Natural Remedies for Acne: Drugs vs Supplements

Strong drugs like benzoyl peroxide and Accutane can lead to many side effects, and so natural remedies for acne may be a safer way to go. The only problem is that many of the available treatments have not been proven effective, and what works for one person may not work at all for another. However, some of these remedies do show some promising signs of effectiveness.

Tea Tree Oil

The scented oil from the narrow leaf paperbark tree of Australia, known as tea tree oil, is an effective natural acne remedy, according to recent studies. It’s toxic to take internally, and is only used as a topical oil on the skin. In 5% diluted solution, it has been shown to be about as effective as benzoyl peroxide but is much slower acting.


Zinc acts as an ant-inflammatory and may help some cases of acne. Some studies have shown good effect when applied directly to the skin along with the anti-biotic erythromycin, but taking it internally may have an effect as well. Research is still ongoing. Be aware that some people have bad reactions to zinc supplementation, such as nausea and a metallic taste in the mouth. Keep supplements below 40 mg per day.

Non-Supplement Remedies

There are a few non-drug/supplement remedies for acne as well. Washing the face with soap may actually have the undesired effect of causing the skin to overproduce oil, thus leading to oilier than normal skin and the resulting acne. Try eliminating all soap and cleansers from facial washes and just use warm water.

You can also try changing your pillow cases every night. Oil may build up in them night after night, and weekly washings may not be enough to keep up with them. Buy a week’s worth of pillow cases and change them every night, and then wash the whole batch at once. Some have reported great success with this method where drugs and supplements have failed.


The most successful natural remedy for your acne might be completely different from what works for another, and the only way to find out is to experiment with each method separately. While sometimes OTC and prescription drugs may be the only thing that works, ideally the natural solutions will work best. Some of the side effects associated with the popular drugs can be severe, and even permanent. Accutane may lead to permanent irritable bowel syndrome in rare cases, and benzoyl peroxide can dry out the skin.