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The All Natural Skin Care Routine For Acne

Many of my readers have asked me for an all natural skin care routine for acne. So today, I thought I would write about an all natural skin care routine. I will also share some of my DIY recipes. They will help your acne heal as well as make your skin look good.

Having acne is bad enough. You often wonder if a new product will help your skin heal or irritate it further. More often than not, your skin reacts to everything and not in a good way. In this post you will find what alternatives to use that calm your skin and get it to heal.

Even if you do not have acne you can still use some of these routines. They are all natural. Designed with acne in mind they can help almost anyone achieve better looking skin.

The advantages of an all natural skin care routine is that it is very gentle on your skin. Much too often, commercially available skin care for acne dries out your skin. This makes your skin fight back.

So now not only do you have acne but you have sensitive skin as well. It takes a while to heal skin that has been damaged by acne creams.

Our goal here to to help your acne heal as well as take care of your skin.

So the main components of any skin care routine are and should be done in the order as follows

  1. Exfoliating ( done once or twice a week )
  2. Cleansing
  3. Face masks
  4. Toning
  5. Moisturizing

Depending on what stage your acne is, I will let you now which option is the best. In the box like the one below you’ll get to know which one is the best.

Note : If you have cystic acne please do not try any of the remedies below. In fact you should not put anything on your skin when you have cystic acne. Try and get your acne under control with diet first. Check out the clear skin diet here or the best foods to clear acne here. This green smoothie will also help clear up your skin.
1. Cleansing

Cleansing is the most important step in any skin care routine. You need to clean your face of makeup, dirt and pollution. In this section I am going to give you 5 alternatives to face wash. You’ll get to know how to use them.

Honey

how to get rid of oily skin

This one is my personal favorite for a reason. You see honey was one of the first things that helped heal my acne. Besides being gentle it helps heal your acne as well as moisturize and heal your skin at the same time.

It cleans your skin without stripping it of all moisture and leaving it tight and itchy, which is what face washes generally do. Honey also has anti-bacterial and moisturizing properties which make it a great cleanser for skin with acne.

It is best to use honey when your acne is bad. This is when your face needs the most gentle care and products.

How to use it  – Take a coin sized amount in your palm. Add a little water to make it easily spreadable. Apply this all over your face gently. Massage it in for a while and wash off. Remember to keep your hair back from your face as it gets stuck to the honey on your face very easily.

You can also apply a thin layer of honey all over your face and leave it on for about 1/2 an hour before washing it off. This way you use it as a mask as well as a face wash.

Aloe Vera

The antimicrobial properties of aloe vera make it ideal to use in your skin care when you have acne. It helps reduce the redness and inflammation caused by acne. This helps with healing as well. Which is of course exactly what we want.

Aloe vera also helps fade acne scars. It also has moisturizing properties. You can’t go wrong with aloe vera!

It is best to use aloe vera to clean your face when your acne is healing or your acne is mild.

How to use it – You can use pure aloe vera gel you get commercially. It is best though to use the gel directly from the plant. Apply a layer of the gel and leave it on your face for 20 minutes or till it dries. Wash off with water and pat your face dry.

Milk

Cleopatra used to bathe in milk to keep her skin soft and smooth. While that would be a big waste of milk you can use it on your face only.

Milk soothes your skin, removes dead skin cells, shrinks pores and moisturizes your skin.Now why wouldn’t anyone want to take advantage of all these good things that milk has to offer.

It is best to use milk to clean your face after your acne has healed.

How to use it – All you need is some cotton wool and some raw milk. You can even use plain yoghurt or cream. Dip the cotton wool in the milk and apply it all over your face. You can leave it on for about 10 minutes before washing off with cool water.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal makes a healthy and filling breakfast. However you can also use it in your skin care as an alternative to face wash. Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

It is ideal for sensitive skin and is extremely beneficial in the treatment of acne. It helps relieves dry itchy skin. This is great to treat acne prone skin that is irritated after the use of acne creams.

Oatmeal is best used when your acne has started to heal or when you have mild acne.

