Body acne can be a really frustrating, confidence lowering disorder that not only comes with aesthetic issues but also pain, itching, and inflammation. Prescription treatments and over the counter drugs can get costly and have some concerning side effects.
So, what are the best DIY acne treatment ingredients? Here are some of the best do it yourself acne treatments out there to help you safely and naturally treat your body acne at home!
What causes body acne?
Body acne is a really, really common medical phenomena that you absolutely should not be ashamed of in the slightest. Most people, at one point or another, will experience some sort of body acne breakouts during their life time with a large percentage of people enduring it as an ongoing problem.
There are quite a few different potential causes that can relate to body acne; which one is causing your’s is entirely dependant on your body chemistry, hygiene practices, and individual environmental factors.
The factors that trigger body acne flares are actually pretty much the same as those that cause facial acne. Bacteria, hormones, and oil all potentially play their roles. Pimples generally follow the same formation cycle: first, they are blocked with oil, dirt, debris, or some other substance that clogs the pores.
From there, bacteria moves in, causing inflammation and infection. This is when you get white heads and other types of pimples and pustules. Popping these bumps, even on your body, or otherwise fussing over them can cause further spreading of the bacteria to other areas of your skin. It is best to take a direct approach with treatment and fight fire with fire via chemical compounds from natural sources.
Being sweaty from sports or work, friction from bags, and heat can all trigger acne breakouts on the body, as can allergic reactions and environmental exposure.
What makes for a good DIY treatment?
Do it yourself treatments have been around for generations and have proven themselves to be incredibly effective against acne and other health issues. Before commercialized products became popular, our ancestors and relatives all used home remedies to treat pretty much anything.
In all honesty, what makes a good treatment is it working well. Everyone’s body is different so you may have to try more than one treatment before finding something that suits your skin. Do not give up and certainly do not be afraid to test multiple options! Let’s go over some different variations that have been time tested for years on end.
Honey is a naturally antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal wonder product that has been used for centuries to treat everything from wounds to sore throats. This stuff is packed with nutrients and practically never expires since it kills off everything that would typically make it go bad.
If you want to use honey on your skin, you have a few different options. First, you can opt to apply it as is. Though sticky, honey is easy to remove and when applied in its natural state gives you the most bang for your buck since it is in direct contact with your acne.
You can do this through either a full face mask (which can, admittedly, get quite messy) or as a spot treatment, applying it only to your pimples.
Additionally, if you want something a bit more texturally appealing, you can try mixing the honey with something like mashed avocado or greek yogurt to help moisturize your skin while you treat the acne spots.
Honey helps to kill off the bacteria on your face and body, allowing your breakouts to heal from the inside out without spreading.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Similar to honey, apple cider vinegar contains natural compounds that kill off bacteria, allowing your skin to begin to heal. Additionally, the vinegar has the ability to help restore your skin to the proper pH, creating an environment that is less likely to grow bacteria.
To use apple cider vinegar, there are two common options that have become popular in recent years. First, some people opt to use the liquid as a toner.
Simply dilute the vinegar at a 1:1 ratio with water (or opt for a bit stronger if your skin can tolerate it) and use a cotton round or clean cloth to apply it to your acne spots in a thin layer. Let it soak in and do not rinse.
Alternatively, you can mix the vinegar with healing clay powder and use it to make a mud mask to draw out oil and help heal stubborn acne spots. This is especially popular for those who prefer masking while relaxing at home, as it is quite relaxing.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a wonderful treatment for a ton of different skin issues, ranging from ringworms to piercing irritation bumps. This stuff is super strong and is frequently harnessed by commercial acne medications and face washes regularly!
When using tea tree oil, it is important to dilute the oil in a carrier to prevent it potentially burning your skin. With some people, there is a chance for a negative reaction so diluting it is absolutely vital in ensuring your treatment is successful.
Some good options for carrier oils are sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, hemp oil, or any other skin safe, non-comedogenic oil of your preference. Just mix it at a 2:1 ratio favoring the carrier oil and apply it as a spot treatment. If your skin tolerates it well, you can easily add more tea tree on the next go. It is never recommended to apply it as a direct treatment, though, due to the risk of intense irritation.
If you really want the acne gone, there is a pretty high chance that tea tree oil will take care of it.
