For many people, commercial acne treatments containing benzoyl peroxide are simply too harsh, as these can lead to redness, dryness and irritation. Natural ingredients often contain pure, non-chemical versions of the same anti-bacterial agents and redness fighters. The next time you see a pimple forming, reach for the strawberries, not the drugstore zit cream.
Wash your face with a gentle soap-free cleanser. Many chemical cleansers are too harsh, stripping skin of its natural oil. Celebrity skin guru Mario Badescu cites this as one of the biggest acne-fighting mistakes, as over-cleansing is more likely to send oil glands into overdrive than to fight acne.
In terms of specific products, the University of Mississippi Health Care website recommends Dove, Cetaphil, Neutrogena, Purpose or Oil of Olay Foaming Face Wash
Make a homemade facial mask with ingredients that target pimples. Janice Cox, author of “Natural Beauty at Home,” suggests blending 1/2 cup strawberries, 1 egg white and 2 tsp. honey. This combination is ideal for fighting acne, she writes, because strawberries contain natural salicylic acid, a drying ingredient that sops up excess oil, and honey is a natural bacteria fighter.
Blend the ingredients together and smooth the paste over your face. Let it dry for about 20 minutes and then rinse with cool water.
Use aspirin as a spot treatment to zap your zit just before you go to bed. According to Julie Gabriel, author of “The Green Beauty Guide,” aspirin is a powerful acne fighter. It’s a concentrated form of salicylic acid that treats inflammation and swelling, she writes, stabilizing your skin’s blood vessels will keep acne bacteria from spreading.
Gabriel recommends slicing an uncoated aspirin tablet in half, wetting the cut side and securing that side to your zit with an adhesive bandage. Leave it on for about 30 minutes.
Resist the urge to pop your zit. Badescu warns that dirty fingernails and bad technique can spread acne bacteria, resulting in future zits and even permanent skin damage from scarring.
Repeat steps 1 and 3 when you wake up in the morning.
- To temporarily relieve swelling and pain, hold an ice cube to your zit.
- Carry a small vial of tea tree oil with you during the day and dab it on as needed for a spot treatment.
- Dr. Sapna Wesley, a New York dermatologist, tells "Glamour" magazine's beauty bloggers that tea tree oil has natural antibacterial properties that help fight acne.