As a woman, I’m the target of ad campaigns for every beauty product under the sun. From the aisles of Walgreen’s all the way to the fancy counters at Macy’s, I’m being sold moisturizers, cleansers, masks, balms, spot treatments, scrubs, and the list goes on and on. There are products for every imperfection I could possibly have – especially the ones on my face. One time, I even had someone at one of those kiosks in the mall grab me by the arm and spray something on me before I even had a chance to protest, promising that it would clear up my skin. That seriously happened.
Stop the madness!
Stop buying all those expensive products that promise you the world. Remember, you shouldn’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth. You’d be surprised to learn how many remedies are already at your disposal right now that can replace all the fancy skin care products you’re told you need to buy.
In the bathroom/medicine cabinet:
1. Toothpaste (the paste, not the gel)
While I wouldn’t recommend putting toothpaste all over your face, you’d be surprised how effective it can be for an occasional spot treatment. Be careful of super minty flavors though, which can be irritating to some skin types. The effective ingredient is baking soda, so you could always create your own paste with the baking soda in your kitchen for a similar effect. (source)
How to use it: dab a small amount on the affected area at bed time and rinse in the morning using warm water.
2. Pepto Bismol (liquid)
Pepto has two active ingredients in it that are similar to ingredients found in over the counter acne treatments: salicylate (similar to salicylic acid) and benzoic acid (similar to benzoyl peroxide) (source). Salicylate works to reduce inflammation than can cause redness and pain on the skin. It’s also a gentle exfoliator to help clear the skin of dead cells that could clog pores. Benzoic acid is antimicrobial and works to remove any microbes that could cause infection on the skin. (source)
How to use it: swab a cotton pad of Pepto over the affected area at night and rinse with warm water in the morning. It’s fine to use Pepto on your entire face.
3. Milk of Magnesia (liquid)
Traditionally used as a gentle laxative and bowel soother, milk of magnesia (MoM) can also work as a facial mask for acne prone and oily skin. Magnesium hydroxide is the main ingredient, but MoM also contains zinc, a natural acne fighter. The soothing effects that MoM have on the bowels can take place on the face in the form of reducing inflammation and excess oil. (source)
How to use it: using your fingers or a cotton pad, apply a thin layer to the skin. Let sit for 10 minutes and remove gently with warm water.
In the kitchen:
4. Coconut Oil
I’m sure you’ve heard and read so much about the healing properties of coconut oil at this point that nothing would surprise you about this miracle oil. Use it as a daily moisturizer, and wait for the magic to happen. Coconut oil is antimicrobial, anti-fungal, and antiseptic. It works to create a healthy barrier for your skin that doesn’t feel heavy or greasy. Just use a tiny bit – it goes a long way. For me personally (and for a few folks who’ve shared their stories with me, including my sister), coconut oil helps bring blackheads to the surface, loosen the pores, and allow for extraction and eventual elimination.
How to use it: as a daily moisturizer (either in the morning, at night, or both), apply a tiny amount to the entire surface of your face. Coconut oil also works GREAT as a make up remover.
5. Bone Broth
If you’re familiar with my personal acne saga, then you knew this acne remedy would be on this list. You might not have homemade bone broth laying around in your kitchen, but I can assure you that it’s worth every minute of time it takes to make if your ultimate goal is clear skin and a healthy gut. There’s a very real physiological connection between the health of the gut and the health of the skin.
How to use it: drink a coffee mug full of warm bone broth every morning for two weeks. After two weeks, assess your progress and consider dropping back to 4 times per week based on the health of your skin and digestion.
6. Raw Honey
I love this one and use it very regularly. When used as natural facial cleanser or mask, raw honey can do wonders for the health of your skin. It works well to keep the pores clear and offers natural bacteria-fighting properties to combat the bacteria that causes and inflames acne. Raw honey is fantastic for daily use as a cleanser and can even be used as a gentle exfoliator if you use one with sugar crystals in it. (source)
How to use it: as a daily cleanser (I find that it’s best to use in the shower to avoid unwanted stickiness dripping down your arms), take about two teaspoons into your fingers and apply to damp skin as you would any other cleanser. Rinse with warm water. As a mask, apply to dry or freshly toned skin, covering the affected area and leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
7. Plain Yogurt
You’ve likely heard about the beneficial bacteria found in yogurt. These bacteria aid in digestive health by replacing potentially harmful bacteria that could be causing problems in your gut (and therefore your skin). They help restore a proper balance in your gut flora. Similar (if not the same) bacteria are also found in other places in and on your body, including your face. Applying a yogurt mask to your face can help restore the proper balance of healthy bacteria on your face as well. Restoring this balance can reduce the inflammation caused by “bad” bacteria and improve the health of you skin. It also works as a gentle exfoliator, removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, which can clog pores. (source) Using plain yogurt ensures that you aren’t adding any unnecessary sugars, flavors, or additives to your skin that could be irritating.
How to use it: apply a small amount of plain yogurt to the surface of clean skin and let dry for 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
BONUS: A great way to combine remedies and increase your effectiveness is to make a mask with yogurt AND raw honey together. You can mix them with each use or create a batch to keep in your fridge for a few weeks. Use between 2 and 3 times as much yogurt as you do honey in your mixture, and either whisk with a fork or mix in a blender.