6 Surprising Natural Acne Remedies You Already Have at Home

As a woman, I’m the target of ad campaigns for every beauty product under the sun. From the aisles of Walgreen’s all the way to the fancy counters at Macy’s, I’m being sold moisturizers, cleansers, masks, balms, spot treatments, scrubs, and the list goes on and on. There are products for every imperfection I could possibly have – especially the ones on my face. One time, I even had someone at one of those kiosks in the mall grab me by the arm and spray something on me before I even had a chance to protest, promising that it would clear up my skin. That seriously happened.

Stop the madness!

Stop buying all those expensive products that promise you the world. Remember, you shouldn’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth. You’d be surprised to learn how many remedies are already at your disposal right now that can replace all the fancy skin care products you’re told you need to buy. 

In the bathroom/medicine cabinet:

1. Toothpaste (the paste, not the gel)

acne remedies

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While I wouldn’t recommend putting toothpaste all over your face, you’d be surprised how effective it can be for an occasional spot treatment. Be careful of super minty flavors though, which can be irritating to some skin types. The effective ingredient is baking soda, so you could always create your own paste with the baking soda in your kitchen for a similar effect. (source)  

How to use it: dab a small amount on the affected area at bed time and rinse in the morning using warm water.


2. Pepto Bismol (liquid)

acne remedies

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Pepto has two active ingredients in it that are similar to ingredients found in over the counter acne treatments: salicylate (similar to salicylic acid) and benzoic acid (similar to benzoyl peroxide) (source). Salicylate works to reduce inflammation than can cause redness and pain on the skin. It’s also a gentle exfoliator to help clear the skin of dead cells that could clog pores. Benzoic acid is antimicrobial and works to remove any microbes that could cause infection on the skin. (source)

How to use it: swab a cotton pad of Pepto over the affected area at night and rinse with warm water in the morning. It’s fine to use Pepto on your entire face.

3. Milk of Magnesia (liquid)

acne remedies

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Traditionally used as a gentle laxative and bowel soother, milk of magnesia (MoM) can also work as a facial mask for acne prone and oily skin. Magnesium hydroxide is the main ingredient, but MoM also contains zinc, a natural acne fighter. The soothing effects that MoM have on the bowels can take place on the face in the form of reducing inflammation and excess oil. (source)

How to use it: using your fingers or a cotton pad, apply a thin layer to the skin. Let sit for 10 minutes and remove gently with warm water.


In the kitchen:

4. Coconut Oil

acne remedies

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I’m sure you’ve heard and read so much about the healing properties of coconut oil at this point that nothing would surprise you about this miracle oil. Use it as a daily moisturizer, and wait for the magic to happen. Coconut oil is antimicrobial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic. It works to create a healthy barrier for your skin that doesn’t feel heavy or greasy. Just use a tiny bit – it goes a long way. For me personally (and for a few folks who’ve shared their stories with me, including my sister), coconut oil helps bring blackheads to the surface, loosen the pores, and allow for extraction and eventual elimination.

How to use it: as a daily moisturizer (either in the morning, at night, or both), apply a tiny amount to the entire surface of your face. Coconut oil also works GREAT as a make up remover.

5. Bone Broth

acne remedies

click the image for a link to my bone broth recipe and more info about why it’s great for your skin

If you’re familiar with my personal acne saga, then you knew this acne remedy would be on this list. You might not have homemade bone broth laying around in your kitchen, but I can assure you that it’s worth every minute of time it takes to make if your ultimate goal is clear skin and a healthy gut. There’s a very real physiological connection between the health of the gut and the health of the skin.

How to use it: drink a coffee mug full of warm bone broth every morning for two weeks. After two weeks, assess your progress and consider dropping back to 4 times per week based on the health of your skin and digestion.

6. Raw Honey

acne remedies

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I love this one and use it very regularly. When used as natural facial cleanser or mask, raw honey can do wonders for the health of your skin. It works well to keep the pores clear and offers natural bacteria-fighting properties to combat the bacteria that causes and inflames acne. Raw honey is fantastic for daily use as a cleanser and can even be used as a gentle exfoliator if you use one with sugar crystals in it. (source)

How to use it: as a daily cleanser (I find that it’s best to use in the shower to avoid unwanted stickiness dripping down your arms), take about two teaspoons into your fingers and apply to damp skin as you would any other cleanser. Rinse with warm water. As a mask, apply to dry or freshly toned skin, covering the affected area and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.


