And yes, I did just get a really bad pimple before a date.
October 10, 2007 1:34 PM   Subscribe

Looking for an all-natural, skin-friendly acne treatment.

I'm almost thirty, but I still get pimples! Yuck!

I don't have a particularly severe case or anything, but they are definitely annoying, and my complexion is less then clear. Plus, I sometimes get them in terrible places, like the famous "cyclops eye" middle-of-the-forehead pimple, or the much-dreaded "rudolph" nose-tip pimple.

I'd like to get rid of these little buggers, but I'd like to use a nice, non-invasive, natural remedy that doesn't do mean things to my body.
posted by Elmo Oxygen to Health & Fitness (23 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
tee tree oil?
posted by timory at 1:35 PM on October 10, 2007

I had the same problem, lingering acne that wasn't terribly severe. I haven't really had any problems since I stopped using any kind of special acne treatment at all. I use a tiny bit of good quality soap or even just shampoo when I wash my hair to get rid of excess oil. I find I don't need very much. Then I use a hemp washcloth and spend about a minute scrubbing my face. The important part is that I basically just mechanically exfoliate. Anything will do as long as it is coarse and abrasive, but not enough to be damaging. I find coarse hemp is ideal for this, but a loofah or something similar will work too. Cotton is too soft. This works for me, YMMV.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:46 PM on October 10, 2007

Olive oil.

Use it in place of soap -- your skin should be clearer within a week or so.

Yes. Olive oil. Wet your face, pour some (extra virgin) olive oil in your hands then onto your face, massage for 10 seconds, rinse off (your skin will still be slick). Pat your face dry. Do it once to twice daily. No astringent, no lotion (if you need extra moisture, use a couple drops of olive oil), no soap, no rubbing your skin til it feels like wallpaper.

My best friend does it. My mom does it. I've been doing it for a couple months now.

Best. Thing. Ever.
posted by whitneykitty at 1:51 PM on October 10, 2007 [6 favorites]

I'm in my mid-30s, and if I don't regularly use Neutrogena's Oil-Free Acne Wash, I look like a 16-year-old McDonald's employee. Works really well for me.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:58 PM on October 10, 2007

Male or female? If female it might be entirely hormonal and if so, there's not much you can do without altering your hormonal balance.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 2:13 PM on October 10, 2007

I swear by this stuff: Mario Badescu drying lotion. I swear to god, please, try it once. It's not bad for you and it's cheap. You can get it at Nordstrom or online... stuff is a miracle cure.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 2:27 PM on October 10, 2007

Tea Tree Oil is pretty much the money for that sporadic zit. Anything more chronic and you're in medical territory. Or change-your-diet-drastically territory.
posted by sneakin at 2:38 PM on October 10, 2007

Response by poster: Male or female?

posted by Elmo Oxygen at 2:53 PM on October 10, 2007

If I scrub, it gets worse. After a bunch of attempts, I went with the regimen: a gentle soap, 2.5% BP (I use the wipes), moisturizer. I suppose you can sub tea-tree oil in for the BP, I suppose, but tea-tree oil in large amounts can cause man-tits. Moisturizing, contrary though it may seem, is a super big help.

When I have bad cases, I whip out the sulphur soap or the sulphur powder. S is pretty damn natural and it can work. You could also be terribly allergic to it. YMMV.
posted by cobaltnine at 3:02 PM on October 10, 2007

Male. Okay.
So here's what Dr Weil says about alternative treatment (for the record he also endorses benzoyl peroxide and even accutane and retin-a:

* Don't squeeze pimples - it can lead to scarring.
* Wash regularly with a mild glycerin soap. Don't scrub your face, just wash gently and pat dry; scrubbing will only make matters worse.
* As a natural alternative to topical application of benzoyl peroxide, use calendula, commonly known as pot marigold. (It is not a true marigold.) Calendula is a popular ornamental plant that you can buy for your garden at most nurseries in the spring. Its bright orange flowers can be made into tinctures, lotions and creams. Try washing your skin with tea made from the flowers, or buy ready-to-use calendula skin products at health-food stores.
* You may also try washing with a five percent tea tree oil gel, also available at health food stores.
* Try consulting a Chinese medicine practitioner; Chinese herbal treatments, both topical and oral, can be very effective when used as acne treatments. One such treatment is astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous) from the root of a Chinese plant that can help fight chronic infections. The dose is two capsules or tablets twice a day unless the product label directs otherwise.
* Increase your consumption of antioxidant-rich foods, including fruits and vegetables.
* Include omega-3 fatty acids such as wild Alaskan salmon or freshly ground flaxseeds to help reduce and prevent inflammation.
* Drink lots of water to keep the skin hydrated and healthy.
* Limit processed and refined foods, and opt for whole, healthful foods instead.
* Don't be afraid to eat a piece of dark chocolate now and then - there is no link between chocolate and acne, and dark chocolate actually has antioxidant benefits!
posted by otherwordlyglow at 3:33 PM on October 10, 2007

I'm also 25+ and still getting pimples, and I'm always looking for something great to get rid of them (I want to try this, but it's so expensive).