How to use it – Grind some oatmeal and keep it in a jar in your bathroom. You can mix it with water or even better, with honey. The anti-bacterial properties of honey with  help soothe and heal your skin. Rub this mixture gently all over your face. Wash off with water.

OCM (Oil Cleansing Method)

Oil Cleansing Method or OCM is basically just using oil to dissolve dirt on your skin and then wiping it off with a damp cloth. One thing I learned is that over cleansing is bad for acne. Trying to dry out the oil on my face because I was so scared it would lead to more acne, actually lead to more acne. Not the result I was hoping for!

The thing I was doing to prevent acne actually caused more acne. The more I tried to remove the oil on my face, the more oil it created.

Our skin produces oil naturally because it needs too. Oil keeps our skin healthy and protects it. The oil is what gives our skin a healthy glow. It is not something we should fight against. Working with our skin rather than against it, is what will give us healthy clear skin.

The basic reason to use oil is that oil dissolves the oil on your skin that has hardened along with the impurities on your face and is blocking your pores. The process of massaging your face with oil removes these hardened plugs that will later on block your pores.

Best time to use OCM is when your acne has healed. I do not recommend using it while you have active acne.

How to use it – The best oil to use for OCM are jojoba, avocado, castor, olive, grapeseed and hazelnut oil. Of course this list is not complete and you can use any oil you like. Just make sure the oil is pure. You will need oil, a soft face cloth and some hot water.

Pull your hair away from your face with a headband or scarf. You do not want your hair getting oily. Splash some water on your face. Take a pea sized amount of oil on your palm and massage it gently all over your face.

Use your fingertips and be gentle. Use circular movements. Once you have covered your entire face, dip the cloth in the warm water and rinse. Place this cloth over your entire face and let it sit there for 10 seconds. The steam helps open up your pores.

Take of the cloth and wipe off the excess oil from your face with it. Repeat this twice. Finally splash cold water on your face to close your pores. Initially try OCM just once a week. Give your skin plenty of time to get used to it. This also gives you time to observe how your skin reacts to it.

2. Toning

Toners help balance the PH level of your skin, they make your skin smooth and close your pores.

Here are 5 toners gentle enough to use on sensitive skin. They have no alcohol so will not sting nor dry out your skin.

Cucumber and Mint Toner

Cucumber has a calming and cooling effect on the skin. This makes it useful in treating the redness and inflammation associated with acne. Cucumber juice is an astringent and it will help lighten the appearance of acne scars. Mint helps heal acne and removes dead skin cells from your face.

This toner can be used when you have active acne.
Ingredients
  • One cucumber
  • A handful of mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2-3 drops tea tree oil

Wash the cucumber well. Do not peel. Chop roughly. Soak the mint leaves in plenty of water to loosen any dirt. Wash well. Blend the cucumber and the mint leaves in a blender or food processor. Add the water to get it going. Strain this mixture through a strainer lined with a fine cloth to ensure that all solid particles are removed. Store this in a bottle in the refrigerator.

Apply on your face with cotton wool. If you have acne gently dab the cotton wool on your face.

Rose Water

Rose water has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce the redness associated with acne.  You can apply normal rose water on your face as a toner. Try and get good quality rose water. Do not use if you have active, cystic acne.

Apply on your face gently with cotton.

Green Tea Toner

Green tea contain powerful antioxidants which are very helpful when it comes to treating acne. Applying green tea topically helps reduce inflammation caused by acne.

You can dab used green tea bags on your face or can make the toner below which you can store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

You can use green tea when you have acne. It will help you heal and reduce the redness on your face
Ingredients
  • 2-3 green tea bags or 2 teaspoons loose green tea
  • 1 cup water

Cut open the tea bags and put the content into a clean saucepan. Add the water. Put the saucepan on the fire and bring it to a boil. Switch off the heat and let it cool. Strain into a glass bottle.

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera can be used a cleanser as well as a toner. A thin layer of aloe vera gel applied to washed skin serves well as a toner. You can also use pure aloe vera juice instead. This will keep your skin healthy and will not dry it out.

