Left: Sheetal Rawal, scientist (human genetics) & founder of Apsara Skin Care
By: Alex Raffanti & Sheetal Rawal
Home remedies by Sheetal Rawal
Acne can be extremely difficult, and for some of us, this obnoxious skin infection lasts much longer than seventeen. When dealing with acne we can easily get very desperate: go to every dermatologist and rub on every product they hand us, try every product on the market, and of course, order the TV infomercial products just in case they actually work.
It is also so tempting to squeeze out the clogged material in active acne or blackheads just so they can look less obvious. I don’t even have to say this, but hey let me anyway. Taking the matters in your own hands will almost certainly leave the skin scarred. It takes much longer to recover from scars than the acne itself. It also might drive the pore clogging material deeper into the skin. Result? Repeated infections on the same spot and increased chances of developing stubborn scars.
Many times we blindly use products, having no idea what is in them and who made them. This is the unfortunate issue with treating acne. We become so desperate to get the “perfect” skin, that we
will try anything. Acne is emotionally very challenging. Looking at the perfect skin of those airbrushed models on covers of fashion magazines does not help at all. What nobody tells us is that all of these perfect models are just as human as we are. Many have acne and scars hiding under layers of makeup. And then digital trickery finishes off the job until the skin looks deceivingly perfect.
Chemical-filled products seem to do the short term trick with acne. Why is that? And why only short term? It is because they dry out your pimple, oh and of course your skin too.
This seems like it is the best thing; especially since the media has taught us that oil is terrible for acne. What they have not bothered to notice is that drying out the skin with these chemicals only makes your sebaceous glands want to compensate and make more oil/sebum. So then you get more acne. This cycle is easy to understand.
"This is the only product that has ever worked on my acne. I saw results within 3-4 days."
So should we trust everything we hear and read? Well in fact acne can take an emotional toll on us. In this state, we become more vulnerable and prone to believing and trying out anything that looks promising. That is a big reason why acne products with strong chemicals in them are still strong and circulating.
Well, I’d say make sure your products are free of harsh chemicals (if you are truly serious about wanting acne-free skin for longer than a couple days). Here are just a few natural remedies for acne, but there are many, many more that I hope to bring to you in future articles.
Tea Tree Oil: When diluted, tea tree oil can do wonders for acne, but make sure you dilute it or else it can do the opposite and cause redness in the skin and irritate it. Generally speaking, I shy away from talking about essential oils. These are very potent and improper usage can really do more harm than good. However, if used properly they can be very beneficial in helping address acne naturally. Tea tree oil is known to have antimicrobial activity, which helps since acne is really a bacterial infection. Mix one drop (and no more) in 1 teaspoon of jojoba oil, and the massage very gently on an active acne spot for a minute. Leave it on overnight.
Nutmeg: This is a highly recommended spice in Ayurveda as far as addressing acne is
concerned. It can be made part of many home remedies to see relief from acne naturally. To 1 teaspoon oat flour, add ½ teaspoon of nutmeg powder. The add enough aloe vera juice to make a thick paste. Apply on the acne-prone areas of your skin 1-2 times a week. Wash in 12-15 minutes and then apply your serum and lotion right after.
Eucalyptus Oil: Another very good essential oil known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It is also astringent and cooling and both these are
very good properties when it comes to recovery from acne. Again I can’t emphasize enough that essential oils (when improperly used) can do some serious damage. The best way to use eucalyptus oil at home is by adding 1 drop (no more) to 2 teaspoons of jojoba oil. Mix well and massage into active acne spots before bed at night.
Jojoba Oil: Jojoba oil is known for its antibacterial properties, which helps keep your skin acne-free. Because it is so light and its molecules are so small (very similar to the oil our skin produces naturally), it can penetrate deep into your skin and clean it from the inside-out. It is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce the redness as well as swelling related to acne. Jojoba oil is great because it cleans out your pores while also reducing the inflammation. In addition, since it is so close to natural oil our sebaceous glands produce, its presence can also signal to our pores to not overproduce sebum. Therefore acne formation can be addressed at the root level.
Need a homemade mask for your acne? Watch this video to learn how to create an acne remedy using turmeric and rice flour. Enjoy and don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel!
Baking Soda: Baking soda is known to help improve the congestion levels of the skin. When it
comes in contact with oils (read excess sebum in the pores of the skin) it turns the oils into soap by a chemical reaction called saponification. You can mix a teaspoon of baking soda in enough water to form a thick paste and then apply this paste on the acne-prone areas of your skin no more than once a week. Wash off in about 12- 15 minutes and always follow with your serum lotion. A very important note of caution about baking soda. If used too much it can absolutely dry out your skin. So using it improperly can worsen acne. Remember dry skin produces more oil that leads to more acne.
Aloe Vera: Aloe vera has been used for centuries in order to cure burns and especially sunburns, but who knew it could be great for acne as well! Aloe contains a compound called saponin, which is believed to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties--the trifecta for acne! It is great for acne scars because of its ability to heal the skin quickly. Just put a dab of aloe vera on your pimples and watch what happens! Aloe vera (called kumari in Sanskrit) has been recommended in Ayurveda for its miraculous healing properties. It also raises the hydration levels of the skin and this is great to keep acne-prone skin calm and far less annoyed than it usually tends to be.
Fuller’s Earth: I will go ahead and call it the miracle ingredient. I have had enough success with this one ingredient to put it at the top of my natural ingredients altar.
Really! Well, everything is right with this ingredient when it comes to addressing acne naturally. It deep cleans pores, provides trace minerals to the skin, increases blood circulation (read healing) to the skin, and to top it all up has natural mild bleaching properties. This last one helps fade those pesky discolored spots that acne leaves behind. To one teaspoon of fuller’s earth (AKA Multani mitti), add enough aloe vera juice to make a paste. Apply on your skin 1-2 times a week. Wash in 15 minutes and never ever forget to use your serum and lotion right after.
It is very easy to just listen to our authorities: our doctors, dermatologists, parents, etc. You name it and we think “if they said so” then it must be correct. This is called the Appeal to Authority fallacy and needs to be recognized. Just because someone has years of experience does not mean that everything that comes out of their mouth is gold. Be careful what you believe and make sure you are reading the ingredients of your products because remember what we put into our body is absorbed into our skin and runs through our bloodstream. Take care of your body by switching to natural ingredients! Your body and skin will thank you!
Comments? Questions? Feel free to share your thoughts with me in comments below.
If you do not know how to approach a skin care routine, click here to get expert advice from Sheetal.
Go natural. It is good karma!