How to Get Rid of Acne Fast: 61 Epic Treatments [+Infographic]
So you want to know how to get rid of acne fast, effectively, and forever?
Well so did we!
That’s why we reviewed 61 of the most popular acne treatments out there.
We looked at natural acne treatments, traditional medicines, and everything in-between.
Most of them proved to be great ways to treat acne.
Then, we made an awesome infographic to break it all down for you!!
How to Get Rid of Acne With Traditional Treatments
Antibiotics are one of the main things that dermatologists use to treat acne. There are topical and oral antibiotics.
How to Get Rid of Acne With Antibiotics?
- Kill P. Acnes Bacteria – The main way that antibiotics treat acne is by killing the P. acnes bacteria that are the root cause of the condition.
- Reduce Inflammation – Antibiotics can also help to reduce inflammation, which reduces the swelling, redness, and pain associated with acne.
Topical vs Oral Antibiotics:
- Topical – Used for mild to moderately sever cases of acne. Due to concerns of antibiotic resistance, it is recommended that topical antibiotics be used in combination with another topical such as a retinoid (tretinoin for example) or benzoyl peroxide
- Oral – Used for moderate to severe cases of acne. These are more effective than topical antibiotics against inflammatory acne.
The Most Common Types of Antibiotics:
- Clindamycin (such as Cleocin)
- Erythromycin (such as E-mycin)
- Metronidazole (such as Flagyl)
- Sulfacetamide (such as Plexion)
- Tetracyclines (such as Doxycycline and Minocycline)
Common Side Effects:
- Skin Irritation
- Contact Dermatitis
- Allergic Reaction
- Gastrointestinal Disturbance
Antibiotics are relatively effective at treating acne and are very commonly used. Antibiotics are often prescribed for years at a time to treat acne.
This has led to increasing concern among physicians – due to the global rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Benzoyl peroxide (BP) is the world’s most commonly used acne treatment…
The World Health Organization (WHO) includes it on the List of Essential Medicines (a list of medicines needed in any basic health care system).
How Does Benzoyl Peroxide Help Get Rid of Acne?
- Bactericidal – Benzoyl peroxide kills P. acnes bacteria without inducing antibiotic resistance.
- Sebostatic – This is just a fancy way of saying that BP reduces sebum production, resulting in drier, less acne-prone skin.
- Reduces Inflammation – BP kills the white blood cells that trigger the inflammatory response.
- Comedolytic – It prevents the formation of new comedones (clogged pores).
How to Use Benzoyl Peroxide for Acne:
Benzoyl peroxide is easy to use:
Before applying, be sure to wash and dry your face.
Then, just use your fingers to apply a thin layer to the area that needs treatment and let it dry.
Common Side Effects:
- Skin That Feels Warm
Benzoyl peroxide can bleach clothing and other fabrics.
Birth Control / Contraceptives
Using birth control pills to treat acne is only recommended for healthy women who also need contraception.
How Does Birth Control Help Reduce Acne?
- Regulates Hormones – Birth control pills can help to reduce the amount of androgens (male sex hormones such as testosterone) in your body. Androgens stimulate your body to create more sebum (skin oil). Less androgens means less oil, less clogged pores, and less acne.
Types of Birth Control For Treating Acne in Women:
The FDA has only approved three types of birth control for the treatment of acne…
They are all “combination” oral contraceptives containing both progesterone and estrogen (birth control pills containing only progesterone can make acne worse).
All of these pills use the same form of estrogen, but a different form of progesterone:
- Ortho Tri-Cyclen (norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol) – Uses estrogen and a progestin (a man-made progesterone) called norgestimate. It’s available with different doses of progestin.
- Estrostep (norethindrone acetate and ethinyl estradiol) – Uses estrogen and a progestin called norethindrone. It’s available with different doses of estrogen.
- YAZ (drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol) – Uses estrogen and a progestin called drospirenone. The FDA warns that contraceptives containing drospirenone may have higher risks of blood clots compared to pills using other types of progestin.
Studies have found that the three types of birth control all treat acne with about the same level of effectiveness.
Side Effects / Risks:
Oral contraceptives increase your risk of:
- Blood Clots
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Cardiovascular Problems
- Depression and Mood Changes
- Liver and Gallbladder Disease
Oral contraceptives only target one cause of acne – excess sebum production.
Your doctor may recommend that you take them in combination with other oral or topical medicines (that can target the other causes of acne).
Blue/Red and Other Light Therapy
Light therapy involves shining powerful lights at the skin (either blue, red, or a combination of both).
This can be done in the doctor’s office or with a smaller at-home device.
How Does Blue and Red Light Help Get Rid of Acne?
Certain wavelengths of light can have different effects on our skin and the bacteria that causes acne:
- Blue Light – Blue light with a frequency of approximately 415 nm (nanometers), can activate light-sensitive chemicals (called coproporphyrin III and protoporphyrin IX) found in the cell membranes of P. acnes bacteria. This will cause the cell membrane to rupture, killing the bacteria.
- Red Light – Red light with a frequency of approximately 650 nm is able to penetrate deep into the skin – down to the level of the sebocytes that produce skin oil. The red light helps to decrease oil production – which can reduce acne breakouts. Red light can also kill bacteria by activating protoporphyrin IX. And lastly, red light influences the release of cytokines, which help regulate inflammation.
Other Types of Light Treatment for Acne:
- Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) – IPL treatments use rapid, high intensity pulses of broad spectrum light. The pulsing helps to prevent the skin from overheating – avoiding damage and discomfort to the patient. Filters can be placed between the device and the targeted skin to achieve various wavelengths of light. For instance, if the physician wants to use blue light he can simply filter out the other wavelengths of light.
- Photo Dyanmic Therapy (PDT) – Photodynamic treatments combine one of the previously mentioned light therapies (blue, red, or IPL) with a topical photosensitizer (something that increase the skins sensitivity to light). The photosensitizer (most commonly aminolevolevulinic acid ALA) increases the synthesis of porphyrins in the acne bacteria – which makes the treatment more effective. The downside is that PDT is much more harsh on the skin. The skin will be red, peeling and extremely light sensitive for a few days afterwards.
Studies have shown that light therapy can help get rid of acne, although it does seem like light therapy works best in combination with other types of treatment such as topicals.
Also, a combination of blue and red light seems to perform better than either one by itself.
Facial Cleansers – Soaps, Gels and Everything in Between!
Face washes of all types have been the front line defense against skin blemishes for…well pretty much forever.
Here’s what you need to know about them:
How Can Facial Cleansers Help Get Rid of Acne?
- Antibacterial – Most cleansers will have at least some antibacterial properties, and you can find many that are specifically marketed as “antibacterial” and have additional antibacterial ingredients. All of these will help to kill the P. acnes bacteria that causes acne.
- Removes Dead Cells and Dirt – Cleansers are great at exfoliating and ridding the skin of excess dirt, dead skin cells, and other gunk that can contribute to clogged pores.
- Other Properties – There are tons of face washes out there. Some may have added ingredients that reduce inflammation, decrease redness, help hydrate, or do any number of other things.
What to Look for in a Facial Cleanser for Acne-Prone Skin:
- Slightly Acidic pH -Your skin has a pH of 4 – 6.5 (slightly acidic). However, many cleansers have a much higher pH (they are very alkaline). This is bad because it can disrupt the “acid mantle” that protects your skin from bacteria and other outside irritants. Try to find a soap that has a similar pH to your skin.
- Gentle – Try to find a facial cleanser that is nonabrasive and alcohol-free.
- Unscented – Most scented cleansers have added ingredients which may irritate your skin. The only exceptions would be ingredients that are proven to be good for acne, but also happen to have a scent, like green tea.
- Match Your Skin Type – Look for a face wash that is made specifically for your skin type (oily, average, or dry).
- Creamy Lather – Cleansers with big soapy bubbles are your enemy. Larger bubbles have a higher tension along their edges. This forces them down into the top layers of skin where they can get stuck, irritating and drying out your face. Look for small bubbles with creamy lathers.
How to Use Your Facial Cleanser the Right Way to Treat Acne:
- No Wash Cloths – When cleansing your face, you don’t need to use a washcloth. It’s too abrasive. Also, if you use the same washcloth for multiple days you will be putting a lot of bacteria, grime, soap film, and skin oils right back onto your face.
- Let Your Cleanser do the Work – Using clean hands, build up a nice dense lather (full of small bubbles) and apply it to your face. You can do a little bit of gentle scrubbing. Then, just let the lather sit on your face and work it’s magic for 30 seconds or so. Then, rinse and dry.
Isotretinoin / Accutane
Isotretinoin (originally marketed as Accutane) is an oral drug used primarily to treat severe acne. It’s a retinoid (a type of drug derived from vitamin A).
It’s incredibly effective at eliminating acne, but has numerous side effects and requires a special procedure to obtain (in the United States).
How Does Isotretinoin Help Get Rid of Acne?
- Shrinks Oil Glands – Isotretinoin reduces the size of the skin’s oil glands by a dramatic 35 to 58%.
- Reduces Oil Production – It decreases oil production by an astounding 80%. P. acnes bacteria “eat” the fatty acids found in skin oil (sebum). Smaller pores (producing less sebum) lead to less bacteria and less acne.
- Slows Skin Cell Production – Isotretinoin slows down skin cell production within the facial pores. Less skin cells means less chance of a pore becoming clogged and infected with bacteria.
- Anti-inflammatory – Isotretinoin reduces inflammation. Less inflammation means less redness, swelling and pain.
How to Use Isotretinoin For Acne Relief:
Isotretinoin is administered in a pill format, preferably taken with a meal that contains adequate levels of fat (which helps the drug absorb better).
It’s usually administered for 15-20 weeks, but sometimes is prescribed for six months or longer at a lower dosage.
For about 30% of patients, acne symptoms may become worse within the first month, followed by dramatic improvement.
95% of patients who complete a full cycle of treatment will experience partial or complete elimination of acne!
Upwards of 80% of patients will experience side effects. These side effects are numerous and sometimes serious:
- Birth Defects – Using isotretinoin while pregnant can cause serious birth defects. The iPLEDGE program was started in 2006 to prevent women from becoming pregnant while taking isotretinoin.
- Suicide and Depression – It has been alleged that isotretinoin can cause depression and suicidal tendencies in patients. However, numerous studies have yet to find any conclusive evidence.
- Dry Lips – Occurs in 92% of patients.
- Dry Skin – 57% occurence
- Nosebleed – 30% occurence
- Rash – Including Eczema
- Hair Loss – Rare occurrence, short term
- Inflamed Lips – Called Cheilitis
- Hives – Rare occurrence
- Alopecia – Rare occurrence (another hair loss condition)
- Hair Overgrowth (in women) – Rare occurrence
- Nail Abnormalities – Rare occurrence
- Yellow Deposits on Eyelids – Rare occurrence
- Others – Dry mouth, sun sensitivity, oozing bleeding skin bumps, bleeding and inflammation of the gums.
