Acne is tough stuff. Not only is it physically unattractive, troublesome and sometimes even painful ask anyone who deals with it on a regular basis; it can be emotionally distressing as well. It’s hard to feel good about yourself when your skin – in your mind at least – looks terrible. The good news is that there are a lot of treatments out there that really can help solve an acne problem. The even better news is that many of them are very effective but don’t involve harsh chemicals. The best news of all is that here we are going to explore them, getting you on the way to finding a more holistic, natural solution to a very pesky problem.
Although you may sometimes feel alone in your battle against acne, especially in a sea of seemingly perfect faces, you are not. Acne is a very common condition that can affect anyone. Although it is especially common in tweens and teens it can strike at any age, meaning that having acne appear long after you leave your teens is not unusual either.
Acne itself is primarily the result of clogged pores. Pores that become blocked by excess oils, dirt, dead skin cells and bacteria. There are numerous ways that it manifests itself – whiteheads, blackheads, oozy pimples and more – but the root cause is usually the same. Hormone changes, stress, a poor diet, a lack of sleep and even certain medications can also add to the problem as well.
As you do only have one skin (the cells replenish but the ‘base’ remains the same) it’s understandable, and important, that you want to take care of it the best way possible, while also looking your best. You don’t want to waste money on expensive pills and potions that might not even work or put your skin at greater risk with harsh chemicals.
Want to learn about tried and tested, real world ways to get rid of acne that are all natural and have worked for thousands of people of all ages? Then read on.
Did you know that honey has powerful natural antibacterial properties? Or that it is full of skin saving antioxidants? Or that cinnamon is a natural antiseptic that is also a fantastic redness reducer? And it can even help dry out pesky pimples fast? Well it’s all true and so making a mask that combines the two to battle acne only makes sense.
To make your mask you’ll need to combine honey (preferably raw honey) and cinnamon powder into a loose, slightly sticky paste. Just how much of your basic ingredients you’ll need depends largely upon the size of the area you want to treat. For a full face application though three to four tablespoons of cinnamon and then a similar amount of honey should be just right.
After mixing the ingredients into a smooth paste it should be applied gently, either all over the face or on affected areas only (it’s your choice) allowed to dry and then left on overnight to do its work. Rinse it off thoroughly with warm water in the morning; add a good oil free moisturizer and you’ll be good to go.
For the best results, you should only make use of this sweet and spicy mask once or twice a week, to avoid over-drying the skin, something that can, in some cases, can actually make acne worse.
Egg whites are good for a lot more than just making a great omelet. It’s actually a natural fluid that contains tons of skin saving vitamins, lots of proteins and ample amounts of amino acids, all of which nourishes your skin and helps it heal and rejuvenate itself. Egg whites also pack one more powerful weapon that can be used in the fight against acne; an enzyme called Lysozome which can effectively kill off the bacteria that causes it.
The power of egg whites is boosted though, when you mix it with a little lemon juice. Lemon juice not only brings skin loving Vitamin C into the mix but it is also a natural astringent that can help dry out pimples faster, speeding their healing time.
To make an effective mask using lemon and egg white mix together one egg white (you can save the yolk for cooking) and the juice from half a lemon (or two tablespoons of lemon juice) in a bowl. Beat the egg until slightly frothy then add lemon juice. Don’t beat too much though or you’ll end up with meringue!
Apply the mixture to your face, avoiding your eyes. Leave it on for thirty minutes and then rinse off with lukewarm water. Apply your favorite oil-free moisturizer to finish the treatment off. Repeat a couple of times a week for the very best results.
Baking soda is pretty amazing stuff. It has probably 101 or more great uses including a powerful acne fighting ingredient. In addition to being a great natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, it also helps balance your skin’s PH.
Apple Cider Vinegar is possibly even better for acne prone skin. It helps to unclog pores, protect skin from free radical damage and helps slow the growth of acne causing bacteria. So it all stands to reason that if you mix the two you’ll probably be on to a very good thing.
To make a great – and cheap – acne mask using these powerful ingredients combine 3 tablespoons of baking soda with two of apple cider vinegar. Once you have a nice smooth paste apply the mixture to your face and leave on for 20 minutes or until the mask dries. Rinse off with lukewarm water and then finish of the process with a good moisturizer.
Tea tree oil – which yes, comes from the Australian tea tree – is both a great antiseptic and a great antifungal agent and has become known as a great acne fighter. Many feel it’s just as effective as chemical treatments like benzoyl peroxide, just a lot less harsh on the skin.
To use tea tree oil to fight acne apply it to affected areas using a clean cotton ball, especially if you have oily or combination skin as tea tree oil – like benzoyl peroxide – can be a little drying on more sensitive skin.
Green tea has some wonderful health properties in general, as the Chinese have known for millennia, and so adding it to your daily diet is a good idea anyway, but it is an especially bright idea if you suffer from even occasional acne breakouts.
The way that it is believed that green tea helps fight acne specifically is thanks to the very powerful antioxidants it contains. Green tea contains a substance called EGCG, an antioxidant that research has shown is up to 100 more potent than Vitamin C or E when it comes to fighting free radicals.
