Acne is by far one of the most prevalent skin conditions in the world today. At any given moment, almost 10% of the world population is dealing with acne and pimples. It is estimated that anywhere between 85% and 100% of people aged 12-25 will experience acne at least once in their young adult life.
There are many conventional treatments that can help you get rid of pimples and acne. However, the most effective of them are also the most expensive and thus unaffordable to many. What’s more, some of them can cause side effects including skin irritation, dry skin, and scarring. To avoid these risks, more and more people are turning their attention toward natural acne and pimple remedies.
Read on to learn how to get rid of acne fast and safely at home.
Why Popping Pimples Isn’t the Way to Go
Although your first instinct may be to pop pimples yourself, it might be best left to your dermatologist.
You see, pimples form when there’s too much sebum, bacteria, dead skin, and pus in the hair follicles (also known as clogged pores). The pores are under a lot of pressure as is, but when you start squeezing the pimple, you’ll only add to that pressure. Instead of pushing all the debris out, you may inadvertently force it even further down the follicle, potentially resulting in a ruptured follicle wall and loss of tissue.
In addition, popping pimples or merely picking at them can lead to the formation of scabs and blemishes on the surface of the skin. If you have cystic acne, popping them could cause a serious skin infection that can only be treated by your doctor. That’s not to mention some of the most common long-term effects of acne, including acne scarring and the formation of dark spots (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation).
How to Get Rid of Acne Fast: 7 Home Remedies to Try
To avoid the potential risks involved with popping pimples on your own, you should have your acne looked at and treated by a dermatologist. Alternatively, you can try one of the following home remedies.
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has a very soothing effect on the skin, which is why it’s an essential ingredient in many popular skin care products on the market. The leaves of this tropical plant produce a clear gel that cools your skin, removes excess oils, and reduces inflammation. You can buy aloe vera gel at your local drugstore or make it yourself by cutting the leaves into small chunks and scraping the gel out using a spoon. Store the gel in your fridge and apply it daily, either on its own or in combination with other acne treatments.
2. Green Tea
Green tea is rich with tannins and flavonoids, two substances that have a strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effect. Thanks to these two powerful groups of antioxidants, green tea is also effective against acne. Steep some green tea in boiling water for a few minutes, let it cool for a bit, and apply it to your face. You can either use a cotton ball or squirt it onto your face using a spray bottle.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Used for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, tea tree oil is known to be effective against bacteria that cause acne and pimples. What’s more, a 1999 study found that a gel containing 5% tea tree oil was as effective as a 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion, which is commonly used to treat acne. Due to its strength, tea tree oil should be diluted before use. Mix one part oil with nine parts water and use a cotton swab to apply the mixture to the pimples on the face. Do this 1-2 times a day, as needed.
4. Essential Oils
Tea tree oil is not the only essential oil that can help treat pimples and acne. Rosemary, clove, cinnamon, rose, and lavender essential oils are all effective against P. acnes and S. epidermis, the two bacteria that cause acne. The same is true of sweet basil and orange essential oils in combination with acetic acid. All these oils are very concentrated, so you should dilute them before use with an oil-to-water ratio of 1:9.
You probably already have some aspirin in your home, so you can use it to create an anti-acne mask. Crush a few tablets and combine them with water in a ratio of 3:1 to create a paste. If you want to, you can also add yogurt or honey to the mix. Mix the paste until it thickens a bit and then use a cotton swab to apply it to the area of your face affected by acne. Leave the mask on for about half an hour before wiping it off with a wet cloth or tissue. Repeat this 1-2 times a day until the acne clears up.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Thanks to the combination of succinic, lactic, acetic, and citric acid, apple cider vinegar can kill the acne-causing P. acnes bacterium. Not only that but it can also reduce the discoloration of the skin and improve its texture, thus helping reduce the effects of acne scarring. To use it on your face, combine one part vinegar with three parts water and use a cotton ball to apply the mix to the affected area. Leave it on for about half a minute before rinsing it with water. Repeat this 1-2 times a day, as needed.
7. Honey and Cinnamon
Honey and cinnamon both have strong antimicrobial properties, which is why they’re often used together to help treat acne and pimples. To create a honey and cinnamon mask, you’ll need raw manuka honey and true cinnamon (also known as Ceylon cinnamon). Mix one tablespoon of cinnamon with three tablespoons of honey, microwave the mixture for half a minute, and use a soft pastry brush to “paint” it on your face. Leave it on for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off with water and drying your face.
The Final Word
If you’re looking for ways how to get rid of acne fast and safely at home, you can give these natural remedies a try. They are all backed by science and won’t cause redness, irritation, or any other unwanted side effect. If you start experiencing recurring acne outbreaks, you should visit your dermatologist.