My Fave At-Home Skincare

Acne, roscaea, eczema, sensitivity, fine lines and wrinkles. Our skin can be a sensitive organ and expresses internal imbalances as well as external ones. As a former spa manager and product junkie, I have seen and used my fair share of skincare products. While it is integral to address internal imbalances to achieve healthy, glowing skin; these will be very unique to each person. I wanted to write a quick post to share what I have found to be my favourite at-home skin care treatments. Not only do these eliminate the high cost of commercial products, they also eliminate the myriad of chemicals and toxins that are hidden in most products (yes, even in many of those ‘natural’ ones). These are also, for the most part, suitable for all skin types and better yet, they’re made 100% from FOOD! I love my profession! So here they are, my 3 favourite ways to love my skin.

1. Oatmeal Chamomile Cleanser

This cleanser is incredibly gentle and can be made suitable for sensitive/mature/dry skin or tailored to suit more oily/acne prone skin types. Adding some Melaleuca alternifolia oil (tea tree) gives the cleanser an antibacterial property. Matricaria recutita (chamomile) is a renowned anti-inflammatory and also contains mild antibacterial properties. Avena sativa (oats) are considered a nutritive and have been used traditionally to soothe irritated and inflamed skin. (1) Combine all 3 and viola, an amazing cleanser!

What You Need:

  • Organic, gluten free oats
  • Dried Organic Chamomile flowers (or you can use the contents of a few chamomile tea bags)
  • Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) — optional
  • Coffee Grinder (Food Processor will work too)

Directions:

  • Add 1 part oats (1/4 cup) to 1 part chamomile flowers (1/4 cup) and blend in a coffee grinder/food processor. Blend until you have a fine powder.
  • Add 2-3 drops of Tea Tree oil and blend again. This step is optional and best for those with acne prone skin. If you have very sensitive skin, leave out the oil.
  • Place in an air tight container and store in a cool/dry place between use. I usually make a fresh batch monthly to ensure freshness.

To Use:

  • If I have make-up on, I remove that first using organic coconut oil (this works amazingly).
  • Mix about 1/4 tsp Oatmeal Chamomile Cleanser with a few drops of water to form a thin paste. Massage into skin using small circular motions.
  • Rinse with warm water.
  • Apply your moisturizer.

2. Coconut Almond or Coconut Coffee Exfoliant

Exfoliation should be gentle! While people often feel they should use a very gritty product, its best to gently encourage exfoliation rather than harshly scratching the skin. In fact, for those with very sensitive skin it may not be required at all. I usually exfoliate only 1x/wk at the most.

What You Need:

  • 1/2-1 Tsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 Tsp of Almond Meal or FINE Coffee Grinds

Directions:

To make almond meal simply place whole organic almonds in your coffee grinder/food processor and grind to desired texture. I find this option is much better for sensitive or mature skin types as it is a gentler exfoliation. However, if you have acne with large pustules you also want something more gentle, as you won’t want to exacerbate inflammation.

Coffee grinds are more exfoliating and much more stimulating to the skin. I have combination/dry skin and I find this can be a little too much for me at times. I always make sure to grind my own organic coffee beans and make sure to grind them pretty fine.

To Use:

  • Mix coconut oil and your desired exfoliant
  • Apply to clean, dry skin and massage in small circles; be gentle.
  • Rinse

3. Matcha Green Tea Face Mask or Spot Treatment

photo 1-3

Green tea contains the polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG for short). EGCG has been studied for the treatment of acne and has been found to ‘significantly improve acne” and be “well-tolerated” when used as a topical treatment over an 8 week period. (2) The study also found that EGCG was able to suppress sebum production, reduce inflammation and to reduce the viability of p.acnes (the bacteria present in most cases of acne). (2)

Furthermore, green tea contains an abundance of anti-oxidants (think anti-aging!!) that can also contribute to overall healthier skin. I have been using a mask of green tea, unpasteurized honey and coconut oil 1x/week to maintain healthy, happy skin. I really like to add in the unpasteurized honey because not only is it an excellent emollient, it also contains an abundance of naturally occurring antibacterials.

What You Need:

  • Organic Match Green Tea Powder (this is available at the Bulk Barn)
  • Local, Unpasteurized Honey
  • Coconut Oil

Directions:

photo 2

  • Mix equal parts (1/4 tsp) Matcha Green Tea Powder, Honey and Coconut oil with 5-10 drops of hot water.
  • Stir until smooth.

To Use:

  • Apply to clean, dry skin. Leave for 10-15 mins.
  • Rinse
  • Moisturize. Green tea is naturally high in tannins, these phytochemicals will make your skin feel a little tight so be sure to moisturize afterwards.
  • To Use as a spot treatment for blemishes, try mixing only the Green Tea powder and honey. Apply to blemishes and let stand 30 mins+.

References

 1. Godfrey, A. & Saunders, P.R. (2010). Principles & practices of naturopathic botanical medicine.Toronto, Canada: CCNM Press Inc.

2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23096708

Photo 1 credit: Chiot’s Run / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo 2 credit: Nic Taylor Photography / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo 3 credit: mynameisharsha / Foter / CC BY-SA

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