16 Best Natural Ways & Remedies to Clear Your Skin That Work

16 Best Natural Ways & Remedies to Clear Your Skin That Work

We all want healthy, attractive skin that gives the best impression of us when we walk into a room. Skincare however, as we know, can be a complicated science.

What are some simple, natural ways to clear your skin?

Stores are filled with endless cheap products that in some cases make our skin worse, or bottles of $1000 cream of questionable worth. So what is the average person to do?

The first step is to ditch the cheap and nasty solutions. Poorly made products tend to contain synthetic fillers and ingredients which clog pores and suffocate skin.

What is needed is a more natural approach that doesn’t cost the earth. There are a few good offerings available on the market which use natural ingredients in a synergistic way to restore your skin and bring out its best. As the base ingredients of these products are found in nature that does mean that you can emulate their effect to some extent from the comfort of your own home.

Below we list well tested and safe ways to get spotless skin naturally at home.

Who can use these natural skin remedies?

Anyone can benefit from these tips and techniques. Each targets slightly different aspects of your skin and skin health so choose the best combination for you.

How do I get clear skin?

Your skin is an organ and like the rest of your body it needs to be in balance in order to function at its best. A human is over two-thirds water, allowing each cell, including those in your skin to stay hydrated. The pores on your skin allow natural oils to moisturize and soften the skin.

Without it your skin would lose its hydration at an accelerated rate, drying out and wrinkling within a matter of hours. Too much natural oil on the skin and it suffocates, blocking pores and causing a greasy and irritated appearance.

Many think that they can simply hydrate or dry their skin in an effort to counteract these issues. But unfortunately it is rarely that easy.

Skin has the tendency to change its properties in different parts of the body, making any single effort likely to fix some problems but cause or worsen others. In fact, before trying to clear your skin it is best to know why problems arise in the first place.

Blackheads and spots are caused by excess skin oil, known as sebum. Apart from making you look greasy, this excess also builds up in your pores, trapping dirt, dead skin and bacteria. Your warm, moist and greasy skin is the perfect environment for the bacteria to grow and multiply.

The bacteria can not only infect your skin but also cause local irritation by releasing toxins and chemicals. What were initially just unsightly blackheads or minor blemishes can turn into red and angry looking spots. Not really the road to happy and healthy skin.

Scrubbing your face with soap or alcohol-based products will completely strip away this protective layer. With the rapid evaporation of any moisture within the skin it becomes flaky, itchy and fragile. If the dryness is not attended to it can start to crack and eventually bleed. Open wounds, however small, are the perfect way for bacteria to enter your body and cause infection.

Unfortunately the presence of any signs of infection like spots can drive people to use even more severely drying and damaging products on their skin. The thinking is of course by using abrasive treatments or solutions like rubbing alcohol, bacteria can’t possibly survive and the issue goes away.

Instead of solving the problem, this makes drying of the skin much worse and skin problems continue no matter how hard you try.

Even if you are using body washes and shampoos from your local drugstore these are likely to be just as bad as regular soap. Many contain SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) which is a foaming agent used in everything from shaving cream to industrial applications!

Long term use of these products puts your skin out of balance. Your body then naturally fights back, producing even more sebum in an effort to keep your skin hydrated. This creates a downward spiral of blocked pores followed by skin stripped of its natural oils.

When you graduate from homemade remedies to professionally made but natural solutions, don’t fall into the trap of buying products with the standard petrochemical or SLS mix. While some products may use the ingredients we discuss in this list, most of the benefits are wiped out by using these thick and clogging synthetic ingredients.

Be careful!

For clear skin use gentle remedies from nature

Plants have evolved over millennia to be able to draw water from the ground and breathe through their leaves, all without becoming oversaturated or drying out and dying.

Nature is therefore a rich resource to draw from when looking to improve your skin’s health. By selecting products and ingredients that support your natural balance you can achieve more with less.

Remember that these suggestions are recommended because for most people, better skin care and careful use of remedies can gently bring the best out in your skin. If you have significant or severe skin complaints however, it is best to see a medical practitioner.

That is why harsh creams that seem too good to be true, are. Medical conditions require guidance to ensure further damage isn’t being done. The methods listed below are safe and effective for anyone with minor to moderate skin issues they want to clear up.

Make sure to check out our article on how to look younger. Many of the steps in this article help refresh and clear your skin or prevent you from damaging it through lifestyle choices. Make sure you are following these steps and setting up a good skin care regimen before you go on to try the additional tips and tricks that follow.

