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7 Home Remedies for Acne that Actually Work

7 Home Remedies for Acne that Actually Work

I definitely don’t always promote that you turn immediately to smearing food on your face to help reduce your acne woes, but some of these may be a good option for you depending on what you need or if you are looking for something to try that is not going to fry your face to the point of it peeling, which definitely happens if you overuse some of those products.

Remember that there are different types of acne out there so not every treatment is going to be the right treatment for your kind of acne. Don’t just jump in and try something on a whim. Some treatments that help one kind of acne can exacerbate another kind of acne. If you can talk to a dermatologist first, that’s great. But if not, I made this list. None of these treatments will hurt you, but most will definitely not smell the greatest. The best part is that you most likely have some of these ingredients already laying around the house waiting to be used. So go forth and see what you can do.

Here’s my list of 7 remedies that can actually help with acne.

Honey

  1. Honey: I know its stick and can attract ants. But honey is actually good for you anyway, so you shouldn’t be too surprised that it is also pretty good for your skin too. It has a natural antibiotic property in it which can kill the bacteria on your skin. I would recommend not putting the honey on your face straight out of a jar, but you can make a mask by mixing 1 part honey to 2 parts oatmeal and leave it on for a half hour.

Apple cider vinegar

  1. Aspirin: Salicylic acid is in aspirin. If you want to make a homemade mask, you just need to crush up some aspirin, mix it in water, and smear the past all over your face.

 Witch-hazel

  1. Witch hazel: I still have memories of my mother smearing this on my chicken pox. But much like with chicken pox, witch hazel will naturally dry out pimples and help shrink them down.

 Apple cider vinegar

  1. Apple cider vinegar: There are a billion uses for apple cider vinegar and one of them is for your skin. It has a natural acid in it which can help reduce the bacteria and take the redness out of the pimples. Just mix apple cider vinegar with a little water and use a cotton ball to dab it on your skin.

 Green tea

  1. Green tea: Green tea is well-known for its antimicrobial abilities to work on the inside of your body, but it can have a similar effect on the outside of your body. Grab a cup of cool green tea and use it as a face wash. You can also put a tea bag on a breakout area to try to help it go down on its own.

 Fresh mint

  1. Fresh mint: If you have a little herb patch outside, mint may be the answer for your acne. You just chop up some fresh mint, mix it with yogurt and oatmeal and smear it on your face as a mask. It smells really good. Mint is great for taking the oil off of your skin.

 Lemon

  1. Lemon: Lemons have the ability to exfoliate, disinfect, and reduce the redness in your acne. If you already have some acne scars, lemon juice can reduce the redness and appearance of them. Grab a cotton ball with some lemon juice on it and dab it where you have a breakout. You should rinse your skin afterward though.

Best 5 Acne Treatments You Can Buy Over the Counter

Best 5 Acne Treatments You Can Buy Over the Counter

If you are dealing with acne but hesitant to go to a dermatologist, or perhaps simply can’t get into one, there are some good over the counter options out there that may work for you.

Before we dive into my recommendations, we need to discuss ingredients. Over the counter acne treatments should have a common theme among ingredients.

  • Salicylic acid: This helps keep your pores clear. Overuse will dry out your skin which can make acne worse.
  • Benzoyl peroxide: This ingredient is a great bacteria killer and also will remove the oil from your skin as well as sluff off the extra cells. This can burn your face if you use it too much or if you don’t actually have oily skin.
  • Alpha hydroxyl acid: This will work on the acne by removing dead skin cells while helping take down the redness. This is also a great treatment if you struggle with acne scars. It can also make your face nice and smooth.
  • Sulfur: This removes the dead skin cells as well as the oil from your face. Just like the others, overuse can dry out your skin.

Proactiv

  1. Proactiv:If you haven’t heard of Proactiv, you may be living under a rock. With celebrity endorsements like Adam Levin and Katy Perry, Proactiv has the marketing. Proactive uses benzoyl peroxide, but only up to 2.5%. Any higher would be prescription strength. You can get a subscription delivery service and have it delivered directly to your door right when you should be about out of it.

Paula’s Choice

  1. Paula’s Choice:In the same vein as Proactiv but cheaper, Paula’s Choice uses benzoyl peroxide at 2.5% This line of skin products also has some non-irritant options, in case you were needing to keep your face clean, but were not suffering from an oil problem as well. It also has some anti-inflammant qualities, letting your skin look better while it is working on helping get rid of the acne. 

