Adult acne can be a real pain in the you-know-what.
For some people, adult acne is a continuation from their teenage years whereas others experience adult onset acne. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, women in particular are susceptible to adult onset acne.
Adult acne can be caused by many different things, not all of which can be fixed through the usual methods of a more sophisticated skin care routine. The things you eat, the amount of sleep you’re getting, your hormones, medications and even medical conditions can cause adult acne.
If you are experiencing adult acne, you should consult your dermatologist to determine an underlying cause and treatment plan. However, these are a few ideas of natural remedies for adult acne.
19 Natural Remedies for Adult Acne
1. Folic Acid
When I first started struggling with adult onset acne, a friend recommended adding a daily folic acid supplement to my routine. At first, i thought she was nuts — until I started noticing a marked improvement in my acne.
This is still considered a pretty alternative treatment — a quick Google search shows that there’s no conclusive, reputable evidence linking folic acid to effectively treating adult acne. However, many message boards and forums are filled with stories like mine, providing anecdotal evidence that folic acid could be effective for some adults struggling with adult acne. There are also no negative side effects for taking folic acid, so it’s a win-win situation for anyone looking for a natural acne treatment.
2. Less Carbs
The truth no one wants to hear? How you eat definitely affects every facet of your body, including your skin. In fact, research has suggested that adult acne directly correlates to several specific area of your diet, including carb consumption. If you’re struggling with adult acne, try cutting back on the carbs and see if your skin improves.
3. Take a Look at Your Birth Control
Although most people wouldn’t consider birth control a natural method for treating adult acne, going on or off of the pill (or other methods of birth control) can trigger adult onset acne. If you’ve begun taking a new birth control pill recently or if you’ve discontinued your usual method of birth control, talk to your dermatologist — your acne is almost certainly hormone related.
Stress levels have a huge effect on our health, which includes our skin. Stress — even low levels of everyday stress — can contribute to adult acne and breakouts. Eliminating stress can be difficult, but fighting stress levels with practices like meditation, exercise and daily quiet time can make a difference in your life and in your skin.
5. Cut Out Sugar
If you’ve ever done a Whole30, you know that one of the common unexpected benefits is the perfect, glowy, clear skin.
In case you didn’t know, part of the Whole30 program is eliminating added sugar from your diet completely, which in itself causes a wealth of health benefits. One of those is clearer skin because added sugar has been linked to causing acne in teenagers and adults.
Although it may seem like you can’t eat anything (and we still have a few more food groups to eliminate), there are many options if you’re looking to avoid acne trigger foods. For example, the Paleo Diet may be a good framework.
6. Tea Tree Oil
Some people claim that tea tree oil is the most effective natural remedy against acne, but others have mixed reviews, claiming it causes everything from dry skin to painful cysts. The best way to find out if tea tree oil will be effective for your skin is to use it on a small test area for a few days before applying it directly to your face.
You can use tea tree oil as a direct topical treatment, a toner or even a face mask. Check out your local health store for more skin products containing tea tree oil.
7. Throw Some Basil On It
If you’re looking for a holistic approach to curing your acne, fresh basil may be just what you’re looking for. This website has some great recipes for creating a basil toner.
8. Willow Tree Bark
Willow bark has anti-inflammatory properties that go back for centuries and can be found as an active ingredient in popular skin care lines like Burt’s Bees. The bark actually contains salicin, which in turn becomes salicylic acid once digested. You can look for it as an ingredient in your skin care products or purchase a supplement to take at home.
9. Change Your Hair Products
Your hair touches your face all the time, so if you struggle with oily skin, the products you use in your hair could be contributing.
When purchasing shampoo and other hair care products, you can look for options with salicylic acid. You should also avoid products with an oil-base — basically, the more conditioning it is for your hair (think conditioning masks or products with shea butter) the worse it is for your skin. You should also avoid hair products that contain sulfates.
10. Try Some Supplements
Although supplements won’t necessarily solve all of your acne problems, naturopathic doctor and author Natasha Turner tells Huffington Post that there are some products you can add to your routine to promote healing and collagen production such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, zinc and MSM.
11. Moroccan Rhassoul Clay
Yeah, we’d never heard of it either, but this herbalist swears by the product, saying “It reduces oil production without drying the skin out, leaving the skin soft and smooth. I prescribe many of my patients a mask made with rhassoul clay and a blend of Chinese herbs.” The clay can be purchased online or in a holistic-style store. This particular clay can only be found under one specific mountain range in Morocco.
12. Delete the Dairy
You knew it was coming — eliminating dairy from your diet is good for many different reasons, one being that dairy products can contribute to adult acne. There are several studies confirming this as well as many anecdotal stories touting the effects of eliminating dairy on adult acne. Try cutting out your coffee creamer, cheese and other dairy-based products for a few weeks and watch for a difference in your skin.
13. Exfoliate Regularly
Built up dead skin can trap dirt and contribute to acne, so make sure to exfoliate often — but not too often as you don’t want to dry your skin out. For some people, that balance is exfoliating once a day whereas for others three times a week may be sufficient.
14. Get Clean
Most people that struggle with skin issues know all about washing their face. They have a perfected routine that they follow to the tee every single day. However, bacteria and dirt that causes clogged pores might be hiding in some places you didn’t think of.
Make sure you change your pillow cases at least once a week. Keep wipes in your car or bag to regularly wipe your phone screen down. Try to avoid laying cheek down on your sofa or using your hands to prop up your chin and face.
15. Manuka Honey
Manuka honey, similar to the Moroccan rhassoul clay is only found in a certain type of plant found on one island in New Zealand. According to MindBodyGreen, it repairs and hydrates your skin while also containing anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. You can try a Manuka honey mask or use it as a facial cleanser.
16. Apple Cider Vinegar
Many skin care routines involve toner, but if you’re looking for an alternative without the harsh chemicals, visit your pantry instead of the beauty store. Apple cider vinegar can be incorporated as a natural toner into your skin care routine.
17. Grab Some Kombucha
Gut health affects many things so it doesn’t come as a surprise that gut health can influence your skin. This is where probiotics come in. When your gut is out of whack, it creates inflammation in your body which can in turn manifest itself as acne. This article is a great guide on how and why probiotics can clear up your acne.
18. Don’t Forget the Moisturizer
If you have oily skin, you may be hesitant to moisturize, but not moisturizing could actually make your skin worse, believe it or not. This is the case especially if you’re washing your face with drying agents — a lot of acne medications and face washes are designed to “dry up” your oily skin. However if you’re face gets too dry, your skin will produce more oil, creating an ever bigger mess. The key here is to find balance and what works for your skin specifically.
19. Add Brewer’s Yeast to Your Diet
Brewer’s yeast is one of many dietary supplements you can add to your diet in order to combat adult acne. You may recognize the product — it’s used most commonly in beer production. According to LIVESTRONG, Brewer’s yeast contains the mineral chromium, which has been shown as effective in treating adult acne. However, beware — Brewer’s yeast can cause some gassy side effects.