Acne. The mere mention of the word sends shivers down the spines of pimple-prone teenagers as well as the parents who spend millions of dollars on potentially irritating and damaging over-the-counter and prescription medications. Whether you suffer from sensitive skin or not, many of the top products used to clinically treat acne, including benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, can cause painful dryness, irritation and in some instances, allergic reactions. Protect your skin from the side effects of over-the-counter acne treatments by using safe, gentle and effective natural products to treat your problem breakouts.
1. Bentonite Clay
Chances are, you’ve never heard of bentonite clay, or seen it sitting amongst the other conventional acne treatments on your pharmacist’s shelf. Often used by health enthusiasts as a dietary aid, bentonite clay is a safe, natural and surprisingly effective way to draw excess oils, dirt and bacteria from your pores. Simply mix the product, which is available at health food stores and scores of sites across the internet, with water and apply the concoction to your entire face. It’s also a quick and effective spot treatment or ideal for use on your back or chest, as well. Allow the bentonite clay to remain for 10 minutes before rinsing away with warm water. Adding tea tree oil to the bentonite clay mixture is also effective, and guaranteed to be one of the best homemade facials you’ve ever had.
2 Apple Cider Vinegar
From eliminating fly larvae from your dog’s water bowl to canning pickles or descaling a coffee pot, the practical uses for apple cider vinegar are seemingly endless. One of the most well-known is the acidic product’s effect on acne, or more specifically, on skin’s pH balance. After scrubbing your face with a mild cleanser, soak a cotton ball with apple cider vinegar and work it over your face, neck, chest, back or anywhere else you’re prone to breakouts. Be aware that apple cider vinegar doesn’t exactly smell amazing, so you might want to consider this: take a deep breath, hold it and apply the liquid very quickly.
3. Lavender or Juniper Oil
Herbal steams are all the rage at many salons and spas, and a pricey way to treat your skin with what is essentially a bowl of water. Save your money and instead create your own spa experience at home with a bowl of boiling water and few drops of lavender or juniper oil. Simply hold your head over the boiling water and allow the steam to work into your pores. Not only is this an effective acne treatment, an herbal steam is an amazing way to relax and de-stress after an arduous day.
Yogurt is another one of those products with seemingly endless applications. For the purposes of treating acne, yogurt’s natural antibacterial properties help eliminate the germs that cause your acne. Spread plain yogurt over your skin, or combine it with oatmeal, honey or pureed apples to create a highly-effective treatment. Allow the yogurt mask to set for at least 10 minutes before rinsing it away with warm water. If applied at least twice a week, the yogurt mask will help eliminate future breakouts, and cut down on the redness and irritation of your existing acne.
5. Sea Salt
Scrubs and exfoliants work by loosening and eliminating that nasty excess oil, bacteria and dirt that is clogging your pores. When you purchase an over-the-counter exfoliant from your neighborhood grocery or health and beauty store, all you’re really paying for is a bottle of cleanser mixed with crushed apricot pits, seaweed or oatmeal. Save your money and instead create an effective scrub with water and sea salt. Combine the two until a paste consistency is achieved and gently work the product into your skin. Rinse away and pat your skin dry before applying moisturizer. If sea salt is too harsh, try mixing water with baking soda or cornmeal, instead.
While all the above-mentioned products are safe, effective and great for any skin type, it’s still important to test the mixtures or concoctions on a small patch of skin first. Sensitive skin is tricky, and it’s not worth suffering any unnecessary irritation. However, chances are these natural products are so mild you won’t suffer any annoying rash, redness or tenderness.