Want to know how to get rid of acne? This blog has all the details to help you get the results fast.
What is acne?
Acne is a type of skin condition that occurs when the holes of your skin (pores) become plugged with dead skin cells and excess oil. In other words, it is a skin condition characterized normally by red pimples or blackheads, whiteheads and mostly affects the face, chest, shoulders, forehead, and upper back.
Though it affects people of all ages but it is most common among teenagers. Acne is usually not a serious health threat, but it can cause acne scars.
The oil glands under the skin with an oily substance called sebum. Follicles are the pores that connect the gland by a canal. The oil carries dead skin cells inside the follicle to the surface of the skin. Through the follicle, a thin hair grows out to the skin. The sebum, skin cells, and hair sometimes clump together into a plug. It starts swelling and a pimple grows when the plug starts to break down.
Causes of Acne
From the very beginning, we thought that eating chocolates or greasy foods may result in acne. But recent research finds a direct link between a high dairy diet/high glycemic and acne. A study of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found an interrelation between acne and diets high in dairy products, potatoes, bread, pasta, rice, and sweets.
Excessive sunburns cause dry skin which may result in the production of more oil to compensate. This can cause more acne. Heredity is also an important cause of acne. If both of your parents had acne or any members of your family are running through it, then you may also develop it.
The level of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are directly affected due to emotional and psychological stress which can result in acne. These stress hormones stimulate the oil glands which increases oil production and clogs pores.
When you burst a pimple, the bacterial infection spreads down underneath your skin. This causes swelling and redness, blocking, multiplying your pimples. It also develops scars on your skin.
Home Remedies for Acne
1. Tea Tree oil
Tea tree oil kills P. acnes, the bacteria that causes acne as it has natural anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of tea tree oil, it can reduce the swelling and redness of pimples. Therefore, tea tree oil is considered as an effective acne treatment.
As per the study of 2015, researchers found that the acne sores of people can be reduced with mild to moderate acne by tea tree oil. This study suggested that 5% benzoyl peroxide of tea tree oil is a common over-the-counter (OTC ) acne medication.
Method of Using Tea Tree Oil
-Mix 1 part of tea tree oil and 9 parts of water.
– Take a cotton swab and dip it into the mixture and then apply this mixture to the affected area.
– If required, apply moisturizer.
– Repeat the process everyday for 1-2 times per day as needed.
Apart from keeping your lips moisturized, honey has many other roles in the isle of beauty. For thousands of years, honey has been used to treat many skin problems like acne, pimples. Antioxidants present in the honey helps in clearing the debris and all the waste from clogged pores. Honey also contains wound healing properties and antibacterial due to which the doctors use honey in wound dressing.
Method to use
Take a little amount of honey in a cotton pad or clean finger and apply it into pimples. You can also add the honey in your body mask or face.
Rosemary extract contains compounds or chemicals. These chemicals have antibacterial, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. The study of 2013 on human cells and mice models suggested that rosemary extract helps in reducing inflammation caused by the acne-causing bacteria.
4. Green Tea
Green tea contains high concentrations of catechins. Catechins are a group of polyphenol antioxidants. Most of the people are suffering from acne due to a lack of antioxidants as there is too much sebum or natural oil in their pores. Antioxidants help in breaking down the waste products and chemicals which is harmful to damaging healthy cells.
Green tea also helps in
– skin’s sebum production has been reduced
– reducing P. acnes
Method of Using Green Tea
– For 3-4 minutes steep green tea in boiling water.
– Cool the tea.
– In a spray bottle pour the green tea to spritz on or use cotton ball to apply tea on skin.
– Let it dry. Now rinse with water and pat dry.
A study found that the use of polyphenol green tea extract can reduce 79% and 89% of blackheads and whiteheads. It is harder to find the green tea extract that is available only on some health stores or lines but people can easily get green tea in almost all high street stores.
5. Jojoba Oil
The waxy substance and natural oil of jojoba can be extracted from the seeds of the jojoba shrub. It also helps in repairing damaged skin, wound healing, and acne lesions. Some compounds in jojoba oil prevent skin inflammation and reduce skin redness and pimples, whiteheads, and other inflamed lesions. According to a 2012 research, 133 people applied clay face masks that contained jojoba oil. After 6 weeks of using this mask for 2 to 3 times per week, people reported that they got 54% of improvement in their acne.
Method of Using Jojoba Oil
Mix jojoba essential oil with a cream, clay face mask, or a gel and apply it to the acne. Or, you can also use a cotton pad by taking a few drops of jojoba oil on it and rubbing gently on the affected areas of acne scars.
