About 85 per cent of people get acne or pimples at some point in their lives, and scientists have long blamed it on the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes. Left untreated, acne can lead to diminished self-esteem and scarring.
From mild to severe, cases of acne cause painful and unsightly outbreaks on the face, back, chest and even arms.
Genetics, changing hormone levels and stress are all contributing factors. However, friction from sports equipment and backpacks can further irritate skin, leading to acne breakouts on the chin, forehead, jaw line and back.
Unfortunately, many people choose potentially dangerous prescription drugs and topical medications over natural home remedies for acne.
Now, new research puts forth many natural home remedies for acne. A review of medicinal plants used in the treatment of acne listed Aloe vera, neem, turmeric, Hemidesmus indicus, Terminalia chebula (Almond tree or tropical almond), Withania somnifera(Winter cherry), Butyrospermum paradoxum(shea butter tree), Camellia sinensis (green tea), Ocimum basilicum(basil or Efirin in Yoruba) and Vitex negundo (chasteberry or Ata Iyere in Yoruba).
In the 2015 review, the researchers said the plants potential kill off the bacteria and fungi which cause or worsen acne symptoms as well as prevent the irritation that comes with acne.
Despite few clinical evidences about the effectiveness and safety of these plants in the treatment of acne, they stated “they might possibly be used alone or as adjuvant with other therapeutic measures or mild to moderate situations.”
There are two key ways by which Aloe vera can benefit acne sufferers. First, it is a great moisturiser and cleanser. It can penetrate the layers of the skin to nourish the follicles and soothe skin irritation. It can also speed up the healing of acne scars.
Moreover, holy basil and sweet basil essential oils have been found to fight acne caused by bacteria, according to a report published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Sciences.
In this study, sweet basil oil slightly outperformed holy basil oil in topical applications. Holy basil oil tea, or Tulsi tea, supports healthy blood sugar and hormone levels.
Since these two conditions are linked with acne, consuming herbal tea daily will balance hormones naturally, fighting acne from the inside out, making this one of the best cross-over home remedies for acne.
Additionally, garlic could also be used for this purpose. It is an anti-viral and anti-fungal agent and contains sulphur which helps in the fast treatment of acne.
Cut fresh garlic into half and rub against the pimple like it is done with the lemon. Leave for 10 minutes and wash with lukewarm water. This should be repeated several times a day.
Cucumbers also aid in the clearing of acne. Cucumbers are said to be rich in potassium and vitamins A, C and E. Slice cucumber and soak in water for an hour, the nutrients such as potassium and vitamins transfer to the water. Drink water or use water to wash face.
A face mask made from ground cucumber with little or no water also aids to clear acne. Apply all over the face and leave it for 20 minutes, then wash with warm water. This act helps remove oil and dirt from the face which aid in clearing acne.
Papaya (pawpaw) is also an effective treatment of acne. Papaya is said to be rich in vitamin A and also reduces inflammation. Make a paste by blending and apply all over the face. Wash face with lukewarm water. The exfoliating effect in papaya also helps remove dead cells from skin but this is advised to use after the pimple is gone.
Potatoes are rich in vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids and a variety of phytochemicals such as carotenoids and polyphenols. With all its Vitamin-C, B-complex, as well as minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus and zinc, potatoes are able to stimulate collagen and elastin synthesis. This gives you an evenly toned complexion.
In fact, potato juice is one of the best remedies for dark spots due to its skin lightening properties. Many natural enzymes, sugars and starches of potatoes along with its vitamin C, exfoliate the skin to slough off the dead cells and thus diminishing the black spots.
Watermelon is known as one of the best dark spot remedies due to its rich sources of moisture, fiber, vitamins A, B and C. The cool and soothing pulp of watermelon helps reduce sun damaged skin spots.
Aloe vera has anti-septic, analgesic and skin soothing properties along with excellent moisturising capabilities. It is a herb that can reduce skin pigmentation, sun tan, skin rash, premature aging, acne and pimples, dry flaky skin, dark black spots, pimple marks, acne scars and any other blemishes on the skin.