This week, we continue our Acne Survival Guide series with a few DIY acne remedies to help keep your skin clear. (In case you missed them, see the first posts in this series on preventing acne in college and the best makeup for acne prone skin.)
In my quest for clear skin, I found that the harsh chemical treatments I'd been using really took a toll on my skin's appearance. My skin was always red, tight, and dry, and had even started breaking out in new places. Since I started experimenting with natural remedies, my skin has improved dramatically. Not only is my complexion clearer, my skin looks softer and brighter, too.
Below, I'll show you how to make four of my favorite homemade acne remedies. These treatments are super simple, and cost much less than your average drugstore acne product. What could be better?
Note: As always, it's important to do a patch test before you try any homemade skin remedy. Everyone's skin is different and what works for me, might not work for you. Always test each recipe on a small area of skin before you slather it on your whole face to ensure you don't have a reaction!
1. Lemon Toner
This acne treatment is outrageously simple, and really effective. Lemon juice acts as a natural toner that helps exfoliate the skin, keeping dead skin cells from clogging your pores. Its high vitamin C content also makes it a great anti-inflamatory that works to heal blemishes and keep new ones from forming.
What you'll need:
- A clean washcloth
- The juice of 2-3 lemons
Place a damp, warm washcloth over your face for a few minutes to open up your pores so the lemon juice can really penetrate the skin. Use a cotton ball to apply the lemon juice all over your face, letting it sit for about 15-20 minutes. Then rinse with warm water.
Since lemon is an acidic fruit, it might sting your skin a little. If you feel a burning sensation, add water to the mixture to lessen the intensity.
2. Olive Oil Moisturizing Treatment
Olive oil may be a must-have in the kitchen, but it's also great for softening and moisturizing the skin, which makes it an effective acne scar treatment.
Scars left by cystic acne are a pain to remove, and often require professional intervention, but keeping your skin moisturized will help lessen the damage and improve the quality of your skin. As always, be sure to wear sunscreen every single day to keep your scars from getting worse!
What you'll need:
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Make sure to use "extra virgin": It's a little more expensive, but it's free of additives that can irritate the skin.
- 2 tablespoons of baking soda. Baking soda's mild abrasive properties make it a great exfoliant that can remove dead skin cells gently and effectively.
Mix the olive oil and baking soda together in a small bowl. Apply the mixture with your fingers, leaving it on for 20-30 minutes. Remove the mask with warm water using a clean washcloth, then wash your face with a gentle cleanser to remove any excess oil.
3. Honey Mask
This cure-all mask is my absolute favorite natural acne remedy, and it also happens to be really simple. Honey is a natural anti-inflamatory and has anti-microbial properties, which means it can fight bacterial infection and clear out your pores, leaving your skin clear and glowing.
This has worked miracles on my skin, and unless you're allergic to honey, there's no real risk of side effects. (Though always do a patch test like we recommend above!)
What you'll need:
- Honey. Seriously, that's the only ingredient. Just make sure the honey you're using is raw or unpasteurized so that you can reap its full benefits. The pasteurization process removes many of honey's infection-fighting properties, and added sugars can cause even more breakouts. Since I live in farm country, I found an awesome local brand for about $7 at my grocery store, but tons of people swear by Manuka honey. Shop around and find what works for you!
- You can also add organic cinnamon to your mask if you really want to treat yourself. Cinnamon also has anti-inflamatory properties, helps prevent infection, and will gently exfoliate the skin. It'll also make your mask smell wonderful. Just try to keep from licking your face!
To make your mask, all you'll need to do is spread a thin layer of honey across your entire face. If you're adding cinnamon, mix in a teaspoon or two before applying. Make sure to pull your hair back, because you will get sticky.
Let the mask sit for about 20-30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with warm water. Honey can be a bit drying, so be sure to follow up with a gentle moisturizer for soft, glowing skin.
4. The Ultimate Acne Mask
Truly pamper your skin by combining the healing powers of honey, avocado and oatmeal. This mask soothes irritated skin, reduces redness, and fights infection, leaving your skin feeling smooth and clear.
What you'll need:
- 1-2 tablespoons of raw, unpasteurized honey.
- Half of an avocado, mashed well. (Make some celebratory guacamole with the other half!)
- 1/4 cup of oatmeal flakes.
Mix all three ingredients together and apply a thick layer to your entire face (but not so much that it's falling off in big gloops!). Let it sit for 15-20 minutes (enjoy some of that guacamole in the meantime) then rinse with warm water.
Make circular motions with your fingers while rinsing to really let the oatmeal exfoliate your skin. Then say goodbye to redness and clogged pores for good!
What are your favorite DIY acne remedies? Do you have any other tips? Be sure to leave me a comment and let me know what you think – I love hearing your thoughts!