I have a confession. I’m a grown woman with acne.
On the bright side, I’d like to think it’s what helps me keep a more youthful appearance. (Getting mistaken for a pubescent teen when you’re in your mid-20s is desirable, right?) However, it’s still acne. It’s still annoying to look at, especially for hours on end.
Over the years I’ve learned nothing makes me more aware of my blemishes than a camera. They have this magical ability to point out things I never noticed when looking at myself in the bathroom mirror. If I am going to get all statistical about it, people seeing pictures of me happens more often than me seeing pictures of myself — and for those of us who make their living in front of a camera (or at least are trying to), this thought is not comforting.
Maintaining a healthy skincare routine is worth the effort for many reasons, not just for the sake of physical appearance. Your skin is the largest organ you own, and clean skin is happy skin. At the same time, continuously buying new soaps, creams and other elixirs that claim to have miraculous skin-transforming properties eventually will burn quite a gaping hole in one’s wallet. That needn’t be true, though, especially since so many of the key ingredients in skincare products are ingredients we can may already have at home.
After doing some research, I’ve found some key ingredients and home remedies that work wonders on the skin and easily can be made. These do-it-yourself skincare products are a perfect combination of my three favorite things: cheap, fun and edible. Okay, only some are edible, but you get the idea.
Coconut oil is not messing around when it comes to body benefits, inside and out. It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, meaning it’s suitable for blemish-prone skin. More popular uses however are for moisturizing dry skin and aiding in wrinkle prevention. The best part is, a little goes a long way. One jar of coconut oil can work as a make-up remover and moisturizer, as well as a great addition to DIY face masks and home spa baths.
Make you buy pure coconut oil, not a coconut oil blend; the more raw, the better. All you have to do is apply it directly to the skin — no extra work necessary! Also, leftover oil can be used for cooking, which definitely helps me realize more than one “rubbing food into my skin” fantasy.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a must-have for inflammation and blemishes. Most home remedies for acne call for tea tree oil, and it’s also perfect for helping to treat scrapes and other small wounds. But tea tree oil is powerful, so be careful. It needs to be combined with a less harsh base oil (such as coconut oil) before application. Using too much can have adverse side effects.
For spot treatments, combine 4-6 drops of tea tree oil with one teaspoon coconut or jojoba oil and dab onto blemishes with a cotton swab.
Pro-tip: An eye dropper is perfect for measuring tea tree oil and other essential oils. Using one can help you keep a good eye on the ratios of essential oils to base oils that work best for you.
Raw honey is delicious, and it’s also perfect for your skin. Honey has anti-bacterial properties similar to coconut oil and tea tree oil and works perfectly as an agent for masks. Raw honey also helps fight rashes. It’s a great alternative for people who find tea tree oil too intense, and it’s suitable for all skin types.
Here’s an easy mask that’s great for rejuvenating your skin: Mix one teaspoon of mashed avocado with one teaspoon of plain, whole milk yogurt and one teaspoon of raw honey. Let the mask sit on your face for around 20-30 minutes, then wash it off and feel the incredible difference.
Nature’s exfoliator, sea salt is great for your skin and your hair. It absorbs dirt, grime, grease and other nasty stuff we don’t want to admit is collecting on our bodies throughout the day. Sea salt is perfect for scrubbing these things away while also restoring balance to skin and pores.
To make your own exfoliator, combine sea salt with an oil of your choice (preferably coconut, jojoba or olive). The mixture should be about equal parts of both in whatever size container you use. If you have any essential oils, such as lavender or peppermint or even tea tree, go ahead and add a drop or two of those also. Once done, scrub away! Your skin will feel good as new. It’ll be tasty, too.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to do-it-yourself skin care. Personally, I like going full mad scientist, experimenting with different ingredients and combining them to see what I like best for my skin. The most powerful ingredient of the bunch, tea tree oil, is the one I’d recommend to use with most caution.
We take so much of the stuff we already have lying around at home for granted, don’t we? Time to put it all to use, while treating ourselves to what feels like a luxurious spa day, only better, because it’s in our own home and we don’t have to pay for parking.
Sonia Stevens is a writer-comedian who picks apart the absurdities women face daily. Email her at Sonia.Stevens@ynotcam.com.