107 acne treatments for adult acne

If you want to see the best acne treatments for adult acne in one place, then you’ll love this guide.

I’ve personally reviewed 107 acne treatments. Most I’ve used myself and the rest I’ve done extensive research on.

You can simply read through the list and find the acne treatment that will help you get flawless and even-toned skin.

Check it out:


1. 2% salicylic acid foam wash

This might be one of my favorite acne treatments of all time. Salicylic acid has been studied extensively by researchers and in many ways is a lot more effective than the conventional benzoyl peroxide treatment.

Salicylic acid is a type of beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that works by removing unnecessary cells in the epidermis so that there will be no blockages.

And if you know anything about acne, you know a blockage in the hair follicle is the fundamental starting point for a pimple. This is a must have for everyone suffering from acne, and chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid and the others on this list can help people with non chronic acne get clear completely .

I always start with recommending a salicylic acid foam wash (as a topical treatment) for my clients, so I figure it’s a good place to start of this list.

Chemical exfoliant acne treatment

2. Paula’s choice BHA

This is another great salicylic acid product. However, the benefit of this product is that you can leave it on your skin overnight.

The tiny molecules can penetrate the skin deeply and work their anti-inflammatory & anti-clogging magic. Now it’s important to note that you shouldn’t combine chemical exfoliants with retinoids, since they already have an exfoliating effect.

You’ll also need to add a good sunscreen to your regimen. But all in all, adding this product into your regimen 3 times a week, can really improve your skin texture and prevent pimples from forming in the first place.

3. The Ordinary BHA

Apart from foam washes and leave-in solutions you can also chemically exfoliate your skin with a mask. The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% solution should be applied evenly on the skin and removed within 8-10 minutes.

You can only use it once or twice a week because it’s so potent but it will drastically reduce inflammation and eliminate pimples. Moreover, I love the cheap prices of the ordinary which is why it’s included on this list.

exfoliant for acne

4. Glycolic Acid

Glycolic acid is another great acne fighting ingredient. It might not be as powerful as salicylic acid, but it has better skin lightening capabilities which can help with post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (the red/brown marks that are left after the acne is gone).

Another benefit of glycolic acid as opposed to salicylic acid is that glycolic acid has a hydrating effect instead of a drying effect. So alternating between salicylic acid and glycolic acid will do wonders for your skin, but don’t use them at the same time.

5. Lactic Acid

Don’t worry… even if you’re lactose intolerant, you can still use lactic acid. That’s because you don’t digest the lactic acid in the same way you’d ingest milk. Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid and is considered to be very gentle.

It’s mainly used to lighten up dark spots and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. If you really want to get rid of pimples you’re better off with salicylic acid. However, using AHA’s like lactic and glycolic acid will help you reduce red acne marks and acne scars.

6. Azelaic acid

Azelaic acid is another powerhouse acid that will help improve your skin on many different levels. Azelaic acid cleanses the pores thoroughly because it’s a very small alpha hydroxy acid, which means it can penetrate the skin easily.

It’s a good idea to incorporate different acids in your routine. This way you can alternate acids between days. It’s important to note however that you should never mix acids at the exact same time, especially not AHA’s and BHA’s.

7. Resorcinol

Resorcinol has an effect on the epidermis (the outermost part of the skin), where it prevents the clogging of hair follicles. It’s not a “go-to acne treatment” since it’s often prescribed for “hidradenitis suppurativa”.

Moreover, it’s a relatively expensive chemical to produce, which means products with resorcinol are likely going to set you back quite a bit (compared to salicylic acid). It’s probably best to go for one of the other chemical exfoliants on the list if you have the option.

Dermatologist fruit acid peel

8. Fruit acid peel at a dermatologist

Fruit acid is simply another word for chemical peel or chemical exfoliation. However, dermatologists often have chemical peels with a much higher percentage, which you simply couldn’t get at home. It’s important to note that with this increase in potency also comes an increase in risk and sensitivity to sunlight.

You should always have a chemical exfoliant that you can use at home, but every once in a while you may want to visit the dermatologist for a fruit acid peel. You’ll notice significant reductions in pimple size and a smoother skin texture within 1 to several peelings.

Spot Treatments and topicals

9. Clinique Anti-Blemish Solution

Clinique anti blemish solution is a spot treatment gel consisting of a few interesting ingredients such as salicylic acid and witch hazel. You’ll definitely hear the substance salicylic acid come back several times in this article because it’s one of the best, if not the best topical treatment for acne.

But witch hazel has also proven to be effective in the reduction of acne. It works by drying out the pimples, allowing them to subside. So the combination of those two ingredients make this an excellent topical acne treatment.

I use it sporadically since my lifestyle changes allowed me to be free of acne 99% of time, but when I do notice a spot coming up, this solution will stop the pimple right in its tracks. You only need a little bit, so a bottle will last you a long ass time.

Eucarin Oil control

10. Eucarin Oil Control

Eucarin oil control is quickly becoming one of my favorite products to help manage my oily skin. I have a combination to oily skin, which means my skin can get dry if I don’t moisturize it in the morning but, will get oily by the evening.

And I’ve noticed walking around with an oily skin for to long can definitely aggravate acne. The Eucarin Oil Control not only helps in balancing skin oils but also has SPF 30-50, which protects your skin from the sun.

This product on its own won’t get rid of acne, but is definitely a wonderful addition to any skincare routine.

11. Benzoyl peroxide

Benzoyl peroxide is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for acne and It’s on the World Health Organization’s list of Essential medicine. Now if you’re currently suffering from acne there is no way in hell that you’ve never heard of this one before so let’s cut to chase.

Benzoyl peroxide has proven to be very effective in removing or reducing lesions. That’s simply a fact. However, benzoyl peroxide has also proven to be very aggressive and can definitely cause severe skin irritation, itchiness and burning.

I personally never recommend using benzoyl peroxide from the get-go because there are several other options that are just as (or more) effective as benzoyl peroxide without the side effects. If you’re adamant about wanting to use products with benzoyl peroxide, use a formulation with a lower percentage of BP.

Several studies show that increasing the benzoyl peroxide percentage doesn’t increase the effectiveness, but does increase the chances of experiencing negative side effects.[1]

Cortisone shot for acne

12. Cortisone shot

If you’re currently suffering from horrible cystic acne, there is no way you haven’t heard of the “cortisone shot”. In a nutshell, this treatment entails straight up injecting a bunch of synthetic hormones into the cystic nodule. It’s very effective in shrinking the large cysts and might be the ideal solution when you really need to look sharp for an upcoming event.

However, this is in no way a viable long term acne solution. In general I’m not a fan of messing with hormones albeit topically or internally, but if you’re really in a pinch this cortisone shot might be just what you’re looking for.

13. Duac: Clindamycin and Benzoyl Peroxide

Duac is a topical gel that consists of a combination of Clindamycin and Benzoyl Peroxide. So in essence it’s a combination of an antibiotic and an anti-septic. Studies show that using a combination of clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide once a day for 12 weeks reduced inflammatory lesions by 52%.[2]

However, like we stated earlier, Benzoyl peroxide and Clindamycin are both very aggressive substances so it’s definitely not recommended for people with a sensitive skin. The combination of clindamycin and benzoyl peroxide has proven to be more effective than using either substance on its own.

