Sorry ladies, we’re not over this golden goo just yet! A little bit of honey goes a long way. Raw, active honey is a powerhouse of antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties which help kill off bacteria, exfoliate and help heal damaged skin - the perfect treatment for acne! Organic honey will do, but if you’re looking for something really effective we recommend Steens Manuka Honey.
Skincare expert and founder of Crystal Clear Skincare, Sharon Hilditch, MBE says, "Hydrogen peroxide is a great component of honey - it gives honey its antibiotic quality. However, Manuka Honey has other properties that make it a great antibacterial agent such as Methylglyoxal (MG). This component is found in other honey but in lower percentages. So the higher the concentration of MG, the stronger the antibiotic effect."
If you go for manuka honey, make sure to buy it with at least +15 UMF (the medicinal strength of the honey), this way there’ll be enough punch to fight those unsightly blemishes. To use, apply generously over the face and neck and leave on for 15-20 minutes. Then massage gently in a circular motion and wash off with warm water.
2. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is one of nature's best toners. One swipe of the stuff and you’ll be targeting spots head on, reducing redness, and treating spots before they get out of control. The power lies in the apples - the malic and lactic acids in apple cider vinegar help draw out impurities and exfoliate the skin. "Apple cider vinegar also contains beta-carotene which is a great anti-oxidant, that helps mop up free radicals that are damaging the skin", says Dr. Terry Loong AKA the 'Skin Energy Doctor'.
The substance also helps restore your skin's pH level to its ideal (4.5 - 5.5) helping it become slightly acidic. When your skin’s too alkaline it becomes dry and vulnerable (i.e. prone to pesky spots and wrinkles). No thank you!
To make sure you're on the right end of the scale, apply some diluted apple cider vinegar as a nightly toner and leave the solution to work its magic while you sleep. Alternatively, if you don’t like leaving it on while you sleep, you can leave the solution on for 10-20 minutes and rinse off with lukewarm water. Don’t worry if it tingles - that’s a good thing. But burning? That's a big no, no.
3. Fresh sliced papaya
Papaya is a pretty special ingredient when it comes to acne-prone skin. The reason being that fresh papaya has an ingredient called, papain, a protein dissolving enzyme which acts as an exfoliation agent on skin, breaking down the surface of dead skin cells and accelerating cell turnover.
Papaya is also rich in vitamins A, B, and C which help soothe away those red angry spots. Papaya’s potent vitamin A is particularly beneficial. Vitamin A is widely used in acne products today for reducing inflamed and swollen spots. But that isn’t all, while helping combat unruly acne, papaya also works to keep your skin hydrated and reduce the signs of aging.
Papaya is "brilliant as an all-round treatment for acne prone skin and ageing skin", says Sharon. "If you apply a mashed up papaya to the skin and leave it for 25 minutes, you will be amazed as to how soft and clear your skin looks."
After removing, tone, and moisturise as usual. See - fresh clear skin is only a few slices away!
4. Tea tree oil
Get rummaging through those medicine chests ladies! According to scientists tea tree oil, an essential oil from a plant native to Australia, has about one hundred different ‘medicinal’ properties.
"The organic compound terpinen-4-ol (the most abundant terpenoid), is believed to be the main reason for tea tree oil's antimicrobial properties," says Sharon. Which makes it a great candidate for fighting those accumulating breakouts! But the reason we're obsessing over tea tree oil is that it doesn’t strip the natural oils from your skin. So while it tackles bacteria, tea tree oil also helps soothe red irritated skin (which is far better than burning benzoyl peroxide).
BUT (and this is a big but), you should never apply undiluted tea tree oil to acne. The potent solution can make skin become dry, irritated and itchy, which is the last thing you want when you're suffering from this stubborn condition. The best thing to do is mix 5ml of tea tree oil with 95 ml of water. Apply as a toner over acne prone areas. Try mixing tea tree with aloe vera gel and honey too - the ways in which you can use this nifty solution are endless.
5. Lemon juice
We know what you’re thinking...AS IF you’re going to put lemon juice on your acne! But when used in the right way, lemons can make all the difference to your spots (and acne marks).
Lemon juice contains an active ingredient called, L-ascorbic acid which is a potent antioxidant that helps treat acne and promotes healing to the skin. As a natural exfoliant, lemon juice can be applied directly to spots or all over the face. Just make sure to dilute the solution!
The best way to apply lemon juice is by making a 2 part solution. One part water and 1 part lemon juice. This can be adjusted depending on how your skin feels. Soak a cotton ball or pad in the solution and apply all over - leave over night if necessary. You may feel a slight tingling sensation due to the citric acids, but don’t worry, this means it’s working. To get the most of lemon's brightening benefits apply all over the face - be generous. Who knew citrus was so powerful!
