Today, I’d like to veer away from the food, and talk about something I am super excited about. (You can scroll to the end for the exfoliant/mask recipe if you don’t feel like reading all this :) ). My face!!! And skincare, more aptly put. Where do I begin……I have had “problem skin” for most of my teenage to adult years. I wouldn’t call it severe, but there was generally not a day that went by that I didn’t have some new annoying red bump (or 5) pop up on my face. I tried everything. I sampled most drugstore brands for acne prone skin. I went to a dermatologist and was given a topical ointment in high school, and antibiotics in college. I tried the leading brands in acne care (think of those anecdote-laden infomercials…). Nothing really worked. They would seem like they were helping for a little while, but the problem always came back. I had come to accept that this was just the way my face was, and although the idea wasn’t unbearable since I had dealt with it for so long, I wasn’t ready to give up just yet.
In my journey to weed out synthetic and unnatural ingredients from what I put in and on my body, I started using multiple natural brands of salicylic acid/willow bark based skincare lines as well. Even these did not fully satisfy my face. My complexion (that leans to the oilier side) surprisingly seemed to do better in Sri Lanka’s humid air, something I attributed to the seawater and sun that I got to play in everyday. But again, I purchased some acne clearing products there that seemed to be working, until I got back to dry Colorado and Arizona…..my oily skin became dry and even flaky in some areas.
I had been looking into oil cleansing for some time, and while I was intrigued, I was also worried it was just one of those fads that circulate the internet every so often with no merit behind them. However, I was not happy with my skin after my trip, so after much more research I contacted 2 sellers about their oil-cleansing products on their Etsy shops. I chose one to begin, and ordered samples of a honey-citrus gentle cleanser for the mornings and to wash off any makeup or residue from the day (although they say cleansing in the morning is generally not necessary but optional), a tea tree oil cleanser for the night, and a nourishing serum for moisture-all 3 are pictured above.
(The pictures above are makeup-less, unedited photos of my skin today-about a week after I started practicing the oil cleansing regimen. I wish I could find a photo of when my skin was not doing as well, when I came back from my trip, to compare it to. As you can see from the front and right side, I’m doing really well! On the left side, you can see the patch of scars on my cheek. It looks bad and gives you a good idea of how I was at my worst, but in reality, the skin in this area is now mostly smooth and it is just red and brown discoloration/scars…..if someone has some tips on what to do about these, please let me know)
It was about a week ago that I received my samples in the mail, and my skin has never looked better. It felt like immediate relief for my skin, the way it reacted to this new regimen. Apparently this has been what my skin has been asking from me this whole time. I like the honey citrus cleanser for some mornings, and have been using it after hot yoga to get all the sweat and toxins rinsed away. It is gentle, and leaves your skin feeling clean with the help of castille soap, honey, plus carrier and essential oils. The tea tree oil cleanser (olive oil, castor oil, vitamin E, and essential oils) is also extremely gentle on the skin, and not oily in the way that one thinks when they think “oil”. It is not slick or greasy, but nourishing and rich instead. The cleansing process includes a warm steamy washcloth and massaging your face, so its like a little mini spa at night :) As a toner, I use a blend of apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, and a little water that I mixed up. The nourishing serum (its ingredients include apricot kernel oil, rosehip seed oil, tamanu oil and more) absorbs super quickly and leaves your skin feeling smooth, without any shine or feeling heavy. I can definitely tell the oil production is balancing out in my face as it does not become overly shiny throughout the day like it used to. I have not had new problems sprout up (yet), but I have ordered the full size of the tea tree oil cleanser and serum and will continue to keep you updated as my journey continues!
I now understand that I had been stripping my skin of its natural oils, and it was most certainly overproducing oil to compensate. All the facewashes, constant exfoliation, harsh toners, and “light” moisturizers, in addition to overnight spot treatments were all WAY too much for my skin, and not giving it the moisture it needed. All it wanted was for me to be more gentle, and more natural….no more chemicals, or synthetic this and that. Believe me, it is much more simple this way!
If you would like to check out the store that I bought my products from please visit Willow Rose Body Care on Etsy. She has products for other skin types, as well as tea and bath products. I have also seen many tutorials and recipes for making your own mixture of oil cleansers, but I wanted to first try out the recipes and ratios that someone else had perfected and see how my skin reacted. I have decided to try and make my own version of a honey cleanser, so I will post about it when I do as well. Do your own research and see what you can find, and please let me know your opinions and experiences with oil cleansing (or any natural skin care regimens for that matter). If you have made your own, or have any kind of advice or questions for me-please let me know in the comments!
Willow Rose Body Care also has facial cleansing grains for sale, that I ordered this time around. They have lentils, clay, and other powders for exfoliation. But in the meantime, I felt that my skin needed a little scrubbing, so I made up a face mask based on what I have heard and read regarding all natural skin care. This mask can be used for oily/problem skin, or for any other skin type for a refreshed and purified glow as well. I used nutmeg, turmeric, cinnamon, honey and greek yogurt. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and all-star turmeric have antibacterial, anti inflammatory and astringent properties and have been used for many years, especially in Ayurvedic practices. The combination of the three create a great texture for an exfoliating scrub. Honey is another antibacterial ingredient, working to draw out the impurities, while also locking in moisture to the skin. Lactic acid in the greek yogurt (you could use milk here as well) helps to smooth skin, even out skin tone, and fade scars. As always, if you have sensitive skin, be sure to test on a small area….the cinnamon could be intense for some, but I had no problems.
Spiced Skin Exfoliator and Mask
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 tsp Honey (edit: Raw organic honey…..the only kind you should be using/eating for anything, and the yummiest)
2 heaping tsp Greek Yogurt
1. Pour all spices in a mixing dish
2. Whip in the honey until a paste has formed
3. Mix in yogurt
4. Slather all on a clean face, rubbing gently as you go.
5. Leave on for up to 20 minutes.
6. Rinse off thoroughly and follow with toner and moisturizer.
(The turmeric may leave a slight yellow tinge, but my skin looked OK, especially after I wiped it with my ACV/Witch Hazel Toner)