Easy Home Remedies for Acne
Acne can be stubborn and seem to pop up at the worst times. The good news is that over-the-counter and prescription medications can zap pimples and help stop new breakouts. The bad news is that some acne products can cause side effects like redness, discoloration, or dryness, notes the Mayo Clinic. (1) For this reason, some people prefer treating acne at home with natural solutions.
Typically, the more mild the acne, the more easily it can be treated at home, says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. In more severe cases, though â€” especially if there are cysts or nodules â€” professional treatments often are necessary.
For mild acne, you might be surprised to learn that you already have several acne remedies in your own home â€” and in your kitchen of all places.
You can mix common foods and ingredients, such as cucumbers, oatmeal, grapes, and yeast, into a facial mask and create an acne treatment. A homemade facial may help prevent or clear acne, as well as keep your skin glowing, moisturized, and healthy.
1. Grape Cleanser
Grapes are a refreshing snack, whether eaten plain as a snack, halved as a salad topping, or frozen as a healthy dessert. But grapes likely donâ€™t come to mind when you think of acne treatments.
So grab a few fresh grapes from your fridge, and you've got an easy facial cleanser. Cut two or three grapes in half and rub the flesh over your face and neck, says Fran E. Cook-Bolden, MD, a dermatologist and director of Skin Specialty Dermatology in New York City. Follow with a cool water rinse.
2. Cucumber Face Mask
If youâ€™ve ever been to a spa, youâ€™ve likely put cucumber slices on your eyes to reduce puffiness â€” and they may not be a sham treatment.
A past review suggests that cucumbers can have a soothing effect on the skin, reducing irritation, swelling, and pain. (3) Hence, they can potentially relieve inflammation specifically associated with acne.
In the case of acne, â€œinflammation develops within the oil gland and follicle, leading to red, angry bumps in the skin,â€ explains Dr. Zeichner. When acne develops deep within the skin, â€œa cyst may develop and become filled with oil. If the cyst wall ruptures and the oil becomes exposed to the deeper skin layers, a robust inflammatory reaction often occurs,â€ he says.
How can cucumbers help?
â€œCucumbers have skin soothing and hydrating benefits, so if your skin is inflamed from acne, cucumbers may offer a modest calming benefit,â€ notes Zeichner. But he warns that theyâ€™re not effective at treating the underlying pimples.
Hereâ€™s how to reap the benefits: "Make a paste by blending one small cucumber and 1 cup of oatmeal," says Dr. Cook-Bolden. Mix 1 teaspoon [tsp] of this paste with 1 tsp of yogurt and apply it to your face. Leave it on for 30 minutes, and then rinse.
3. Cucumber Face Pack
If you donâ€™t have oatmeal or yogurt in your kitchen, use this cucumber remedy instead. This cooling, soothing mask will help smooth your skin, which can feel rough from acne. "Mash one whole cucumber, strain the water, add 1 tablespoon of sugar, and mix well," says Cook-Bolden. "Apply to your face and leave it on for 10 minutes; then wash with cold water."
4. Simple Honey Mask
Honey has many healing properties. According to the Mayo Clinic, some people use it as a natural cough syrup and to relieve a sore throat. (4)
Before applying this mask, rinse your face with warm water, says Cook-Bolden. Then apply the honey and leave it on the skin for 30 minutes. Rinse the honey off with warm water.
5. Yeast and Yogurt Mask for Oily Skin
To make the mask, combine 1 tsp of brewer's yeast with a little plain yogurt to create a thin mixture. Cook-Bolden says, "Apply it thoroughly to all the oily areas and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water; then use cold water to close the pores."
6. Oatmeal Facial
Oatmeal has skin protecting, hydrating, and anti-inflammatory benefits, says Zeichner. â€œItâ€™s not specifically effective in treating acne, but it can help soothe dry, inflamed skin. I commonly recommend oat-based moisturizers for my patients who use potentially irritating acne treatments,â€ he further notes.
Mix together 2 tsp of oatmeal, 1 tsp of baking soda, and enough water to form a paste. Smooth the paste all over your face and gently rub it in. Rinse thoroughly afterward.
7. Turmeric Facial Mask
Ingredients for this acne remedy are available at spice markets and ethnic food stores.
Mix 1/2 cup of chickpea flour and 2 tsp each turmeric powder, sandalwood powder, and ghee (clarified butter) or almond oil, and then combine them with enough water to make a paste. "Apply and leave on for 5 to 10 minutes," says Cook- Bolden. "Rub with pressure with both palms and fingers to remove all the paste." Rinse well with water.
A Final Word on Home Remedies for Acne
Homemade facial masks can rejuvenate your skin and help clear acne â€” and all of these recipes use common ingredients found in your pantry and refrigerator. Try one or more of these remedies to treat pimple-prone skin and see how your skin responds.
If at-home treatments donâ€™t help after two to four weeks, touch base with a dermatologist for help, says Zeichner. â€œUnfortunately, delays in treatment increase the risk of developing stains in the skin, or in some cases, permanent scars,â€ he warns.
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