How to make your own acne cream

I am at the mercy of all things beauty related, especially when it comes to skincare.  More specifically, I’m at the beck-and-call of every bit of acne that showed up 20 years too late.  I’m a hot mess of hormonal imbalance and my poor, poor face has taken the brunt of it all.

how to make acne cream

I didn’t have bad skin in high school, or even in college for that matter;  my skin practically glowed through all the angsty years of my youth.  But I guess the hormone riddled, teenage acne of my past has been lying in wait for some payback, because ALL the combined acne of my life knocked on my door right after kid #2 showed up a few years ago, ready to party.

Yay!  Party at my house.  Bring your favorite Trapper Keeper, Cabbage Patch Kid and all your colored Swatch watches.  We’ll watch Full House and a little bit of Truth or Dare, if we’re lucky, and trade jelly bracelets.  Maybe crimp each others’ hair if we stay up late enough, so be sure to bring a couple cans of Aqua Net.

how to make your own acne cream

Seriously though, there are so many recipes you can whip up at home to ferret out the bad skin, and usually the ingredients you need are in your bathroom cabinet.

Here’s how to make your own acne cream:

  • 1 pea sized amount of hydrocortisone cream 1% (over the counter)
  • 1 pea sized amount of an acne product containing sulfur

Mix these two ingredients together on the back of your hand, and use either your clean finger or a Q-tip to apply to problem spots.

Here’s how it really works.  Hydrocortisone (which you should use sparingly) is an anti-inflammatory that will calm the red, irritable, puffy skin.  The acne product with sulfur will help create new cell turnover, so if you combine the two you’re in good hands.

Hydrocortisone + Sulfur product = Awesome

There are a handful of different acne products with sulfur as an ingredient, so just do a little research to find your favorite.  I like Murad, Proactiv mask, and would love to try this sulfur ointment I just found.

That’s it!  Look at you, you tricky minx, you just made your own acne cream!

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Hello there! I’m Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. I do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, home remodel projects, and cool DIY crafts you totally want to try. I’m super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we’re a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!


  1. jb :

    What a great idea! I am struggling with this too, and I would never have thought to combine these ingredients. And I have both on hand! Can’t wait to try this. I’m doing it right now.

  2. Sarah :

    I want to come over and watch Rattle and Hum, k?

    And, so glad I am not alone in this later in life acne thing ;)

    • Christie Elkins :

      Sarah: You are so not alone. About to turn 30, and acne is sticking around to blow out the candles with me ;)

  3. Fionnuala :


    I’m a long time reader, and this made me need to comment.

    Long term use of steroid creams can have devastating affects on your skin. I know you said ‘use sparingly’, but I think you should at least link to information explaining the dangers. (skin thinning for example!)

    Best wishes,

  4. Brooke :

    Hi Allison,
    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and after missing a few posts just caught up, starting with your vegan smoothie (which I have taken note of as it sounds yum!). I see that you’re doing this partly in aid of your symptoms, and have to say I was quite surprised that you’re so liberal with such harsh products on your skin. My son has asthma and has been given cortisone injections to help his lungs, which caused me to research the substance and would be so wary of using it in any form. As well as effects on your skin, it can have a horrible outcome of bone weakening and osteoporosis. As for the acne product, my sister had that brand in her bathroom and I tried it as I was staying with her – it literally burnt and I had red cheeks for days (which sucked as I was en route to a wedding and my first child-free holiday with hubby in seven years!). When I checked the ingredients….wow! Straight into the bin. I guess what I’m really saying is why, when you’re making so much effort with your diet – as I’m sure vegan isn’t easy – are you so willing to use damaging chemicals on your skin, which also get absorbed into your system?

  5. dgm :

    I had adult-onset acne as well, mostly at the jawline (indicating it’s hormonal), and it was sometimes painful. One thing that really worked for me was eliminating cow’s milk products. Since I was a big cheese lover, I stuck to goat and sheep’s milk cheeses. It kept things at bay, but then I started drinking kefir for the probiotics and that reaaaaalllly turned things around. (Even though it’s made from cow’s milk it doesn’t bother my skin. Since you are vegan, coconut milk kefir might be the way to go.) The other miracle product for my skin is coconut oil, both ingested and topically.

  6. Amber :

    I have eczema on my face and my doctor told me to use hydrocortisone cream because it is “less dangerous” than full blown prescription steroid creams. If I could find something that would work just as well without causing as much damage, I’d use it but I don’t have any other options! What’s a girl to do?

  7. Carol :

    You can get that sulfur ointment in the “Hispanic products” section of stores. Stinks to all high heavens and is very greasy,but it dries things out. Walmart, Kmart, and other stores have these sections. Even Stater Bros (groc store) has one. They have all kinds of things including a cough syrup that works pretty well. (Broncolin) Check it out. Some fun products.