A basic skin care regimen includes washing your face morning and night, moisturizing it to prevent dry out and avoiding being tempted into using cheap products which could make your skin worse.

5 Simple tips: Your route to clearer skin

1. Wash & cleanse your skin

Before applying anything, the fastest way to clearer skin is regular washing with a good cleanser. Not only does this clear excess dead skin, oil and dirt but it helps keep your pores clear of these materials and reduces the chance of breakouts.

Some of the natural home cleansers you can try include: Coconut oil and Apple Cider Vinegar, or ACV as it’s known in some circles.

Remember the key point with ACV – it contains weak acids. It therefore should only be applied diluted to at least 50:50 with water. If you are instead using it to clear spots rather than as a cleanser then it is possible to apply a small amount neat using a cotton bud. It is then very important to wash off the neat ACV. If you don’t you risk leaving your skin with a chemical burn and in a worse position than when you started.

Make sure you remember to wash away the day’s build up before you go to bed. This gives your skin a chance to breathe and repair itself while you sleep.

When using a cleanser to wash, don’t forget to rinse all the cleanser off fully. If you just give your face a quick wipe then you are likely leaving smudges of grime stuck in your pores. Not a recipe for crystal clear skin.

Speaking of pores and skin, neither really like hot water. Over use of hot water dries your skin out, leaving it feeling tight and flaky. All that heat will over expand your pores as well, allowing all your cleaning to be a waste as they are left open to collect more dirt.


A side note for anyone who has a smartphone, which is almost everyone. How clean is your phone? If you press a dirty phone against your face regularly you are potentially transferring dirt and bacteria onto your face. Nothing will give you a muddy complexion faster. This is especially true of those of you who suffer from greasy hair or skin.

2. Moisturize

Your skin is always trying to get itself back into balance – even if it doesn’t seem like it at times. That means trusting in the science and continuing to care for your skin with a good moisturizer.

Some people feel that their spots and breakouts are due to a buildup of excess oils, which for most is correct. But the use of moisturizer within reason does not make things worse, in fact it protects your skin from even worse breakouts.

This is because many who suffer from spots or acne use creams and solutions that are specifically designed to combat the bacteria found. They are fairly harsh products to use and can be overly drying. Instead of improving the situation they cause excess irritation which can lead to further infection.

Try using honey, which has some amazing benefits to combat any signs of a breakout and to help lock in moisture.

Olive oil not only moisturizes the skin but leaves it wonderfully soft and clear. Its antioxidant properties can help reduce skin irritation and swelling, just like you can experience after spending too long in the sun.

3. Exfoliate weekly

Exfoliating should be done with care. It is an important part of everyone’s skin care regime but importantly shouldn’t be overused. Once or twice a week exfoliation is enough to remove the more stubborn dead skin cells and leave you with a fresh and healthy complexion.

Exfoliating with a harsh face scrub or exfoliating too often can damage and irritate the underlying new skin.

Try using natural organic yogurt as a gentle exfoliator. The fermentation process produces lactic acid which encourages the skin to shed dead skin cells.

4. Use a face mask for tired skin

You may think that face masks are too complicated to get right at home. But for those who want clearer, brighter skin you don’t need to follow some complicated-yet-trendy face mask recipe.

Keep it simple with an activated yeast face mask. Yeast has some complex properties and benefits that make it perfect for a self-made mask.

5. Going to bed

Get hair away from your face before going to sleep. The ends of hairs are very fine and exceptionally sharp, although you wouldn’t know it from touching them. When tossing and turning during sleep the ends of any long hair can pierce the skin, irritating it and leaving routes open for infection. Tie away any loose stands so your skin can rest while you do.

Don’t forget to regularly change pillowcases as well. You don’t wear the same clothes for days on end, why shouldn’t your pillowcase be the same?

Pillowcases are prime real estate for picking up facial skincare products, grime from the day and grease and bacteria from your face. Lying on that every night is going to spell trouble for your complexion. Try and change it more often than once a week.

11 Natural ingredients to make a part of your clear skin routine

1. Honey

Made by the humble bee, this ingredient found in many food cupboards around the world has been used for centuries to heal wounds and improve skin. As far back as 30 B.C., Queen Cleopatra would bathe in milk and honey in order for her skin to retain a soft and youthful appearance.

In fact both ancient Greeks and Egyptians used it to treat skin infections by rubbing it into their bodies.[1] The use of honey as a natural skin remedy has been seen in ancient cultures spread across the globe from Persia to India and Africa.

