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Are there alternative treatments for acne?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
There are several alternative treatments that may be recommended for acne. One of the most frequently used therapies is tea tree oil, which you can buy online or in a natural foods store. In one small study, researchers found that tea tree oil worked almost as well as benzoyl peroxide, a standard acne treatment. Tea tree oil produced fewer side effects than benzoyl peroxide. Other herbs that are sometimes recommended for acne include echinacea and chasteberry.

One very small 2010 Korean study found that acupuncture helped reduce pimples and inflamed skin. In general, however, herbal therapies and other alternative treatments for acne haven't been well studied. If you want to try an alternative treatment for acne, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor first. 

There are many alternative treatments for acne, although doctors may not confirm that all alternative treatments actually work. For women whose acne surges during menstruation, oral contraceptives may be used to control acne. For people who may have sensitivities to chemicals in soaps or cleansers, natural topical treatments such as lemon juice and tea tree oil might be used. Some people recommend certain vitamins or herbal supplements, such as Echinacea, evening primrose oil, zinc, and vitamins A, E, and B-6. Even though most doctors say that food doesn't affect acne, some people believe that a diet low in fried foods and high in vegetables, especially sources of beta carotene (like carrots, pumpkin, and cantaloupe), might help clear up acne.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.