Natural Skin Care

Kiss Acne Goodbye: Your Guide to Affordable Natural Skincare Solutions

Clear Skin, Pure Heart.
Kiss Acne Goodbye: Your Guide to Affordable Natural Skincare Solutions

 Acne. Just the word itself conjures up images of frustrating blemishes, stubborn redness, and a constant battle for clear skin.If you have struggled with acne as a teen or even adult acne, you know the kind of impact it can have on your self-confidence, apart from the pain and discomfort it brings!

For too long our go-to has been the store-bought acne treatment product that now we know is saddled with chemicals that do more harm than good for the skin.

In today’s post we equip ourselves to tackle acne using natural skincare routines and products instead. 

Let’s begin.

A woman with acne on her face.

Understanding Acne-Prone Skin: The Root of the Problem

Main Causes

Acne-prone skin can be quite a handful! It's like having a rebellious roommate—just when you think everything's calm, boom, a breakout! 

It happens when hair follicles get clogged with oil and dead skin cells, leading to pimples, blackheads, or whiteheads. Hormonal changes, stress, and genetics also play a role in acne. 

  • Hormonal factor: Hormones, particularly androgens like testosterone, can trigger the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, which can clog pores and lead to acne. Hormonal fluctuations during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause can all worsen acne problem.

  • Stress: Stress also plays a role by triggering the release of cortisol, which can increase oil production and inflammation in the skin. Additionally, stress weakens the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off acne-causing bacteria.

  • The genetic factor: If your parents or siblings had acne, you are more likely to develop it as well. Genetics can influence several factors related to acne, including the size and activity of the sebaceous glands, the production of skin cells, and the body's inflammatory response. 

  • Excess Oil (Sebum) Production: Our skin naturally produces sebum, an oily substance that helps keep it hydrated and protected. However, in acne-prone individuals, sebaceous glands can become overactive, producing more oil than necessary. This excess oil ends up clogging skin pores.

While these factors can contribute to acne, maintaining a good skincare routine, managing stress, and seeking treatment from a dermatologist can help reduce and manage breakouts.

Portrait of a woman's face with freckles on her face but clear of acne.

Dead Skin Cell Buildup

Skin cells constantly regenerate, and dead skin cells need to be shed for healthy turnover. However, in acne-prone skin, dead skin cells collect on the surface, contributing to clogged pores more irritation.

P. acnes Bacteria

A specific type of bacteria, Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), thrives in clogged pores filled with sebum and dead skin cells. This bacteria triggers inflammation that causes pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads.

shankara travel kit for blemish skin: with bottles of rose mist and purifying cleanser.

Skin Types and Acne: Why It Matters

While oily skin is most susceptible to acne breakouts, even dry or combination skin can experience occasional blemishes. Here's a breakdown of how different skin types might experience acne:

Oily Skin 

As discussed previously, oily skin is most prone to acne due to the overproduction of sebum, which can easily clog pores.

A close up portrait of a woman's face with oily skin.

Dry Skin

While less common, dry skin can also experience acne. Sometimes, harsh cleansers or dry climates can disrupt the skin barrier, and increase excessive oil production and breakouts.

Combination Skin

This skin type has areas of both oiliness and dryness. Acne can develop in any skin tone in the oilier T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin).

Understanding your specific skin type and its triggers for acne breakouts is crucial for creating an effective natural skincare routine.

Fighting Acne

Preventing Breakouts and Combating Oily Skin 

shankara blemish support serum bottle held in the hands.

Oily skin may contribute to inflammation and the formation of acne lesions, making it essential to manage oil production effectively.

The key to managing oily skin and preventing breakouts lies in a consistent, gentle skincare routine that addresses the root causes of acne. Here's your arsenal of natural ingredients to fight back:

Tea Tree Oil

A person using a dropper of tea tree oil on the hand for skin care.

This essential oil boasts anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It can help fight acne-causing bacteria and soothe inflammation. 

However, tea tree oil can be potent. Always dilute it with a carrier oil like jojoba oil before applying a small amount directly to targeted blemishes. 

You can also look for natural cleansers or toners containing a low concentration (around 5%) of tea tree oil for a more diffused application.

shankara hydrating cleanser and kumkumadi oil bottles next to a gift packet.

