My Experiments with Natural Skincare
I've had acne for as long as I can remember, and it is more than a little stubborn. In the last few years, since moving away, it flared up quite a bit and at times was so red and painful that I was too embarrassed to even go outside without any makeup on. Whilst I am all for self-love and acceptance, the debilitating embarrassment felt by all acne sufferers is more than enough to put a dampener on your self-confidence. I have tried many, many different things to try and rid my skin of this acne, but despite all the promises that this product/diet/herbal potion would cure it, so far nothing has worked. In desperation I even resorted to antibiotics to clear my skin up, although I never wanted to stay on them long-term because of the havoc they wreak on your internal ecosystem.
I have always kept a somewhat religious beauty regime, which at its peak consisted of more than ten different steps and a whole variety of products, many of which were full of a whole load of chemicals. Even though I followed the instructions and used these supposedly strong products, they really didn't do a whole lot. Some of them even dried my skin out a lot, which meant the acne got worse as my skin produced more oil to compensate for the dryness. Not good at all. So, around the middle of 2014, in addition to my diet and lifestyle choices, I decided I wanted to make the transition to using natural skincare alternatives. After plenty of reading, I began this transition by swapping to a natural alternative each time one of my products ran out.
Nowadays the transition is just about complete, and the only typical skincare products I still use is one green clay mask and one thermal spot clearer. Here is a brief run-down on the products I use and how to use them:
This oil is not only fabulous in the kitchen, but it is also a bathroom essential! I use coconut oil as my body moisturiser, face moisturiser and sometimes a hair treatment when the ends of my hair are dry and ratty. Oil-cleansing using coconut oil, I have been told, is also great for acne. Now, I know you might be wondering how rubbing oil on your acne-ridden face could possibly be good for it, but trust me it is! Coconut oil keeps the skin moisturised and thus reduces the amount of oil your skin must produce, which in turn reduces acne. What's more, coconut oil is renowned for its natural antibacterial properties, which help to eliminate acne-causing bacteria. To use coconut oil, simply rub it into the skin/hair as required. It is a bit oily and will leave a slight residue that will disappear shortly after you rub it on. Apply as often as required to all parts of the body!
Honey has been used medicinally for thousands of years on wounds and sores, because of its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Plus, it is full of vitamins and minerals that are great for your skin. I use it as a cleanser/scrub in the morning, and whilst the idea of rubbing honey on your face may sound weird, it really works wonders! If you get true raw honey it may be a little solid and have little granules in it, which aid to mechanically exfoliate your face. To use it, first wet your hands with warm water and then scoop up about a teaspoon of honey on your fingertips. Rub the honey on your face and massage around in a circular motion for about a minute. Then use warm water and a face washer to wipe all the honey off. I find this honey cleansing leaves my face feeling very smooth and soft, just try to avoid get blobs of honey in your hair!
If you didn't like the idea of rubbing honey on your face, then just wait for this one - lemon peel! Lemon is once again antibacterial and antiviral, so it helps to keep your skin clean and bacteria-free. The acidity of lemon juice also means it acts as a toner or spot perfecter. I like to use it on spots or pimples, to help dry them out and kill any bacteria lurking inside. To do so simply take a little dab of lemon juice on your finger and spot it on the pimple. Allow it to dry out and then wash your face if needed. You can also rub the inside of a lemon peel on any spots, although it will most likely leave some pith on your face, so be sure to check the mirror before heading out!
Natural Rose hip/Lavender Oil Mix
I found this oil mixture in the health food shop, in a little pink bottle, for about $13. It was a mixture of some pure essential oils, including rose hip and lavender. I use this as a nightly treatment for my skin, to hydrate it and help it to repair. Rose hip oil is good for helping to fade and eliminate the scars left from previous acne outbreaks, whilst lavender soothes red and inflamed skin. All the natural oils were also beautifully nourishing and hydrating. I also use this oil on my upper legs where I have some stretch marks that I gained during puberty. There are many different types of oils to treat scars, so simply go to your health food store or the pharmacy and have a look around. Choose the one that you like best and perhaps experiment with a few before settling for one.
A few other products that you can use for natural skincare include apple cider vinegar/water mix as a toner and baking soda as a dry shampoo. A quick Google search will also give you plenty of recipes to make your own face masks from ingredients in your kitchen, including yogurt, avocado, almond meal and banana. Have fun with those!
What do you use in your skincare routine? What do you suggest for me and other acne sufferers?