- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Home Remedies For Pimples
Many people are looking for home remedies for pimples, as an alternative to visiting the doctor. Pimples are extremely common, and can be very distressing, especially when they occur on visible areas of the body. Although they're typically associated with adolescents, pimples often occur in adults too. Fortunately a variety of pimple cures are available, although no single remedy works for everyone, and you may need to experiment to find that which works best for you. While there are a number of acne cures available through your doctor or dermatologist, this article focuses on pimple remedies that you can try at home.
What Causes Pimples?
First of all, why do people get pimples in the first place? A pimple forms when a pore in the skin becomes blocked by dead skin cells and sebum. Increasing amounts of sebum build up behind the blockage, causing a spot to form. The sebum may also become infected with bacteria, particularly the Proprionibacterium acnes, which is associated with acne. Pimples may be isolated, or may occur in the form of regular skin breakouts – in this case, they're generally known as acne. The most commonly occur on the face, as well as the chest, neck, shoulders and back. Pimples can sometimes occur elsewhere on the body too, but they're less common. Genital pimples are more likely to be caused by a sexually transmitted infection, and should always be checked out by a doctor.
Although most instance of pimples have the same general causes (blocked pores, over-production of sebum, bacterial infection), the factors that trigger these responses vary in different people (for example, certain foods, hormone imbalances, genetic factors etc). For this reason, not all pimple cures will work for everyone, so you may need to try different approaches before you get rid of your spots completely.
Home Remedies For Pimples
Keeping the skin clean
An obvious consideration is to keep the skin clean, to prevent the build up of dead cells, bacteria and sebum. However, it's important not to go overboard – washing obsessively with overly harsh cleansers will do more harm than good, by irritating the skin and leaving it more prone to infection and over-production of sebum. Try using a mild facial soap or other facial cleanser that's designed with acne-prone skin in mind. Natural cleansers that don't contain excess perfumes, colorings and other unnecessary ingredients are a good choice, as these ingredients can themselves trigger pimples in some individuals.
Avoid touching the skin
This is not so much a remedy as a way to avoid making the problem worse, but it's very important to avoid picking at the spots, rubbing the face etc. Many people with pimples tend to check their skin quite obsessively, and may squeeze the spots in an effort to get rid of them more quickly. While white-headed pimples can be squeezed gently with tissue-covered fingers to eliminate the pus, other pimples shouldn't be touched at all. Touching the skin helps to spread bacteria around (as well as introducing dirt, oil etc from the fingers), and picking or squeezing the spots leaves them open to further infection as well as increasing the risk of scarring. So to help your pimples clear up more quickly (and reduce the risk of spreading them around), don't touch!
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a very powerful natural anti-bacterial agent that is often found in natural acne treatments. Some people recommend dabbing the oil directly onto the pimple using a cotton bud (make sure not to get it on the surrounding skin), or you can dilute it with a carrier oil (jojoba is good for oily skin), or buy skin products containing tea tree oil. If putting tea tree oil directly onto the skin, you should be very cautious, as it can easily cause irritation and excess drying. The best option is to use tea tree skin products designed for the purpose.
Toothpaste is a popular home treatment for pimples, although its effectiveness varies. Simply apply the paste (don't use gel toothpastes) over the pimple before bed, and leave on overnight. It works by drying the area out, and can help to reduce swelling.
Lemons & oranges
Lemons have astringent properties that can help counter the oiliness that often leads to pimples. Washing the face with a mixture of lemon juice and water, or massaging the area with the skin of a lemon may help in some cases. Be sure to rinse well afterwards, as it may cause irritation if left on for too long. Grinding orange peel into a paste and applying it directly to the skin may help also.
Witch hazel is another popular natural remedy for acne and pimples, and it also has astringent properties. Dab it onto the affected area, or for convenience you can also buy it in stick form.
Aloe vera is another natural astringent, and aloe vera gel or fresh juice has helped many people to get clearer skin. It can be applied directly to the pimples.
Some essential oils have anti-bacterial, soothing and/or astringent properties. Essential oils of tea tree, lavender, bergamot, sandalwood rosemary and oregano have been found by many people to be especially good for pimples and spots. They should be diluted in carrier oil or lotion before applying to the skin – do not apply directly without diluting! Steaming the face over a bowl of hot water with a drop or two of the relevant oil added is another good method.
In many people, pimples are related to the foods they eat, and reducing or eliminating these trigger foods can be enough to prevent pimple outbreaks in the future. Common culprits include refined sugar, white flour, spices, wheat and dairy produce, although this list certainly isn't exhaustive. You might want to keep a food diary which records everything you eat and drink, and see if your pimples tend to occur more often after taking in certain foods. Note that pimples don't necessarily appear immediately after eating a trigger food – often there is a delay of up to a few days). You can then cut the offending food(s) out of your diet. In any case, it's always best to eat a healthy diet based on natural, unrefined foods, keeping junk to a minimum – such a diet helps to support skin health and your general health too.
Some people are advocates of detox regimes, which typically involve fasting or eating a very pure diet (such as just fruits, vegetables and other natural, unrefined foods, often all raw) for a few days or more. Such regimes can lead to dramatic improvements in skin conditions (as well as other ailments in some cases), although some people do experience a temporary worsening of the skin as impurities are eliminated from the body. After the skin has cleared, other foods can gradually be reintroduced, and any reactions observed – this is another way to find out if your pimples are triggered by specific foods. A detox of more than a few days is best carried out under professional guidance.
Drink lots of water
You've probably heard it before, but it's very important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water if you want your skin to look its best. Drinking water (and that means pure water, not tea, coffee or soft drinks!) helps to flush out impurities that can trigger pimples in some people, as well as keeping the skin soft and smooth. Aim for a minimum of two liters a day – more if it's hot, or you exercise a lot.
Certain herbs are also reputed to have skin healing properties, and may be beneficial for pimples and acne. Some of the herbs which may be beneficial for skin outbreaks include burdock leaf, dandelion, nettle, chamomile and red clover. These may be taken in tea form (Dr. Stuart's Skin Purify Tea is especially good, and contains all of these), or as tablets or tinctures. It is best to consult a qualified herbalist for further guidance on using herbs for acne and pimples.
Acne and pimples have been linked to nutritional imbalances in some cases, and can sometimes be remedied by taking the appropriate vitamin and/or mineral supplements. Zinc and vitamins A, B complex and E are often supplemented with good results. It is best to seek professional advice before embarking on a supplement regime.
Topical pimple remedies
You can also buy a number of over the counter acne remedies for home use. These are usually in cream or gel form, and typically contain benzoyl peroxide and/or salicyclic acid, both of which help to remove surface skin cells quickly, which helps to eliminate bacteria that can cause pimples. They can be effective, but can also cause skin irritation or allergies in some people, so you should do a small patch test first, before applying the medication to the rest of the affected area. These pimple treatments should be applied every day (or as directed) after first cleaning the skin. They may take up to several weeks to show real results, so it's important to be consistent.
Hopefully these tips will help you to reduce your pimples. Whatever acne remedy you try, you should always give it at least several weeks of consistent use before expecting to see results. If these home pimple cures don't work, you should consult your doctor, who will be able to prescribe stronger treatments.
Buying Home Pimple Remedies
Over the counter medications for home use are available from drugstores, pharmacies and large supermarkets. Herbal remedies, tea tree oil and other natural acne treatments may be available from these outlets, as well as health food stores, herbal stores etc. And of course all of these are easily available online too, where you can usually find the widest selection, and the best prices.
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