Milk is supposed to be good for your skin too, but I haven’t tried that.
I have, however, smeared honey and slathered oil all over my aging, acne prone face in an effort to find something that actually works without drying the bajeepers out of my poor skin. I think I have finally discovered which direction to travel on my journey to the promised land of clear, healthy skin.
For many of you, using natural products, even putting FOOD on your FACE is nothing new. In fact, it’s been around for many, many years in the more hippie, natural, crunchy, granola type corners of the internet. I am not one of those people. I don’t even visit those neighbourhoods. Although to be honest I have been moving toward a healthier choices, adding exercise, choosing to grow more of my own nourishing, organic food and relying less on processed foods. I’ve been conciously reducing alcohol intake and drinking more water or green tea instead. It’s a good start. No matter how many toxic chemicals or poisons I removed from my diet though, I continue soaking them up in my skin. I never “stick” with anything either which doesn’t help, and I live on a farm. So a few days of stripping and scrubbing followed by a few days of sleeping with dirt and gunk on my face was my “routine”.
Sorry to my poor skin, I should know better.
There are two of us going down this road together, with different skin types and problem issues. I am hopeful this will be the solution for us both.
Who am I?
I am almost 40. I am often asked for identification when purchasing lotto or alcohol, partly due to the very few light wrinkles around my eyes that are hidden by my glasses, but mostly due to my dreaded acne. It’s not severe, but it’s always there, usually on my chin. Red, inflamed skin, sometimes peeling and flaky from too much BP or SA to dry them out. I am very pale skinned and flush very easily, with the red cheeks and nose commonly experienced with mild rosacea. From pickle nose, pizza face and zit farmer of my youth, to tomato face today, I just wanted nice skin back then, and I still do, twenty five years of pimples later.
Who’s with me?
My daughter at age 18 suffers from moderate acne, bordering on severe at times, with painful redness, pimples and bumps. She is also allergic to benzoyl peroxide so her choices of commercial cleansers are limited, but believe me even with a large chunk of products off limits,
we I have spent a small fortune on astringent acids, creams, lotions, wipes, scrubs, spot treatments, masks, vibrating cleaning pads, exfoliating scrubbies, and antibiotics. We also blow through large amounts of foundation and concealer which is necessary every day because nothing really works. The next step would be a last resort – birth control or accutane. Neither of those are going to be considered at this point.
Beauty comes at a price
I consider myself a bit of a redneck. A backwoods hick, comfortable in crocs or muck boots and not fancy whatsoever. I am a penny pincher, frugal to the point of being cheap. She is all about beauty and fashion and style, and having acne puts a serious damper on that. I must admit I hesitated briefly when considering trying the natural route. 14$ for what? Wow, that jar is 18$ Plus 7$ for that, and 11$ for those…. tack on shipping and we’re talking some serious coin. I took a deep breath with credit card in hand and realized that I had rarely questioned the steep price tags on the commercial brands. It was ok to drop a hundred dollars on a prescription that would make her feel sick to her stomach, and I always expected the cleansing products to work if they came with a hefty price tag, so why would natural, organic products be treated differently?
Repeat after me: I am worth it.
As I typed those first few search strings into google, I stumbled upon old articles proclaiming the benefits and vitues of raw, organic, unprocessed virgin coconut oil. I bought a small jar of Nutiva from the supermarket and found all kinds of ways to use it. I cook stir fry and steamed veggies with it, brush my teeth with a remineralizing toothpaste recipe by and use it as a body moisturizer. It’s a little greasy and takes a while to soak in, but it smells good and has a faint taste of coconut which I like. I put some around my eyes for a few nights and a very light coating on my face after cleansing but soon discovered that coconut oil was not the best choice due to it’s comodogenic level. I broke out in many tiny little bumps all over my chin where I frequently have issues, but also on my cheeks where I never have trouble a few days later. Many people can use it without a problem, but I am not willing to take that chance with my daughter’s graduation just around the corner! Olive oil is another oil frequently mentioned with OCM (Oil cleansing method) that I am steering away from for similar reasons. The two large containers of raw organic cold pressed coconut oil that I purchased will be enjoyed in numerous ways, just not on our face
Pass the honey, Honey!