Isotretinoin is a very effective way to treat acne. However, it’s a very powerful drug and should always be used in a serious manner.
The most common side effects are relatively mild…but some serious side effects do occur from time to time.
NEVER take isotretinoin if you are pregnant, or for at least 1 month after treatment ends.
Laser therapy is good at preventing average inflammatory acne (such as papules and pustules), but less effective at treating noninflammatory acne (such as blackheads and whiteheads) as well as very severe lesions (such as cysts and nodules).
Studies have shown that laser therapy can improve acne by anywhere from 38% – 83%.
How Does Laser Therapy Treat Pimples?
- Kills Bacteria – Lasers work by exciting compounds that live inside the acne bacteria called porphyrins. When these porphyrins become excited they damage the bacteria wall, which kills the bacteria.
- Reduces Sebum – Some lasers also reduce sebum (skin oil) production. Less oil means less clogged pores and less acne.
How are Acne Laser Treatments Conducted?
Most doctors will recommend performing three or more treatments (usually once per month).
Photosensitizers are often used to make the skin more sensitive to light. This helps the laser produce more porphyrins.
- Minor Pain
Your skin may be very sensitive to sunlight after your treatment, and your doctor may tell you to stay out of the sun for 1 to 2 days.
Lasers are a somewhat effective treatment method, but they usually do not completely eliminate acne.
Laser therapy is often recommended to patients that did not respond well to more common treatment methods or where bacterial resistance has developed.
Retinoids are compounds made from vitamin A that can be incredibly effective for treating acne.
These include retinol, retinoic acid (retin-A), tretinoin, isotretinoin (accutane), alitretinoin, and others.
How do Retinoids Help Treat Acne?
- Normalize Skin Shedding – One cause of acne is hyperkeratinization (when skin cells inside the hair follicle shed off at a faster than normal rate). Hyperkeratinization causes clogged pores. Retinoids help to bring this skin shedding back down to a normal level, allowing pores to open back up and bacteria and sebum to drain out.
- Reduce Inflammation – Retinoids also have anti-inflammatory properties. Unfortunately, these anti-inflammatory benefits are often unnoticed because of the initial dryness and irritation caused by many retinoids.
Types of Retinoids:
There are numerous different retinoids on the market. There are oral and topical retinoids. The strongest retinoids all require a prescription.
Some retinoids (such as Retinyl palmitate, retinol, and retinaldehyde) are available over-the-counter.
The strongest retinoids are Isotretinoin and Tazarotene, while the weakest are Retinyl palmitate and Retinol.
For more information about the numerous retinoids available and their strengths and weaknesses, take a look at this detailed article.
The most common side effect of retinoids is skin irritation. Peeling, redness, dryness and flaking are very common.
It’s common to have an increase in acne symptoms at the start of treatment as your body purges bacteria and sebum out of the newly unclogged pores.
Some of the stronger retinoids have numerous other side effects including depression, suicidal tendencies (alleged), and birth defects.
Be sure to talk to your doctor and understand the risks involved with any acne treatment option.
Pimple Remover Tools
It’s always better to not pop pimples. There will be less chance of bacteria spreading to other pores, and less chance of damaging your skin (and potentially creating long term scars).
However, there are always times where you just have to pop a pimple…
For these occasions, a pimple extracting tool can help you remove that zit a bit easier while causing less damage to your skin.
What is a Pimple / Blackhead Extractor?
Comedone extractors are small metal tools used to remove blemishes such as whiteheads and blackheads.
They typically have a head with a small opening that can be inserted around the targeted pimple or blackhead.
This allows you to apply targeted pressure in a safer and more effective way than using your fingers.
How to Use a Pimple Remover Tool:
- First you should cleanse the area that you’re targeting.
- Use a warm wash cloth or take a warm shower to help open up your pores and make it easier for the tool to do its job.
- Place the head of the tool (the end with the opening) around the pimple or blackhead you want to extract.
- Gently press down on one side of the blemish. While applying pressure, move the tool sideways across the top of the skin (think of spreading butter on a piece of toast). This will force the blockage out of the pore.
- Cleanse your skin once more to prevent infection of surrounding pores.
- Be sure to clean the tool after each use to prevent cross contamination.
Salicylic acid is an organic acid commonly used in topical acne treatments.
It’s on the World Health Organization (WHO) Model List of Essential Medicines, which includes the most important medications needed for a basic health care system.
How Does Salicylic Acid Help Fight Acne?
- Bacteriostatic – Salicylic acid does not kill bacteria, but it does prevent them from reproducing. This can help to decrease the number of P. acnes bacteria and reduce new acne breakouts.
- Comedolytic – Salicylic acid helps prevent the formation of new acne comedones.
- Keratolytic – Keratolytic compounds such as salicylic acid cause keratin (a major compound of the skin) to soften. This causes the skin cells to shed more readily, which can help to prevent pores from being clogged by excess dead skin cells. Less clogged pores results in less acne.
- Anti-inflammatory – Salicylic acid is actually a derived form of one of the most well-known anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin. It can help to reduce the swelling and inflammation associated with acne.
How to Use Salicylic Acid for Pimples and Acne:
Salicylic acid is super easy to use…
Just apply some to the affected area and rub it in.
Follow the dosage recommendations of whatever product you’re using.
Salicylic acid works best in combination with other topicals that focus on killing the acne bacteria (since salicylic acid only prevents bacteria from reproducing).
Many products combine it with benzoyl peroxide, such as in Proactiv (the world’s number one acne treatment brand).
Salicylic acid has to be used continuously.
If you stop using it, your pores will start to clog up and breakouts will resume.
How to Get Rid of Acne With Natural Treatments
Acupuncture has been used since ancient times to improve health and well-being.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) an acupuncturist looks at a variety of factors including physical, emotional, and environmental conditions of the individual being treated.
According to TCM, acne is most often caused by dampness or excessive heat that effects the organs along certain “channels”.
The three most important organs for treating acne are the stomach, lungs, and spleen.
Dysfunction within one of these organs can lead to skin problems such as acne.
What Does Western Science Think About Acupuncture for Acne?
Acupuncture helps stimulate the nervous system and influences the release of certain neurochemical messengers.
This can help the well-being of various homeostatic processes, which can help the body maintain overall health and wellness.
Studies have shown that stimulating certain acupuncture points can help to activate areas in the brain that help decrease stress and reduce pain.
This may help to reduce levels of cortisol (the body’s stress hormone), one potential cause of acne.
Other Ways Acupuncture May Help Treat Acne:
- Reduced Inflammation – Acupuncture can help to decrease redness, pain, and swelling resulting from the inflammation caused by acne.
- Increased Circulation – Acupuncture helps to increase microcirculation locally, which can help reduce swelling and stimulate healing.
Different Types of Acupuncture for Acne:
- Traditional Acupuncture – This is the most common type of acupuncture, which simply involves inserting acupuncture needles at specific “acupuncture points” on the body.
- Cupping – Cupping is a type of acupuncture that does not use needles. Instead, the acupuncturist uses glass cups to create suction at the aforementioned “acupressure points”.
- Electroacupuncture – Similar to traditional acupuncture, but with the addition of electrical current. After inserting the needles, the practitioner will attach electric cables and administer electric pulses.
My grandmother always kept one of these cactus-like plants in her kitchen to treat burns. So, how exactly does aloe vera help to get rid of acne?
How Can Aloe Vera Help Eliminate Acne?
Basically, it helps kill the bacteria that causes acne plus any other nasty stuff that might try to live in or on your skin.
- Coagulating agent
- Pain inhibitor
- Reduces scarring
- Stimulates cell growth
It is also filled with at least 70 essential ingredients including vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids, and enzymes, all of which our body needs. Some of the ingredients that are the most useful to acne sufferers include:
- Vitamin A – One of the most important vitamins for healthy skin.
- Vitamin C – An antioxidant, reduces redness, maintains healthy collagen levels.
- Sulfur – A common ingredient in many acne fighting products.
- Zinc – Another very important acne fighting vitamin.
- Salicylic acid – A very common ingredient in acne treatments.
- Lupeol – Anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory.
- Urea – Used in dermatological products to rehydrate the skin.
- Gibberellins – A plant hormone with numerous health benefits.
- Germanium – Good for the immune system and much more.
- Many others – vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes, polysaccharides, and many more.
How to Use Aloe Vera Gels, Juices and Supplements For Acne:
There are numerous ways to use aloe vera gel or juice for acne skin care.
You can apply aloe vera topically as a moisturizer or spot treatment, shave with it, make a face mask, take it as a dietary supplement, and more.
I recommend choosing a product that is USDA Certified Organic and International Aloe Science Council (IASC) certified 100% pure aloe vera.
I also recommend that you always buy aloe vera products made from the “inner fillet” part of the plant…
This is the soft, inner part of the plant that remains after the outer leaf coverings have been removed.
The reason I say this is because the outer leaf contains aloin, which is a laxative!!
You don’t want to make a habit of ingesting the aloin because it can cause electrolyte imbalance, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and even uterine contractions in pregnant women.
You can also try taking an aloe vera supplement to get some of the health benefits of this amazing plant.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Does apple cider vinegar (ACV) help acne? Well, it’s been used for thousands of years – since the ancient Egyptians 5000 years ago.
It has also been used by countless people throughout the world as a remedy for just about any illness you can think of…
Even Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, spoke of the value of this simple product.
How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help Get Rid of Pimples?
Scientists have found ninety different key substances in apple cider vinegar.
It is packed with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, over thirteen types of carbolic acids, twenty ketones, four aldehydes, trace elements, amino acids, several other acids, dietary fiber, antioxidants, and more.
- Disinfectant – ACV is a good natural disinfectant, and when applied topically to your face or other skin it will kill the bacteria that causes acne.
- Reduces Inflammation – Another reason apple cider vinegar is good for fighting acne is because it helps reduce the inflammation associated with acne. It can help to quickly reduce the size of those big swollen pimples and bad zits.
- Essential Ingredients – ACV is filled with good ingredients that our bodies need, which may also be part of the reason that it helps clear up acne.
- Protective “Acid Barrier” – Apple Cider Vinegar is also very good for fighting acne because of its ability to restore the proper pH balance to your skin. Healthy skin is slightly acidic. This slight acidity helps to fight off harmful bacteria (like the bacteria that causes acne) and protect our skin from outside contaminants.
How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar For Your Acne:
You can apply apple cider vinegar directly to your face as a toner, mixed with other ingredients in a face mask, or as a spot treatment.
You can even try drinking apple cider vinegar or taking ACV pills in an attempt to boost your overall health and fight acne “from the inside”.
