Home remedies to clear your complexion

Getting Rid of Acne

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Acne Remedies, Please

Do any readers have any home remedies for acne? My daughter is getting at that age and our insurance will not pay for expensive treatments. Any ideas?
William B.

Easy Non-Toxic Acne Remedies

Here are a couple of non-toxic, relatively inexpensive acne remedies to try:

  1. Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to affected areas at bedtime; let stand overnight; repeat every night for a week.
  2. With a cotton ball, apply a few drops of tea tree essential oil to affected areas.

These ideas probably work best on mild acne situations, mostly on the face and chest.

Wards Off Vampires, Too!

Simply rub fresh cut garlic on the affected area and it dries up almost overnight. The smell is powerful so it is best to use it just before going to bed. I know it sounds crazy but look in almost any herb book and you will find out it is highly recommended for getting rid of acne.
J.Z. in Wisconsin

My Son's Acne Solution

We have found that a mixture of olive oil & salt works very well. Make a paste, and wash with it. Use this daily at first, then maintain with 2 or 3 times weekly. My 13 year son swears by it. I know, you think 'oil', but try it, it does work.

Guard Skin Carefully

Reader could try Emu oil for his daughter. It is supposed to heal burns and blemishes quickly and help fade scars that you already have. Also works well on stretch marks. Rub a lemon slice on face nightly to help cut the oil and dry blemishes. Make sure all make-up and moisturizers used on her face and neck are noncomedogenic. This means that it won't clog her pores. I found that Neutrogena has several good products that are over the counter. I have had problems since I was 11 and have tried many remedies.

Overall Skin Care

I highly recommend that you read Paula Begoun's "The Beauty Bible" (available at libraries). She has an excellent chapter on dealing with blemishes and oily skin. Several of her ideas are effective and cheap. Milk of Magnesia makes a great oil absorbing facial mask and hydrogen peroxide is an excellent toner/disinfectant (and it doesn't dry your skin like witch hazel or other astringents). You can also use baking soda as a facial scrub. Paula also rates facial cleansers for oily/blemish prone skin in her book "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me." She gives a lot of information on her web site cosmeticscop.com. Above all make sure your daughter doesn't use too many drying products to treat blemishes -- they'll only make things worse!
Kristan M.

OTC Acne Remedies

  1. There is a Johnson & Johnson product on the market called Clean & Clear oil-free dual action moisturizer, which costs less than $ 4.00 for a four ounce bottle. It contains enough salicylic acid (a beta-hydroxyl acid) to slough off the dead skin cells without all the accompanying redness and dryness. Allow at least two to four weeks to notice improvement.
  2. Any alpha hydroxyl skin lotion (like Alpha Hydrox, etc.) will also help to remove the dead skin cells and keep acne blemishes at a minimum. These products need about two to four weeks of use to notice a difference.
  3. Any eye drops with the redness reliever, tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride, applied to individual blemishes with a cotton swab helps to reduce the redness of the blemish so it is less noticeable!


Zinc Supplements

Zinc supplements taken on a daily basis will help clear-up and/or prevent acne in many people. It's inexpensive, and even the generic brand works.
Rebecca B

Soft As a Baby's...

We just recently tried a suggestion for acne. My daughter reports that it works well and fast. The product to try, is mainly marketed for infant diaper rash, DESITIN ointment.

What Worked for Me

As a girl growing up I never had acne. As I got older in my 20's I got a bad case of it. I tried everything on the market, nothing worked, finally my grandma said try washing face with glycerin soap 3 times daily,(morning, after work, then right before bed) and zinc oxide (tube cream) on my acne right before bed. In 3 days I saw a major difference, no scaring, no pits. Very nice. The best thing is it only cost $3.00.

Watch Diet

Having gone through this problem for many years, I can offer the following advice based upon my personal experience. The best thing your daughter can do to help keep her skin clear is to cut out all sugar and sweeteners, and to eat a low-fat diet. Sugar and fat together contribute to acne. If you know she is allergic to certain foods, keep those out as well.

Second, wash the skin once in the morning and once in the evening with a mild soap. Don't wash too much or you can irritate the skin and cause the acne to get worse.

Third, consider using a 2% salicylic acid astringent. Clearasil sells it, as well as Noxzema. This deep cleans the pores, removing dirt that soap can't get out. I use it twice a day.

These three practices have kept my skin clearer than any prescription medicine ever has. However, if I had truly deep, severe acne that could not be controlled this way, I would not hesitate to go to the dermatologist and consider using something strong like Retin-A or Accutane. Fortunately for me, this has not been necessary. Please try the diet and cleansing approach first before you allow your daughter to be put on antibiotics. There is evidence that prolonged use of antibiotics can cause health problems later in life (see William Crook, M.D.'s book, "The Yeast Connection"). I have experienced these firsthand and can trace it to the use of oral antibiotics for acne over 15 years ago.

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