There’s a page on Facebook that I “like” called Heal Thyself, which is a network of people that are all about healing themselves naturally through food and lifestyle. A lot of really smart people follow that page – ones who know a ton about natural healing!

Every day, the administrator of the page, Pat, will pose a health question to the facebook page that someone has asked, and then everyone gives their two cents.

Well, one day last month, the question happened to be:

“I would love to know if anyone has had success with natural remedies for adult acne. I’m 25 and continue to have constant breakouts and blemishes.”

As you can expect (because that’s the frustration with treating acne – it’s caused by many things and different things work for different people), the answers were all over the place. So, in reality, reading this might actually be a lot more frustrating and confusing than beneficial. If so – sorry!

However, I found it incredibly interesting, so I didn’t want to bypass the opportunity to share it. Personally, I love hearing what specific things have worked for other people, because sometimes you see a trend. 

I’ve noticed of the following list, there is a trend with using coconut oil on the face (although, some people find it pore clogging, so make up your own mind about using it), using African Black Soap (which I didn’t know much about before reading this list), and also cutting out sugar, dairy, or gluten (or some combination of).

So here they are… and in the comments below, leave your own findings for what specific things have worked for you or have made a big difference for your skin…

125 Opinions from Really Smart People On How to Naturally Treat Acne

  1. Tea tree oil
  2. “Elimination Diet. Start with dairy, then proceed with wheat/gluten. Also, take a quality probiotic
  3. “I doubt they need an acne remedy so much as something to help them balance hormones or whatever else the cause might be.”
  4. “Cut out grains and sugar”
  5. “Wash your face with pure castor oil… google it. Works wonders and it’s cheap”
  6. “I would try witchhazel, it’s a lot gentler on cleansing the face than these other astringents that are on the market now days.”
  7. “What is the diet like? Sugar, wheat… dairy, all can play a role. Supplements can help… EFAs, B’s, C’s”
  8. “Balance the hormones and do a liver cleanse. My skin finally cleared up when my liver became happy.”
  9. “Acne and other skin breakouts are just an expression of what’s going on inside the body. Start with diet.”
  10. Apple cider vinegar… internally and externally!”
  11. “In adults acne is a hormone issue usually, not a food issue”
  12. “You need to purge your blood and detox your body. Try juicing for a week (no food). Cinnamon and RAW honey can be combined to use as a mask for this, you can mix it and drink it as well. It works wonders for loads of stuff. I believe in healing from the inside out though. Try to eliminate dairy from your diet as well. Good luck…”
  13. “When I cut grains and sugar out of my diet, my skin improved immensely. Even now, with some sugar and lots of grains back in my diet, I only get a tiny bit of acne.”
  14. “Milk and refined sugars, flours, etc..”
  15. “Vegan diet, totally eliminate dairy and use coconut oil at night. Once a week a honey and cinnamon mask. Work from the inside out.”
  16. “Yep, you gotta watch what you eat. And drink lots of water.”
  17. “Find yourself a great naturopath who can test your body. I have tried everything mentioned above, plus everything else OTC, Rx, diet related, etc and at almost 35 am just now getting better skin thanks to having specific remedies made for me by a miracle worker.”
  18. “What kind of soap, shampoo, and conditioner do you use? Switch to all natural products with no added oils and chemicals. Dr. Bronner’s soap is a good choice.”
  19. “Essential oils”
  20. “I have had success with my female clients who have acne with a protocol of three months on vitex herb (chastetree berry), for balancing hormones, tincture of milk thistle for the liver, and burdock root to cleanse blood. It has worked wonders.”
  21. “Sugar detox worked for me. Have to commit 100%. No grains, no starches, simple, or complex sugars.”
  22. “For me at 35, it was dairy and sugar.”
  23. “Simply eat raw, unbleached almonds and drink bottled water”
  24. “I had acne in my early 20s, and what changed it was eating a clean diet, no processed foods… also, I use all natural african black soap every day and I moisturize with coconut oil. Eliminating dairy and gluten can also help.”
  25. “Organic coconut oil… 1 of my coworkers daughter’s suffered from acne. I have been singing the praises about coconut oil at work and she got some for her daughter to use on her face and back. She is astounded at the results. She couldn’t believe how well it worked and she wasted so much money on other products.”
