Acne is one of the most common skin disorders, affecting an estimated 85 percent of young adults worldwide. Traditional acne spot treatment such as salicylic acid, niacinamide, or benzoyl peroxide have been shown to be the most successful acne treatments, but they may be costly and have unpleasant side effects including dryness, redness, and discomfort.
Many people have turned to natural acne remedies at home because of this. According to one survey, 77% of acne patients had sought alternative acne remedies. Many home remedies lack scientific backing, necessitating further studies into their efficacy. However, if you’re looking for an alternative therapy, you still have options.
This article looks at many common acne treatment products and home remedies.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF ACNE?
Acne happens when the skin’s pores become clogged with oil and dead skin cells.
Each pore is linked to a sebaceous gland, which secretes sebum, an oily material. Extra sebum can clog pores, allowing bacteria like Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes, to thrive.
Acnes is attacked by the white blood cells, resulting in skin irritation and acne. While some cases of acne are more severe than others, whiteheads, blackheads, and pimples are all common signs.
Acne can be caused by several factors, including:
- Hormone changes
The most common treatment for acne is regular clinical treatment. You may also try home remedies, but further research into their efficacy is needed. There are 13 home remedies for acne listed below.
Many of us go into attack mode when breakouts begin to push through the skin’s surface. Allowing it to run its course is not a choice. It is all about moving quickly and getting in the heavy guns. Typically, this entails using one of the best acne spot treatments available.
However, pustules react best to spot treatments (traditional pimples filled with pus). Spot remedies will not work if you have cystic acne or papules (inflamed red pimples that have not yet hit the surface). (Check out our foolproof guide for more information about how to handle other forms of pimples.) If you have a stubborn pustule, however, we have the best hard-hitting items to shrink your skin’s new resident in no time.
Continue reading to learn about the best acne spot treatments money can buy
- Overall winner: Mario Badescu is a Romanian actor. Lotion for Drying
Mario Badescu formula is one of the most common spot treatments among celebrities and beauty editors. It works (and works quickly!) to dry up whiteheads and reduce the occurrence of bothersome breakouts in just one night. Simply dab a small amount of the solution, which contains a strong combination of salicylic acid, Sulphur, and zinc oxide, on the problem area(s) before bed, let it dry, and then go to sleep. Rinse off the lotion when you wake up, and the place should be nearly undetectable. It’s that easy.
- Best Drugstore: Advantage Spot Care by Clean & Clear
This drugstore staple can be found almost anywhere. In a tapered squeeze tube, the gel solution contains witch hazel and salicylic acid. The applicator dispenses small doses without splattering, which is great if you’re in a hurry. The spot treatment dries clear and absorbs easily, preventing new pimples from forming and calming existing ones.
- Best for the daytime: TruSkin Tea Tree Oil Super Serum for Face
Dot this on pimples that are angry and inflamed. Although branded as a serum, the Tea Tree Clear Skin Serum absorbs easily and can be used as a spot treatment throughout the day. The antibacterial tea tree oil, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, and even niacinamide are all present in the dropper bottle. They work together to minimize swelling and redness, brighten and improve skin texture, and prevent pimples from developing in the future.
- Best Gel: Origins Super Spot Remover Acne Cream Gel
This gel spot treatment has it all: salicylic acid, red algae to minimise redness (ironically), and exfoliants to eliminate dead skin cells and excess sebum. It’s a one-stop shop for all pimple-busting remedies.
Breakouts fade away in two or three days, leaving only slight scarring. Although the simple, unassuming gel works well throughout the day, some reviewers chose to use it at night. A little goes a long way, as in most spot treatments. If you want to experience how products work, there’s even a faint tingle.
- Best on Budget: The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution
This is not just affordable, but it’s also safe and gentle on skin—a far cry from a clumsily formulated acid bath. The Ordinary’s solution involves acne-fighting salicylic acid and a milder version of witch hazel, an astringent that cuts oil and deflates pimples without stripping your skin of moisture. The remedy removes closed Comedones, ingrown hairs, blackheads, and whiteheads while reducing redness and balancing oily skin thanks to its exfoliating and soothing properties.
- Best Classic: Kate Somerville EradiKate with Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment
Zinc is a trace mineral that is necessary for a variety of bodily functions, including immune system support, wound healing, and DNA/protein synthesis and development. It has been shown to aid wound healing and regeneration, as well as protect the skin by deflecting UV rays when applied topically.
Also read: How To Conceal Pimples and Spot Treatment
On Instagram, you’ve probably seen this product’s signature pink formula strewn over people’s faces. The EradiKate Acne Remedy, which comes in a glass bottle with a vaguely medicinal appearance, uses sulphur and AHAs to suppress existing pimples while preventing new ones. Zinc oxide absorbs excess sebum to manage oil, which helps keep the area clean while the drug shrinks pimples overnight. Even hormonal acne fades more quickly. Dip a Q-Tip into the bottle without shaking it, pick up the thick pink solution, and add it to the blemish.