This option is not intended for topical application but works really well all the same. Zinc has been found to help diminish the appearance and spread of acne breakouts when taken as a dietary supplement or obtained through food sources.
This is likely due to zinc being a natural anti-inflammatory agent and its ability to assist in preventing viruses and bacterial illnesses.
To incorporate zinc into your treatment, the best method involves eating plenty of zinc rich foods. Beans, dairy, fortified cereals, nuts, poultry, oysters, red meats, whole grains, and some leafy plants make for great zinc sources.
Alternatively, you can choose to use supplements. Zinc can be obtained over the counter or through a multivitamin of your preference.
If you absolutely want a topical application or experience the associated nausea and vomiting that can sometimes come with oral zinc supplementation, you can opt for a zinc cream, though it is not as effective as oral treatment options.
White Willow Bark
White willow bark extract is one of the most frequently utilized ingredients in naturally based commercial products in the last few years.
This is largely due to how incredibly effective it is in treating many different types of acne. White willow bark extract is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and actually helps to regulate your skin’s sebum protection. Sebum is part of the protective lipid layer that covers your skin so when it is produced at the correct rate it offers its highest level of protection against bacteria and environmental factors.
This extract makes a fantastic spray when half and half diluted with water. Just spritz it where you are experiencing acne and let it dry. The willow bark will seep into your skin and begin wiping out the bacteria while treating the redness and swelling that attributes to the overall appearance of the breakout.
With a name like “holy basil”, one can assume it provides something quite valuable.
Holy basil, also known as Tulsi, is a commonly used Indian and Southeast Asian herbal medicine ingredient that has been proven to provide quite a few different health benefits. A three percent intensity holy basil oil extract as a spot treatment makes for a fantastic bacterial acne cure.
Additionally, it is easy to use as a spray or to treat individual breakouts, making it an easily customized and travelled with treatment since you can easily pop it into a small bottle to leave in a purse.
Guggul is a lesser known plant based treatment option that actually has been used medicinally for centuries in various parts of the world to treat everything from skin conditions to high cholesterol.
The gum resin, a type of oily sap, from the guggul tree is harvested and turned into topical or oral supplements, depending on what you prefer or need.
Since the resin is a natural steroid, it actually helps boost your immune system and works as well as the antibiotic tetracycline when taken orally. It helps reduce inflammation, redness, and discomfort while also actually creating an immune response to help wipe out the bacteria!
Green tea has been used for a ton of different medicinal purposes over the centuries. Currently, tons of people use it as a natural appetite suppressant due to its caffeine content or as a more nutrient dense, healthier alternative to coffee.
Green tea is actually extremely high in antioxidants, a compound that helps keep our skin looking healthy and smooth by protecting it from environmental stressors. The flavonoids and tannin in green tea actually help kill bacteria, too!
The real kicker in green tea has to be epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant compound that has been known to regulate sebum protection, offer anti-inflammatory benefits, prevent the growth of acne causing bacteria.
It has been clinically proven that applying even just two or three percent green tea extract to breakouts can drastically reduce their duration and intensity in as little as twenty four hours!
Commonly used as a toner, witch hazel is a great natural product to help keep your skin looking glowy and clear even if you do not have acne!
Extracted from the bark of the witch hazel shrub, located in North America, this liquid has very strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory capabilities. Due to this, people have been using it to treat everything from acne to wounds and spider veins for generations.
Just use it over the entire acne affected area after cleansing to help keep bacteria spreading to a minimum and prevent new inflammation from forming.
It is also quite good when mixed with clay masks!
Aloe is probably the world’s most popular defense against the agonizing pain that comes with sunburns and burns in general. The soothing gel feels fantastic on any sort of uncomfortable, inflamed area.
Due to this, moisturizing with aloe vera is a great way to help soothe sore acne spots or skin that feels tight due to breakouts.
Aloe vera also contains sulfur and salicylic acid, both of which are absolutely amazing to help treat breakouts since they kill off the bacteria and assist in unclogging blocked up pores. This soothing and treating tandem effect makes aloe vera perhaps one of the best options out there, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Plus it makes a cute house plant which is neat since it works best when taken directly from the plant itself instead of a tube or tub!
Fish Oil Supplements
Cod liver oil is a supplement that many people find a bit gross but hear me out.
Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin D, and other vital compounds and nutrients. All of these contribute to clear skin and a general healthy wellbeing. In fact, several recent studies showcased that those with acne are more likely to be vitamin D deficient!
