How Effective Is Echinacea for Acne?

Preventing acne through a regular skin care routine is often easier than treating it once it occurs.
Taking echinacea for acne can help the body accelerate its process for getting rid of pimples.
Echinacea extract is taken to strengthen the immune system.
Prescription topical ointments are typically more effective at treating acne than echinacea or other herbs.
Commonly sold in capsule form, echinacea -- or purple coneflower -- is believed to help the body fight off infections such as the cold.
Article Details
  • Originally Written By: Micah MacBride
  • Revised By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 21 October 2015
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The effectiveness of Echinacea for acne usually depends on a couple of factors, most notably the strength and preparation used as well as the severity of the condition in the first place. In general this particular herb is widely thought to help clear most forms of acne, and soothes the skin and may make future outbreaks less likely, too. It isn’t usually the most effective option, though, which may be a consideration for some users. It takes time to work, for instance, and isn’t always strong enough to combat very serious or persistent outbreaks. Medicated ointments and pharmaceuticals are widely thought to be the best ways to permanently rid the skin of acne, but as natural solutions go, Echinacea is usually a good place to start.

Echinacea Generally

Echinacea is a flowering plant in the daisy family. There are many different species, but the flowers and leaves of nearly all of them are believed to have medicinal properties. In most cases, the plant is dried and then brewed into a mild flavored tea; it can also be crushed into a powder and pressed into a capsule. The oils can also be extracted and applied topically.


The plant has been used in various forms throughout history as an herbal treatment for ailments ranging from wounds to scarlet fever. Most formal studies have shown that its healing properties come from its ability to bolster immune system activity and act as an anti-viral agent. Echinacea is no longer used as a primary treatment in areas where modern antibiotics and other specialized drugs are available, but it remains a popular alternative medicine, and is commonly used as an herbal supplement.

Using it for Acne

Acne, a skin condition in which pimples erupt on the face, neck, and sometimes even back, can range from mild to severe. The pimples that characterize acne are caused when sebaceous glands in the skin produce too much of an oily substance called sebum, which can clog pores. Dirt, dead skin cells, and bacteria can build up in these clogged pores. The bacteria trapped inside, including a strain known as Propionibacterium acnes, trigger an inflammatory reaction from the surrounding skin, and this is what causes pimples.

Most scholars who have spent time studying the condition and its cures agree that echinacea-based products can help to kill acne-causing bacteria and may also counteract inflammation. Taking echinacea for acne can consequently help the body accelerate its natural process for getting rid of pimples, prevent future outbreaks, and help keep skin healthy and unblemished.

People usually have a couple of options when it comes to how, exactly, to use the herb. Some prepared topical solutions contain Echinacea extract and essential oils, and people can also use these elements themselves. Experts usually recommend diluting extracts, at least at first, since very high concentrations can actually cause more irritation. Mild acne can sometimes also be relieved by pressing saturated Echinacea tea bags on outbreaks. Drinking the tea is usually also recommended, as is taking Echinacea supplements and capsules.

Timeline for Results

One of the things people tend to find most frustrating about this treatment for acne is that it can take a lot of time to become effective. Topical solutions usually work faster than capsules or other oral supplementation, but even in these cases it can take several weeks of repeated, regular use to see any change, and it often takes months or more for the condition to completely disappear. In the case of very aggressive outbreaks, Echinacea may not ever be able to bring about a cure; it will almost always lessen the symptoms, but it may not be powerful enough to completely eliminate the problem.

As Compared to Other Treatments

Using echinacea for acne can help the body fight its underlying causes, but the herb is typically not as effective as prescription medications — the majority of which are designed to kill bacteria. These medicines, usually antibiotics, are formulated to include an active ingredient that is more potent and therefore acts much more quickly than most any herb.

People why use Echinacea typically do so as means of treating their acne in an “all natural” way, or as a complement to other more streamlined medications. While the herb is natural, it’s not always completely safe for everyone, particularly those taking other drugs or herbs simultaneously. It’s usually a good idea for people to talk to a doctor, herbalist, or other qualified care provider before beginning treatment to avoid interactions or other negative effects. In addition, those who find that the herb simply isn’t working or is making their condition worse should usually stop and get a medical evaluation right away.


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Discuss this Article

Post 3

Echinacea did absolutely nothing for my acne. I did not see any improvement. Moreover, I was down with the flu soon after I started taking echinacea so I don't think it's very effective at strengthening the immune system either.

There are much better acne treatments out there like saw palmetto or beta carotene supplements. Or topical treatments like evening primrose oil and calendula.

Post 2

@fBoyle-- Echinacea fights all types of infections because it strengthens the immune system. It can also be used topically on acne spots and boils to treat them.

Echinacea might not resolve acne for everyone but I still believe that it's a beneficial herb to take. It can be used along with other more common acne treatments to improve results.

So don't expect miracles with this herb but I'm sure it will benefit your overall health, which will help your body fight the acne.

Post 1
If echinacea is an anti-viral, how does it help with acne that is a bacterial problem?

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