As anyone who has suffered from skin blemishes knows, acne remedies don’t come cheap and the costs really add up when you have to switch around to find something that works. As a teen, I was lucky enough to only get a few pimples here and there. Fast forward to my twenties, though, and I’ve developed a relatively mild form of late-onset acne on my face, chest, and back, so spots have been pretty much a constant occurrence for the last few years.
I tried the traditional commercial acne treatments, none of which proved effective. Most were just plain useless, but some made the spots worse and affected the surrounding skin. My dermatologist then steered me towards acne treatments that included salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, but these proved too harsh for my skin and often left it looking worse than before. At a loss, I started experimenting with natural remedies and homemade face masks for acne, which have proven more effective and much easier on the wallet!
The Benefits of Homemade Spot Treatments
If your skin is similar to mine, you’re probably also sick of spending money on products that do nothing to clear your skin up quickly. My solution was to make my own natural acne treatments from scratch. I’ve already experimented with making my own green and natural skincare products, so I knew how easy it was to make effective products at home. Making the switch to homemade acne treatments really had two big incentives:
1. Saving money: I used to think nothing of handing over $10 for a spot treatment, only to pay it all over again the next month when the treatment had no lasting effects. On average, I spent well over $100 a year and what did I have to show for it? Certainly not better skin!
2. Greater control: Now that I’ve taken control of my pimple remedies, I know exactly what I’m putting on my skin. A quick glance at the ingredients list on most skincare products freaks me out—I don’t recognize half of the ingredients. Making your own products takes that concern away because you get to decide what goes into them.
4 Effective Natural Acne Remedies
After some experimenting and research on natural spot-treatments, I have narrowed it down to these 4 simple, inexpensive homemade beauty skincare recipes that are worth a try:
1. Yogurt Face Mask
Why it works: Yogurt acts as a gentle natural cleanser thanks to its antibacterial properties. Even better, yogurt that contains probiotics is recommended for improving skin conditions, including acne. You can also add other ingredients to enhance the mask’s benefits. Try oatmeal, for example, which gently exfoliates and helps to tighten pores.
What to do: Take 2 tablespoons of plain low fat yogurt and apply a thin layer to your face (the oil in full-fat yogurt can make your skin greasy). Allow it to dry and rinse off with lukewarm water. To make a yogurt and oatmeal face mask, just add a handfuls of oatmeal to the yogurt, mix into a paste and leave in the refrigerator for a few hours to give the oatmeal a chance to absorb some of the yogurt. Apply to the face, leave for around 20 minutes and rinse off with warm water.
Where to buy: You can pick up plain yogurt and oatmeal in most grocery stores. If you’d prefer to use finely milled oatmeal instead of the regular variety for milder exfoliation, you can find it in most health stores.
The verdict: When I first tried a basic yogurt face mask, I had several large spots that showed no signs of disappearing so I wasn’t too hopeful of seeing any positive results. My spots didn’t magically clear up overnight, but they definitely looked less inflamed and weren’t as noticeable. Now that I’ve been using the face mask on a twice-a-week basis for several months, I’ve seen a good improvement in the condition of my skin, and my low-grade acne is even starting to clear up.
2. Garlic, Turmeric, and Manuka Honey Face Mask
Why it works: Garlic is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, so it’s perfect for fighting pimples. Turmeric has similar qualities and is also anti-inflammatory. Manuka Honey, produced by bees in New Zealand who feed on the manuka bush, has been shown to heal blemished skin and help prevent breakouts.
What to do: Cleanse your face before you start. Crush 6 garlic cloves, add 2-3 spoonfuls of Manuka honey and a tiny amount of turmeric powder. Mix together and spread onto your skin’s problem areas. Alternatively, you can swap turmeric for 3-4 spoonfuls of cinnamon and forgo the garlic altogether if you’d prefer.
Where to buy: The grocery store will carry whole garlic, but you’ll probably need to go to a health food store to find Manuka Honey.
The verdict: This isn’t one that I’ve personally used but it’s worked wonders for a friend of mine, who absolutely swears by it to treat her acne-ridden skin (which was considerably worse than mine). Thanks to regular usage of this face mask, she’s successfully managed to bring her acne under control.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Why it works: Tea tree oil is widely featured in facial washes and cleansers because it’s a natural antiseptic and has antibacterial qualities. However, commercial products will often only include a relatively small amount of the oil. Using the oil in larger does gives a much stronger impact.
What to do: Rub a small amount of tea tree oil onto blemishes.
Where to buy: Health food stores should stock tea tree oil and it may also be available in some pharmacies.
The verdict: This is the first natural spot treatment that I tried and I dabbed it on individual blemishes. It did work, but I went through a bottle quickly because I had a lot of blemishes to treat, so it wasn’t particularly inexpensive. If you’ve got just a few spots or occasional breakouts, though, I’d recommend this remedy.
4. Kaolin Clay
Why it works: Kaolin clay draws out impurities from the skin and soaks up excess oil. If you’ve got large pores, it can reduced their size. French green Kaolin clay, in particular, is great for removing impurities from oily skin.
What to do: Cleanse your face and make sure that your skin is damp before you apply a thin layer of clay and allow it to dry. Rinse off with warm water.
Where to buy: It can be hard to find Kaolin clay, but it is available online.
The verdict: When I first tried Kaolin clay, I was dismayed to see that my breakouts intensified. After I’d given it some thought, I realized that was probably just a by-product of drawing out impurities. After all, they’ve got to come out somehow! I persevered and was very relieved to discover that the clay helped to dry up the spots with regular use so they were less intense.
I’ve noticed an impressive difference in my skin since I switched to natural acne remedies, and I love that I’m not overloading my skin with harsh chemicals. I’m currently alternating between the Kaolin clay face mask and the yogurt and oatmeal face mask, but I have plans to try the garlic and honey face mask, too.
Do you use homemade skincare products to keep your skin under control? If so, I’d love to hear about remedies that you’ve had success with!