This article is a guest post from Hannah George of Fix Your Skin.
Acne and I were thick as thieves starting in the 10th grade. I would need at least 50 pages to explain the multitude of acne treatments, products, and medicines I tried. From birth control pills to chemical peels to laser treatments, you name it, I probably tried it. Given the severity of my acne, I was led to believe that only conventional medical treatments and acne products would work. But they didn’t.
Natural Remedies for Acne
As a last resort, I began experimenting with natural remedies to cure my acne. Since then, I’ve discovered a few solutions that work well for me and my skin. Even though my acne is not entirely “cured,” I’m sure with a little more time and patience, my skin will continue to heal and clear out.
The natural remedies for acne I list below are remedies that I have found to be effective at treating acne, encouraging your skin to heal, and even preventing future breakouts.
1. Opt for Oil Cleansing
With product packaging highlights and emphasizes “oil-free” formulas, most over the counter acne products would have you believe that oil is your enemy. The fact is that there are several well-known (and some not so well known) causes of acne from hormonal imbalances to inflammation, and natural oil alone isn’t one of them. In fact, in the right amounts, your natural oils and sebum are actually a healthy and natural protective substance for your skin.
The idea behind oil cleansing is to gently and effectively cleanse the skin while balancing its natural oil production. Oil cleansing is thought to be a better way to nourish and moisturize your skin than conventional cleansing products that use harsh detergents and chemicals to strip your skin of its natural oils (causing dryness, irritation, and yes, even more oil production as a result).
By using the right oils for your skin, you can naturally dissolve any dirt, excess oils, and dead skin cells on your face and gently remove them. My recommended oil mix for oily, acne prone skin calls for 2 teaspoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of pure castor oil, which you will massage onto your face for 2 minutes and leave it on for a total of 10 minutes. Then take a washcloth soaked in hot water and drape it onto your skin to allow the steam to go work until the cloth cools. Then gently wipe off the oil with the cloth and repeat with the other side of the cloth, if needed. While you will have removed dirt and excess oil from your skin, there will be a small amount of nourishing oil left; don’t remove this as it’s beneficial for your skin. Some people swear by daily oil cleansing. I recommend trying it at least three times a week.
You may hear about oil cleansing horror stories, but most people who claim to have suffered negative reactions or even breakouts due to oil cleansing didn’t make it past the initial adjustment period (about 7-10 days) during which time your skin must adapt to the new routine. You may notice that your skin feels worse at first with redness, irritation, dryness, or even breakouts, but stick it out and you should find that your skin quickly heals. Your skin will thank you.
2. Use a Honey Mask
Soap and other conventional face washes strip your skin of its natural moisture and protective layers, making it react and overproduce oil. Try cleansing and treating your face with honey as it helps to remove impurities and dirt without being harsh on the skin. The naturally antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and probiotic properties of honey reduce breakouts and prevent new acne from forming. Many people also use honey as a natural remedy for acne scars.
Just take ½ teaspoon of your favorite raw, unprocessed honey or manuka honey, add a few drops of water to soften and massage into cleansed skin. Leave the honey for 10 minutes as a healing mask before you rinse. This honey mask will not remove makeup so use a natural makeup remover or the oil cleansing method above before applying your honey mask.
3. Follow Up with Aloe Vera
Aloe is generally considered a miracle plant for skin health. From natural sunburn relief to natural remedies for blisters, aloe vera is one of the most versatile plant-based skincare products. Natural aloe vera gel has skin calming and astringent properties. Its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties protect the skin. The naturally-occurring gibberellins and polysaccharides also kill acne-causing bacteria and promote the growth of new cells. Consider applying a small amount of pure, additive-free aloe vera to your skin after cleansing. Not only will your skin benefit from all of the plant’s healing properties, but it will also serve as a protective layer for your skin keeping dirt, bacteria, and impurities from getting deep into your pores. You can leave the aloe vera on overnight or rinse off after 20 minutes.
4. Weekly Clay Mud Masks
While the anti-inflammatory honey mask will encourage healing, this natural clay mask will clean your face deeply and prevent acne and blemishes from coming back. Natural bentonite clay, composed of volcanic ash, is known for its detoxification properties, namely its ability to absorb toxins, impurities, and even chemicals. When mixed with water and left to dry on the skin as a mask, the clay’s electrical charge actually allows it to bind to bacteria and other impurities on the surface of the skin and deep within the pores. When used once a week, a bentonite clay mask can help reduce blemishes and outbreaks and soothe redness.
Bentonite clay masks can be as simple as mixing the clay powder with filtered water, but to make my favorite natural clay mask, you will need 1 tablespoon of bentonite clay (you can choose between a sodium bentonite or calcium bentonite), 1 tablespoon of oats (or colloidal oatmeal) and 4 drops of tea tree oil. Scoop the clay in a bowl and add water to make a paste. If using oats rather than colloidal oatmeal, grind in the food processor until they make a fine powder. Add your oat powder to the paste. Then add the tea tree oil. Apply this mixture on your face for 15 minutes or until dry and wash off with lukewarm water. Bentonite clay masks, while great for deep