When applying ACV to your skin you should always dilute it. You can try anywhere from a 1:1 ratio to a 1:8 ratio depending on how sensitive your skin is.
Best Type of Apple Cider Vinegar for Treating Pimples:
I recommend that you always use unfiltered raw organic vinegar with the “mother” in it (the cloudy brown stuff floating around in the vinegar).
The “mother” is full of proteins, enzymes, and other living nutrients and good bacteria…
Processed and filtered vinegar will not give you half the benefits of raw ACV with the “mother” left in it.
This study looked at the effectiveness of a cream containing argan oil, saw palmetto, and sesame seeds…
95% of the participants reported reduced levels of sebum (skin oil).
After four weeks of using the cream, there was a 20% reduction in overall sebum levels, and a 42% reduction in oily areas.
Why is Argan Oil Good For Acne?
Argan oil is high in a couple of useful acne fighting ingredients:
- Gamma-Linolenic acid (GLA) – Researchers have shown that GLA can help to drastically reduce inflammation. In the study, inflammatory acne was reduced by 40 to 50%, and non-inflammatory acne by 20%.
- Linolenic Acid – the body uses linolenic acid to make sebum. Sebum made with linolenic acid is actually calming to the skin. Studies have shown that people who are acne-prone tend to have less linolenic acid in their sebum (skin oil). This study found that rubbing linolenic acid on people’s faces helped to eliminate micro-comedones (baby pimples).
- Antioxidants – Argan oil is high in vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant which may also help control acne and inflammation.
How to Use Argan Oil for Acne:
The best way to use Argan oil to treat acne is to apply it directly to your skin.
You can use it by itself or as an ingredient in a face mask. You can use it in a spot treatment, or even try using it to perform the oil cleansing method.
Castor oil has been used for thousands of years in ayurvedic medicine in India, and even discovered in 4000-year-old Egyptian tombs.
There is very little scientific research done on the effectiveness of castor oil as an acne treatment, but it is thought that it derives it’s medicinal value from it’s high concentration of ricinoleic acid (a fatty acid).
How Does Castor Oil Help Relieve Acne Symptoms?
- Antimicrobial – An Indian study showed that castor leaf extract displayed stronger antibacterial activity than Gentamycin (the antibiotic that they used for comparison). Castor oil is good at killing the bacteria that causes acne.
- Anti-inflammatory – Studies have shown that castor oil has very strong anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it very useful in combating the redness, pain, and swelling associated with acne.
- Immune System and lymphatic Stimulant – Castor oil has also been shown to boost the immune system and lymphatic system, both of which are important for fighting off infections such as acne.
How to Use Castor Oil to Get Rid of Pimples:
Never ingest castor oil because it is a potent laxative. The best way to use Castor oil for acne is to apply it directly to your skin.
The most common way it’s used is as a cleanser in the Oil Cleansing Method.
You can also try using it as an ingredient in face masks.
Coconut oil has been a staple of life for thousands of years in tropical climates.
Pacific Islanders considered it to be a cure for practically every disease…
So, how can it help treat acne?
Why Coconut Oil is Good at Treating Acne:
- Antimicrobial – coconut oil is great at destroying many different kinds of microbes including bacteria, viruses, protozoa and others. It can kill the P. acnes bacteria plaguing your skin. This is due in large part to its naturally high content of lauric acid.
- Anti-inflammatory – A study performed in Thailand showed that coconut oil has moderate anti-inflammatory effects. Coconut oil can help to reduce the swelling, pain and redness caused by acne.
- Moisturizing – If your skin is dry naturally, or because of all the chemicals and medicines you use – coconut oil can be a lifesaver. Since coconut oil consists of mostly short and medium chain fatty acids, it’s easily absorbed through your skin providing moisture – without leaving you feeling “greasy”.
How to Use Coconut Oil to Get Rid of Acne and Pimples:
You can use coconut oil internally or externally to help treat acne.
Using coconut oil directly on your skin will give faster results, while using it internally will help to improve your overall health in an effort to “fight acne from the inside”.
Use it as a moisturizer by itself or include it as an ingredient in your favorite face mask.
You can even try using coconut oil to cleanse your face with the oil cleansing method.
Add coconut oil to your favorite recipes or eat it plain by the spoonful!
You can also try using coconut oil for oil pulling. This is where you put a spoonful of coconut oil into your mouth swish it around for 15 or more minutes – allowing it to “pull” out the toxins, Candida, bacteria, and other gunk in your mouth.
Cod Liver Oil
One nutrient dense supplement that will help to clear your skin is cod liver oil…
In fact, cod liver oil has been used for hundreds of years as an all natural remedy for a plethora of ailments.
The reason it works so well is because it contains large quantities of naturally occurring vitamins and nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin A and elongated Omega-3 fatty acids.
In fact, cod liver oil is one of the few food sources that contains all three of these essential nutrients, which work together to provide you with acne free skin.
Why Use Cod Liver Oil For Acne?
Cod liver oil is a great source of vitamin D, vitamin A, and omega-3 essential fatty acids:
- Vitamin D – Reduces sebum (skin oil) production, reduces skin cell growth (which helps to prevent pores getting clogged by excess dead skin cells), improves insulin resistance (which can help with hormonal acne), and boosts the body’s immune system.
- Vitamin A – This vitamin is necessary for the development of our body’s epithelial cells, which line the surfaces of all other cells including skin cells. Retinoic acid, which is derived from vitamin A, is absolutely necessary for skin cells to properly proliferate and mature.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Elongated omega-3 fatty acids help to keep skin cells moisturized and supple. When your body does not receive this essential nutrient, skin becomes dry, irritated, and lacks luster. This can contribute to new blemishes.
- Anti-inflammatory – Cod liver oil is also a natural anti-inflammatory which helps reduce swelling and redness caused by acne.
How to Use Cod Liver Oil For Acne:
the most common way to use cod liver oil for acne treatment is to take it orally as a dietary supplement.
You can find cod liver oil gel caps, capsules, and liquids.
If you want to use the most “natural” form of cod liver oil, then you should try fermented cod liver oil for your acne…
This is how cod liver oil was made before modern methods such as refining, bleaching, and deodorizing were invented.
In modern cod liver oil production, many of the vitamins have to be added back – after all the processing steps are completed.
If you would like to get the least processed and most natural form of cod liver oil, try fermented cod liver oil.
This stuff is made by throwing a bunch of fish guts into a barrel, and letting it ferment for a year or so…
Not many companies make it this way anymore, and you will pay a bit more for it, but you may decide it’s worth it.
Both vitamin A and vitamin D are fat-soluble. If you take too much of these vitamins, they will accumulate in your body’s fat cells and can eventually become toxic!
Whenever taking a vitamin D supplement, it’s important to monitor your vitamin D levels through regular 25-hydroxyvitamin D tests (abbreviated 25(OH)D).
You should try to maintain a vitamin D blood serum level of at least 75 nmol/L, and the best range is between 90 and 100 nmol/L.
Silver has been used to improve human health since the days of ancient Chinese alchemists 8000 years ago.
How Does Colloidal Silver Help Treat Pimples?
- Antimicrobial – Clinical studies have shown that various forms of antimicrobial silver are highly effective at killing P. acnes bacteria, and that silver maintains its bacteria killing effect over a prolonged period. Additional studies here.
- Anti-inflammatory – Colloidal silver reduces inflammation by inhibiting excessive cytokine production. Cytokines are messenger molecules that warn our immune system when our body is being invaded by pathogens. In acne patients, the cytokines often signal excessively, causing our immune system to overreact – leading to higher levels of inflammation.
- Speeds up Healing – Silver has been shown to stimulate cells in the body – helping them to regenerate quicker and speed up wound healing. This can help clear up the wounds and lesions caused by acne.
- Boosts Immune System – According to WebMD acne outbreaks can be a sign of a weak immune system. Researchers have discovered that colloidal silver helps stimulate the function of mast cells (an important component of an effective immune system similar to white blood cells). Mast cells are very important for wound healing and defense against harmful pathogens. Also, mast cells are particularly prominent in the skin (and other areas that form the boundary between the outside world and our inner body). Silver ions have also been shown to enhance the second portion of the pathogycitic index of our immune cells (it enhances our cells ability to digest germs).
How to Use Colloidal Silver to Treat Pimples and Acne:
The simplest and easiest way to use colloidal silver is as a spray. Fill a spray bottle with 10 to 15 ppm (parts per million) colloidal silver.
Wash your skin and let it dry, then spray the area you want to treat and let it dry naturally.
You can also use colloidal silver creams, gels or other applications.
The second way to use colloidal silver is as a dietary supplement.
Colloidal silver is very safe and has no upper limit at which point it becomes toxic…
However, if taken at high dosages for long periods of time it can lead to a condition known as Argyria (a condition where the skin turns grayish blue with no other detrimental effects).
Doctors estimate that you would have to ingest between 2 to 4 grams of silver on average to develop argyria.
Some common colloidal silver products contain roughly 100 mcg in their recommended daily dose.
You would have to use such a product daily for over 50 years to ingest 2 grams of silver…
So, to avoid looking like a smurf always look for colloidal silver products that have a small particle size and low ppm (parts per million).
Emu oil comes from the fat of the emu, a bird native to Australia and similar to the ostrich.
It has been used for medicinal purposes by aboriginal Australians for thousands of years.
How Can Emu Oil Help Get Rid of Acne?
- Fatty Acids – Emu oil derives its acne fighting power from its high concentration of fatty acids. Research has shown that acne sufferers often have lower levels of linoleic acid in their skin. Emu oil is a good source of linoleic acid.
- Moisturizer – Emu oil is very good at penetrating deep into the skin and moisturizing it.
- Anti-inflammatory – Studies have shown that emu oil has strong anti-inflammatory properties. It can help reduce the swelling, redness, and inflammation caused by pimples.
How to Use Emu Oil to Remedy Acne:
Emu oil is used topically to treat acne. You can apply it by itself (a little goes a long way) or include it in your favorite face mask.
You can put it on individual pimples or all over your face.
So why is Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) so good at treating acne?
This naturally occurring mineral has a number of useful acne fighting properties:
- Antibacterial – thanks to its high concentration of sulfur, Epsom salt is very good at killing bacteria, fungus, and other little bugs that might be on your skin.
- Anti-Inflammatory – Epsom salt has excellent anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce redness, decrease skin irritation, and even reduce pain.
- Detoxification – Soaking in a bath of Epsom salt can help your body flush out toxins which may be contributing to your problems with acne.
- Normalizes Nutrient Levels – Magnesium is necessary for your body to maintain normal levels of zinc, potassium, and vitamin D.
How to Use Epsom Salt to Treat Your Acne:
There are tons of ways you can use Epsom salt to get rid of acne.