Garlic is also used to treat infections. It boosts the ability of the body to fight against germs and infections. Many traditional medicine practitioners used garlic as a medicine against skin infections. The organosulfur compounds of garlic have both anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. This organosulfur also helps in strengthening the immunity of the body to fight against infections.
How to Use Garlic
By adding more garlic in the diet people can easily fight with the inflammation and infections caused by acne. Some people rub the garlic on toast, make it into a hot drink or chew whole garlic cloves. Garlic powders or capsules are mostly available in health stores or grocery stores. To avoid skin irritation, don’t apply garlic directly on pimples. Use it carefully or it may burn the skin.
7. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera can help in reducing the appearance of acne and prevents its breakouts as it has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agents. It is best for people who get dry skin from acne products. Aloe vera is an excellent moisturizer and contains a lot of water. According to a 2014 study, researchers found that aloe vera is a common OTC remedy to use for 8 weeks. Some people with mild to moderate acne using aloe vera gel with tretinoin cream. While others used only tretinoin cream. As compared to people using only tretinoin gel, participants with using both the aloe vera gel with tretinoin cream get significant improvement in both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne.
Method of Using Aloe Vera Gel
– With a spoon extract the gel from the aloe plant.
– Apply it directly to the skin as moisturizer.
– Repeat 1-2 times each day or as directed.
8. Coconut oil
Like other natural remedies, coconut oil also contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds. These help in reducing redness and swelling of pimples and it may also destroy the bacteria that causes acne. Coconut oil also helps in the healing of open acne sores fast.
Method of Using Coconut Oil
Rubbing pure or virgin coconut oil to the acne affected area. For pure coconut oil look at the natural food sections of grocery stores or online.
If you’re looking for how to get rid of acne, try Echinacea. The compounds present in it destroy bacteria and viruses, including P. acnes. Echinacea is also known as purple coneflower. It also strengthens the immune system and reduces inflammation and used to fight against or prevent infections, including cold and flu.
How to Use Echinacea
Take Echinacea supplements or apply creams containing Echinacea to areas of acne-affected lesions. Echinacea products are available online or on any health store.
Oatmeal is one of the best natural remedies for acne scars. It is also a healthy breakfast food. The natural antioxidant expels inflammation-causing cytokines, dryness, dead cells, and itchiness. Unlike other acne remedies, active zinc in oatmeal balances the natural oil of the skin instead of drying the skin completely.
How to Use
Make a mask of oatmeal with coconut oil, honey, or milk.
11. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is known to be the medicine of many ailments and acne symptom is one of them. Its succinic and lactic acid banish inflammation and help in removing the acne scar, while its organic acids fight germs and oil, and bacteria.
Method of Using Apple Cider Vinegar
– Take one part of ACV and three parts of water.
– After cleaning your skin, use a cotton ball and gently apply it to the skin.
– After 5 – 20 seconds rinse it with water and pat dry.
– Repeat this process daily for 1- 2 times as required.
12. Lemon juice
Lemon juice is one of the most inexpensive and super effective home remedies for acne. An exfoliant, astringent, and antibacterial agent, it helps in drying out active acne, unclog the pores, and remove dry skin cells.
How to Use
Make a mixture of rosewater or honey with lemon juice. Apply it on the affected areas. Leave it for 10 minutes to absorb. Wash it with cool water. Blend it with rose water for the less acidic mix.
Lifestyle Changes For How to Get Rid of Acne
Changing of lifestyle can also help in keeping the body healthy, reducing acne flare-ups, and prevents our skin from becoming more oily.
13. Reducing stress
According to the American Study of Dermatology the cause of acne flare-ups due to stress. Stress increases the level of hormones androgen. Androgen stimulates oil glands and hair follicles in pores, triggering acne.
Tips for managing stress include:
– avoid skipping meals and eat healthy and balanced diet.
– practice deep breathing, mindfulness, yoga or meditation.
– do exercise regularly.
– enough sleeping.
– alcohol and caffeine consumption should be limited.
– talking to a doctor, family, friends or other supportive people.
14. Choosing the Right Cleanser
Normally the soaps are having high pH or acidity which can irritate the skin. As a result, acne gets worse. To reduce the risk of acne flare-ups and heal the sores, use cleansers having 5.5 pH to rinse or wash your face.
15. Staying Hydrated
Drink enough water to prevent acne outbreaks. In fact, this is one of the easiest natural acne treatments. Try to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water every day to make sure that your body is getting. The required amount of water it needs. Dry skin can easily become damaged or irritated resulting in pimples. Being hydrated ensures the growth of new skin cells to heal sores.
