Doesn’t everyone have an opinion on your acne? Whether it’s a cure they got from somewhere in their tiny brains. Or something they just made up on the spot while talking to you. People certainly have their version of home remedies for acne.
I once had a very unkempt man come up to me in a book store and tell me to apply a paste of soap on my face at night. And leave the paste overnight while I slept. He even told me where I could get the soap, bless him. How nice! Free advice that I did not ask. Let me rephrase that – free dumb advice that I did not ask for!!! I would probably wake up the next day with a disaster on my hands were I to try that.
Another thing that really annoys the hell out of me, is the beauty blogger who shares her cures for acne. Flawless skin with just one spot and she thinks she has the answer for someone who has every inch on their face covered with acne. Having one spot just once a month and having 20 plus spots, every freaking day, are very, very different things.
So here are 5 home remedies for acne, which are better avoided if you want clear and healthy skin.
Toothpaste used to contain a controversial ingredient called Triclosan which was used to kill bacteria in your mouth. The reasoning behind using it for acne was that it could kill the bacteria that caused acne. Triclosan was linked to hormone disruption so it is now avoided in toothpastes.
Toothpaste could also help acne by drying it out, but it would also dry out your skin as well. Using something for brushing your teeth for 2-3 minutes and for teeth that are made from enamel, is very different when using it on delicate facial skin as a spot treatment.
Toothpaste is not a permanent remedy for acne. It may work if you have one spot once in a while. If you have acne on a regular basis toothpaste will not work for you.
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. This is why many home remedies for acne say that baking soda is good for acne.
However, baking soda can mess up healthy skin’s pH level.
The pH scale ranges from 0 to 17. A pH level of 7 is neutral. Anything above 7 is alkaline and below 7 is acidic. The pH level of healthy skin is 4.5 to 5.5. Baking soda has a pH level of 9. Using baking soda on your skin can disrupt the pH level of the skin, strip it of its natural oils and make it sensitive.
Used often it can dry out skin, make your acne worse, cause skin irritation and give you wrinkles.
So think twice next time you hear about using baking soda for your acne.
3. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice has astringent and antiseptic properties. The reasoning behind trying to use it for acne, is that it may help kill the acne causing bacteria and reduce the oil on your skin.
Used on your face when you have a lot of acne, will irritate your acne, make your skin sting like crazy and even make your acne bleed. Nothing good will come out of it. Your skin will be worse than it was before.
Would you use lemon juice on a cut? No you wouldn’t. It would burn like crazy.
Really want to use lemon juice? Squeeze the juice into a glass,top up with water, add a few mint leaves and drink it. You’ll get much more benefit this way.
4. Washing Your Face Frequently
Acne is not dirt that you can wash off. Neither is it caused by dirt. Wash your face more than twice a day and you will be left with dry skin and acne that are even worse.
The oils that cause acne are within your pores and not on the surface of your skin. So even if you wash your face 10 times a day, the blocked pores and the oil within them will not be affected.
5. Popping or Squeezing Your Pimples
I still need to put this one here because although it is not a remedy as such, I still get questions from people asking me if they should squeeze their pimples.
The idea behind this one is that you squeeze out the infection and the pimple will heal.
Instead of healing, what you do when you squeeze your pimple is you push the infection deeper into the skin, which may cause cystic acne and spread the infection. You also traumatize the delicate skin on your face.
Also the acne that heal after you squeeze them will leave a indented scar. The only way to get rid of such a scar is through a medical procedure called subcision, which involves cutting the tissue that causes the indentation. Not worth the trouble of squeezing now is it?
The problem I have with all these remedies for acne is that they are not cures. They are best used as maybe a band-aid cure when you have 1-2 acne in a month. They are not and cannot be used for the rest of your life. This is not a permanent cure for acne.
The bigger problem is that they may cause more harm to your skin which is already not in great shape. Repairing your skin which may be damaged after using any of these remedies, may take years. It did for me. Do you really want that?
The best thing you can do when you have bad acne is nothing.
Here are 3 rules to follow when your acne is particularly bad
- Do not touch your face
- Do not irritate it
- And please do not apply things on it that will make it go crazy!
It is very natural when you have severe acne to try and fight with it. However remember that acne are on your face. Treat your face like a war zone and you are also setting up your skin for permanent damage. It is like bombing your house when your house is infested with termites.
I get it, when you have acne you feel you should be doing something otherwise the acne might not go away. And you’re absolutely right. You should be doing something. Just not with your face though!
You should be drinking green tea or drinking lots of water, or eating a lot of green leafy vegetables, and avoiding sugar and dairy in your diet. Doing this everyday for a week will get you much better results than any of the remedies mentioned above. I know, I have actually done this and do this when I get a bad breakout.
I have written a few blog posts that may help you know what to do next. Just so you do not have to go around my blog searching here they are
- How To Calm Down a Cystic Acne Breakout
- Why Diet is the First Step to Clear Skin
- Foods That Clear Acne