Neutrogena Complete Acne Therapy System

  1. Neutrogena Complete Acne Therapy System:This one contains both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. It is very effective quickly, however, it can also dry out your skin at a rapid pace as well. Overuse will cause irritation. But it’s easy to find in a store or online. The line is so extensive that there is an acne treatment for all occasions; day, night, outside, whenever, Neutrogena has an acne treatment for you.

Clean & Clear

  1. Clean & Clear:This one is Johnson & Johnson’s answer to acne treatment. Its primary ingredient is the salicylic acid, which works especially well if you have oily skin. It is recommended that you wear sunscreen with this one since it can make your skin over dry, making it more susceptible to the damaging nature of the sun’s rays. This is the least costly system on this list as well as the easiest to find in stores. If you are more on a budget when trying to combat your acne, this may be a good option for you.

Relogy

  1. Relogy: This one markets that it can treat more than one kind of acne. Whether you suffer from hormonal acne or if you are dealing with your standard acne, their formula is meant to help both men and women of any age combat acne. They also don’t test on animals and is a completely vegan brand. Instead of using one of the drying acids I listed above, they only use tea tree oil, which is helpful if you don’t have oily skin. A lot of acne treatments are meant to reduce the oil on your skin which doesn’t help if you don’t have oily skin.

How Useful is Salicylic Acid?

Salicylic-Acid-and-Its-Skin-Benefits

If I had to sum it up simply, salicylic acid is the most awesome treatment you can get over the counter to combat acne. It has been proven effective over and over again, so, depending on the kind of acne that you are struggling with, salicylic acid may or may not be the right choice for you.

What does it do?

Salicylic acid can actually break up your skin’s cells, which naturally hang out together in the inner lining of the skin pore. The breakup is what unclogs your pores, helping eliminate blackheads and whiteheads.

Something else to consider is that salicylic acid has the same anti-inflammatory ingredients as aspirin. You can actually use crushed up aspirin in lieu of salicylic acid on your face, but getting cleanser with the acid will help you out more.

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Who should use it?

Salicylic acid is a good choice for people who have oily skin. It dries out the skin and loosens the clogged pores. But also remember that Salicylic acid isn’t just used to treat acne. It’s a powerful exfoliator, too.

But its purposes can go beyond acne. Since it helps loosen the skin, it is a good and effective treatment for people who are battling psoriasis.  Using a scrub that has salicylic acid not only removes dead skin like a traditional face scrub, but it will also prevent future breakouts.

If you already have a skincare routine that involves scrubbing, you should not use salicylic acid. It can make your skin even more irritated which is in no way helpful at all. If you open up your pores too much, you will wind up with more acne that you started with.

Keep in mind that when you start using salicylic acid, your skin will need time to adjust to its demands. It could take a couple of months to actually see good results.

Who shouldn’t use it?

Because of its relationship with aspirin, if you have an aspirin allergy, it is a bad idea to try it. It also can make your skin burn and sting since it will dry it out. If your face starts hurting or you notice your skin peeling, it is time to back off from it. While the over the counter treatments only have up to 2% and you can get higher from a doctor, it is not a good idea to do unless you have severe acne and are still searching for an answer.

Because some people have had issues using it over the years there are some salicylic acide free treatments out there which are supposed to keep the crazy dry skin at bay. The alternatives are called ProNexin, Acnepril, and Orovo Acne. These are a good option if you are allergic to aspiring but are still struggling to keep your skin acne-free.

What else should I know?

While sunscreen is incredibly important regardless, it becomes even more important if you are using an acne treatment. Having your skin sluffed off will exposure the skin underneath, making it more vulnerable to the sun. There are so many acne sunscreens out on the market now that there shouldn’t be any surprise that you are not the only one struggling to get a hold on it.  Skin cancer is not a joke. It is a seriously and preventable illness. Where sunscreen when you are outside, but especially if you are going through an acne treatment. You don’t need to get cancer burned off from your face too because you wanted to get rid of the acne. Take good care of your skin and consult with a dermatologist about your acne.

The Dangers of Accutane for Acne

accutane-cure-acne-fb

While Accutane is a fantastic treatment for the most aggressive kinds of acne out there, it is not without consequence. In fact, a Harvard review even said “Accutane is one of the most dangerous products on the market today.” You may be wondering how an acne treatment can be dangerous. But I’m here to break it down for you.

What is Accutane?

