Acne occurs when an overproduction of oil mixes with dead skin cells and clogs the pores on the skin. Bacteria are then able to feed off this mixture and multiply, increasing skin irritation and inflammation. Although acne is most common in teenagers, it affects people of all ages and can develop nearly everywhere on the body. Without treatment, acne may cause permanent scarring and emotional and social damage. Many over-the-counter and prescription acne treatments are expensive or cause significant side effects. For this reason, many adults opt to treat acne with home remedies.
Peppermint is a natural anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, making it useful in the treatment of adult acne when applied topically to acne-prone areas. To make a peppermint paste, crush three to four peppermint leaves using a mortar and pestle, rub the crushed leaves directly on the affected areas, leave in place for about 10 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly using cool water. Peppermint leaves are available at some health and grocery stores, or you can grow your own in most climates with minimal care. Peppermint may be irritating to sensitive skin.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil works as both an antiseptic and antifungal and may help reduce the frequency and severity of acne outbreaks. Apply tea tree oil directly to pimples using a cotton swab, and then leave on overnight. The Mayo Clinic states that 5 percent tea tree oil is effective against mild to moderate acne. Avoid using undiluted tea tree oil on the skin, as it may worsen inflammation.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar works against acne in several ways. It cleans away excess oil, normalizes the skin's natural pH, and has antibacterial properties. According to Health911, applying vinegar directly to acne-prone areas with a cotton ball provides rapid relief from minor acne. Adding a cup of apple cider vinegar to a pot of boiling water and using it to steam your face may also be beneficial.
Oatmeal and Honey Paste
Oatmeal can absorb excess oil from the skin, and honey has antiseptic and toning properties. Applying a paste of plain oatmeal and honey to the skin one or twice each week can reduce skin oiliness and the frequency of acne outbreaks. To make a paste, mix 1/2 cup of cooked oatmeal with 1/8 cup of honey and allow to cool. Apply the paste to oily skin and leave for 15 minutes. Wash with warm water.
Other Home Remedies
Experts at the Mayo Clinic recommend taking a zinc supplement to help treat acne. Zinc is necessary for healthy skin and may help clear acne by assisting in hormone regulation and balance. Using witch hazel as an astringent each morning and night may help dry out existing pimples and prevent new ones from forming.