Healthcare tips
Acne

Non-Medication Therapies for Acne

March 26, 2024

There are countless medications, supplements, and even makeup products that promise to prevent or improve acne. If you’ve ever experienced acne, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with at least a few medication-based treatments for acne. But did you know it’s not the only option for treating and managing acne?

While medication-based treatments are widely used to treat acne, non-medication therapies can also play a significant role in managing and improving acne. Let’s dive into what these alternatives are, their potential benefits in fighting acne, and what solutions you can discuss with your doctor about trying.

Establishing a Proper Skincare Routine

Establishing a consistent and gentle skincare routine is vital for managing acne. Consider incorporating the following practices:

  • Cleanse your face twice a day with a mild, non-comedogenic cleanser to remove excess oil, dirt, and impurities
  • Use non-abrasive exfoliators with ingredients like alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) to unclog pores and remove dead skin cells
  • Apply oil-free and non-comedogenic moisturizers to hydrate the skin without clogging pores
  • Avoid harsh scrubbing, as it can irritate the skin and exacerbate acne

No matter your skin type or acne severity, it’s important to discuss any changes to your skincare routine with your dermatologist to ensure it won’t cause damage to your skin or interfere with the effectiveness of medications or treatments you may already be using.

Applying Tea Tree Oil Topically

Tea tree oil is a natural essential oil known for its potentially antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Discuss with your physician about diluting tea tree oil with a carrier oil and applying it topically to areas affected by acne. 

This treatment method can potentially help reduce acne-causing bacteria and inflammation. However, it's essential to perform a patch test first to ensure you're not sensitive to the oil and run this change in your routine by your dermatologist before trying it.

Using Honey as a Spot Treatment

Raw honey is known to possess antibacterial properties and can be used as a spot treatment for acne. 

Apply a small amount of honey directly to individual pimples or as a face mask over the entire face, avoiding sensitive areas like around the eyes. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off. Honey can soothe inflammation and promote healing — and is very easy to find in almost every grocery store, convenience store, or big box store.

Trying Aloe Vera as a Soothing Mask

For those experiencing acne breakouts, it can be tempting to pick and poke at pimples and cysts, but this is counterproductive to improving the breakout. In many cases, irritating the skin can cause the appearance of acne to seem worse — and you need to soothe it to minimize redness and puffiness.

Aloe vera gel has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. When looking to soothe your skin and decrease irritation, consider applying pure aloe vera gel to acne-prone areas to reduce redness and inflammation, and promote healing. It can also potentially help control excess oil production. You can find the Aloe Vera plant at the grocery store and concentrated gel or cream forms likely at your pharmacy.

Making Diet and Lifestyle Modifications

Making certain dietary and lifestyle changes can complement your skincare routine and improve acne symptoms that may be a result of internal food allergies or intolerances. It’s important to speak with your dermatologist or doctor about what might be causing changes in your skin. 

Here are several best practices when gearing your diet and daily habits to best fight acne:

  • Consume a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins
  • Stay hydrated by drinking an adequate amount of water each day
  • Manage stress through techniques like exercise, meditation, or yoga, as stress can worsen acne
  • Avoid picking or squeezing pimples, as it can lead to scarring and further inflammation

Committing to a Proper Hygiene Routine

Maintaining proper hygiene practices is crucial in managing acne. Here are a few tips to keeping your skin clean:

  • Regularly wash pillowcases, towels, and makeup brushes to minimize the accumulation of bacteria and oil
  • Avoid touching your face throughout the day to prevent the transfer of dirt and bacteria
  • Washing your hands regularly — and especially before washing or touching your face

By adopting a proper skincare routine, incorporating natural remedies like tea tree oil and honey, and maintaining proper hygiene, you can likely effectively improve acne symptoms and promote healthier, clearer skin. However, if your acne persists or worsens, it's always advisable to consult with a dermatologist.

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