When days are busy, products might not seem so close by. If you forget your toiletry bag while away for a weekend but a zit pops up, sometimes it's a good reminder to go back to the basics and keep it au natural. That means opening up the fridge or under the sink cabinet to whip up something easy, and fast! Use these tips as a guide on how to naturally treat acne with some simple home remedies.
Food can help to start over. When your digestive system is upset, it may show it by way of a breakout. Sugar and dairy are key factors in causing inflammation throughout your body, as when your blood sugar spikes, your body makes more sebum, and excess can lead to acne. Be sure to increase your fiber-rich leafy veggies and beans, as the fiber can help to reduce fat absorption at the intestinal level, helping to prevent oily skin.
While on a clean diet, be sure to cue in to what your body might be telling you it's needing, and what it's perhaps deficient in necessary vitamins. "A clean diet is step one on the way to beat acne; in fact doing a cleanse/detox is one of the first things we do with anyone with acne,'' says pharmacist and co-owner of The Organic Pharmacy, Margo Marrone. "This is because treating the inside is as important as the outside. We often put everyone on our 10-day detox kit which helps clean the gut, and with the healthy eating plan, it allows the body to get used to a clean diet which they can continue once the 10-day cleanse is finished." The kit contains a variety of medicinal mushrooms, antioxidants, as well as skin-essential B vitamins, and zinc.
While the sight of a breakout might have you worrying to eliminate oils and fats from your routine, the exact opposite is true. Whether it may be fish oil, salmon, walnuts, or flaxseeds, a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids is linked with reducing acne breakouts, which is caused by inflammation in the body. Fish oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA), which can help manage oil production, prevent pimples, and help the skin maintain adequate hydration.
The polyunsaturated fat of omega-rich foods hydrates every membrane that surrounds each cell in your body, moisturizes dry or red skin, and reduces the very frustrating cystic acne. Plus, it appears to improve skin barrier function, sealing in moisture and keeping out irritants.
Since the goal is to maintain a natural pH for your skin, it's best to turn to healing, gentle ingredients like teas, and the most skin-friendly is green tea. High in ECGC, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation, sebum production, and the growth of bacteria in acne-prone skin, green tea also contains flavonoids and tannins, which are known to help fight inflammation.
Gently steep the tea and let cool, and use it as a toner daily or simply lay the bag over an infected area to get rid of pimples fast.
"Aloe Vera is one of the greatest ingredients to use to treat spots," says Marrone. "If you are using the essential oil neat only the tiniest amount is needed and only on the spot—it is often found in skincare but do be careful as the formula as a whole makes a huge difference and can be mixed with other ingredients that are not okay for the skin. I use it in our blemish gel as one of the active ingredients and it really is wonderful," says Marrone.
Since most aloe gels are a mixture of synthetics, it's best to use it straight from the source. "Fortunately I love aloe so much, I actually use aloe water as the base of all The Organic Pharmacy moisturizers, and the one mixed with Manuka, echinacea, and aloe is specially formulated for acne-prone skin," Marrone adds.
The key to keeping your skin balanced is keeping it hydrated, and just as life-saving aloe is to a sunburn, it can do the same to acne-prone skin. "While aloe vera is one of the greatest ingredients around, moisturizing with it can be a challenge, unless you cut the flesh of a new plant every day," says Marrone.
Containing natural AHA acids, honey is a great way to give yourself an effective exfoliating mask without drying it out. Containing antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, it calms and soothes acne-prone skin and other problems.
"A simple DIY cinnamon and honey mask is a great natural way to tame breakouts and smooth the skin," says Denise Vasi, founder of the beauty, health, and wellness website, Maed. "Both cinnamon and honey are antibacterial, plus cinnamon has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and astringent properties. Cinnamon can irritate the skin, so do a small patch test before applying it to the whole face. Also, since cinnamon increases blood circulation, it’s best to do this mask at night."
A bestseller for a reason, this thick balm made of sweet almond oil, shea butter and manuka honey wipes away makeup buildup and impurities, all while restoring moisture and hydration to the skin's barrier to establish a healthy skin microbiome and keep skin clear and balanced.
Medical grade honey such as manuka honey has been used for centuries as a healing food, so try it out for yourself and see how handy some common ingredients can be.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions. See our full health disclaimer here.