How To Use Garlic For Acne Treatment

Many people enjoy garlic for the distinctive taste which is used to provide flavor to a wide range of culinary dishes.

But it’s also been used since the beginning of known history for the health benefits it provides and its ability to treat diseases.

It was used in ancient Egypt to increase workers productivity and strength, while the ancient Greeks and Romans also used it to protect the skin and treat cardiovascular and pulmonary complaints.

It’s still used today as a natural medicine to treat a variety of ailments. One of the conditions it’s claimed to be beneficial for is acne.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the scientific evidence that might indicate a usefulness as a home remedy, and how to use garlic for acne treatment.

What Is Garlic?

how to use garlic for acne prone skin

Garlic (Allium sativum) is a bulbous plant that’s closely related to other well-known edible plants such as the onion, leek, and chive.

Originating in central Asia, it also has a long history of use in Mediterranean countries, and today garlic can be found all over the world. In mild climates it can grow throughout the year, and in cold climates it’s planted in autumn to harvest in the spring and summer.

Its major use worldwide is as a flavoring for food, but it’s also used as a part of traditional medicine for the treatment of (1):

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Yeast infections
  • Bronchitis

The major biologically active compound that’s present in garlic is called allicin. This is created upon biting, crushing, or chopping a clove of garlic, from a reaction between the enzyme allinase and a compound called alliin (2).

It also contains other compounds that provide health benefits, such as the sulfur compound ajoene, bioflavanoids, and amino acids.

But, despite promising studies demonstrating the potential therapeutic effects of the compounds found in garlic, there still needs to be large clinical trials to confirm its effectiveness for treating a variety of disorders and diseases.


Is Garlic Good For Acne?

Anecdotal reports from people who have used it as part of their treatment routine suggest that it could have beneficial effects.

But, no clinical trials have been conducted to examine the effectiveness of garlic for treating acne.

However, scientific studies into its constituents have shown a number of properties that could make it useful.


Garlic is packed full of powerful antioxidants, with allicin, ajoene, and a phenolic compound called allixin prominent among them.

Also of importance are two amino acid derivatives, the organosulfur compounds S-allylmercaptocysteine and S-allylcysteine.

Studies have shown that these compounds can neutralize free radicals and protect against UV-induced lipid peroxidation (3).

This is potentially very useful for the prevention and treatment of acne.

One of the most important stages in the development of an acne infection is generally considered to be the free radical damage that occurs to sebum in the skin's pores upon exposure to UV radiation from the sun.

This creates the ideal conditions for the acne bacteria, P. acnes, to thrive.

The antioxidants contained in garlic could help to protect against this process.


Acne is an inflammatory disease, and the inflammation caused by the bacterial colonization of the skin pores leads to the characteristic lesions that can be observed on the skin.

So the anti-inflammatory properties of garlic could prove useful in reducing acne.

Garlic contains the sulphurous compounds allicin, thiacremonone, and 1,2-vinyldithiin that have been shown in studies to have anti-inflammatory properties (4, 5, 6).


The allicin in garlic also gives it antibacterial properties that have been demonstrated in laboratory studies against a range of bacteria (7).

When applied topically, this could potentially reduce the acne infection.

But, no studies have been carried out to examine its activity against the acne bacteria.


How To Use Garlic For Acne

To obtain its health benefits, raw garlic can be eaten daily. With the huge amount of antioxidants it packs, this is a great addition to an acne patient’s diet.

But, be careful of cooking it at high temperatures. This could destroy the allicin and reduce its beneficial effects.

Garlic pills also won’t have the same benefit for acne.

Allicin and many of the other biologically active compounds in garlic can also be absorbed by the skin when applied topically.

But be careful about applying garlic paste directly to your skin without mixing it first with a more gentle natural ingredient. Garlic paste on its own can burn your skin.

Here are some recipes that you can try:


Garlic Paste For Acne

Be very careful applying garlic paste to your skin, because it will burn when used on its own. This paste is best used when mixed in small quantities with the other natural ingredients in the following recipes.

Directions For Use:

1. Get 2 cloves of garlic.

2. Peel the cloves.

3. Use a press to crush the cloves, or chop finely with a knife and crush with the flat of the blade to create the paste.


Garlic Juice For Acne

Garlic JuiceYou can drink garlic juice. Or, you can mix the garlic juice with water before applying it to your face, as described in the method below.

Directions For Use:

1. Get 1 garlic bulb.

2. Peel the bulb and break up the cloves.

3. Peel the cloves.

4. Use a garlic press to crush the cloves and create a puree.

5. Place the puree in a strainer and collect the juice in a bowl.

6. Place a coffee filter over another bowl and pour the juice through it to remove any other material and leave pure juice.

7. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the bowl and mix together.

8. Use a brush or your fingers to apply the diluted juice to your acne.

9. Leave on your skin for 10-15 minutes and then wash off again.

10. Listen to your skin. If it's uncomfortable in less than 10 minutes then wash it off.

11. Use daily.


Garlic And Honey Face Mask For Acne

Scientific studies have shown that honey has antibacterial qualities and that it can help acne patients to treat their condition (8).

