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Common Remedies for Acne


As I had mentioned in the previous blog, I was plagued with adult acne in my early 20s. Every time grease from an indulgent meal splashed, smeared or dripped anywhere on my face, I was sure to get a pimple the following day. No lie! It was exhausting caring for my face. From the beginning until I finally started spironolactone, I felt that I had tried everything imaginable to control my acne. Never mind getting rid of the acne. I was struggling just to control it! It is true that every person’s response to a product or home remedy will vary. However, I hope that sharing my experience will help someone in some way.


Let me start with the traditional solution—seeing a dermatologist. I’m not alone when I say medicine is an art. When it comes to prescribing medication, there is no one right answer for all. I tried both topical and oral medications, including combination medications and monotherapy. Every medication I tried reduced the number and size of my blemishes but never did it eliminate the problem. I would encounter breakouts and repeatedly found myself looking for another solution. Doxycycline caused an undesirable yeast infection. My topical medications would often cause a burning sensation, peeling of my skin or dryness. Oracea (low dose doxycycline) was working until it wasn’t.


Until recently, Differin was only available by prescription. These days, Differin can be purchased from any local pharmacy. That’s great news for those hesitant to see a dermatologist. I had good results with Differin; however, I wanted more than what I was getting out of it for my cystic acne.


I took a break from prescribed medications and tried over-the-counter and home remedies. Oh, and yes, products by various beauty lines as well. You guessed it, honey, lemon, turmeric, apple cider vinegar, aspirin….gosh, what didn’t I try? Did I mention light therapy?! Yes, I tried that too.


Here’s the run down on my favorite home remedies…


Honey Mask: Honey has natural antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties plus it’s great for drawing moisture into the skin. For these reasons, it’s ideal for treating and preventing acne. After battling adult acne for a few years, I was in a no-nonsense mode and went right for the good stuff—raw, unfiltered honey. To use, I spread a layer of honey over my cleaned, dried face but made sure not to use too much. You run the risk of the honey dripping and sliding down your face if you use too much honey, creating quite a mess. Trust me. The honey mask was washed off after 15 minutes. My skin felt wonderful immediately following the honey mask. The following day, my blemishes did reduce in size and redness but after three weeks of applying the mask daily, it wasn’t cutting it for me.

Honey and Lemon Mask: Honey alone is thought to be spectacular for your skin. Now add lemon, which is known to brighten and lighten skin when used over time, not to mention its collagen producing properties. I didn’t use exact measurements for how much lemon and how much honey. I squeezed enough lemon juice into enough honey (now I sound just like my mom 😊). Again, how much? Enough to still get a nice consistency for a mask. It will be runnier than the honey mask alone but you should still be able to apply it easily. As with the honey mask, I let it sit for 15 minutes. And as with the honey mask, after three weeks of religiously applying the mask, I was not seeing the results I wanted. Don’t get me wrong. Did I notice a reduction in size of my blemishes? Yes. Was my face glowing? Yes. But it just wasn’t cutting it for me.


Honey, Lemon and Turmeric Mask: Okay, so honey alone was not good enough. Honey AND lemon were still not good enough. What about honey, lemon AND turmeric? It had to be better, right? There were plenty of recipes using exact measurements but for me, eyeballing worked just as well. However, note that you don’t need equal ratio of turmeric to lemon and honey. After 15 minutes, I washed the mask off. I did notice that because of the turmeric, my towel got stained and my face did look slightly yellow. However, my face felt soft. But again, after three weeks of use, I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted.


Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV): I finally moved away from the honey rage and tried apple cider vinegar for its exfoliating effect. As before, I went right for the good stuff—Bragg organic apple cider vinegar. It’s recommended that you dilute the apple cider vinegar with water as the acidity of ACV can be harmful (think chemical burn, ouch!). For those with sensitive or dry skin, it’s actually not recommended. I used equal parts water and ACV and applied it as a toner twice per week. I hated the smell but was willing to smell like ACV to get my skin back. The verdict? I stuck with ACV for months. I found it worked well to reduce my blemishes in severity and frequency. Yay! But alas, after several months on the regimen, I gave up on ACV when the results weren’t meeting my expectations. I was still getting breakouts.


Aspirin Mask: Ahh yes, the aspirin mask. This was the last home remedy I tried. Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory drug. Because of this, it can reduce inflammation from acne. To make the mask, in my palm, I used two uncoated aspirin tablets and a few drops of water. I worked the water into the aspirin, dissolving the tablet into a paste. I applied the paste to the affected areas and let it sit for 15 minutes or until the mask dried. I noticed immediate results. The redness was greatly reduced! I knew aspirin alone wasn’t going to eliminate my acne. However, as a spot treatment, I found it effective. To this day, I still grab for an aspirin tablet if I need a quick spot treatment.


After my trial and error with home remedies, I decided to venture into beauty products for a solution. I was desperate for a solution and was willing to shell a few more bucks (ok, ok, several hundred dollars after it’s said and done).


And so, my journey for a solution continued…