- Best Portable: Glossier Zit Stick
Look no further than this Glossier acne spot cream for on-the-go acne emergencies. With a mixture of benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil, and capryloyl salicylic acid, this compact pen shrinks pimples and reduces swelling (a less irritating derivative of salicylic acid). It’s also hypoallergenic, organic, and cruelty-free, and you can use it three times a day, also over makeup. It also helps that the packaging is similar to a Tide to Go stick, but cuter.
- Best Natural: Break-Out by Rosen Skincare
Since Rosen Skincare takes a particular approach to acne, such as the strong conviction that blemishes are nothing to be ashamed of, this spot treatment is unlike any other. It’s compact due to its size and ease of use, but the ingredients are the real star. Peppermint oil acts as an antimicrobial on large and active breakouts, whereas zinc oxide acts as a strong astringent to fade bumps overnight.
- Best for Mild Acne: Acne Pimple Master Patch by COSRX
Cosrx’s hydrocolloid patches are great for sucking the gunk out of pimples and soothing skin that has been picked at. When you’re trying to remove a pimple and unintentionally make a tiny wound, or if you’re constantly touching your face, these patches are your best friend. When repairing the skin, the protective covering reduces bacteria transmission.
They work in this way: once you apply the patch, it slowly draws out all of the oil and bacteria within the blemish while leaving other contaminants out. They’re not intended to operate immediately, but rather to progressively eliminate blemishes using the least invasive methods possible. When the pimple clears, the transparent patch becomes opaque, and a white dot appears in the middle to signify that it’s time to remove it.
- Best LED: Dr. Dennis Gross DRx SpotLite Acne Treatment device
This FDA-approved LED therapy device isn’t the same form of spot treatment as the others on this list, but it’s just as effective at treating acne. So, how does it function? It uses blue and red LED light for a two-pronged approach: blue light destroys acne-causing bacteria and red light decreases inflammation and redness. Simply the it on your breakout spot, press the power button, and leave it there for the three minutes recommended by the manufacturer (the device will shut off automatically). Within a few days, you’ll notice a decrease in redness, inflammation, and pimple size if you keep using it.
- Best for Sensitive S7kin: Kiehl’s Breakout Management Acne Spot Treatment
If benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid irritates your skin, try a sulfur-based acne cream like this one from Kiehl’s—sulfur has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects, as well as the ability to soften and exfoliate dead skin. In addition, niacinamide is used in this recipe to help brighten the skin and prevent signs of ageing. To put it another way, the pimple will be gone before you know it.
- Best Patch: Peach Slices Acne Spot Dots
Angela Caglia, a celebrity esthetician, first told us about these miraculous acne treatment dots. Her point is that even the most stubborn blemishes can vanish in the blink of an eye. She also told us that she recommends them to her most well-known clients. To put it another way, they must work.
- Best Under-Makeup: Eve Lom Dynaspot
Eve Lom Dynaspot cream can be used underneath or on top of makeup to target breakouts and is formulated to fit all skin tones. It’s also moisturizing, so you won’t have to worry about flaky, dried-out areas.
- Best for Hyperpigmentation: Tula Go Away Acne Spot Treatment
Nobody likes dark spots that act as a persistent reminder of past pimples, and this successful spot treatment does an outstanding job of eliminating them. Licorice and niacinamide help to balance out hyperpigmentation, while benzoyl peroxide helps to remove acne rapidly. It also contains tea tree oil, which soothes the skin, and we love how clear it dries.
- Best with Benzoyl Peroxide: Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment
This potent spot treatment (containing 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide) works wonders on blemishes. However, because it’s so strong, a little goes a long way.
- Best Overnight Treatment: Renée Rouleau Night Time Spot Lotion
Renée Rouleau’s fast-acting acne spot treatment is invaluable for those moments when an angry bump appears right in front of your eyes. It uses a down-to-business approach with potent blemish-clearing ingredients including zinc oxide, Sulphur, and camphor, and is specifically formulated for surface-infected blemishes.
- Best Mask: White Willow Sleep Mask & Spot Treatment
With this strong blemish remover, you get the best of both worlds. It enhances your skin’s overall appearance and texture while calming and preserving your skin’s vital barrier. The all-natural formula serves as a gentle exfoliant, sloughing away dead skin cells and fading dark marks. Use it as a spot treatment overnight or as a clearing mask all over.