  26. “Split open a leaf of the aloe vera plant and rub it all over your face”
  27. “I have found keeping a spritzer of full strength white vinegar in the shower to wash face morning and night really helps. Just spritz (close your eyes and hold your breath while you spray!), wait 15 seconds and rinse. This kills bacteria and clears skin quickly. I have also used it as spot treatment, just dab and let dry on particular blemishes. Please try it, it is inexpensive and has really helped me after suffering for years with regular outbreaks.”
  28. “I recommend switching the fats/oils she uses in her diet, adding lots of coconut oil. I was struggling with the same issues. While she is changing her eating habits, I suggest getting Lerosett (an organic healing clay) which worked wonders for me.”
  29. “Look into the oil cleansing method. It seems to be helping with my daughter after only 3 days! yeah!”
  30. “Agreed, you can wash with mallow plants, check a good herbal book, but mostly it’s coming from the inside. Besides… love yourself too.”
  31. “Cut out dairy, gluten, and sugar. Eat mostly (if not all) organic and toss out any chemical based skin products. They’re all crap. Drink lots of water. Get plenty of rest. Exercise and sweat. Acne is your skin sending out a red alert that your body is nutrient deprived. People who are eating the right diet for their physical body type don’t have skin problems. To repair your skin treat blemishes with lavender or tea tree oil (one may work for you better than another). Manuka honey and salt scrubs twice a week and moisturize with coconut oil at night. This is from my personal experience. I used to have horrible skin, and now it’s very healthy!”
  32. “Plant based. Gluten free, paraben free”
  33. “Look up beauty detox diet, purchase and read the book! I recommend this to everyone! It’s awesome!”
  34. “I have a friend who uses Omega-3 oil made from sage (made in Israel). Taken orally from capsules, not applied on the skin.”
  35. “My acne issues stems from stress. Diet is fine. Hormones are in check. Wth. I’m going to try the witchhazel though.”
  36. “I suffer from rosacea and perhaps this too, is that what you have? It is considered “adult acne” by conventional standards. My wonderful naturopath got me onto Metagenics Dermasoothe Lotion and it’s great!”
  37. “Oil cleansing method works wonders and is easily researched online. Try it for two weeks and you will be hooked.”
  38. “Apple cider vinegar”
  39. “Definitely clean up the diet listed above. Try Tata Harper or April Ellen for skin care products.”
  40. “Try getting A LOT more sunshine… most people notice that their acne flares WAY less during the summertime… not because the air is cleaner, not because of the chlorine in the pool… it’s because your body creates A LOT more Vitamin D from the sun in the summer than it does any other time of year… hit a GOOD vitamin D3 supply for a couple of months, and see if that clears it… along with a CLEAN diet (no vegetable oils, processed foods, sugar, coffee, wheat, etc)… having a hormonal work-up is nearly impossible in today’s conventional medicine… only three hospitals in the country do it… and make sure it’s actually ACNE and not rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis… because they can present in the same manner as acne…”
  41. “Menopause…”
  42. “I know of an adult who suffers from back acne and black soap is the only thing that clears it up and keeps it away. You can order it at Vitacost.com”
  43. “I recently discovered a remedy that helps speedily heal a breakout. Banana peel! I rub it on my skin until the white part inside the peel starts to turn brown. I let it dry, then wash it off with just warm water and a cloth”
  44. “Egg yolk mask. Just the yolk, put it on, let it harden, wash it off. Do this a few times a week, sucks the oil out. Acne is hormone related, if you are on any kind of birth control, go off of it. And try to keep stress levels down, exercise too, sweating is a natural detox, just make sure to shower immediately afterwards to avoid clogged pores. Also, I’ve heard sulfur soap helps for extreme acne. But I’ve noticed for myself mild soap water is best.”
  45. “Gluten intolerance can cause acne like symptoms”
  46. “I’ve been using: 1 teaspoon raw honey, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/3 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon mixed together and painted on my face about 20 minutes. It has made the acne fade, acne scars fade, reduced age spots and made my face unbelievably soft! I follow up with coconut oil for moisture.”
  47. “Cut out grains, sugars… especially soft drinks… NO ASPARTAME!… and use organic coconut oil as your facial cleanser (natural anti-bacterial). It has worked great for me.”