16. Never Touch Pimples
Rubbing, squeezing, popping, or touching acne sores increase more bacteria into the lesions. It may cause further infections. Squeezing of pimples may worsen the pimples as it can push the debris and bacteria further into the skin. To heal the acne safely, visit a doctor if the sores are large or are deep under the skin.
17. Exercise regularly
Exercise promotes the flow of blood circulation. The skin cells nourish by the blood flow increase. Proper blood circulation also helps in preventing and healing acne. In hormone regulation, exercise plays an important role. Stress and anxiety are some of the main factors for the development of acne, but exercise can decrease both stress and anxiety and prevents acne lesions. Healthy adult exercise for 30 minutes 3-5 times per week is necessary. This can include walking, running and lifting weights, and hiking.
20. Cut Back On Dairy
The link between acne and dairy products is highly controversial. Consuming dairy products and milk may cause hormonal changes as both the things to expose you to hormones, which may lead to acne. Two studies reported that higher levels of consumption of milk are associated with acne. For those with acne-prone skin, consumption of both milk and dairy products should be limited, but more research needs to be done in order to establish a true causal relationship.
21. Exfoliate Regularly
The process of removing the top layer of dead skin cells is known as exfoliation. Use a brush or scrub to physically remove the cells. Alternatively, acne can be removed chemically by applying an acid to dissolve them. Exfoliation removes the skin cells that clog up pores. Thus, reducing acne. Once the topmost layer of skin is reduced it makes the acne treatment more effective by allowing them to penetrate deeper. It may reduce the discoloration and appearance of a scar.
In one small study, 25 patients with acne received eight microdermabrasion at weekly intervals. 96% of the participants were pleased with the results and recommend it to others. In stores or an online wide variety of exfoliation products are available. However, you can use sugar or salt to make a scrub at home.
Method of Making Scrub
– Mix coconut oil with equal parts of sugar or salt.
– With mixture scrub skin and rinse well.
– Exfoliate as often as desired up to once daily.
22. Take a Zinc supplement
Zinc is an essential nutrient for immune function, metabolism, cell growth, and hormone production. It is also used for the natural treatment of acne. Taking zinc orally can reduce acne. In a study, oral zinc supplements were given to 48 acne patients three times per day. Out of 48, 38 patients experienced an 80-100% improvement in the reduction of acne after 8 weeks. Consumption of too much zinc without medical supervision may cause adverse effects, including gut irritation and stomach pain.
23. Fish oil supplement
The two main types of omega-3 fatty acids that fish oil contains are
a) Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and
b) Decosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Omega-3 fatty acids offer a multitude of health benefits as these are incredibly healthy fats. EPA prevents acne, manages oil production, and maintains adequate hydration. High levels of EPA and DHA can reduce the risk of acne as they are shown to decrease inflammatory factors.
In one study, omega-3 fatty acids supplements containing both EPA and DHA daily was given to 45 individuals. After 10 weeks, acne decreased significantly.
By eating chia seeds, salmon, walnuts, sardines, ground flaxseeds, and anchovies you can also get omega-3 fatty acids. Taking a fish oil supplement may help decrease acne.
24. Apply Witch Hazel
Witch Hazel is extracted from the leaves and bark of the North American witch hazel shrub, Hamamelis virginiana. It contains tannins, which have strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. People use it to treat many skin problems like burns, insect bites, eczema, bruises, dandruff, varicose veins, and acne. Applying witch hazel to the skin can reduce inflammation, fight bacteria, and help with healing.
Method of Using Witch Hazel
– In a small saucepan, combine 1 tablespoon witch hazel bark and 1 cup water.
– For half an hour soak witch hazel and then boil the mixture on the stove.
– Covered, reduce to simmer and cook, for 10 minutes.
– Remove the mixture from the heat and let sit for an additional 10 minutes.
– Strain and in a sealed container store the liquid.
– Using a cotton ball apply it to clean skin 1-2 times per day or as required.
It is important to note that as tannins are often lost in the distillation process commercially prepared version may not contain tannins.
25. Low Glycemic Load Diet
For many years the relationship between acne and diet has been debated. Recent evidence suggests that glycemic index and insulin are associated with acne. The food’s glycemic index (GI) measures how it raises the blood sugar quickly.
Food with high GI includes pastries, cakes, doughnuts, candies, sugary soft drinks, white bread, sugary breakfast cereals, and other processed foods. Fruits, nuts, legumes, vegetables, and whole or minimally processed grains are the foods with a low glycemic index.
High GI foods have a direct effect on the development and severity of acne as it causes spike in insulin which increase sebum production.