Aloe vera can be used when you have acne

Ice Cube

If you do not have any of the above ingredients on hand you can use a simple ice cube to help your skin look calm, even toned and sooth. Simply run an ice cube all over your face after washing it.

If you have active acne, an ice cube might hurt your acne or break them. Use this once your acne is on the path to healing. Use the cucumber and mint or green tea toner at this time.
Exfoliating

Exfoliating when you have acne can be tricky. The last thing you want is to further irritate your skin. For sensitive skin you need to use something that is soft and gentle and will not irritate your skin. You should exfoliate just once or twice a week.

You should avoid exfoliating if you have active acne. Leave this for when your acne is healing or completely healed.

The 2 best things to exfoliate your skin are oatmeal and green tea. In fact you can combine your cleanser and exfoliant with the recipe below.

Oatmeal/Green Tea and Honey Scrub

  • 1 tablespoon ground oats / 1 tablespoon loose green tea
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Mix both the above ingredients and apply on your face. Leave for 15 minutes. Then gently rub the mask into your face in circular movements. Use only your fingertips and be gentle. Wet your hands with water if the mask is too sticky. Wash off completely.

For a complete guide on exfoliating when you have acne, check this article here.

Moisturizing

I use only oil for moisturizing my skin on most days. I experiment with coconut oil these days as my skin has gotten quite dry. Steer clear of coconut oil when you have acne. When you have acne prone skin, it is better to stick to oils with a comedogenic rating of zero.

My suggestions for using oils to moisturize your skin : It is better to wait until your acne had healed completely before trying out this one for the first time. There are a lot of opposing views when it comes to using oils in your skin care when you have acne. If you want to try it, start by using a drop at a time and observing your skin over the new few days.

The best oil to try fist is rosehip oil. This helps fade acne scars and is great for acne prone skin. Additionally it is very light and gets absorbed into your skin very quickly without leaving an oily residue.

You can also try hemp seed oil which has a comedogenic rating of zero. It helps balance out the oils on your skin and also reduces inflammation and redness.

Face Masks for Acne

My favorite mask for acne is honey. I am a bit biased, but with good reason. Honey literally helps flatten out acne. You can use honey as a base and literally mix anything with it to make an acne mask. Even applied on its own honey does a great job.

Here is the mask I generally use for acne

Honey Mask for Acne

  • 1 tablespoon raw organic honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1-2 drops rosehip oil ( optional )

Mix all the above ingredients. Wash your face and make sure your hair is tied back and off your face. Apply the mask with clean fingers. Leave it on for an hour or more. Wash off gently with plain water.

You can also mix honey with

  • aloe vera gel
  • a paste of mint leaves
  • a paste of basil leaves
  • bentonite clay
  • green tea
  • oatmeal

Use any of the above mixed with honey as a face mask for acne.

I think I have covered all aspects of a skin care routine. Comment below if I have missed anything or you have something you use that you would like to share with everyone.

How to Keep Your Skin Toxin-Free


This post was made possible by Facing Acne


As you go through the day, you’re likely in a number of environments that can cause damage to your skin. If you walk or bike to work, you may be exposed to smog and pollution from buses and cars. This can get into the pores of your skin and cause blemishes and breakouts. Many of the products that we use each day can also cause us to be exposed to impurities that can lead to skin issues. If exposure to toxins has caused you to break out you can read more here for clear skin solutions.

If you want to know more practical tips for keeping your skin toxin-free, here are some suggestions that you may want to try. After all, impurities are nearly everywhere these days, and skin that is clean and clear can help you to both look and feel your best.

Use Over the Counter Products Carefully

It’s important to note that even if you’re using store-bought products that promise to remove dirt and oil from your face, you need to check the ingredients to ensure that they are beneficial. Substances like propylene glycol and sodium lauryl sulfate are found in a number of facial cleansers and toners, even some of the products that are from high-end brands. These ingredients can cause physical ailments like headaches and allergy symptoms, and can also alter the function and product of your hormones, which can lead to other serious health issues.

