Dry skin and acne: Treatments and home remedies

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Weve all been there: A pimple pops up seemingly overnight and you need to get rid of it, stat. While it may be tempting to pick and pop it into oblivion, there are plenty of better at-home, DIY ways to deal with acne (even the stubborn, cystic kind) in a way that wont leave you with a scar.

Pimples can be stubborn, and depending on what type of pimple it is, they can be frustrating to treat,” said Dr. Lauren Abramowitz, a board-certified PA-C (physicians assistant) and founder of Park Avenue Skin Solutions and co-founder of the Tribeca Wellness Collective. “The most important thing is to NOT pick the pimple. The more you pick at it, the slower the healing time.”

Instead, there are a number of natural ingredients that you can incorporate into your skin care routine to get the job done. Here, the experts lay out exactly how to treat even the peskiest pimples at home — no doctors visit required.

Just when you thought you couldn’t love avocado more, we found an entirely new use for them: as skin care. “Avocado oil is rich in linoleic acid, linolenic acid and oleic acid, minerals and vitamins A, C, D, and E,” Dr. David Lortscher, founder of Curlogy, told TODAY Style, noting that it can be used topically to fight off free radicals and achieve radiant skin. “It is an excellent source of enrichment for dry, damaged or chapped skin.”

When oat kernels are ground into a fine powder, they supply antioxidants and relief for dry, irritated skin. Dr. Lortscher suggests looking for this as an ingredient in the drugstore aisle, calling out Eucerin Skin Calming Lotion as one of his favorite over-the-counter colloidal oatmeal products.

It may sound like an old wive’s tale, but icing out your pimples can actually be one of the best way to treat pesky, swollen suckers. “Ice wrapped in a thin cloth applied on and off can help to bring down inflammation as well as over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream for spot treatment,” said Abramowitz.

You’ve probably used aloe to heal a sunburn, but you may not know that it can be used to treat acne, too. “(It’s) well known for its skin-soothing and skin-healing properties (and is) great for the skin,” said Dr. Lortscher, who recommends Burt’s Bee’s Daily Facial Moisturizer since it touts aloe as one of its active ingredients.

“Egg whites have been touted as a home remedy for wrinkles as well as acne blemishes — some people whip them into a meringue and then let this dry on their face, or mix the egg whites with other DIY ingredients,” said Lortscher. “As this dries, it does form a film on the skin that gives a tight feeling. But any wrinkle reduction would be very temporary (think minutes after washing this off).”

Heres one more trendy superfood that’s made its way into the skin care space. “When used as a physical exfoliator, cooked quinoa can be a gentle scrub — both non-abrasive and friendly to the environment — unlike the polyethylene microbeads contained in some exfoliating cleansers,” said Lortscher, who suggests Pacifica’s Quinoa Sensitive Super Gentle Face Wash for treating acne at home.

If your digestive system is upset, it may show itself by way of a breakout. “Try and avoid sugar and dairy as bacteria feeds off of it and, depending on the patients genetic makeup, it can make the acne worse,” said Abramowitz. If you’re seeing a pattern of deep, cystic acne, talk to your doctor to see if it could be linked to your diet.

“Honey has been used for thousands of years for medicinal purposes; its beneficial effect is presumed due to antibacterial activity,” said Lortscher. “Medical grade honeys, such as manuka honey and Medihoney, have been used for treatment of conditions such as ulcers and wounds. Although pure honey is likely fine in most cases to use on the skin for acne and other skin problems, non-medical grade honey may contain viable bacterial spores and manifest less predictable antibacterial properties.”

Look for masks with manuka honey, or use the ingredient straight (you can find it online or at most healthfood stores) as a soothing — and even delicious — antibacterial mask.

Apple cider vinegar is popular as a cure-all for many applications, but be cautious while using. “Vinegar is an acid and will be somewhat unfriendly to bacteria and encourage some mild exfoliation,” said Lortscher. “Gradually introduce this to your skin before jumping all in. Some people do like to use apple cider vinegar as a toner. I do not advise using a full-strength application, as that can burn sensitive skin. Instead, dilute the vinegar one part to four parts water before using.”

