Does Garlic Help Acne? What Does Science Say?

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Preethi Nagaraj, MD DVL
Written by Annie Jangam

Several things you find in your kitchen can be used to treat different ailments ranging from skin issues to respiratory illnesses. Garlic is one such ingredient that is believed to treat many skin conditions. You can use garlic for acne issues. But does it really work? How does garlic benefit your skin? Keep reading to find out what science says about the skin benefits of garlic and how it may help minimize acne.

Garlic For Acne Does It Work? What Science Says

In a recent study, 7.5 % of garlic juice was found to fight against Propionibacterium acnes, a bacteria that causes acne (1). This study had further demonstrated that using garlic juice in a gel form could be better due to its added stability. However, this study needs to be further validated by clinical trials.

Garlic has been used as a preventive remedy since ancient times to ward off infections. Scientific evidence reports that garlic does have anti-microbial properties against other species of bacteria like Staphylococcus, Salmonella, Vibrio, Mycobacteria, and Proteus (2). However, the exact mechanism of how garlic works to fight acne is yet to be studied.

For now, we can speculate that the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of garlic may help manage acne.

If you are wondering how to actually use garlic to treat acne, we have got you covered. Read on to learn the different ways you can use garlic to treat your acne.

How To Use Garlic For Acne?

1. Garlic Puree

This simple homemade remedy is believed to be effective due to the antibacterial properties of garlic. Raw garlic can also be used, though a diluted version will be gentler on your skin. You can use this remedy thrice a week for the best results.

You will need

  • 3 to 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of water

Process

  1. Crush the garlic cloves.
  2. Add water to make a thick puree.
  3. Apply the mixture to the affected area.
  4. Leave it on for 10 minutes.
  5. Rinse with water.
  6. Pat dry.
  7. Apply a moisturizer.

2. Garlic And Yogurt

Yogurt has probiotics that may help treat acne (3). It is believed yogurt may also clear out clogged pores and dead skin cells that may otherwise contribute to acne. You can use this every alternate day to help get clear, blemish-free skin.

You will need

  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of yogurt

Process

  1. Grind the garlic cloves and yogurt to a fine paste.
  2. Apply this mixture to the acne-prone area.
  3. Rinse with warm water after 15 minutes.

3. Garlic And Rosewater

Rosewater is soothing and gentle on acne-prone skin. Rosewater and the plants extracts have been reported to be effective against acne, thanks to their antibacterial properties (4).

You will need

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of rosewater

Process

  1. Crush the garlic cloves and add rose water to make a thick paste.
  2. Apply this mixture to the affected area.
  3. Do not leave this on for more than 10 minutes. Rinse with lukewarm water.
  4. Pat dry and follow with a moisturizer.

4. Garlic And Aloe Vera

This natural remedy is applied topically on the skin. It can be helpful to prevent future breakouts (5). Apart from hydrating the skin, aloe vera also has an anti-acne effect (6). This home remedy is perfect for people with sensitive skin.

You will need

  • 2 tablespoons of garlic juice
  • 2 tablespoons of aloe vera

Process

  1. Add aloe vera to the garlic juice.
  2. Apply this to the acne-prone area.
  3. Rinse after 15 minutes

5. Garlic And Honey

Honey is a natural humectant and has anti-microbial properties (7). This remedy is perfect for those with dry skin. You should use this only once a week.

You will need

  • 2 to 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 tablespoon of honey

Process

  1. Crush the garlic cloves and dilute the mixture with water.
  2. Take equal quantities of garlic-water mixture and honey.
  3. Mix them thoroughly and dab the solution over your pimples or acne scars.
  4. Wash after 10 to 15 minutes.

6. Garlic And ACV

ACV has anti-microbial properties that may help treat acne-prone skin (8). However, keep in mind to use diluted ACV on the skin. Undiluted ACV could be too strong for your skin.

You will need

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons of diluted apple cider vinegar

Process

  1. Grind the garlic cloves with ACV.
  2. Strain the mixture with a cheesecloth.
  3. Spread a thin layer of this solution over your acne.
  4. Let it dry for 10 minutes.
  5. Rinse with water.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that drinking garlic water or raw garlic juice may also help clear acne. However, keep in mind that consuming too much garlic has its own risks.

Precautions To Be Taken

Garlic is very strong in nature and can cause a slight burning or stinging sensation when applied to the skin directly. It is recommended to dilute it with water or other ingredients before topical application. Contact a doctor if you notice the following symptoms after applying garlic:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Persistent tingling or burning sensation
  • Allergic reaction, skin irritation, or rash

Garlic is known to interact with various drugs and medications (mentioned below) (9). Keep this in mind before you ingest garlic-based home remedies.

  • Warfarin
  • Antiplatelets
  • Saquinavir
  • Antihypertensives
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Quinolone family of antibiotics such as Ciprofloxacin, and hypoglycemic drugs

Note: Garlic is a potent irritant and can cause severe irritant reactions, especially on sensitive skin. Hence, always dilute garlic juice and never apply it directly. It can be used on an occasional acne breakout, but if you have persistent acne, applying garlic daily can cause irritation, leading to pigmentation, and is hence not advisable.

Garlic may help eliminate acne-causing bacteria and reduce inflammation. However, more clinical studies are needed to prove garlic’s anti-acne properties. Nevertheless, anecdotal evidence supports the use of garlic for acne treatment. If you want to try this remedy, follow the methods discussed in the article. However, remember that it is potent and can cause skin irritation, so use it cautiously and do a patch test before applying it to the skin. Moreover, garlic may interact with a variety of medications when consumed. Therefore, consult a dermatologist before using garlic for treating acne.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can garlic burn your skin?

Yes, garlic contains chemicals such as allicin and allyl propyl disulfide that may cause your skin to burn (10). Avoid applying raw garlic on your face.

Are tomatoes and garlic good for acne?

Yes, using a combination of garlic and tomatoes may be good for your acne. Tomatoes and garlic contain anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that may help soothe and manage acne (2), (11).

Can garlic remove pimples overnight?

There is not enough scientific evidence that suggests garlic may help reduce pimples overnight.

Key Takeaways

  • Garlic has been demonstrated to be effective against acne-causing bacteria.
  • Garlic is used in various ways to treat acne. These include garlic puree, garlic and yogurt, garlic and rosewater, garlic and aloe vera, garlic and honey, and garlic and apple cider vinegar.
  • However, garlic might induce a little burning or stinging sensation when applied directly to the skin. Hence, it is best to dilute it with water or other ingredients.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

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Dr. Preethi Nagaraj

(MD DVL)
Dr. Preethi Nagaraj is the medical director and senior consultant dermatologist at Twacha Skin and Hair Clinic, Kakkanad, Kochi, India.... more

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