Observe Your Skin

Any time you buy a new facial cleanser or beauty product, watch your skin closely for a day or two to make sure you don’t have a reaction. This is very important, since scratching a rash or skin irritation can lead to infection. Even if a product is labeled “gentle” or “all natural,” make sure that you recognize all the ingredients and can classify them as safe.

Improve Your Circulation

Make sure that your skin has a naturally healthy glow by giving yourself facial massages. This increases the blood flow to your face and keeps your pores from getting clogged. You can also increase circulation by going makeup free as much as possible so that your pores have a change to “breathe.” Getting lots of fresh air also helps to renew your complexion and increase circulation. If you live in an area where it’s difficult to breathe clean air, make sure that you use an air purifier in your home or office to ensure that your skin isn’t overly exposed to environmental poisons. Of course, working out will eliminate impurities from your skin as well. When you sweat, you’re getting rid of impurities, so working out often can help you achieve a healthy glow while you reach your health and/or weight loss goals.

Boost Your Immunity

When your immune system is strong, your skin is less likely to be affected  by toxins. Your skin naturally produces oils and this can make it easier for bacteria to form. So, stay away from foods that are high in sugar and fat, since these can weaken the immune system and make the skin oilier. You can also reduce bacteria by taking vitamin supplements that contain antioxidants like vitamins A and E. These substances provide protection for your skin against free radicals and make your immune system stronger, which helps to give you more energy while clearing up your skin. Getting enough sleep on a regular basis is also imperative for your immune system to function well. Be sure to get adequate sleep each night to help your skin renew itself and make it harder for toxins to enter the body.

Drink Lots of Water

Water is an affordable and practical way to flush impurities out of your body on a daily basis. Drinking water daily also keeps your skin soft and youthful. If you notice that your skin is dryer than usual and experience redness and flaking, particularly in the winter months, water can be helpful. Water is also necessary in the warmer months of the year to prevent dehydration and to keep your pores clear.

In addition to these tips, it’s also best to check for intolerances to food or chemicals, since this could be causing skin irritation. Keep a journal of the food you eat and the products you use on your skin to figure out how you can customize your skin care routine to make it toxin-free.

The Best Foods That Clear Acne

When it comes to clearing acne, our skin needs all the help it can get. One of the best ways of helping it is through the food we eat.  Of course there are still people who say that diet and acne are not connected. My personal favorite (which annoys me of course ) is “There are no scientific studies that prove that acne and diet are connected”. If you’re out of your teens and still struggling with acne, let me tell you the quickest way to clear and acne free skin is through diet. Even if you do not have acne, adding the below foods to your diet can make your skin glow and look so much better. Do try it out and let me know. I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Now, I’m  not telling you to overhaul your diet and start eating a diet completely different to what you can get around you. Just a few changes and additions and you’re good to go. Trying to overhaul your diet completely is a battle that is lost from the beginning. If you eat rice, like I do, on a daily basis and you ask me to quit rice, I know instinctively that I cannot do it. I might say I can, but I am human and I love food, plus I was brought up eating rice.

So here are the best foods you can add to your diet so that your acne starts healing. I’ll include recipes and how you can include it in your diet.

1. Green Leafy Vegetables

These are a powerhouse as they contains loads of antioxidants that are beneficial for your skin. Antioxidants speed up your skins repair system and they prevent further damage.  This makes them a great addition to your diet. You can add baby spinach leaves to your salad. You can make a green smoothie with mixed greens. Leafy greens include spinach, fenugreek leaves, amaranth leaves, kale, collard greens, beet greens or any green leafy vegetable you get local to you.

Here is a basic recipe you can make using spinach, fenugreek leaves or any leafy green. Or even a mix of them.

  • 1 Onion (chopped fine)
  • 1/2 tomato (chopped fine)
  • 4-5 handfuls of greens – spinach or any of your choice (washed well and chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil ( any vegetable oil will do also)
  • 1 teaspoon grated coconut (optional)
  • salt to taste

Add all the above ingredients to a except salt and coconut to a vessel. Put this vessel on the stove and set the heat to low. Put the lid on and let it cook for 4-5 minutes. Then open the lid. The leaves would have wilted. If not, put the lid back on again and cook on low heat for 2-3 minutes more. Open the lid and add salt to taste and coconut if required. Coconut is needed mostly if you are Indian and want to eat it with rice and dal (lentils). Skip the coconut to serve with steak or grilled chicken.

