Do Natural Acne Remedies Really Work?
I've tried quite a few and in my experience - they don't.
Thanks to those good old hereditary genes, I've been blessed with oily skin. As a result I've been plagued by acne since I was about eleven years old. It started as just one or two here or there, but by the age of sixteen I was caking on foundation in an effort to hide the barrage of angry red bumps covering my face. Another technique I developed was to strategically style my hair in an attempt to hide my embarrassing condition. It was either this or put up with being called Rudolph!
One day my mom brought home one of those A-Z home remedy books. I believe I tried all the natural acne remedies that were in it, to no avail. I don't remember all of them exactly but here are some of the ones that didn't work for me:
- Toothpaste - applied to pimples before bed, it's supposed dry them up. Didn't work and was really hard to wash off in the morning.
- Tea tree oil - absolutely no improvement.
- Aloe Vera - while this is good for healing acne that has scabbed over, it does nothing for prevention.
- Rubbing alcohol - all this one did was sting like heck and dry out my skin.
Diet & Vitamins:
- Avoid ALL sugar - we had a candy store right across from our high school, so no luck with this one. Besides, isn't sugar a major food group?
- Zinc - thanks to my mom who believes vitamins cure all, I was already taking this....
- Vitamin A - and this...
- Cod liver oil - and this. They didn't help me.
- Gallons of water - teachers don't really like it when you ask to use the washroom every ten minutes!
I have found that there is a direct correlation between certain foods and my acne breakouts. Chocolate is a big one for me, so I tend to avoid it.
There are many sites that list natural acne remedies that include making all kinds of pastes from raspberries, strawberries, yogurt, oatmeal, tea, basil, mint juice, orange peel, honey, cinnamon and many, many more. Aside from oatmeal, which can be soothing for dry skin, I wouldn't apply any of these things to my face. Although, I'm sure many people would agree they may be healthy alternatives to some of the acne products available on the market. I've also tried my share of those:
- Clearasil bar soaps, astringents and creams - if anything, these only aggravated my skin and made the acne worse.
- Clean & Clear - same as above.
- Phisoderm - my sister gave me this to try and it worked great! When I ran out and bought a new bottle, they had changed the formula and it no longer helped my acne.
- Bioré strips - great for removing tiny portions of blackheads, but does nothing for deep-down dirt.
- Proactiv Solution - this three step system is not for sensitive skin. Using all three made my skin dry and sore.
The two main active ingredients (that I'm aware of) in acne products are Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid. The latter tends to make my acne worse but I have had some luck with Benzoyl Peroxide. Everyone is different and some may have had luck with the home remedies or products I've mentioned. It's a matter of finding what works best for you.
Many people do grow out of their acne, but unfortunately, at the age of 27, my skin is only marginally better than it was when I was 16. My daily routine:
- Every morning and evening I wash with a mild Aloe Vera soap.
- Throughout the day, I rinse my face 2-3 times with lukewarm water to remove excess oil. Do not wash with soap too often as it will dry out your skin.
- For spot treatments I use Panoxyl; a gel containing 2.5% or 5% Benzoyl Peroxide. It works best when applied at the first sign of a pimple.
- I apply a non-greasy, quality moisturizer before bed during winter months. My skin can get quite dry and this only seems to irritate my acne.
I have yet to find a cure for acne, but I have figured out what works best for me.