14. Baking soda

Alright let’s talk about the first real home remedy: Baking soda. I’ve already made a video on this topic before and you can watch it here. But in essence: baking soda is a substance that’s used for a wide variety of things such as baking, cleaning and extinguishing fires. But nowadays people use it on their skin because of its anti-bacterial and anti-septic properties.

Baking soda can be used as a mask, spot treatment or face wash, although it’s not recommended in either of these ways because it can cause adverse side effects such as damaging the skin (due to the mechanical exfoliation) and contact dermatitis.

Although it’s very easy to get your hands on some baking soda (you might even have some laying around the house) for now let’s stick with options that have proven to work consistently without too much side effects.

15. Tretinoin (retin-a, Retisol A)

Tretinoin is another product that’s on the world health organization’s list of essential medicine. It’s a topical retinoid, which means it’s a medicinal substance derived from Vitamin A. Numerous studies have shown topical retinoids to be effective in the reduction of acne. But once again this is one of those products that falls in the “not for sensitive skin category”.

This means it can lead to: redness, irritation, drying, stinging and even a flare up of acne. It’s recommended to start of using tretinoin on alternate days and cautiously increase the frequency.

Tretinoin is often used in combination with other acne products because it enhances the penetration and thus effectiveness of other products. However, it also leads to an increased sensitivity to the sun, so it’s advised to use it in combination with a good sunscreen.

Studies show Benzoyl peroxide (5%) and tretinoin (0.05%) have about the same effectiveness in most patients. However, benzoyl peroxide is faster in reducing comedones papules and pustules. [3]

16. Cetaphil: Gentle skin cleanser

So when you’re talking about an acne skincare routine, invariably you’ll hear something about Cetaphil. Although the company doesn’t outright market itself as an acne skin care product manufacturer, a lot of people who struggle with acne seem to try out their products.

Now the gentle skin cleanser, is ideal for people with a very sensitive skin. If used in combination with another acne product such as an good exfoliant which we’ll talk about later, it does have the potential to improve the skin. However, don’t expect the cleanser to get rid of your acne on its own.

17. Differin: Adapalene

Similar to tretinoin, adapalene is another topical retinoid. The most famous acne product that uses adapalene as an ingredient is Differin, and it can be bought in virtually every drug store. I’ve made a video on differin before and you can watch it here.

But the cliff notes are that just like tretinoin, it can be very aggressive. It does prove to be somewhat effective but it takes quite a while of consistent use to see results.

In my analysis about 45% of people experienced improvements within 12 weeks, while 55% of people did not see any improvements, or had to stop using it altogether because of negative side effects.

18. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is a natural oil made from the leaves of the Australian tea tree. A study by Carson et al. shows it has both anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. [4] When used on a daily basis it has the potential to significantly improve mild to moderate acne.

However, be careful not to use it undiluted on the skin (or ingest it) since this can cause problems such as burning and irritation. The effectiveness is often compared to that of Benzoyl peroxide, with significantly less side effect. It does take somewhat longer to see effects compared to Benzoyl Peroxide.

19. Proactiv Solution: Acne Treatment system

The proactive acne treatment system consists of 3 different topical solutions designed for acne prone skin. More specifically it consists of a cleanser, a toner and a repairing treatment. Both the cleanser and the repairing treatment have benzoyl peroxide as an active ingredient.

So like you already know by now, this definitely can be effective, but it isn’t ideal for people with a sensitive skin. Moreover, using 2 different products with a decent percentage of benzoyl peroxide on a daily basis, might increase the risk of adverse side effects.

The toner consists of ingredients such as witch hazel and glycolic acid which are both good acne fighting ingredients.

Photo by: Jasmine Hemsley

20. Honey Mask

If you’ve been searching for DIY acne treatment and acne home remedies, there is no way that you haven’t seen the honey mask option. Honey is known to have natural anti-bacterial and calming properties. This can help with inflamed pimples.

Honey is high in glucuronic acid, which gets converted to glucose oxidase and subsequently hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide has somewhat similar acne fighting properties as benzoyl peroxide. However, it’s very important that you use RAW honey and not jut any random honey, since most honeys you find in supermarkets are mixed with syrup which can aggravate the skin even more.

If you’re a big fan of DIY this can be a good option, but it’s definitely not the most effective and convenient acne treatment.

21. Murad Clarifying Mask

The active ingredient in Murad’s clarifying mask is Sulfur. Sulfur absorbs excess sebum, which is one of the 4 main acne factors. Similar to benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, sulfur has proven to be effective in reducing or even removing lesions, ranging from small pustules to big cysts.

Now if you know anything about sulfur, you know it smell horrendous (like rotten eggs). Luckily this formulation by Murad masks the smell quite a bit. A small percentage of people does seem to have a sensitivity to sulfur but overall, this product can definitely help in reducing redness and inflammation of pimples.

22. Aspirin

People that like to mess around with DIY acne treatments often use powdered aspirin as a spot treatment. And it kinda makes sense right? You use asparins to reduce pain internally so why not use it externally? Moreover, aspirins used to be made with salicylic acid, which is one of the most effective acne treatments out there. However, that’s no longer the case.

I’m not gonna beat around the bush, using powdered aspirin as a spot treatment doesn’t really work, and if it does, the effects are negligible at best

23. Sudocream

If you’re not a baby with a diaper rash, you might be wondering why this product is being recommended. Well sudocream is thought to be an effective topical treatment for acne because of the zinc oxide it contains.

We’ll talk about using zinc supplements later on, but studies show using zinc on the skin can be just as effective or even more effective as using clindamycin. It’s not a cure all acne treatment but it can help suppress existing acne.

24. Toothpaste

How often have you heard this one? Just put some toothpaste on your pimple and it will be gone by morning. This is a common misconception that likely comes from the fact that toothpaste sometimes contains triclosan.

Triclosan is an ingredient that is often found in acne products. So if it’s also found it toothpaste, that must mean it’s an effective acne treatment right? Well not entirely… as with everything you put on your face, the individual ingredients aren’t as important as the formulation as a whole. And toothpaste also contains irritating ingredients that will mess your skin up. So just stay away from this one.

25. Calamine Lotion

Calamine lotion might come as a surprise to a lot of you. Calamine lotion is usually used as ointment to alleviate rashes. However as this video illustrates, calamine lotion has been used with great results as an acne treatment.

According to anecdotal evidence it’s more effective that benzoyl peroxide without any of the harmful side effects.

26. Jojoba oil

Jojoba oil isn’t really an oil but actually a wax ester. But that actually a good thing because the consistency of this wax ester is very similar to the sebum produced by the sebaceous glands.