Supplementing with fish oil is a great way to easily and quickly improve the appearance of your skin, especially if your doctor has mentioned a vitamin D deficiency or is willing to test for it. If that is all your diet is missing this very well may be a one off treatment!
There are some other things you can do to assist your acne in healing while trying out masks and treatments.
Exfoliating is a great way to help clear the gunk out of your clogged pores and help prevent bacteria from reaching the affected areas and causing infections.
Using a high quality, natural fiber body brush can prove to give a pretty great exfoliation without needing any extra products. Just be sure to clean it regularly and replace it often since it can sometimes harbor bacteria due to being in a damp environment.
If you want something a little less maintenance requiring, you can easily make a simple scrub by mixing salt with a carrier oil of your choice. Use it to gently buff your skin, removing dead skin, dry patches, and preventing clogged pores before they even get a chance to start.
Having a good exfoliation routine is absolutely key in preventing breakouts from spreading and becoming more severe. Plus, salt scrubs can actually help kill off the bacteria due to their impact on the skin’s pH.
Check your products
If you have recently changed something in your shower routine, be it shampoo, conditioner, exfoliant, bodywash, soap, or anything else you choose to use, check out the ingredients and consider discontinuing usage to check if this new product has caused some sort of reaction.
A lot of products currently contain coconut oil which can clog pores, as can mineral oils and other thicker moisturizing agents. Look for something that is labelled as non-comedogenic and skin friendly to help ensure that you do not have to endure product induced breakouts.
The same general idea applies to any lotions, oils, or moisturizers you apply to your body after the shower. If it is too heavy and seems to be clogging your pores, it probably is.
Shower after the gym
If you workout regularly or do any sort of sweat inducing activities, it is always a good idea to take the time to have a quick shower after each session when possible.
Swap out of your workout gear and hop in the shower for a quick scrub down. Bacteria thrives on sweaty skin and will spread a lot more easily; help combat this by removing it as soon as possible.
Additionally, gyms are not the cleanest areas in the world. Sweaty people are working and you do not know where their hands and bodies have been prior to using each piece of equipment. It is always best to play it safe and keep yourself neat after each workout or activity. Your skin will thank you!
Some people even bring spray bottles with witch hazel or other toning blends to spritz on themselves when they cannot get into a shower following a workout to help kill off any bacteria before it gets a chance to make its way into their pores.
Wash your cloth products
We all have heard to wash our pillows to prevent facial acne but you should take it a step further if you are experiencing bodily breakouts and opt to wash your sheets, towels, and clothes if it has been a bit since their last cleansing.
Additionally, try for an unscented, “baby safe” detergent. These are intentionally made gentle enough for the extremely sensitive skin of newborns and are free of fragrances that can sometimes irritate already damaged skin.
It is also a good idea to get out of sweaty clothes and wash them as soon as possible to prevent bacterial transfer to other places on your skin. Damp cloth is a great place for bacteria to breed and multiply which is the exact opposite of what we want when treating acne.
Can you pop body acne pimples?
It can be tempting to pick at or pop pimples, especially if they get rather large or painful but doing this can actually cause more harm than good. Sure, you will alleviate the pressure in that spot and make the white head go away but in popping a pimple you risk pushing the pus and bacteria inside further down into your skin, creating a deeper infection.
Alternatively, you could also end up spreading the breakout by pushing the bacteria out and creating scarring that will be quite difficult to get rid of. It is best to opt for topical treatments when dealing with acne, as it does not pose as much of a risk for permanent damage.
Can sports cause body acne?
As weird as it sounds, they kind of can. It is not the sport activity itself that causes the acne flare but the sweat and bacterial exposure combined with friction and bodily stress. When you play a full game of football or any other sport, you end up dripping sweat and moving around a lot. This creates the perfect breeding ground for acne.
If you do not get to the showers right away following the game due to celebrating or reviewing plays, you create a ticking time bomb of bacterial invasion, especially if you are still in your sweaty clothes.
This is also true for mascots, marching band members, theater actors, and pretty much any other person engaging in sweaty, strenuous activities regardless of what they are.
There are tons of different natural, do it yourself acne treatments out there that can make a massive difference in the health and appearance of your skin. The ones listed here are just a sampling of your potential options so get out there and explore. You just might find something life changing!