What Herbs Are Good for Acne?

Acne is most frequently caused by blockage of the skin’s pores, overactive oil glands, an increase in normal skin bacteria and inflammation caused by the body trying to rid itself of potentially harmful substances. While many claim that herbal treatments can benefit and even cure acne, these claims have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for safety or effectiveness.


Calendula is a common folk remedy for acne and skin inflammation, and many believe it promotes the healing of damaged skin. To use calendula for acne, you can either make a tea from the fresh herb by pouring 8 oz. of boiling water over 2 tbsp. of the fresh herb or by brewing prepackaged calendula tea. Calendula is widely used in commercially available skin care products as well.


Goldenseal is another common folk remedy that some believe helps reduce redness, although it is generally used more for acne that oozes or bleeds, as goldenseal has antimicrobial properties. Goldenseal can be purchased as an herbal supplement or packaged tea.

Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe vera gel is well known to help reduce redness and inflammation from burns and prolonged sun exposure, but it may also help reduce redness and heal acne. It is important that you use 100 percent aloe vera gel on your acne, as aloe vera gels that have other ingredients may irritate your skin further.

Milk Thistle

Milk thistle is commonly used with the purpose of cleansing the liver. However, taking a milk thistle supplement daily may help keep acne at bay because of its cleansing properties.

Rose Water

Rose water can be applied to the skin to help reduce redness and inflammation. However, you should always make sure that there are no other ingredients in rose water before applying it to damaged skin, as it may make your acne worse. To use rose water, pat the affected area with a cotton ball that has been dipped in rose water. Leave the rose water on the skin for 30 minutes and then rinse the area with cool water and pat dry.


Echinacea is commonly touted as an all-around wellness herb that can help fight bacterial infections before they begin. Echinacea treats acne by helping to cleanse the body while destroying free radicals that can do damage to the skin. Echinacea can be purchased in tea or supplement form.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is regularly used in Ayurvedic medicine as an antiseptic. Tea tree oil should always be diluted before applying it to damaged skin, as it may cause further irritation. To use tea tree oil, dilute 1 tbsp. of natural tea tree oil with 4 tbsp. of distilled water and apply to the skin. You do not have to rinse tea tree oil off until you wash your face, unless it causes any irritation.