Fact: Acne is not just a teenage skin condition. In fact, clinical studies suggest that approximately 40-55 percent of the adult population between the ages of 20 and 40 perpetually have acne and oily skin—and it still plagues those in their 50s and 60s, too.
Acne is actually one of the most prevalent skin disorders treated by doctors and dermatologists, but if that isn’t enough to make you realize you’re not alone, perhaps the fact that more than 90 percent of the entire world population has acne at least one phase of their life will resonate.
What is acne?
Acne is defined as a chronic, inflammatory disease that affects the sebaceous glands, which are responsible for producing sebum. Visually, this appears as blackheads, whiteheads, nodules, pustules, papules, cysts, and even scarring.
While acne vulgaris is the prevailing form of this skin disorder (99 percent of all cases), it’s also classified as acne mechanica (caused by friction, pressure, and/or heat), acne fulminans (rare and ulcerating), acne rosacea (persistent redness with pimples), and acne cosmetica—triggered by certain cosmetics.
What causes adult acne?
Causes of adult acne are related to hormonal changes (think menopause, menstrual cycle, pregnancy, birth control pills), diet, smoking, family history, stress, and a disproportionate amount of androgens. Typical treatment methods include anything from over-the-counter topicals that contain benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to birth control pills, prescription creams, and even antibiotics in some cases.
The downside to these methods is that they can cause dryness, redness, and irritation—not to mention the side effects that can surface from the use of any oral treatment. It may be that you have such a severe case of acne that you have to resort to extreme measures, but there’s absolutely no harm in incorporating natural DIY acne treatments into your routine. In truth, you can work with acne naturally, but just remember you’re going to need to execute patience. Along with being more skin-friendly, going au naturale is a great way to save some cash, too.
So, if you’re looking to decongest pores; lessen the appearance of temporary redness; balance your natural oils; and create the look of a brighter, smoother complexion, give one (or all) of these pure DIY acne treatments a try.
DIY acne treatments
Before applying any treatment, make sure your skin is thoroughly cleansed and all traces of makeup are removed.
You can even whip up an all-natural cleanser by thoroughly mixing together 3 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 20 drops of tea tree oil, and 2 capsules (remove the powder from the shell) of live probiotics—typically found refrigerated at the health food store or market.
Despite being natural, you’ll always want to conduct a patch test when trying a new concoction on your skin as you could have an allergy to one of the ingredients.
Purifying neem and turmeric face pack
These two natural yet effective ingredients are often used in ayurvedic treatments. Both are known for their ability to act on dirt, oil, and impurities.
- 1 tablespoon neem paste
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- Mix well and apply for 15-30 minutes. Repeat 2-3 times a week.
Acne night cream
This cream will work to balance the natural oils on your skin and provide moisture while you sleep.
The essential oil blend alleviates temporary redness, is naturally cleansing, and will even provide positive mental health balance from the scent.
- 4 teaspoons grapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon emulsifying wax
- 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel
- 1/3 cup witch hazel
- 1/2 teaspoon stearic acid
- 2 400-IU capsules vitamin E
- 5 drops grapefruit seed extract
- 5 drops lavender essential oil
- 3 drops lemon essential oil
- 1 drop cedarwood essential oil
- 1 drop ylang ylang essential oil
- Add the grapeseed oil, stearic acid, and emulsifying wax to a heat-safe measuring cup or bowl.
- Much like a double boiler technique, you’ll place the measuring cup in a pot of water that’s over a low flame. Keep stirring until the wax is completely melted. Remove from stove and add vitamin E.
- In a separate heat-safe cup or bowl, add the aloe vera and witch hazel. Repeat the same process as above until the mixture is a tepid temperature.
- This is perhaps one of the most important steps if you want to prevent your cream from separating. Slowly pour the oil mixture into the aloe and witch hazel mixture while constantly stirring with a whisk. Add the grapefruit seed extract and essential oils once you’ve combined the two mixtures.
- Pour into a sterilized 4 ounce dark glass jar—this will protect the integrity of the essential oils. Store in a cool, dark area versus a hot and steam bathroom.
Healing honey and yogurt mask
Hydrating and healing, similar to the Coconut Honey Mask, the affected area(s) are both important when it comes to keeping an acneic condition at bay.
If you strip the skin of its natural oils (which is not uncommon with unnatural treatment methods), it will only overcompensate by producing even more oil.
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- 1 tablespoon yogurt
- Mix well and apply for 15-30 minutes. Repeat 2-3 times a week.
Clarifying and balancing toner
Toners are often an overlooked product, but they shouldn’t be! This extra step helps balance the natural oils in your skin while providing an additional acne-fighting punch.
Green tea, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and black tea will help remove buildup from the surface of the skin while cleaning impurities for a brighter appearance.
- 1 bag pure, organic green tea
- 1 bag pure, organic black tea
- ¼ teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon apple cider
- 1 cup distilled water
- Boil one cup of water with the two tea bags. Steep for a minimum of 5-7 minutes.
- Remove tea bags and pour mixture into a spray bottle container.
- Add lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Tightly affix the top and give the bottle a shake to emulsify the ingredients—you’ll want to shake it before each use, too.
- Store in the fridge.
Natural spot treatments
As mentioned in the introduction, one common DIY acne treatment are over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid products, to include spot treatments.
These more natural versions will help decongest pores, lessen the appearance of redness, and create a smoother looking appearance without any harmful side effects.
- 15 drops of tea tree oil mixed with 35 drops of witch hazel
- 1 mashed aspirin with enough water to make a paste
- Pure aloe gel—ideally, straight from the plant
- Jojoba oil
- Rosemary extract
“Why Is Adult Acne On The Rise,” International Dermal Institute, April 25, 2019,
Global Market Acne Report for 2016-2026, Reportliner, January 3, 2018,
Rebecca Taras has over ten years of editorial and copywriting experience, including serving as an editor for hot digital spaces like Refinery29, PopSugar, Forbes Travel Guides, and Bustle. Along with contributing to print and digital outlets, she currently handles copywriting for some of the biggest brands in the beauty and travel industries.
A Chicagoland native, Taras began her career catering to celebrity clientele as an esthetician at the Peninsula Chicago Hotel before launching her own line of bath and body care products with her previous bath and body care company, Cleansing Queen. Rebecca also created custom in-room amenities for the Sofitel Hotel Chicago, including items featured in a special presentation for the president of AccorHotels upon his visit from France to Chicago. Her efforts were recognized by the Chicago Fashion Foundation, and she received the Style Maker and Rule Breaker award in the Beauty category.
Ultimately, Rebecca’s initiatives evolved into the co-founding of Terminal Getaway airport spas, now located at Seattle-Tacoma International, Tampa International, Orlando International, and Chicago O’Hare International airports. Though she is no longer involved with Terminal Getaway, her passion for beauty and travel not only persisted over the years but grew.
As Rebecca continued to refine her skincare knowledge, she spent a considerable amount of time as a journalist covering beauty and other topics. Rebecca’s diverse body of knowledge, experience, and an insatiable curiosity for faraway places culminated in Well-Traveled Beauty, an upcoming skincare line and travel website. The company’s initial offerings will be a line of results-driven, travel-friendly beauty products that take the guesswork out of figuring out what to pack.
A global traveler with a passion for Paris, Taras finally decided to live the Parisian way of life on the daily and call the City of Light home.