7. Plain Yogurt

acne remedies

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You’ve likely heard about the beneficial bacteria found in yogurt. These bacteria aid in digestive health by replacing potentially harmful bacteria that could be causing problems in your gut (and therefore your skin). They help restore a proper balance in your gut flora. Similar (if not the same) bacteria are also found in other places in and on your body, including your face. Applying a yogurt mask to your face can help restore the proper balance of healthy bacteria on your face as well. Restoring this balance can reduce the inflammation caused by “bad” bacteria and improve the health of you skin. It also works as a gentle exfoliator, removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, which can clog pores. (source) Using plain yogurt ensures that you aren’t adding any unnecessary sugars, flavors, or additives to your skin that could be irritating. 

How to use it: apply a small amount of plain yogurt to the surface of clean skin and let dry for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

BONUS: A great way to combine remedies and increase your effectiveness is to make a mask with yogurt AND raw honey together. You can mix them with each use or create a batch to keep in your fridge for a few weeks. Use between 2 and 3 times as much yogurt as you do honey in your mixture, and either whisk with a fork or mix in a blender.


QUIT Doing These 3 Things For Noticeably Clear Skin

A while back I shared my personal struggle with acne and the amazing solution I found that cleared up a lifetime of problems in just two weeks (linked at the end of this post). This post might seem like it’s geared toward vanity and outer appearances but here are two big reasons it’s about more than that.
  1. What happens on your face is often a reflection of what’s happening inside your body, so you want to make sure you’re taking care of yourself all around.
  2. How you feel about yourself when you look in the mirror every day will inform the way you interface with the world. Do you love what you see? Would you love it more if you didn’t have a breakout across your left cheek? Do you think you’ve tried everything?
Today I want to share the top 3 mistakes that people make when they are struggling to clear their skin, why they should change their ways to gain noticeably clearer skin, and what to do instead. I’m all about solutions here, so let’s get started!
clear skin

phone found at healthmeup.com via Creative Commons

Quit depleting your skin from its natural oils by stripping them away with harsh cleansers and astringents.

Why? If you’re concerned about acne, drying your skin out simply encourages MORE sebum production, making the problem WORSE than it was to begin with — more black heads, more shine when you don’t want it. If you’re concerned about wrinkles, you want to remain hydrated and nourish your skin at a deep level.
What to do instead:
Cleanse with gentle, natural products you might not think should be in your bathroom. Raw honey is a great cleanser and gentle exfoliator, and coconut oil is great at removing make up and keeping the skin hydrated. It’s also naturally antiseptic, so it’s great for preventing infection on a “picked” blemish.

Quit picking. (This is SO hard for me.)


image pulled from gagbay.co

Why? Picking, especially if you aren’t using something sterile to pick with (your fingernails are NOT sterile), spreads the infection around on your skin and can cause a bigger breakout. Also, your skin is almost always worse-off once you’ve extracted the pimple — in its place, you’ve likely left either a bloody mess or something that will become a larger, more painful, more infected blemish the next day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve extracted a small blackhead and woken up the next morning to a red, raised bump in its place.

What to do instead: 
Cleanse well, use a good natural moisturizer like coconut oil, and leave it alone. Just don’t look in the mirror when you wash your hands in the bathroom — that’s my moment of weakness.

Quit eating garbage.

Why? The food you eat matters for the health of your skin. If you eat sugar, pasteurized conventional dairy, and other inflammatory foods like processed seed oils and soy, your skin won’t be happy.

Don’t forget, your skin is the largest organ on your body, and it acts as a filter for everything that you come into contact with. What you put in and how your body reacts to it is reflected on your face. Check out my secret to clear skin in two weeks, a solution that was all about input.