In other words, by using jojoba oil, you signal the sebaceous gland that it isn’t necessary to produce excess sebum and this will help in the prevention of acne. A study in 2012 showed it’s effective both in combination with a clay mask an on its own.[5]

27. Aloe vera plant gel

The soothing aloe vera plant jelly. You’ve probably heard about it’s amazing ability to heal a wide variety of skin conditions, but is there any truth to it? Well since it’s been used as a way to heal and clean wounds for centuries, there must be some legitimacy to the claims.

Aloe vera has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce redness and the size of pimples. Studies show that using aloe vera gel in combination with another acne product, such as tretinoin, proves to be very effective. The soothing effect of aloe vera gel might mitigate the negative effects of the harsh and aggressive retinol.

28. Epiduo

Epiduo is a combination of benzoyl peroxide and differin. It’s more effective than benzoyl peroxide alone since the adapalene in differin allows for a better penetration of the active ingredients. However, this product can be very aggressive and irritating on the skin so caution is advised.

29. Clearasil Ultra rapid Acne Vanishing Cream

Clearasil is a company with a large marketing budget. But does it work as well as they claim it does? The main ingredients in this vanishing cream are Gluconolactone and Glyceryl Stearate so it’s actually more of an exfoliant.

The results of using this product are a lackluster. Exfoliants that use salicylic acid work significantly better, and probably for a better price.

30. Clindamycin

Clindamycin is another staple acne product that is often prescribed by dermatologists. It’s a topical antibiotic that’s supposed to combat the overgrowth of the bacteria P. acnes, which is linked to acne formation.

It’s important to note that clindamycin is often used in combination with another acne product, and usually isn’t very effective on its own.

Moreover, it’s not effective for extreme types of acne such as cystic acne. So if you’re suffering from mild to moderate acne, this might be an option, when used in conjunction with another product.

Just note however, that using antibiotics haphazardly can often bring more harm than good. So, think twice before applying or ingesting antibiotics.

31. The Ordinary Niacinamide

Niacinamide (or Nicotinamide as it’s also called) is a form of Vitamin B3, which can be applied on the skin. It has a wide range of benefits such as increasing the epidermal permeability, which means it promotes the absorption of topical acne products. It also reduces inflammation by preventing some of the actions of the bacteria P.acnes[6]

All in all Niacinamide is one of those products that has scientifically been proven to work over and over. It improves skin texture and reduces acne. The ordinary has a niacinamide serum that won’t break the bank and works very well.

Be sure not to overdo it though. Certain skincare products like moisturizers already include niacinamide, and using it too much can cause irriation.

32. Witch hazel

You might have used Witch hazel before to treat a sunburn or a different skin affliction. However, due to the drying and anti-oxidant properties it’s also a very good option to combat different types of acne such as whiteheads, blackheads, pustules and papules.

If you’re looking for a spot treatment, check the Clinique anti-blemish solution as the serum combines witch hazel and Niacinamide into one powerful spot treatment.

33. Hydrogen peroxide

No not Benzoyl Peroxide but Hydrogen Peroxide. The names sound similar but, the effectiveness of both products differ. Hydrogen peroxide used to be prescribed to disinfect wounds and clean out cuts and scrapes. Following that logic some people use it to clean out the “stuff” in the pimple…

Here’s the thing… even though Benzoyl peroxide is very aggressive and irritating, it has proven to be a relatively effective acne treatment. Hydrogen peroxide on the other hand is considered to more harmful than effective.

That’s because it has now been proven that hydrogen peroxide oxidizes different cells, making wound healing and skin repair more difficult.

If you’re a fan of chemical warfare with pimples, choose salicylic acid instead.

34. Ozonated oils

This one might surprise a lot of you since it isn’t a very well-known acne treatment. Ozonated oils are, like the name suggests, oils with ozone in it. If you know anything about the earth’s atmosphere you know there is a layer called the ozone layer in the stratosphere.

This ozone layer protects the earth from the sun and similarly the “ozone” can protect your face from annoying pimples. Now, usually a substance (like ozone) that oxidizes can be considered harmful. However as Travagli et al. note:

“During the last decade it has been learned how to tame its great reactivity by precisely dosing its concentration and permanently incorporating the gas into triglycerides where gaseous ozone chemically reacts with unsaturated substrates leading to therapeutically active ozonated derivatives”.[7]

35. Dove Sensitive Skin Bar

A lot of people seem to think acne is caused by and incredibly dirty face, and instinctively reach for a bar of soap. And since they have acne, they must have a sensitive skin so what better product than the Dove sensitive skin bar?

Unfortunately, like you already know after reading this article, acne isn’t necessarily caused by a dirty skin.

It’s actually due to 4 specific factors. So using soap is virtually never the answer, even if it’s marketed as “sensitive skin friendly”. Instead of using soaps, opt for gentle acne cleansers such as those recommended in this list or chemical exfoliants.

36. Neutrogena Rapid Clear Stubborn Acne Cleanser

I like the word stubborn acne… But in a way isn’t every type of acne stubborn? Every type of acne is unwanted and generally doesn’t simply go away. Neutrogena’s solution to stubborn acne is to simply increase the dose of Benzoyl Peroxide.

This cleanser contains 10% benzoyl peroxide (which is a lot). Studies show that increasing the benzoyl peroxide doesn’t increase the effectiveness, but it does increase the chance of experiencing negative side effects.

So regardless of whether you have a sensitive skin or not, choosing higher doses of benzoyl peroxide is never a good idea.

37. CeraVe Resurfacing Retinol Serum

Cerave promises their retinol serum: “helps smooth your skin’s texture by reducing the appearance of post-acne marks, minimizing the look of pores and improving your skin’s surface.”

They aim to do that by using a retinol (0.01%), which as you know is a vitamin A derivative. CeraVe has done a great job at living up to their promise and has formulated a serum that will even combat the redness and drying, which you often experience with other retinols.

The retinol serum is great for lightening up acne marks and reducing acne. However, as with all retinols, definitely thread carefully and start of by using it every other day or even once or twice a week and go from there.

38. Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream

Drunk Elephant is a brand that creates great skincare products for absolutely ridiculous prices. The same goes for their A-passioni retinol cream. It’s a great retinol cream that does what it is supposed to do (increase cell turnover for a better skin texture and reduce acne), but at a whopping 70$+ price tag, it might be better to simply go with CeraVe’s retinol serum.

Note however that the consistency of the cream and serum differ.

39. MyChelle Dermaceuticals Remarkable Retinal Serum

Both retinols and retinals increase cell turnover and cellular regeneration, however, retinal has been clinically proven to work up to 11 times faster than retinol. So everyone should go with a retinal right? Well not exactly.

While it’s true that the retinals act faster, they do this by releasing the active ingredients into the skin at a faster rate which increases the chances of inflammation and irritation. It also exfoliates the skin more than a normal retinol which can be problematic.

So the MyChelle Dermaceuticals Remarkable Retinal Serum should be used with caution but can be very effective.

40. Indeed Labs Bakuchiol Reface Pads

Bakuchiol is a plant-based ingredient that helps to increase cell turnover and reduce acne. Together with a healthy dose of Niacinamide, the Indeed Labs Backuchiol Reface pads might be a good alternative for people who simply can’t deal with harsh retinols.