  48. “Balancing your body’s pH & go on the acid/alkaline diet… need litmus pH tape to check your acid/alkaline levels in the urine… this diet cured my cancer and my friends diabetes, and it clears acne too”
  49. Aloe vera Gelly! It’s my saving grace after trying almost everything under the sun from natural products, to diet, to Dr’s prescriptions”
  50. “I had adult cystic acne until last year. I’m 32. I’ve tried everything from OTC junk to aloe, apple cider vinegar, baking powder scrubs, emu oil soap, all natural face washes, etc, etc, etc. I changed my diet and it fixed everything. No more cookies, candies, fruit, or anything with high fructose corn syrup. I went on a very low sugar diet for 8 months, but now I’m eating carbs again. Every time I eat a piece of candy, I break out again.”
  51. “Distilled water…”
  52. “I eat as naturally as possible, plenty of probiotics (yogurt, kefir), drink water, and I use natural soap or my homemade soap (also natural). That, the healing power of God, and hormonal adjustment from having children seem to have helped extensively.”
  53. “Natural progesterone is the only thing that helped me. I use Progessence Plus, message me if you want more info”
  54. “Try the oil cleansing method. It stopped all my breakouts and made my formerly oily/nightmare-ish skin transform into super soft, super smooth, amazingly hydrated, and balanced skin”
  55. “It’s all about what you eat. Your body is rejecting toxin so you need to detox what is being emitted. Hormone changes make an obvious appearance. You need to stop touching and over working the skin as well”
  56. “I’d suggest reading on the blood type diet. But I use honey to “wash” my face and coconut oil as a moisturizer”
  57. “Garlic, comfrey, and honey on your face”
  58. “Raspberry leaf, probiotic cleanser, homeopathic ointment, stridex pads.”
  59. “Check out The Love Vitamin, and Crunchy Betty for natural skin care information. Both address diet and cosmetic issues.” (Yay, a mention!)
  60. “Wonderbar cleared mine up in two weeks.” (Is this a soap? I assume it’s not the chocolate bar..)
  61. “Change your diet. Avoid processed and refined foods. Eat as nature intended you to eat.”
  62. “Be careful using coconut oil on your face like another commenter mentioned… I was using it as my sole facial moisturizer and my skin ended up getting worse in the long run. I found out it actually clogs facial pores! I still use it on my body and love it for that at least.”
  63. “I cut out gluten and sugar and my skin cleared up magnificently. If you have unbalanced bacteria in your gut by eating too much sugar it will manifest as acne. Eat clean, and your skin will radiate health.”
  64. “For me, it has been 1) fermented cod liver oil/raw butter oil and 2) giving up wheat due to an allergy I didn’t know I even had for 38 years!! That and absolutely no store bought “beauty products” (even organic) – if I wouldn’t eat it, then I don’t put it on my face.”
  65. “Periodic juice fasting cleansed my liver and got rid of my severe cystic adult acne.”
  66. “Check colon, skin breakouts are part of detox/excretion pathways. Also try cleaning face w/ 50:50 solution of lemon juice:water. if breakouts are on your back, see your chiropractor.”
  67. “I wash my face, then I use a little baking soda and water to exfoliate the skin and dry up the oils. My face has cleared up a lot since I started doing this a couple times a week.”
  68. “Cutting dairy helped a lot. Once I found out about my allergy, it was a nice side effect. I think it’s trial and error, but definitely look at diet. There could be something there. Or maybe it’s a wash or a combination of the two.”
  69. “I use 50/50 castor oil (Now) brand and organic extra virgin olive oil… great for acne”
  70. “Acne is caused by androgens, a male hormone, in both men and women”
  71. “Black soap with shea butter… works fast, smells good too.”
  72. “Healthy skin comes from the inside, not soaps and creams. Flax/hemp seeds are full of healthy fats and oils. Kale and other leafy greens. Try a whole body cleanse too. Aloe vera juice will help repair post-acne damage. It’s not just that simple though. It’s a whole lifestyle change. But it’s worth it because it will heal more than just your skin. Some good info up here ^, but a LOT of misinformation too. Be careful what you try.”
  73. “Drinking lots of water sure helped me.”
  74. “Don’t know if you drink soy milk or eat soy products, but a good friend of mine switched to almond at the suggestion of her doctor, and sure enough, she was allergic to soy. It was the culprit of her acne.”
  75. “Juice fast”
  76. “Organic apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon at least per day with lots of water.”
