Acne and pimples are two of life’s most annoying and prevalent skin curses. Most people find themselves suffering from an acne outbreak at some point, whether it’s due to hormones or stress. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t necessarily mean your skin is dirty or unclean. In fact, over-cleansing can irritate your skin even more. However, hormones aren’t uncontrollable, and there are simple changes you can make to eliminate your acne breakouts. Read on to learn how to get rid of acne.
How to Get Rid of Acne with Lifestyle Changes
Eat healthily. Foods that are highly processed and contain a lot of oils greatly increase the amount of acne on your body. Getting the proper amount of nutrients from whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein help your skin to regenerate faster and limit unnecessary oil production.
- When at all possible, avoid foods that are processed or contain a lot of sugar.
- Eliminate diary. Cows’ milk is full of the growth hormones they need to nurse their baby calves until they become self-sufficient. That’s the exact same milk that humans consume later. Those hormones have been found to cause hormonal imbalances in human body growth and development, leading to weight gain and triggering the appearance of acne.
Shower often. Showering regularly helps to keep oil production low, kill bacteria, and rinse away dead skin cells. Wash your entire body with a mild cleanser and use shampoos that limit oil production in your hair.
- Be sure to always shower after exercising to remove the dead skin cells your body has sloughed off through sweating.
Don’t touch your face. This is incredibly difficult, as people are prone to touching their faces on a regular basis. Be careful about resting your face on your hands, scratching your face, and picking at pimples. Never pop your zits or squeeze at pesky blackheads, as this only introduces more bacteria to your skin and will make your acne worse.
Get at least eight hours of sleep. Sleeping helps to relax your body as well as detoxify it. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, chances are your skin hasn’t had the time or ability to renew its skin cells.
- Regulate your sleep cycle by going to bed at a consistent time every night and sleeping for a minimum of eight hours.
Wash your fabrics. Any fabric that comes into contact with your skin on a regular basis – towels, clothes, sheets, and pillowcases – should be washed at least once a week to remove oil and bacteria that build up over time.
- Use a gentle cleanser for sensitive skin to help solve your acne problem.
Exercise regularly. Exercising does a number of things to help reduce your acne. It releases endorphins which lower stress levels and therefore reduce oil-production, and also makes you sweat which cleans out dead skin cells.
- Try exercising on a daily basis for a minimum of thirty minutes to help reduce your acne not only on your face, but also on your chest, shoulders, and back.
Drink lots of water. Although we’ve all heard to drink eight glasses of water a day, there isn’t a set amount on how much water you should consume. Water helps to detoxify your body and purify your skin, so make sure you drink water often throughout the day.
Avoid baking soda, toothpaste, and lemons. If used without care, some experiences suggest they may cause irritation or chemical burns on your face.
- Baking soda, toothpaste, lemons, and salt are touted as common convention to treat acne or improve appearance of discoloration but they will damage skin instead. Avoid using any of these ingredients.
Use oil-free makeup. If you wear makeup, you may be stuck in a vicious cycle of covering up acne while simultaneously causing it with your cover-up usage. Find acne-fighting oil-free mineral makeup to help prevent worsening your acne while simply trying to hide it. Power foundations are also recommended.
- Regularly clean makeup brushes to prevent bacterial growth.
- When possible, avoid wearing makeup at all though as it clogs your pores over the course of the day.
Get control of your stress levels. Your high anxiety levels could be the cause of your poor skin. Stress creates sebum, the oil that builds up and causes your unsightly pimples. To get your sebum levels under control, take steps to de-stress on a daily basis. Spend some time away from your work, school, or high maintenance people and you’ll be praising your clear skin in no time.
Relax your body and mind. Give yourself some time to relax. Try reading a book, taking a bath, meditating, or practicing yoga and watch your skin transform in response.
Natural Home Remedies for Acne
Use apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar kills off the bacteria that may be causing all the trouble in the first place. It also becomes alkaline, and balances the pH of your skin, which in turn makes it harder for bacteria to thrive. It’s an astringent, and will help dry up excess oil.
- Wash your face with water and pat dry.
- Using a ratio of 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts water, dip a cotton ball into vinegar and apply it directly to the blemish. Leave on for at least 10 minutes, or overnight.
- Reapply several times a day, washing face thoroughly after each time.
- Make sure to use a moisturizer afterwards as well if you feel like your skin is getting dry.
- Don’t overdo and dry out your skin too much. This could cause the sebaceous glands overproduce to compensate, therefore triggering an outbreak.
Use tea tree oil. Think of this as a kinder, gently benzoyl peroxide. The antiseptic properties of this Australian tree eliminate bacteria that cause pimples, making this one of the most popular and effective acne solutions.
- Wash your face with water and pat dry.
- Dilute tea tree oil by mixing 1 part oil to 9 parts water. Dip a Q-tip or cotton swab in mixture, and apply to problem areas.
- If you decide you want a stronger dilution after a while, you can slowly begin to increase the strength, making sure to use each new mixture for at least a week for making it any stronger.