These pads can help improve skin texture and reduce pimple size. However, don’t expect to put on these pads and get rid of acne forever, you’ll need a few other items on this list as well.

41. Dapsone gel

Dapsone gel is another topical antibiotic that is sometimes prescribed by Dermatologists. It’s often used for inflammatory acne, because it doesn’t do a whole lot for non-inflammatory acne such as whiteheads and blackheads. In terms of effectiveness studies show it reduces acne lesions by about 50% in 12 weeks.

However, compared to the combination of retinol and benzoyl peroxide which can reduce acne lesions by 90% in those same 12 weeks, Dapsone gel might simply not be effective enough[8]. Now if you’re thinking, let me just combine “dapsone gel + benzoyl peroxide”, instead of “retinol + benzoyl peroxide”, think again.

Combining Dapsone gel with benzoyl peroxide can leave skin discolorations that last up to 2 months!

42. Tazarotene

Tazaratone or Tazorac as it’s often marketed is another topical retinoid. Studies show that using a 0.1% Tazarotene cream, reduced both inflammatory as well as non-inflammatory lesions by 60% over a 12 week period.

Compared to most topical antibiotics,  this retinoid is more effective. Moreover, smaller percentages (than would be expected with retinoids) experienced negative side effects such as pain in the area of application (5.3%) and dryness (3.6%)[9].

43. Apple Cider Vinegar

ACV contains different acids such as citric, lactic, acetic and succinic acid. All of these acids have shown to be beneficial in the management of the bacteria P. acnes which plays a part in inflammatory acne.

However, you’ll probably get an even greater effect by using chemical exfoliants which boast the same acids (e.g lactic acid), but are formulated in a specific way to reduce acne even more.

44. Green tea

Green tea is full of polyphenols which are anti-oxidant molecules. Research shows these polyphenols are useful in the reduction of sebum and thus indirectly the reduction of acne[10].

Finding a green tea lotion that is high in EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) can improve acne and reduce an oily skin. If you’re using any other harsh acne product, including a hydrating lotion is essential.

45. Photodynamic therapy (PDT)

PDT or photodynamic therapy uses lights along with so called photosensitizing agents (topical treatments that make the skin more sensitive to light) to improve health conditions such as cancer. However, it is now being studied as a safe treatment for acne.

Early evidence shows lesions can be reduced completely within a few treatments. Some claim the effectiveness can be compared to that of Accutane which is one of the most invasive acne treatments you can try.

It’s important to note however, that a lot more research is necessary and that this should not be your first line of defense against acne.

46. Removing lesions at a dermatologist

For anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of having a dermatologist extract the inflamed contents of a pimple, let me summarize what you can expect. It’ll feel like a tiny knife gets pushed into your pores to scoop all of the “goo” out. I know it sounds gross, but that’s essentially what happens.

The dermatologist will open up the pores (by using a tool) and pinch out everything that’s inside. It’s very painful but eventually you’ll be left with a lot less lesions in your skin. This is a good way to clear out your skin, but it’s definitely not a permanent acne solution.

You’ll need to make some simple changes (like the dietary changes we’ll talk about later on) to completely be free of acne forever. Otherwise you’ll keep creating new lesions, which have to be extracted in the same painful manner.

47. Laser therapy

Using a laser for acne sounds like science fiction, but it’s actually real. Treatments like Photopneumatic therapy use an intense pulsed light (IPL) laser in combination with a small vacuum to clear out blackheads and whiteheads. As of now this treatment is not effective against the more inflammatory and cystic acne.

48. Light therapy

Similar to Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) there are other acne treatments that use light as a means of reducing or eliminating pimples. These include infrared light, Blue light and at-home LED devices.

As of now these technologies are still in their infancies and a lot more research is necessary. If you want to experiment with light, check out PDT. But using a good chemical exfoliant and spot treatment, in combination with some dietary changes are better ways to start clearing up your skin completely.

49. Coconut oil

A few years ago when I was really suffering from a lot of painful breakouts, and someone recommended I put tea tree oil and coconut oil on my skin and leave it overnight. The science checks out since coconut oil consists almost entirely of medium chain fatty acids such as lauric acid.

Studies show lauric acid can be as effective, or more effective than benzoyl peroxide at killing unwanted bacteria[11]. However, the science also says that coconut oil is highly comedogenic, which means it can clog pores. Therefore instead of leaving it on overnight, I just used it as a cleanser.

In combination with tea tree oil this can be a very good DIY acne treatment. Just make sure you thoroughly clean your face after applying the concoction.

50. Tanning salon

Even though I have a brown skin, I used to visit the tanning salons every once in a while because I was highly convinced that my acne cleared up quite a bit after every visit. And that’s because it actually did. My skin was significantly less oily, more even-toned and pimples seemed smaller.

However, all that this tanning really does is temporarily mask the symptoms of acne, while damaging the skin in the process. Instead of going to the tanning salon, you should actually take more measures to protect your skin from the sun like using a good sunscreen and a sun gel such as the Eucarin oil control (up above).

51. CeraVe Cream

The Cerave Cream contains glycerin, ceramides and hyaluronic acid to hydrate, protect and repair the skin. When you’re battling acne, a good moisturizer is one of the first places you should start and CeraVe is known to have very good options.

Using this moisturizer in combination with a chemical exfoliant, sunscreen and some dietary changes can give you beautiful flawless skin.

52. Lavender oil

If you are into DIY skincare, lavender oil is a wonderful option. You can mix 2 drops of lavender oil with a teaspoon of witch hazel to create a home made toner. This toner will significantly reduce the oiliness of the skin and the witch hazel will aid in drying out the pimples.

53. Oregano essential oil

Oregano is an herb you sprinkle over a fresh salad to make the dish tastier. The essential oregano oil on the other hand is a ridiculously potent anti-microbial that is used as a medicine by people in the Mediterranean. It’s even more powerful than certain topical antibiotics[12].

If you’re into the natural skincare, this is a great option, but be sure to dilute it with a carrier oil, because this can and will burn your skin if you apply it undiluted.

54. La Roche Posay Effaclar

La rosche posay has a skincare line called effaclar that promises to significantly reduce acne for people who have a mild to moderately oily skin. They’ve done a bunch of studies so they can back their claims with figures.

My personal experience with their cleanser is that it’s a perfectly adequate mild cleanser. If you’re using a lot of harsh chemicals on your skin, adding in a milder cleanser can be very beneficial

55. pore-clearing adhesive pads

How would you like to put duct tape on your face and subsequently tare it of to remove all the clogged sebum from your pores? That’s essentially the idea behind the pore-clearing adhesive pads.

You apply them (predominantly on your nose) and rip it off 15 minutes later. The effectiveness of these pads are definitely up for debate, and you’ll probably see better results with chemical exfoliation.

56. Charcoal mask

“Activated charcoal” has become a buzzword in the skincare industry. When charcoal is exposed to heat, tiny holes will appear, which will “activate” it and allow it to trap toxins from the skin.