Be sure to spot test the mixture on your hand or the inside of your arm before using it on your face to make sure your skin can handle it.

It may surprise you, but applying certain lights to your pesky skin problems can actually be just as effective as applying fancy lotions and creams. “Blue light serves as a disinfectant and helps kill bacteria that causes acne. Red light helps with inflammation,” said Abramowitz. To reap the benefits at home, try an LED mask like the Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask.

While there are plenty of natural ingredients that can work wonders for your skin, there are a few you should be sure to steer clear of during a breakout:

how to remove acne from dry skin home remedies

It is also possible to treat acne and dry skin at home. Applying tea tree or jojoba oil might help reduce acne. Aloe vera or honey are other options that some people find beneficial. It can also help to wash the skin gently using lukewarm water.Dry skin and acne: Treatments and home remedies

Last medically reviewed on April 23, 2020

A dermatologist is a specialist skin doctor who can help determine the best treatment for dry skin and acne in each case. They can also offer prescriptions for stronger medication when necessary.

Some people will develop dry skin and acne at the same time. The dry skin might contribute toward acne, but it can also be a sign of an underlying condition, such as dermatitis.

Looking after the skin is sometimes enough to prevent dry skin and acne. However, some conditions, such as eczema, are difficult to prevent.

In severe cases, a dermatologist might prescribe corticosteroids or immunosuppressant drugs. These treatments are more effective but have additional side effects, such an increased risk of infections.

How to make a honey and cinnamon mask

Tea tree oil is an essential oil that’s extracted from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a small tree native to Australia.

It’s well known for its ability to fight bacteria and reduce skin inflammation (19, 20).

What’s more, several studies have found that applying tea tree oil to the skin may reduce acne (21, 22, 23).

Another small study found that, compared with benzoyl peroxide, participants using a tea tree oil ointment for acne experienced less dry skin and irritation. They also felt more satisfied with the treatment (24).

Given that topical and oral antibiotics can cause bacterial resistance if used long term for acne, tea tree oil may be an effective substitute (21).

Tea tree oil is very potent, so always dilute it before applying it to your skin.

Green tea is very high in antioxidants, and drinking it can promote good health.

It may also help reduce acne. This is likely because the polyphenols in green tea help fight bacteria and reduce inflammation, which are two main causes of acne (25).

There isn’t much research exploring the benefits of drinking green tea when it comes to acne, and more studies are needed.

In one small study with 80 women, participants took 1,500 mg of green tea extract daily for 4 weeks. By the end of the study, women who took the extract had less acne on their noses, chins, and around their mouths (26).

Research has also found that drinking green tea may lower blood sugar and insulin levels, which are factors that can contribute to the development of acne (27).

Many studies also indicate that applying green tea directly to the skin may help with acne.

Research shows that the main antioxidant in green tea — epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) — reduces sebum production, fights inflammation, and inhibits the growth of P. acnes in individuals with acne-prone skin (28).

Multiple studies have found that applying green tea extract to the skin significantly reduces sebum production and pimples in those with acne (29, 30, 31).

You can buy creams and lotions that contain green tea, but it’s just as easy to make your own mixture at home.

You can also add the remaining tea leaves to honey and make a mask.

Witch hazel is extracted from the bark and leaves of the North American witch hazel shrub, Hamamelis virginiana. It contains tannins, which have strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (32, 33).

That’s why it’s used to treat a broad range of skin conditions, including dandruff, eczema, varicose veins, burns, bruises, insect bites, and acne.

Currently, there appears to be very little research on witch hazel’s ability to treat acne specifically.

In one small study funded by a skin care company, 30 individuals with mild or moderate acne used a three-step facial treatment twice daily for 6 weeks.

Witch hazel was one of the ingredients in the second step of the treatment. Most participants experienced significant improvement in their acne by the end of the study (34).

