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How to treat acne on a budget

How to treat acne on a budget

Spend $ 8.50 per month to get rid of acne

Many people have problems with acne, you will rarely find anyone who never had problems with it. Over the years we have heard many different skin regiments from experts and often they are unaffordable for us. Not everyone can spend a couple of hundreds of dollars on skincare every month. We need a cheap way to get rid of acne.

Fortunately, there is a very effective budget way. This is a secret that we have thoroughly tested over the years. It has helped with many peoples skincare problems.

You can imagine that professional skin clinics and skincare producers don’t like this, we are showing people how to take care of their skin without their products.

Table of contents


Where does acne come from?




One common type of acne is due to your hormones. It surely happened to somebody you know during puberty or menstrual cycles. Having acne during puberty is the most common type of acne.
An increase in sex hormones that are called androgens is causing the sebaceous glands to grow larger and produce more sebum. To put it in simple words, the small oil factory in your skin gets signals that more oil (sebum) is needed. It starts to produce more. The most famous androgen hormone is testosterone. But there are also others, short DHT and DHEA. People will less androgen hormones rarely have acne, even during puberty. (Source)

Pregnancy is another situation that can increase androgen levels and thus might cause some acne. 


Just like for many other features of your appearance, genetics also plays a big role in acne. If your family is prone to acne, you are more likely to get is as well. But don’t worry, no matter where the acne comes from, you will have a whole set of tools to fight it.


There is not much high-quality evidence on how your diet is related to acne. Many people however found the cause of their acne to be specific ingredients. This depends on each person’s allergies and their own body’s behavior. Milk is one of the ingredients that sometimes causes acne among people. People who consume a lot of sugar and unsaturated fat also tend to have more acne. This might be because of their overall less healthy lifestyle. It is hard to make a conclusion here, but it surely won’t hurt yourself to eat healthy.


We all know it, the stress pimple. It comes before exams or big events. Stress plays a major role in many functions of your body. Unfortunately, avoiding stress becomes harder and harder in today’s social environment. Many cannot choose the social environment they live in, but they can adjust the way to react to it.


This start to play a larger role in skin health as it did before. Many cities are getting more and more polluted. This has an effect on your skin, your lungs, and your stress levels. Even though you cannot just change the situation within a matter of days, there are many ways to adjust to it. Like washing your face after you spend time in traffic, using protective cream before going out, etc.

What is the root cause of your acne?

Before you start experimenting with treatments, you should find out where the acne comes from. It isn’t always an easy task, but usually, you can try to exclude certain causes. Think about the following conditions and how it applies to you:

  • Is your age between 10-18? 
    Then chances are high that your acne is caused by puberty.

  • Your family is acne free and they never experienced high acne during their life? 
    That does not sound like your genes are prone to develop acne.

  • Do you love sweets & fast food?
    Changing your eating habits will surely help to increase your skin as well as your body overall.

  • Tired of your job? Lack of sleep? Pressured to give a perfect presentation in front of decision-makers? 
    Sounds like stress could be a cause for your acne.

Cheap treatments for acne

No matter where your acne comes from, you need to do something against it. There are thousands of products out in the market. Some products are a complete waste of money while others are effective but still cost a lot.

Many of the very effective products are only available through a doctor and have quite a few side effects themselves. 

In many cases, those strong medications are not needed to treat and improve acne. Every third person you know must have an experience with acne, mild or strong. Most people have mild acne, but even the mildest acne is annoying to us. We all thrive for a clean skin that indicates our body is healthy and shows natural beauty.

We will go through cheap treatments that have a huge effect on acne. If you now expect to find a product that is cheap and magically solves your acne problems, you might be disappointed. There will be incredibly effective and cheap products mentioned later, but to get rid of acne you need to do your fair share too. This means changing some habits and take initiative to be the ruler over your skin & health.


We start our journey to treat your acne from the inside to the outside. Everything starts from inside your body. Skin is the outer layer of your body and therefore pretty much reflects what is going on inside. 

