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Breakouts happen. And when they do, it’s tough to know what to do. Is a natural remedy the way to go or will a store-bought product do the trick? Well it depends on the acne type and your skin type.
Here are your options — from DIY concoctions to drugstore-priced treatments to help calm inflammation, fight bacteria, and unclog pores.

There can be a lot of contributing factors at play when it comes to acne. The basic cause is oil and clogged pores, but the reasons for excessive oil production and subsequent bacteria-fueled inflammation can range anywhere from hormones to small infections.
While severe acne usually requires more heavy, medicinal lifting in terms of treatment, you can improve more mild breakouts with topical application.
Here’s five recipes for natural ingredients and how they work:

1. Mix together 1/2 teaspoon turmeric + 1 tablespoon honey

Leave on for: 10–15 mins
Why it works: “Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help reduce inflammation in the skin,” says Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD, FAAD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale New Haven Hospital, and co-creator of Pure BioDerm.
Powder or plant, turmeric can be turned into a paste for topical application. Mixing it with honey, an antioxidant-rich product that’s also naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial, may help soothe inflamed skin and prevent future breakouts.

2. Mix 1 to 2 drops of tea tree oil into your clay mask

Leave on for: 10–15 mins (no more than 30)
Why it works: Tea tree oil is a tried and true antibacterial and anti-inflammatory,” Robinson says. While research has found it to be an effective natural acne fighter, it can be potent in high doses and when applied directly on skin. “Be cautious as higher concentrations can be irritating to the skin.”
Due to its potential hormone-disrupting properties, dilute 1 to 2 drops with honey or in your calcium bentonite clay mask, which creates a barrier between the skin and possible irritants.
Another option? Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with 12 drops of a carrier oil, like olive, jojoba, or sweet almond. Massage it in like moisturizer (avoiding the eyes) on cleansed skin. Leave on for 5 to 8 mins. Use a warm towel to massage off and continue the rest of your skin care routine (skip toner, if you do this).
Keep in mind when embarking on a tea tree oil journey that studies documenting its effectiveness are mostly long-term, so consistent use will be more successful than one-night spot treatment.

3. Witch hazel in rose water and your clay mask

Leave on for: 10–15 mins (no more than 30)
Why it works: A botanical extract that’s often used as an astringent, witch hazel may help remove excess oil from the skin. It’s also naturally antibacterial, and its anti-inflammatory properties make it a good option to try for angry, red bumps.
For a skin-soothing mask that packs acne-fighting power, try mixing a few drops of witch hazel with rose or white tea water. Use that water to hydrate your bentonite clay mask. “Avoid preparations with alcohol in the base as it can strip the skin and be irritating,” Robinson advises.

4. Blend aloe vera and turmeric or green tea

Leave on for: 15–20 mins
Why it works: “Aloe is a natural calming ingredient,” Robinson says. “It can be helpful if acne is very inflamed and irritated to help calm the skin.”
This plant also has naturally-occurring salicylic acid and sulfurTrusted Source, which makes it an ideal opponent of acne, especially for folks with oily skin.
Mix it with other powerful ingredients like powdered turmeric or green tea to help with oil control and sensitive skin.
Bonus: Aloe may also work from the inside out: One study found that drinking aloe vera juice may help improve mild-to-moderate acne.

5. Left over oatmeal, no sugar

DIY Natural Face Scrub / Oatmeal Honey Scrub / Oats for skin - YouTubeLeave on for: 20–30 mins
Why it works: Oats contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and oat bran specifically is a good source of B complex vitamins, vitamin E, protein, fat, and minerals.
Boil oats with water, as you normally would for a healthy breakfast option, and allow the mixture to cool completely before applying to skin for a soothing mask session.
You really can’t go wrong when using oatmeal for skin issues, but add a few drops of tea tree oil or turmeric for compound results.
BEFORE YOU APPLY ANYTHING TO YOUR FACE…Make sure your skin is thoroughly cleansed and your pores are ready. To relax your skin, do a self-steam with a hot towel to help loosen dead skin cells and debris. But if you have rosacea, psoriasis, or severe acne, ask a dermatologist. If you don't have one to ask, skip the steam to avoid a potential reaction.

African black soap

How it works: This plant-based antibacterial product contains shea butter for added moisture, agents like vitamins A and E, and nourishing ingredients like cocoa pods and coconut oil, which may help gently counter inflamed acne.
Most effective for: All skin types, though those with dry skin may want to add honey for added moisture.
Cost: $13-18
Where to buy: Known brands available on Amazon: AlaffiaIncredibleNubian HeritageSky Organics, and Wonderfully Natural.
AMBI® Black Soap Bar with Shea Butter - Ambi SkincareNote: There are many knock-off African black soaps that aren’t plant based. Make sure to read the ingredient list and company history. Authentic African black soap is often handmade.
Bonus: Cruelty-free, vegan, and all-natural.

Eucerin Redness Relief Soothing Cleanser

How it works: This soap-free formula includes licochalcone, a licorice root extract that can help calm acne-prone skin.
Most effective for: Sensitive skin.
Cost: $10
Where to buy: Available online on Amazon and Walmart.

Banila Co Clean It Zero Cleansing Balm

How it works: This cult classic Korean cleanser is great for cleaning sensitive skin. It’s hypoallergenic and natural ingredients like centella asiatica extract and licorice root to soothe inflammation. When it comes to helping with acne produced via bacteria or dirt, this product is a dream.
Most effective for: All skin types.
Cost: $18-24
Where to buy: Available on Soko GlamPeach & Lily, and various sellers on Amazon.

Vanicream Gentle Facial Cleanser

How it works: The soap- and oil-free cleanser is also free of common chemical irritants like fragrances and dyes, but is designed to gently clean skin with ingredients like glycerin. If affordable cleansers from Cetaphil or CeraVe don’t work for you, Vanicream might.
Most effective for: All skin types, especially sensitive skin.
Cost: $8-14
Where to buy: Available on Amazon.

Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser

How it works: The foaming formula contains grape seed polyphenols for antioxidant protection and antibacterial sage extract to prevent bacterial acne. It also contains anti-inflammatory chamomile extract to counter redness and soothe skin.
Most effective for: All skin types.
Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser (1 von 2) - Doctor Anne
Where to buy: Available on Sephora.
Cost: $28
Bonus: Vegan, non-toxic, cruelty-free, and no synthetic chemicals.


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