Salicylic Acid

salicylic acid.

Naturally occurring in willow bark, salicylic acid works wonders for oily skin. It gently exfoliates the skin, removing dead skin cells and unclogging pores. This helps prevent future breakouts and allows for better penetration of other acne-fighting ingredients. 

Look for cleansers, toners, or leave-on treatments with salicylic acid at a low concentration (around 2%). Start with a lower concentration and gradually increase if tolerated.

Witch Hazel

witch hazel herb, part of natural skin care.

This natural astringent is a great option for oily skin. It helps tighten pores and reduce excess oil production without irritating the skin. 

Opt for alcohol-free witch hazel for a gentler touch. You can use witch hazel as a toner after cleansing or incorporate it into a DIY full face wash or mask for a deeper cleanse.


  1. When using essential oils like tea tree oil, always perform a patch test first on a small area of your inner arm to check for any allergic reactions.

  2. Avoid harsh scrubs or cleansers that can strip the skin of its natural oils and irritate it, potentially worsening breakouts. Instead, focus on gentle cleansing and regular exfoliation with salicylic acid to remove dead skin cells effectively.

Soothing Sensitive Skin: A Calming Approach

Sensitive skin can be easily irritated by harsh chemicals found in some acne treatments. Here are some natural alternatives for a gentle yet effective routine fighting acne:

Aloe Vera 

aloe vera, cactus, succulent.

According to Ayurveda, kapha-pitta (earth and fire dominant) skin is more prone to acne problems. aloe vera can help balance both these doshas. Nature's timeless wonder ingredient, aloe vera, is a multi-talented hero for sensitive skin that has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, helping to calm redness and irritation associated with acne breakouts. 

You can use pure aloe vera gel directly on blemishes, as a lightweight moisturizer, or incorporate it into DIY face masks.

Calming Botanicals

Look for natural skincare products that contain calming botanical extracts like chamomile, calendula, or green tea like Shankara's Hydrating Cleanser. These ingredients possess anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that can help reduce redness and irritation caused by acne. 

Shankara's hydrating cleanser, moisturizer and face mask.

You can find them in cleansers, toners, serums, or moisturizers of your choice.

Hydrating Cleanser specifically boasts of exotic and rare plant-based ingredients selected with great care and expertise to give you targeted results in fighting acne and soothing skin along with that. It leaves the skin feeling soft and supple, like a baby's skin! It can be used by people of all skin types. Helps you gently and effectively remove your makeup; is not irritating and has a silky texture.

Hyaluronic Acid

representational image: hyaluronic acid.

This humectant is a game-changer for sensitive skin that attracts and retains moisture in the skin, keeping it plump and hydrated without clogging pores. This is crucial because dehydrated skin can become irritated and more susceptible to breakouts. 

Look for hyaluronic acid serums or lightweight moisturizers formulated for sensitive skin.

Salicylic Acid

representational image: salicyclic acid

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) known for its exfoliating properties, making it an excellent choice for treating acne and preventing future breakouts. 

By penetrating deep into the pores, salicylic acid helps dissolve excess oil, unclog pores, and remove dead skin cells, thereby reducing the risk of acne formation. 

Adding salicylic acid to your skincare routine can help regulate oil production and promote clearer, healthier-looking skin.

Remember, consistency is key! Sticking to a gentle skincare routine and using calming ingredients can significantly improve the overall health and appearance of your sensitive skin, reducing the frequency and severity of breakouts.

Maintaining a Healthy Skin Barrier

Healthy skin cannot but give you clear skin. The skin barrier acts as a shield, protecting it from environmental aggressors and preventing moisture loss.

When the skin barrier is compromised, it becomes more susceptible to irritation, inflammation, and breakouts.

Here's how to nurture your skin barrier naturally:

Essential Fatty Acids 

Essential for maintaining a healthy skin barrier, fatty acids like those found in avocado oil, shea butter, and jojoba oil nourish and protect the skin. These oils are non-comedogenic, meaning they won't clog pores. 

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in chia seeds, hemp seeds or sunflower oil help support the skin's natural barrier function, protect against moisture loss, and reduce inflammation.

Look for moisturizers or facial oils formulated with these ingredients for deep hydration and barrier support.

