The zit remedy (Day 85)…


I realize that headline caters strictly to fans of Degrassi, but I couldn’t resist. At least the cartoon above, courtesy of the snortingly hilarious Natalie Dee caters to pretty much everyone, unless you’re some perfect, zit-free being, in which case I want nothing to do with you. Just go. Go!

Yes, the sad reality of life is that acne is much like that weird guy from accounting with the stain-resistant khakis who’s always the last one to leave the party: You can’t help but sigh and roll your eyes when it shows up, and when it’s still lingering by the empty keg at 2 a.m. you just want to squeeze his head until it pops.

Even if I clean my face regularly, eat tons of healthy crap and try super hard to be stress-free, I still get zits, usually at the most inconvenient times and even more inconvenient places (my personal favourite is right between the eyes).

Treatment up until now has consisted of trying to mentally will it back into submission and Oxy, but both have led to disappointing results. In fact, sometimes I think this stuff actually makes the zits bigger. Then, I checked the expiry date on the bottle, which might explain things: it was March, 2003 (what can I say, it lasts forever; it could probably even withstand a nuclear bomb).

I had to throw it out, not really because it was expired but because it was completely ineffective. Of course, zits are ineffective too, but they don’t seem to be getting ready to leave any time soon. So I went looking for an alternative. I’m slowly getting better at remembering that the words “natural” and “organic” don’t necessarily mean the product is toxin-free, and I’d already put a couple things back on the shelf after seeing all the parabens and stuff I couldn’t pronounce in the ingredients list.

Then I came across Dr. Burt’s Herbal Blemish Stick, which admits to being only 99% natural — I’ll forgive that one percent of evil — and contains safe stuff like willow bark, juniper, calendula and tea tree oil. It stings a little, which I like, and while it doesn’t zap the suckers into oblivion, it does seem to work better than the Oxy. I also like that it comes in a glass container rather than plastic.

25 Responses to The zit remedy (Day 85)…

  1. Cynthia says:

    I am SO glad to see this post! What did I get for my 35th bday this week? a chin full of ZITS before a romantic getaway!!! arrrggg. I’d like to say it was the stress of aging, but alas, no.

    Thanks for the recommendation. I’m going to search for your product recommendation. Where did you make your purchase?

  2. Why are we always so on the same page? I need some eco organic help extra super fast. No… not a zit but same idea. I am allergic to pepper. So is my mom. We get these horrible blisers from it that resenble cold sores but aren’t. They last for about 7 days and start as little blisters and by day 6 are big scary gross scabs and always around the mouth area. I woke up with one this morning (thanks to a sprinkle of pepper on my eggs last night) and on day 5 of this blister adventure I will be making my debut as my boyfriend’s girlfriend at a wedding… suggestions anyone? pleeeeeeze. Vanessa- does it say anything on the stick about helping disfiguring facial burns that look like herpes?

  3. besweet says:

    You could always try tea tree oil, Vanessa. Juice Beauty (sold at Sephora) also makes an anti-blemish serum, though I haven’t tried it.

    healthycookie, I’m not sure what would help you (my sympathies!) but maybe an anti-histamine? Something to cut the allergic reaction?

  4. GreenYogini says:

    Healthycookie – I knew someone who used to get cold sores/fever blisters around the mouth after eating tomato products, but the only remedy he used was to avoid tomatoes. 😉

    I’ve heard that dabbing tea tree oil on both zits and cold sores (or mystery pepper blisters?) works well, but you’d have to dab it on several times a day. Also, I’m not sure what the safe ratio blend of tea tree to carrier oil is, but you should check that if you intend to apply the tea tree oil directly to the skin. There may also be supplements you can take to speed the healing and/or to prevent an “outbreak” in the future. (I’m thinking of l-lysine for cold sores, and zinc, vitamin E, and essential fatty acids like fish oil or evening primrose oil for skin.) Be sure to ask a professional and do your homework before taking any supplements or vitamins.

