I've been making natural skin and body care products since 1996. I started off just making cold-process soap but along the way my interests expanded into herbs, essential oils, and natural skin care. From my many experiments, here's what I learned are some of the most effective ingredients that help fight and control acne.
Natural soap- Everything you read warns against using soap to cleanse your face because it can clog pores and dry out the skin. This is simply not true for most people. It's important to understand that most of this advice does not make a distinction between true soap and the synthetic cleansers that we now consider soap. At least 99.9 percent of the cleansers available in retail stores today are not true soaps. They're synthetic surfactants masquerading as soap. Cleansing with a true natural soap is one of the best ways to keep your skin clear because it doesn't contain the synthetic ingredients that are often the culprit of clogged pores and overly dry skin. To get as close to natural as possible, it's best to stick to cold-process bar soap. Natural liquid soaps are also available but harder to find. I currently use Savon de Marseille liquid soap to cleanse my skin but Vermontsoap.com and Dr. Bronner's liquid soaps are also great options.
Essential oils- Aromatherapy is what most people think of when they hear this term but essential oils contain powerful antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that help fight problem skin conditions like acne. Some of the most effective essential oils for acne are tea tree, lavender, and rosemary.
Witch Hazel- This is the best toner for people with acne prone skin. There are many witch hazel toners available today but most are mixed with alcohol. Alcohol should be avoided in skin care products because it dries out the skin. The best way to avoid alcohol in your toner is to use witch hazel hydrosol which can usually only be found online at specialty stores. In retail stores, look for witch hazel toners that list witch hazel as the first ingredient on the label and are not heavily diluted with water or excess alcohol.
Aloe vera gel-The flesh of the aloe plant is one of the most soothing things you can put on your skin. Unfortunately, this is another ingredient that is often combined with ingredients like thickeners, colors, and synthetic fragrances, that are not good for acne-prone skin. Now Foods, Lily of the Desert, and Aubrey Organics all offer a 100% pure aloe vera gel. To make an effective, light moisturizer, add a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, 3 drops of lavender essential oil and 1 drop of rosemary essential oil to 1/2 cup of pure aloe vera gel.
Keeping your regimen simple is the best thing you can do for your acne-prone skin. Cleansing with a natural soap, toning with pure witch hazel, and using a light moisturizer like aloe vera gel will help improve your skin significantly.