Pimples and zits are very common skin issues and experienced by people of all ages. They are usually caused by hormonal changes in your body or when the pores of your skin get clogged with impurities.
In this post, we will discuss how you can minimize pimples using natural methods. These remedies may not help eliminate pimples altogether but can help reduce their appearance and redness.
Table Of Contents
What Causes Pimples?
Our skin has oil-producing glands called sebaceous glands. Sometimes, when these glands get clogged, they can cause lesions filled with pus to develop. These lesions can be inflamed and appear like red boils and are called pimples.
Pimples (also known as zits) are a symptom of acne (1). They are observed to occur on the face, back, shoulders, and chest due to the presence of sebaceous glands in these areas. Pimples can occur at any age but are most likely to show up during puberty due to hormonal changes. This is because, all through puberty, there is a change in hormone production. This causes the sebaceous glands to work overtime and produce sebum in excess.
Here are some natural ways to reduce the occurrence of pimples.
Natural Ways To Reduce Pimples
1. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is known to possess antimicrobial properties (2). This may help in reducing the occurrence of pimples, inflamed lesions, and zits on your skin. Do not apply tea tree oil topically if you are allergic to it as it may cause a burning sensation on your skin.
What You Can Do: Mix 2-3 drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil (sweet almond oil or jojoba oil). Apply this mixture on the pimples. Leave it on for an hour before washing it off. Repeat once daily until the redness and inflammation reduction.
2. Argan Oil
Argan oil contains bioactive groups of compounds like carotenes, xanthophylls, and tocopherols that possess antimicrobial properties (3). A cream containing argan oil was found to reduce sebum production (4). These properties may help in reducing the infection around the pimple and preventing the clogging of pores with sebum.
What You Can Do: You will need a few drops of argan oil and carrier oil. Mix them and apply it on the pimple using a sterile cotton ball. You can do this 3-4 times a day.
3. Jojoba Oil
What You Can Do: Mix a few drops of jojoba oil with a carrier oil like sweet almond oil. Dab some of this mixture on a cotton ball and apply it on the pimple. You can do this about 3-4 times a day.
4. Castor Oil
The main component of castor oil is ricinoleic acid, which exhibits anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties (7). These properties may help mitigate the inflammation and infection around the pimple. Castor oil may cause irritation in certain skin types. Hence, do a patch test before you use it on the affected area.
What You Can Do: Boil some water to steam your face. Apply a mixture of castor oil and olive oil to your face and pat it dry. You can leave it on overnight and rinse thoroughly. You can do this twice a week.
5. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is commonly known as magnesium sulfate. It is generally known to reduce inflammation and soothe the skin (8). It may help reduce swelling around the pimple and reduce its appearance. Epsom salt can cause an allergic reaction in some people. You must seek immediate medical attention if you experience skin irritation, shortness of breath, or swelling of lips.
What You Can Do: Take 2 cups of warm water and add 2-3 teaspoons of Epsom salt to it. Soak a clean washcloth in this solution and place it on your face until it cools. Rinse thoroughly. You can do this twice a week.
6. Fish Oil
Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that exhibit anti-inflammatory properties (9). These properties may help reduce the swelling caused by pimples and the secretion of oil by the oil glands. Fish oil supplements also showed promise in improving overall acne severity (10). However, more research is needed to establish the efficacy of this treatment. Remember to consult your doctor before taking these supplements.
7. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can help reduce pain and inflammation (11). Lauric acid, the major component of coconut oil, exhibits antimicrobial properties (12). This may help reduce the infection around a pimple. Avoid coconut oil if you have oily skin as it is highly comedogenic and can clog the pores.
What You Can Do: Take a teaspoon of virgin coconut oil and apply it on the affected area. You can leave it on for a few hours and repeat it twice a day.
Garlic contains allicin that exhibits antimicrobial properties (13). This can help reduce the infection around the pimple and prevent frequent breakouts. However, garlic may cause irritation and skin damage if left on for too long.
What You Can Do: Crush a few garlic cloves and add it to a heated saucepan with 100 mL of olive oil. Heat for about 3-5 minutes on medium flame and cool it. Strain the oil and apply it to the affected area with a cotton ball. Leave it on for about 20 minutes and then wash it off. You may do this twice a day.
9. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera has long been used for its therapeutic effect on skin disorders. Aloe vera possesses antimicrobial and wound healing properties (14). Both these properties can promote faster healing and prevent further breakouts.
What You Can Do: Apply aloe vera gel on the pimple. You can leave it on overnight and wash it off the next morning.
What You Can Do: Dab some honey on a cotton ball and apply it to the pimple. You can do this 3-4 times a day until the pimple goes away.
