Some people call them pimples, for others they are zits or spots. But one thing is for sure, they are annoying, and they tend to pop up at the worst time possible. Pimples are one of the most common skin conditions to affect humans. Around 79 to 95 percent of adolescents develop acne (1). This skin condition occurs when your hair follicles become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. Zits can appear on the face, forehead, chest, upper back and shoulders. Do you know how to get rid of pimples naturally since conventional treatment can inflame the skin? Popular home remedies to get rid of pimples are tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, green tea, aloe vera, drinking sufficient water, witch hazel, etc.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go for expensive chemical treatments to get rid of pimples. Let us learn some more about these annoying pimples and how to get rid of pimples naturally through home remedies that are backed by science.

What is the difference between pimples and acne?

Though many people use the two terms interchangeably, they are not the same. Acne is a skin condition while pimples are one of the symptoms.

Acne

Acne is the name given to a skin condition that is persistent. Also known as acne vulgaris, this skin condition occurs when your hair follicles get clogged with dead skin cells and excess oil from the skin. Blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, greasy skin and scarring are the symptoms of acne.

Pimples

Pimples are the tiny red spots that you may find on your skin occasionally. While acne vulgaris is one of the reasons for developing pimples, most of the time pimples surface due to temporary conditions.

Digestion related issues, stress or exams are some of the common causes of pimples.

How to Get Rid of Pimples Naturally?

1. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is a pale yellow colored essential oil which is derived from the leaves of the Melaleuca plant. It is rich in antifungal and antibacterial properties which make it extremely useful in getting rid of skin problems (1).

Several studies have shown that applying 5% tea tree oil is an excellent remedy for pimples (2, 3).

Tea tree oil contains terpinen 4-ol, a terpene antioxidant which can inhibit bacterial strains like Staphylococcus aureus, epidermidis, and P.acnes.

Use tea tree oil in small quantities to avoid side effects. Tea tree oil contains 8-cineole, a skin irritant that can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Ways to use it

  • Add some drops of tea tree oil to around 30 to 40 drops of witch hazel. Apply gently to the affected areas with a cotton swab.
  • Mix one part of tea tree oil with nine parts of water. Use a cotton swab to apply once or twice a day.

How to Get Rid of Pimples infographic

2. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, citric acid, lactic acid and succinic acid that can exfoliate, reduce red marks and treat pimples (4).

During a 2002 study, 22 patients with acne applied a solution of lactic acid on their faces for a year. Be the end of the year most of these patients observed 90 percent on reduction in inflammatory skin lesions (5).

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) also helps in reducing the scarring that occurs due to zits. Acids have a keratolytic effect, they can cause the outermost layer of the skin to loosen, and this helps in shedding dead cells. They help prevent clogged pores.

Having apple cider vinegar improves gut flora, which is also known to prevent pimples.

Applying ACV directly to the skin can cause burns, so it is essential to dilute apple cider vinegar before you use it.

Ways to use it

  • Mix one part of ACV with three parts of water. Use some cotton to apply it on the affected skin. Let it sit for 10 to 20 minutes and then wash it off.
  • Mix one teaspoon of ACV in a cup of water and drink it.

3. Green tea

Green tea is rich in antioxidant and antimicrobial compounds that can help fight pimples. According to studies, the topical application of green tea can cut sebum production by 50 percent, reduce acne by 50 percent, reduce acne-causing inflammation and reduce skin’s genetic sensitivity to androgen hormones (6, 7).

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate is one of the primary antioxidants in green tea which provide it the acne-fighting properties (8).

Drinking green tea is also an effective way to reduce zits. It helps in fighting hormonal acne, lowers insulin levels, and is rich in antioxidants that reduce inflammation (9).

Ways to use it

  • Steep one teaspoon of green tea in hot water for three to five minutes. Allow it to cool and apply it to your face with a cotton swab or spray it on with a sprits bottle. Rinse it after it has dried up.
  • Have a cup of freshly brewed green tea.

4. Aloe vera

Aloe vera is known for its infection-fighting properties and is commonly used to treat rashes, abrasions, burns, and wounds. Aloe vera also contains sulfur and salicylic acid, both of which are effective in treating pimples (10).

Some research also suggests that aloe gel, applied in addition to tretinoin, might be more effective in reducing pimples than just the prescription alone.

The antiseptic properties of aloe vera are also well-known. In fact, it contains six antiseptic agents: Lupeol, phenols, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, sulfur and cinnamonic acid. All six of these have an inhibitory action on fungi, bacteria, and viruses (11).

Ways to use it

  • Scrape some gel from the aloe vera plant and apply it directly to the affected area.