Research also suggests that witch hazel may fight bacteria and reduce skin irritation and inflammation, which can contribute to acne (35, 36, 37).

It’s important to note that commercially prepared versions may not contain tannins, as they are often lost in the distillation process.

Aloe vera is a tropical plant whose leaves produce a clear gel. The gel is often added to lotions, creams, ointments, and soaps.

It’s commonly used to treat abrasions, rashes, burns, and other skin conditions. When applied to the skin, aloe vera gel can help heal wounds, treat burns, and fight inflammation (38).

Aloe vera contains salicylic acid and sulfur, which are both used extensively in the treatment of acne. Research has found that applying salicylic acid to the skin reduces acne (39, 40, 41, 42).

Several studies have also indicated that aloe vera gel, when combined with other substances like tretinoin cream or tea tree oil, may improve acne (43, 22).

While research shows promise, the anti-acne benefits of aloe vera itself require further scientific research.

You can also buy aloe vera gel from the store, but make sure that it’s pure aloe without any added ingredients.

Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats that offer a multitude of health benefits.

You must get these fats from your diet, but research shows that most people who eat a standard Western diet don’t get enough of them (44).

Fish oils contain two main types of omega-3 fatty acids — eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

High levels of EPA and DHA have been shown to decrease inflammatory factors, which may reduce the risk of acne (45).

In one study, 45 individuals with acne were given omega-3 fatty acid supplements containing both EPA and DHA daily. After 10 weeks, their acne decreased significantly (46).

There’s no specific recommended daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids. The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that healthy adults consume around 250 mg of combined EPA and DHA each day (47).

You can also get omega-3 fatty acids by eating salmon, sardines, anchovies, walnuts, chia seeds, and ground flax seeds.

Exfoliation is the process of removing the top layer of dead skin cells. You can use chemicals to achieve this, or exfoliate mechanically by using a brush or scrub to physically remove the cells (48).

Exfoliation may improve acne by removing the skin cells that clog pores.

It may also make acne treatments for the skin more effective by allowing them to penetrate deeper, once the topmost layer of skin is removed.

Currently, the research on exfoliation and its ability to treat acne is limited.

Some studies suggest that microdermabrasion, a method of exfoliation, can improve the skin’s appearance, including some cases of acne scarring (49, 50).

In one small study, 38 patients with acne received eight microdermabrasion treatments at weekly intervals. The participants with acne scars showed some improvements following the treatments (51).

Another small study found that six weekly microdermabrasion treatments helped stimulate skin repair (52).

While these results indicate that exfoliation may improve skin health and appearance, more research is needed on acne.

There are a wide variety of exfoliation products available, but you can also make a scrub at home using sugar or salt.

Note that mechanical exfoliation, such as with harsh scrubs or brushes, can be irritating and damage the skin. As such, some dermatologists recommend gentle chemical exfoliation with salicylic- or glycolic-acid-based products.

If you choose to try mechanical exfoliation, be sure to gently rub your skin to avoid damaging it.

How to make a scrub at home

The relationship between diet and acne has been debated for years.

Research suggests that dietary factors, such as insulin and glycemic index, may be associated with acne (53).

A food’s glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly it raises your blood sugar.

Eating high GI foods causes a spike in insulin, which likely increases sebum production. As a result, high GI foods may directly affect the development and severity of acne.

Foods with a high glycemic index include processed foods, such as:

  • white bread
  • sugary soft drinks
  • cakes
  • doughnuts
  • pastries
  • candies
  • sugary breakfast cereals
  • Foods with a low glycemic index include:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • legumes
  • nuts
  • whole or minimally processed grains
  • In one study, 66 people followed either a normal or low glycemic diet. After 2 weeks, the individuals consuming a low glycemic diet had lower levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a hormone involved in acne development (54).

    Another study in 64 people found that those with moderate or severe acne ate diets with more carbohydrates and a higher glycemic load than those without acne (55).

    These small studies suggest that a low glycemic diet may help those with acne-prone skin. Additional larger, longer studies are needed.