Lemon essential oil is rich in vitamin C or ascorbic acid that exhibits antibacterial property (16). This may help fight the infection that causes pimples and prevent further breakouts. Lemon juice can cause a stinging sensation on your skin. Do a patch test on your skin before trying this remedy. Also, lemon juice can make your skin photosensitive. Hence, make sure you apply sunscreen before you step out.
What You Can Do: Take a teaspoon each of lemon juice and honey. Dab this mixture on a cotton ball and apply to the affected area. Rinse off after 5-6 minutes. You can do this once or twice daily.
Turmeric contains curcumin, which showed significant improvement in acne in a study (17). Curcumin also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties (18). These properties may help reduce the occurrence of pimples.
What You Can Do: Make a thick paste with water and a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Apply this paste on the pimple and rinse it off once it dries. You can do this twice a day. Do not apply turmeric paste topically if you are allergic to it.
13. Green Tea
Green tea is rich in polyphenols that can help regulate the secretion of sebum by the oil glands in your skin (19). This may help reduce the occurrence of pimples. Green tea also possesses anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce the swelling around the affected area.
What You Can Do: Take out the green tea leaves from two tea bags. Moisten them in warm water and mix with some aloe vera gel. Use this as a mask and leave it on for 15 minutes. Wash off with water. Apply this pack twice a week.
Medical Treatment For Pimples
- Using an over-the-counter 0.1% adapalene gel on the areas with breakout or pimples can help in treating it (22). This can be applied directly to pimples or zits on your skin to reduce its occurrence.
- Medicated ointments or cleansers that contain salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can be applied on the pimple or the clogged pore on your skin (23). These are known as spot treatments and can help dry out the pimple.
- Make sure that you use non-comedogenic sunscreen lotions as these can help prevent the clogging of pores on your skin. This, in turn, can reduce the appearance of pimples from these pores.
When To See A Doctor
If you have a mild or moderate case of pimples, it will take about 4-6 weeks to subside completely. But if it persists, you will need to consult your dermatologist. They will be able to determine why over-the-counter options have not worked in your favor. This could have happened due to underlying issues, such as hormonal changes or due to nodules or cystic acne, which is difficult to manage with home remedies.
Diet That Can Control Breakouts
Certain processed foods, such as dairy products, pasta, sweetened cereal, bread, and instant foods, have a high glycemic index. These foods may cause insulin resistance and may lead to changes in sebum production, resulting in acne (20).
You must take care to decrease the intake of high GI foods and include foods rich in dietary fiber and fatty acids (from salmon and mackerel). Studies suggest that the intake of foods with a low glycemic index and low fat can reduce the occurrence of acne (21). Consuming antioxidants in the form of fruits like strawberries, blueberries, etc. and other vegetables rich in vitamin A and zinc also have a therapeutic effect on acne.
How Can I Prevent Pimples?
1. Wash your face diligently: Your face can gather dirt and grime over the day, and this can lead to the clogging of the pores and, eventually, pimples. Washing your face well can ensure that the pores are not clogged.
2. Don’t pop your pimples: You must never touch or pop your pimples as this can cause the infection to spread and lead to further breakouts.
3. Stay hydrated: Water is your best friend! Staying hydrated ensures that your skin is replenished and your pores don’t remain clogged by the excessive production of sebum.
4. Limit the use of makeup: If you have skin that is prone to pimples, you should not use makeup too frequently. This can aggravate the issue as it can lead to further clogging of your pores and trigger pimples.
5. Lifestyle Changes: Avoid foods like processed foods, dairy products, etc. as these are associated with an increased incidence of acne (24). Make sure that you work out regularly as this can help replenish your skin. Also, make sure that you can get adequate rest.
Pimples are a common occurrence. These natural methods may not work for everyone but are worth trying out. If they have no effect on your pimples, you might have other underlying issues that are causing these outbreaks. Consult your dermatologist in such cases.
Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions
Is it better to pop a pimple or leave it?
It is strictly not advised to pop your pimples as it can spread the infection and aggravate the problem.
What is the white fluid in a pimple?
The white fluid is pus that is formed by sebum, bacterial infection, and dead skin cells.
What is the difference between acne and pimples?
Pimples are a symptom of acne. Acne occurs when the pores of your skin get clogged with excessive sebum or dead skin cells. It can lead to the occurrence of whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples.
Why are some pimples hard?
Sometimes, sebum, dead skin cells, and bacteria can enter the skin surface. This causes the pimple to harden and can be slightly more challenging to treat.
Which is the best cream for pimples?
If you have a mild case of pimples, you can use over-the-counter facial washes and cleansers to help alleviate the problem. You may also try and use the products listed here. If it is severe, you must consult your dermatologist.
Is toothpaste good for pimples?
Toothpaste is formulated with chemicals that can help dry the pimple out and eventually eliminate it. However, excessive usage of toothpaste can cause a burning sensation and scarring.
Does ice help pimples?
Ice can help reduce the pain and swelling associated with zits and pimples.
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