Dissolve 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salt in a bathtub and take a relaxing 15 minute Epsom salt bath.
You can try dissolving and adding Epsom salt into any of your favorite acne masks.
You can use it in a simple warm compress, as part of an herbal poultice, in spot treatments, in toners, or in numerous other ways…
Just use your imagination!
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil has been called the “King’s cure-all” because of its huge number of uses as a natural remedy!
Why is Evening Primrose Oil Good for Getting Rid of Acne?
Essential Fatty Acids – Evening primrose oil is a great source of omega-six essential fatty acids. These fatty acids can help to promote skin elasticity, help with the healing process, and improve the overall appearance of your skin.
Hormonal Acne – The omega six fatty acids in the evening primrose oil can help to regulate hormone levels and cure hormonal acne problems.
How to Take Evening Primrose Oil For Pimples and Acne Treatment:
You can supplement with evening Primrose oil softgels, capsules, or take liquid evening Primrose oil straight from a bottle.
You can also use primrose oil topically by itself – or with other ingredients as part of a face mask.
For the most part evening primrose oil is safe and natural with few side effects.
You should not use evening primrose oil while pregnant, and speak to your doctor before using evening primrose oil if you have any bleeding or clotting problems.
Using a face mask can be a great way to treat acne!
There are tons of natural ingredients you can experiment with to create your own custom acne fighting facial…
Best Ingredients for an Acne Fighting Face Mask:
- Aloe Vera
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Argan Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Emu Oil
- Evening Primrose Oil
- Epsom Salt
- Green Tea
- Jojoba Oil
- Lavender Oil
- Lemon Juice
- Milk of Magnesia
- Olive Oil
- Rosehip Oil
- Sea Salt
- Tamanu Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
6 Easy Face Masks For Getting Rid of Acne:
- Cinnamon and Honey Mask –
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- Aloe Vera and Lemon Juice Mask –
- 3 tbsp aloe vera
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Apple Cider Vinegar and Green Tea Mask –
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp green tea
- add sugar to desired thickness
- Turmeric Honey Mask –
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Tea Tree Oil Honey Mask –
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 – 3 drops tea tree oil
- Jojoba Oil and Aloe Vera Mask –
- 1 tbsp jojoba oil
- 1 tbsp aloe vera
- 1 tsp lemon juice
Try combining different ingredients to see what works best for your skin type and your acne.
You can always try adding 1 – 2 drops of tea tree oil, or 1 tsp of lemon juice to any mask to give it a little extra acne-fighting power.
Fish Oils and Omega 3 Fatty Acids
A 2014 study performed by Korean researchers showed that supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids reduced inflammatory acne by 40 to 50% and non-inflammatory acne by 20%.
Another study found that omega-3 fatty acids helped people suffering from moderate/severe acne, but had no effect on mild acne.
Why Are Omega-3 Fatty Acids From Fish Oils Helpful in Treating Acne?
Omega-3 fatty acids have a positive influence on some of the underlying causes of acne:
- Hormones – Studies have shown that higher ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids can contribute to higher levels of the hormone androgen. Androgen is a leading cause of hormonal acne.
- Inflammation – Inflammation is the underlying reason that pimples become big, red, and painful. An imbalance of omega-6/omega-3 fatty acids is a major cause of inflammation in the body. Most people have way too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3. Supplementing with fish oils can solve this problem and help to get rid of acne.
How to Use Fish Oil to Treat Acne:
Look for a fish oil supplement that is high in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
These are the two forms of omega-3 fatty acids that the body cannot produce on its own. Therefore, we have to get them from the food we eat.
Don’t be fooled by supplements that contain a large amount of fish oil, but have very little DHA and EPA! Try to incorporate omega-3 healthy foods in your diet.
Garlic is known as the weakness of vampires worldwide…and a source of bad breath for centuries. But, can it really help treat acne?
Can You Really Treat Acne With Garlic?
All over the web you will find sites that claim garlic applied to the skin will kill the bacteria that causes acne. This could not be further from the truth.
Dr. Karen Martin and Dr. Edzard Ernst performed a comprehensive study of the antibacterial properties of common herbs.
They found that certain herbs such as tea tree oil and wild basil are excellent at killing the P. acnes bacteria (even more effective than benzoyl peroxide).
However, they discovered that garlic had no effect whatsoever.
Does this mean that garlic has no use in the treatment of acne?
One Way That Garlic May Benefit Acne Sufferers:
Adding garlic to your diet may have some usefulness in the treatment of pimples. Garlic can help to modify your immune system in a way that can reduce acne breakouts.
The inflammation and irritation associated with acne are actually products of the immune system’s overzealous attempt to kill the acne bacteria.
Eating garlic gives your immune system something else to do and helps train it to not overreact to acne bacteria. This can result in less inflammation and irritation.
Green tea was first brewed almost 5000 years ago in China.
Nowadays it’s known worldwide for its health benefits and unique flavor.
It’s such a healthy treat, and now we know that it’s also one of the most effective ways to treat acne as well…
How Can Green Tea Help to Get Rid of Acne:
- Reduced Sebum Production – Green tea cream was able to reduce sebum (skin oil) production by up to an astonishing 70%.
- Decreased Acne Occurrence – According to the study, after 8 weeks of treatment, green tea was able to reduce acne by 50% (That’s as good as benzoyl peroxide or antibiotic creams!)
- Less Sensitivity to Androgen – Topical green tea has been shown to decrease the skin’s natural sensitivity to the male sex hormone androgen.
- Reduced Inflammation – Studies have shown that green tea cream can reduce inflammation from sunlight and other sources of irritation. More importantly, green tea cream has been shown to decrease the body’s natural inflammatory reaction to P. acnes bacteria. This is especially useful for acne sufferers because their bodies tend to overreact when exposed to acne bacteria, resulting in excessive inflammation and redness.
- Antioxidants – Green tea is full of powerful antioxidants called catechins. These catechins are more powerful than vitamin C and E when it comes to fighting free radicals that can damage our cells.
- Fast Acting – Not only did topical green tea cream prove to be as effecive as benzoyl peroxide cream and topical antibiotics like erythromycin, it worked faster than erythromycin. Green tea lotion was able to get results in only 8 weeks. Topical erythromycin required 12 weeks to see similar results!
How to Use Green Tea for Acne:
To get the benefits of green tea for acne you can use it topically or you can drink it.
You can use green tea by itself or include it as an ingredient in a face mask.
Some people even like to use green tea bags…
After making a nice cup of green tea, just place the bags on any spot that you want to treat and let them sit there for several minutes.
Queen Cleopatra of ancient Egypt took a daily beauty bath in a tub of milk and honey. She new about honey’s cosmetic benefits!
How Does Honey Help Get Rid of Pimples?
- Kills Bacteria – Honey has an osmotic effect (meaning it likes to absorb water). If you put honey on acne, it will absorb the water in the wound. This kills the bacteria because they need water too. The water absorbed by the honey triggers a chemical reaction causing the honey to release hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is a great antiseptic which helps kill even more bacteria. Also, honey is relatively acidic, which helps to prevent the growth of bacteria.
- Reduces Redness – Honey is anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce the redness and swelling caused by acne.
Honey is pretty amazing! It can treat wounds, burns, ulcers, boost your immune system, and a lot more. It’s full of essential ingredients, vitamins, and minerals.
It has incredibly strong antibiotic properties, killing bacteria in some cases that modern medicine can’t even handle, such as the bacteria found in chronic wounds.
It can help control seasonal allergies. It’s full of antioxidants, and it’s even anti-inflammatory. Wow, right?
Which Honey Is Best For Acne?
The best honey for acne (and best for health purposes in general) is manuka honey. Manuka honey comes from New Zealand and Australia.
The reason I recommend manuka honey for acne is because it has been shown to have additional antibacterial qualities that all other honeys lack…
This incredible property of manuka honey is not fully understood yet, and is referred to as the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF).
If you don’t want to spend the extra money for manuka honey, then your second best option is to get local grown, raw honey that hasn’t been filtered or pasteurized.
How to Use Honey For Acne Treatment:
By far the most common way of using honey for acne is to apply it directly to your skin.
You can use honey to do a spot treatment, make numerous kinds of face masks, use it as a cleanser, or try using it in other creative ways.
Jojoba oil (which is actually a wax) comes from the seeds of the jojoba plant which is native to North America.
It has been used as a superior replacement to sperm whale oil in cosmetics since the 1970s.
Is Jojoba Oil Useful for Treating Acne?
While jojoba oil has numerous benefits for overall skin health, I’m not completely convinced that it has a lot of acne fighting potential…
- May Help Regulate Sebum Production – Some experts theorize (but it hasn’t been proven yet) that since jojoba oil is so similar to human sebum, it can “trick” skin into believing it has produced enough oil and therefore reduce overall oil production.
- Moisturizer – Studies have shown that jojoba oil is a more effective moisturizer than traditional lotions. It absorbs deep into the skin very readily, and does not evaporate like water-based moisturizers, providing much longer lasting support.
- Not Antimicrobial – You see many articles on the web claiming that jojoba oil is a powerful antimicrobial capable of killing those pesky P. acnes bacteria. However, research shows that jojoba oil is actually not a very effective antimicrobial.
Basically, jojoba oil is a wonderful moisturizer that may or may not have some other small benefits for fighting acne.
How to Use Jojoba Oil For Acne:
The best way to use jojoba oil is to apply it directly to your skin.
You can use it by itself as a moisturizer (a little goes a long way), or you can try including it as an ingredient in your favorite face mask.
Lavender has been in use for at least 2500 years!
The ancient Romans, Persians, and Greeks would add it to their bathwater to help purify their skin.
Why is Lavender Oil Helpful for Getting Rid of Pimples?
- Anti-inflammatory – Studies have shown that lavender oil has anti-inflammatory properties. It can help reduce the swelling and redness caused by acne.
- Antimicrobial – Lavender oil is one of the most effective essential oils for killing P. acnes bacteria.
How to Use Lavender Oil to Treat Acne:
Lavender oil should be applied topically. You can use it by itself or as part of your favorite face mask.
Just gently rub it into your skin and let it be absorbed.
It’s that simple!
Lemon juice is a great natural way to treat acne…
It’s cheap and plentiful…plus you can use it to make lemonade once your acne clears up!
Why is Lemon Juice Useful for Getting Rid of Acne?
Antimicrobial – The citric acid in lemon juice helps to kill the P. acnes bacteria that cause acne.
Exfoliant – Lemon juice is like a natural chemical peel. The citric acid in lemon juice is an exfoliant. Applying it to your skin will help to remove dead skin cells. Excess dead skin cells tend to clog up your pores – leading to infection and irritation.