    The relationship between dairy and acne is highly controversial.

    Milk and dairy products contain hormones like IGF-1, which is associated with acne. Other hormones in milk may cause hormonal changes and lead to acne (53).

    One study in people ages 10 to 24 found that drinking whole milk three or more days each week was linked to moderate or severe acne (56).

    In another study including 114 participants, those with acne were found to drink significantly more milk than people who didn’t have acne (57).

    On the other hand, a study involving over 20,000 adults found no association between milk consumption and acne (58).

    Participants self-reported the data in these studies, so more research needs to be done to establish a true causal relationship.

    Finally, several research reviews have suggested an association between dairy consumption and acne (59, 60).

    The relationship between milk and acne needs further study.

    The link between stress and acne is not fully understood. The hormones released during periods of stress may increase sebum production and inflammation, making acne worse (61).

    Stress may also affect gut bacteria and cause inflammation throughout the body, which could be linked to acne (62).

    What’s more, stress can slow wound healing, which may slow the repair of acne lesions (63).

    Multiple studies have found an association between stress and acne (64, 65, 66).

    However, each of these studies was relatively small, so more research is needed.

    One study in 80 participants found no association between stress intensity and acne. However, it noted that acne severity may be related to people’s ability to cope with stress (67).

    Certain relaxation and stress reduction treatments may improve acne, but more research needs to be done (68).

    1. Grape Cleanser

    how to remove acne from dry skin home remedies

    how to remove acne from dry skin home remedies

    Grapes are a refreshing snack, whether eaten plain as a snack, halved as a salad topping, or frozen as a healthy dessert. But grapes likely don’t come to mind when you think of acne treatments.

    Yet according to an article published in April 2016 in Advances in Dermatology and Allergology, resveratrol in the skin of red grapes may exhibit bactericidal activity against Cutibacterium acnes. formerly called Propionibacterium acnes, C. acnes is a bacteria in the sebaceous glands that contributes to acne. (2)

    So grab a few fresh grapes from your fridge, and youve got an easy facial cleanser. Cut two or three grapes in half and rub the flesh over your face and neck, says Fran E. Cook-Bolden, MD, a dermatologist and director of Skin Specialty Dermatology in New York City. Follow with a cool water rinse.

    The top 10 home remedies for acne, according to dermatologists

    Heres one more trendy superfood that’s made its way into the skin care space. “When used as a physical exfoliator, cooked quinoa can be a gentle scrub — both non-abrasive and friendly to the environment — unlike the polyethylene microbeads contained in some exfoliating cleansers,” said Lortscher, who suggests Pacifica’s Quinoa Sensitive Super Gentle Face Wash for treating acne at home.

    Pimples can be stubborn, and depending on what type of pimple it is, they can be frustrating to treat,” said Dr. Lauren Abramowitz, a board-certified PA-C (physicians assistant) and founder of Park Avenue Skin Solutions and co-founder of the Tribeca Wellness Collective. “The most important thing is to NOT pick the pimple. The more you pick at it, the slower the healing time.”

    Apple cider vinegar is popular as a cure-all for many applications, but be cautious while using. “Vinegar is an acid and will be somewhat unfriendly to bacteria and encourage some mild exfoliation,” said Lortscher. “Gradually introduce this to your skin before jumping all in. Some people do like to use apple cider vinegar as a toner. I do not advise using a full-strength application, as that can burn sensitive skin. Instead, dilute the vinegar one part to four parts water before using.”

    While there are plenty of natural ingredients that can work wonders for your skin, there are a few you should be sure to steer clear of during a breakout:

    Apple cider vinegar is popular as a cure-all for many applications, but be cautious while using. “Vinegar is an acid and will be somewhat unfriendly to bacteria and encourage some mild exfoliation,” said Lortscher. “Gradually introduce this to your skin before jumping all in. Some people do like to use apple cider vinegar as a toner. I do not advise using a full-strength application, as that can burn sensitive skin. Instead, dilute the vinegar one part to four parts water before using.”

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