatment durations until you find the right formula for you.