5 Natural Acne Treatments (that are Scientifically Proven to Work)

  1. Light Therapy. You might notice your skin improving significantly after a trip to the beach. Multiple studies have found that UV radiation from sunlight can reduce moderate acne by up to 70% by killing acne causing bacteria and reducing skin inflammation. However, in the long term, UV radiation has the unfortunate side effects of skin damage aAcne Phototherapy Lightnd increased risk of skin cancer. Luckily, isolated red and blue light, which has none of the dangers of UV rays, has been demonstrated to reduce moderate acne by 50% to 60%. Research found that red light reduces inflammation while blue light effectively kills the P. acnes bacteria that cause acne. Read reviews of Acne Light Therapy lamps here.
  2. Wash your pillowcase weekly. Bacteria and oil from your skin and hair can build up on your pillowcase, exacerbating preexisting cases of acne. Wash your pillowcase at least once a week with a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic laundry detergent to see fast improvement in your skin.
  3. Green Tea Extract. A lotion of 2% green tea extract significantly reduced acne in two studies of adolescents and young adults with mild to moderate acne.
  4. Tea Tree Oil. Tea tree oil is an essential oil extracted from the Australian tea tree. It has been used for centuries as a safe alternative treatment for acne and other skin disorders. In 1990, researchers studied 124 acne patients, treating half with 5% tea tree oil in a water-based gel and half with 5% benzoyl peroxide. The study found that, while the tea tree gel took slightly longer to produce results, it eventually reduced acne by the same percentage (40%) as Benzoyl Peroxide, with significantly fewer side effects. Tea tree oil should only be used topically.
  5. Rinse with cool water. Though it may seem counter-intuitive, cold water is actually better for acne prone skin than hot water. While hot water can irritate the skin and increase inflammation, cool water has the opposite effect, reducing overall redness over a period of 24 hours. Moreover, hot water over-dries the skin in the short term, causing a resultant increase in sebum (oil) production in the skin that can cause acne outbreaks.



Bowe, Whitney. “Procedural Treatments for Acne.” Acne Vulgaris (2011): 208-17.

Kroll, Dorothy. “Natural Treatments for Acne.” Alternative and Complementary Therapies 2.2 (1996): 87-90.

Rawlings, Anthony V. “Emerging Acne Treatments.” Pathogenesis and Treatment of Acne and Rosacea (2014): 441-47.

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