  5. GreenYogini says:

    I’ve tried Juice Beauty’s product and wouldn’t recommend it. Although the company appears to be working hard to fit the eco-lifestyle (no parabens, organic ingredients, etc.), I still have a few gripes.

    First, the product works about as well (or as poorly) as any other product, but is about 3x the cost of over-the-counter or home remedies, and it stinks! I did notice, though, that it didn’t dry out my skin as most other products do. The other good news is that it comes with an eye-dropper so you can (and should!) use it sparingly. For a while I was convinced it worked better than any other product, and that it was a more natural product – but then my skin stopped responding and I read the label (not necessarily in that order).

    In theory, the active ingredients are natural – derived of willow bark and fruit acids…but then ALL chemicals are originally derived from some other natural ingredient – matter is neither created nor destroyed, remember? In essence, if fruit acids work on pimples, we should all be rubbing apples and oranges on our faces instead of buying overpriced and over-packaged face products.

    I found a list of the product’s ingredients by Google-ing “juice beauty”, then hopping on Sephora’s web site. One of the ingredients (albeit toward the end of the list) is sodium hydroxide. Here’s what Wikipedia says about it: Or how about this link: Not so sure I want to be putting THAT on my face!

    It also contains vitamin A, which makes the skin sensitive and highly susceptible to burning. I can’t remember if the label cautions against wearing it in the sun or not, but it should.

    I haven’t checked on the Burt’s Bees ingredients yet, so I can’t make a comparison. But I think for now I’ll stick with tea tree oil.

  6. GreenYogini says:

    Oops, I forgot to qualify the type of skin “burning” in response to vitamin A is SUNBURN.

  7. Vanessa says:

    Oh no! How come all these years I’ve had no idea you were allergic to pepper? Hmm, I don’t know if tea tree oil would do it… maybe zinc or peneten cream or something… i sometimes get little cracks at the sides of my mouth — which, also, are not cold sores but result from dry lips and drooling in my sleep or something — and i always put some peneten cream on them as well as canesten (yes, it’s usually for yeast infections, but it helps with blisters too). Seems to work for me, although you should put it on at night so you don’t have to walk around school with white stuff on your mouth 🙂

  8. sandy says:

    I’m not sure that this will help, but I have extremely sensitive skin and horrendous chemical allergies, and one thing that works for me is a product called “Prosacea”

    It is basically sulfur. It helps the skin heal itself. I have adult acne (thanks for sharing, I’m sure) and this is the only thing that I can put on my face that doesn’t make me blow up like a balloon with an allergic reaction.

    Wash your face at night, and then wear this when you go to bed. I can’t use it under makeup at all — only at night. Works magic on me.

    Can’t hurt to try. You can get it at Walgreens. (at least you can here in Oregon) You can also buy it on

    Tea Tree oil drys out your skin horribly. If you have scabs you can scar your skin with that treatment.

    Be careful!

  9. Andrea D says:

    Ok.. I use ProActiv and it works really well for me. I don’t know about the whole natural, organic part of it – it is most likely NOT however it does a really great job and it doesn’t test on animals 🙂

  10. John E says:

    hey for zits try aubrey organics amino derm gel. It works awesome for my acne. certified organic, and no chemicals at all. I usually put it on before bed and wake up to a clear face.

  11. Alina says:

    Vanessa, did u have it the same when you were still on the pill or is it worse now? If your hormones are still in turmoil from getting off the pill recently, it could be that it will calm down once your hormones stabilize…

  12. Angela says:

    Thanks for this post. I’ve been battling with this crap for a while now. Nothing seems to work and it seems like I have more acne now than I did as a teen. I saw the Burt’s stuff the other day but didn’t make the jump to buying. I’ll be giving it a try. Believe me, anything is better than having to face teenagers each day with more acne than them. :o)

  13. tinybutterfly says:

    Try just a dab of honey. You can also wash your face with honey, though the Kiss My Face soap you are using is also very nice.

  14. linda says:

    Okay,you know about egg white masks? Forget it.Use an egg yolk mask.It’s supposed to help your zits go away,because of the vitamen A content.Pat on,let dry,wash off. Can’t hurt!

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