Thursday, July 9, 2009

Skin


I have battled acne for the majority of my life. It's had a hold over me for 20 years now. I have used just about every single prescription product without much success. I stopped those meds nearly 4 years ago when I became pregnant. After the birth I was breastfeeding...still am...and I didn't want to put anything harsh into my body, no matter how safe some of those meds claim to be for pregnancy. I looked for natural solutions.

You can find natural acne treatments all over the place - drugstores, grocery stores, health food stores etc. The prices vary. Do the products work? I can't tell you because I've never tried them. I can tell you that I don't have much faith in them. Many natural products still contain ingredients that can irritate your skin such as parabens, artificial dyes and fragrance. So what to do you do? I looked for ways to do it myself as naturally as possible.

When I had my son I joined www.mothering.com and began reading the message boards. I was already familiar with the magazine as I had been a subscriber for a decade. The messages boards are a.w.e.s.o.m.e. There's such a wonderful variety of people there with enormous amounts of information, resources and experience. It was after reading post after post about natural skin care that I came up with my own little regimine. There following is what I use most often:

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
Lavender Essential Oil
Tea Tree Oil
Chammomile Essential Oil
Raw Honey

Apple Cider Vinegar is one of those little wonders from nature. It's very good for you when used both externally and internally. It's a purifier and can help heal a variety of ailments. Our focus here is the skin. ACV is best when organic and raw. That's not always the cheapest option, so if you have to choose between organic and raw then go with organic. ACV works as a toner, it helps regulate the pH of the skin and is also an antiseptic and will take care of the naughty little bacteria involved in acne. It's high in alpha-hydroxy acids and will help calm and smooth skin over time. There are different schools of thought on whether or not to dilute it or not before applying it to your skin. With anything, use the most gentle option first, so dilute it. For me, I apply it full strength with no problems. You can let it sit on your skin for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing with water or you can leave it on overnight. This isn't something to apply before you go on a date as you'll smell like fermentation. Mmmmm.

Essential oils also have benefits for skin. As with ACV, organic is best and it's even better when it's organic and wildcrafted. Again, this is not always an option due to expense. For me, Lavender, Tea Tree Oil and Chammomile have all worked the best. The use of TTO for acne is pretty mainstream these days, with lavender and chammomile being lesser known. These three oils do well together. You can apply separately, alternating days, or together. I do both. There is debate, as with ACV, on application. Some believe you need to dilute it in a carrier, such as jojoba oil. Others believe you can apply it "neat," that is, directly to the skin. I apply it neat and haven't experienced issues with it. You can swipe it all over your face with a pad or you can spot treat individual pimples. When I have a nasty little whitehead, I dab a q-tip (organic cotton - you can get them cheap at whole foods) with one or a combo of these oils and apply it directly to the pimple. The whitehead is usually gone within seconds. If I'm not running right out the door I will put a little raw honey over the spot to help it heal.
  • Chammomile - I use Roman Chammomile, which I believe is generally the best for skin issues. It has many healing properties. For acne it acts as an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and calming agent. It also has tonic properties. This oil is helpful when dealing with painful pimples.
  • Lavender - Like Chammomile, it has many, many healing properties. And for the skin, it works a lot like chammomile. It's antiseptic and anti-microbial. I prefer Bulgarian Lavender.
  • Tea Tree - the smelliest of the bunch. It's another germ-killer and also has analgesic properties. TTO has the ability to stimulate immune function, which helps the skin heal itself.
Raw Honey is another one of nature's little powerhouses. Bees produce a miraculous little substance that has hundreds of healing properties, both internal and external. It has been used since well before the Birth of Christ as a healing agent. For the skin it is another antibacterial/antiseptic/antimicrobial agent. It literally draws impurities out of the skin. Due to that you may experience a slight break out during the first few days of using raw honey as it works to get all the junk out from under your skin. Raw is best as it's in it's natural and pure form. Pasteurization can kill off some of the good stuff in honey. Now, I have used pasteurized honey with success, but I find that raw honey makes a world of difference. Honey heals skin amazingly well. Just apply it to a cut and see for yourself. It's jam packed with vitamins and enzymes that heal.

A lot of times I apply ACV with a fabric cosmetic round (if you want disposable, try to use organic cotton if possible. Cotton contains an innumerable amount of pesticides that don't do anything to help your skin). I use fabric to lighten the load on the planet. These are tiny and don't make a dent in my laundry. I let it sit for a few and I don't wash it off. I used to apply a mix of my three essential oils with a cosmetic round, but I've changed my routine. I now have a separate honey jar where I've mixed raw honey with lavender, chammomile and tea tree essential oils. I apply that mixture to my skin with my hands (clean, of course) and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes. I do this before a shower so I wash it all off in there.

After showers, I moisturize with organic jojoba oil, which has healing properties of it's own and is usually very good for acne-prone skin. It also works well as a carrier for essential oils.

This routine has helped immensely. There is also the issue of internal reasons for acne, such as poor diet and other health conditions, which I'll address another time. The skin secretes toxins from within our body, so it's logical to believe that an imbalance within the body with manifest on the skin. So drink your water, eat well and take some skin-happy supplements like a good-quality probiotic.

If you're interested in re-usable fabric cosmetic rounds, visit HagRag That's where I got mine. They are also very easy to make.

For good quality essential oils visit Mountain Rose Herbs. (this is an affiliate link - just hit up www.mountainroseherbs.com if you don't want to go through my affiliate)

This post is part of the Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Blog hop, sponsored by Frugally sustainable.

4 comments:

Fruitful Harvest said...

I will have to try this myself!
I am 41yrs old and still have the same pimple I had in the senior yr book! eeekkkk! LOL
Ok not funny!

I pray this will work... I have everything exept the chamomile oil...I do have fresh dried chamolile from my garden!
I also have the Mountain Rose caltalog on my night table~


Blessings,
Georgiann

Fruitful Harvest said...

Hi there~
Last night I was tring to find your blog as I wanted to make read the stuff needed for the face cleaning and could not find your blog til this morning it until this morning.
So last night I decided to make up a mix to wash my face! It was great!
I used 1/2cup honey
(I did not have raw)
1/4 olive oil
1/4 cup organic unbleached sugar

5 drops Lavender oil
5 drops Rosemary

I have Tea Tree oil but could not find it until this morning.

I mixed everything in a jar and only used a teaspoon of the scrub on my face! My face feels and look great!

I have a Rose Mountain Catolog and read that Rosemary is not a good choice for skin but it worked great!
Now that I found my Tea Tree oil I might add a few drops!

Blessings,
Georgiann

Funky Little Earthchild said...

How is it working Georgiann? Sounds like you made a nice scrub there. :-)

Anonymous said...

I didn't ACV would work on the outside of the skin. When my boys were going through the acne stage I learned about ACV. We would dilute ACV with water about 1/2 and 1/2 then drink it. The skin would clear up in a couple of days. They still go back to this when they have a flare up. I learned that taking care of the inside takes care of the outside. The taste is not wonderful but the benefits are.

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