Acne may be one of the most problematic issues in both adolescents and adults. For some people, pimples just never seem to stop coming, and it can be extremely hard to be on top of your game when a part of your face is covered in pimples and your confidence is at its all-time low.
Acne refers to an inflammatory skin condition that can take on different forms. It may appear as blackheads, whiteheads, pimples or cysts. An estimated 85 percent of people between the ages of 12 and 24 are plagued with acne, with 20 percent of people suffering from this condition all throughout their adulthood.1
Pimples usually develop due to the over-activity of the sebaceous glands. Once the glands produce too much sebum, the pores can become clogged with dirt, dead skin and oil, triggering acne breakouts. However, the misconception that pimples are solely because a person's skin is dirty is not entirely true. Numerous factors directly influence acne breakouts, which may be external or internal.
There are numerous possible causes why pimples develop, from oily skin to hormones. Some of the most common causes include:
- Hormones — Hormones directly influence how the skin reacts to external factors. This cause is commonly seen in adolescents. Teenagers and young adults may suffer from hormonal fluctuations, which may increase sebum production, trigger skin inflammation and cause bacteria responsible for acne to form.2
- Stress. An overload of stress hormones in the body can cause pimples by promoting skin damage and triggering inflammation.3
- Comedogenic skin products — A special type of acne may be caused by skin products that clog the pores and hair follicles. Some of the most common comedogenic ingredients in cosmetic products include various oils and fragrances.4
- Dry skin — While oily skin is usually the culprit when it comes to acne breakouts, dry skin can also aggravate your skin by keeping the sebum inside instead of on the skin surface. The sebum then clogs the pores and makes pimples appear.5
- Dairy and high-glycemic foods — Dairy and high-sugar products cause your blood sugar to spike, which triggers inflammation in your body. The insulin spike brought on by these food may cause hormonal fluctuations, which also triggers pimple formation.6
Hundreds of products in the market claim to help eradicate acne with regular use. While some might be effective, many of these offer empty promises. Some also contain large amounts of synthetic chemicals that may harm your skin further. Believe it or not, most of the effective acne treatments are actually natural and mild on the skin.
If you're currently suffering from an acne breakout, there's a high chance that you're considering buying some anti-acne products off the market. But wouldn't it be better if you go for more natural alternatives? Here are some of the holistic pimple remedies you can try out:7
1. Apple cider vinegar — Apple cider vinegar is filled with organic acids that have antibacterial properties, which can help alleviate the infections that accompany pimples. Dilute raw apple cider vinegar and use as a toner or a spot treatment.
2. Witch hazel — Witch hazel is filled with tannins, which may help alleviate swelling and redness, and help promote healing.8 Dampen a cotton ball with witch hazel, and then apply on your skin/. Do this every morning and at night.9
3. Honey and cinnamon — Honey and cinnamon contain anti-inflammatory and antibacterial components that help soothe pimple inflammation. Mix 2 tablespoons of raw honey and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to form a paste. Cleanse your face and apply the mask. After 10 to 15 minutes, rinse the mask off and pat your face dry.10
4. Aloe vera — Aloe vera contains salicylic acid and sulfur that are especially useful for drying up pimples. In addition, it also keeps your skin hydrated and healthy, which may reduce your risk of getting pimples.11
5. Tea tree oil — Tea tree oil may be one of the most popular acne spot treatments across the board. It has the ability to fight off bacteria and significantly reduce inflammation. Dilute a few drops of tea tree oil with 20 to 40 drops of witch hazel. Apply the mixture as a spot-on treatment once or twice a day.12
6. Lemon — The acidic property of lemon makes it a good choice for an exfoliant, skin lightener and disinfectant. It can prevent the growth of new pimples and lighten pimple scars at the same time. Cleanse your face. Soak a cotton ball in lemon juice and dab it on problem areas. Rinse it off with cold water.
7. Green tea — Green tea contains numerous antioxidants, flavonoids and tannins, which are especially useful for acne breakouts. Green tea may also reduce sebum production, decreasing the risk for pimples.13 Steep a cup of green tea for 15 minutes. Let the tea cool. Mix in 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1/3 cup of water. Soak a cotton and apply the solution to your problem areas.14
8. Ice — If you have a big inflamed pimple, one of the easiest things you can do is to apply ice directly to alleviate the swelling. The cold will vasoconstrict the blood vessels around the pimple and calm the inflammation. Wrap an ice cube in a wash cloth and hold it on the pimple for a few seconds. Make sure that you do not keep it on for more than a few minutes as too much cold can cause skin damage.15
If you've had problems with cystic pimples, or you're one of those people who just can't seem to stop picking on them, there's a high change you've got pimple scars. Pimple scars come in different shapes and sizes, depending on how your skin responds to healing. Some acne scars may look like deep holes in the skin, while others may look like hyperpigmented spots.16
The good news is that there are numerous techniques to remove annoying pimple scars. Here are some easy and natural ways to try:17,18
• Yogurt and cucumber — Cucumber contains moisturizing and softening properties that can help the skin recover from damage. Yogurt promotes skin cell regeneration and replacement. Mix 1 tablespoon of yogurt and 1 teaspoon of cucumber juice together. Apply the mixture to the pimple scars and let dry. After 15 minutes, rinse the mixture off with cold water.