Astringent – Lemon juice is also a natural astringent which means it causes the skin to shrink and constrict. This means the pores shrink as well, which helps push the excess oil and dirt out of the pores.
Skin Lightening – Lemon juice has a mild bleaching affect which can help reduce the redness associated with acne. This can be especially useful for lightening darker acne scars.
Antioxidant – Lemons are full of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that has many benefits for overall health as well as skin wellness.
How to Use Lemon Juice For Acne:
To get the benefits of lemon juice for acne, you will need to apply it directly to the problem area.
Always dilute the lemon juice with a good bit of water!
You can try including lemon juice in a face mask, use it by itself with some water, or add it into any number of other topical acne treatments.
Keep in mind that people react differently to lemon juice, and you will want to be careful at first not to overdo it, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Try leaving it on your face for about 10 minutes at most, and you may want to start out with even less time.
Always dilute lemon juice, and be sure to test it on a small patch of skin before using it all over your face!!
Never go out in the sun with lemon juice still on your face. You can get a terrible sunburn.
Microdermabrasion is a noninvasive, non-chemical procedure where tiny crystals are sprayed onto the skin to abrade or “sand” away the top layer of dry, dead skin cells.
A suction device follows behind vacuuming up all the gunk and crystals.
This procedure is most often performed in spas, clinics, and dermatologists’ offices to create younger, healthier looking skin.
Can Microdermabrasion Help Get Rid of Acne?
The reason microdermabrasion is effective at treating acne is because it helps to get rid of the dead skin and dirt that contributes to clogged pores.
A study of 25 patients was conducted at Northeastern Ohio University and The College of Medicine in Ohio.
Patients received eight microdermabrasion treatments at weekly intervals.
By comparing before and after photos 72% of the patients had good to excellent results, and 24 out of the 25 patients said they were pleased with the results and would recommend it to others.
The study found that microdermabrasion can be used to effectively treat mild forms of acne.
Microdermabrasion is only recommended for people with mild acne.
After receiving a microdermabrasion treatment be sure to stay inside out of the sun because your skin will be extremely sensitive to UV rays for a day or two.
Milk of Magnesia
Can Milk of Magnesia (magnesium hydroxide), an over-the-counter antacid and laxative, really help get rid of pimples?
Let’s find out why this non dairy “milk” is so commonly recommended as a home remedy for acne and whether or not there are any drawbacks to its use…
Why is Milk of Magnesia Good For Treating Acne?
- Reduces Sebum (Skin Oil) – Many people swear by milk of magnesia’s ability to greatly decrease skin oil – helping to eliminate acne in people with oily skin. Unfortunately, there have been very few studies analyzing milk of magnesia’s ability to eliminate skin oil. However, one such study found evidence that magnesium hydroxide facilitates the absorption and separation of stearyl esters and wax. These compounds are similar to those found in skin oil.
- Skin Lightener/Diminishes Dark Spots – Milk of magnesia contains small amounts of sodium hypochlorite (commonly known as bleach) which can help to lighten any blemishes, scars or dark spots.
How To Use Milk of Magnesia To Get Rid of Acne:
There are a number of ways to use milk of magnesia topically to treat pimples. Here are a few:
- Face Mask – Coat your face with a layer of milk of magnesia. Let it dry and sit for 10 to 20 minutes. Then, rinse it off with warm water.
- Primer – Apply a thin layer of milk of magnesia to your skin and let it dry. This will give you an oil free complexion that allows makeup to go on more evenly, and it will prevent your skin from becoming oily again quite as quickly.
- Spot Treatment – Dab some milk of magnesia onto your acne spots. Let it dry and sit overnight. This will help to really dry out and get rid of those problems spots.
Precautions and Drawbacks of Using Milk of Magnesia
The main problem with milk of magnesia is that it is very basic (it has a high pH of 10.5) while our skin is slightly acidic (with a pH of between 4 and 5).
The slight acidity of our skin creates an “acid barrier” which helps protect it from bacteria.
Using milk of magnesia for an extended length of time can lead to an unnaturally basic pH level in your skin.
This can cause all kinds of problems, such as contact dermatitis, increased acne, increased oil production, and other problems.
Because of this, I suggest that people only use milk of magnesia a couple of times a week!
Multani Mitti / Medicinal Clays
Multani Mitti (also known as fuller’s earth) and other medicinal clays have been used since the times of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt nearly 3000 years ago.
How Can Multani Mitti Help Treat Acne?
- Reduces Sebum (skin oil) – Multani Mitti is highly absorbent. It can help acne sufferers by sucking up excess skin oil.
- Unclogs Pores – Clay masks are great at exfoliating and drawing all the impurities out of your pores.
- High in Magnesium – Studies have shown that magnesium deficiency is directly related to skin inflammation. Getting enough magnesium can help to eliminate the redness and inflammation caused by acne.
The best way to use Multani mitti is as a facial. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons of multani mitti by itself or combine it with any of the following ingredients:
- Lemon Juice (1 tsp)
- Tea Tree Oil (1-3 drops)
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Aloe Vera
- Argan Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Emu Oil
- Evening Primrose Oil
- Green Tea
- Jojoba Oil
- Lavender Oil
- Rosehip Oil
- Tamanu Oil
Multani Mitti is not recommended for those with dry skin types. Most of its benefit comes from its ability to absorb excess skin oil.
People with dry skin may find that their skin becomes more dry, further irritated, and more prone to breakouts.
Oil Cleansing Method
If traditional cleansers tend to irritate your skin, with all their chemicals and added ingredients, then oil cleansing might be very helpful for you.
What is the Oil Cleansing Method?
The oil cleansing method (OCM) is a method of skin cleansing that uses oil applied directly to the skin.
Does this sound counterproductive to you? After all, excess skin oil is one of the major causes of acne! If so, read on…
Why is Oil Cleansing Good for Acne Prone Skin?
The oil that your skin produces is meant to protect the skin by creating a barrier against outside contaminants and pathogens. It also keeps the skin moist.
Skin oil only becomes a problem when your body is producing too much of it or producing oil that is of lower quality.
Since water alone does not dissolve oil, the vast majority of cleansers on the market contain chemicals and other ingredients that break down and strip the oil off of your skin.
While this may help your skin to feel less oily for the moment, in the long run it actually makes the problem worse…
When you strip away the oil that is meant to protect your skin, your body tries to compensate by producing more and more oil. In the end, this just leads to more acne.
The OCM will cleanse your skin without drying it out. Also, the oils used in the OCM will provide your skin with lots of antioxidants and other healthy ingredients.
How to do the Oil Cleansing Method:
The most common version of OCM uses castor oil and extra virgin olive oil…
Castor oil is great at drawing out all of the dirt, bacteria and other gunk trapped in your pores.
Olive oil is a powerful moisturizer that’s also full of healthy ingredients such as antioxidants!
The Ratio of Castor Oil to Olive Oil Depends on Your Skin Type:
- Oily Skin – 75% castor oil to 25% olive oil
- Normal Skin – 50% castor oil to 50% olive oil
- Dry Skin – 25% castor oil to 75% olive oil
- Gently massage your chosen blend of oils into your skin.
- Use a hot, wet washcloth draped over your face to steam and open up your pores. (Leave it on your face until it cools).
- Now that your pores are open, massage the oil all around your face once more to draw all the dirt and oil out of the opened pores.
- Rinse the washcloth, and use it to gently wipe the oil off of your face.
- Splash your face with cold water to close your pores and pat your face dry.
Oil pulling is a practice that comes from the ancient Ayurvedic medicine of India.
It has become very popular in recent years!
How to do Oil Pulling for Acne – Like a Pro:
Oil pulling is super easy! Here’s how it works:
- Put 1-2 tsp of coconut oil in your mouth.
- Swish it around for 20 minutes.
- Spit it out.
- Wash out your mouth and brush your teeth.
It’s that simple!
Try doing this once a day, or even just a few times a week.
Why Does Oil Pulling Help Get Rid of Acne – It Seems so Weird!
The idea behind oil pulling is that the oil will draw out the bacteria, toxins, candida, and other undesirable gunk in your mouth!
Then, you spit it out in the sink…
This will lead to much better oral health (and better overall health) which will supposedly extend to healthier, less acne prone skin.
The mouth eventually leads to the gut (which is vitally important for a strong immune system)…
Oil pulling gets rid of a lot of bad bacteria that would otherwise travel down to your gut creating a weaker immune system and reduced overall health.
Some people have experienced a “healing crisis” when they begin oil pulling.
Supposedly (in some people) the body will react negatively as it detoxifies, even leading to more acne breakouts for a week or two before you start to see improvement.
You may be wondering why use olive oil for acne? Isn’t acne caused by excess oil, and won’t this just make it worse?
Although logical, this couldn’t be further from the truth…
Olive oil originates from the Mediterranean, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years.
Greeks, Italians, and others used it for religious purposes, in medicine, as a fuel in lamps, and most importantly to us, as a skin care product!
So Why Use Olive Oil For Acne?
- Esential Ingredients – Olive oil is a good source of monounsaturated fats, antioxidants such as vitamin E, carotenoids, and more (all of which can benefit your skin and overall health).
Hydroxytyrosol – Hydroxytyrosol is a powerful antioxidant found in olive oil. It has antibiotic properties and is an immunostimulant.
Cleansing – Many people prefer using olive oil as a cleanser. The oil cleansing method (OCM) has been used successfully since ancient times as a natural, less irritating alternative to chemical cleansers such as modern soaps and scrubs. It also has the benefit of moisturizing the skin.
How to Use Olive Oil to Get Rid of Acne:
You can use olive oil topically by itself or as an ingredient in your favorite acne masks.
If you want to try using olive oil as a cleanser it’s recommended that you combine 70% to 90% olive oil with 30% to 10% castor oil.
Use more castor oil if you have oily skin and less for dry skin.
There’s no need to wash your face before doing an oil cleanse because the olive oil and castor oil will remove all makeup, dirt, and other gunk on your face.
Also, there’s no need to wash your face after performing an oil cleanse. You want to let the healthy oils soak into and moisturize your skin (and hopefully kill any acne bacteria that you have as well)!
Saw palmetto is a medicinal extract from the fruit of the saw palmetto palm tree. It has been used by native Americans for hundreds of years.
How Does Saw Palmetto Help Reduce Acne Symptoms?
Saw palmetto is high in flavanoids, fatty acids and plant sterols. It has the following acne related benefits:
- Hormonal Acne – Saw palmetto inhibits the conversion of testosterone to DHT, which can help with hormonal acne.
- Polysaccharides – saw palmetto has a high concentration of polysaccharides which can help boost the immune system and reduce acne related inflammation.
How to Use Saw Palmetto to Improve Your Acne:
The best way to use saw palmetto for acne is as a dietary supplement.
The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends taking 160 milligrams twice a day for proper testosterone conversion.
