Can My Acne Go Away Naturally?
Acne is one of the most common skin conditions, affecting millions of people worldwide. It can be frustrating trying to get rid of acne, especially if you've tried countless skincare products and prescription medications without success. The good news is that acne can go away naturally in many cases. There are several effective natural remedies you can try at home to clear up your skin.
- What Causes Acne in the First Place?
- Natural Ways to Get Rid of Acne
- Natural Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Acne
- When to See a Dermatologist for Acne Treatment
- The Bottom Line
Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Rid of Acne Naturally
- What causes acne in the first place?
- What natural ingredients can I use to treat acne?
- How do I use these natural ingredients to treat acne?
- What lifestyle changes can help get rid of acne?
- How long does it take to see results from natural acne treatments?
- When should I make an appointment with a dermatologist?
- Can natural treatments cure acne permanently?
- Are natural acne treatments safe?
- What should my daily acne-fighting routine look like?
What Causes Acne in the First Place?
Before we dive into the natural treatments, let's briefly go over what causes acne. Acne occurs when hair follicles become clogged with excess oil and dead skin cells. This causes bacteria growth and inflammation, resulting in the red pimples we know as acne. There are several factors that contribute to this process:
- Excess sebum production - Sebum is the oil our skin naturally produces. When too much is produced, the pores get clogged more easily.
- Hormones - Hormonal changes during puberty, menstruation, and stress can increase sebum production. This is why acne is so common in teens.
- Bacteria - The bacteria Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) grows inside clogged follicles, leading to inflammation.
- Clogged pores - Dead skin cells, makeup, and environmental pollutants can also clog pores.
- Diet - There is evidence that a high glycemic diet and dairy intake can worsen acne.
- Genetics - Some people are just more prone to acne.
By addressing some of these underlying causes naturally, you may be able to get your acne under control.
Natural Ways to Get Rid of Acne
Here are some of the most effective natural remedies to try:
1. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is an essential oil derived from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia plant. It's been shown in studies to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it effective at fighting acne-causing bacteria and reducing redness.
- Dilute a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil like jojoba or coconut oil.
- Apply this mixture to pimples 2-3 times per day using a cotton swab.
- Be careful not to overuse as it can dry out skin.
2. Green Tea
Drinking green tea may also help get rid of acne naturally. It contains antioxidants that fight inflammation and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which reduces sebum production.
- Drink 1-2 cups of brewed green tea per day.
- You can also apply used green tea bags or a diluted solution directly to pimples.
3. Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel is known for its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used directly on the skin to reduce redness and swelling. It may also help remove excess oil from the skin's surface.
- Use pure aloe gel directly from the plant if possible.
- Apply a thin layer to affected areas after cleansing.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a natural astringent that can help remove excess oil and bacteria from the skin. It also contains small amounts of acetic and lactic acid which gently exfoliate the skin.
- Dilute raw, unfiltered ACV with water in a 1:3 ratio.
- After cleansing, gently apply it to the skin with a cotton ball, avoiding eyes.
- Rinse off after a few minutes. Use once or twice per day.
5. Azelaic Acid
Azelaic acid is produced naturally by a yeast that lives on our skin. It has antibacterial properties that fight P. acnes bacteria. It also reduces inflammation and helps prevent clogged pores by exfoliating dead skin cells.
You can find over-the-counter azelaic acid skincare products in concentrations of 10-20%. Using a gentle, fragrance-free azelaic acid gel or cream twice per day can help reduce acne.
There is some evidence that probiotic supplements and foods can improve acne by balancing out bad bacteria in your gut. Probiotics may reduce inflammation and sebum production.
Some ways to add more probiotics include:
- Taking an oral supplement. Look for strains like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
- Eating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, etc.
- Using a topical probiotic serum or moisturizer.
Zinc is an essential mineral that's important for skin health. It can reduce inflammation and lower sebum production. Zinc supplements may help improve acne, especially in those with a deficiency.
- Take a daily zinc supplement of 30-50 mg.
- Eat zinc-rich foods like seafood, meat, nuts, seeds, beans, etc.
8. Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which helps reduce skin inflammation. Taking it orally or applying it topically may help calm acne.
- Take 1,000 - 2,000 mg evening primrose oil capsules daily.
- Or apply oil directly to skin to reduce inflammation.
9. Raw Honey Masks
Raw honey has antibacterial properties that can kill acne-causing bacteria. It also reduces inflammation and moisturizes skin.
- Apply a thin layer of raw honey to clean skin.
- Allow it to soak in for 20 minutes then rinse off.
- Repeat 2-3 times per week as a spot treatment.
10. Turmeric Spot Treatment
Turmeric contains the compound curcumin which has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects. It helps calm acne when applied directly to pimples.
- Make a paste with powdered turmeric and water.
- Apply to breakouts for 10-20 minutes before rinsing.
- Do this once daily.
Natural Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Acne
In addition to using topical treatments, making some changes to your lifestyle habits can also help clear up acne over time. Here are some to try:
- Reduce dairy intake - Dairy, especially milk, may worsen acne for some people due to the hormones. Try cutting back on dairy products like milk and cheese to see if your skin improves.
- Take targeted supplements - Supplements like zinc, omega-3s, vitamin D, and probiotics support overall skin health. Ask your dermatologist for recommendations.
