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 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.

 

How to Get Rid of Oily Skin

One problem that generally goes hand in hand with acne is oily skin. Skin that looks like it has been drizzled with oil. Besides giving you a sticky feel, oily skin looks dull. You might also have this weird combination of skin being dry as well as oily. This is a common problem when you are battling adult acne. Trying to use makeup when you have this dry and oily combination skin can be a bit of a challenge.

Where does this oil come from ?

The oil or sebum is an oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands are everywhere on your body except your palms and the soles of your feet. Coincidentally there is a greater concentration of sebaceous glands on your face. These glands may be connected to a hair follicle or open up directly onto the surface of your skin. When the pore is filled with sebum or oil it spreads on the surface of the skin to keep it moist and healthy. When the gland keeps producing oil and the pore is blocked with dead skin cells it leads to acne.

Let’s keep something in mind here. This oil to required keep your skin looking good, healthy and protected from infections. Without this oil your skin would be dry and dull and would age faster. What we want is a fresh dewy look but not the sticky and yucky feel that comes with excess oil.

Why does Your Skin Get Oily

Sebaceous glands are controlled by hormones. That is why teens generally get acne as their hormones are fluctuating and since these hormones control the sebaceous glands, excess oil is secreted. This hormonal imbalance sometimes continues or starts in adulthood due to diet, stress, genetics, environmental factors etc. There is no way of knowing which factor or combination of factors causes it. The way I see it, it is generally irrelevant what causes your oily skin or your acne. Focus on fixing the problem.

So How Do We Fix This?

What’s the first thing you do when you have oily skin? Well, wash it of course. A few hours later, your face gets oily again and you wash it again. This cycle continues. You then go looking for face washes meant for oily skin. Face washes meant for oily skin generally tend to be harsher. The cycle of skin being oily and washing continues. This is what I did. Let me tell you that this is one of the worst things you can do when you have oily skin. My skin got sensitive, red and raw. Of course I cannot blame just the washing. I have to put equal amounts of blame on the BP and antibiotics.

There is a lot of advice out there about treating oily skin, that I really do not agree with. The only thing I can say is that all this advice comes from people who have never struggled with either acne or oily skin. The advice ranges from being mildly unhelpful (like do not moisturize oily skin) to completely awful (which says to ask a doctor for Accutane). Using Accutane to stop the oiliness is on the same lines as using dynamite to blow up your house just to kill the cockroaches in it. While washing your face frequently to remove oil may seem like the logical thing to do, it does not really work at stopping the oil. The oil continues to flow to the surface of the skin and the constant washing continues to dry out the skin. The oil can’t just be washed away with a face wash.

How to wash your face

When your face is oily and you keep washing it to remove the oil, the oil glands just create more oil. There are a few ways you can deal with this. One is to stop using face wash completely and just rinse your face with plain water. Of course not everyone will like this method.

I am not sure there is a really mild face wash out there so I suggest using a home made face wash to clean your face.

Plain Honey

Honey is great for acne prone skin when used as a mask or as a face wash. You can apply honey all over your face. Leave it for 15 minutes then wash. If you do not have time just apply a coin size amount all over your damp face, rub gently and wash off. If the honey is too stick mix it with a little water.

DIY Face wash with Honey

Here’s a face wash you can make with honey.

how to get rid of oily skin

1/2 cup honey (preferably organic)

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon jojoba, rosehip, avocado /  1/2 teaspoon tea tree oil

Mix all and keep in a glass jar. Shake well before use. To use apply a coin size amount all over your damp face and wash off.

Oatmeal Face Wash

You can also wash your face using oatmeal. Oats are very soothing to the skin and are often used in creams to provide relief from dry itchy skin. Grind oatmeal and keep it in a jar. Mix one tablespoon of the ground oatmeal in 2 tablespoons of warm water. Rub the paste on your damp face gently and wash off with warm water.

Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)

You can also wash your face using the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM), which although sounds counter-intuitive actually works. This is a bit scary for anyone doing this for the first time. Just keep it as an option though. You can try the above 2 methods for now.