ACNE TREATMENTS YOU SHOULD DO AT HOME
- Make an apple cider vinegar solution.
Fermenting apple cider, or the unfiltered juice from pressed apples, yields apple cider vinegar. It, like other vinegars, is known for battling a wide variety of bacteria and fungi.
Organic acids present in apple cider vinegar, such as citric acid, have been shown to destroy P. acnes. Another organic acid, succinic acid, has been shown to reduce inflammation caused by P. acnes, possibly avoiding scarring.
Another acid found in apple cider vinegar, lactic acid, can help to reduce the appearance of acne scars.
While some components of apple cider vinegar may help with acne, there is currently no evidence to back up this argument. Some dermatologists recommend avoiding apple cider vinegar altogether because it can irritate the skin.
How to Use:
1. Combine 1 part apple cider vinegar and 3 parts water in a mixing bowl (use more water for sensitive skin).
2. Using a cotton ball, gently apply the mixture to the skin after cleansing.
3. Wait 5–20 seconds before rinsing with water and patting dry.
4. Repeat steps 1–2 as required during the day.
It’s important to keep in mind that rubbing apple cider vinegar on your skin can cause irritation and burns. If you want to give it a shot, start with a small amount and dilute it with water.
- Add a zinc supplement to your diet.
Zinc is a mineral that is necessary for cell growth, hormone development, metabolism, and immune function. In contrast to other natural acne therapies, it has earned a lot of testing.
Acne sufferers have lower zinc levels in their blood than those with clear skin, according to research. Taking zinc orally has also been shown in some studies to help suppress acne.
Zinc, for example, was found to be more effective at treating extreme and inflammatory acne than at treating mild acne in a 2014 study. While the optimum dose of zinc for acne has yet to be determined, some older studies have shown that 30–45 mg of elemental zinc per day can substantially reduce acne.
The sum of zinc in a compound is referred to as its elemental zinc. Zinc comes in a variety of types, each containing different quantities of elemental zinc.
Zinc oxide has the highest percentage of elemental zinc, at 80%. The safe upper limit for zinc is 40 mg per day, so unless you’re under the care of a doctor, it’s probably best not to exceed that level.
Taking too much zinc may have negative results, such as stomach pain and intestinal discomfort.
- Add a honey and cinnamon mask to your face.
Honey and cinnamon have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, which are two factors that cause acne. Honey and cinnamon bark extract were found to have antibacterial effects against P. acnes in a 2017 report.
Honey has been shown in other studies to be able to stop the growth of P. acnes or even destroy it. This result, however, does not necessarily suggest that honey is an efficient acne remedy.
In a study of 136 acne sufferers, it was discovered that adding honey to the skin after using antibacterial soap was no more effective than using the soap alone in treating acne. While honey and cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties can help with acne, further research is required.
How to make a honey-cinnamon face mask
1. Make a paste with 2 teaspoons honey and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
2. Add the mask to your face after washing it and keep it on for 10–15 minutes.
3. Remove the mask fully with water and pat your face dry.
- Add tea tree oil to the affected area.
Tea tree oil is a fragrant essential oil obtained from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a small Australian tree. It’s well-known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Furthermore, adding tea tree oil to the skin has been shown to minimize acne in many studies. Another small study showed that people who used a tea tree oil ointment for acne had less dry skin and inflammation than those who used benzoyl peroxide. They were much happier with the treatment.
Tea tree oil can be an effective replacement for topical and oral antibiotics, which may cause bacterial resistance if used long term for acne. Tea tree oil is extremely strong, so dilute it before using it on your skin.
- Use green tea to moisturize the skin.
Green tea contains a lot of antioxidants, so drinking it will help you stay safe. It can also assist in the treatment of acne. This is possibly due to the polyphenols in green tea’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which are two of the major causes of acne.
There isn’t a lot of research on the benefits of drinking green tea for acne, and more research is required.
In one small study, 80 women were given 1,500 mg of green tea extract every day for four weeks. Women who took the extract had less acne on their cheeks, chins, and around their mouths by the end of the analysis.
Drinking green tea has also been shown to reduce blood sugar and insulin levels, all of which can lead to the development of acne.
Green tea applied directly to the skin has also been shown to help with acne in several studies.
- Put witch hazel on your forehead.
The bark and leaves of the North American witch hazel shrub, Hamamelis virginiana, are used to make witch hazel. It contains tannins, which are antibacterial and anti-inflammatory in nature. That’s why it’s used to treat dandruff, eczema, varicose veins, burns, bruises, insect bites, and acne, among other skin conditions.
There seems to be no study on witch hazel’s potential to treat acne specifically at the moment. 30 people with mild to moderate acne used a three-step facial procedure twice daily for six weeks in a small study sponsored by a skin care company.