Today scientists more fully understand its antibacterial and antifungal properties which can help prevent the build-up of bacteria and spots. In fact, recent years have shown a renewed interest in natural remedies for clear skin as conventional treatments for dermatological conditions cause too many side effects.[2]

Manuka honey was one of the first honey’s to be scientifically recognized for having both antibacterial and wound healing effects. It is used worldwide in clinical settings to treat superficial wound infections.

One of the most exciting developments in recent years is the ability of honey to effect or ‘modulate’ the immune system. This has led to further research showing that it can even be useful when treating skin damaged from burning.[3]

Finally, although it is still in the early stages, animal models have shown something even more exciting.

When looking into potential treatments for melanoma, an aggressive skin cancer, honey was biologically active enough to have an anti-carcinogenic effect, i.e. it slowed the growth and development of one of the worst skin cancers.

So what does all of this mean for those who simply want to look their best?

If you suffer from spots and other skin blemishes resulting from infection then honey could be a great place to start on your journey to better skin. The sugary remedy has been shown to kill a large number of bacteria and pathogens which cause spots, acne and other related disorders. That includes more serious strains of bugs such as MRSA, which have otherwise been very hard to treat, even in the hospital setting.

When studied in a lab[4] Honey was seen to reduce over inflammation. So if you do choose to apply it to bring down your risk of spotty skin, the honey will also help with calming any redness or inflammation around spots that already exist.

Not bad for just one natural product.

For those of you out there with more significant skin concerns such as contact or atopic dermatitis or even psoriasis, there may be help at hand.

These disorders are classified as ‘immune mediated skin disorders.’ This means that the body’s immune system itself is causing the majority of the unhealthy and unsightly skin. Application of honey however has been shown to minimize the amount of damage done in this process, helping patients avoid to or reduce the need for stronger treatments like steroids or ultraviolet therapy.

If you do choose to give honey a go, make sure you look out for medically classified honey, such as Manuka or Acacia. Honey in general does contain the benefits mentioned for the best results Manuka is the one to look out for.

In coming years, as more rare and less well known honey’s are tested we may find even more amazing health benefits from this natural resource.

2. Yeast

Yeast is used around the world from baking bread to making wine. It contains many ingredients that your skin can feast on for better health. These include but are not limited to B vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids.

This high concentration of nutrients can renew skin cells, improving not only the texture of your skin but also improving smoothness, giving your skin a crystal clear look.

When combined with ingredients that tone skin, yeast can improve skin firmness while reducing pore size, giving you an unblemished glow.

The most important component, Beta glucan, also firms the skin but has the added benefit of reducing the appearance of wrinkles and age spots as we get older.

Yeast has a little known secret as well.

It can decrease the production of eumelanin, a pigment that causes brown or reddish blotches on the skin. Smoothing out skin and pigmentation gives you a much more natural and healthy look.[5]

3. Olive oil

Olive oil has been shown to have many positive implications for skin, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and wound healing effects. There is also evidence that it can help delay the onset of skin cancer.[6]

Olives are the fruit of Olea Europea trees, and this is the plant that oleic acid is named after. Oleic acid belongs to the fatty acid family, some of which are also found in olives. Research has shown that oil derived from olives contains over 200 natural chemicals and it is many of these that are antioxidant in nature.

The antioxidant level is so high that olive oil actually reduces inflammation when consumed as part of a regular diet.[7]

It is not surprising therefore that olive oil has been used for millennia to improve skin health and appearance. Some more recent studies have demonstrated that topical olive oil (oil rubbed into the skin) not only reduces inflammation but improves the rate of healing in any damaged skin as well as promoting dermal reconstruction.[8]

When combined with honey and sesame oil, this mix was found to prevent skin infections as well as accelerating the repair of any skin damage.

So what does all this mean for clearer skin?

Well, if you suffer from frequent spots and blemishes you may feel like you are stuck in a cycle. Either having an outbreak or recovering from one, with scabs, scarring and more. Olive oil can help break this cycle first by calming the skin and reducing the redness from any current irritation.

Then it can not only reduce the chance of future infection but also speed up skin healing so the after-effects of an outbreak fade faster than usual.

In this way olive oil can be a much needed break for you and your skin.

4. Coconut oil

Coconut oil is derived from coconut ‘meat, i.e. the fleshy internals of a coconut. Like olive oil, it contains many fatty acids but is mainly comprised of lauric, myristic and palmitic acid. In contrast to olive oil, it only contains 6% oleic acid.

The main research behind coconut oil as a great skincare product is to do with Xerosis.

But what is that?

Xerosis is actually just the medical term for abnormally dry skin. Coconut oil has been shown as being safe and effective when it comes to treating this distressing ailment.