Vitamin C

This powerful antioxidant protects the skin from free radical damage, which can contribute to inflammation and premature aging.  Additionally, vitamin C can help brighten hyperpigmentation left behind by acne breakouts. 

Look for serums or moisturizers containing a stable form of vitamin C (like L-ascorbic acid) for optimal benefits.


The emerging science of probiotics in skincare suggests they can promote a healthy skin microbiome, which plays a role in barrier function and overall skin health. 

Add a probiotic supplement or look for skincare products containing prebiotics (food for beneficial bacteria) to support a healthy skin microbiome.


Combine a hyaluronic acid serum like Shankara's Blemish Face Serum with a moisturizer containing fatty acids like Timeless Moisturizer which has avocado oil, canola oil, shea butter, among others for optimal hydration and barrier support. Apply the serum to damp skin after cleansing, followed by the moisturizer to lock in moisture.

Avoid harsh scrubs, hot showers, and excessive sun exposure, as they can damage the skin barrier and worsen acne breakouts.

Effective Skincare routine for Combating Acne

Step 1: Natural Cleansers 

The first step in any skincare routine is cleansing. Here are some natural options for oily and acne-prone skin:

Micellar Water

This gentle cleansing solution effectively removes makeup, dirt, and excess oil without stripping the skin of its natural oils. Micellar water is a great option for a morning cleanse or to remove makeup before your main cleansing routine in the evening.

French Green Clay

organic french green clay placed on a wooden table with wooden spoons and bowl.

Formulated with kaolin or bentonite clay, these cleansers gently absorb excess oil and impurities without drying out the skin. French green clay is a natural ingredient prized for its detoxifying and purifying properties, making it an excellent choice for acne-prone skin. 

Rich in minerals and antioxidants, French green clay helps absorb excess oil, unclog pores, and remove impurities, leaving the skin feeling refreshed and revitalized. Whether used as a mask or in cleansers and scrubs, French green clay offers a gentle yet effective solution for combating acne and promoting clearer, healthier skin.

Step 2: Toners 

Opt for alcohol-free toners formulated with witch hazel, rosewater, or green tea extract. These toners can help remove any residual dirt or makeup after cleansing, balance skin pH, and provide a refreshing feeling.

Step 3: Treatment with Natural Moisturizers and Masks

Those with acne-prone skin may feel like staying away from moisturizing for fear of over-oleation. But moisturizing is crucial for all skin types, even oily skin.

Here are some natural solutions for acne-prone oily skin:


Look for lightweight, oil-free moisturizers formulated with hyaluronic acid, aloe vera, or green tea extract. These ingredients provide hydration without clogging pores. Gel-based moisturizers are a good option for oily skin, while those with combination skin might prefer a lotion formula.

Face Masks 

Treat your skin to a weekly pampering session with a natural face mask. Clay masks are excellent for absorbing excess oil and impurities. Look for clay masks formulated with additional beneficial ingredients like honey (antibacterial), oatmeal (soothing), or tea tree oil (anti-inflammatory) for targeted treatment.

If your skin feels dehydrated, opt for a mask infused with hyaluronic acid or aloe vera like Shankara's algae-aloe-based Calming Mask. These ingredients will deeply hydrate the skin without clogging pores.

Other Natural Powerhouses Against Acne

Nature offers a treasure trove of ingredients with various benefits for acne-prone skin:

Apple Cider Vinegar: Your DIY pH Balance

A miniature frog dressed as a chef standing over slices of cherry tomatoes and a bottle of apple cider vinegar.

For acne-free skin, diluted apple cider vinegar (ACV) can help balance the skin's pH and reduce inflammation associated with acne. However, be cautious as it can be drying. 

  • Step 1: Mix 1 part ACV with 4 parts water and apply it to cleansed skin with a cotton pad.

  • Step 2: Leave it on for a few minutes and rinse thoroughly. 

  • Step 3: Do a patch test first to check for any other skin irritation anywhere.

Green Tea 

green tea placed on a mat next to a bowl of green tea.

Rich in antioxidants, green tea can help reduce inflammation and promote overall skin health. You can add green tea into your diet or use a green tea toner or mist after cleansing. 

Green tea has a calming effect and can help with acne treatment and soothe redness associated with acne breakouts.


