How to Control Acne Naturally

Marie Parks

We’ve all been there…looking in the mirror only to find a large, unsightly pimple on your face. Sure, makeup can hide it to a certain extent, but it still feels like everyone can see. Wasn’t acne supposed to go away with our teenage years?

Most of us associate acne with the changes that occur during puberty, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t sneak up on us later in life. This blog will give some suggestions for dealing with acne using natural interventions.

You’ve probably seen many acne creams and washes at the store, or received a strong prescription, which may work for some people. However, long-term use of these powerful antibiotic creams and washes can cause undesirable effects like red, dry skin, and cause treatment-resistant acne1 which can result in more serious infections.2,3

Here are some of our top acne-eliminating suggestions.

Balance Your Hormones

One of the reasons why acne is most common in adolescence is because of the spike in testosterone that occurs. Testosterone stimulates the production of sebum (which keeps your skin moist and supple), but in excess it contributes to the formation of acne. Furthermore, testosterone can convert into DHT (dihydrotesterone), which could increase the likelihood of inflammation-related acne.4

Testosterone isn’t only a concern for men. Women who have persistent acne should also check their hormone levels to see if there’s an underlying cause like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).5

Adjust Your Diet

Limit foods high in fat, sugar, and meat, as these can also cause overproduction of sebum, resulting in acne.6,7 Focus more on vegetables, lean protein such as fish and legumes, and healthy fats like olive oil.

Opt For “Oil-Free”

Many face creams, moisturizers, and cosmetics are oil-based, which can make acne worse. Look for those that state they’re “oil-free” and try to limit heavy cosmetic use. Also, since some people are sensitive to fragrance, using unscented products might be a better choice.

Avoid Products with “Scrubbers” for Managing Breakouts

Some of the acne cleansers incorporate scrubbing particles, but this friction can actually make acne worse and increase the risk of scarring.8 These can be used more as a preventative measure to help keep sebum and debris out of skin follicles. Similarly, resist the urge to squeeze, pick, or scratch the pimples!

Apply Topical Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil contains terpenoids that have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.9 Application of 5% topical tea tree oil has shown significant improvements in the number and severity of acne lesions and has fewer side effects than the common treatment of 5% benzoyl peroxide.10,11

Supplement with Zinc

Zinc supplementation can help relieve acne due to its various properties such as modulating inflammation and immune function, antibacterial effect, and reducing the production of sebum.12-14 Various human studies support zinc’s ability to reduce acne lesions.15-17 Adding zinc to topical solutions has also shown to be beneficial and well-tolerated.18,19

Smother on the Seaweed

Some species of seaweed can reduce lesions by controlling sebum production as well as protecting from inflammation and acne-causing microbes.20-22

Try Topical Green Tea

Another use for green tea is applying it topically. Due to its content of catechins, green tea may help reduce inflammation-related acne.23 The studies showing a significant effect used a 2% green tea lotion twice daily.24,25

The Bottom Line

There are various causes of acne, and we all have unique skin types. As such, the remedy that’ll work best isn’t going to be the same for everyone…and finding the one that’s right for you may take some experimentation.

You're welcome to give these natural remedies to try, but remember - it’s always a good idea to consult with your dermatologist regarding your skincare routine!


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  5. Int J Dermatol. 2012 Oct;51(10):1162-74.
  6. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012 Jan 1;4(1):20-32.
  7. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013 Mar;113(3):416-30.
  8. Dermatol Surg. 2010 Apr;36(4):483-9.
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  11. Med J Aust. 1990 Oct 15;153(8):455-8.
  12. J Drugs Dermatol. 2013 May;12(5):542-5
  13. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2011 Oct;25(10):1146-52.
  14. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2011;4:161-5.
  15. Dermatol Ther. 2010 Jul-Aug;23(4):411-8.
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  17. Br J Dermatol. 1977 Nov;97(5):561-6.
  18. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol.2007 Mar;21(3):311-9.
  19. J Dermatolog Treat. 2005;16(4):213-8.
  20. J Environ Biol. 2011 May;32(3):313-8.
  21. J Cosmet Sci. 2013 May-Jun;64(3):219-26.
  22. Clin Exp Dermatol.2012 Jun;37(4):346-9.
  23. Saudi Med J. 2008 Dec;29(12):1757-61.
  24. Skinmed. 2012 Nov-Dec;10(6):352-5.
  25. J Drugs Dermatol. 2009 Apr;8(4):358-64.


Anonymous said...

I haven't read through your references .Anyway ①Acne more prevelent cf few centuries ago (modern environment? - vit D?❷stress is a factor. ③ rule out rosacea etc.
We are complex integrated organisms - the skin 'a window on 'dysfunction from elsewhere ...>> [IMHO as pharmacist high street] general diet/sleep/stress/having pets and .
stable marriage
anaemia-iron , zinc , caffeine addiction , dehydration , lack of omega oils- vit A and D - sunlight ..constipation .- acne has been linked to milk consumption - esp skimmed milk. Use soya/cocnut/hazelnut milk instead .
Oral contraceptives can help acne.

Life Extension said...

snapfizz- Thanks for chiming in!

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