The benefits of coconut oil don’t stop there however. The use of virgin oil, i.e. the first oil from the flesh, has been seen to promote the growth of new blood vessels and new collagen.[9]

This is great news for those looking to improve their skin care regimen.

Loss of collagen is one of the main ways that your skin can age and look tired. Low amounts of collagen crease and wrinkle your skin, leaving it seeming bumpy and unclear. Strengthening your own collagen production leaves you with brighter and fresher looking skin instead.

The best part of coconut oil however is something not many skincare experts have heard of.

Monolaurin, as it is called, makes up almost half of a coconut’s fat content. The great thing about this fatty acid derivative is that it has antimicrobial effects. That means that if you suffer from frequent spots and other infections in your skin, coconut oil can help to kill off any bacteria that are multiplying.[10]

Studies in labs have also shown that this amazing oil has both antiviral and antifungal properties as well.[11] Not bad for oil taken from just one fruit!

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5. Avocado oil

Avocados seems to be one of the more popular health foods in the past few years.

This is another natural source of a number of great vitamins, fatty acids and minerals that can help clear your skin of unwanted build up.

Research has shown that it contains β-carotene, lecithin and vitamins A, C, D, and E which all combine to create a solution that is proven to heal damaged skin, even if it has been chapped by severe cold weather and winds.[12]

For those of you who worry about poor skin health leaving you with long-lasting blemishes and scars, avocado fruit promotes faster wound healing in skin, bringing your skin back to life sooner rather than later.[13]

Early animal studies have also shown promise in a skin care favorite: collagen. In the lab it helps your skin produce more collagen which as we know helps keep your skin looking toned and clear.[14]

6. Jojoba oil

Jojoba as a plant has very interesting properties. It lives for a long time, is resistant to drought and flowers all year round. The oil produced from the plant is itself peculiar as well, remaining very stable and resistant to breaking down.[15]

This makes it a great choice when used as a skin care remedy, and in fact its use is widespread throughout the cosmetics industry because of its unique collection of properties.

One of the main reasons behind its popularity is actually the fact that it improves the uptake of other natural treatments and synthetic drugs. So applying Jojoba oil mixed with other oils and treatments included in this list improves their effectiveness even more.[16]

It is its high concentration of wax esters however that make it so valuable. These natural chemicals are just as they sound, waxy! When you apply Jojoba oil, these esters form a protective barrier around your skin.

This makes the oil a great option for treating conditions where the skin is damaged, such as acne and various forms of dermatitis such as atopic and seborrheic. If you decide to make a face mask at home, this is the one ingredient you don’t want to miss out when mixing your clay.

Finally, the oil active ingredients have a generalized anti-inflammatory effect, making Jojoba useful in conditions we all worry about: skin aging and fast skin healing.

7. Almond oil

This may be called ‘bitter almond oil’ if you are looking for it in the shops.

If you want to keep your skin looking clear and healthy, almond oil refreshes your skin from the ground up. It is recognized as being able to both improve complexion and skin tone.

Massaging skin with bitter almond has the added benefit of not only hydrating the skin but of minimizing the appearance of scars. It also helps prevent future damage to the skin by giving you protection from sun damage.[17]

8. Apple cider vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar has a wide range of uses in the skin care world. As the name suggests, the solution is made from the fermentation of the cider using yeast and bacteria.

The fermentation process results in a number of beneficial acids being produced such as acetic acid. This natural remedy has been used for around 5000 years, having been mentioned in the Old Testament and in ancient Babylonian texts.[18]

While it has many effects throughout the body, how good is it at clearing up tired looking or blotchy skin?

More recent lab-based research has stated that ACV use can decrease inflammation and kill common yet troublesome bacteria like E-Coli. This makes the fermented solution a good choice to use as a cleanser. Not only will the acid help strip away dirt and grime from the day, ACV will calm any irritated skin and reduce the number of potentially infections causing bacteria living on your skin.

The scientists concluded that ACV has several therapeutic clinical applications, backing up our recommendation to use it on your skin, rather than needing to ingest it.[19]

When using ACV for skin treatment it is important to remember that it contains acid, much like every other type of vinegar. While it is a weak acid, it still has corrosive properties if it is applied incorrectly.

Never apply neat ACV to your skin to try and remove or “burn away” skin blemishes. Quick fixes like these are always bad news for your skin. When you have applied ACV to your skin, always rinse well and wash your face afterwards.[20]

9. Sugar

Sugar is not usually an ingredient that you see recommended in an article about self-care and health but it certainly has its place in natural skincare.