Zinc benefits the skin by regulating oil production, reducing inflammation, and helping heal wounds. In natural skincare products, zinc is used in creams, lotions, and sunscreens for its soothing and protective properties. It helps treat acne, eczema, and other skin conditions, while also providing broad-spectrum sun protection.

Zinc is primarily found in animal sources, but it is also present in some plant foods, though in lower amounts and with lower bioavailability. Good plant-based sources of zinc include legumes (like chickpeas, lentils, and beans), nuts and seeds (such as pumpkin seeds, cashews, and almonds), whole grains (like wheat germ and oats), and certain vegetables (such as spinach, kale, and mushrooms).

woman doing yoga on the beach.

Lifestyle Changes for Clear Skin

While a natural skincare routine can significantly improve your acne, a holistic approach is key for long-term success and clear complexion. Here are some lifestyle tips to promote clear skin:

How to Manage Stress

A figurine of a frog holding books and a calculator, representing a stressful life.

Chronic stress is your enemy when it comes to dealing with acne breakouts. But let stress not be another thing you worry about. There are many simple tools like yoga, meditation, breathing techniques like Sudarshan Kriya that will immediately bring down your stress levels to non-worrying levels, making it one less trigger for acne breakouts.

unhealthy food, fatty food, sugar, doughnut.

Avoid these foods

Limit processed foods, sugary drinks, and dairy, as these can contribute to inflammation and worsen acne, particularly if you have oily skin. A vegetarian diet for acne-prone skin should include plenty of fresh fruits like berries and apples, vegetables such as spinach and kale, whole grains like quinoa and brown rice, and plant-based proteins such as tofu and chickpeas. Include foods rich in omega-3s like flaxseeds and walnuts. People with oily skin should also avoid high-glycemic foods like white bread and sweet snacks.

Effect of sleep on acne

A baby girl sleeping in her bed.

Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. Sleep deprivation disrupts hormonal functions that can contribute to breakouts. Getting enough sleep allows your body to repair and regenerate, promoting overall skin health.

Hydration and Acne

A glass being filled with water.

Holds as ever, drinking plenty of water throughout the day detoxes the skin, and keeps it hydrated from the inside out, and is the best way to undertake natural skincare for acne. Aim for 8 glasses of water daily, adjusting based on your activity level and climate.

Wash Your Face After Sweating

Sweat can mix with oil and dead skin cells, clogging pores and potentially leading to breakouts. Wash your face after sweating heavily during exercise or hot weather- this is a simple and effective tip for natural skincare for acne, especially if you have acne-prone skin.

Embrace Cruelty-Free and Sustainable Practices

Making conscious choices about the products you use can benefit both your skin and the environment. Here's how:

A cow and calf standing in a field.

Cruelty-Free skincare brands

Many natural skincare brands like Shankara are committed to cruelty-free practices, meaning their products are not tested on animals. Look for brands that display a cruelty-free bunny symbol on their packaging.

Sustainable Sourcing

Sustainable brands source their ingredients ethically and responsibly, minimizing their environmental impact. Look for brands that use recycled or recyclable packaging materials like glass bottles or aluminum containers.

By choosing natural, cruelty-free, and sustainable skincare products, you are doing your bit for the planet while taking care of your body temple.

Conclusion: A Clear Path to Beautiful Skin

With dedication to a natural skincare routine, healthy lifestyle habits, and conscious product choices, you can achieve clear, healthy, and beautiful skin, whether you have dry skin, combination skin or oily skin. Remember, consistency is key. Be patient, listen to your skin, and enjoy the journey towards a more radiant and glowing complexion throughout.

If you have concerns about severe acne or persistent breakouts, consult a dermatologist. They can assess your individual needs and recommend a personalized acne treatment and plan.

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Ruchira Roy
Ruchira Roy writer Ruchira Roy is a former business journalist turned wellness enthusiast with a penchant for sarcasm. Big on life positivity, she believes if there was a Yelp for humans, she'd decidely do well. She tries to draw from this radical hope in every act of life, be it brewing a cup of coffee or crafting a riveting piece on how saffron is collected and put in a moisturizer in the most inclusive of ways. She believes the world is moving towards everything natural, and aligned with one's inner life. A rabid Wordle fan, when she is not writing or editing, she can be found singing, chronicling her city, sharing memes, and teaching meditation. She follows her teacher Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.