What to do instead: 
Treat your skin well by taking care of your diet and your gut. Eat fermented foods or take a probiotic. Drink bone broth, pack in the vegetables at every meal of the day. Enjoy healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, and grass-fed butter.
clear skin

photo: HannahFarsiPhotographs through Creative Commons

Now it’s your turn.

What have you tried that works for you? Please share in the comments below!

Clear Skin in Two Weeks – How I Cured My Lifelong Acne

Editor’s Note 7/26/15 – Hey folks, because of the incredible volume of questions and comments that come to my inbox and the comments section below, I’ve created an FAQ page. It’s linked at the bottom of this post. Please keep the questions coming! I’ll add to the FAQ as needed! Thank you for all your awesome comments and questions!

My Quest for Clear Skin

Most of us have at least one physical feature we wish we could change — mine has always been my acne-ridden skin. It’s been a sore subject for as long as I can remember, with each new suggestion from a well-meaning friend creating a well of anger inside me: “I’ve literally tried EVERYTHING, including whatever you’re about to tell me, so shut up.”

By the time I was 19, I’d fallen for every gimmick on TV, tried anything a doctor would prescribe (including LOADS of antibiotics and topicals), and come up empty. At times, I was resigned to having acne forever, but somewhere inside me I always knew there was a puzzle to solve, and I’m happy to declare that I’ve finally solved it.

Until January of this year, not one single thing I’d tried brought me beyond what I’ll describe as my “baseline condition” — colorless rock-hard bumps covering my cheeks and forehead that never popped and never went away. But making this one final change was the key to pushing through that baseline into clear skin territory. Here’s my story.

Pubescent Acne

My acne started mildly at age 12. Embarrassed of my face, I was wearing make up for school pictures in 7th and 8th grade and making sure no one saw my back or chest in high school. My sister shared my acne woes, so we became the “zit sisters,” helping each other pick hard-to-reach “backne” and commiserating about our grueling regimens of medications and topicals. The older I got, the worse it got. From junior high into high school I single-handedly boosted Walgreens’ stock price. We tried Retin-A, Differin, Panoxyl, Brevoxyl, Amoxicillin, Doxycyclin, Emgel, and those were just some of the prescriptions I remember.

clear skin natural acne cure

Me as a teenager, probably 17 years old

At age 17, we went for the Nuclear Option: ACCUTANE. Accutane was a gruesome beast, requiring constant moisturizers, sunscreens, and lip balm on the entire lower half of my peeling, raw face. It was terrible. At softball practice, my legs would break out from the grass in the outfield, and everything I touched was greasy with spf.

By the time my junior prom rolled around, my chest and back were as clear as day, but not my face. I still hold onto a picture from that night, my clear back to the camera — a moment of triumph, if only partially so. I would later learn that drying out oily skin and killing all bacteria on and in your body to treat acne are just about the worst things you can do for yourself.

clear skin natural acne cure

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

At 19 years old, I was diagnosed with PCOS and told I would have to follow the South Beach Diet and take hormone-regulating medication for the rest of my life if I wanted clear skin (or to have babies one day). I begrudgingly took the meds, but I couldn’t manage the South Beach Diet. Not as a college student. Not at 19 years old.

From here, and for the next 6 years, my skin would get progressively worse, as would my digestion. I gained weight in my midsection, which only exacerbates PCOS, and became depressed. My skin was at its absolute worst when a late-night infomercial persuaded me to try ProActiv. It promised clear skin in 60 days, and I figured what the hell, I have nothing to lose.

Here’s a record of my progress:

clear skin natural acne cure

ProActiv did improve things after 8 months, but the problem never completely went away.

A Holistic Approach – Curing Acne Naturally

In the subsequent 7 years, I immersed myself in the natural healing arts. I soon learned that clearing my skin would be far more about what I put in my body than what I put on my face. The diet and lifestyle changes I made laid the groundwork for what would ultimately be the final piece of the puzzle. Making these changes would likely get most people the results they were looking for, but for me there was still something missing. Here’s a short recounting of my approach since 2006:

