How to fight acne with natural ingredients
If you're one of the many people affected by acne-prone skin, you know how frustrating it is to find a product that works for you. The skincare market is flooded with products promising to fix your blemishes. It's even more irritating to spend good money on these products only to find that they don't work or create new problems.
Most drugstore products contain ingredients like alcohol, sulphates, and harmful chemicals that just irritate skin more. Some brands claim to be all-natural and still have ingredients that are most certainly not natural.
Many effective pharmaceuticals are derived from elements of nature that have been used since the dawn of time. We use Mother Nature's wonderful food to sustain our bodies when we eat. Should skincare be any different?
So ditch the exasperating search for the perfect product line and start using good old nature. Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let's start with understanding a little bit more about what acne is.
As a general term, acne is a skin condition that affects the skin's oil glands. Our glands make an oily substance called sebum. Sebum carries dead skin cells to the surface of the skin through tiny hair follicles. If a follicle gets clogged up, out pops a pimple. Ugh.
You may have noticed that not all blemishes look alike. That's because acne comes in many forms. This is important when you're trying to figure out how to treat it. The most common forms of acne are:
– Blackheads: a basic acne lesion that results when hair follicles are clogged. Blackheads get their name from the fact that they look dark and dirty. These pimples are still open at the surface of the skin. Their color comes from the irregular reflection of light from the clogged follicle.
– Whiteheads: the same type of lesion as a blackhead that happens when clogging prevents the hair follicle from opening. These look white and stay under the surface of the skin.
– Papules: pimples that are usually very sensitive to touch. They are lesions that have become inflamed, creating small pink or red bumps on the skin.
– Pustules: lessions that may look like a whitehead but are inflamed and tender. The difference is the red ring around a white or yellow puss-filled bump.
– Nodules: large and inflamed bumps that feel firm when you touch them. They are very deep within the skin and are usually painful. These pimples are solid and do not have a head.
– Cysts: nodule-like lessions that develop deep in the skin and are very painful. Cysts are filled with puss and resemble boils. This is one of the most severe forms of acne.
Unfortunately, severe forms of acne like cysts and nodules will require treatment by a dermatologist. All-natural remedies might not be effective enough to get rid of severe skin problems, and some ingredients could even cause more damage.
For those of you who have mild acne (less than 30 total lesions, usually in the form of blackheads and whiteheads), there are natural remedies that might help you out.
Eat a healthy diet
This is huge. Most frequently, skin issues reflect what you're putting into your body. Start by cutting out all the processed junk and opt for whole foods instead. Choose low-fat options. While dairy is OK in moderation, it is a hormone-laden food like meat. You'll be surprised at how effective it is to eat a healthier diet.
Put your skin on a healthy diet
You've got the healthy diet down. You're only putting whole, unprocessed foods into your temple; now, what do you put on it? The answer is a little redundant: whole, unprocessed foods.
Well, maybe not "foods" as in your sweet potato casserole or french toast.
Seriously, though. If the best things for your insides are raw ingredients . . . Are you catching my drift? Let's get down to business.
The type of product you should use depends on your skin type. Having acne doesn't mean you have oily skin. Dry, combination, or oily skin can develop acne issues. On the flip side, you can have oily skin without having acne.
We've taken the liberty of creating a skin regimen guide with recipes for each skin type.
The first step in your skin regimen should be to start with a clean canvas. If you leave impurities and dead skin cells on your face, your efforts will go to waste. Impurities will remain clogged in your pores, and your yummy ingredients will not be able to work their magic.
Now, you're about to read something that's going to send you running for the hills, but stick with me! Use an oil cleanser. "Really? I'm supposed to put oil on my oily skin?" Yes! I can back this up with SCIENCE.
Think about what happens when you mix oil and water. That's right! you can't! If you have hardened oil clogging up your pores, using the oil cleansing method will loosen and dissolve the natural oils on your face instead of stripping and drying them as alcohol does. Drying out your face will only make your glands produce even more oil.
Whatever your skin type, you can use the oil cleansing method. It's all about the type of oil you use and the ratio of the chosen oil to castor oil. Check out the recipe for your skin type:
Toning has become a forgotten step in the cleansing process. Adding a good toner to your skin care regimen is especially important if you have clogged pores. Especially if you wear a lot of makeup, toner is a second cleansing that ensures nothing is left behind. It also helps soothe the skin and reduce redness and irritation. By the way, toner is not just for oily skin. Try one of these:
– Mint leaf toner for oily skin.
– Camphor and rose water toner for combination skin.
– Chamomile tea toner for dry skin.
– Aloe vera toner for acne-prone skin.
You should exfoliate two to three times per week after a good cleansing. Exfoliating will scrub off dead skin cells and help to loosen the junk stuck to your pores. If you have very sensitive skin or you get very red after exfoliating, try doing it only once a week and using a gentler recipe for sensitive skin types (like the one below). For other skin types, try one of these:
– Oily skin: baking soda and lemon juice exfoliator.
– Combination skin: green tea and sugar scrub.
– Dry skin: oatmeal and honey scrub.
– Acne-prone skin: grapefruit face scrub.
Have you ever stood over a pot of boiling water to get your nose to clear up? It's the same idea. Steam is used during facials to open your pores before you treat your skin, right? False! This old bit of popular wisdom that our moms have been telling us for years is a myth.
It is, however, still helpful to use the steam trick before applying a mask. Though temperature cannot change the size of your pores, the heat and moisture from steaming does loosen the oils in them. This is a typical technique estheticians use before extracting impurities.
To do a facial steam the easy way, boil a clean pot of water. When it has come to a full boil, turn off the heat. Carefully position yourself over the steam, keeping a good distance – it's hot! Drape a towel over the back of your head and shoulders to keep the steam in while maintaining a safe distance. For a little something extra, try adding some essential oils.
Now we get to the fun part! Cut the cucumber slices, take out the hair rollers, grab a smoothie, and kick back. Get your girlfriends to come over, and soak your feet in hot water while you gab over "Gossip Girl" reruns. First, however, decide what kind of mask to make.
There is a huge variety of ingredients that you can use in a mask. The type of mask you use will depend on your skin type. Masks are a multifunction part of the skin care regime.
Ingredients with benefits like anti-aging agents, sunspot lightening ingredients, and redness relief can be added to any skin type recipe. You can use the same recipe a couple of times a week or try out a bunch of recipes that aim to treat different problems. Here's a few to get you started:
– Coconut oil and baking soda mask for oily skin.
– Banana, honey, and oatmeal mask for combination skin.
– Avocado and honey mask for dry skin.
– Turmeric face mask for acne-prone skin.
After washing off your mask, your skin is going to be itching for some moisture. Keep your cheeks soft by applying a good moisturizer, letting your skin absorb it for 10-15 minutes then patting the excess off with a soft clean towel. Choose a recipe that's appropriate for your skin:
– Oily skin: milk, olive oil, and lime moisturizer.
– Combination skin: green tea and vitamin E moisturizer.
– Dry skin: rose dream face cream.
– Acne-prone skin: jojoba and lavender oil moisturizer.