Blemishes are nothing foreign to us. However trying to search for suitable remedies, we are constantly faced with a vast selection of cosmetic products. If you are looking to put more value in gentle, high-quality, natural ingredients, it is not easy to keep track of everything on the market.
Apart from the variety of products at our disposal, proven home remedies are also mentioned again and again. Not a bad approach - but can and should we really expect any remedy from them?
We wanted to find out more, so we are taking a closer look at three of the most popular home remedies for pimples and blackheads - from a scientific point of view.
At a glance: home remedies for acne
Tea tree oil for pimples
The oil with its fresh, aromatic smell is distilled from the leaves and twigs of the tea tree.
One study compared the effect of diluted tea tree oil with that of benzoyl peroxide, a proven active ingredient against acne. Although the effect of the oil was somewhat delayed, the researchers noted a significant improvement in symptoms in both cases - and observed that side effects were less frequent with the use of tea tree oil.
It is often recommended to apply tea tree oil directly to the affected areas with a cotton swab. However, like all other essential oils, it should never be applied directly to the skin undiluted. Thus, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment also warns against undiluted application of the oil. Nevertheless, household remedies against pimples should be used carefully.
It is better to add a few drops to a toner or cleansing milk. More detailed information on the recommended dosage can usually be found on the respective packaging of the oil.
Only use the mixture on your face after you have tested its compatibility, e.g. in the crease of your arm. As soon as you add tea tree oil to cosmetics, you should also avoid using them on the sensitive area around the mouth or eyes. The same generally applies to all other products against pimples and skin impurities.
Garlic for skin impurities
Even in one of the oldest surviving medical documents - the ancient Egyptian "Ebers Papyrus" - found records about garlic as a medicinal plant (Fun fact: There is also an existing entry for the cannabis plant).
Today we know: When the cells of garlic are damaged, such as by cutting or crushing, allicin is released. Among other positive effects for health, allicin is said to have an antibacterial effect according to various studies (see for example here or here ). In addition, garlic has potentially positive effects for wound healing and could perhaps even counteract skin aging.
As a home remedy for pimples, it is sometimes recommended to cut open a clove of garlic and treat the affected skin areas with the cut surface. However, in the worst case, if the garlic is in contact with the skin for too long, it may cause chemical burns. Therefore, you should be especially careful when using it externally.
Apple cider vinegar for pimples and blackheads
Opinions are mixed on the use of apple cider vinegar for the skin: While the topic has recently become a real hype on the net, others report skin irritations. If you decide to use it, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
Apple cider vinegar contains, among other things, AHA acids such as citric acid, malic acid and lactic acid (AHA, from α-hydroxy-acids). It can therefore potentially act like a chemical peeling, which, in contrast to mechanical peeling, does not contain so-called abrasive grains (keyword: microplastics). According to one study, the lactic acid contained in apple cider vinegar can also have a beneficial effect on superficial acne scars.
When buying apple cider vinegar, make sure that it is unpasteurized. You can recognize this by the so-called "mother" it contains, a brown mass with threads, which is usually found at the bottom of the jar. It is an indicator that the vinegar is "alive" and of good quality.
Under no circumstances should you apply the vinegar undiluted to the skin or let it come into contact with open wounds or recently squeezed pimples.
So always dilute the vinegar with water and test it in the crease of your arm first. If your skin does not show any negative reaction to it, you can carefully apply the mixture on your face. However, rinse it off after 15 minutes to avoid skin irritation and follow usage with a revitalizing moisturizer.
Caution: As with all chemical peels, the skin is initially more sensitive to sunlight after the application of apple cider vinegar. Therefore, it is even more important than usual to use sunscreen when necessary.
Since apple cider vinegar can cause irritation on sensitive skin, you should consult your dermatologist before using it as a cosmetic.
How useful are home remedies for pimples?
Home remedies can provide relief for blemished skin under certain circumstances. However, you should always exercise caution when using them - just because a remedy is herbal does not mean it is gentle.
Garlic not only tastes good, but also shows potential for treating the skin - but the question remains whether we really find the scent of garlic on the face pleasant. Apple cider vinegar certainly seems to have a good effect; however, we should clarify the application with a doctor beforehand. Somewhat easier to handle and quite effective when used correctly is the well-tried tea tree oil. The smell is certainly a matter of taste - we like it.
If you are looking to give your skin a little extra love, we also recommend our face cream The Glow, which contains zinc, cinnamon bark, and CBD, or our new Face Oil. Or check out this article for more tips on natural skincare.
A comparative study of tea-tree oil versus benzoyl peroxide in the treatment of acne https: //pubmed.ncbi.nlm .nih.gov / 2145499 /
using undiluted tea tree oil as a cosmetic agent https://www.bfr.bund.de/cm/343/verwendung_von_unverduenntem_teebaumoel_als_kosmetisches_mittel.pdf
Garlic helps not only against vampires https://www.welt.de/print-welt/article418274/Knoblauch-hilft-nicht-nur-gegen-Vampire.html
Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10594976/
Allicin: chemistry and biological properties https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19538015/
Effect of aged garlic extract on wound healing: a new frontier in wound management https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19538015/
Testing garlic for possible anti-aging effects on long-term growth characteristics, morphology and macromolecular synthesis of human fibroblasts in culture https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7526077/
Lactic acid peeling in superficial acne scarring in Indian skin https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ 20883299 /
Evaluation of anti-microbial activities of ZnO, citric acid and a mixture of Both against Propionibacterium acnes https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26940755/
Long term topical application of lactic acid / lactate lotion as a preventive treatment for acne vulgaris