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The truth about "miracle" acne cure


"Get rid of acne overnight with this 1 weird trick!" A few years ago, I used to scour the internet in the hope of finding the acne holy grail, some magical substance with the power to clear my acne in a flash. The idea that this miracle cure could be hiding in my kitchen cupboards made it all the more appealing. And natural home remedies have to be good for your skin... right?

My crazy kitchen science experiments were an epic fail. It wasn't until I stuck to a dermatologist's treatment programme and a sensible skincare regimen that my skin started to sparkle again. But since it's always fun to look back and laugh, here are my top five home remedy experiences, plus our associate dermatologist, Dr. Philippe Beaulieu's point of view on each "miracle" ingredient.


Baking soda: cheap, readily available and not too scary, this one seemed like a great place to start. I blended it with water to form a DIY scrub. Result? My skin turned beetroot red and tingled like crazy.

Dermatologist point of view

Baking soda is highly alkaline, meaning it will disrupt skin's naturally acidic pH. I would not recommend applying it to skin.


Toothpaste: this minty fresh paste leaves my teeth gleaming, but what could it do for my skin? Not so much as it turns out. It was far too harsh and drying, my face was left red and flaky.

Dermatologist point of view

Like baking soda, toothpaste is alkaline and will disrupt skin's natural balance. I would not recommend a patient apply toothpaste to his or her face, especially when there are so many targeted solutions available.


Coconut oil: I tried this one in winter when my skin was a little dry. Vloggers seem to be going wild about its ability to moisturize. I did find it a bit oily and later read it's pretty comedogenic. Definitely no acne cure.

Dermatologist point of view

Coconut oil is an effective emollient for dry skin, but it is not a targeted acne treatment.


Tea tree oil: Online forums are full of praise for this natural anti-septic. To give praise where it's due, it did seem to help with my breakouts, but it just wasn't enough of a comprehensive solution to control my acne in the long-term.

Dermatologist point of view

Tea tree oil has proven anti-septic properties, so you could do worse, but it won't have any effect on the clogged pilosebaceous ducts responsible for acne.


Sudocrem: I found this one on an online acne forum, people were raving about its spot-calming properties. I applied a thin layer to my blemishes and left it on overnight. In the morning, they were a tad less red, but nothing life-changing.

Dermatologist point of view

Sudocrem is an effective barrier cream, which is useful for cuts and grazes, but it won't address the causes of acne - clogged pores that get infected.

As you can see, the take-home message is simple: DIY remedies, weird tricks and "miracle cures" often makes things worse rather than better and they are no substitute for the real dermatological deal. Common sense and targeted treatments backed up by informed skincare choices are always going to trump anything you can find in your parents' kitchen cupboards!