A lot of anecdotal evidence suggests it can be very beneficial in drawing out the “junk” from the skin, leading to a more beautiful complexion. More research needs to be done to back these claims up with facts and figures.

57. Acne Patches

If your skeptical about acne patches, I don’t blame you. Putting some kind of sticker on a pimple and have it be gone by morning sounds like a dream. Well some of them actually do the job.

When looking for acne patches, look for ones that contain tea tree oil. They will help significantly reduce the size and redness of pimples. If you don’t want to go with the salicylic spot treatment, which is and always will be #1, than this is a good alternative.

58. Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can be both ingested and applied topically. When applied topically it has the ability to help reduce post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and inflammation.

Vitamin C serums are often used in combination with a derma roller to reduce acne marks and scars. However, it seems vitamin C isn’t the most effective in treating active acne lesions. You’re better off including these types of products after your acne has fully healed.

Oral treatments

59. Accutane (isotretinoin)

There is no way you haven’t heard anything about Accutane if you’re seriously battling with acne. It’s a treatment that is usually prescribed for those people suffering from sever acne.

It can cause a host of different issues, including internal damage, stomach ache, hair thinning, birth defects and mental health issues.

Since this acne treatment list is as extensive as possible, Accutane is included, but I would never recommend anyone ever start with Accutane. At least not before they’ve tried every other treatment on this list.

60. Spironolactone

Spironolactone is a oral acne treatment that’s given to women to help with hormonal issues. It’s not recommended for men because, it can mess up the hormonal balance in males and cause feminizing side effects. I’ve made a video on it and you can watch it here.

I analyzed the results 100 women had with this product and the results were it worked 61% of the time. This means it either clears people up or considerably helps in the reduction of acne lesions 61% of the time. It takes about 3 months to start seeing results.

61. Doxycycline: Oral Antibiotic

Doxycycline is an oral antibiotic (one of the tertracyclines) that can be used to reduce inflammatory pimples. Since it’s an antibiotic, it mainly works by inhibiting and killing of the bacteria propionibacterium acnes.

This antibiotic (and any other for that matter) doesn’t work on non-inflamed pimples such as whiteheads and blackheads. It usually takes at least 3 months to see results.

However, some studies indicate that supplementing with Zinc might be just as effective as taking oral antibiotics, with significantly less side effects. The effectiveness of taking oral antibiotics: a 60% reduction in acne lesions.[13]

62. Minocycline: Oral Antibiotic

Minocycline is another antibiotic belonging to the tetracycline group. It’s being used less and less because of the safety concerns. For example, you can experience potentially irreversible pigmentation on the skin[14].

If you really want to mess around with oral antibiotic opt for another one on this list. But preferably stay away from antibiotics altogether.

63. Cephalexin: Oral Antibiotic

Cephalexin is an antibiotic that falls outside the tetracycline group. Because of the dangers of antibiotic resistance, some early tests were done with cephalexin instead of tetracycline antibiotics (Naturally, as with any antibiotic the chances of bacteria developing antibiotic resistance are always present).

The results of the study showed great promise. About 78% of the people experienced improvements[15]. It’s important to note however, that some people also used topical treatments in combination with the cephalexin.

64. Ortho Tri-Cyclen: Oral contraceptive

Ortho Tr-Cyclen is one of the 3 oral contraceptives, approved by the FDA to treat acne. On Drugs.com it has a rating of 6.1 and approximately 47% of people reported experiencing positive effects with regards to acne. Anecdotal evidence suggest it takes some time to see results and that it’s possible to experience “acne purges” before the skin clears up.

Another study found 9 out of 10 people experiencing skin improvements[16]. The difference in effectiveness might be because the people in the study were committed to using Ortho Tri-Cyclen for a longer period of time.

65. Dianette

Dianette is a hormonal acne treatment for women who suffer from sever acne. It also works as a contraceptive (but it’s usually not prescribed solely for contraception since it carries some risks such as blood clotting). Dianette contains anti-androgen hormone medicine which prevents the overproduction of sebum.

Anecdotal evidence suggest a lot of women improve their skin quite a lot, but it can take up to 6 months to see results. Moreover, some women indicate that when they stop using Dianette, their pimples come back with a vengeance.

Using Dianette might be a life sentence which naturally isn’t ideal. When it comes to hormones, in my opinion the best way to deal with them is by making dietary changes, which we’ll get into later.

66. Yaz: Oral contraceptive and approved acne treatment

Out of the 3 approved oral contraceptive acne treatments, Yaz is generally considered to be the most effective. It contains drospirenone, which is a synthetic version of the sex hormone progesterone.

This is an androgen hormone blocker, since it blocks the effects of testosterone. Androgen hormones effect sebaceous gland activity which causes excess sebum to be produced.

If you’re dead set on using a contraceptive as an acne treatment, this is probably the best place to start. Note: it goes without saying this can not be used by men.

Dietary Changes

67. Remove all milk

Alright this one is going to upset a lot of milk lovers. Several scientific studies and mountains of anecdotal evidence suggest that milk should definitely not be included in your picnic basket if you’re suffering from acne.

Milk influences your skin in several different ways including through: Hormones, inflammation and epigenetics.

One concrete example of how milk causes acne is through the presence of non-coding RNA’s. The non-coding RNA’s found in milk causes the gene P53 to turnoff which by extension causes hormones to stimulate the oil glands in your hair follicle, which leads to excess sebum production and acne.

68. Completely eliminate Dairy

Now this step might be a bit too dramatic for a lot of people but it can definitely help to try it for 2-4 weeks. Eliminating all dairy ensures your not ingesting thing such as lactose and lactose derivatives which are often linked to causing acne.

In my instance I never drink milk, but I do eat older cheeses quite a lot. I found that my body handles it very well but ultimately this is up to the individual. Removing all dairy has helped a lot of people get completely clear very fast.

69. Reduce Highly refined carbs

Mountains and mountains of scientific studies show that highly refined carbs such as those found in candy and corn syrups have a very negative immediate effect on the body. One way this happens is by raising the hormone insulin.

When insulin is up, other hormones such as androgen hormones get influenced which causes sebaceous gland activity to increase and thus leads to acne.

Removing all highly refined carbs for at least 4 weeks is a great way to get completely clear. After that cheat days are always a possibility, but eating highly refined carbs on a daily basis is definitely not the way to go.

70. Reduce added sugars

Similar to highly refined carbs, most sugars are detrimental to the human body. The mere fact that your teeth decay, which are literally very though parts of your body, because of sugar should tell you that it’s not wise to ingest a lot of it.

Sugars also increase insulin and cause acne in the same way highly refined carbs do.

71. Reduce saturated omega 6 fatty acids

If you’re a keto enthusiast you know that fats are very good for your body and you shouldn’t shy away from them (as opposed to conventional wisdom which says fat makes you fat).

However, like with everything, there are good fats and bad fats. Saturated omega 6 fatty acids are known to cause inflammation and thus acne. They can be found in a ton of highly processed foods such as sauces and deep fried snacks.

