When you’re rushing to get ready in the morning, the last thing you want to see in the mirror is a gigantic zit taking up real estate on your face. There's nothing worse than a big, red pimple to make you feel self-conscious the rest of the day, after all.
Acne is something most of us suffer through in high school; thankfully, it mostly goes away once you’re through with your teenage years. But if you’re unlucky enough to be afflicted with a pimple problem even in adulthood, it becomes less a matter of waiting out puberty, and more a matter of stepping up your facial care.
Of course, while using specific grooming products and going to dermatologists are effective ways to treat acne, they can also be pretty expensive. When you’ve got a spotty face but not a whole lot of cash, sometimes you have to get creative. Here are homegrown ways you can keep the breakout at bay without breaking the bank:
1) Exfoliate with a DIY scrub
Zits pop up because your pores get plugged up with sebum and dead skill cells. Exfoliating reduces the chances of this happening by ridding your face of any excess oil, dead skin, and dirt.
If you don’t want to go for a store-bought exfoliator, you can make one of your own at home. One easy way is combining something gritty (like sea salt, oatmeal, or brown sugar) with a base of coconut oil or honey. Rub this into your skin thoroughly, then gently rinse it away.
Another method is making an exfoliant mask using baking soda and a bit of water. Rub it into your face, let it sit for a few minutes, and wash off afterwards. If you exfoliate on the reg, you’ll have cleaner, smoother skin that’s less likely to pimple up.
2) Spot treat using household staples
When you’ve got a throbbing, red zit that looks ready to burst, keep your popping fingers in check. Instead, head to the fridge and break out an ice cube. Wrap it in a paper towel and hold against your pimple. This will reduce the inflammation, making it look smaller and less noticeable.
If you’ve got time and don’t mind getting a bit smelly, you can also crush some raw garlic, make it into a paste by adding water, then apply directly to the affected area. The garlic’s mild antiseptic and antibacterial compounds will help treat your zits. Just make sure to wash it off after five or so minutes.
You can also try this long-standing home remedy: dab a bit of toothpaste right on your pimple. It contains baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, which will help dry out your problem.
Got a big ol’ red spot on your face but don’t want to go around with toothpaste on your face? Soak a cotton swab in eye drop solution and swipe it on your zit; like with your peepers, eye drops will help make the pimple’s redness go away.
These methods will work in a pinch, but some of them are not made for extended exposure to your skin. Always make sure to check for bad reactions; stop and wash up immediately if there are any.
3) Apply homemade toner
Facial toner is a must-have in basic grooming since toning removes any leftover oil or residue on your face after cleansing. It also helps restore your skin’s pH levels. When done regularly, your chances at a pimple-free face are much higher.
If you don’t have any though, here are two things that you can pick up from the kitchen: apple cider vinegar and lemons (or calamansi if you’re staying local).
You might know apple cider vinegar as a go-to home remedy for warts and such, and it is. But it can also really help with bad breakouts. It’s packed with acetic acid and other antifungal and antibacterial properties that will get rid of the acne-causing bacteria.
Apply this DIY toner by using a cotton ball soaked in diluted ACV (three to four parts water). Just be prepared for a possible mild chemical peel!
Now, if you don’t have apple cider vinegar lying around, you can also go for lemons or calamansi. Both fruits contain citric and L-ascorbic acids, making them natural astringents and antioxidants. They’ll help clear up your acne and even out with any lingering acne scars. Just dip you cotton ball in lemon/calamansi juice, wipe it all over your face, and leave overnight.
4) Moisturize with plants
Or, more specifically, moisturize your face using aloe vera. That’s right, this plant isn’t just for treating sun burns and bad hair days—it’s also useful when fighting acne.
Aloe vera contains anti-inflammatory compounds that will keep your zits from swelling up, and even soothe the affected skin. It also has salicylic acid and sulfur, which have both proven effective when used to treat breakouts.
When using aloe vera as moisturizer, you’re better of scooping the stuff straight from the source instead of buyings creams or lotions that simply have aloe vera as an ingredient. Rub an appropriate amount of the clear, natural gel to your face and spread evenly. Like with all moisturizers, practice moderation.
There are many ways to counter adult acne that don’t require you to shell out major cash (though for severe and persistent breakouts, it’s recommended that you do actually visit a dermatologist). Apart from these home remedies, you can also practice better living; that is, cut down on your stress, keep a well-balanced diet, reduce your dairy intake, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. You’d be amazed how much clearer your skin will get just because you’re body is in a better place.