Written by Lisa Allen | Edited by Dr Mark Kapnoudhis
Herbs are amongst the best home remedies for acne. There is a wide variety of possibilities but some plants are obviously more effective than others. The effects can vary somewhat from one person to another so do not be discouraged if one herb does not work well for you. Simply try another, then. Here are a few of the most recommended ones:
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a strong, well known and proven disinfecting agent that can be applied directly to skin break-outs. It is no wonder : it has antibacterial, antiseptic, antimicrobial, fungicidal and germicidal properties. It is one of the very best natural home remedies for acne.
Be careful not to apply pure tea tree oil on the skin as this would burn and be too strong. You will need to dilute it if the one you bought is not already reduced. Either mix it with warm water and wash your whole face with it or apply drops of the oil (mixed with olive oil if necessary) directly on the infected areas. Don’t wash your whole face with just the oil.
Not all skin types will react well as it is oily and strong so it is not a bad idea to apply it on a small area before treating the whole face for the first time. Leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing well. Avoid direct contact with sunlight during this time. Be cautious not to put some in your eyes.
As an alternative to using the oil directly on the skin you can also look for products which contain it such as soaps, gels and creams. Never use tea tree oil internally.
2. Aloe Vera
Another rightfully popular plant to treat acne is Aloe Vera. Beside providing a soothing and pleasant sensation, its gel is a natural antibiotic and tissue regenerating substance that can be particularly effective when applied to acne scars. It will diminish or remove them and accelerate the reparation of acne lesions over time.
Aloe vera is also an excellent skin moisturizer (containing no oil) that can be applied after stronger treatments such as the clay mask. When applied to the skin, it creates a thin layer of protection but still enables the pores to breathe. On top of all this, because it contains a lot of antioxidants, it acts as a powerful anti-aging agent.
We recommend using pure aloe vera gel twice a day or as needed. If you’ll be buying the gel, get one that has no chemicals in it. You can also grow your own aloe plant and take the gel from inside the fat leaves. It is a very easy to grow plant and the quality from the gel will be unbeatable.
The juice from peppermint leaves is another one of those natural acne remedies thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (it contains menthol). One way to use it is to squeeze the juice out of the leaves and apply it directly on the skin with a thin cloth. You can also make a paste by cutting the leaves into very small pieces, mix them with water and mush them together. Apply the paste and leave on the face for approximately 20 minutes. Rinse well.
Peppermint is conveniently available and is very easy to cultivate. You can grow your own if you have a bit of land or you can plant some in pots on your balcony or by the windowsill. It spreads fast and wide so beware if you plant it in the ground near other plants. If you drink it as an herbal tea after a meal, mint will help with digestion.