DIY Acne Cream aka Why I Wore Sunscreen At Night

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Today, I’m sharing a surprisingly simple Homemade Blemish Cream.

Summer is basically over, but you won’t find me putting my sunscreen away anytime soon.  Why?  Let me tell you.

DIY acne cream on woman's face

I’ve had problem skin on and off my whole life, with the worst bout being in my mid to late 20s.  I had acne so bad.  I tried all everything it seemed.  Things that I had bought in drugstores and off of informercials — acne cream, topical antibiotics, Clearasil®, Sea Breeze®…  Pretty much you name it.

It got so bad that I talked to my doctor about Accutane.  Scary stuff, that is.  They make you take blood tests regularly to make sure it isn’t damaging your liver, and you have to take birth control at the same time since if you have a baby while taking Accutane you’re basically guaranteed to have a horribly deformed child.

Anyhow, I tried everything.  Eventually, my problems got better.  I don’t even remember what changed, but it might have been my stopping some of my gluten over-indulgence.  I remember going through a period of thinking I had a wheat allergy at some point around that time in my life, so it’s possible that a reduction in my gluten intake reduced my symptoms.

However, even though I am quite a bit older now, I occasionally get breakouts — sometimes worse than others.  I have tried, with varying success, grapefruit essential oil, an antibacterial essential oils blend (that worked quite well on and off), putting straight alcohol on a cotton swab and holding it on the offending spot (ouch), castor oil packs on my liver (helpful when the breakout has to do with a detox / liver clogging issue), and yet still I find myself needing something more to deal with the offending zits.

So this summer, I got some new ammunition against breakouts.


Yes, you heard me.

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The Unusual Origin of This DIY Acne Cream

I was at a convention that turned into a vacation afterwards, where I met Dr. “Wiggy” and Emily Saunders.  We really connected.  Dr. “Wiggy” specializes in thyroid issues and Emily is a trainer. You can imagine why we connected, right :)?  And they are just lovely people.  The kind you feel like you could hang out with a lot if you lived closer.

We talked about all kinds of things, but one crazy thing that Emily told me is that she had a great way to deal with acne.

Zinc oxide!

I was in shock.

I discuss zinc oxide in this post about sunscreen safety tips (hint: it’s considered to be safe as long as it isn’t nano zinc oxide), but I had never heard of it being used for acne.

I was sure game, though.  Why not?

When I got home from our work/vacation, I just had to try it out. I had a variety of sunscreens at home so I tried it.  And it worked!

And whenever I’ve had a small breakout since (which is very rare since I’ve worked hard on my overall health), instead of using sunscreen, I’ve used this DIY acne cream and it’s really worked.

So basically, since zinc oxide is in most safe sunscreens, you could use sunscreen on your face, like I did.  Or, you can make your very own Homemade Acne Treatment.

I've tried all kinds of acne treatments, but this zinc oxide really worked! Here's a great Homemade Acne Treatment & find out why I wore sunscreen at night!

Concerns About Zinc Oxide Safety

So, does it matter what kind of zinc oxide you buy?

Well, you could just go online and buy whatever zinc oxide you see, but you really don’t know what you are getting.

1.  Zinc oxide can be contaminated with other heavy metals.  Read more about heavy metals in cosmetics and contamination here.

2.  Zinc oxide can be sources in many places, including countries with questionable manufacturing standards.

3.  The particle size of the zinc oxide may be a concern.  The reason being is that if the particles are really small (nano particles), then they might be able to penetrate the skin.

In general, basically it seems that we don’t know enough about nanoparticles in sunscreen or other topical products to know if it’s really a problem or not, but I would personally rather err on the side of caution.

For one, I am do not recommend using spray sunscreen because for sure there is a risk from inhaling these compounds.

Basically, if you want to not have white cream all over yourself, you do need a small zinc oxide particle, but it’s best to go with the largest particle size that you can.

Where to Buy Zinc Oxide

The solution?

Buy a zinc oxide product that you can trust.

The brand I am recommending today is Raise Them Well.

Kid-safe zinc oxide powder

Raise Them Well zinc oxide:

1. is from Canada (i.e. not from China, etc.)
2. has been tested for heavy metals (less than 10 ppm which is technically “lead free”).
3. has a large particle size.

The size of the particles is the largest on the market and the size of the particles is determined by mesh size, meaning that the particles are strained through a mesh that shows how large the particles are by which particles will not go through the mesh.

And you also get a free Ebook with other personal care recipes using zinc oxide like Diaper Cream, lip balm, and Sunscreen!

And zinc oxide doesn’t spoil so you can use it next year too (and the year after…and the year after….)

face with spot cream

DIY Blemish Cream

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  • Blend all ingredients together in a small jar.
  • Apply a dot to affected area.
  • Store in refrigerator for better redness reduction.
Tried this recipe?Mention @wholenewmom or tag #wholenewmom!

