Acne -- a skin condition characterized by the presence of comedones, or pimples, often with pustules and cysts -- is caused by overproduction of oil, or sebum, in your skin. Bacteria and shedding of skin cells also play a role. Acne can sometimes leave scars on your skin. Chamomile, botanically known as Matricaria recutita, has a long history of use for treating skin problems; the University of Maryland Medical Center notes that ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used the herb to reduce skin inflammation and promote wound healing. You can use chamomile tea topically for an inexpensive and natural way to reduce the appearance of acne scars.
Purchase dried chamomile from a reputable health food store. If you grow chamomile in your garden, you can harvest the fresh flowers and allow them to dry; consult an experienced herbalist to make sure that what you have is really chamomile.
Place 3 tsp. dried chamomile flowers in 8 oz. boiling water, and allow to steep for three minutes. Strain the mixture, and let it cool.
Wash your face with a mild facial cleansing soap to remove oil, dirt, grease and traces of makeup. Jane Hutchens, R.N., a naturopath in Penrith, New South Wales, advises staying away from products that contain sodium lauryl sulphate, isopropyl palmitate, sodium chloride or parabens; these harsh substances may dry your skin and, paradoxically, trigger the creation of more oil.
Saturate a clean washcloth with the tea, wring it out slightly, and apply the compress to the affected area, allowing it to stay in contact with the skin for 15 minutes. You can also apply the tea with your fingers, rubbing very gently at acne scars, but the compress is a more efficient method of application. If desired, you can lie down and relax for 15 minutes with the compress on your face. Take care to keep chamomile tea away from your eyes; if it does get in your eyes, rinse with cool water.
Brew another cup of chamomile tea for sipping, if desired. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that chamomile has mild anti-anxiety effects. Chamomile tea may help relieve stress that contributes to acne and the formation of scars.
Remove the compress and rinse your face well with lukewarm or cool -- never hot -- water. Pat dry with a soft cotton towel.
Things You'll Need
3 tsp. dried chamomile flowers
8 oz. boiling water
Mild facial cleanser
3 tsp. dried chamomile flowers (optional)
8 oz. boiling water (optional)
Soft cotton towel
To add more lightening power to the chamomile tea treatment, add a splash of lemon juice. Lemon is a mild natural skin toner and bleaching agent.
According to Drugs.com, chamomile contains phenolic compounds, antioxidant flavonoids, and bisabolol, which has anti-inflammatory effects. In a clinical study conducted by J. Lee and colleagues and published in the August, 2010 issue of "International Journal of Cosmetic Science," researchers found that bisabolol caused significant lightening effects in the skin of women with hyperpigmentation. This lightening effect can cause acne scars to be less visible.
According to Drugs.com, you shouldn't use chamomile if you're pregnant or are allergic to ragweed or any members of the aster family, including daisies and chrysanthemums.