10 All-Natural Ways To Deal With Your Acne

Karina Hoshikawa

What won't we try to get a clear complexion, right? While it’s always best to see your doctor or dermatologist first for a professional recommendation, there are some drug-free, straight-from-the-earth options out there, too. Natural ingredients aren’t necessarily always better than products created in a lab, but they can have many beneficial properties and fewer irritants, so they’re definitely worth checking out — especially if nothing else seems to be working for you.

Plants and spices have been used in skin care for centuries, and many of them are ideal for calming inflammation, killing bacteria, unclogging pores — all things acne-prone skin needs desperately. As an added bonus, you can find a lot of these in their purest forms in your local health-food store, which makes them more affordable than other top-shelf beauty products. To help get you started, we rounded up 10 of the most common natural acne eradicators. They may not be miracle cures (we wish it were as easy as dipping our face into a sink full of tea-tree oil, but that's just an easy way to burn your face off), but they can help make your journey to clear skin that much easier.

Whether you simply keep these ingredients in mind the next time you’re on a Sephora shopping spree, or you decide to head to the local food co-op and get crafty with oils, these are the plants, waters, spices, and herbs to turn to when there are zits a-brewing.

At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.

Thayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Toner With Cucumber

Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is a natural astringent, which means it cleans gunk out of your pores and kills the bacteria that causes acne. Witch hazel is best for those who have extremely oily skin; if you have dry or normal skin, you may find it too dehydrating. It's easy to find at health-food stores, grocery stores, or online — just be sure to look for a formula that is alcohol-free, since alcohol will contribute to drying out your skin.



Thayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Toner With Cucumber, $9.31, available at Thrive Market

The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil

Tea-Tree Oil
The antibacterial properties in tea-tree oil make it ideal for controlling acne as it disinfects pores and moderates oil production. You can find tea-tree oil online or in health-food stores, but beware of using it undiluted on your face, which is a recipe for redness, irritation, and potentially long-term damage. You might be better off buying a product that already has the ideal formulation of tea-tree oil in it, but if you have your heart set on going the DIY route, you could dilute your TTO by combining it with another beneficial skin-care ingredient, such as jojoba oil or aloe vera.



The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil, $10, available at The Body Shop

M-61 Powerspot Blemish Lotion

Camphor

It may not have the same name recognition as tea tree or witch hazel, but camphor oil is another sleeper hit when it comes to treating acne the natural way. Extracted from the wood of camphor trees and processed by steam distillation, camphor's many homeopathic properties include reducing inflammation, swelling, and redness — a.k.a. the breakout trifecta.



m-61 Powerspot Blemish Lotion, $16, available at Bluemercury

Vicco Turmeric Skin Cream

Turmeric
Turmeric can be helpful for soothing acne because of its anti-inflammatory properties. It can also help to control sebum production, in addition to calming redness. This spot treatment-in-a-tube is impressive at completely erasing redness caused by inflammation, rosacea, and irritation.



cocokind Turmeric Spot Treatment, $9, available at Anthropologie

Now Solutions Evening Primrose Oil

Evening Primrose Oil
If you’ve noticed that you get a flare-up of hormonal acne before your period, try taking evening primrose oil capsules. The plant oil contains gamma-linolenic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties that can help with acne. You can also benefit from putting this oil directly on your face, since it’s hydrating and calming.



Now Foods Evening Primrose Oil, $11, available at iHerb.com

Plant Apothecary Matcha Antioxidant Face Mask

Green Tea
Green tea is rich in antioxidants and helps to reduce inflammation and redness as well as oil production. Using it can be as simple as making green tea at home and applying it to your face (after it's had a chance to cool down, of course), but there are also plenty of skin-care products that contain green-tea extract. This powder mask from indie brand Plant Brooklyn uses matcha green tea and chamomile for a double whammy of soothing redness relief.



Plant Apothecary MATCHA Antioxidant Face Mask, $24, available at DermStore

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask

Clay
There’s a reason clay masks are so popular: Clay is effective when it comes to tightening pores and drying out zits. You can find a clay mask like this cult favorite, or even make your own by combining bentonite clay with honey, apple-cider vinegar, aloe vera, or jojoba oil.



Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, $6.59, available at Thrive Market

Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Masque

Sulfur
Okay, so sulfur isn't the most fragrant of natural ingredients. But if you can get past that nose-wrinkling rotten-egg smell, you'll be glad you did — its antibacterial properties are legendary. You may be surprised at how many brands offer products that are rich in sulfur: This mask by Peter Thomas Roth has 10% sulfur, making it super-powerful (and smelly). Aloe and clay ingredients work to enhance those pore-clearing powers.



Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Masque, $47, available at DermStore

Bragg Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple-Cider Vinegar
Although many people drink apple-cider vinegar for various health reasons, some swear by it as an acne treatment — but only when used carefully, of course. The strong antibacterial properties can help clear up breakouts, but sensitive skin types should avoid it altogether, and everyone else should dilute it with water as the pros recommend.



Bragg Organic Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar, $5.29, available at Thrive Market

Aubrey Organics Pure Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera
Consider how soothing aloe vera is when used on fried-to-a-crisp sunburned skin. It’s similarly calming when used on angry, red breakouts, as it helps to reduce inflammation. For the best results, be sure to look for pure, undiluted aloe vera extract — you can find it online or in health-food stores and drugstores. Or pick up an aloe plant and just break off the leaves to get that clear, cooling substance fresh from the source.



Aubrey Pure Aloe Vera Gel, $8.99, available at The Vitamin Shoppe

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