2. Chia Seeds

foods that clear acne

These seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids and they are also high in antioxidants. They help fight inflammation in your body and also help with dry skin.

 

Below is a breakfast recipe using chia seeds.

  • 1 cup almond milk, coconut or any milk of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds

Soak the chia seeds in the milk and leave it overnight covered in the refrigerator. Next morning the chia seeds would have absorbed the milk. Add toppings like fresh fruits, cocoa powder and sweeten with honey or maple syrup for an amazing kick start to your day.

3. Probiotics

To have good skin your body should be healthy. This means good digestive health as well. Skin prone to acne has shown to improve with a daily dose of probiotics. Source

Probiotics are in yoghurt, home made pickles, fermented foods like idly dosa, home made curd, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha and buttermilk.

4. Berries

foods that clear acne

The deep color of berries is due to an antioxidant which protects the damage to your skin by free radicals. Add a handful of any locally available berries to your daily diet.

 

Here’s how you can include chia seeds and berries into a breakfast smoothie.

foods that clear acne

  • 1 cup mixed berries
  • 1 banana
  • 3/4 to 1  cup milk, yoghurt, almond or soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Blend all in a blender and enjoy.

5. Green Tea

foods that clear acne

Green tea contains powerful antioxidants. It is also good for regulating your insulin levels which in turn reduces the sebum or oil your skin makes, which in turns leads to less acne. All these factors make green tea an excellent agent to fight inflammation in your skin. Now green tea is not exactly everyone’s cup of tea! To make it more palatable add freshly squeezed orange juice or lemon juice to it. Have it cold if you don’t like it hot. Just make the tea and let it cool. Or add ice cubes to the hot tea to cool it.

To calm your face you can dab your face gently with the used green tea bag.

6. Citrus Fruits

foods that clear acneCitrus fruits contain loads of Vitamin C which is great for your skin. I wrote an article here about how Vitamin C helps acne. Adding these to your daily diet will help reduce the life cycle of your acne and also keep it at day. Vitamin C calms your immune system which in turn prevent your body from harming your skin. Vitamin C also helps reduce the redness on your skin due to acne.

7. Avocados

foods that clear acneMany years back I used to watch Nigella Lawson’s cooking shows. She once described avocado as a moisturizer that you can eat. She said it moisturizes your skin from within. That’s a pretty good description for the avocado. Avocados are full of healthy fats that are fantastic for your skin. Add them to your salads, on toast or enjoy them just on their own.

Here’s a salad you can make with avocados

foods that clear acne

  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1/2 each of green and red peppers
  • 1 cup kidney or any beans (cooked and drained)
  • 1/2 tomato
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • juice of one lemon

Mix all the veggies in a bowl. All the olive oil and lemon juice to a small bowl and add salt and pepper to it. Mix it well. Add to the veggies. You can get creative and add apples, oranges, spinach and lettuce to the salad as well.  This is a very versatile recipe. It can be modified a lot.

8. Ginger

foods that clear acneI used to always notice that my skin looked much better when I had a cold. It always confused me until I realized I drank ginger tea when I had a cold. Along with a lot of turmeric in lot water. Ginger has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Whatever it does to help your cold and sniffles away, it does similar things to help your acne heal as well.

Ginger can be added to stir fries, added to tea or it can be added to your green smoothie. I used to grind half a kilo of ginger and strain the mix using a sieve. The juice that comes out of it can be stored in a clean glass bottle for up to a month. This juice can be added to green smoothies.

9. Turmeric

foods that clear acneLike ginger, turmeric also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It works great added to your food and also applied topically to your skin. You can add turmeric to your scrambled eggs and also to your soup. A teaspoon of turmeric stirred into a pot of soup adds a very earthy flavour to it.

So here they are – some of the best foods to clear acne. Be creative and mix 2-3 of them up in one dish. Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you do experiment and it tastes good, mention it in the comments below. Below are just some examples.