In the second phase of the procedure, witch hazel was one of the ingredients. By the end of the study, the majority of participants had shown substantial change in their acne.
Witch hazel has also been shown to combat bacteria and minimize skin irritation and inflammation, all of which may lead to acne.
- Use Aloe Vera to moisturize.
Aloe Vera is a tropical plant that produces a transparent gel from its leaves. Lotions, creams, ointments, and soaps often contain the gel. Abrasions, rashes, burns, and other skin disorders are commonly treated with it. Aloe vera gel, when applied to the skin, can aid in the healing of wounds, the treatment of burns, and the reduction of inflammation.
Aloe Vera contains salicylic acid and Sulphur, all of which are widely used to treat acne. Salicylic acid, when applied to the skin, has been shown to suppress acne. Aloe Vera gel, when mixed with other ingredients like tretinoin cream or tea tree oil, has been shown in many studies to help with acne. Although research indicates that aloe vera may have anti-acne properties, further research is required.
- Exfoliate on a daily basis
Exfoliation is the method of extracting the dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin. Chemical exfoliation is one choice, but you can also exfoliate manually with a brush or scrub to physically extract the cells.
By removing the skin cells that clog pores, exfoliation can help acne. It can also improve the effectiveness of acne treatments for the skin by allowing them to penetrate deeper after the top layer of skin has been removed.
In one small sample, 38 acne patients were given eight microdermabrasion treatments, one per week. Following the therapies, the participants with acne scars showed some improvement.
Six weekly microdermabrasion treatments were found to help stimulate skin repair in another small study. Although these findings suggest that exfoliation can help with skin health and appearance, further research on acne is required. There are several exfoliation items on the market, but you can also make your own scrub at home with sugar or salt.
Mechanical exfoliation, such as with rough scrubs or brushes, can irritate the skin and cause damage. As a result, some dermatologists consider using salicylic or glycolic acid-based products for gentle chemical exfoliation.
- Eat a low-glycemic-index diet.
For years, experts have discussed the connection between diet and acne. Acne can be related to dietary factors like insulin and glycemic index, according to study. The glycemic index (GI) of a food is an indicator of how easily it increases blood sugar levels.
When you eat foods with a high GI, your insulin levels rise, which increases sebum production. As a result, high GI foods can have a direct impact on acne production and severity.
Processed foods with a high glycemic index contain items like:
- Bread (white)
- Soft drinks with added sugar
- A doughnut
- Breakfast cereals high in sugar
The following foods have a low glycemic index:
- Fruits and vegetables
- A nut
- Grains that are whole or minimally processed
- Reduce the dairy intake
The correlation between dairy and acne is a hotly debated subject. IGF-1, a hormone linked to acne, can be found in milk and dairy products. Other hormones present in milk can cause hormonal imbalances and acne. Drinking whole milk three or more days a week was related to mild to serious acne in a study of people aged 10 to 24.
Acne sufferers were found to drink slightly more milk than non-acne sufferers in another study of 114 participants. A study involving over 20,000 adults, on the other hand, found no correlation between milk consumption and acne.
Since the data in these studies are self-reported, further research is required to create a true causal relationship.
- Decrease the stress levels
The link between stress and acne is still a mystery. Hormones released during stressful times can increase sebum output and inflammation, aggravating acne.
Stress has been attributed to acne because it affects gut bacteria and causes inflammation in the body. Furthermore, stress can delay wound healing, which can make acne lesions take longer to heal. Numerous studies have discovered a correlation between stress and acne.
However, because each of these studies was limited, further study is needed. In a study with 80 participants, there was no correlation between stress levels and acne. However, the magnitude of acne can be linked to people’s ability to cope with stress, according to the study.
Some stress-reduction and relaxation techniques can help with acne, but more research is needed.
- Get some rest
- Take part in physical exercises
- Do some yoga
- Take several deep breaths
- Exercise on a daily basis
There isn’t a lot of literature into how exercise affects acne. Nonetheless, exercise has an effect on bodily functions that can assist in the treatment of acne.
Exercising, for example, facilitates proper blood circulation. The increased blood flow nourishes the skin cells, which may assist in the prevention and treatment of acne.
Hormone levels and control are also influenced by exercise. Exercise has been shown in many studies to alleviate stress and anxiety, all of which may lead to the development of acne.
Adults can get 150 minutes of aerobic exercise and two days of strength training every week, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Acne is a common condition that has a number of causes. Traditional treatments such as salicylic acid, Niacinamide, or benzoyl peroxide are still the most effective, according to experts, though some people may find them annoying.
Many people choose to use natural treatments. While most home remedies for acne have not been shown to be successful in clinical trials, they are available as an alternative treatment choice.