Other Blemish Treatment Options:

In addition to a spot treatment like this, it’s sometimes a good idea to have a whole face system. Also, if you don’t feel like making your own homemade blemish treatment, or aren’t able to sometimes here are some alternatives.


Beautycounter has recently launched a whole line of blemish-control products and they are getting rave reviews.

Here’s the full line of Countercontrol products.

full line of Beautycounter Countercontrol like acne treatment, gel cleanser, gel cream, toner and spot treatment.

The whole line is great for someone with truly oily skin, but otherwise, just the Spot Treatment plus perhaps one other product. Otherwise it could be too drying. Please reach out to me by either commenting or at adrienne {at} wholenewmom {dot} com for help choosing products.

Beautycounter SOS Acne Spot Treatment

Beautycounter’s Overnight Peel is great for skin turnover which is typically a huge help for acne-troubled skin.

For another overnight treatment option, the Charcoal Mask works great.  Just put a dab on a zit and it’s typically gone or significantly reduced in the morning.

Beautycounter Charcoal Mask - a fabulous acne treatment that really works!

I’ve even used it on cystic acne with fabulous results.  My son loves it too.  He doesn’t get many pimples as a teen (I think it’s due to his good diet) but for the ones he gets, this works like a dream.

The Beautycounter Charcoal Bar is also great.  I use it on the oh so occasional blemish–just put a bit of water on the bar, and rub it very gently on my skin and then wash off.  Then I follow up with other skincare products.  You can use it as a weekly or bi-weekly wash to keep blemishes away.

The Charcoal Bar lasts a very very very long time, works great for chest and back blemishes too, isn’t drying, and is made of super clean ingredients.  (It’s a great stain remover as well!)

If you are having acne in many places on your face you could wash with this first too, of course.

charcoal bar from Beautycounter

Speaking of soap, to keep yours lasting a LONG time, make sure to get these Soap Savers. SO much better than regular soap dishes that end up making your soap all goopy and runny on the bottom.

Read about what I love about Beautycounter here.  They have amazing cosmetics too.  And since heavy metals in cosmetics is a big problem, they test each and every batch.

So what are you waiting for?
Tell those pimples good-bye with your new DIY acne cream!

What acne remedies have you tried?
How have they worked?

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Recipe Rating



  1. I made this although I’m not quiet sure what to do next lol, if it’s a cream it jus dries hard if it a wash then great,because I weren’t sure I just washed it off once it ad dried with warn water it must have take a few minutes to come off completely
    My face feels fresh now though

  2. Hi! This zinco oxide recipe for acne sounds great. I just went on Amazon and found the ingredients. I’m wondering though, would adding hydrogen peroxide to the mix be helpful? I saw food grade, 3% and 35% peroxide. The cream I use now is 10% and works pretty well. I’ve been using zinc baby rash cream for other skin irritations for years and it’s great, but I never thought of using it on acne. I guess I assumed it would clog my pores. What are your thoughts?

    1. I don’t know – why would you want to add that? I think you really need to be careful w/ peroxide on your skin. It can damage mucous membranes. The really strong stuff will burn your skin off – literally! Are you sure you are using a peroxide cream?

  3. I have whiteheads. They are frustrating. I am fifty four years of age and am recently divorced. Needless to say I do not feel very good about myself. Does zinc oxide help to dry up whiteheads? I have tried everything and BPeroxide doesn’t help much and neither does SAcid. I have tried many home remedies.

    1. Hi Pattie. I’m sorry you are dealing with this. I think it’s worth a try. I can maybe help with some other products? I love the charcoal products here: . They are great spot treatments or overall to prevent. I have some other ideas as well. I will shoot you an email.

  4. I use Zinc regularly on my skin due to enviromental issues I have been suffering with for a couple years. It is wonderful for many personal care products. It had anti fungal properties as well. Clears up poison ivy and oak. Main ingredient in butt cream for little ones. I second a comment on deodorant with zinc. I am not sure why that would not be the main active ingredient in deodorant, to be honest. For a night cream when in need i will mix up zinc with some probiotics, zeolite and oregano oil. Additionally to zinc I have gained knowledge into enzymes and probiotics. Those three ingredients truly will change your skin and with in a short amount of time is very noticeable. Even if I had perfect skin I would never go a day without. Additionally zinc for oralcare, incredible. Never thought I would be a user of anything not clay based.

  5. My daughter just take a zinc supplement. 50mg once a day(not with magnesium as it prevents mag uptake). It prevents acne breakouts. She also takes magnesium(with it’s cofactors vit b6, mag bicarbonate, boron, vit a). Most of us at best are severely mineral deficient. See magnesium advocacy group on the web and facebook for the details.

    1. Thanks for the information. I do think I recall doing this when I was younger. So if you take the Zn away from Mg it shouldn’t affect the Mg?