Sugar itself breaks into microscopic cubes that help remove dead and lifeless skin when massaged in as part of your exfoliating regime.

But it’s not just the texture that makes the difference otherwise it would be just like rubbing sand into your face! Sugar of course gently dissolves as it mixes with your skin’s moisture and creates a temporary fluid imbalance.

The high concentration of sugar can help draw water to the surface of your skin, leaving it looking clearer and more hydrated.

Sugar isn’t just sugar either. It contains a natural component, glycolic acid, which helps lift and gently remove the upper layer of skin. Just remember to rinse well, leaving your skin with a sugar mask could have too strong of an effect so less is more with this skincare remedy.

10. Organic yogurt

Fermented dairy, such as yogurt have been touted as natural sources of probiotics that can help improve gut health.

But what happens if they are applied to your face?

There is growing evidence that yogurt applied to the skin and even used as a face mask can improve a variety of skin conditions and diseases.

Even more impressively, yogurt doesn’t just impact disease but can help enhance normal, healthy skin that just needs a bit of help to really shine.

Radiant skin is of course a sign of good health that we all strive for. The probiotic bacteria found in yogurt make a demonstrable difference to skin suppleness, clearness and general youthful appearance.

Even the research scientists working with yogurt report that ‘application displayed a healthy glowing effect [on the skin]’. Glowing skin has long been a strong sign of personal health and well being, so you can now have these benefits at home with a yogurt face mask.[21]

Don’t forget that the yogurt can be mixed with other ingredients to give your skin that extra boost and clear it of build up and dead skin. It may sound more like breakfast but yogurt and honey is a great place to start.

Don’t think that $500 face masks are needed to see results. One yogurt face mask study found skin treated with these natural masks ‘successfully improved the moisture, brightness and elasticity of treated skin’.[22]

11. Aloe vera

Aloe Vera Linne, which is the full name for Aloe Vera, has long been used in hot and dry climates for a variety of health concerns including skin care. Perhaps the most ubiquitous use of the plant is in sunburn aftercare creams and ointments.

What we are interested in however is getting clearer skin, so how does Aloe Vera help with that?

One of the most exciting areas of research in recent years has been looking at how this plant affects wound healing. Good wound healing isn’t just about wounds, it determines how quickly your face clears up after an outbreak or recovers from poor skincare.

Aloe vera has a number of other properties that are only beginning to be understood. It seems that, through its antibacterial and antifungal properties, it can help prevent flaking of the skin and improve skin conditions such as alopecia disease.[23]

Aloe vera is great when used as a mix in skincare products. Lab tests have shown that combining it with other natural remedies improves the uptake of all beneficial ingredients.[24]

Even when used on its own, Aloe Vera speeds up wound healing and promotes the growth of fresh new skin layers. Another component, called glucomannan also stimulates the production of collagen in skin cells. This is vitally important for having crystal clear skin. Without a good underlying structure your skin will simply look tired and creased.

Conclusion: Still struggling to clear your skin?

Please note that all these tips are for giving you crystal clear skin naturally. That means that if you have greasy, overly dry or blemished skin then these ingredients are worth trialing in your daily skin care regimen.

There are however some moderate to severe conditions that will not clear up with standard day to day skin care. These usually require input from a dermatologist who may prescribe antibiotics or specialist medications like Accutane.

If you have more troublesome skin than average please do not try to treat it at home by doubling up on the treatments we have mentioned. They are meant for light use, overdoing it could damage your skin further.

When deciding to use one of the natural remedies we have covered in this article just pick one or two to start with. That way if it gives you amazing results or doesn’t agree with your skin you will have an idea of what has given you that result.

Starting with four or five products mixed could be too much for sensitive skin. If you do have a bad reaction you won’t know what to stop and what to keep using.

A gentle, stepwise approach to skincare, starting with a good basic daily routine is the best way to have clear and healthy skin naturally.

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About The Author


Board-Certified Doctor and Educator

Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery MBBS (Cardiff University)

London, United Kingdom

Dr. McKeown is a UK based NHS clinician with over 10 years experience in both hospital medicine and surgery. After an initial career in maxillofacial surgery his focus now lies in elderly care and rehabilitation medicine. A board member for Wadham College of Science, Dr. McKeown is passionate about widening access to both education and healthcare around the world and as a result, outside of his clinical work he spends much of his time either teaching or providing medical consultancy to healthcare startups. Commercially, his interests lie in helping research and promote novel, evidence-based medicines originating from natural sources and processes.

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