- Another option, especially if you have sensitive skin, is to dilute it with aloe vera gel instead of water.
- Tea tree oil is ok for topical use, but should never be ingested. It should also always be diluted before use.
Use garlic. Garlic is thought to be a good natural remedy for acne because of its supposed antibacterial properties. You can either ingest it, or apply it topically to help reduce the severity of your breakouts and prevent them in the future. If you can get the juice from the garlic, great, if you can’t, mashing it up and putting it in some water is fine.
- Either extract the garlic juice and mix it with 1 teaspoons or so of water, or mash up 2-3 cloves and let sit in water for about 10 minutes.
- Using a cotton pad, soak up the juice or garlic water and cover problem spots.
- If you don’t have a cotton pad or something similar to apply it with, the mixture can be a bit runny and hard to work with. In this case, substitute aloe vera gel for water.
- If you choose to ingest garlic, a clove or two a day should be enough.
- Never apply garlic to your skin without diluting it first.
Use an overnight fenugreek mask. The leaves from the fenugreek plant have long been used to help with skin issues of the face.
- Crush up several of these leaves to form a thick paste, and then apply it onto your acne-prone areas.
- Leave this on overnight, and then rinse it off with warm water in the morning.
- It should help reduce the redness and swelling, as well as the further spread of bacteria.
Make an orange peel paste. Acne that is caused by bacteria and extra oil/dead skin cells clogging up pores may improve with the use of an orange peel face mask of sorts, thanks to the vitamin C, citric acid, and it’s astringent properties. The vitamin C is particularly helpful because it promotes the growth of new healthy cells, keeping your skin in better condition overall.
- Rinse your face with water and pat dry.
- Grind/pound up your orange peels (you could use a blender, mortar and pestle, whatever gets the job done) and add a little water to create a paste. Add a little at a time, as too much will make it too thin and runny.
- Once you have the right consistency, apply it to the problem areas. Wait for 20-25 minutes. Ideally the mask should be firm, but it can still work if it isn’t.
- Rinse off completely with water, pat your face dry, and apply a good moisturize.
Use papaya. Juice a papaya or crush a small amount of the fruit to form a paste, and then dab it onto the problem spots. Let it set for as long as you are able before washing it off and splashing your face with cold water. You can repeat this process several times daily if you desire.
Make a yogurt and honey mask. We ought to thank the bees for the sweet elixir they’ve given us that not only adds flavor to our favorite foods, but also works wonders on reducing acne. Honey is a natural antibiotic and contains lactic acid; its acidic properties exfoliate skin. Honey varies in pH, but a pH between 3 and 4 will exfoliate skin.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of honey with a 3 teaspoons of yogurt, and apply it over your face.
- Allow it to set for 5-10 minutes, and then rinse it off with warm water.
Make a cinnamon and honey mask. While it may sound strange, honey and cinnamon make a killer combo when it comes to acne. Cinnamon has antimicrobial properties, so it can help stop bacteria from getting out of hand.
- Rinse your face with water and pat dry.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon together until they are thoroughly blended and have formed a sort of paste.
- Apply the mask to your face (or spot treat) and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off completely, and pat your face dry.
Use coconut oil. Coconut oil contains large amounts of lauric acid which is well know for being very anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral. These antiseptic essential fatty acids found in the oil help prevent bacterial infections (which is what acne is) when taken orally or applied directly to the skin.
- Coconut oil can be either topically applied or consumed. Some experts recommend both internal and external use for maximum benefits, and only 2-5 tablespoons are needed each day to have an effect.
- It can be added to food, or even eaten straight, as it has a pleasant taste.
Use turmeric and milk. The turmeric will bring down the acne. Make a paste:
- Mix 1 teaspoon of turmeric.
- Mix in 1 teaspoon of milk (or more to make a paste).
- Apply this paste evenly on the face.
- Wait for 20-30 minutes.
- Wash it off. It will leave a slight orange stain for a while; this fades over the following days.
Use oatmeal. Oatmeal has been known for centuries as a skin-soother. And we all know that one of the worst problems of acne is inflammation: red, swollen, irritated skin that looks and feels terrible.
Oatmeal can power you up from the inside out-and the outside in. If you soak/cook your oats and use them in mask, they can reduce the inflammation and unsightly redness that accompanies breakouts. Add some honey to your mask and you have a great recipe for a rather tasty sounding acne remedy.
- Whip up a batch of oatmeal as usual, or by following the directions on the box.
- When it is finished and still hot, add two tablespoons of honey.
- Let mixture cool to room temperature.
- Keep in mind it retains quite a bit of heat, so make sure it’s a comfortable temperature before applying it to your skin-because the last thing you need is a burn!
- Leave it on for 20-30 minutes. When it has set, rinse off with warm water and pat your skin dry.
- Keep in mind that oatmeal on its own will not cure your acne, and should be used as part of a sensible routine acne treatment. However, it may very well reduce the blatant, painful, appearance of the breakouts.
Wash your face with cucumber juice. Cucumber works as a great anti-inflammatory, reducing the swelling and redness of pimples on your face.