  77. “Eliminate ALL dairy!”
  78. “Plant-based diet, cleanse face with organic sugar and fresh squeezed lemon and moisturize with grapeseed oil (if under 40), jojoba oil (if over 40). You need the oils to balance out your skin or it will continue to produce oil.”
  79. “Usually when skin issues arise, it’s the liver that needs attention!”
  80. “My black soap comes from the Dead Sea… Absolutely fabulous for acne, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea, etc… hands down the best system I have ever seen or used.”
  81. “BURDOCK!!!”
  82. “Coconut oil does NOT clog pores. If it doesn’t work with your body, don’t use it. Everyone is different. What works for some may not work for others. It makes *my* skin look fabulous and absorbs beautifully.”
  83. “Adult acne: heal your gut… many times acne is bacterial/overgrowth… so probiotic (sporogenous) & go without dairy for a few days… see what happens.”
  84. “Coconut oil as a moisturizer! Buy the quality all natural brand.”
  85. “I had a friend who would be covered in acne when she drank coffee. When she avoided it, her skin was beautiful. She ate an all vegan, mostly raw diet, but coffee was her weakness.”
  86. “Gluten is likely the culprit. It messes up your gut flora balance. And coffee is one of the foods that can cross react… the body will think it is gluten and react as if it were gluten.”
  87. “Acne among naturopaths is called ‘diabetes of the skin’. Reduce all processed and high GI food and I guarantee you will see a difference. There are lots of studies that show a low GI diet of low to no processed foods can reduce acne in as little as a month, after 12 months the acne will be completely gone.”
  88. “This may be a duplication of another post – try taking a good quality probiotic (one that will survive stomach acid and actually reach the intestine), zinc tabs are good for the skin, filtered water, and eat more fruits and veggies.”
  89. “Colloidal silver, spray on your face with eyes closed. I get it from Utopia Silver.”
  90. “A cream called “Benzac” with Benzoyl Peroxide is effective. I get it @ Wal Mart for $10. Very much worth it!”
  91. “It is frequently a gut problem and a good probiotic will help.”
  92. “Cut out dairy and sugar”
  93. “From the inside out… but to get you by, you can use Selsun Blue medicated shampoo. Be very careful not to get it in your eyes. Use for a few days then off for a couple. Do not use if you do not need it. Rub gently in circles across the area that is broken out. Leave on for about 5 to 10 minutes and rinse thoroughly. Diet does make a huge difference though so make sure you figure out what is triggering the breakouts.”
  94. “Food sensitivity is the problem. Your body is reacting to something that doesn’t agree with it. It can be anything, but most common culprits are sugar and gluten. Coffee and chocolate can also be troublesome. Detox and try one thing at a time and see what happens. Good luck!”
  95. “Parasites sometimes cause acne.”
  96. “Digestion is slow, toxins are building up faster than released. Open the bowel. Topically my kids use nanosilver from Nature’s Sunshine Products. I also get them to cut down/cut out dairy and wheat. They clear up fast.”
  97. “My face finally cleared up at age 50 when I stopped eating wheat. I tried many medical and holistic treatments that helped little. But this seems to be a cure!”
  98. “The answers for the ‘essential food’ that can make your skin radiantly beautiful are: avocado, green tea, tomatoes, salmon, eggs, pomegranate, walnut, and beans”
  99. “I don’t mean to be a broken record touting the Wheat Belly book and wheat elimination way of life – but I have read many posts on Wheat Belly FB page about acne clearing up in both adults and children who eliminated wheat. Go to the FB page and ask if people have seen improvements and see what answers you get.”
  100. “Cleaning up the diet and healing your gut will kick acne’s butt!”
  101. “Acne is often your body’s way of releasing toxins through the skin because the other elimination channels are over-burdened. Do a cleansing fast, do a colonic or enemas, and take a look at your diet to see what non-healthy foods you can cut out. Really important to avoid wheat, dairy, processed refined foods, additives, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colours, etc. Eat lots of whole natural foods. Dry skin brushing will also help to revitalize your skin and help it to function better. Saunas and getting out in the sun will help too. And drink good quality water on an empty stomach.”

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Whew. If you made it through all that, I’m impressed. As I said, please share in the comments what has worked for you, or at least made a big difference in your skin.

photo by lighttruth