In one study, 43 people followed by a high- or low-glycemic diet for 12 weeks. As a result, low glycemic diet consuming individuals have a significant improvement in both insulin sensitivity and acne as compared to individuals eating carb-dense foods. The same result was yielded by 31 participants in another study.
These small studies suggest that individuals with acne-prone skin may be helpful if they are consuming a low glycemic diet, but further research is needed.
Medical Treatment for How to Get Rid of Acne
1. Benzoyl peroxide: To kill the C. acnes bacteria that causes breakouts, benzoyl peroxide is very effective. It is an antibacterial ingredient.
If you aren’t careful, the cleansing treatment and leave-on creams can dry out sensitive skin and bleach clothing. Board-certified dermatologist Eric Meinhardt, M.D., previously told SELF that it’s best to stick to formulations that have no more than 2% benzoyl peroxide listed on the active- ingredients chart; stronger concentrations are harder on your skin without being any tougher on bacteria.
2. Sulfur: For drying up whiteheads and pus-filled pimples, sulfur is an effective ingredient though it smells like rotten eggs. The excess oil is sucking up by the sulfur. To mask the strong scent with fragrance and to get the most efficacy, sulfur is typically mixed with other active ingredients.
3. Antibiotics: To help with acne a dermatologist can prescribe antibiotics, but it’s not typically the first choice. As soon as you get off the antibiotics, the acne will return immediately.
4. Azelaic Acid: Azelaic acid can effectively clear up the inflammation. It is often used for sensitive skin or pregnant patients. This ingredient is used for treating acne bumps associated with rosacea and melasma.
5. Dapsone Gel: Another prescription for the treatment of acne is dapsone gel. Dapsone is both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent. It helps people with deeper painful pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads. For other acne treatment also, dapsone is used. But, this gel causes dry skin like many other acne remedies.
When To Visit A Doctor/ Dermatologist
Here are 5 signs to know when to call a doctor.
1. Depressed or Upset With Your Skin
Acne can affect more your life than your skin. If you feel depressed or avoid social events and if your acne is adversely affecting your self-esteem, immediately talk to your doctor. Your dermatologist will not only improve your skin but also help you deal with the frustration caused by acne.
2. Acne Is Getting Worse Despite Using Over-The-Counter Products
Acne can be successfully cleared with over-the-counter acne products if it is mild. If OTC doesn’t respond well, then immediately visit the doctor about the prescription of acne treatments. To see some improvement, you should use the products for 10-12 weeks or 3 months. If your breakouts aren’t getting better after treating your acne consistently or it seems to be worsening, contact your dermatologist. An acne medication prescribed by your dermatologist will give you a better result.
3. Your Acne May Be Caused by a Medication
Certain medications like birth control pills and steroids can also trigger acne. If your skin begins breaking out by taking any medications, let your doctor know.
4. Never Been Diagnosed With Acne Before
If you suddenly begin to break out red bumps on the face, back, upper chest, or elsewhere, see your doctor. Especially, if this is your first time to be diagnosed with acne. Folliculitis and rosacea both look like acne. So, if you aren’t sure what you have, contact a professional.
5. Moderate to Severe Inflammatory Acne, Nodules or Cystic Breakouts
Altogether skip the OTC products if your acne is very inflammatory or moderate to severe. At this level, OTC just isn’t strong enough to improve acne. Nodules and cysts should always be evaluated by a dermatologist. It’s because they are very severe forms of breakouts. Scarring can easily cause by these deep blemishes, so they should be treated promptly.
Skin Care Routine to Avoid Acne
1. Clean Your Face
Clean your face at least once in a day. But stick to a gentle, sulfate-free cleanser. Without irritating your skin it will dissolve excess dirt, oil, and bacteria. On the other hand, if you wash your face with acne-fighting face wash, it will make your skin dry and harsh. After each wash, it leaves your skin more vulnerable.
2. Use Toner or Astringent
Toner or astringent helps to remove excess oil, hydrate, or fight blackheads, tone, and blemishes. Pour a few drops of toner to a cotton pad. Apply it gently over the neck and face to help remove any leftover oil, cleanser residue, and make-up.
3. Apply Acne Treatment Medications
After the toner is completely dried, apply acne treatment cream prescribed by your dermatologist or use an over-the-counter acne gel or cream. Before proceeding to the next step, let the cream absorb completely. To choose the right acne medication, call your home physician, or dermatologist.
100% moisturization is needed for acne-prone and oily skin. Oil glands produce more sebum that leads to shiny skin and clogged pores. Apply lightweight and oil-free moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated and balanced. For oily skin, go with a gel formula that contains hydrating ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and/or ceramides.
If you have dry /combined skin type, go with a lotion formula.