Herbal treatments for acne have been very effective for some. Effectiveness likely depends on the root cause of the acne. For instance, if the root cause is a weak immune system, echinacea and goldenseal would help. However, if the root cause of a person’s acne problem is sensitivity to milk products or gluten, these herbs may or may not help. That said, the following is a list of the best herbs to try for acne.
Echinacea, a flowering plant, is an all-natural herbal product with anti-microbial properties. It boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation, both very useful in fighting off acne. Typically, it is sold in capsule form for you to take orally.
This herb is an antiseptic and immune booster that is great for getting rid of acne. It is especially effective if combined with Echinacea. Like Echinacea, Goldenseal is most often sold in capsule form to be taken by mouth.
#3: Burdock Root
Burdock root, which you can find at most Asian food stores, is a good cure for acne. It can be prepared as a tea and drank three times daily or the tea can be applied to the skin. When drinking burdock root tea, be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day because burdock root is a diuretic.
Cleavers is an herb that can be used to treat acne. You can make a tea of cleavers by putting one teaspoon of cleavers in one cup of boiling water. Let it steep and cool for 30 minutes, then apply it to your skin. In addition to being a great cure for acne, cleavers is also good for eczema.
#5: Yellow Dock
Yellow dock is often combined with other herbal treatments for acne to boost their strength. You can drink a tea made of yellow dock root (put a teaspoon of ground yellow dock root in a cup of hot water) to drink or to apply directly to your skin.
#6: Comfrey Ointment
Comfrey is an herb used in the treatment of acne as part of a topical ointment. Make sure your comfrey product is made of the plant’s leaves, not its roots. Applying comfrey to the skin speeds up healing time, so it is especially good for acne-related wounds.
Chickweed is an herbal remedy that is especially effective for cystic acne. To use Chickweed, make a tea using one teaspoon of the herb steeped in a cup of hot water. After it has cooled, use it to wash your face or pour it in your bath.
You can also make Chickweed infused oil, which you can apply to your pimples daily. To do so, crush some Chickweed, put it in a bottle with about a cup of safflower oil and store it in the refrigerator for two weeks. After that, you can strain the oil and use it to apply to blemishes.
This herb, also known as Elder Berry, is used as a treatment for breakouts. It can be made as a tea and then applied to the skin or you can drink the tea. If you are drinking it, you should drink three cups per day to see results. To make the tea, put one teaspoon of Elderflower into a cup of hot water and let it steep.
Marigold leaves, also called Calendula, are very well known for their skin soothing and healing properties. You can purchase a small amount of calendula tincture, which you can add to any skin care product you like. This is the best and cheapest way to try Marigold leaves for acne, but you could also buy one of several commercially available products that advertise that they contain Marigold/Calendula. Yet another option would be to collect a small amount of fresh Marigold leaves and pulverize or blend them. Then you can apply the crushed leaves to your face as a sort of mask. Leave the mask on for 10 to 20 minutes and then wash your face. Inflammation will go down and redness will disappear.
It seems people are divided over whether Chasteberry, also called vitex, is effective for treating acne, with about half saying it worked for them and half saying it did nothing. Although it’s quite possible this herb could improve acne, one should keep in mind that it interacts with certain other drugs. It interacts with birth control pills and other medications that influence hormones. It also interacts with medications that affect dopamine and it is not recommended for women who could become pregnant or men who could father a child. Vitex could be worth a try to treat acne, since many people report success using it. Just be careful to consult with a doctor before using this remedy.
#11: Saw Palmetto
Saw palmetto is an excellent herbal cure for acne, especially if it is caused by hormones. It works equally well for both men and women. To use saw palmetto as an acne treatment, take one or two 160 mg capsules per day.
Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It is an orange spice common in Indian food and is also used as a dye due to its bright color. Turmeric is not for everyone, though! If you have light skin, you should test any application of turmeric or a turmeric-based mask on a hidden part of your skin. For some light-skinned people, turmeric can leave behind an orange twinge. This cure is definitely worth a try, just be sure to test it somewhere besides your face first to see if it will stain your skin!
Another great way to benefit from turmeric is to add it to your food or take capsules of it every day. Yet another option is to take capsules of its active ingredient, curcumin, which is even more powerful as an anti-oxidant. To make sure your curcumin is absorbable, choose a brand of capsule that also contains BioPerine (such as Doctor’s Best C3 Curcumin with BioPerine) or is nano-curcumin (such as LifeExtension brand). These two types have been shown to stay in the blood much better than plain curcumin. If it can’t stay in your blood, it can’t work its magic, so this is important!
Curcumin is a very powerful substance. Many recent studies have proven it to be effective at preventing and helping to treat multiple different types of cancer. It has quite a few other health benefits as well, especially for mental health. Because it is so strong, if you intend to take curcumin capsules, be sure to clear it with a doctor and a pharmacist first if you are on any other medications. Also, check the instructions of all over-the-counter medications before taking them if you’re on curcumin. Curcumin is considered an MAOI, a class of substances that cannot be mixed with certain other medications. Any over-the-counter medications will say on the label if MAOI’s are not to be taken with it. If you are unsure about anything, ask a pharmacist for help.
