What are the Different Herbal Treatments for Acne?

Sonal Panse

Acne is a skin problem that can affect different age groups, with breakouts occurring on the face as well as on other parts of the body. The causes of acne may be attributed to a variety of external and internal health factors like stress, bacterial infection, clogging of skin pores and the inability of the liver to flush out increasing amounts of toxins. While there are many types of acne treatments, many people prefer to go for natural medicine or alternative medicine. These herbal treatments for acne are often gentler on the skin and generally without any unpleasant side-effects.

A close up of acne.
A close up of acne.

There are different types of herbal remedies for acne, and it is a good idea to research each one carefully. It should be noted that using a herbal medicine for acne is not going to bring about an overnight change in the skin condition. Herbal treatments for acne generally need to be carried out over an extended period.

Herbal tea may help relieve acne.
Herbal tea may help relieve acne.

An effective herbal treatment for acne involves using neem oil and neem leaves. These can be applied externally, by mixing the oil or ground leaves into a paste with turmeric or sandalwood powder. The neem leaves can also be boiled in water and the concoction can be both used as a body wash and taken internally. Neem is excellent for purifying and detoxifying the blood and boosting the immune system. It also has strong antibiotic properties.

The oil or leaves of neem trees can be very beneficial in treating acne.
The oil or leaves of neem trees can be very beneficial in treating acne.

An Indian herb known as Shuddha Guggul or Commiphora wightii is regularly prescribed by Ayurveda practitioners as a herbal treatment for acne. Like neem, it is a strong purifying agent and can help repair and rejuvenate the skin. Shuddha Guggul is available in capsule form, and can be taken after meals daily.

Acne treatment may be available in capsule form.
Acne treatment may be available in capsule form.

Another tried and true herbal remedy for acne is an herbal tea of lavender and chamomile, which can have a calming effect on people with stress-related disorders. Nettles can also be used to brew an effective herbal medicine tea. Drinking these herbals teas three or four times a day over several weeks can help clear up the acne.

Other herbal treatments for acne include the use of herbs like calendula, goldenseal, echinacea, honeysuckle and cnidium. Tea tree oil, black currant seed oil and evening primrose oil are also proven herbal treatments for acne. These may be applied topically or taken in capsule form.

Along with these herbal treatments for acne, it will help to eat food that are rich in beta carotene. These include yellow and orange colored and vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, mangoes, apricots and cantaloupe, as well as dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, collard, broccoli and lettuce. It is also advisable to discuss the use of the herbal remedies for acne with a qualified medical practitioner; some herbs may not work for people who are taking other medications for other existing health conditions.

There are many different types of herbal remedies for treating acne.
There are many different types of herbal remedies for treating acne.

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Discussion Comments


Herbal treatments for acne are great but I want to make a warning that it's possible to be allergic to herbs. I'm allergic to tea tree oil for example. I tried it for my acne and developed a rash. So be careful everyone.


@ddljohn-- Have you tried honey? Honey has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used to prevent infections and soothe skin for hundreds of years. I use it for my acne sometimes. It makes my skin so soft and supple. Honey is very beneficial for skin in general.

There are actually many herbs that can treat acne breakouts or prevent them. For some reason, we're not as familiar with these remedies as some other cultures. In China and India for example, natural, herbal treatments for acne are used more frequently than prescription treatments. My best friend is Indian and she always tells me what to use for what. For example, she told me that I can use a sandalwood face mask once or twice a week to prevent breakouts.


Grapeseed oil is supposed to be beneficial for acne as well. I have never tried it though.

So far, I have tried chamomile tea and oatmeal masks as herbal acne treatments and they were definitely beneficial. Chamomile and oatmeal don't prevent acne, but they are both very soothing and relieve inflammation, irritation, redness and pain. I use them after breakouts and after other acne treatments to help speed up recovery.

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