  • Spinach, avocado and citrus fruits can be added to your salad.
  • A green smoothie can be made with spinach, mint, avocado, ginger juice, turmeric and green tea
  • The breakfast smoothie above has chia seeds and berries. Add yoghurt too.
  • Green tea can be had with citrus fruit juice ( lemon juice or orange juice )
  • Turmeric, ginger juice and lemon juice can be added to green tea
  • You can grind spinach and add it to plain yoghurt with salt and garlic powder. This can be used as a dip.

 

How To Quit Sugar to Get Your Best Skin Ever

I quit sugar in May 2012. I did this to try and clear my face of cystic acne which was really bad at that time. I had bumps on my forehead that did not heal for about 6 months. Even medical treatments could not fix them. When my acne cleared after quitting sugar, thrilled I continued to look around on the internet on why my acne cleared with this diet change.

The video below was shared with me by my husband.

Continue reading “How To Quit Sugar to Get Your Best Skin Ever”

How to Calm Your Skin when you have a Cystic Acne Flare Up

If you have acne you may have been in this situation many times. Your face suddenly takes a turn for the worse. It looks red, feels inflamed and feels like it is on fire. Normal activities like washing your face, brushing your teeth and going out suddenly become these huge hurdles, you just can’t get past. Your face actually hurts because the acne are deep within the skin and cause pain. Even sleeping becomes a problem as the rubbing can cause further irritation.

So what do you do when you have a cystic acne flare up?

1. No applying products and  hands off your face

Yes, you read that right. No applying any products or any ointment. I’ve been down this road more often than I wanted to and I know that nothing works. Nothing you apply to your face at this point is going to help you. Also no touching to feel your face. It’s a common temptation when you have acne, to touch your acne to see how big they are. This does not help and only irritates your skin further.

2. No makeup

Cystic acne

As tempting as it might be to try and cover up, all you will be doing is irritating your skin even further. It will be worse when you have to wash it off and irritate your face all over again. Makeup at this point is just not worth it. You probably will not be able to cover it up. Plus your skin does not need an added irritant at this time. If you do use makeup not only will you irritate your skin applying it, you will irritate it much more when taking it off.

3. Take a Vitamin C supplement

cystic acne flare up

You need to stimulate your immune system to fight this. The best way is to take a Vitamin C supplement. You can try to increase your intake of it through diet but for your skin to calm down you need a much larger dose, more than you can eat in a day. 1000 mg a day will be fine.

4. Have a Green smoothie or eat lots of green vegetables

The best foods for acne are vegetables. More specifically green leafy vegetables which is the best food you can eat when your skin is acting up. Drink it in the form of a smoothie or add them to your diet, any way is perfectly fine. Green leafy vegetables include spinach, fenugreek leaves (methi), broccoli, kale, cabbage, swiss chard, lettuce, watercress, mustard greens.

5. Drink a lot of water

acne

There is a myth out there that drinking water will get rid of your acne by flushing toxins. I have no idea what these toxins are and I also know that drinking water will not cure acne. But what drinking water does is keep your skin hydrated and bring down the redness on your face.

6. No stimulants

Till your skin settles down avoid alcohol and extremely spicy foods. I am not going to ask you to cut out tea and coffee completely but do restrict the amount you drink to 2-3 cups a day.

7. Skip sugar and dairy for a few days.

Sugar and dairy tend to cause inflammation in some people. Cut them out of your diet for a few days till your face settles down. Little milk and sugar in your tea or coffee is fine but no more than that.

8. Calm your skin with cold water

Your face may feel hot and irritated. Splash cold water on your face whenever needed. Avoid excessive heat and hot showers till your skin settles down. Avoid drying your face and let it dry naturally.

 

9. Relax and Remember that your skin will Heal

cystic acne flare upAcne does tend to make us lose perspective of things and we feel really down and depressed. With a few changes your skin can heal properly. When you have acne you feel that life is unfair to you. This is completely normal. While completely understandable you do not have to give in to these feelings. Try and find something that makes you happy and do that. Give meditation a try. It can be beneficial for your life in general.