5. Witch Hazel

Witch hazel has long been a part of the traditional Native American medicine and is used to treat various skin ailments including zits. It is extracted from the bark and the leaves of the hazel shrub.

Witch hazel contains tannins which have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (12).

Witch hazel acts like an astringent and helps by drying and shrinking blemishes. Tannins help remove excess oil from the skin which makes it a popular anti-pimple treatment (13).

Though there are no studies specific to the benefits of witch hazel in treating acne, there are many studies that indicate that it can fight bacteria and reduce skin inflammation (14, 15).

Ways to use it

  • Mix one tablespoon of witch hazel bark and one cup of water and let it soak for 30 minutes. Bring this mixture to a boil, let it simmer for 10 minutes. Cool the mixture and strain and store in an airtight container.
  • Pour this mixture onto a cotton swab and wipe your face each morning and night.

6. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can help get rid of pimples. They are also helpful for women with acne related to PCOS and hyperandrogenism.

Fish oil supplements contain two types of omega-3 fatty acids – eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).

EPA helps reduce oil production, maintains adequate hydration and prevents pimples (16).

During a 10-week trial on 45 participants, scientists observed that omega-3 fatty acid supplements were highly effective in treating pimples (17).

According to another study by Korean scientists, omega-3 supplements reduced inflammatory acne by 40 to 50 percent (18).

Ways to use it

  • Take fish oil supplements
  • Add more salmon, tuna, flaxseeds, and walnuts to your diet.

7. Jojoba oil

Jojoba oil is a waxy substance that is extracted from the seeds of the jojoba shrub. It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-aging, wound healing and moisturizing properties.

It is helpful for healing damaged skin and can speed up the healing of wounds and acne lesions. A German study found a clay jojoba oil mask to be helpful in healing skin lesions and pimples (19).

Jojoba oil resembles human sebum – the waxy, oily substance on our skin. Too much sebum on the skin causes pimples. So, when you apply jojoba oil to your face, it gets the message that it doesn’t have to produce more sebum.

Ways to use it

  • Pour a small amount on the makeup sponge and wipe your face with it to clean makeup.
  • Take a small amount on your hand and massage on your face in circular motions.
  • Mix it with equal amounts of aloe vera gel and use it as a moisturizer for your face.

8. Reduce dairy intake

According to science, there is a strong link between dairy products and pimples. The hormones in milk can react with the hormones in the body and increase the production of sebum in the skin. Increased sebum can clog the pores and cause pimples.

According to a 2005 study on 47,355 women, high levels of milk consumption can lead to pimples (20). Another survey on milk consumption and acne in teenaged boys found that skim milk contains hormonal constituents that can lead to pimples (21).

Ways to reduce it

  • It is best to cut back on the intake of dairy if you are suffering from zits.

9. Take a zinc supplement

Zinc helps to protect our immune system by fighting off harmful cells. It helps fight viruses and bacteria. Zinc also has anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve some of the redness and irritation linked to pimples.

According to a 2012 study, zinc helps to treat the bacterial form of acne (22). During a 2010 study, 48 acne patients were given zinc supplements. After eight weeks, 38 of these patients experienced 80 to 100 percent reduction in acne (23).

Ways to use it

  • You should not take more than 40 mg of zinc supplements.

10. Stay hydrated

Water helps in multiple ways to get rid of your pimples and blemishes. When you are hydrated, you can get rid of the impurities of the body.

Drinking adequate amounts of water every day makes it easier for acne sores to heal and it also reduces the risk of pimples. Steam can also help in opening your pores and flushing out impurities.

When skin is dry, it can be damaged easily and can result in pimples. Being hydrated helps in the formation of new skin cells and also helps in healing the sores properly.

Ways to use it

  • You must drink at least eight or nine glasses of water a day.

11. Reduce stress

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, stress could be one of the causes of pimple flare-ups. Stress causes an increase in the levels of the hormone androgen. Androgen increases the risk of acne by stimulating hair follicles and the oil glands in the pores.

Many studies have linked psychological stress to zits in adolescents (24). In fact, stress can slow down wound healing by up to 40 percent.

Certain stress removal treatments have helped in reducing the severity of pimples (25).

Ways to reduce it

  • Get enough sleep.
  • Do yoga and meditate.
  • Exercise and stay fit.

Conclusion on how to get rid of pimples

By now, you must have understood how to get rid of pimples naturally. Conventional medication and treatment for pimples are harsh and can further inflame the skin.

These nature-based home remedies have been scientifically proven and are far more effective and gentle on your skin.

How to get rid of pimples naturally since conventional treatment is not good for skin. Effective home remedies are tea tree oil, green tea