"It's also a great oil absorber and skin brightener," says Dr. Loong, but warns "it's effects are intensified by exposure to UV rays of the sun so be careful when you apply it especially if you have a darker skin tone to avoid burning or pigmentation."
6. Strawberries and yoghurt
Do salicylic acid and alpha hydroxy acids ring a bell? These two ingredients are often found in acne treatments and the best part? They’re both found in strawberries and yoghurt, too! Sharon says strawberries are an "Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) and contain high levels of Vitamin C and salicylic acid, which is a well known ingredient used to treat acne prone skin."
The acids penetrate deep into the pores, exfoliating away dead skin cells, getting rid of excess sebum and reducing the appearance of scarring. Now if that doesn’t give you enough reason to try it, we don’t know what will!
If you've got a fresh batch of strawberries and a pot of natural yoghurt in your fridge, try this quick and easy remedy: Dice and smash 3 strawberries. Mix the strawberries with 3 tablespoons of yogurt. (The yoghurt makes a great base to apply the strawberries, just try not to eat it!)
To add more beneficial properties, add in a drop of tea tree oil or mix in 2 teaspoons of honey. Leave the mask on for 15 to 20 twenty minutes and remove with a warm, damp cloth.
7. Orange peel
Why not start putting your fruit to more use? Not only are oranges delicious to eat, but their peels, which often get tossed away, are more use to our skin than we’d have ever thought possible.
Sharon says, "Both the peel and the juice can help with skin complaints as the peel contains more Vitamin C than the actual pulp of the orange. Orange is also an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) so helps exfoliate the skin while orange peel helps to clean out your skin by extracting dirt from deep inside the pores."
And what's more, orange peels are safe to use on acne as often as you want! To try it yourself, remove a peel from an orange (make sure to wash away dirt and debris) and gently rub over your acne. If you want to use the whole orange squeeze a bit of juice out and apply the fresh orange juice to each spot with a cotton swab.
Alternatively, you can transform orange peel into a base to your face masks. To do this, take the peel of an orange and place it under direct sunlight for two days. This allows the orange peel to dry. Then blast the peel in a blender to make a fine powder. Voilà! An easy homemade acne treatment to add in to any DIY mask.
8. Coconut oil
We already know that consuming coconut internally can do heaps for your body, but what about your skin?
Dr. Loong says coconut oil contains two important ingredients, "Capric Acid and Lauric Acid - both powerful antimicrobial and antibacterial agents. These are the same acids that are found in breast milk which keep newborn babies protected from infections." While this works to combat blemishes, vitamin E and anti-inflammatory properties help balance the sebum glands and soothe irritated skin - the perfect benefits for an effective acne treatment.
To use topically, make sure you have the right oil, that is, virgin coconut oil. Apply 1 teaspoon of pure coconut oil all over the face after toning and leave over night. This way the oil will have time to eat away bacteria while you sleep (while also keeping it moisturised).
Note: some people may experience further break outs initially, but don’t fret. This is because of coconut oil's detoxing properties, which help clear out toxins and bring them up to the surface. Give coconut oil a few weeks to clear away your stubborn acne and see how you it works - the results may surprise you!
9. Egg whites
While eggs make a pretty tasty breakfast choice, they can also make a pretty effective treatment for acne too.
Dr. Loong says, "Egg whites have a tightening and toning effect, shrinking the appearance of large pores and reducing excessive oil. They also contain lysozyme, an enzyme which digests the walls of acne-causing bacteria, killing them in the process."
According to studies, egg whites also act as a mild astringent, temporarily tightening pores and firming the skin (oh yes). So if you have any raw eggs in your kitchen, no doubt this is the home remedy to try!
To use, whisk one egg white until fluffy and apply evenly to the skin. Allow the mask to dry fully and remove with lukewarm water. After, splash your face with cold water to help seal pores. Before you know it, your zits will be gone!
Do you suffer from red spotty skin? Grab the milk jug.
The lactic acid in milk makes a beautiful nourishing facial, helping combat dryness (one of the main causes of acne) while loosening dead skin cells.
Sharon says, "Cleopatra, the ancient Egyptian queen, is renowned for her beauty milk baths for soft supple skin. Milk baths will not only soften and exfoliate your skin from top to toe, but it will also protect your skin and soothe any skin inflammations you may have."
And while milk does a fantastic job at targeting your spots, you can make an even more powerful solution for them by mixing it with some honey. This will help get right down to the bacteria!
As a facial, all you have to do is mix one tablespoon of honey and one tablespoon of milk. Go organic - the more wholesome the food, the better for your skin. After 10-15 minutes dampen a cloth and remove with circular motion (helping wash away dead skins).
What other home remedies do you swear by? Tweet us @wewomenCA!
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