Directions For Use:

1. Get 2 cloves of garlic and a jar of raw, organic honey.

2. First prepare the garlic paste using the cloves of garlic.

3. Put the paste in a bowl and add 1 tablespoon of honey to the bowl.

4. Mix the ingredients together.

5. Use your fingers to apply it your face.

6. Leave the mixture on the skin for 10-15 minutes, less if it starts to feel uncomfortable.

7. Wash the mixture off your face with warm water.

8. Use 2-3 times per week.


Tomato Paste And Garlic For Acne

Tomato paste contains lycopene which is an antioxidant that can be absorbed by the skin and can protect against UV radiation (9).

Directions For Use:

1. Get a tube or jar of tomato paste and 2 cloves of garlic.

2. Prepare the garlic clove to make a paste as in the recipe above.

3. Mix the garlic paste with 3 teaspoons of tomato paste in a small bowl.

4. Use a brush or your fingertips to apply the paste mixture to the affected areas.

5. Leave on your skin for approximately 10-15 minutes.

6. Wash off again with warm water.

7. Use each day.


Aloe Vera And Garlic For Acne

Aloe vera is good to mix with garlic because it’s soothing for the skin.

Directions For Use:

1. Get a jar of Aloe vera gel and a bulb of garlic.

2. Prepare the bulb of garlic to make juice as described above.

3. Put 1 tablespoon of Aloe vera gel into a small bowl.

4. Add the garlic juice and mix together.

5. Apply the mixture to your acne affected area.

6. Leave on your skin for 10-15 minutes and then wash off again.

7. Repeat daily. You can use it just 2-3 times each week if every day feels like too much for your skin.


Garlic And Yogurt For Acne

Fresh, natural yogurt contains probiotic bacteria that are beneficial for the skin and can help to reduce acne (10).

Directions For Use:

1. Get a carton of fresh organic yogurt and a clove of garlic.

2. Make a paste using the clove as described above.

3. Put the paste in a bowl.

4. Add 1 tablespoon of the yogurt and stir together.

5. Use your fingertips to spread it over the acne affected areas.

6. Wash it off again after 10-15 minutes

7. Use daily.


Ginger Garlic And Honey Face Mask For Acne

Ginger can be used for acne treatment due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties (11).

Directions For Use:

1. Get a large piece of ginger root, a bulb of garlic, and a jar of raw organic honey.

2. Cut off roughly a 100 g piece of ginger and peel it.

3. Put 1/2 a cup of water in a blender.

4. Chop the piece of ginger into chunks and add it to the blender.

5. Break the garlic bulb into the cloves and peel them.

6. Add the garlic cloves to the blender.

7. Blend the garlic and ginger together until it forms a paste.

8. Add a teaspoon of the paste to a bowl.

9. Add 1 tablespoon of honey to the bowl.

10. Mix together.

11. Apply the mixture to your face using your hands.

12. Leave it on your face for around 10-15 minutes.

13. Wash it off your skin using warm water.

14. Use 2-3 times each week.

15. Keep the extra garlic and ginger paste in a sealed container in the fridge for further use.


Garlic Turmeric and Aloe Vera For Acne

Turmeric has antibacterial properties due to the curcumin it contains. This has been shown to be effective against the acne bacteria in scientific studies (12).

Directions For Use:

1. Get some turmeric powder, a bulb of garlic, and some Aloe vera gel.

2. Make garlic juice from the bulb as explained above.

3. Add 2 tablespoons of Aloe vera gel to a bowl.

4. Add the garlic juice.

5. Add a teaspoon of turmeric

6. Mix together well using a fork or spoon.

7. Rub the mixture gently on to your acne affected skin.

8. Leave it on your skin for 10-15 minutes and then wash off again.

9. Keep the extra mixture in a sealed container in the fridge.

10. Use each day, or 2-3 times per week if this feels better for your skin.


Side Effects And Precautions

  • As mentioned above, garlic can burn your skin if it's not diluted adequately, so take care and listen to your skin. Dilute the recipes further and reduce the time left on the skin if necessary.
  • Before using diluted paste or juice on your acne, test a small amount of the mixture on the back of your wrist for 10-15 minutes to see how your skin reacts.
  • Avoid consuming large amounts of garlic if you are pregnant or breast-feeding (13).


Final Thoughts

Due to the large amount of antioxidants it contains, it’s good for acne patients to add raw garlic to their diet.

Some people claim success from using it topically for acne treatment, with improvements in acne and pimples sometimes seen overnight. But, you have to be very careful when doing so as garlic can burn the skin.

People with sensitive skin might want to avoid this natural treatment, as it’s one of the harsher home remedies for acne.

It’s worth being aware that clinical trials are yet to be performed to confirm its effectiveness.

If you choose to try garlic on your skin go very easy with it at first to limit the harmful side effects.

Have you tried garlic for acne? Let us know about your experience with it.

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