72. Reduce vegetable oils

Vegetable oils are often flying under the radar for a lot of health conscious people. Despite the “healthy sounding name” vegetable oils such as canola oil and palm oil can definitely cause acne because they promote inflammation in the body.

They contain a bunch of the unwanted omega 6 fatty acids. Try replacing vegetable oils with ghee. P.s. Olive oil is an exception and is pretty good.

73. Reduce coffee

Yes… I know… Coffee is kind of a religion at this point.

Despite the fact that there are hundreds of conflicting studies on coffee and caffeine, my personal experience with clients and myself has shown me that caffeine is very taxing on the body. It can lead to acne through several different path ways, but mainly by boosting stress hormones.

Try going without coffee for 4 weeks and see what impact it has on your life. If you’re struggling with energy, sign up for a Surya Kriya Yoga session to explode with energy all through the day (without being a slave to your coffee in the morning).

I’m not saying you should give up coffee altogether, but consuming it on a daily basis might not be the way to go.

74. Reduce teas high in caffeine

In the same way that coffee can lead to acne, some teas can also lead to acne. The caffeine in these teas can boost stress hormones which eventually lead to inflammation and oxidative stress.

Now Green teas are somewhat of a grey area. Some experts suggest the polyphenols in these teas are very good for you and promote health, while doctors such as Paul Saladino say polyphenols can actually be damaging on a molecular level. 

In the end, the only way to really find out is to experiment for yourself

75. Reduce whey protein

If you’re like me and you enjoy lifting some weights, you’ve definitely tried protein powders before. It turns out not all protein powders are created the same. A lot of proteins still have lactose and certain lactose derivatives in them which the majority of the population is sensitive to.

If you’re suffering from acne stick with “whey isolate protein powders” or “bone broth protein powders”. I’ve seen acne clear up like magic when this one thing was addressed.

76. Keto Diet

If you’re into healthy lifestyles, you will have heard of the keto diet. In a nutshell it refers to a diet that is very high in fats and very low in carbs. The keto diet is actually a good way to live and can definitely clear up acne IF you do it correctly.

Unfortunately people started misinterpreting the keto diet. Nowadays, there’s a new form of keto called “dirty keto”. With this diet people simply focus on the numbers: “low carbs and high fats”.

By now you should know not all fats and carbs are created equal. Starving yourself of carbs while stuffing yourself with so called “fat bombs” isn’t going to make you healthy.

Look up ways to do a “clean keto diet” where you eat fresh and natural foods such as fatty fish and nuts. The important thing is to stay away from highly processed and junk foods. This will help you clear acne very quickly.

77. Carnivore Diet

The carnivore diet is basically the keto diet on steroids. People who follow the carnivore diet don’t just simply reduce carbs, rather they eliminate them entirely. The only thing they eat is fish, meat and optionally eggs and cheeses.

It’s the ultimate elimination diet since there’s very little that can aggravate the system (especially if you remove the cheese). If you’re up for this kind of extreme challenge, my personal experience and anecdotal evidence suggests it can completely eliminate a wide variety of afflictions such as acne and rosacea within a few days – weeks.

However, I don’t recommend permanently going on a carnivore diet. There isn’t enough evidence to support such a way of living and you might miss out on some important nutrients.

78. Vegetarian Diet

The opposite of the carnivore diet would be a vegetarian diet. Everyone knows what a vegetarian diet entails so I’m not going to go into too much details.

You don’t have to be a strict vegetarian to get rid of your acne, but it just so happens that most people who follow a vegetarian diet, make healthier choices with regards to food. This indirectly helps people get rid of acne. Instead of that highly processed snack or burger, they go for a natural salad. Instead of a sugary cookie they go for an egg and avocado.

The fact that there are a ton of different diets and people seem to get rid of their acne on each and everyone, means there isn’t a single way of eating that is best. What’s important is that you make sensible choices.

You can have that snack or burger every ones in a while. But when it becomes something habitual or even daily, problems such as acne start to arise.

79. Juice cleanse

Over the years there have been many juicing fads. An example is the “celery juice cleanse” where people drink nothing but celery juice all day. A lot of anecdotal evidence suggests these cleanses work (at least to some extent).

The reason why these cleanses may work is because, instead of filling your body with harmful ingredients that will mess up your hormonal balance and aggravate the digestive tract, you’re only ingesting a single kind thing: juice. This can alleviate the digestive tract and help balance your hormones.

However, if you’re determined to go on a cleanse, it’s definitely not ideal to do it with celery juice or any other juice for that matter. Instead drink bone broth or bone broth protein for 3 days.

Bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid which prevents the drying of the lining of the gut. Moreover, it contains all the nutrients you need to thrive during these 3 days.

By the end of the 3 days you will have balanced your hormones and healed your gut lining which is very important for acne. I usually recommend my clients start with this.


80. Zinc

Zinc is one of those essential supplements that you need if you’re currently suffering from acne. Right now if you were to go to the dermatologist, chances are they’ll prescribe some oral antibiotic such as doxyxycline.

However, studies suggest supplementing with zinc is just as effective or even more effective than antibiotics (60% reduction in lesions). So instead of messing with your microbiome, grab yourself a bottle of zinc.

81. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin but a precursor to a hormone. It has antimicrobial properties and is needed for a healthy immune system. It is said that about 40% of all people suffer from some kind of vitamin D deficiency. A vitamin D deficiency doesn’t necessarily cause acne but it can definitely make acne worse.

A 2014 study found a correlation between vitamin D levels and severity of acne [17]. The best way to get vitamin D is through exposure to the sun. However if this is not possible, supplementing with vitamin D can also help with acne.

Based on current research, it seems that consuming 1,000–4,000 IU (25–100 mcg) of vitamin D daily should be ideal for most people.

82. Probiotics

Your gut contains billions and billions of bacteria. These bacteria are very important to your survival and skin health. Unfortunately the foods and drinks we consume nowadays, cause all kinds of problems for this ecosystem.

The sugars in our diet causes bad bacteria to thrive, and we don’t get enough of the nutrients that allow the good bacteria to survive. Supplementing with probiotics has shown to have a positive effect on your microbiome and thus on your skin. These bacteria directly influence how much (and which) nutrients your body absorbs. They also have an influence on your hormones.

If you were ever on antibiotics for an extended period of time it’s important that you balance your microbiome. Supplementing with probiotics is a good option. You should look for a probiotic with at least 50 billion bacteria.

83. Prebiotics

While probiotics are the actual bacteria, prebiotics are the nutrients that these bacteria thrive on. If you’re already consuming a fiber rich diet, you don’t have to worry about this.

But if you’re not getting your recommended daily intake of fibers, supplementing with a prebiotic will help.

84. Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid is a water soluble B vitamin, which has been shown to help enhance the healing process of skin wounds. Vitamin B5 can be found in almost every food but the quantities vary.

One study showed that people who supplemented with vitamin B5 experienced a significant reduction in acne lesions within 12 weeks [18].