  1. Going gluten-free in 2010*
  2. Removing and/or limiting dairy
  3. Removing and/or limiting coffee and caffeine
  4. Eliminating eggs
  5. Candida cleansing
  6. Supplementing l-glutamate, alpha lipoic acid, selenium, zinc, and lecithin
  7. Using herbs for acne
  8. Trying homeopathics
  9. Hyper-dosing probiotics (and later trying raw kefir and kombucha*)
  10. Acupuncture
  11. Megadosing vitamin A (under a naturopathic doctor’s supervision)
  12. Improving food quality by choosing organic/pastured/clean when possible*
  13. Losing weight through a reduction in carbohydrates and sugar*
  14. Reducing alcohol to a few drinks a week*
  15. Moisturizing with natural oils*
  16. Switching to mineral makeup*
  17. Washing my face with raw honey a few times a week*

*the ones that remain as part of my regimen today and have made a huge difference

My Wedding Day

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I wanted clear skin on my wedding day, so I made some very expensive decisions. In the year leading up, I underwent 3 VI Peels ($150 a pop), 3 Profractional Treatments (over $300 a pop), and weekly light and acid treatments. I would guess that I spent upwards of $3000 to prepare my face for the big day. Here’s a picture of me getting ready and another mid-way through the honeymoon, bumps and all.

clear skin natural acne cure

definitely better, but not $3000 better — the bumps were still there,
just slightly smaller

My Miracle Acne Cure

In mid-January, feeling a little off from all the holiday sweets, I started drinking homemade bone broth every day to improve my digestion. Unexpectedly, the tiny bumps that have been on my face for twenty years shrank and disappeared!

I couldn’t believe it! For years I’ve been touting the health benefits of bone broth and chicken soup, but never once did I consider that it would actually clear up my terrible skin. Not only did the broth heal my gut, it cleansed and hydrated my system, and after almost two decades of constant disappointment and frustration, my lifelong acne was cured.

I don’t want to overstep here. My skin’s not PERFECT 100% of the time. But the smooth surface I feel today is something I haven’t experienced in the 20 years I’ve been dealing with this problem. Today, instead of impossible-to-extract, constant bumps, I get a few easily extracted blemishes a month, if that.

I’ll take that over the alternative any day.

Natural Acne Cure

Unfortunately, I do have some scarring from the ravages of the lifelong battle, but I can live with that.

Directions for the Miracle Acne Cure:

  1. Follow the instructions in this blogpost to make your bone broth
  2. Drink 1 warm coffee mugful first thing every morning for 14 days straight
  3. OPTIONAL: Begin tapering down to 5 days a week (weekdays makes sense), and then down to three for maintenance
  4. Continue this beautiful morning routine for as long as you can/want to, testing every once in a while to see if you can take a break without any negative consequences
  5. Keep eating well, whatever that means for you (for me, it’s staying off of gluten, taking a regular probiotic, and keeping sugar in check)
  6. Hydrate your skin with healthy oils instead of stripping away the natural ones

My plan is to continue at 3 days per week indefinitely, and ramp it back up to 5 or 7 if I start to see any backsliding. I’m enjoying the morning ritual, and have been doing great on 3 days a week for a little over 2 months.

So that’s it. Broth!

Broth to heal your gut.
Broth to boost your immune system.
Broth to restore your health.
Broth to cure acne naturally.

This one simple thing was the missing piece of the puzzle for me. I encourage you to try it for yourself, and if you do, please come back and tell me how it worked for you. I’d love to hear your story.

Simplify your quest for clear skin with this one-page guide: The CWB Bone Broth Acne Cure. Inside you’ll find everything you need to get started making your own bone broth, including links to purchase kitchen supplies to make the job easier. Download it now to get started on your journey to clear skin by clicking the image below!

What’s next? Find out how I took my clear skin to the next level with a simple cleansing routine.

FAQ – Your Answers for the CWB Bone Broth Acne Cure

Please check out my new FAQ section! I’ve also recently started a YouTube Station dedicated to answering all your questions about the Bone Broth Acne Cure. Here’s the most recent video, so you can get an idea of what it’s like:

I’m SO EXCITED to see so many people trying bone broth and finding success!!! It makes me SO HAPPY!!! Please keep the questions coming, and if you have a success story, PLEASE share it in the comments!

Don’t want to make your own bone broth? Check this out!

bone broth acne cure kettle and fire

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