Outer beauty starts from the inside, you need to remember that. No matter how many products you apply on the outside, an unhealthy body will sooner or later affect your appearance.

Drink water, water and more water

Your body consists of mostly water and your skin is highly affected by water. Not only your natural aging process but also the overall skin health makes or breaks with it. 

What are the effects that water has on your skin?

  • Increase skin density and thickness (Source)
    It makes skin more robust against all kinds of external influences

  • Increase blood flow to your skin
    It helps to speed up the renewal of skin cells

  • Increases elasticity
    Your skin is less likely to crack, irritate and have blemishes (Source)

So far I have yet to meet a person who did not benefit from drinking plenty of water. Almost every aspect of your body sees positive changes, your skin being one of them. You don’t need to overdo it though.

As a woman, you should try to drink around 2-3 liters of water daily.

Men should drink 3-4 liters of water daily.

Don’t chug it all down within a few hours. Try to stretch it over the whole day. Most important is drinking water after you wake up. 500ml to 1l of water in the morning is the best start for the day. Overnight your body dehydrates (several hours without water intake) so you should make sure to get some precious water in your body as soon as you wake up.

This will also make sure you are awake and ready for another day. What does it cost? There is unlikely any extra cost to this. So we will input a clean:




Nutrition is another factor that plays an important role in your skin health and health overall. Obviously most of us cannot get the perfect nutrition that is needed, just because of how pricy it can get. This is reality and we have to deal with that. 

Nonetheless, there are many nutrition habits that can be changed in order to achieve better skin health.

So how about we start what you should NOT eat:

refined sugar cubes

Refined sugar

This kind of sugar is in most canned products, sweets, and soft drinks. For many of us, there are no alternatives to eating canned products from time to time. But even with canned products you can check the ingredients and try to avoid certain foods.

Don’t worry too much about canned vegetables. Worry about canned processed foods like sauces and ready to go food. Those often have good amounts of sugar in it (acting as preservative)

Sweets, we all love it, but need to draw a line at some point. Nobody needs to give up on sweets completely, but we should all try to not make it a daily habit to eat them. Treat yourself, sweets, when you deserve it, don’t just snack them during your work, and when you are bored. It’s easy to get into the sugar-high trap at work. Try to find a way to reduce this.

Stop drinking soft drinks is probably the easiest way to reduce refined sugar intake. Those drinks almost completely consist of sugar. If you are one of the persons who love drinking soft drinks, coca-cola, sprite, iced tea, etc. instead of water, please start reducing it to zero. Rather have a piece of cake once in a while instead of soft drinks.

Saturated fat in oily fast foods

Even though there are no research studies that fully agree with the statement of oily foods causing skin problems, many people found out a relation. Reduce your intake in oily fast foods, they are likely to increase your skin problems instead of help solving them. In addition, many oily fast foods have high amounts of refined sugar as well.

If it is just too hard for you to stop, try reducing it in little steps. You can start with just leaving out certain dishes and slowly progress towards a significant reduction.

It is pretty straight forward to say what you shouldn’t eat. But eventually you need to eat something right?
If your budget allows it, try to eat as colorful as possible. That means a lot of varieties of vegetables and fruits. Go for those that are in season to get a better price and the best taste. It will be hard in the beginning if you are used to all the processed foods, but your body will slowly get used to it. For those of you who have the chance (i.e. enough money to buy fresh fruits & vegetables) please give it a try. There are many recipes online to make them taste great.

Cheap alternative to fresh fruits & vegetables

If you have no chance to afford fresh vegetables nor fruits. Then try hard to avoid refined sugar. Getting your calories from canned fruits, vegetables, basic staple food, and even fast food is still better than taking in pure refined sugar via soft drinks and sweets.

The price to put on this can vary between a couple of $ to hundreds of dollars. However, it does not cost anything to replace soft drinks with water and to leave out sweets.

To have some crucial vitamins, get yourself multivitamin pills. Costco with its house brand Kirkland is a cost-efficient choice. A bottle of 500 pills costs around $20 and is available in many countries around the world. That results in roughly $1.2 per month, if you use 1 pill a day.



