In One Viral Hack, Eating Raw Garlic Is Hailed as a Cure for Acne — Does It Actually Work?

The viral acne cure is getting debunked.

Lauren Wellbank - Author
By

Jun. 13 2024, Published 4:08 p.m. ET

Users eating raw garlic to cure their acne
Source: soulsnatcheralice/TikTok, drdrayzday/TikTok

When it comes to the painful, irritating, and red blemishes we call acne, some people are willing to try just about anything to get some relief. That's why many folks are going all-in on a viral acne solution that claims to be the perfect way to treat acne without paying a visit to your dermatologist for an expensive serum or medication, and it involves something you may already have in your kitchen at home.

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While this method does sound like it has a lot of benefits — and some buy-in from the medical community — experts are saying it's not the cure-all it's been celebrated as. Keep reading to learn if swallowing raw garlic can really help with acne, and what you may inadvertently be doing when you ingest the aromatic herb.

Woman's hands as she cuts and peels garlic cloves
Source: Getty Images
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Does swallowing a garlic clove help with acne?

If you're looking for a natural way to treat your blemishes, garlic may seem appealing. After all, so many folks are singing its praises on TikTok, sharing before and after photos that they say were made possible by eating garlic cloves.

A dermatologist named Dr. Dray used her TikTok account to talk about the phenomenon, commenting on a video where one woman said that swallowing garlic cloves had improved her skin and given her digestive tract a major boost.

And while the good doc says that garlic does have some benefits, you may miss out on the bigger health benefits when you use this method of consumption because you need to chew the garlic cloves to release compounds like allicin — which she says are responsible for the antimicrobial properties that the OP discussed her on original video — which can only be released when garlic is crushed.

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Does eating raw garlic help with acne?

One dermatologist spoke to USA Today about the viral skin treatment, telling the paper that while garlic is "healthy," there is no proof that it's doing anything to help improve your acne. Instead, she said that there are plenty of other methods that have been tested and proven to be effective when it comes to treating acne. She also joked about the elephant in the room impacting many people who are noshing on garlic in the hopes that it will improve their skin: bad breath.

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Does eating a garlic clove help with acne?

While the experts all agree that there isn't enough scientific evidence or peer reviewed studies to prove the effectiveness of garlic as an acne treatment, they do seem willing to admit that there are enough other good reasons to eat raw garlic that they aren't going to advise people against it.

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That could be because garlic boasts a whole bunch of health benefits, which Healthline says include:

  • Antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antiseptic properties
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B-6
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Copper

All of which are helpful when it comes to skin health.

That said, it doesn't seem like the experts have any reason to tell you not to use garlic as an acne treatment. Thanks to all of the other benefits from this potent herb, the only real risks you're likely to face when eating raw garlic have to do with possible stomach upset ... and of course, that stinky breath!

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