Vitamin B5 is also directly involved in the synthesis of coenzyme A, which has far reaching consequences for your body, ranging from hormones to the metabolism of toxins.

85. Vitamin C

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a nutrient that your body needs to build things such as blood vessels, cartilage, muscle and collagen. It’s a powerful antioxidant that helps heal your body. Your body doesn’t naturally produce it so you need to get it from your diet.

To get the maximum effect it’s best to simply add citrus fruits and berries into your diet. But if this is not possible, supplementing might be another solution.

Vitamin C on its own will not heal your acne, but since it helps in accelerating wound healing, your skin will recover from pimples faster.

86. Omega 3

Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid which means your body doesn’t make it and you need to get it from your diet. There’s simply no discussion about omega 3’s, you NEED them for a healthy skin.

Your body needs several different fatty acids including omega 6 and 3. Unfortunately nowadays we get way too many omega 6’s and too little omega 3’s.

Balancing this out is critical to reduce inflammation and reduce acne. Grab yourself some high quality extra virgin cod liver oil or krill oil supplements.

87. DIM

DIM stands for 3,3′-Diindolylmethane and it’s a substance derived from cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and Brussel sprouts. This one supplement can have an incredible positive impact on your hormonal balance.

It does this by blocking androgen receptors, so that hormones such as testosterone won’t influence the sebaceous glands. This supplement is safe for both men and women.

88. N-Acetylcysteine

N-Acetylcysteine or NAC is a precursor to glutathione which is the most important antioxidant produced by the body. 

Since we know inflammation and the resulting oxidative stress is one of the most important factors of acne, it goes without saying that helping your body restore antioxidants is a beneficial thing. A 2012 study by sahib et al. showed a 50% reduction in pimples within 2 months of taking NAC supplements. [23].

89. Chasteberry

Chasteberry or “Vitex Agnus-Castus” is a plant that is used for a wide variety of problems, such as PMS and acne. The Chasteberry has the ability to influence your hormones. One study for example showed that when women supplemented with chasteberry 93% experience a decrease in PMS symptoms[19].

But it’s not only effective for PMS. Since the chasteberry helps in balancing hormones, the negative effects of androgen hormones on acne can be avoided. However, chasteberry is often used in combination with other herbs, so consulting a herbalist or naturopathic doctor might be a good idea.

90. CBD oil

CBD oil is derived from the cannabis plant. Now I know what you’re thinking… no you’re not going to get sky high when you use CBD oil. The oil became very popular as a way to treat anxiety and help insomnia (when ingested).

Since stress can lead to acne through several different pathways, managing your stress with something like CBD can indirectly help your acne. It won’t heal your acne overnight but it can definitely be a wonderful addition to your routine.

91. Acacia gum

Acacia gum is technically another prebiotic, but it’s special in the way that it ferments within the gut. In their 2009 paper Cherbut et al. showed that acacia gum is very well tolerated by most individuals and it ferments very slowly. Acacia gum can help in healing your gut which reduces inflammation and prevents oxidative stress. All of this is critical in getting rid of acne.

92. Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil is derived from the evening primrose plant and has been used by native Americans to treat swelling in the body. It contains Gamma-Linoleic Acid (GLA), which is anti-inflammatory in nature.

Both evening primrose oil and borage oil contain GLA, however the contents of GLA are usually higher in borage oil making it a better option. Reducing inflammation in the body is critical for treating acne.

93. Borage Oil

Borage oil is derived from the seeds of the borago officinalis plant. This oil is the highest in gamma-linoleic acid when compared to other oils. GLA is a type of fatty acid that your body converts to prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) and acts as a hormone to reduce inflammation within the body.

I’ve personally taken borage oil with great success. While your skin will probably get a bit oilier, pimples can reduce significantly.

Eastern Alternatives

94. Guggul

Guggul is a weird sounding name but it’s actually a very popular ayurvedic medicine. The name roughly translates into “protects from disease”, which sounds very promising.

One study compared guggul to tetracycline and found guggul to be more effective than the popular antibiotic. Taking 25mg of guggul twice a day reduced almost 70% of lesions in 3 months[20].

95. Kriya Meditation

The list of benefits you get from meditation is ridiculously long, ranging from reducing anxiety to improving blood levels and reducing inflammation. Stress is an incredibly important factor in acne formation because it can prevent the body from functioning correctly.

When the body doesn’t function correctly all sorts of problems arise such as a hormonal disbalance and comprised gut function. Scientific evidence and personal experience show that meditation can help balance the body in many different ways which directly impact the health of your skin.

Since people often don’t know where to begin when it comes to mediation, a good place to start is by doing kriya mediation. You can find a free guided meditation in the Sadhguru app.

96. Surya Kriya Yoga

I used to laugh at the idea of doing yoga for health. I heavily believed in the idea of “meditation for health”, mainly because of all the scientific literature, but for some reason I never really got into yoga. Curling your body into different postures simply felt silly to me.

But as they say the proof is in the pudding. After being initiated into the Surya Kriya Yoga practice by an isha yoga teacher, I started doing yoga twice a day and it’s been amazingly beneficial.

The practice balances hormones, relieves pain in the body and develops mental clarity. I’m at the point right now where I believe it can be even more beneficial than meditation alone. Definitely try it out to get your body and skin back into balance.

97. Acupuncture

A while ago an acquaintance of mine, who had sever acne, went to the Philippines for about 7 weeks. While in this beautiful country she decided to visit an acupuncturist. 7 weeks later when she got back her face was flawless, not a pimple in sight!

Now obviously I assumed it was because of the sun and relaxation, but she was adamant that her flawless skin had nothing to do with that, since she had sun and relaxing vacations before.

And there is some science to this. A 2018 study showed that while acupuncture might not necessarily be more effective than conventional acne treatments, it did show similar effectiveness with fewer side effects[21].

98. Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is straight up the fastest lifestyle hack for a clear skin. If you’re not going to do anything on this list, I propose you at least try this one (alright and the chemical exfoliants…)

If you’re not familiar with intermittent fasting, basically it’s a time-restricted way of eating. This means you’re able to eat for, let’s say 8 hours in the day, and refrain from eating for 16 hours in the day. This will do wonders for your body including, helping heal digestive issues, balance hormone levels and reduce inflammation.

99. Eat 2 meals a day

In a lot of eastern regions, especially the more spiritual areas, people don’t eat more than two meals a day. This is similar to the intermittent fasting psychology, because it restricts the amount of stress you put on the digestive system.

But unlike intermittent fasting where you can technically eat as much and as many times as you like within the given time window, you’re not supposed to eat more that 2 times a day with this way of eating.

So no snacks… This might be hard for a lot of us westerners but you should definitely give it a try for at least 2 weeks. The results for your skin will be amazing.

100. OMAD

OMAD refers to “One meal a day” and like the name suggest means you can only eat one meal a day. This is very restrictive and the verdict is still out on whether eating once or twice a day is better.

Whatever the case may be, either one of these choices is significantly better than the way most of us are currently eating. By consuming one meal a day you stop putting so much stress on the system, which comes with continuous consumption.