• Papaya juice — The high amounts of papain and vitamin A in papaya juice promote skin healing and dead skin cell removal. Extract papaya juice and apply it to your face. Let the juice dry and rinse off with cold water.
• Orange peel — Orange peel contains large amounts of retinol, which helps in skin renewal and repair. It also promotes collagen production and increases dead skin shedding. This will help speed up your skin's full recovery from acne.
Make a thick paste with 1 tablespoon of dried orange peel and 1 teaspoon of milk. Apply the paste to your face and let it dry for about 15 minutes. Rinse off the paste with cold water.
• Lime juice — Lime juice has mild bleaching properties, which may help with hyperpigmentation. It can also help generate new skin cells and speed up healing. Directly apply freshly squeezed lime juice to your acne marks. Wait for a few minutes before washing it off.
• Rosehip seed oil — Rosehip oil is widely known because of its anti-aging properties. Applying diluted rosehip oil to your skin twice a day will rejuvenate your skin and help treat acne scarring and other types of skin damage.
• Apple cider vinegar — Apple cider vinegar contains antibacterial and bleaching properties, which may help you treat acne and pimple scars simultaneously. Using diluted apple cider vinegar as a toner will increase blood flow and speed up cell regeneration.
Acne can appear in different forms, depending on their severity. Pimples are one of the most common types of acne. Some of the common types of pimples include the following:19
- Papules — Papules are the simplest type of pimples and the easiest to treat. They are characterized by raised red bumps that may appear alone or in groups.
- Pustules — Pustules are inflamed papules triggered by the blockage of oil and dead skin in the pores. They are filled with yellowish pus, which is why they appear to have white pimple heads.
- Cystic pimples — Cysts and nodules refer to more severe cases of acne. These two types arise when the infection goes deeper into the skin. Nodules are hard, while cysts are softer as they are filled with pus. However, both of these pimple types are extremely painful to the touch and leave marks and scars when they eventually go away.>
Pimples may also be classified according to where they appear on the body While most pimples are usually found on the face, there are instances when pores in other areas can become clogged, leading to:
- Back pimples — Also known as "bacne," back pimples are triggered by excessive oil secretion in the back. Sweat and oil may become stuck inside the pores, triggering breakouts.20
- Nose pimples — The pores on the nose are bigger than normal, which makes them more prone to clogging. In some cases, pimples inside the nose may develop because of the surplus of bacteria found in the nasal canal. One of the most common triggers for nose pimples is picking your nose, which may damage your pores and give the bacteria a way to get inside the skin.21
- Ear pimples — Ear pimples are caused by oil buildup inside the ears. They may be triggered by frequent earbud or headset use or sticking your finger or other materials inside your ear canal.22
- Butt pimples — Some people may suffer from butt acne, especially if they sit a lot throughout the day. The two common types are folliculitis and carbuncles.23
Like the pimples of your face, you can stop the emergence of pimples in different areas of your body the natural way. Here are some tips that you can follow to stop getting pimples on your back, nose, butt and ears:
• Do your laundry more often — Sweat and dead skin are two of the most common reasons why people get bacne. Wash your clothes and sheets more regularly to avoid coming into contact with dead skin and dried sweat.
• Exfoliate to remove dead skin and other debris from your back — This will stop any irritants from getting into your pores and triggering breakouts.
• Improve your diet — Pimples are not caused solely by dirt and oil. Your diet also directly influences your skin health. By shunning processed foods from your diet and making healthy wholesome choices, you're helping your skin achieve peak condition.24
• Clean your nose with warm water and mild soap twice a day — Make sure that you remove excess oil and dirt from your nose at least twice a day to stop them from getting into your pores. This will help stop pimple reemergence.
• Do not pick your nose — Inserting your finger into your nasal canal will not only introduce hundreds of bacteria, but might also damage the sensitive skin inside your nose.
• Avoid popping pimples inside the nose — Your nasal canal is home to thousands of bacteria, and popping or picking at a pimple will give these bacteria a way in.25
• Avoid tight clothes — The excessive friction caused by tight clothes may irritate the skin on your butt, triggering breakouts. Wear loose and comfortable clothes to let your skin breathe.
• Clean your buttocks with mild soap — Wash your butt regularly to remove debris, sweat and bacteria.
• Do not use oils or heavy lotions — Avoid applying oils and skin products to your buttocks as they may make their way into your pores and cause pimples to develop.26
• Avoid swimming in dirty water — This will prevent contaminated water from getting inside your ear, which may cause infections and pore blockage.
• Wash your face, neck and ears with mild soap — This will prevent dead skin and any possible irritants from getting inside your ears.27