I was still a little bit hesitant to actually try cleaning my face with OIL of all things, so I continued looking for an alternative. Honey kept coming up as an option for cleansing that would work for both of us with our different skin types. I read about honey washing on the Crunchy Betty site, where she had organized a two week honey challenge back in 2011. A great site, btw, if you’re interested in learning more about natural remedies and skin treatments. Anyhow, I recently bought an enormous 15kg bucket of raw honey from a local beekeeper for homemade muesli granola bars and to use instead of white sugar for tea/coffee so it was easy to try. With the two of us currently on a low carb diet at the moment and honey decidedly off the menu, our share goes on our faces instead of in our stomachs.
It’s sticky, but it smells great and tastes great when you get it on your lips. It just glides over slightly damp skin with my fingertips and feels so nice. I usually leave it on for about ten minutes while I’m brushing my teeth etc and then wash it off. Here is a link which describes the honey washing technique in better detail: I found that my skin felt a little bit tight afterward with honey, even though many people claim to feel refreshed and moisturized. In my reading I have learned that stripping the face of natural oils will cause your skin to pump out extra oil to compensate so tight and dry is NOT what you want. After nearly four decades on the planet, many of them suffering with mild acne, HOW did I not know this? I did the honey face wash/mask treatment morning and night for several days before my daughter tried it. She tried it with poorer results at first, complaining of itchiness the first couple times. Perhaps she has a slight allergy to honey? She persevered and by the fourth cleansing said her skin felt fantastic and was starting to glow around her eyes. (image by public-domain-images.com)
I did a little bit more reading, (ok A LOT more reading) and made an apple cider vinegar, witch hazel and tea tree oil toner to use after cleaning. One part ACV, two parts WH, and a few drops of tea tree oil. Still tightening and drying of course since those are astringent, so I started looking for a non clogging oil to moisturize with afterward and AGAIN came across oil cleansing.
THE OIL CLEANSING METHOD:
Like dissolves like, they said. Saved my skin! The reviews proclaimed. I poured over hundreds of articles, personal testimonies, reviews of particular products or methods trying to narrow it all down. I read charts on comodogenic ratings, crossing off any oil that may have excellent healing benefits but too many people had found them troublesome. I am allergic to nuts so many more were crossed off.
Some helpful links for you to peruse if you’re still deciding which method or oils to choose:
Crunchy Betty: The nitty gritty on the oil cleansing method
Mommypotamus: Helpful tutorial on the OCM, with before/after pictures and video demonstration
Crunchy Betty: Troubleshooting the Oil Cleansing Method (with new tips and information correcting the original post)
Beneficial Botanicals: Comodogenic ratings chart
Minimalist Beauty: Oils for Acne Prone Skin. Interesting reading about the make up of oils, and their ratios of linoleic to oleic acid which is a contributing factor to how well it may work for people with acne.
I decided on HEMP seed oil as a carrier and a small bottle of lavender essential oil, which were ordered and are currently en route. If these natural products didn’t work, I would have some fancy cooking oil and smelly stuff for my pillow at night. No big deal. What to use in the meantime while I wait for the delivery? From the same list of zero rating oils I chose Grapeseed oil. (I actually wanted pumpkin seed oil but I live in a hopelessly small town and that just wasn’t available.) I could not find castor oil either which is touted as the cleansing and drying part of an oil cleansing mix so I have only tea tree oil and grapeseed oil at the moment. Sure, good enough, we’ll go with that! Patience is not one of my virtues.
I bravely tried the OCM. It was heavenly. A little bit time consuming but the hot steamy washcloth, the oil and gentle massage and the way my skin felt afterward was worth it. I’m not one to ever pamper myself so taking that ten or fifteen minutes to focus on myself was great in so many ways. Aaaaaahhhhhh. Cleansed with the grapeseed oil, steamed with a hot washcloth three or four times gently removing the oil, closed my pores with cool water afterward and used my acv/tea tree oil and witch hazel toner, then a few more drops of grapeseed oil sparingly over my face as a moisturizer.
My face feels heavenly in the morning. Soft and dewy, with no tight areas.
MY NEW REGIMEN:
I’m going to wash with honey in the mornings, with toner and moisture oil and then do OCM in the evenings. I’m also going to buy a big stack of microfibre clothes for face cleansing because we have never been a neatly folded, freshly laundered, washcloth type of family. She has chosen to do a water only or honey wash in the morning, and honey wash at night using our fancy dancy new microfibre cloths. I might have to sneak a before picture of her to compare progress down the road. I’m expecting her results to demonstrate how powerful natural cleansing can be in the slow and gradual treatment of acne.
Wish us luck! I will report back in a couple weeks with the results!