3 Non-Toxic & Cruelty-Free Ways to Treat Adult Acne (That Don’t Involve a Cabbage Poultice)

I think we can all agree that ‘adult’ and ‘acne’ shouldn’t appear in the same sentence, let alone next to one another. Seriously. Surely there are some things you should only have go through once? Annoyingly, adult acne is a reality for many of us.

It’s also not as uncommon as you might think. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “about 40 million to 50 million Americans have acne at any one time.” Knowing you’re not the only one helps, but a solution to the problem would be better.

Hormone fluctuations, stress and diet are the most common causes of adult acne. Other less obvious reasons for a skin breakout include switching skincare products too often and hairstyling products, which apparently seep oil onto the forehead. Ew!

With that in mind, dealing with the issue can vary. Exfoliating regularly will help, as will keeping a spot treatment on hand to deal with any unpleasant surprises. In severe cases, taking medication to level out those pesky hormones may be required.

adult acne

Non-Toxic, Cruelty-Free Adult Acne Treatments

Whichever approach you take, it’s important to ensure that it’s non-toxic and cruelty-free. These options do a great job of ticking both boxes. Even better, none of them involve covering your face in cabbage paste.

1. Adopt a Plant-Based Diet

Your skin is your largest organ. It protects you from the outside world, while detoxing from within. If everything is operating smoothly, it’ll get on with its job without you even knowing about it. But, when things aren’t so great on the inside, it’s going to reflect on the outside.

We all know that eating too much junk food or candy can result in a zit fiasco, but more and more studies are linking dairy and high-glycemic index foods to acne.

In their Ultimate Guide to Acne-Free Skin, PETA recommends switching to a plant-based diet. Along with being low in the pore-clogging saturated fats found in animal products, it’s also rich in essential vitamins, antioxidant and fiber, which together flush out toxins and provide a healthy glow.

Remember though, you won’t get the same results if you eat vegan junk food. You need to load up on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans if you want in on that glow. (You know, just in case you thought you’d be pigging out on animal friendly donuts.)

2. Drink Plenty of Water

In comparison to dietary changes and other topical remedies, upping your water intake can seem like an underwhelming solution to adult acne. But it’s actually more important than you might imagine. Because your body is made up of 60 percent water, being under-hydrated can compromise your skin’s ability to remove waste products.

This can lead to toxins, bodily waste and bacteria being trapped inside your skin, which in turn can result in acne. Being pimple-free is one of many benefits of drinking enough water. Proper hydrations can also yield an increase in energy levels and promote weight loss.

How much water you should drink will vary depending on your age, gender and health, although the standard rule of thumb is eight glasses a day. It is possible to drink too much water, so make sure you do your homework before chugging back gallons of the stuff.

3. Cruelty-Free, Vegan Skincare Products

Treating acne from the inside is hugely beneficial, but combining it with a topical approach is even better. Especially in the beginning, when your skin is still flaring up and super sensitive.

There are many acne treatments on the market, but a lot of them are either toxic or tested on animals (sometimes both). Fortunately, there are plenty of cruelty-free products that are free from harmful ingredients and will make short work of your acne without causing harm to you, the environment or the creatures we share it with.

Since you’re halfway there, you might as well to make the switch to cruelty-free cosmetics for all your body care requirements. It’s not that big of a leap, and you’ll be making a world of difference, so why not?

Take Action

Why is it so difficult to find cruelty-free cosmetics when there are plenty of alternatives to animal ingredients and animal testing? If you think it’s time to stop unnecessary animal testing, join over half a million others and sign and share the petition asking Congress to pass the Humane Cosmetics Act.

If you want to make a difference on an issue you find deeply troubling, you too can create a Care2 petition, and use this handy guide to get started. You’ll find Care2’s vibrant community of activists ready to step up and help you.


Photo Credit: Getty Images


Olivia H
Olivia H4 days ago

thanks for posting

Hannah A
Hannah A20 days ago

Thanks for sharing

Chad Anderson
Chad Andersonabout a month ago

Thank you.

Dennis Hall
Dennis Habout a month ago


Anna R
Anna R1 months ago


David C
David C1 months ago

do your best

David C
David C1 months ago

I feel sad for the woman in the picture in the top of the article.....

Danuta W
Danuta Watola1 months ago

Thanks for sharing

Janet B
Janet B1 months ago


Ruth S
Ruth S1 months ago