It will have an immediate and measurable impact on your lesions in a short period of time, provided you’re not using the one meal a day to stuff your face with junk food.

101. Barberry

Barberries are sour fruits that have been used in middle eastern kitchens for centuries. They’re filled to the brim with antioxidants and a compound named berberine. This compound has shown to be antimicrobial and boost the immune system.

A double blind study showed that taking a teaspoon full of dried barberries thrice a day decreased acne inflammation and number of lesions by 50% in 1 month[22].

102. The caveman regimen

So this one is a bit controversial…

The caveman regimen refers to a skincare routine that is modeled on how our caveman ancestors used to live.

It’s kind of like the the paleo diet, which is modeled after the diet our ancestors and has shown to be great for health.

The caveman regimen models the skincare routine of our ancestors: NO skincare routine at all!

Now there are several variations: some allow water to touch their face, while other go as far as to avoid everything and anything from touching their face. There is some truth to the fact that giving your face a break from harsh products can be beneficial (especially if you’ve damaged your epidermis).

But there is too little evidence that the caveman diet will work in general. Going with a hybrid version where you drastically reduce the amount of products you put on your skin might be a good idea though.

103. Turmeric

Turmeric has been used for thousands of years as a spice and medicine in the east. It’s been studied quite a lot due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

You can both ingest turmeric as well as apply it topically. When ingesting it, it’s recommended to use it in combination with pepper to increase absorption. This is by no means a miracle acne cure, but it can help you improve your skincare routine.

104. Neem

Neem or Azadirachta indica is a tree that’s used in Indian medicine. Ancient Yogis ingest a little ball of neem in combination with turmeric is in the morning to help cleanse the body.

Unfortunately studies on neem are limited, but since the prices are incredibly low it might be worth it to give it a shot. Just make sure you don’t overdo it if you’re a guy, because it can lead to loss of sperm quality.

105. Rhizoma coptidis

Rhizoma Coptidis or coptis cheninsis is an oriental herb that has been shown to be as effective as Accutane[23]. This is crazy since Accutane is one the most effective but aggressive interventions you can find for acne. It’s on the top 50 list of fundamental herbs in traditional Chinese medicine.

Despite the these facts it’s still not very well known as an acne treatment. This herbal supplement might prove to be an invaluable acne treatment in the near future.

106. Change pillowcase every other day

This is not so much an eastern alternative, but more a basic form of hygiene. Despite the fact that is sounds very logical, for the longest time I didn’t change my pillowcase regularly enough. I would just simply slip into bed every night, without even removing the wax from my hair (don’t judge..).

Suffice it to say, I noticed a significant improvement when I changed my pillowcase and was able to put my head on a clean surface every night.

107. Resistance training

Lots of people intuitively know that it’s good for their health to work out. But the majority of people still don’t take the necessary actions to stay in shape. Well, if you’re suffering from acne you now have an additional reason to start moving your butt.

Exercising and especially resistance training will lead to the production of the antioxidant glutathione within the body. This antioxidant is more powerful than anything you’ll find in fruit and vegetables which is why it’s important to move your body. These antioxidants will help in reducing damage of the skin and cells.


So those are the 107 most popular acne treatments.

In my opinion a chemical exfoliant is absolutely critical in fighting acne. When you use a chemical exfoliant you should also use hydrating lotions and sunscreens because your skin gets more sensitive.

If you go a step further and also make some minor lifestyle changes, there is no doubt in my mind you’ll be acne free forever.

Now I want to hear from you!

Did I miss any of your favorite acne treatments? Let me know in the comments section below!

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[2] Leyden, J J et al. “The efficacy and safety of a combination benzoyl peroxide/clindamycin topical gel compared with benzoyl peroxide alone and a benzoyl peroxide/erythromycin combination product.” Journal of cutaneous medicine and surgery vol. 5,1 (2001): 37-42. doi:10.1177/120347540100500109

[3] Sjahrir, Rizalinda. “The Effectiveness of Benzoyl Peroxide 5% Gel with 0.05% Tretinoin Gel in Patients with Mild Acne Vulgaris (Identification of P. Acnes).” American Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine 4.3 (2016): 76-80.

[4] Carson, C. F., K. A. Hammer, and T. V. Riley. “Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties.” Clinical microbiology reviews 19.1 (2006): 50-62.

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[6] Kim, Jenny, et al. “Activation of toll-like receptor 2 in acne triggers inflammatory cytokine responses.” The Journal of Immunology 169.3 (2002): 1535-1541.

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[8] Coutinho, Barry. “Dapsone (Aczone) 5% gel for the treatment of acne.” American Family Physician 81.4 (2010): 451.

[9] Tanghetti, Emil A., et al. “Tazarotene 0.045% Lotion for Once-Daily Treatment of Moderate-to-Severe Acne Vulgaris: Results from Two Phase 3 Trials.” Journal of Drugs in Dermatology: JDD 19.1 (2020): 70-77.

[10] Saric, Suzana, Manisha Notay, and Raja K. Sivamani. “Green tea and other tea polyphenols: Effects on sebum production and acne vulgaris.” Antioxidants 6.1 (2017): 2.

[11] Nakatsuji, Teruaki, et al. “Antimicrobial property of lauric acid against Propionibacterium acnes: its therapeutic potential for inflammatory acne vulgaris.” Journal of Investigative Dermatology 129.10 (2009): 2480-2488.

[12] Taleb, Mohammed H., et al. “Origanum vulgare L. essential oil as a potential anti-acne topical nanoemulsion—in vitro and in vivo study.” Molecules 23.9 (2018): 2164.

[13] Cervantes, Jessica, et al. “The role of zinc in the treatment of acne: A review of the literature.” Dermatologic therapy 31.1 (2018): e12576.

[14] Garner, Sarah E., et al. “Minocycline for acne vulgaris: efficacy and safety.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 8 (2012).

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[17] Yildizgören, Mustafa Turgut, and Arzu Karatas Togral. “Preliminary evidence for vitamin D deficiency in nodulocystic acne.” Dermato-endocrinology vol. 6,1 e983687. 14 Jan. 2015, doi:10.4161/derm.29799

[18] Yang, Michael et al. “A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of a novel pantothenic Acid-based dietary supplement in subjects with mild to moderate facial acne.” Dermatology and therapy vol. 4,1 (2014): 93-101. doi:10.1007/s13555-014-0052-3

[19] Loch, E G et al. “Treatment of premenstrual syndrome with a phytopharmaceutical formulation containing Vitex agnus castus.” Journal of women’s health & gender-based medicine vol. 9,3 (2000): 315-20. doi:10.1089/152460900318515

[20] Thappa, D M, and J Dogra. “Nodulocystic acne: oral gugulipid versus tetracycline.” The Journal of dermatology vol. 21,10 (1994): 729-31. doi:10.1111/j.1346-8138.1994.tb03277.x

[21] Mansu, Suzi SY, et al. “Acupuncture for acne vulgaris: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2018 (2018).

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