Burt's Bees 'Herbal Blemish Stick' seems to be pretty good (although not actually a stick, it's a little roller tip applicator), but the thing that's made the biggest difference for me has been using a salicylic acid peel before bed on alternate nights, I use the L'Oreal kit you can get in Target or a drugstore. I guess it's not strictly 'natural', (which I think is generally a false line to draw) but it isn't anything systemic and it hasn't had any side effects - no redness, no flaking, it's sort of magic.
posted by crabintheocean at 3:35 PM on October 10, 2007

What do you mean by all-natural? And must it be?

I'm 28 and have the same lingering acne, and for me, the problem was that the "dead" surface skin of my face wasn't shedding fast enough.

In addition to the basic regimen everyone's mentioned, I've been using this, a BHA liquid lotion thingy on my face after a good face wash/shower at night. I still occasionally get pimples but never the big embarrassing ones. This "chemical" exfoliation was key for me, though it may not meet your needs.

BTW, scrubbing with a washcloth or using harsh scrubs = bad (irritates the skin).
posted by QueSeraSera at 3:56 PM on October 10, 2007

The only thing that has worked for me is 2& salicylic acid, which is exactly what Clean and Clearhas in it.
posted by la petite marie at 5:48 PM on October 10, 2007

that 2%
posted by la petite marie at 5:48 PM on October 10, 2007

Disclaimer: Not natural, but works - The Regimen. No products to buy necessarily, but the available economy sized tubes of 2.5% Benzoyl Perozide is really cheap.
posted by hannahq at 6:49 PM on October 10, 2007

I'm 32, female, and had intermittent mild acne until I switched to Ivory soap and occasional exfoliation with St. Ives Apricot Scrub. The best thing I've found for breakouts, though, is pure Aloe Vera gel. Cheap and effective, it is. Don't buy a gel containing alcohol and mind your can sting. Drinking lots of water helps, too.
posted by bonobo at 8:15 PM on October 10, 2007

Lush makes products out of fresh organic fruit and vegetables. I'm experimenting with some of the products in their skincare line right now, trying to find the right fit for my skin. Their salespeople are crazy (in a good way) brand evangelists and are committed to helping you find the right products whether that be through samples or returning stuff that didn't work.

Also: The natural skincare lines offered by Sephora.

The link is for the Lush US site but they appear to have many sites/locations. Can't tell where you are but I think you might not be in the US.
posted by ml98tu at 9:07 PM on October 10, 2007

Suki Naturals !!! If I could be a spokesperson for any product line in the world it would be these guys!!!!! I recently turned my bff on to them and she was told beforehand by her dermatologist that the only way her acne spots would go away would be through medication. She tried Suki and was amazed! I love them. The lemongrass cleanser is a great exfoliant and their lotions and toners are all amazing. Seriously. A bit pricey but every ounce worth it! Bonus that is a small company based out of New England and even the owner herself still answers the phone sometimes! (she created the product for herself and it grew from there- I found this out after falling in love with them and love them even more for it) In my late 20's I was still getting the monsters on my face untill this product. I tried to go back to the cheap stuff but my face broke out again. Never again. All I get now is maybe a little red- ooh am I getting a zit?- nope- gone before it is anything noticable. Can you tell I love this product?
posted by MayNicholas at 9:34 PM on October 10, 2007

whitneykitty, your ideas intrigue me. (Sorry to derail a bit — I was going to email, but email's not in profile).

What kind of skin do you have? Mine is combo dry and oily and I've been taught for years to keep away from products with oil. Second, do you use sunscreen? If so, when do you put it on? After the oil? How long do you wait before doing your makeup? I'd like to give this a try and my skin has been in bad shape lately due to the pollution here.

posted by Brittanie at 11:52 PM on October 10, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for your suggestions, all. You've given me some good places to start. I'll have to do some research on my own and decide which direction to go in.

Oh yeah - and I did *not* know about the tea tree oil/man boobies thing! Scary stuff! I'm totally going to stop using that tea tree oil shampoo/conditioner.
posted by Elmo Oxygen at 7:29 AM on October 11, 2007

I use Thayer's Witch Hazel Astringent with aloe.
posted by sunshinesky at 9:03 AM on October 11, 2007

Oh- and my grandmother swore by washing her face with a lemon once in the morning and once at night.
posted by sunshinesky at 9:04 AM on October 11, 2007

Toothpaste is a common emergency solution - the menthol in the toothpaste will dry out the pimple. I've heard of models using this in emergencies...
posted by mattr at 6:29 PM on October 13, 2007

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