The cost of facial cleansers can add up quickly — and if you’re like me, you are frustrated with skin that keeps stubbornly breaking out despite expensive cleansers and moisturizers.
If you’re looking for a way to have clear, glowing skin and save some money, why not try a few home remedies? You will be surprised by the number of effective, non-toxic, and easy acne solutions you can find in your own kitchen cupboards.
You are what you eat
If you’ve tried all kinds of acne remedies and are still having trouble, experimenting with your diet might be a good approach. Many people with mild food sensitivities find that cutting out dairy, sugar, or greasy foods help to reduce breakouts. Try eliminating a potential trigger food for a week or two, and pay attention to see if your acne improves. For some, simply adding in extra fresh fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of water each day is enough to help clear up problem skin.
Don’t forget that a healthy lifestyle — a good diet, staying properly hydrated, getting enough sleep, and daily exercise — helps to create healthy skin. Your skin is the largest organ in your body, so caring properly for your whole self is essential to having clear, vibrant skin.
Fight oil with… oil?
My personal favorite homemade cleanser is the Oil Cleansing Method. (If you do a Web search for “Oil Cleansing Method,” you’ll find lots of different recipes, testimonials, and explanations of the science behind the popular “OCM”!) Although it can seem a little strange after a lifetime of using soaps and cleansers that boast at being “oil free,” a great home remedy for a wide variety of skin problems is actually oil, itself! Operating under the scientific principle that “like dissolves like,” this facial all-in-one cleanser and moisturizer helps to gently break down and remove excess oils and dirt that build up in your skin, without drying your face out like most commercial cleansers. Castor oil, one of the main components of the OCM is a powerful natural purgative and helps to remove oil and dirt from deep in your pores. A deep moisturizing oil is added to the castor oil to help nourish and smooth the skin, and keep it from drying out.
The technique is simple, with endless variations. For a basic OCM recipe, combine 1 part castor oil (found in the pharmacy section of your grocery or department store) with 1 part extra-virgin olive oil, or 1 part melted coconut oil. For skin that is very oily, try using 1 part EVOO or coconut oil to 3 parts castor oil. For skin that tends to be very dry, try 1 part castor oil to 3 parts EVOO, or coconut oil. To use, massage a coin-sized amount of your mixture into the (dry) skin of your face. Wet a washcloth with water as hot as you can stand to touch, and hold the washcloth to your face for about 30 seconds (the steam released by doing this helps to open your pores). Rinse cloth in warm water, then gently wipe remaining oil from your skin. Repeat this treatment morning and night. Be aware that if you’ve been using commercial cleansers on your face, it may take a few weeks before you start to see results from the OCM as commercial cleansers actually strip the natural oils from your skin and cause your body to overproduce oil for a while after stopping.
Toning with vinegar
One time-tested remedy for acne-prone skin is apple cider vinegar. Filled with natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties, apple cider vinegar is an easy an inexpensive way to cleanse your skin and keep it firm and smooth. By balancing the pH of your skin, apple cider vinegar can help keep pores open and control acne.
To create your own apple cider vinegar toner, dilute vinegar with water (start with about 1 part vinegar and 3 parts water — you can make the solution stronger later if your skin will tolerate it). Put a little of the cider mixture on a cotton ball or pad and wipe it gently over your face. (You can also use it as a spot treatment, applying it only to acne-affected areas if you prefer.) If your skin is sensitive, you might want to gently wipe your face with a wet washcloth after about 2 minutes to avoid irritation. Use this method one to two times a day, depending on how well your skin tolerates it.
Raid your kitchen cabinets
If you’re looking for a deep-cleaning treatment, there are dozens of recipes for homemade facial masks that you can find with a quick web search! Here are 2 simple mask recipes to try:
Honey face mask
Mix a tablespoon of honey with 1 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg. Rub liberally over face and let sit for 30 minutes before washing gently with warm water.
Oatmeal face mask
Grind about a quarter cup of rolled oats in a blender or food processor. Add about a teaspoon of honey, and pour in just enough milk to make a thick paste. Spread oatmeal mixture over face and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Wash with warm water.
Whichever homemade cleansing methods you end up using, you’ll certainly save money, and gain peace of mind that comes from knowing you aren’t putting harsh chemical cleansers on your sensitive skin.