Q. After trying lots of medications my personal physician prescribed for adult acne, I read a comment in the People’s Pharmacy column about using Listerine on the face. I tried it cautiously, being skeptical at first. Within a short time of starting to use it daily, my face cleared up for the first time in years! I used the original amber Listerine with a cotton ball dabbing gently on the areas needed. Thank you.

A. We love hearing about home remedies that work. Quite a few people have found that old-fashioned Listerine can help clear up acne, though we do not know quite why.

Our Guide to Skin Care & Treatment covers a wide range of acne treatments, from home remedies such as topical Listerine or milk of magnesia to OTC drugs like benzoyl peroxide and prescription medications such as tretinoin or spironolactone. We even discuss the Dusa Blue Light, as applied by a qualified dermatologist.

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  1. Jim
    South Carolina

    Listerine used to make an acne scrub. It was also a great exfoliating scrub.
    Wish they still made it.
    Let me know if you find it and where please.

  2. Leonora

    Would Listerine work for wrinkles? I have been watering it down in a spray bottle to keep the mosquitoes from eating me. They don’t seem to like it. Now I spray it on my body and it’s been working so great.

  3. Monica

    I’ve got really bad dandruff and have tried all the shampoos then I read about listerine and it works I couldn’t believe it my scalp was clear for the first time in two years thanks listerine

  4. Saloni

    How do you exactly use Listerine on face? Please tell me the procedure? Is Listerine Cool Mint okay for the acne?

  5. prince

    please give some side effects while using listerine on face…

    • anonymous

      there are no side effects at all

  6. Jude

    I’ve had acne all my life, now 47 but still have outbreaks most of the time. I read about Listerine and used the original version, just wiping my face with a cotton wool pad with Listerine. Have only used it for 5 days, I wash my face twice a day and use Listerine afterwards. My outbreaks and white pimples have almost disappeared, the first time for years. It really works.
    I wish I had discovered it earlier, hope it works for other acne sufferers too.

  7. listerine guy

    I used listerin on my face with a cotton before sleeping and it works great.. I used with with my feet and some shampoo ona tub and hot water and it worked great as well.. now I have good face skin and feets like a baby.. soft and smelling like shampoo :)

  8. LER

    Since I wrote that I would try Listerine, I did and the results are great. I wipe all over my face with Listerine on a cotton ball and let it air dry. I think that keeping washcloths and towels off the skin is a good idea since they can carry the mold spores I seem to react to. I use a less expensive store brand instead of Listerine because I use so much of it on foot fungus also. I checked that the active ingredients are the same. I thought that this treatment would make my face feel dry but it doesn’t.

  9. GQ

    How do you use the Listerine for acne? I have adult acne, had great skin all my life, until the last few years. (I am 68). Have a teenage grandson with acne. Do you use once day/ wash off or leave on? Sounds wonderful, just need more details. Thanks

  10. JFR

    Listerine worked for me.

  11. P Adrian

    I chuckled when I read this article about Listerine. As a teen I remember my mother telling me to use Listerine to help the little bit of acne I had. I was blessed with very good skin and the Listerine did wonders. As an adult I have used Witch Hazel to remove makeup and clean my skin. I tend to have oily skin even as a Senior Citizen (thanks to my Italian heritage and olive oil consumption since birth) and this helps me a lot. I had actually forgotten about the Listerine. Thanks for the memory.

  12. JA

    I recently tried milk of magnesia on my face in the T zone area of my face. Not for acne as I am in my 60’s. Thought it would help make my skin softer. I ended up with a lupus-looking-like, red, thickened, on-fire-feeling skin in that area that scared the heck out of me. I stopped the milk of magnesia and it has taken about 6 weeks for my skin to start looking better. Will not try that again! But I do have a few red pimple looking bumps that a dermatologist years ago had said I have rosacea. Hoped the mom would help but obviously did not. Would the amber Listerine help the rosacea? Metronizadol did not help me when used several years ago.

  13. LES

    I have never heard of Listerine for acne, I have had acne all my life and nothing has worked to clear it up. do you just dab the listerine on or do you put it on for a while and then rinse it off? Is there a chance for irritation, my skin just doesn’t like medicine. Any help would be great.

    • Lynda

      So I suffer from what I think is rosacea and rosacea acne, I recently started using Listerine in a cotton ball and wipe it over my problem spots and do not wash it off. I do it after I wash my face twice a day and the pimples I had are beginning to dry out and disappear, I bought the big bottle at the dollar store for About $2 something. It’s not the original but has the same ingredients. I recommend this.

  14. LER

    The success of Listerine for “adult acne” makes sense if it is really caused by inflammation due to fungal growth on the skin. I believe I read that in your column when coal tar shampoo was suggested. I have been using that and vinegar with some success but will now try Listerine for occasional stubborn outbreaks.

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