Updated: Mar 26, 2022
Waking up to a new, angry-looking painful acne bump on our face isn't a new experience. We run to grab the most handy 'acne hack' that we can possibly find in our homes- most commonly, toothpaste, turmeric, lemon etc. We have put faith in home remedies for acne since ages. While a lot of times these hacks do work, on a number of occasions they end up irritating your pimple further, leading to an ugly, long-lasting hyperpigmentation or scar.
It is thus important to know what you put faith on for your skin! The anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects of turmeric, aloe vera, honey etc. is well known; which helps in calming the acne by reducing underlying inflammation. However many people complain of dryness, irritation and itching when using these products directly on skin due to their skin sensitivity and irritant alkaloids in most of these plant-based products.
Therefore, it is now suggested that one should do a test patch with these products on their wrist, arm or behind the ears first, check for any side-effects and then use them safely on their face.
It is also suggested that one must procure the ingredients in their natural raw forms. The commercially available, packaged "organic materials" can be mixed with additives or preservatives which can exacerbate irritant contact dermatitis!
Most of these ingredients work well on mild or moderate acne but not in severe forms. So, whenever you have a large, painful, red bump, avoid experimenting in your kitchen!!
Vigorous massaging, scrubbing or leaving it on skin for long periods of time should be avoided too. Scrubbing vigorously increases friction and mechanical micro-trauma to the skin.
Some of these products like turmeric can increase photosensitivity so avoid going out in sun with turmeric on face. Turmeric or curcumin can also cause 'turmeric rash' if ingested or applied in large amounts.
Similarly, although aloe vera is known to work well in few skin conditions, overdoing the aloe vera juice can lead to systemic side effects like gastritis, stomach pain, cramps and sometimes burning and itching.
A masquerading factor is that an irritant reaction to these products can sometimes mimic acne itself and can be perceived as part of the ongoing acne flare, hence ignored and repeated again.
Thus, although home based acne hacks are handy and easily available, experimenting with them and overdoing them should be avoided. Always do a test patch before using them on face. They can not heal big, inflammatory acne lesions and can leave back pigmentation due to irritant reactions.
Its important to be aware of these home-based products to use them better and to seek help with a dermatologist in case of any doubts or side-effects.
Remember, not all DIYs are worth it... especially when its experimenting with facial skin!