Accutane in a nutshell is a massive amount of vitamin A. It works by cutting down the amount of oil that your oil glands can create and will force your skin to turnover more quickly, leaving your skin soft and supple. It is usually a last resort acne medicine, though that is not always the case.

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Why is it Dangerous?

The major danger of using Accutane is the birth defects that it can cause if you are using Accutane and become pregnant. The horrors of the birth defects are really bad. Like have a baby whose brain is on the outside of its head bad. It also has the potential for passing through breast milk. High amounts of vitamin A are not good for infants, so you should really just avoid takin it if you are even considering the potential of children.

If you are hurt while using it, your skin has a greater chance of scarring and it also can cause bone loss. While you are taking it, you should not have any cosmetic procedures done since it will increase the chance of scars. Alcohol is also a big no-no with Accutane since it can cause pancreatitis as well.

A doctor won’t even let you take it unless you have taken two negative pregnancy tests. If you get pregnant on it, I can only say you need to call your doctor as soon as possible. You don’t want to be playing with the side effects from it.

Can I still use it?

The real problem with Accutane is that it is over-prescribed. It was really meant for people who were suffering from the worst of the worst cystic acne, not people who get an occasional pimple here or there.

Whether you want to use it is between you and your doctor. If you are out of options, this may be a great solution for you. But if you are suffering from very mild acne, please consider another kind of treatment.

It is recommended that if you are sexually active and using Accutane that you not just rely on one kind of contraceptive. Women should be on an oral contraceptive or iud as well as using condoms during sex. You don’t want to risk the birth defect.

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My two cents:

Unless you are a person suffering from cystic acne, don’t even bother your doctor about Accutane. The risks from it far outweigh the advantage. Like you would care more about having clear skin that the health of the rest of your body. Dermatologists have a lot of great solutions in terms of acne treatments, so they will have another option that may work better for you. I’m more fascinated that they have even let this drug stay on the market as long as it has. Dermatologists can be hard to get in with anyway, depending on where you live, so you may want to dabble in some overt the counter treatments before you commit to going and seeing the doctor for a break out of a few pimples on your face. I do understand that some of the more severe kinds of acne require actual medical treatment, but you can grab something over the counter while you wait to get in to have your acne evaluated.

The Relationship of Acne and Birth Control

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Have you ever heard of using birth control to help your acne? Of course birth control is known for its more obvious purposes, but there has been good evidence and studies that have shown that birth control actually can help you get a hold of your acne problem.

Why would you?

If you are wondering why you would use birth control for acne, let’s take a step back. I have listed on another post the different types of acne. The kind that plagues women most commonly is hormone-related acne. That is acne that is going to get worse during different cycles of the month or different changes in your body. If you can get your hormones under control, naturally your acne will start to get itself under control as well.

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How does it work?

So pubescent teenagers and women in their late 20’s are going to have the biggest issue with hormone-related acne. What happens is there is an excess of sebum in your body. Sebum is your body’s oil that is created by the glands in your skin. So the sebum can clog the pores, give you a case of hormonal acne. Testosterone is the biggest culprit for the creation of sebum. Since birth controls contain estrogen, the testosterone will be suppressed, meaning less sebum, and less acne.

What kinds of birth control works?

Of course not all birth control is created equal. In the past 20 years, we have seen more birth controls brought onto the market than ever before. There are three different kinds of combination oral contraception which have both estrogen and progesterone, as in female hormones. It is the combination of the two that is the ticket. The mini pill, for example, can actually make hormonal acne worse since it does not contain any estrogen. The birth control that is normally prescribed to handle acne will always have estrogen. The three kinds of birth control for acne are:

  • Yaz: This is an estrogen/drospirenone combo. This one has had some legal trouble because they found that this pill can also cause blood clots, especially if given to women over the age of 35.
  • Ortho Tri-Cyclen: This is an estrogen mixed with norgestimate. This one comes in a few different strengths, letting your doctor adjust it as needed. This is the most prescribed birth control to help with acne.
  • Estrostep: This is estrogen and norethindrone. This one is also adjustable, but unlike the Ortho Tri-Cyclen, it’s the estrogen levels that are adjustable.

Microdermabrasion-Before-After

How do you know if birth control to control acne is a good choice for you?

The first step would be to ask your doctor. Though in some states the pharmacist is now allowed to prescribe birth control, so you could ask at the pharmacy as well. The general rules are:

  • At least 15 years old
  • You need birth control anyway
  • You get a period

The doctor will go over your options to see if this is a good fit before prescribing it. It’s preferable that you are already in need of birth control, so you are not messing up your system needlessly.

