DIY Skincare: How Making My Own Products Cleared My Acne

DIY skincare recipes for acne-prone skin

The year was 2017, and I thought I was finally safe from the hormonal wreckage of acne-filled puberty and teenagehood. But suddenly, amidst my new life of exciting ~adulting~ things, like working at my first corporate job and moving into my first apartment, my face exploded with acne. It was painful, throbbing, and always left a scar. I was perplexed. Why now, as an adult?

I spent months trying different skincare routines and brands, including popular products from No. 7, Rodan + Fields, and Clinique. I even tried every drugstore acne face wash out there. I meditated, said affirmations, and stopped wearing makeup to work. But nothing seemed to work, and I felt hopeless. It was during this time that I realized the intense impact acne can have on mental health.

The DIY Skincare

Coincidentally, my bad year of acne happened to align with my first attempt at living a low-waste and clean beauty-based lifestyle. As I scrolled through Pinterest, I came across a recipe for a DIY moisturizer and cleanser. Having tried everything else with no success, I decided to give it a shot. After all, if store-bought products weren’t helping, why not make my own instead of wasting more money?

I headed to the local health-food store to gather the ingredients for the moisturizer (shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil, vitamin E oil, carrot seed oil, and tea tree oil) and the cleanser (honey, castile soap, jojoba oil, tea tree oil, and lavender oil). Feeling like a mad scientist, I mixed them in my kitchen until I had a somewhat lumpy bowl of white moisturizer and a milky brown cleanser.

The Results

To my surprise, after a week of using my DIY skincare concoctions, my skin started to magically clear up. Dermatologist Joyce Imahiyerobo-Ip, MD, CEO of Vibrant Dermatology in Boston, MA, explains that the key ingredients in my DIY skincare routine have anti-inflammatory properties. This could explain why my DIY products were surprisingly effective.

Tea tree oil, a common ingredient in both my recipes, targets acne-causing bacteria called Cutibacterium acnes, or C. acnes. Additionally, honey has anti-inflammatory properties, while carrot seed and vitamin E oils have antioxidant-like properties. Even coconut oil, which is known to be pore-clogging for many people, seemed to have a positive effect on my acne-causing bacteria due to its high lauric acid content.

The Aftermath

Reflecting on my experience, I realize that I had beginner’s luck. Everything I tried happened to be exactly what my face needed. However, if I could go back, the first thing I would do is consult a dermatologist. Not only can a dermatologist diagnose your skin issues and provide a proper skincare regimen, but it can also save you from a ton of trial and error.

Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip warns about the potential risks of using DIY skincare products. Improper dilution of essential oils can cause contact allergies or severe rashes on the skin. Additionally, certain oils may be pore-clogging, especially for those with oily, acne-prone skin. Hygienic risks also exist as DIY products lack the preservatives found in store-bought products to prevent bacterial growth and skin infections.

Furthermore, not all skin conditions that resemble acne are actually acne. Therefore, using DIY products might not only be ineffective but may also worsen the condition. Dr. Naana Boakye, a dermatologist and owner of Bergen Dermatology in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, advises against DIY acne treatments. She emphasizes that many acne products on the market incorporate natural acne fighters at safe concentrations for the skin.

Final Thoughts

If you’re determined to make your own skincare products, involving a dermatologist in the process is crucial. They can guide you in selecting the right products and ensure they fit your needs. Here are the exact recipes I used for my cleanser and moisturizer. However, remember to consult a dermatologist first, patch-test any new ingredients, and wait 24 hours to check for any adverse reactions.

✨ My DIY cleanser recipe: ✨


  • 1/3 cup of castile soap
  • 1/3 cup of raw honey
  • 3 tbsp of distilled or boiled water
  • 1 tsp of jojoba oil
  • 1 tsp of tea tree oil
  • 1 tsp lavender oil (optional)


  1. Add all the ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and mix thoroughly.
  2. Pour the mixture into a small spray bottle, using a funnel to avoid spilling.
  3. Shake before each use, as the oils tend to separate.

✨ My DIY moisturizer recipe: ✨


  • 1/4 cup of shea butter
  • 2 tbsp of coconut oil
  • 1 tsp of jojoba oil
  • 1 tsp of tea tree oil
  • 1 tsp of vitamin E oil
  • 1 tsp of carrot seed oil


  1. Add all the ingredients to a medium-sized bowl and whisk them together vigorously. An electric mixer works best to break up any chunks of coconut oil, but whisking manually works too.

In conclusion, while my DIY products worked for me, it was mostly due to luck. It’s essential to seek professional advice from a dermatologist before embarking on a DIY skincare journey. Be patient with yourself and your skincare routine, as it may take time to see results. Remember, professionals have developed safe and effective acne products that incorporate natural ingredients.