- Blend up some cucumbers, or soak a chopped cucumber in water to create a cucumber juice.
- When you wash you face at night, rinse with this instead of regular water and pat dry.
Break out the bubbly. You got it: champagne works for acne! It’s all in the tartaric acid from the grapes. There’s a nice side benefit this cure: it works as an anti-aging treatment, too. Simply dab it on or (why not?) rub it on your whole face for a high-class solution for acne.
Use aspirin. Crush the pills, then make a mask by adding water and honey. Dab on, leave for 10 minutes then wash off.
Other Home Treatments for Acne
Try a juice detox. A short juice-based cleansing treatment will enhance and accelerate the detoxification process. Try drinking juice every morning for at least five days, and stick to wholesome foods for lunch and dinner, mainly fresh vegan salads.
Always apply a moisturizer. Oily skin produces acne, and if your skin is very dry your body will compensate by creating sebum. To prevent this from happening, use a gentle moisturizer after you wash your face every morning and evening. Apply moisturizer post toner application.
Use a toner after cleansing. After you wash your face, exfoliate, or apply a face mask, apply a toner to the entirety of your face. Toners work to tighten pores making it less likely that dirt and oil will become trapped in them. Buy acne toners at a local drugstore, or use witch hazel or apple cider vinegar dabbed on with a cotton ball. Don’t rinse toners after application – allow them to stay on your skin.
Use sulfur-containing clay masks. Although we don’t know exactly why sulfur works as a great acne-killer, we do know that it does work. Look for products that contain sulfur to clear up your acne.
Use products with benzoyl peroxide. You can use benzoyl peroxide in the form of either a soap or lotion over your acne-prone areas. This product works to clean off dead skin and help your skin to regenerate new, clean cells faster.
- Look for products that contain 3% or less of benzoyl peroxide to avoid irritating your skin.
Use a sheet or face mask. Sheet or Face masks contain compounds that soothe your skin and kill bacteria. Using a sheet or face mask 2-3 times a week for 15-20 minutes to dry out your skin and clean out your pores. Buy face masks from your local beauty supply or drugstore, or make your own at home.
- Create a blend of cucumbers and oatmeal. The cucumbers help to reduce redness and fight off dark spots while the oatmeal soften and soothes irritated skin. Blend the two together in a food processor until it forms a paste, and then apply it to your skin for 15-20 minutes before washing off with warm water.
Find products containing azelaic acid. Azelaic acid is an antibacterial that also helps to reduce redness and inflammation and is found naturally in wheat and barley. If your acne tends to leave dark marks on your skin, try a product that uses azelaic acid to clean your pores and reduce acne-produced dark spots.
Treating Acne at a Dermatologist’s or Spa
Get a laser treatment. That’s right – use layers to kill off your acne. Many dermatologists now offer a treatment in which they use lasers to fire strong blasts of light to kill overactive oil-producing glands beneath your skin. This process can be painful, but has been shown to cut down acne 50% on average.
Try microdermabrasion. This is a process by which your skin is “sanded” away to produce new skin growth. Getting microdermabrasion treatments once a week over several months is the most effective route to take, as each treatment only affects the outermost layer of skin.
Try a light treatment. Unlike painful laser treatments, light treatments use milder pulses of light fired off by a specialized wand to help kill bacteria. Certain colors of light (including red, green, and blue) have shown to have a positive effect on killing acne. Ask your dermatologist if getting a light treatment is a good choice for you.
Get a facial. These are available at most spas, and involve the use of several different cleansers, masks, and extraction tools to reduce acne on your face. If you don’t feel comfortable with having an esthetician work on your face, visit your dermatologist for a more medically-oriented facial.
Get a facial peel. A facial peel is a specialized gel containing acid that dissolves dead skin and bacteria cells. Getting these on a regular basis can greatly reduce acne over time in addition to your regular skincare regimen.
Use prescription drugs. Certain medications can be prescribed by your dermatologist to help with particularly bad cases of acne, but should be used with caution. As with all medications, there may be unwanted side-effects in a small portion of the population.
- In particularly troublesome cases of acne, a specialized drug known as accutane can be prescribed. This is an incredibly intense retinoid treatment that has shown to almost completely remove all acne in users. However, it has the most serious side-effects of any acne-fighting drug and should be used with extreme caution.
- Going on a specialized form of birth control (for women) can help to regulate hormones which may be producing your bad acne. Ask your dermatologist if this seems like a good option for you to take.
- If you are pregnant (and pregnant women often get acne) consult your doctor before using any over-the-counter product.
- Wear sunscreen if you apply topical acne treatments like salicylic acid. These chemicals fight acne, but they also make your skin more sun-sensitive.
- Try to have patience. It might seem like the acne appeared overnight, but most treatments won’t disappear overnight. With persistence, though, you’ll eventually get clear skin.
- Don’t use too many acne treatments at once; as, if one of them is successful, you won’t know which one it was. Instead, use single products at a time and work your way through different methods until you find one that sticks.