Also remember that the effects are not immediate. Just like if you were taking birth control for its normal purpose, it takes a few months for your body to understand what is happening. You probably won’t see a change in your skin for at least 2-3 months, once your hormone levels stabilize and your body adjusts.

Birth control for acne only works for hormone-related acne. If you have acne from another cause, this may not be a good choice for you. But your dermatologist will really be the one to decide whether it is a good option for you.

Top 6 Common Myths about Acne

Dispelling The 9 Acne Myths-5

You may be surprised to learn that there is a lot about acne that is misunderstood. From home treatments to trendy cures, acne’s reputation over the years has been constantly changing. Here are the top 10 myths about acne. Once you learn what does not actually work, you will be able to find something that could.

Myth #1: You can tan away acne.

While tanning acne be especially helpful with seasonal affective disorder as well as psoriasis, it is not going to help your acne. Sure you can get a sun-kissed glow, but the consequence goes deeper than battling acne. Ignoring the bigger consequence for a minute, tanning will dry out your skin, which tricks it into creating even more oil. Sun exposure also makes your skin to lost cells more quickly, which will leave you with dry skin even more exposed to the sun. Add the oil increase to it and you have a recipe for nasty acne with a case of skin cancer. There are some acne-treating face creams with sunscreen out there. That is much better than risking your health.

Myth #2: You can scrub away acne.

While exfoliating your skin if your skin does not do a great job of self-sluffing can help you with acne, as long as it isn’t done daily, a lot of the over-the-counter scrubs can makes the acne worse. When you scrub your face, you’re irritating the skin, which will open it up for even more bacteria to get in, making the acne even worse. False! Harsh over-the-counter scrubs will do more to irritate your skin than heal it. If you scrub too often, you can even scar your face permanently. Be kind to your skin. The same goes for toners. Make sure it’s not going to just aggravate the acne instead of helping eradicate it.

Spot treatments are effective

Myth #3: Spot treatments are effective.

Nope. Just nope. While there is a lot of jargon thrown around about how you can just put medicine on a pimple and it will disappear before your eyes, it’s a load of crap. A pimple doesn’t just pop up in an instant and it cannot go away that quickly either. A pimple’s journey begins about two weeks before it ever actually pops up. So a spot treatment may help the redness go away, but what about the rest of your face? The only way to actually battle acne is to treat your entire face.

Myth #4: Acne is curable.

Don’t we all wish? There isn’t a cure for acne. Luckily there are quite a few ways to deal with it, so we aren’t just stuck being with it. But it depends on the kind you have whether you choose one treatment over another. Some will not work as well as others. You should see what kind of acne you are dealing with before you try something.

Eating chocolate makes acne worse.

Myth #5: Eating chocolate makes acne worse.

The truth is it depends on the type of chocolate. It’s not the chocolate itself that can caused breakouts. It’s milk. If you are having chocolate, eating chocolate that is as close to 100% cocoa is the only way to help keep any chocolate-induced break-outs at bay.

Myth #6: Exercise will get rid of acne.

While exercise is inarguably good for you, it is not going to help your skin. The more you exercise, the more your skin is going to produce oil. It’s a terrible combination of sweating, friction, and overheating. All of the places you sweat when you work out are going to be more prone to acne as opposed to cleansing your skin. Take a good shower afterward and if you are prone to body acne, get a body wash that works with it.

Understanding the Types of Acne

Understanding the Types of Acne

When you hear the word “acne” a few different things may come to mind, but mostly it’s going to be that nasty, fluid-filled bump standing out on your face. But did you know there are more than one kind of acne? You may be surprised to learn that acne does not just happen due to too much oil on your face. There are so many causes of acne as we know it that before you can even consider treating yours, you need to know what you are getting yourself into.

Inflammatory Acne

  1. Inflammatory Acne: This is most likely what you are thinking of when you think of acne. The red bumps, the whiteheads, the blackheads, and anything in between. Really this is just clogged pores. This type of acne is your skin’s reaction to a hair follicle that has been backed up with wax and oil. This happens to people who have more oily skin. Usually it happens more often with guys because testosterone can make the skin oily.

There are some over the counter options to help you combat inflammatory acne. The best and most obvious thing is that you should be washing your face regularly. There are some special acne soaps that can help dry your skin and relieve your clogged pores. Common products have tea tree oil and salicylic acid. You can also see a dermatologist to get a prescription if you are having a hard time controlling the oil on your skin or keeping the acne at bay. They have even more powerful options, though they can also irritate your skin, so it’s a fine line.