- Manage stress levels - Chronic stress increases cortisol production which triggers excess sebum production. Try relaxing practices like meditation, yoga, journaling, or listening to music to lower stress.
- Exercise regularly - Working out helps reduce inflammation and stress hormones that can cause acne. Aim for 30 minutes of activity most days of the week.
- Don't pick or pop pimples - This can increase inflammation and lead to scarring or darker marks. Use spot treatments instead to get rid of breakouts.
- Avoid oily or heavy makeup - Non-comedogenic (won't clog pores) mineral makeup is best. Remove all makeup before bed.
Making some natural, lifestyle changes along with using topical treatments can go a long way in helping get acne under control for good. Be patient and consistent for the best results.
When to See a Dermatologist for Acne Treatment
While you can make a lot of headway against acne with natural remedies, sometimes clinical treatments are necessary. See a dermatologist if you have:
- Severe, painful, cystic acne
- Acne that hasn't responded to over-the-counter treatments
- Acne that is leaving dark spots or scars
- Signs of skin infection - oozing pus, spreading redness
A dermatologist has access to prescription medications that can target acne from the inside out. Common options include:
- Topical retinoids - derived from vitamin A, these unclog pores and reduce oil
- Antibiotics - kill bacteria and reduce inflammation
- Oral contraceptives - for hormonal acne in women
- Isotretinoin - for severe, cystic acne, but can have side effects
Procedures like chemical peels and microneedling can also be done alongside medications to improve acne. A dermatologist will look at your medical history and degree of acne before creating a customized treatment plan.
The Bottom Line
It is possible for acne to go away permanently with the right natural treatments and lifestyle changes. However, this takes time and consistency. Use remedies like tea tree oil, green tea, and turmeric consistently for several weeks. Make adjustments to your diet and stress levels. If you don't see improvement within 6 to 8 weeks, make an appointment with a dermatologist.
With the combination of natural remedies and medical treatments if needed, you can get rid of acne for good and enjoy clear, healthy skin. Don't lose hope if acne has been an ongoing battle for you. Have patience and stick with a holistic treatment plan tailored to your unique skin. Keep these effective natural remedies in your acne-fighting arsenal.
Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Rid of Acne Naturally
What causes acne in the first place?
Acne forms when hair follicles become clogged with excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. This causes inflammation and the development of pimples. Factors like hormones, genetics, diet, stress, and medications can contribute to this process by increasing oil production, promoting bacteria growth, or clogging pores.
What natural ingredients can I use to treat acne?
Some of the most effective natural acne remedies include:
- Tea tree oil - Has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties
- Aloe vera - Soothes inflammation and removes excess oil
- Apple cider vinegar - Contains acetic acid that kills bacteria
- Green tea - High in antioxidants that reduce inflammation
- Honey - Has antibacterial effects to kill acne-causing bacteria
- Turmeric - Contains curcumin which reduces swelling and bacterial growth
- Zinc - Can decrease oil production and inflammation
How do I use these natural ingredients to treat acne?
Most natural ingredients are applied topically to affected areas once or twice daily. Tea tree oil, aloe, apple cider vinegar, and turmeric can be used as spot treatments. Green tea should be drunk daily. Honey and turmeric can be used as face masks. Oral zinc supplements should be taken daily. Always do a patch test first to check for reactions.
What lifestyle changes can help get rid of acne?
Making certain adjustments to your daily habits can also improve acne over time:
- Take targeted supplements like zinc, omega-3s, and probiotics
- Eat a low glycemic diet and reduce dairy intake
- Exercise regularly to lower inflammation
- Practice stress-reducing activities like yoga and meditation
- Avoid picking/popping pimples to prevent scarring
- Use oil-free, non-comedogenic makeup and wash it off nightly
How long does it take to see results from natural acne treatments?
It takes patience and consistency to see results. You likely won't notice major improvements after just a few uses. Give the natural treatments 2-3 months of daily use to accurately gauge their effectiveness. Combine with lifestyle changes for optimal results. See a dermatologist if no improvement after 3 months.
When should I make an appointment with a dermatologist?
See a dermatologist right away if you have severe, painful cystic acne, acne unresponsive to natural or OTC treatments, signs of skin infection, or if acne is leaving scars. A dermatologist can prescribe clinical treatments like retinoids, antibiotics, contraceptives, or isotretinoin if needed. They can also do procedures that complement the natural remedies.
Can natural treatments cure acne permanently?
Natural treatments may be able to produce long-term clearance of acne for some people. However, acne can be unpredictable and multifaceted. What works for one person may not for another. Acne can come back after a period of clear skin too. Using natural remedies together with medications when needed gives you the best chance of permanent acne remission.
Are natural acne treatments safe?
Most natural remedies are very safe when used correctly. Do a patch test before widespread use. Don't overuse ingredients like tea tree oil - dilute and use sparingly. Oral supplements should be taken as directed. While rare, some people may be allergic to certain natural treatments. Stop use if any reaction occurs. Consult your dermatologist before starting any new acne regimen.
What should my daily acne-fighting routine look like?
Here is an ideal daily routine:
AM: gentle cleanser, natural toner, lightweight moisturizer
During day: drink green tea, take supplements with food
PM: cleanser, natural spot treatment, soothing moisturizer
Do face masks with honey, turmeric, etc. 2-3 times per week. Change pillowcases frequently. Avoid picking and touching face. See dermatologist if not improving in 6-8 weeks. Consistency is key!