Does Cinnamon Clear Acne?

Herbal remedies have been making a huge comeback over the last several years. There's something very satisfying about creating something from natural ingredients, with your own two hands, and using that remedy to fix a problem.

Ground cinnamon in bowl
Sommai Larkjit / EyeEm / Getty Images

The trick is knowing which remedies are safe and effective, which are not, and if the problem you're trying to fix should be treated by a doctor instead.

When it comes to acne treatments, the cinnamon mask is problematic on a number of levels. A cinnamon mask isn't an effective acne treatment. And it may not be all that great for your skin, either.

Cinnamon Masks Can Irritate Your Skin

First, let's just look at the safety concerns. Rubbing cinnamon onto your face could irritate sensitive skin facial skin and cause a nasty rash called contact dermatitis.

Are there people who use cinnamon masks without any problems whatsoever? Yes, sure. But there are plenty of people who tried them and were rewarded with a red, irritated face. You really can't be sure how your skin will react, so you need to ask yourself if it's really worth the risk.

Doesn't Cinnamon Kill Bacteria?

Even if you can use cinnamon on your skin, without any ill-effects, the next question is will it clear up your acne?

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Pimples on temple

DermNet / CC BY-NC-ND

There aren't many good, solid studies on the effects that cinnamon has on bacteria and even less on the effect it may have (or may not have) on acne. Some sources say cinnamon has antibacterial qualities, there is no evidence at all that cinnamon kills the acne-causing bacteria propioni acnes.

Besides, acne isn't solely caused by bacteria. Just knocking it out isn't enough to keep breakouts from forming.

So the science really isn't behind this one. Using a cinnamon mask isn't going to clear up an active case of acne, unfortunately.

What to Try Instead

Even though cinnamon isn't that acne treatment silver bullet you're looking for, it's not all bad news. There are other options out there that will work for you.

Looking for a treatment for occasional pimples?

If you only get the occasional blemish, you don't need a daily acne treatment per se. Don't rely on cinnamon or that other oft-suggested (but pretty horrible) spot treatment, toothpaste. Instead, try some of these proven treatments to banish that zit.

Needing an effective treatment to get acne under control?

There are plenty of effective acne treatment options out there that don't involve your kitchen. Yes, some of them require a trip to the dermatologist, but at the end of the day if your skin is clear, won't it be worth it?

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

By Angela Palmer
Angela Palmer is a licensed esthetician specializing in acne treatment.