      1. Yes, Adrienne. I and my kids take zinc at a different time than magnesium. The magnesium advocacy group has more info on the best types of magnesium to take and when. Just google and facebook them.

  6. Does zinc oxide bleach like benzoyl peroxide? My child uses an over the counter acne cream with benzoyl peroxide and it bleaches out everything it touches…… towels, shirts, sheets, etc. Getting tired of this!!

  7. When I was 19, 35 years ago, my dermatologist put me on zinc cream. It did work very well. Now that I’m reading this, I wonder what kind of zinc was used in the cream? Now as an adult, I have used witch hazel or tea tree oil. That has worked very well too.

  8. Most acne is a sign of a candida overgrowth in the gut. And antibiotics only make that worse. A special diet as well as a probiotic with an anti-fungal can help clear up an overgrowth.

    1. I know this was a while ago but I had to comment here. I’m not sure where you got this information but direct cause of most acne is bacterial growth within clogged pores many times made worse by hormone imbalances since hormones can cause too much oil production and support bacterial growth. That is why it is more common in teenagers going through puberty. Hormones can cause our skin to create too much sebum which may mix with dead skin and dirt clogging the pores. If there body is unable to expel the clog, it may become infected (bacterial) resulting in inflammation. Bathing too often can also cause acne since it causes increases in sebum production to make up for the daily loss. In some cases acne may be caused by “gut leakage” from the gut but there is little evidence or rather research supporting candida being a direct cause of acne. I looked for some sort of research article and all I could find were websites with unsubstantiated claims from personal experiences which is not scientific and frankly not convincing.

      There is not one necessary cause for the presentation of acne. Although a healthy balanced diet along with proper hydration is necessary for our internal and external health, saying candida overgrowth in our gut causes “most acne” is not really supported by enough evidence to make that statement (when I say evidence, I mean evidence gained from numerous scientific peer reviewed studies from high impact scientific journals not pseudoscience or websites making extraordinary claims). While taking antibiotics longterm is problematic and can cause other health issues, it has shown to be affective for most to clear up their acne but if the underlying cause of the bacterial growth or oil production is not addressed, the acne will return if resistance by the bacteria results or use is discontinued. The bottom line, the mode in which you treat acne is dependent on the underlying cause (mostly hormonal-testosterone, progesterone, cortisol, estrogen imbalances) though some treatments can be used for many cases such as Zinc Oxide. There is no one cure-all and most people end up having to combine treatments to clear up their acne. (I’m a biochemist (PhD) by the way).

      On another note, thank you for this page. I recently went off hormonal birth control and my body went haywire resulting in my skin becoming suddenly unbelievably oily and eventually resulted in crazy clogged pores and cystic acne all over my torso and along my jaw line. My doctor put me back on hormones which has offered some release but I don’t like my mood while on hormones so I really hope this works for me so I can be released from the shackles of hormonal birth control. There are numerous things that could have caused my hormonal imbalance caused by me while I was on birth control that didn’t show its ugly head until my body was free to do as it wished. I’m hoping this offers me some relief while I make the necessary adjustments for my body rebalances itself.

      1. Hi Rachel,

        Oh how terrible. I hope this helps for you too! I wonder what else could be going on. I use a few essential oils blends for balancing….I wonder if some could be a help for you. Sometimes I use oils on my acne, but lavender doesn’t really help me for that though it’s touted as being good for acne. The other thing I try sometimes is a clay mask. I really hope you can get some relief.

        I wonder – have you tried going low carb? I don’t remember what really worked for me, but my acne used to be terrible and finally stopped. I had a bad flare recently but I think it is silica in a supplement that I was taking – it’s happened to me 3 times now so I guess I can’t tolerate it for some reason

  9. I suffered horrible acne all thru my teens and 20’s. It got better in my 30’s and 40’s but I would still have breakouts. The problem was I may get just one pimple but it would be deep and painful, take forever to heal and then leave a red mark that would last for up to a year. I went to five different dermatologists and took antibiotics, and other prescriptions that total screwed up my body. I finally gave up on western medicine and went the alternative route. Cleaned up my diet, started taking herbs, essential oils, massage and other alternative health modalities, but still had the occasional breakouts described above. I finally read about using honey as a facial mask. Once a week, gentle pat your face for about five minutes. Worked miracles for me.

    1. Wow – that’s wonderful! I used to use topical antibiotics for my skin. Wish I never had. So glad you are doing better!

  10. Another great use for the zinc oxide is home made deodorant. Put some in a spray bottle, add a few drops of essential oil (lavender or tee tree) and fill the rest with water. Shake and spray! It’s super easy and it actually WORKS!! (Shake before each use since the zinc oxide settles to the bottom). I’ve also tried mixing some in with my cream deodorant recipe that uses coconut oil and baking soda. It makes for a softer consistency and less irritating. PS- any white residue usually disappears within an hour, and this will not stain your clothes!