Face Masks for Oily Skin

Honey Face Mask

My favorite face mask for acne, acne scars and oily skin is the one I normally recommend to most of the people who ask me what to use. This is the honey face mask which packs a huge punch.

Clay Mask

how to get rid of oily skin

The other masks that help with oily skin are clay based masks. The best clay for acne prone oily skin is bentonite clay. This clay actually helps control the over production of sebum and unclogs the pores. Over time it even shrinks pores, gives your face a glow and reduces the appearance of scars. Adding green tea to the mask also helps reduce the oil and tone your skin. This is optional.

1 teaspoon bentonite clay

1 teaspoon raw honey

2-3 drops rosehip oil

Water to make a paste ( or green tea )

Mix all the above to form a thick paste. Apply on your face and leave it on for 15 minutes or till it dries. Wash off with warm water.

Do you need a toner?

Most people with oily skin are told that they need to use toner to close the pores to prevent excess oil formation. Most toners contain alcohol which dries out the skin. You do not need a toner. If you feel you really need a toner you can use green tea or rose water. Or try any of the following DIY toners.

Green Tea and Rose Water Toner

To make this toner add equal quantities of rose water and green tea and store in an easy to use bottle in the refrigerator. Use whenever needed. make small quantities as it is better to make this fresh.

Mint toner

Grind a handful of mint leaves and strain the mix. Dilute the mix till it is transparent. Store this in a bottle and use as needed.

Ice Cube

Rub an ice cub all over your face. This has the same effect as a toner does.

Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

I personally would not use this one because I do not like the smell of vinegar. Combine 1 part of apple cider vinegar with 3 parts of water. So for one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar you need to add 3 teaspoons of water.

Does Oily Skin Need Moisturizer?

Many people say that oily skin does not need a moisturizer. Makes sense as your skin is oily enough. But in truth your skin does need all the moisture it can get. So please do use a moisturizer. If you do not want to use it during the day, use it during the night. Any light moisturizer will do fine. Stay away from heavy cream based moisturizers.

Improving Your Diet

Overactive sebaceous glands are due to a hormonal imbalance. This imbalance can be greatly improved by cutting out sugar and dairy from your diet. The side effects of using diet to balance out your hormones are all good – great skin, great hair and good health. Once you cut out sugar and dairy I promise your skin will be a lot less oily.

You do not need to cut out oil from your diet. Oil in your diet does not cause oily skin. Make sure you drink at least 2 litres of water everyday. Adding the juice of one lemon into this water will also help in bringing down the oiliness of your skin.

To conclude it does not take much to reduce the oiliness on your face. A few simple steps go a long way in getting rid of excess oil on your skin.

Guide to Using Oils in Your Skin Care

Oils have always got a bad rap when it comes to acne. Especially skin care for acne. If you have acne you are always advised to look for products that are oil free. Oil free moisturizers and oil free face washes have always been held in high esteem by acne sufferers. Since it is assumed that acne is caused by excess oil, oil has never been a big part of any skin care routine meant for acne prone skin.

In this post however I’m going to show you how you can use oils in your skin care even when you have acne.

Continue reading “Guide to Using Oils in Your Skin Care”

A Complete Guide to Exfoliation for Acne Prone Skin

Acne is formed when the pore gets blocked and the oil or sebum is trapped in the pore. The sebum getting trapped creates a perfect environment for the acne bacteria to survive. Once infected the pore swells up to create a red bump. So what causes the pore to get blocked? Well, dead skin cells. So why is it that your dead skin cells hang around on your face while those of your clear skinned friend don’t? That’s because in acne prone skin cell turnover is not efficient. Acne-prone skin produces much more dead skin cells than normal, and these cells are not shed properly. They tend to stick to the surface of the skin. In normal skin, excess dead skin cells are constantly being sloughed away on their own.

Continue reading “A Complete Guide to Exfoliation for Acne Prone Skin”