4 Trusted Herbs for Acne-A Natural Approach for Healthy Skin

woman enjoying the warmth of sunlight on her clean face, eyes closed for herbs for acne You’ve probably been there… There’s a big event coming up—a milestone birthday, your best friend’s wedding, or a much-anticipated first date. But just as you’re ready to face the day with confidence, acne makes an untimely entrance. Sound familiar? You’re not alone. For countless women struggling with acne, the quest for clear skin is not only aesthetic but plays a significant role in our overall sense of well-being and self-confidence. So today, we’re exploring the topic of herbal remedies for acne. I want to offer you new tools for maintaining healthy, radiant skin so you can avoid those unwelcome surprises. Natural remedies for acne are gaining newfound credibility. This validation comes not only from centuries of traditional use but also from emerging scientific studies.1 These plant-based remedies offer a more gentle alternative, usually without the harsh side effects often associated with chemical products. As you continue reading, I’ll introduce you to four powerful herbs that take your skin from red and inflamed, to calm and clear. Are you ready to learn natural ways to support your skin health? Let’s get started!

A Brief Understanding of Acne

Acne is a common skin condition primarily affecting the face, but it can also appear on the back, chest, and shoulders. It occurs when hair follicles get clogged with oil and dead skin cells, leading to inflammation and acne.2

Who’s Affected by Acne?

  • People of all races, ages, and genders can get acne
  • It’s most common among teenagers and young adults
  • Adult women are more likely to experience persistent acne
  • Males are more frequently affected during teenage years
What Causes Acne? The leading causes of acne include excess oil production, the buildup of dead skin cells, and bacterial growth in the pores. Hormonal changes, menstrual cycle, pregnancy, menopause, and oral contraceptives may increase the chances of developing acne. Though not primary causes, some factors can worsen acne. These include:
  • High Stress
  • Dietary Choices
  • Pressure of Tight Clothing
  • Environmental Irritants
  • Poor Skincare Habits
Before we introduce some promising medicinal herbs for acne, let’s discuss the limitations of traditionally used chemical treatments to understand why a natural approach may be beneficial for you. The Limitations of Chemical Acne Treatments You might be tempted to dash to the drugstore, dermatologist, or high-end spa for quick-fix chemical solutions or medications. Sure, they promise immediate results with ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. But remember, these quick fixes often come with undesirable side effects such as dry skin, irritation, and peeling. Knowing or having experienced the side effects of chemical treatments, you may be wondering what alternatives exist. The good news is that nature offers a bounty of solutions to nourish your skin and help support the process of healing. Let’s shift our focus to some trusted herbs that have stood the test of time for their glowing skin benefits.

4 Medicinal Herbs to Support a Youthful, Radiant Complexion

echinacea flower in bloom with a bee in search of nectar for herbs for acne.

Reishi Mushroom

Reishi, also known as the “mushroom of immortality” or Lingzhi in Chinese medicine, is a highly valued mushroom believed to offer numerous health benefits. Thanks to its calming and fortifying properties it has been claimed for centuries to strengthen both mind and body.
  • In a study investigating the anti-androgenic properties of 20 mushroom species, reishi mushrooms emerged as the most effective in preventing the conversion of testosterone into the more potent DHT (a hormone that plays a key role in the sexual development of people assigned male at birth). Elevated levels of DHT are associated with conditions like acne, making this finding particularly noteworthy.3
How it’s used: This versatile mushroom is available in numerous forms: from teas and tinctures to capsules and even coffee substitutes. It has also found its way into skincare products, attesting to its broad spectrum of potential applications.

Burdock Root

Burdock is a leading detoxifying herb in both Chinese and Western herbal medicine. It’s commonly used for conditions resulting from an excess of toxins. Both the root and seeds work to purify the body of waste, with the root being especially effective at removing heavy metals.4
  • Research found that special peptides from burdock root can fight acne bacteria and act as an antioxidant without harming healthy skin cells.5
How it’s used: Burdock root is used in the form of tinctures and prepared as a decoction or a long steeping tea (this extraction method is used for drawing medicinal properties from harder, woodier herbs).


Echinacea, a plant native to North America, is an important medicinal herb. Studies indicate that echinacea boosts the body’s defense mechanisms against bacterial and viral infections by enhancing the immune system. Not only is echinacea effective for common ailments like colds and the flu, but it also aids in the support of skin issues such as acne and boils.6
  • Researchers have found that an herbal extract made from echinacea could be a promising alternative for acne support. This extract not only kills the acne-causing bacteria but also reduces inflammation in skin cells.7
How it’s used: Echinacea is commonly available in various forms such as extracts, tinctures, and capsules. Although it can be used on its own, it’s frequently included in formulas or blended teas.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil, derived from the tea tree native to Australia, is a natural antiseptic that’s effective for soothing stings, burns, wounds, and various skin infections. Its therapeutic properties were first researched in the 1920s and have since gained widespread use in Australia, Europe, and North America. 8
  • An Australian study found that both tea tree oil and the commonly used benzoyl peroxide are effective in treating mild to moderate acne. Tea tree oil stands apart due to its fewer side effects, making it a potentially better and more comfortable option for acne support.9
How it’s used: Search for skin care products that include tea tree oil or you can also create your own at-home acne cream by adding 5 drops of tea tree essential oil to 1 tsp base cream and apply 3 times a day.10 Note of caution: Remember to always do a patch test when trying new herbal products on your skin, and consult your healthcare provider before starting any new supplementation, especially if you’re pregnant, nursing, or have existing health conditions. apothecary shelves filled with glass jars full of dried herbs for herbs for acne.

Your Natural Journey to Flawless Skin

Your quest for clear, radiant skin is a journey unique to you, it reflects not just your aesthetic goals but also your overall well-being and self-confidence. As a Naturopathic Doctor and advocate for natural skincare, I’m here to equip you with the knowledge and tools you need to make informed choices that nourish and rejuvenate your skin. Interested in learning more about herbal medicine and a holistic approach to treating your acne? Schedule a 15-minute introductory call with me today. Together, we’ll tap into the rich bounty of nature’s pharmacy and craft a personalized skincare regimen that addresses your individual needs and lifestyle. I’m excited to be a part of your journey toward achieving the clear, vibrant skin you dream of!

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Disclaimer This content is solely for educational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement or recommendation of any specific medical or health treatment. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications, or receiving medical treatment, consult your healthcare professional before using any herbal products. Always inform your primary healthcare provider about any herbs or supplements you’re taking, as they can cause side effects, trigger individual sensitivities, or interact with medications.


  1. “The Role of Herbal Medicine in the Treatment of Acne Vulgaris – NCBI.” 15 Jun. 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9217581/.
  2.  “Acne: Types, Causes, Treatment & Prevention – Cleveland Clinic.” 4 Jan. 2023, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/12233-acne.
  3. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine – Andrew Chevallier
  4. “An Update on Plant Derived Anti-Androgens – PMC – NCBI.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3693613/. Accessed 6 Sep. 2023.
  5. “Anti-Acne Action of Peptides Isolated from Burdock Root … – NCBI.” 27 Apr. 2020, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7248785/.
  6. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine – Andrew Chevallier
  7.  “The potential use of Echinacea in acne: control of Propionibacterium ….” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20830697/.
  8. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine – Andrew Chevallier
  9. A comparative study of tea‐tree oil versus benzoylperoxide in the ….” https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.5694/j.1326-5377.1990.tb126150.x.
  10. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine – Andrew Chevallier

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