Look for a supplement that contains at least 80% fatty acids (the higher the better).
“Sea” salt just sounds healthy, don’t you think? I mean it comes from the ocean so it has to be better than normal salt, right?
They even put it on those fancy potato chips, so what’s the deal?
Why Use Sea Salt For Acne?
Have you ever gone swimming at the beach, and noticed that your acne improved or your skin became noticeably healthier?
Well that’s because the ocean is full of salt!
Antibacterial – When applied to your skin, sea salt creates a hypertonic environment which causes water to diffuse out of the acne bacteria through a process called osmosis. Basically, the bacteria become dehydrated and die from lack of water! Because of this, salt has been used throughout history as a wound disinfectant.
Astringent – As an astringent, salt water causes the skin to contract, helping to push all the dead skin cells, oil, and bacteria out of your pores.
How To Use Sea Salt For Acne:
There are several ways you can use sea salt for acne:
You can take a soothing sea salt bath. Just dissolve the salt in a bit of water and use it with your favorite acne wash to exfoliate and cleanse your skin.
Alternatively, you can try adding sea salt into your favorite acne mask.
Shea butter is a whitish-colored triglyceride (fat) extracted from the nuts of the African Shea tree. It is commonly used in skin and hair care products.
How Can Shea Butter Help Treat Acne?
- Anti-inflammatory – Shea butter has numerous ingredients that reduce inflammation (including triterpene cinnamates and acetates). Studies have proven Shea butter is an effective anti-inflammatory agent.
- Moisturizer – Shea butter is an effective emollient and humectant (it keeps skin soft and moist). It can help reduce irritation caused by the skin drying properties of numerous acne treatments.
- Increases Absorption of Other Ingredients – Shea butter has been shown to improve the absorption and effectiveness of other active ingredients such as salicylic acid (when applied in combination).
How to Use Shea Butter to Get Rid of Pimples:
Shea butter should be applied directly to the skin.
Just apply it to your face using your fingers, and gently rub it into the skin using circular motions.
Tamanu oil comes from the seeds of the Tamanu tree originating from Polynesia, where it is revered for its sacred healing abilities.
Why is Tamanu Oil Good For Getting Rid of Acne?
- Cicatrizing Agent – Cicatrizing agents promote the formation of new tissue, thereby accelerating wound healing and the growth of healthy skin. Tamanu oil is one of the best cicatrizing agents in nature.
- Linoleic Acid – Tamanu oil is a good source of essential fatty acids such as linoleic acid. Acne sufferers often have deficient levels of linoleic acid in their skin and sebum (skin oil). Sebum that is low in linoleic acid is hard and sticky, and ends up clogging pores.
- Antioxidant – Tamanu oil also has antioxidant properties which can help keep your skin healthy.
- Anti-inflammatory – Tamanu oil can help fight inflammation caused by acne thanks to its high content of linoleic acid and also the lipid calophyllolide (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agent).
- Antimicrobial – Tamanu oil contains Linoleic acid and lactone, both of which have antimicrobial properties.
How to Use Tamanu Oil to Treat Pimples and Acne:
Tamanu oil is used topically to treat acne.
You can apply it by itself directly to your skin (a little goes a long way), or you can included it as an ingredient in one of your favorite facials.
You can use it as a spot treatment or apply it all over your face.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil comes from the narrow-leaved tea tree, native to Australia.
The Australian Aborigines were the first people to realize the benefits of the tea tree…
They chewed the leaves to relieve headaches and used the plant for other medicinal purposes as well.
Why Use Tea Tree Oil For Acne?
The number one reason to use tea tree oil for acne is because of it’s strong antimicrobial properties.
Tea tree oil has antimicrobial, antiviral, antiseptic, and antifungal qualities!
It’s incredibly good at killing the bacteria that causes acne, plus any fungus or viruses that get in its way.
Research Concerning Tea Tree Oil And Acne:
In a study comparing 5% tea tree oil gel with 5% benzoyl peroxide cream, it was shown that both products significantly reduced the occurrence of open and closed acne lesions over a three month period.
While the tea tree oil took longer to show results, there were much fewer side effects…
The benzoyl peroxide group reported side effects in 79 percent of participants, including itching, burning, stinging, and dryness.
How To Prepare A Tea Tree Oil Acne Treatment:
Tea tree oil is very strong, so you will definitely want to dilute it.
You can dilute it with other oils such as jojoba oil, olive oil, or others. Witch hazel also works very well.
I don’t recommend using water, because oil and water don’t mix. The tea tree oil will just float on the surface like an oil slick…
You will want to dilute the tea tree oil to a 5-10% mixture with whatever other ingredients you decide to use.
Be sure to wash your face before applying the tea tree oil.
When applying the mixture, massage the oil into your skin and let it dry. Don’t worry about washing your face afterward.
You want the oil to absorb into your skin where it can work it’s magic.
NEVER ingest tea tree oil!
It’s toxic when swallowed and can cause severe symptoms such as hallucinations, coma, confusion, unsteadiness, drowsiness, and a range of others.
Some people may experience an allergic reaction when using tea tree oil.
Never use less than 4% tea tree oil in any treatment because it may fail to kill the bacteria, and end up creating resistant bacteria that are less sensitive to tea tree oil and even some antibiotics!
Turmeric is a yellow-orange spice commonly known for its use in curry and other Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
It is used extensively in Ayurveda, the traditional Hindu system of medicine native to India.
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is the chemical that gives turmeric its yellow color.
In both in-vitro and animal studies curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antitumor, and a host of other medical properties.
Why Use Turmeric For Acne?
- Antibacterial – Studies have shown that turmeric has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Using turmeric topically can help kill the bacteria that causes acne.
- Anti-inflammatory – Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. It can help reduce the redness, swelling and irritation associated with acne.
- Antioxidant – The curcumin in turmeric is also a powerful antioxidant which can help protect your skin from harmful free radicals.
The Best Ways to Use Turmeric For Acne:
You can take turmeric orally as a dietary supplement to help improve your acne from the inside out or you can apply turmeric directly to your skin (usually mixed with an oil or something else to hold the turmeric in place and help it be absorbed).
When Taking Turmeric Orally:
If you decide to take turmeric as a dietary supplement, you should always try to take turmeric with a little bit of black pepper.
Piperine (a compound found in black pepper) aids with the absorption of turmeric into the blood stream.
Some turmeric or curcumin supplements will come with piperine added.
Recommended dosages vary. Try taking 2-3 500mg capsules a day, depending on how your body tolerates it.
Some people take a lot more…
There are very few side effects associated with turmeric…
The most common ones are nausea, diarrhea, and other minor things.
Be careful not to spill your turmeric because it stains really badly!
However, there is some concern that the curcumin in turmeric may pose risks for pregnant women.
There is very little evidence one way or the other to support this claim, but it has been suggested that curcumin may stimulate the uterus in pregnant women and could lead to miscarriage.
Also, curcumin is known to inhibit blood clotting, so avoid taking any turmeric a couple weeks prior to any major surgery or if you are taking any blood thinners.
I know, I know…this one sounds a bit Craaaazy! But guess what? Some people swear by it…
Urine has actually been used since ancient times for a variety of things:
In ancient Rome, urine was such a prized commodity that it was taxed!
The Aztecs used urine to clean wounds, and for several other purposes.
Common urine therapy today involves drinking urine, or applying it topically.
Can Urine Therapy Really Help Get Rid of Acne?
Most people are taught from a young age that urine is a waste product that carries toxins out of the body. This is far from accurate…
Instead of a waste removal byproduct, urine-therapy-enthusiasts argue that urine is a purified source of a vast array of vitally important ingredients!
These include enzymes, nutrients, hormones, immune defense agents, and natural antibodies derived from the blood.
While many people believe that the kidneys main function is to excrete substances, it’s main function is actually to regulate elements and their concentrations in the blood.
Think of urine as our body getting rid of lots of good stuff that it just didn’t happen to need at the moment…but could very well make use of later.
Plus it’s full of natural antibodies and other good stuff that you would really like to hold onto.
Analysis of urine has shown that it contains thousands of constituents, but all of these can be found in food we eat. None of them are toxic to the human body, and some are widely used medicinal agents.
For example, urea (an organic compound in urine) is approved for medicinal use by the FDA, and has been shown to have some amazing uses…
It is one of the most potent non-toxic anti-viral agents known to man!
In one study urea killed the polio and rabies virus so quickly that it surprised the researchers!!
Besides being full of valuable nutrients, urine is also sterile as it leaves the bladder (it has no life forms in it such as bacteria). This is one reason it has been used to clean dirt from wounds by some cultures.
Urine therapy has been used for a large part of the 20th century and has had both laboratory and clinical tests performed that supports its effectiveness as a topical and ingested treatment.
How To Use Urine Therapy For Acne Treatment:
There are two main methods of urine therapy for acne. You can drink the urine, or apply it topically to your skin.
Folklore claims that it is best to use mid-stream morning urine. The reason is that the first bit of urine has a lot of bacteria in it (from flowing through your urethra, it is sterile before it leaves the bladder) and the last bit of urine has a lot of sediment in it.
Just soak a cotton ball or small rag in urine and press it against the area you would like to treat. Let the urine sit for 20 minutes, and then rinse it off.
Native Americans taught the original settlers about the value of witch hazel, and we have been using it as a powerful medicinal plant ever since.
Why is Witch Hazel Great for Treating Acne?
- Astringent – The tannins in witch hazel make it very astringent. Astringents are substances that constrict body tissues. They can shrink your skin’s pores and clean out the dirt, dead skin cells, and other gunk. Having shrunken or “closed” pores has the added benefit of making it more difficult for bacteria to get in and start causing trouble.
- Anti-inflammatory – Witch hazel is also anti-inflammatory, making it very useful at reducing the pain, swelling, and redness caused by acne.
- Reduces Sebum Production – Witch hazel is also very good at drying up and eliminating excess oil in your skin’s pores.
How to Use Witch Hazel to Get Rid of Pimples and Acne:
Witch hazel should only be used topically to treat acne – never ingested. You can use witch Hazel as a toner, spot treatment, or in a face mask.
To make a witch hazel face mask, mix 1 – 2 tsp of witch hazel with one tbsp of honey, aloe vera, olive oil, or numerous others. (Check the face mask section for more ingredient suggestions).
Important Vitamins and Minerals For Acne
Vitamin A is one of the most important vitamins for treating and preventing acne. Here’s why:
- Epithelial Cells – Vitamin A controls the development of our body’s epithelial cells. These cells line the surfaces of all the other cells throughout our body and are absolutely essential to numerous bodily functions!
- Retinoic Acid – Retinoic acid, derived from vitamin A, interacts with our skin cells to make sure that they mature and proliferate properly. A derivative of retinoic acid is used in medicines like isotretinoin (Accutane).
