Sometimes, harsh chemicals from regular acne treatments are exactly what your skin does not need. When a pimple becomes red and hard, it’s become inflamed, making a bad situation even worse. If you already shy away from chemical acne treatments or if you’re interested in going a natural route, no fear — several herbal remedies may reduce inflammation and treat your pimples.

Essential Oils

Oil of oregano, neem oil and tea tree oil can be purchased at specialty health stores or in some higher-end grocery stores. With antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, these oils may speed up the healing process and discourage further infection. They can be applied directly onto skin, but if you’ve never used them before, test a small patch of skin first to see if you develop an allergic reaction to your essential oil of choice.


Tannins are natural astringents, and you can purchase the extracts at health food stores. WebMD suggests looking for extracts from witch hazel, white oak or English walnut. Boil several drops of the extract with 1 cup of water. Avoid using commercially treated extracts, as their production process removes the tannins. Teen Vogue also recommends willow bark as a natural source of salicylic acid. You can look for products containing willow bark extract, or purchase the extract at a health food store to make the treatment at home. Willow bark extract can be found in some higher-end natural beauty products available in most drugstores. Use willow bark in the same manner as the other extracts if you decide to go the homemade route.

Natural Acids

Common suggestions for acne include vinegar and lemon juice, which contain natural acids that may help clear pores. Rub a piece of freshly cut lemon or dab some white vinegar onto the affected area several times a day to reduce the unappealing white, black or red spot. However, first test a small patch of skin on your wrist or arm to check that you are not too sensitive to the acids in vinegar or lemon juice.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera may reduce inflammation. It has the added benefit of being a good base for diluting other ingredients — such as natural acids or essential oils — if you’re worried that using them in their concentrated form may irritate your skin. For aloe vera, you can purchase a ready-made gel from a pharmacy or health food store, or you can use fresh aloe vera. To use fresh aloe vera, cut a stalk from an aloe vera plant and split lengthwise with a knife. Rub the inside of the aloe vera with essential oils if you’re using them, and then apply the aloe to your skin by rubbing gently over the afflicted area.