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Homemade Acne Treatments that Actually Work

Updated on August 3, 2016
Jayne Lancer profile image

A beauty consultant by profession, Jayne has been advising on correct skin and hair care, makeup, and other cosmetics for almost 20 years.

Natural homemade acne treatments to replace or complement conventional treatments. Some are simple to make, others require a little more effort, but they all work.

Orthodox acne treatments with benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin and salicylic acid can leave your skin sore and stressed after a month or so of use. When this happens, give your skin a break with something milder that uses natural ingredients.

Natural treatments can also complement topical medications prescribed by a doctor. A noncomedogenic oil implemented as a cleanser and shaving lubricant, for example, can prevent skin from flaking, which is often a side effect of harsh prescription treatments.

Do Natural Acne Treatments Work Faster?

Claims, however, that natural ingredients like apple cider vinegar, honey and sage are a fast cure and can even work overnight should be taken with a pinch of salt. Anecdotal evidence shows that such ingredients can indeed help, and may actually work better for some people than orthodox treatments, but a miracle remedy hasn’t yet been found. It's a question of experimenting to find out what works best for you.

There are many natural acne treatments available at health stores, or you can make them at home.

Homemade Acne Treatments

The Ingredients and What They Do

These are the main ingredients included in the recipes that follow:

  • Jojoba oil, which is noncomedogenic (meaning it won’t aggravate acne).
  • Therapeutic grade tea tree and lavender oils, known for their antiseptic properties.
  • Sage, which has estrogenic and antibiotic properties that can topically inhibit bacteria and the androgenic hormones that trigger acne.
  • Parsley, a known antioxidant and rich in vitamin A, which is widely used in the treatment of acne.
  • Organic apple cider vinegar, which restores the skin’s pH level and contains malic acid. This is an alpha hydroxy acid that can benefit acne prone skin.
  • Brewer’s yeast and honey, both known for their antibacterial properties.
  • Chamomile, which is anti-inflammatory and can help prevent scarring.
  • Milk and wheat bran, both of which are excellent cleansers.

Oil and Water Cleanser

Cleansers for acne sufferers are usually highly aggressive and strip the skin not only of dirt, makeup and excess sebum, but also of its natural barrier. The skin compensates for this by producing more sebum, which causes more blocked pores and more spots.

An oil and water cleanser stops this vicious cycle.

Because of its noncomedogenic nature, jojoba oil is an ideal cleanser and moisturizer for acne prone skin.

Just massage organic jojoba oil into your face and neck, add a little water, and work up to an emulsion. Rinse thoroughly, then gently wipe with cotton pads. Follow up with a toner or, if you’re certain your skin is completely cleansed, let the oily residue function as a protective moisturizer.

Jojoba Oil as a Shaving Lubricant

Men may find jojoba oil useful as a shaving lubricant—soap-based lubricants (i.e. cream, gel and foam) aggravate acne and should be avoided.

  1. Wet your face with warm water
  2. Massage the oil into your beard area
  3. Shave as usual, but keep the razor wet at all times
  4. Rinse your face
  5. Remove excess oil with a cotton pad
  6. Follow up with your usual acne treatment

You can give the oil an antiseptic quality by adding a drop or two of tea tree or lavender oil.

Soap-based shaving lubricants aggravate acne and should be avoided.
Soap-based shaving lubricants aggravate acne and should be avoided.

Sage and Parsley Skin Tonic

It takes two weeks until this skin tonic is ready for use, but it’s easy to make and every bit as good as a commercial acne lotion.


  • 1 handful sage leaves
  • 1 handful fresh parsley
  • ½ cup organic apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup flat mineral water
  • 1 teaspoon clear honey

You’ll also need a seal-able jar that holds at least one pint of fluid, and a bottle that holds at least one cup of fluid.


Clean the sage and parsley under running water and chop finely. Place in the jar and add the vinegar and mineral water. Close the jar tightly and leave in a cool, dark place. After two weeks, strain the fluid into the bottle, add the honey and shake well.

Use as a toner/aftershave/cleanser mornings and evenings. In case you’re perturbed, the vinegar smell vanishes soon after applying.

Chamomile Skin Tonic

This is easier to make than the above tonic and can be used in the same way.


  • 2 fl oz chamomile infusion (made from either fresh or dried flowers)
  • 2 fl oz organic apple cider vinegar


Prepare the infusion, steeping for at least 15 minutes, then pour the two ingredients into a bottle and shake lightly.

Chamomile is anti-inflammatory and can help prevent scarring.
Chamomile is anti-inflammatory and can help prevent scarring.

Yeast and Honey Face Mask


  • 3 tablespoons powdered brewer’s yeast
  • 2 tablespoons clear honey
  • A little chamomile infusion (made from either fresh or dried flowers)


Prepare the chamomile infusion, steeping for at least 15 minutes.

Mix the brewer’s yeast with the honey, then add just enough chamomile infusion so the mixture forms a spreadable paste.

Apply the mask to your face and neck, avoiding the eye and mouth areas. Leave on for 15 to 20 minutes.

Milk Bath with Sage and Wheat Bran

A milk bath is ideal if your back and shoulders are prone to spots and breakouts.


  • ½ lb wheat bran
  • 1 handful sage leaves
  • 4 pints milk


Place the wheat bran, sage leaves and milk in a pan and bring to the boil. Leave to steep until the milk has cooled, then strain through a muslin cloth directly into the bathwater.

Tea Tub

Just throw a few bags of chamomile or lavender tea into your bathwater and add a drop or two of jojoba oil.

You can use ordinary teabags or buy ‘tub teabags’ created especially for bathing. Another option is reusable muslin bags with a drawstring that you can fill with whichever herb or flower you desire.

Just throw a few bags of chamomile or lavender tea into your bathwater.
Just throw a few bags of chamomile or lavender tea into your bathwater.

Tea Tree Oil

Known for its antiseptic qualities, tea tree oil is among the ingredients of most commercially available natural acne remedies. You can add a few drops to any of the above recipes, or use it neat.

Apply the oil to a cotton pad and dab on individual spots after cleansing. You might want to keep a bottle handy for whenever you feel a spot ‘coming on’ during the course of the day—it can sometimes cause it to recede. Use only therapeutic grade tea tree oil, which you should buy at a pharmacy.

Photo Credits

First image by Luke Lehrfeld (CC BY 2.0) via

Second image by Andrew Dyer ( [CC BY-SA 2.0 (] [brightness and contrast modified] via Wikimedia Commons

Third image by Condesign (

Fourth image by Humusak (

© 2014 Jayne Lancer


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