Other Benefits of Vitamin A:
- Reduces signs of aging
- Increases cell turnover rate of skin
- Stimulates elastin production
- Increases collagen production
- Boosts the production of other connective tissue
- Helps eliminate bacteria
You can use vitamin A topically or take it as a supplement to help get rid of acne.
Topical Vitamin A Treatments:
These treatments are listed in order from fastest acting, but most irritating (Number 1) to slowest acting, but least irritating (Number 4).
- Vitamin A Acid (Retinoic Acid)
- Vitamin A Aldehyde (Retinal)
- Vitamin A Alcohol (Retinol)
- Vitamin A Ester (Retinyl Palmitate)
Taking Vitamin A Orally
There are two types of vitamin A that you can orally supplement with:
Vitamin A (Retinol) – This is the type of vitamin A sold in drugstores, and it is usually not considered a very useful treatment option for acne. When used to treat acne, it’s usually prescribed in 50,000 to 100,000 IU daily. However, some studies have shown that mega doses of 300,000 to 500,000 IU can be very effective while producing only slight toxicity symptoms, such as abnormally dry skin and mucous membranes.
Isotretinoin (Accutane) – Isotretinoin is a doctor-prescribed vitamin A derivative similar to retinoic acid. It’s a very powerful drug typically used only for very severe cases of acne. This drug is very effective at treating acne…but it does have numerous potential side effects.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
So how does vitamin B5 help get rid of pimples and acne?
- Reduces Skin Oil – Vitamin B5 is a major component of Coenzyme A (CoA). The body uses CoA to metabolize (burn up) fatty acids (like the oil in our skin). So the more vitamin B5 we have, the faster our body can eliminate these pesky oils. This means less oil will accumulate in our skin, which will help to reduce the occurrence of acne.
- Reduces Pore Size – By shrinking the size of the skin’s pores, vitamin B5 helps to reduce the chances of pores becoming clogged by dead skin cells, sebum and other dirt. When pores are filled with all this gunk they become the perfect breeding ground for the bacteria that causes acne.
Vitamin C has some amazing properties, and humans are one of the few mammals that don’t produce their own vitamin C (so be sure to get plenty of it from food or supplements).
- Reduces Redness – Vitamin C is great at reducing the redness and inflammation caused by acne. Here’s how it works: The body releases chemicals known as leukotrienes in an attempt to destroy the acne bacteria. However, the bacteria have a “decoy system” which allows them to redirect the leukotrienes back at the skin itself. This creates the inflammation and redness associated with acne. Vitamin C helps to “tone down” this natural response from our bodies.
- Powerful Antioxidant – Vitamin C protects your body from oxidative stress, which can damage cells and cause premature aging.
- Helps with Collagen Synthesis – Collagen is the connective tissue which helps hold our skin together, giving skin its strength and suppleness.
How to Use Vitamin C to Reduce Acne:
There are two ways you can use vitamin C to help get rid of pimples and acne. You can take vitamin C orally – or apply it topically in the form of a cream or serum.
Vitamin C is water-soluble, so you don’t have to worry about taking too much!
So how much should you take?
The vitamin C foundation recommends that adults take 3000 mg of vitamin C each day.
For topical use, you can find numerous creams and other products with vitamin C in them.
You can also try buying or making your own vitamin C serum.
Vitamin C can cause redness and irritation for some people.
Usually, as your skin becomes used to the treatment, this irritation will subside.
However, some people experience an allergic reaction and are unable to continue using vitamin C.
Our bodies create vitamin D naturally (when exposed to sunlight). It’s an incredibly important vitamin that affects the expression of over 200 genes. Unfortunately, as much as 40% of the American population is vitamin D deficient.
How Vitamin D Helps Get Rid of Acne:
- Less Sebum (Oil) Production – Test tube studies have shown that vitamin D reduces the growth of sebocytes (the cells that produce sebum/skin oil). Having less sebocytes means your skin will produce less oil, which will lead to less acne.
- Reduces Skin Cell Growth – There’s some evidence that vitamin D helps to reduce skin cell growth. This is useful because skin cells tend to grow too quickly in acne patients, and then stick together after they die, which leads to clogged pores.
- Improved Insulin Resistance – In some studies vitamin D has been shown to improve insulin resistance. This may help people who have hormonal acne, which is connected to insulin resistance.
- Improved Immune System – High levels of vitamin D may help to “boost” the body’s immune system, which in turn may help to fight off the bacteria that causes acne.
How Much Vitamin D For Treating Acne?
The proper amount of vitamin D to take depends on your diet and sun exposure…
According to a 2006 review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:
Beneficial blood serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (abbreviated 25(OH)D), start at 75 nmol/L, and the best range is between 90 and 100 nmol/L.
Since vitamin D is fat-soluble and can accumulate in the body, you should always get a 25(OH)D test to see what your base vitamin D level is.
I suggest starting with a dosage of 1000IU of vitamin D3. Wait a few months and test yourself again to see how much your D3 blood serum level has increased.
Then, adjust the dosage as needed to reach the target range of between 90 and 100 nmol/L.
Vitamin E is great for treating acne for several reasons:
- Powerful Antioxidant – It helps protect your body’s cells from damage caused by “free radical” oxygen atoms.
- Regulates Vitamin A – Vitamin E helps regulate your body’s vitamin A levels. Vitamin A is absolutely essential for healthy skin.
- Scar Improvement – Studies have shown that vitamin E helps skin recover from (and even reduces the appearance of) acne scars.
- Vital Nutrient – Also, vitamin E is an important part of many bodily processes which may be contributing to an acne problem.
How to Use Vitamin E for Acne:
You can take vitamin E orally or try using it topically to get rid of your acne.
Vitamin E is fat-soluble, so you don’t want to take too much or it can accumulate in your body’s fat cells and become toxic.
You really don’t need very much. Just take a good multivitamin and you should be fine.
I recommend a daily dose of 100 IU – 400 IU. The RDA (recommended daily allowance) is just over 22 IU for adults, but it is commonly sold in much higher dosages.
Vitamin E applied topically can sometimes cause contact dermatitis (Skin becomes red and irritated after contact with a substance).
Be sure to test vitamin E on a small patch of skin to see if you have any abnormal reaction.
This smelly mineral, once called “brimstone”, was the most popular acne treatment for centuries!!
How Does Sulfur Help Reduce Acne Breakouts?
- Antimicrobial – Sulfur has some antimicrobial qualities. It can help fight acne by inhibiting the growth of the P. acnes bacteria.
- Keratolytic – Keratolytic agents such as sulfur are useful for treating acne because they help to dry out and make the skin thinner. This causes the outer layer of skin to loosen and shed, which in turn can help to unclog pores and eliminate excess dead skin cells.
How to Use Sulfur for Acne:
There are many different topical sulfur treatments available. You can find sulfur soaps, foams, masks, creams and many others.
Most sulfur products contain 10% sulfur (the maximum over-the-counter amount of sulfur).
Be forewarned, sulfur smells like rotten eggs, and many sulfur products will retain this rather unpleasant odor!
Some sulfur products smell much better than others, so if the smell bothers you be sure to find a product you can live with.
Some people are allergic to sulfur. Be sure to test any sulfur product by placing a small dot of the product on the skin of your forearm. Leave it there for a few hours to see if you have any negative reactions.
Also, be sure to keep sulfur products off of your jewelry because it can blacken both gold and silver!
Zinc is an essential trace mineral for plants, animals, and humans. It’s vital for numerous biological functions, and crucial to over 300 enzymes in our bodies!
Strengthens Immune System – Zinc is very important for a strong immune system. It is essential for the proper functioning of our immune systems’ T-cells (white blood cells). A strong immune system helps fight acne by killing the acne bacteria.
Accelerates Skin Cell Renewal – Zinc helps wounds (including acne) heal faster.
Anti-Inflammatory – Zinc also has anti-inflammatory properties which can help soothe the red irritated skin of acne sufferers.
How to Use Zinc for Acne:
You can take a zinc supplement to help reduce acne symptoms.
Most zinc supplements come in a 50 mg dosage. This is really more than you need.
Studies have shown that dosages as low as 50 mg can affect the body’s ability to absorb copper.
I recommend just taking a good multivitamin that has some zinc in it…
Combined with the zinc you get in your diet, it should be just about the right amount.
Topical Zinc Treatments for Acne:
You can find zinc in creams, sunscreens, and numerous other beauty products.
I have even heard that some people find success using diaper rash cream to treat acne because it contains about 40% zinc oxide (Most zinc creams contain around 15% zinc oxide).
Home Remedies for Acne
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is often touted as a cheap and easy DIY acne home remedy. Let’s take a closer look:
Is Baking Soda Actually Good for Getting Rid of Acne?
- Exfoliant – Baking soda is made up of individual particles that are hard and nicely rounded, making it a very mild exfoliant. You can use it to help get rid of dead skin cells and other gunk that may be clogging your pores.
- Antiseptic – Studies have shown that baking soda has strong disinfectant properties similar to those of vinegar, but not as strong as Clorox (good enough to deal with P. acnes bacteria).
- Very Alkaline – Baking soda is very alkaline with a pH of 9. When combined with water, such as in a baking soda mask or paste, it’s pH will fall to around 8 (still very basic). Your skin has a slightly acidic pH of between 4.5-6.5. The slight acidity of your skin creates a barrier called the “acid mantle” which helps protect the skin from bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants.
When you apply something to your skin that is very alkaline (like baking soda), it disrupts this protective barrier. Studies have shown that even one application of an alkaline substance can have negative effects on the acid mantle.
A weakened acid mantle will make your skin even more susceptible to P. acnes bacteria and future acne outbreaks.
The benefits of baking soda as an acne treatment are very minor, and they come with serious drawbacks!
There are much better ways to exfoliate your skin, and there are other products that are better at killing P. acnes bacteria…
The hydrogen peroxide commonly used in households around the world is actually a solution of 3-6% pure hydrogen peroxide.
It’s a strong oxidizer, disinfectant, and bleaching agent.
Is Hydrogen Peroxide a Good Way to Get Rid of Acne?
- Disinfectant – Hydrogen peroxide has been used for decades as a disinfectant. It has broad-spectrum efficacy against viruses, bacteria, yeasts, and bacterial spores.
- Better Than Benzoyl Peroxide – In one study hydrogen peroxide was more effective at eliminating acne than benzoyl peroxide, and it caused less burning and dryness.
- Causes Inflammation – Studies have shown that hydrogen peroxide fuels inflammation and aging. Acne is directly related to inflammation. More inflammation means more redness, more swelling, and more breakouts.
- Causes Oxidation – Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing agent which can cause oxidative damage, create free radicals, and ultimately damage your DNA!!
