Despite a widely held belief that a large cause of acne is poor diet and lifestyle, there is little evidence to support this. Specialists believe that the main cause of acne is hormonal imbalances, which explains why teenagers are among the main sufferers. According to the University of Maryland, acne--official name, comedones--forms when the sebaceous glands in the skin produce too much sebum. This combines with debris and dead skin cells to clog the hair follicles. These then either seal over and become whiteheads, or are left open and become blackheads.
Not all honey is suitable for medicinal purposes. Honey found in supermarkets has often been processed and therefore lost its antimicrobial qualities, states WorldOfHoney. Manuka honey, from New Zealand, is considered a medical grade honey by some in the field. It has a high composition of features that kill bacteria and help to rejuvenate damaged organisms, notes DermNetNz. Therefore, this honey is supposedly ideal for use as a topical treatment for acne.
Lemons are high in vitamin C, citric acid and calcium. The University of Maryland reports the beneficial effects of lemons for medicinal purposes. Lemons' vitamin C and antioxidants are thought to play a vital role in slowing the aging process and its citric acid helps to fade skin blemishes such as acne scars. The University of Maryland says that more research needs to be done to confirm these reports.
According to DermNetNz, simply apply the manuka honey directly to the acne area and leave for several minutes before rinsing it off. It is also advisable, for less mess, to apply the honey to a dressing before applying. This then can be left on over night. Continue daily for several weeks.
Lemon juice can be applied topically to the acne area and left for several minutes before rinsing off. GrannyMed also recommends using it in combination with rose water, as this will help to dilute the acidic quality of the lemon juice and prevent a stinging sensation.
There is still little evidence to support the effectiveness of honey and lemon juice in curing acne. They are not suitable for more severe cases of acne or scarring, and can cause mild skin irritation in some people. MayoClinic says it is important to do further research on home remedies before confirming their proficient medicinal uses. It is important to always consult a specialist before beginning any self-treatments, whether with home remedies such as honey and lemon, or over-the-counter products.
According to MedlinePlus, benzoyl peroxide is one of the best substances to treat mild to moderate acne. It is an organic compound and is contained in most over-the-counter products, including lotions, creams or sprays. Many specialists consider it an effective treatment and can produce results in four to six weeks. For more severe cases of acne or scarring, a doctor may recommend a prescription medicine such as Accutane or make a referral to a cosmetic clinic.