Why is that important? Free radicals are increasingly being found in higher quantities in polluted air and so they are something that affects your skin every day. It also has hormonal balancing powers. This means that if you opt for brewed green tea, using a tea bag, you can actually get double benefits for your skin.
How? After you have finished drinking your tea take the used tea bag and empty its content into a bowl. Mix it with a little honey to form a paste and then apply it to any areas of acne that need extra help. Leave it on for 20 minutes and then rinse of with lukewarm water.
We have already discussed how wonderful lemon juice is for your skin if it is acne prone and how great it can be as a mask when mixed with simple baking soda. If you mix it with another natural wonder though – cucumber – using it as a very effective toner is a great option too.
Cucumber juice is probably something you’ve actually seen as an ingredient in many store bought toners and for good reason. It cools redness (literally) softens skin and can even, when used regularly, help diminish the appearance of acne scars. To use it as a toner combine 1 tablespoon of cucumber juice with one teaspoon of lemon juice. Apply it to the face with a clean cotton ball, allow to sit for a few minutes and then rinse off with lukewarm water. Lemon juice reduces the appearance of acne scars and other dark marks.
This is a quite strongly astringent toner so making use of it once or twice a week should be enough to get good results without over drying your skin.
You probably have some basil hanging around your kitchen right now, as it’s an herb that adds great flavor to all kinds of dishes. What you may not know however is that it can also be a great skin saver.
Basil actually boasts both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties and is packed with antioxidants, Vitamin K and Vitamin D, all of which can help both acne and fine lines and wrinkles as well as helping to lessen the appearance of acne scars.
Basil has been used in Eastern beauty regimes for centuries, but it’s really only now that those of us in the Western world are catching up. The most effective way to use it to help fight acne is to use it as a beauty mask.
To create a beauty mask that’s most effective you’ll need fresh basil leaves. Take 20-30 of them and crush until all of the juice is released. Then combine them with a cup of plain, organic yogurt and a half cup of distilled water. Apply the paste to the face and leave on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off with lukewarm water.
Head to any drug store and you’ll see a number of different products that make use of this clever little plant. Its essence is added to cleansers and moisturizers, soaps and shampoos and as a sunburn soother aloe vera gel is hard to beat . Some people even drink aloe vera juice ‘neat’ as it contains a number of essential vitamins and minerals.
You can also, however, use aloe vera juice (you’ll find it at most health food stores) as an effective acne treatment. Apply it to the face, leave on for a few minutes and then rinse away. After you’re done you could always drink the rest to give yourself an all over health boost too!
Using an astringent after cleansing your face is an effective way to deep clean and unclog pores but many store bought toners and astringents are alcohol based, making them too harsh for daily use. The problem is that the alcohol dries the oil away but it also disturbs the skin’s natural acid balance, making it more susceptible to germs, bacteria and free radicals.
Apple cider however is a great, all natural alternative. Applied to the skin using a clean cotton ball after cleansing, it can be used daily without any nasty side effects.
If you are familiar with standard acne treatments which, if you are reading this I am quite sure that you are, then you know that many of them contain salicylic acid. It is effective, but often the products it is used in are just too harsh on the skin.
One great source of natural salicylic acid is the strawberry. It contains it in abundance, along with beneficial antioxidants and phytonutrients. Mix it with honey, whose skin loving qualities we discussed earlier and you have a recipe for skin saving success!
To make a great mask, mash together two to three fresh strawberries and a tablespoon of honey. Apply the mixture to the face, massage it in for a minute or two and then leave on to dry for 15-20 minutes. Rinse away with lukewarm water followed by a cold rinse to help close pores to keep out oil and dirt.
OK, so we’ve already learned that both lemon juice and honey for acne can be great for the skin, especially if you are an acne sufferer. But there is one more way you can combine them for even greater effect, this time pumping up the pimple fighting power with a little fresh papaya.
Papaya is a great source of Vitamin A and also of Papain both of which help speed up the skin’s natural rejuvenation process.
For the best results grab your blender and blend together ¼ of a papaya, a tablespoon of honey and a half teaspoon of lemon juice and set aside.
Next, steam your face (using a towel and a basin of hot water) for a few minutes to open up your pores. Next, apply the papaya mixture to your face and leave on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing away with lukewarm water. Not sure what to do with the rest of the papaya? Blend it up with a few ice cubes and it’ll make a tasty – and very good for you – juice smoothie!
Tomatoes are tasty and useful in so many ways in the kitchen but they can also be great for skin too. They contain both a high level of antioxidants and natural acids that have some powerful exfoliating properties. When you combine them with another kitchen staple, garlic, their power is doubled as that adds both an antibacterial boost and a little extra pore unclogging power.
And yes, this will be slightly stinky, but it’s worth it if you have acne prone skin. Blend together half a standard tomato and 3-4 cloves of raw garlic in your blender and then apply the mixture to the face. Leave on for 15 – 20 minutes and then rinse off. To get rid of the garlic smell rinse again with a little lemon juice added to the water.