- Slows Wound Healing / Increases Likelihood of Scarring – Hydrogen peroxide slows wound healing and can lead to scarring because it destroys newly formed skin cells.
Hydrogen peroxide is a very inexpensive acne treatment that works relatively well – by killing the P. acnes bacteria.
However, it does have several drawbacks…
Ice…that nifty stuff that keeps our drinks cold in the summertime – but a viable acne treatment?? Consider me skeptical…
Can Ice Help to Get Rid of Acne?
- Controls Inflammation – The main reason to use ice when you have acne is to reduce swelling. Ice can definitely help reduce the size of a pimple very quickly.
- Speeds up Healing…or Does it? – For years people have claimed that applying ice to an injury would increase blood flow and speed up the healing process. Recent research has called this belief into question. A team of researchers headed by Lan Zhou, MD, PhD, at the Cleveland Clinic found that inflammation is required for healing. Other research has found that cold application doesn’t seem to reduce healing time.
How to Use Ice to Reduce Pimple and Acne Swelling:
Simply apply ice directly to any pimple that you would like to “shrink” (by reducing swelling).
Leave the ice on for no more than a couple minutes at a time.
Let the skin warm up before repeating a few more times…
If you leave the ice on for too long, you can burn your skin (literally mild frostbite)!!
TAOs are used to prevent infection of wounds, but can they help treat acne?
Are The Ingredients in Neosporin Effective for Fighting Acne?
- Polymyxin B Sulfate – Polymyxin B Sulfate is an antibiotic used to kill gram-negative bacteria, such as those that cause infections in wounds after surgery. Unfortunately, P. acnes is a gram-positive bacteria.
- Bacitracin Zinc – Bacitracin is an antibiotic that does kill gram-positive bacteria. However, it only works well against S aureus and streptococci, and it isn’t very good at penetrating down into the skin’s pores where the acne bacteria is.
- Neomycin – Neomycin works on both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria, but it doesn’t work very well against P. acnes. It’s most useful at fighting gram-positive S aureus and E coli. It can also cause contact dermatitis in some people. Definitely not something you want to deal with on top of your acne.
Neosporin and other Triple Antibiotic Ointments really have no use for acne treatment.
Rubbing alcohol is a topical antiseptic consisting of either isopropyl alcohol or ethanol plus water, and smaller amounts of other ingredients.
In the United States, anything classified as a rubbing alcohol is required by law to contain poisonous additives!!!
This is to limit human consumption and protect alcohol (the beverage) tax revenue.
Can Rubbing Alcohol Really Help Get Rid of Acne?
- Antiseptic – Alcohol is an antiseptic capable of killing P. acnes bacteria.
- Oil Cleansing – Alcohol can very quickly de-grease oily skin.
- Breaks Down The Skin’s Protective Barrier – This is one of the main reasons that alcohol is included in a lot of skin care products. Alcohol helps beneficial ingredients like retinol or vitamin C penetrate into your skin more easily. The problem is that alcohol does this by breaking down the skin’s protective barrier. Studies have shown that this damage accumulates with continued alcohol usage – leading to skin that is no longer able to protect itself.
- Ineffective at Sterilizing Wounded or Open Skin – Research has shown that antiseptics (like rubbing alcohol) are inactivated by organic matter such as pus, sebum, blood, and even foreign bodies. This is why doctors only use alcohol on unbroken skin (think of the nurse that swabs your skin before she gives you a shot). This means that rubbing alcohol will be very ineffective at killing bacteria inside pores – or raw, open acne spots.
- Increases Irritation and Dryness – Studies have demonstrated that anti-acne products containing alcohol actually increase both skin dryness and irritation.
- Increased Cell Death – When small amounts of rubbing alcohol were applied to skin cells in a laboratory setting it increased cell death by 26%. The same study found that alcohol also destroyed some of the helpful substances within the cells – things that help to fight against inflammation and oxidation.
Conclusion: Rubbing Alcohol Does Not Help Treat Acne!
Avoid products that contain large amounts of alcohol, and definitely don’t try treating your acne with that bottle of pure rubbing alcohol that you keep in your medicine cabinet.
Toothpaste can give you a nice fresh mouth…can it give you a fresh face to?
Does Toothpaste Help Get Rid of Acne?
- Dries Out Zits – Dr. Neal Schultz told the Huffington Post that, “Toothpaste often contains certain ingredients – hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, alcohol, essential oils, menthol, and triclosan, that can help cause pimples to dry out.” (Baking soda, alcohol, essential oils, and hydrogen peroxide were discussed earlier in this post, so I won’t reexamine those here.)
- Causes Skin Irritation – In the same Huffington Post article, Dr. Rebecca Baxt says, “Toothpaste irritates the skin, so some may believe that it dries out pimples, but what it really does is irritate and cause redness and peeling.”
While toothpaste may have some ability to dry out a pimple, there are other things that can do this better and without the side effects.
Things To Avoid
We all love (and sometimes need) our colas, coffees, power drinks and yes – even the occasional triple, venti, half sweet, non-fat, caramel macchiato…but how does all this caffeine affect our skin?
Does Caffeine Cause Acne?
- Insulin, Blood Sugar and Acne – The pancreas releases insulin when blood sugar levels rise (such as after a meal). Insulin stimulates the release of acne-causing hormones such as androgen (male sex hormone) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1).
- Caffeine Increases Insulin – Studies also show that ingesting caffeine leads to a sharp increase in insulin levels.
- Increases Stress Levels – Research shows that coffee magnifies your body’s response to stress. One study found that after drinking coffee and then experiencing a stressful event, study subjects’ cortisol levels increased by 211% compared to subjects who didn’t drink coffee. Also, their epinephrine levels were 233% higher. Coffee effectively doubled their hormonal stress response! Stress causes an increase in androgens and sebum production, and it elicits an inflammatory reaction in the body. All of these can contribute to acne breakouts.
You may want to consider cutting back on caffeine to see how it affects your acne. If you really need caffeine, you may want to think about getting it from green tea – which has many acne fighting properties.
Milk is basically a super food right? At least that’s what most of us were raised to believe!
But in the case of acne – could milk be doing more harm than we think?
Can Drinking Milk Cause Acne?
- Hormones in Milk – Most milk consumed in the United States is from pregnant cows. This study found a direct link between milk consumption and acne, and they hypothesize that it may be due to all of the hormones present in pregnant cows.
- Increased IGF-1 Levels – Drinking milk causes higher levels of Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1). Studies have also shown that higher IGF-1 levels correlate with higher levels of acne. IGF-1 increases sebum production and skin cell growth, both of which can lead to more clogged pores.
- Insulin – Research has shown that milk products are highly insulinotropic (they stimulate the production of insolin). High insulin levels can trigger a cascade of hormones that lead to higher androgen, increased sebum production, and ultimately more acne.
- Allergies and Lactose Intolerance – lactose intolerance is very common. 40 million Americans are lactose intolerant, and many more have a decreased ability to digest lactose. This is just one more way that milk may contribute to acne breakouts.
An Italian Study of adolescents and young adults found that subjects who drank more than 3 servings of milk per week had a 78% higher risk of acne.
Interestingly, this study and others have found that skim milk seems to be worse than low-fat or full-fat milk.
Even Nestle, the world’s largest producer of milk products, admits that milk causes acne.
Research is making it more clear all the time that milk is linked to acne breakouts.
Try giving up milk products for a month and see if it helps improve your acne condition!
We all know smoking is a terribly unhealthy habit that can lead to all kinds of diseases, but can it cause acne?
Does Smoking Cause Acne?
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. The answer seems to be a little bit of “yes”, and a little bit of “no”.
- (Atypical) Post-Adolescent Acne (APAA) – Studies have shown that smoking does seem to cause one type of acne, called (atypical) post-adolescent acne (APAA) among women.
- Anti-inflammatory – Smoking seems to somehow have an anti-inflammatory effect on acne. This effect seems to be more prevalent in girls than in boys. Another study found that smoking seems to increase the chances of acne in males.
- Lower Occurrence of Severe Acne – Smoking seems to correlate with a significantly lower incidence of severe acne.
As you can see, the research data is conflicting…
It seems that smoking contributes to certain forms of acne (APAA), and it may increase the likelihood of acne among men.
However, it also seems to decrease the occurrence of severe acne.
One thing we know for certain about smoking is that it damages and prematurely ages the skin, so if you’re worried about the overall appearance of your skin (not to mention overall health and well-being) then quitting smoking is a really good idea.
In our modern society, we have to deal with numerous sources of stress, and we all know that stress can negatively affect our physical and mental well-being. So the question is, does stress cause acne?
Does Stress Cause Acne?
Inflammatory Response – Studies show that stress creates an inflammatory response in the body. This can cause the walls of clogged pores (pores that you may not even be aware of yet) to break. Then, the body responds with an influx of pus and redness around the broken pore. Congratulations, you have a new zit!
Increased Androgens – Stress causes our adrenal glands to go into overdrive. The adrenal gland begins to produce more androgens (male sex hormones present in both men and women). Higher levels of androgen can lead to more acne, especially in women – who produce a higher percentage of their androgens in their adrenal gland.
- Increased Sebum Production – The cells that produce sebum (skin oil) have receptors for stress hormones. When we experience a lot of stress, these cells become “upregulated” and begin producing more sebum. This can lead to more clogged pores, and more acne.
There seems to be a lot of evidence that higher levels of stress can contribute to acne breakouts.
Try reducing your overall stress levels by meditating, exercising, listening to music, getting more (or better) sleep or by adopting another coping mechanism.
Do you love laying out in the sun, or going to tanning salons?
Does golden brown skin make you say, “Ooh-la-la?”
Well, it turns out tanning may not be so great for acne.
How Does Tanning Affect Acne?
- Dries Skin (Temporarily) – Exposure to UV rays from the sun or a tanning bed causes dry skin. This may help to temporarily reduce the skin oil that causes acne. However, your body will then begin to compensate by producing too much oil, which will cause even more outbreaks.
- Camouflages Pimples – Tanning may make pimples less noticeable. The redness will be hidden by tanned, darker skin. This of course does nothing to actually heal the acne, and it will become noticeable again as soon as the tan is lost.
- Increases Risk of Cancer – Research has shown that tanning increases your risk of developing the deadliest skin cancer (melanoma) by 75%.
Many acne fighting products cause photosensitivity (increased sensitivity to sunlight). Be careful not to tan when using such a product. Some of these products include:
- Accutane (isotretinoin)
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Some oral antibiotics
- Some oral contraceptives
- Retin-A (tretinoin)
- Tazorac (tazarotene)
- Differin (adapalene)
While tanning may provide a temporary illusion of improving acne, it does nothing to heal or prevent acne over the long run (and may even make it worse by encouraging excess oil production).
Oh, and then there’s that whole cancer thing to worry about…