Such precautions are not usually necessary for turmeric when it is applied to the skin in relatively small areas (i.e., not a full-body application).
Aloe is a top ingredient in skin care for its skin healing and nourishing properties. There are several ways you can use aloe for acne, and it’s highly recommended that you do! It is especially useful if you have acne sores that need to heal or if you have any areas of inflammation you’re trying to soothe.
One way to reap the benefits of aloe is to drink it. In its purest form, aloe “gel” isn’t a gel at all- it’s a liquid thin enough to drink. Many people think it is very tasty and it is becoming popular as a drink in its own right. If you happen to not like the taste, it’s easy to hide in a smoothie and drink it down. In addition to having tons of general health benefits, aloe will promote beautiful, smooth skin.
A more common way to use aloe for acne is to apply it to the skin instead of drinking it. While some people leave it on for 30 minutes before washing it off, many others apply it overnight with excellent results. You can do this every day to help your skin clear up. It does not tend to clog pores, although it may feel somewhat sticky when you put it on. Don’t be fooled by commercial products labeled as aloe gel that are chock-full of other chemicals and irritants. Aloe should be the first or second ingredient on the bottle, and the fewer chemical additives, the better. It is very common for aloe gel to contain added alcohol. You are best off avoiding this sort of gel if you have sensitive skin, as the alcohol can produce some irritation.
The third method is used to physically unclog pores. This method may not be as effective for cystic or hormonal acne. After cleansing your face, apply a layer of the purest aloe gel you can find to your skin and allow it to dry. Make sure it is a gel and not a liquid. Then take an oil that is good for skin (safflower oil or pure extra virgin olive oil are good choices because of their high vitamin E and anti-oxidant contents) and spread it on your fingers. Now massage your face. You may need to massage awhile, adding more oil if necessary, but the substances clogging up your pores will start to come out onto your hands. You will need to cleanse your face once again when you are finished.
Applying mint extract to your face works wonders to neutralize the oily skin that encourages breakouts. Get fresh mint leaves from the supermarket and rinse them thoroughly in cool water. Pat them dry with paper towels and then put them (alone, with no water) in a blender or food processor. You can also crush them with a mortar and pestle. Squeeze the juice from the solid material. You will now have a bowl of fresh mint leaf juice/extract. Next, apply the juice to your skin using a cotton ball and leave it on overnight. Repeat this procedure every night. Within a week, your skin should be less oily and breakouts less frequent.
Freshly ground nutmeg soothes the skin and even improves the appearance of acne scars. Pre-ground nutmeg is not as effective as fresh, but it is much easier to find. Un-ground nutmeg looks like a nut and can be grated on the spiky side of a cheese grater (haven’t we all wondered all along what in the world that part of the grater was for?). To use nutmeg for pimples, put some nutmeg powder in your moisturizer and apply it as a mask, washing it off after 15 to 20 minutes. Pat your skin dry and apply moisturizer without nutmeg, as normal.
Another great way to use nutmeg to fight acne is to mix a small amount (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon at most) of nutmeg with two or three tablespoons of honey and use it as a mask. Although it feels sticky going on, honey is amazing for acne-prone skin. Leave the mask on for 15 to 20 minutes and then wash it off. Pat your face dry and continue with your normal skin care routine.
#16: Red Clover
Red clover is a plant that can help get rid of pimples. You can eat it in salads in relatively small amounts. You can also brew your own red clover tea to drink. Purchase some red clover and put about a teaspoon in a cup of hot water. Allow it to steep and then enjoy! Drinking one cup per day should be sufficient for an anti-acne treatment. Red clover capsules are also available, but you should use these with caution, since they can upset your stomach. Start off slow with these capsules, pouring out ½ a capsule so you are only taking a ½ dose at first. Work your way up to a whole capsule only if you are not experiencing any stomach problems.
#17: Licorice Root Extract
Licorice root extract is helpful for those with hormonal imbalances (androgen excess) that cause acne. A substance in licorice root, called licochalcone-A, is effective not only for acne, but for rosacea and several other skin ailments as well. Typically, licorice extract is sold as a ready-made product and each product has its own dosage directions on the package. Be careful not to exceed the recommended dosage, as excessive amounts of this substance can be harmful if you have high blood pressure or certain other conditions. It is not recommended for women who are pregnant. If you have any medical conditions or take any medications, consult your doctor before trying licorice root extract.
Other All Natural Acne Solutions
There are not many acne treatments that are all natural and still effective, but one that stands out is cold laser/light therapy. When used correctly, it kills bacteria on the skin and speeds the healing of blemishes. The trick is finding a product that works well for getting rid of acne and improving acne scars. We recommend the RubyLux LED light therapy bulbs as opposed to light therapy devices. The bulbs are the same as light therapy machines, but screw into any standard lamp or light fixture.