I can truly relate to the many young and not so young girls (and boys!) suffering from acne or the occasional pimples that appear right when you don't need them.
I had the most horrendous acne infection for most of my teenage years. Out of embarrassment I covered it anyway I could, with tons of makeup. Not a smart idea, I learned much later!
Acne is an infection of the hair follicles caused by the excess production of sebum and bacteria. Common acne in young teenagers start with an increase in hormone production. An increase in hormone production sparks the extra production of sebum, the oil that our skin produces naturally to protect our skin. Around the ages of 10-13 puberty kicks in and acne appears, all at the same time. Excess sebum production clogs the opening of the hair follicles where bacteria grows, inflaming the follicle and producing what is commonly known as pimple or zit. There are many types of acne reactions, but black heads, white heads and pimples are the most common.
Why many suffer from acne is still unknown, but there are many things that can aggravate the condition. Stress, a poor diet rich in fat and sugars. Makeup, and poor hygiene can contribute to an outburst, but are not the cause of acne. One thing is clear, hygiene is an important step in treating and regulating this condition.
There are hundreds if not thousands of over the counter and prescription medication for the common and more severe acne cases. I've personally used during my first years as an acne sufferer back in the 80's, countless of these products with not much success. Many of these products contain low grade ingredients known to aggravate even the most simple cases of acne the reason why so many, after spending hundreds of dollars don't achieve the results they were expecting.
Preventing acne infections from appearing might be impossible, but learning how to keep the skin clean and free of contaminants to minimize infections might be the first step to win the battle.
A simple remedy that has been used since.... well forever, has found its way to modern times. I'm talking about the honey and lime facial scrubbing mask.
This homemade remedy has been used in my family for generations, and was the only thing that cured my acne.
But like every home remedy, the key is in the quality of the ingredients used to make the mask. The use of low quality or inferior ingredients will result in a low grade not too effective mask.
This simple mask can do wonders to acne prone skin. Apply it regularly to brighten, soften and exfoliate, even if you don't suffer from acne.
The equipment to make this mask can be any ceramic or stainless steel bowl in your kitchen and a teaspoon. Just make sure to sterilize everything before preparing the mask, to minimize the risk of introducing contaminants or bacteria to your face.
The 4 ingredients needed are:
A natural moisturizer, raw honey is honey as it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, settling or straining without adding heat. Raw honey contains some pollen and may contain small particles of wax. For at least 2700 years honey has been used as an ointment for rashes and burns, and to help soothe sore throats when no other medicinal practices were available. Honey is also well known for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Make sure you get real unadulterated honey.
As inclined as you might feel to use your mined or table salt, please don't. Not all salts are the same. Sea salt has a higher mineral and magnesium content than mined, making it a wonderful ingredient and a remedy for many skin conditions.
This sugar is not like your regular beet sugar, white cane sugar or brown sugar. This sugar is pure cane sugar that has been evaporated, has almost no molasses content and is unbleached, maintaining its original properties.
Don't substitute with lemons. Lime has a higher citric acid content than lemons, making it a wonderful disinfectant and whitening agent for the skin, which comes very handy to lighten the dark spots left behind by the long gone zits.
Instructions to prepare the mask:
1.- Pour about 2 table spoons of room temperature raw honey in a clean and preferably disinfected small bowl or cup.
2.- Add 1/2 a teaspoon of raw sugar and 1/2 a teaspoon of dead sea salt to the honey. Make sure both are of small grain. You don't want to scratch your face!
3.- Wash and grate the skin of the lime (lime zest). Add about 1/8 of a teaspoon of the lime zest and about 1/4 of a teaspoon of the lime juice to the honey/sugar/salt mix.
4.- Mix with a teaspoon until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
How to apply the mask:
Before you start, find a comfortable place away from sunlight where to rest after the mask is applied. Lime like any other citrus, is photosynthetic, meaning it will react with the sunlight, temporarily staining the skin. Make sure to have 25-30 minutes of free time. This mask can get runny and well, you don't want to drip honey all over your home. Remove all makeup off your face. Wash and gently pat dry your face. With your fingers apply the Honey/Sugar/Salt/Lime mask all over your face and neck, avoiding eyes. Massage in circular motion for about 3-5 minutes. Leave the mask on for about 15-20 minutes. After the time has passed, wet your fingers with warm water and gently massage in circular motion removing the sweet mix off your face. Rinse and pat your skin dry.
Your skin will feel clean, soft and most of the inflammation gone. Use this mask 2-3 times a week on acne prone skin and 1-2 times a week for normal, oily or dry skins.
Healthy life style tips to improve the appearance of acne prone skin:
- If possible avoid using commercial makeup. Most makeup is made with low quality and petroleum derived ingredients that can aggravate your skin. If you must use makeup, make sure the makeup is recommended for acne prone skin,
- Avoid sleeping with your makeup on! This is a common bad habit and trust me, you will pay the price,
- Try to relax as much as possible, stress can also aggravate your skin, so take life as it comes and learn to take it easy,
- Drink plenty of water, freshly squeezed juices and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables,
- Avoid sodas, red meats, food with high fat content and spicy food as much as possible. Believe it or not, it makes a huge difference in the production of sebum,
- Get a good 8-12 hours of sleep every night.