Habits that cause acne

There are other factors, mostly small, but still impactful. 

Don’t touch your face

Your hand collects many bacteria throughout the day and even washing them will not always fully wipe out all germs. Touching your face can become a trigger for acne to start. Better try to avoid it. 

Often it isn’t intentional but rather some unconscious habit to touch your face. Try to get aware of it and start to work on stopping it.

Don’t pop pimples at home

Leave it to the professionals if really needed. You don’t gain much when popping pimples, instead, you have a risk getting a scare of making the acne worse, each time. Even letting professionals popping your pimples won’t help in the long run. You cannot fight a problem (acne) by only treating the symptoms. You need to get down to the root cause.

Change pillows

Do it regularly to make sure your pillows are not the source of your acne. Excrements of the smallest bugs will constantly help bacteria to grow on your pillow. Do high-temperature cleaning of your pillow.

Avoid oily hair in your face

Having oily hair strains hanging in your face can cause pores to clog. Try to avoid that, especially when sleeping.

Remove makeup before bed, always

Makeup clogs pores and won’t give your skin the freedom it needs. Always remove makeup entirely before going to bed.

Skincare products

The products that will be listed can be replaced by any comparable product. We decided on those products because they are widely available because bigger drugstore brands have them in their selection. If you cannot find them in your local cosmetic or drugstores then try to replace them with something that has the same ingredients and purpose.

Sebamed pH-neutral cleansing bar ($4)

This is an all-time favorite that is probably the most important basic product you can use to fight your acne. This bar is pH neutral and soap-free. It does not destroy your skin’s natural oil film.

How to use it:

1x in the morning and 1x in the evening is sufficient. 
Use your hands and some water to create foam and then clean your face with it. Especially if you have strong acne, be very gentle, and don’t rub it in too strong.

After you have reached each area on your face, rinse it with water. I always prefer using cold or medium temperature water when dealing with my facial skin. Do not use hot water.

Biore deep pore charcoal cleanser ($7)

This product might a be bit harder to find around the globe but there are several great alternatives. This is a gentle, non-aggressive, and non-abrasive deep pore cleanser. Consistent use helps to clean your pores and to remove dead skin and other dirt. It is a perfect match with a facial brush, like our silicone facial brush [link product]. However, in this guide, we want to treat acne with a budget, and beauty tools are too budget-friendly.

How to use it:

Use this 3x a week, in the evening. On those days you will skip the evening cleansing bar. 
After washing your face with regular water, apply a kidney bean-sized amount of the cleanser on your hand. Gently massage it on your face, take good 2-4 minutes for this. Don’t press too hard, do it gentle and smooth. After that rinse off all remaining foam & cleanser with water.

Aloe Vera soothe gel ($6)

As a moisturizer, we decided to go with Aloe Vera gel. This was a hard decision because moisturizers depend so much on skin type and environment. It is hard to find a good allrounder that can help each skin type. Aloe Vera gel as a moisturizer is not the perfect solution for each situation BUT it does not cause any harm no matter which skin type you are. In addition, it is available almost everywhere.

How to use it:

Every time after cleansing your face or when your face feels dry, you can use it. Use only little amounts so that you won’t feel a jelly-like film on your skin. Better use too little and add to it after time than putting on too much.


All costs together

Let’s check what it costs us per month to treat acne. 




Cost per month

Hydration - Water




Nutrition - Vitamins


1 pill/day


Skincare - pH neutral cleanser



Will last 2 months


Skincare - pore cleanser



Will last 3 months


Skincare - aloe vera



Will last 2 months




You can see that money should not decide over your skin health nor should it be an excuse to not take action. Even with budgets as little as $8.50 per month you can have a strong skincare regimen and achieve incredible results.

If you can follow this guide, you will achieve at least 80-90% of the results compared to somebody who drops $200 per month on skincare.

You need to remember that a lot of skin health comes from inside and the most important advice that you should take from all of this, is to be consistent. 

Then you will achieve your skin goals!


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