By Emy Breitenwischer, B.S. Food Science & Nutrition, Concentration in Dietetics
Acne – an annoyance that can occur at any age, but can also be a reflection of our internal health. Being the largest and fastest growing organ of the body, if you experience ongoing pimples, cystic acne, blackheads/whiteheads, it may be an indication of a poor diet, oxidative damage and/or hormonal imbalances.
While acne can vary from mild to severe and can affect the face, chest, back and arms, if left untreated, it can really weaken one’s self esteem and confidence (speaking from personal experience). While I’ve never had perfect, clear skin, I have tried numerous over-the-counter products, prescription medications and various skin care routines hoping to diminish acne, but have recently found that homemade, natural products produce the best results (and are cheaper!). Please keep in mind, skin does take about a month to acclimate to changes in routine & products and everyone’s skin is different, so what works for some may not work for others. It’s also important to eat a healthy diet full of veggies, fruits, plant based proteins, grains and lots of water! Remember- animal meat, dairy, alcohol and sugar can trigger breakouts almost immediately.
Try These Homemade Remedies:
Gentle Washing: Aim to wash your face with lukewarm water- avoid hot and cold temperatures. Wash your face morning & night, and after workouts (if needed). Try to refrain from cleaning your face too much, as it can potentially irritate & dry out the skin, causing an overproduction of oil.
∗ Aim for a natural face wash or try using Baby Unscented Pure-Castile or Tea Tree Pure-Castile Soap. If using Castile Soap, add 2-3 drops & lather on hands, gently rub on face in circular motions then rinse with luke warm water, pat dry.
Toner: Toner can help remove any residue post cleansing & help restore the skin’s natural pH levels. Instead of buying toner that most likely contains chemicals, try using apple cider vinegar with the mother instead.
∗ Apply every morning & evening. Dilute ACV with a little water (1:3 ratio) and store in small glass jar.
Masks: Every girl loves a good facemask, however, some of them can be a little pricey and show little results. I’ve dabbled in a few homemade masks, but found the two below to be my favorites. *Optional to add a couple drops of tea tree oil to either mask during an active acne breakout.
∗ Yogurt & Honey: Mix 1 tablespoon raw honey with 1 tablespoon plain yogurt. Apply to face for 10 minutes then gently wipe off with damp cloth.
∗ Cinnamon & Honey: Mix 2 tablespoons raw honey, one teaspoon coconut oil & ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Smooth over face, keeping away from eyes, and leave on for 5-10 minutes. Remove with damp cloth.
Pimple Spot Treatment: I’ve tried so many different spot treatments, but they never seem to work and are very harsh on the skin. Instead, tea tree oil mixed with a little coconut oil will work wonders.
∗ Mix 4-8 drops tea tree oil with 1 teaspoon coconut or jojoba oil. Dab lightly onto problem areas- slight tingling is normal.
Moisturize: Even acne-prone skin still needs to be moisturized! A lot of the times, people use harsh cleansers or treatments that dry out the skin, which causes an increase in oil production. Coconut oil is an excellent, natural moisturizer. The lauric acid found in coconut oil actually exhibits one of the strongest bacterial activity against acne caused by bacteria.
∗ Rub organic coconut oil over face and neck. Allow to soak in for 5 minutes then gently wipe off excess oil with dry cloth. The amount absorbed is all your skin needs, any excess may cause a breakout.
Take a Probiotic: Probiotics can help as an internal treatment by supporting a healthy immune system, gut & digestion.
Sweat / Infrared Sauna: One of the best ways to eliminate toxins is through the Infrared Sauna. You may break out initially, but that’s because you are eliminating toxins within the body.