Hormonal Acne

  1. Hormonal Acne: Kids going through puberty really understand this one, but it is not restricted to just puberty. Hormonal acne happens often in women in their late 20’s and early 30’s due to drops in estrogen, but can be helped by taking birth control regularly. It also gets flare-ups during pregnancy or any kind of hormonal changes. The acne pops up around the mouth and chin and can be worst for women during their periods.

Combatting it is a little different than inflammatory acne. Birth control can keep it at bay as it regulates hormones. Birth control will block out testosterone which is a huge cause of acne. Otherwise, there is a medication called spironolactone which also blocks out testosterone and can help clear it up.

Comedonal Acne

  1. Comedonal Acne: This is a fancy way of saying “clogged pores.” It’s really caused by certain types of skin, so this one doesn’t happen to everyone. It turns up in people with skin that has a hard time of self-sluffing (yes that’s a thing). So the skin doesn’t naturally clean itself like it should. It usually pops up in the ‘T’ zone, across the forehead and down the nose.

This is probably the easiest type of acne to treat. There is a prescription you can get that will make your skin act like it should. Exfoliating your skin is also a good idea. Though you can’t use the acne treatments with microbeads anymore, since they are now banned. There are some other kinds on the market though. You also really need to be washing your face twice a day. If you wear make-up, take a look at is as well to make sure it isn’t making things worse.

Cystic Acne

  1. Cystic Acne: This is the worst kind of acne for scars. It causes really deep inflammation and is the worst kind you can get. This one can wreck your self-confidence and leave traces of your acne struggles on your face for a lifetime.

Don’t skimp on the treatment for this kind of acne. There is a prescription called Accutane that can help kill it, but it does carry some pretty intense side effects of its own. Either way, if you are struggling with this form of acne, get yourself to a dermatologist ASAP. You don’t want to waste any time or mess with these kinds of pimples. And seriously don’t even try to pop them!

When to Know you Should See a Doctor for Your Acne

When to Know you Should See a Doctor for Your Acne

Perhaps you have been combatting acne on your face for years. But how do you know that it is time to stop playing with over the counter products and get in to see a professional?

Your cleanser has stopped working

  • Your cleanser has stopped working

If you have been using over the counter acne treatments, but suddenly they aren’t doing their job anymore, you should go see a dermatologist. They understand skin better than anyone else and will be able to give you the proper treatment depending on the kind of acne that you are struggling with.

Some breakouts are much worse that others so it may not be that your acne is changing really, it just may mean that your chase had gotten so severe that only a prescription will be able to take down the inflammation enough. If you’re suffering from a breakout that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere or improving, you should definitely go see your doctor about it.

If your acne seems to be getting worse, please don’t try a home treatment. At that point, it is best to not pay home scientist and let the people who know what they are doing give you some advice about how to handle the acne.

You slather your face in makeup to hide it

  • You slather your face in makeup to hide it

If you are frantically trying to cover blemishes on your entire face or are starting to feel embarrassed about your skin, it is a good time to see a doctor. The doctor can help your treat your type of acne and get you on the road to finding your self-confidence.

If you are avoiding going out because you are concerned with how people will perceive your skin, you may need to get it checked out. Not because you should need the acknowledgement of the people you are worried about, but because you deserve to be self-confident. You should want to be going out to parties and hanging out with friends. If you don’t because of your skin, let a professional sort it all out.

Also remember that makeup itself can cause acne or make it worse. You are, after all, clogging your pores for real and will have even more breakouts than you had before. Makeup can be good for either sex, just look for one that is not oily or an oil stripper so that your skin feels amazing.

  • Your pimples seem to be scarring

If your pimples are leaving marks long after they have gone, you could be suffering from cystic acne, which is the worst kind there is. There really isn’t a good over the counter to handle this kind of acne. You will need to go to the professionals for help.

Acne scars never really go away. There are a number of things you can try to do to reduce the appearance of the scares or see if they will eventually go down, but acne scars typically hang out for a while. This is why it is important to be proactive and get yourself into a doctor who can sort out what may be going on.

  • You have a family history with acne

Whether it is your parent or a sibling, if someone in your family has struggled with severe acne, you should go have yourself looked at. You may be able to nip any future problems in the bud if you know what is supposed to happen. If you seem to have a bad breakout that isn’t going to go anywhere and know that your older brother has suffered as well, get yourself to the dermatologist and get back in action.