With every Spring comes a time of renewal. Presently, I find myself looking for ways to simplify my lifestyle while maximizing the quality of the tools I use. In this blog, I’m going to reveal my simple go-to ingredients for a glowing complexion. When you’re not ready to commit to a new skin care line, or want to use up what you already have, this list is a great way to simplify your skin care routine without cheating yourself out of quality.
I’ve narrowed down my top choices for natural topical skin enhancers into three categories: Exfoliation, Masks and Hydration.
When you exfoliate your skin on a regular basis, it activates your cellular turnover rate and encourages your skin to create new skin cells. As we age, this process slows down so it’s important to add this step into your routine 1-3 times a week, depending on your skin type. This will rid yourself of old, dead skin and help you maintain a fresh and bright complexion.
Caution: If you are using Retin-A, Tazorac, Accutane or other prescription drugs/topicals from your dermatologist that affect your liver, thickness of the skin, and sensitivity, avoid using either of the exfoliants mentioned below.
Slice an organic tomato and glide the fleshy side all over your face. It has astringent properties and contains natural acids that are similar to a gentle peel. The vitamin A helps control keratin accumulation in the skin. Tomatoes also contain vitamin C, beta carotene, B vitamins as well as a renowned antioxidant called lycopene that has UV-protecting properties.
This sweet and juicy fruit can come in handy for a mild enzyme treatment. Cut a little piece and glide it all over your face, staying safely away from your eyes. It’s a rich source of Vitamin C that will help repair cell damage while bromelain, a powerful enzyme, will lighten pigmentation, breakdown and remove dead skin cells, reduce inflammation, and leave your skin silky-soft.
Caution: Avoid applying directly to extracted pimples and open wounds, the enzymes can really sting. Instead, apply around these sensitive areas. If a cyst, pimple or closed comedone is not open on the surface, you can use the juice as a spot treatment to help speed up the process of extracting.
Is your face mask-worthy? The answer should always be: YES! Oftentimes we skip this step because we don’t have the time. This step is so important, it should already be in your calendar 2-3 times every week. Your skin is worth it, and by the time you reach your mature Goddess years (this applies to men as well), you will thank your younger Self for doing so.
Send gratitude to your aloe plant, then carefully cut off one cactus-like leaf. Strip both spiny edges off with a knife and then dissect the leaf end to end by inserting the knife in the inner aloe juice and separate it, long-ways, into two pieces. You may want to cut these pieces into smaller sections to make it easier for application.
Apply the aloe-side of the leaf directly onto the skin and smear it to cover the entire face. Aloe is a proficient succulent for reducing inflammation, calming acneic skin, taking the sting out of burns, and hydrating parched skin. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then remove it with warm water.
Seek egg whites from eggs that are cage-free and from pasture-raised chickens (high quality is necessary). One of the ways you’ll be able to tell the quality of the egg is by the color of its yolk. A golden yolk is a good indicator.
Egg whites are an elixir of 18 amino acids along with minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc that will tighten and repair the skin. Apply a thin layer of egg whites all over your face, especially under your eyes. Feel it tighten as it dries, and after about 10 minutes, wash it off with warm water. This natural mask is also great for sun burns.
Raw honey, in its unpasteurized form, contains ample bacteria known to support the microbiome of the skin. It helps to brighten skin tone, minimize breakouts, calm eczema or psoriasis, and reduce scarring. Apply a thin layer all over your skin and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before washing it off with warm water. Manuka honey, a very high quality raw honey native to New Zealand, may seem like an investment, although if you compare it to the price of anti-aging skin care products, you’ll save a bundle!
Caution: If you are allergic to pollen, bee products, or celery, do not use honey on your skin. Do a patch test first on the inside of your arm if you’re not sure. Wait 24-48 hours to see if any redness or irritation develops on or around the patch test.
The last step in sealing the deal with a beautiful complexion requires a thin layer of a hydration blend.
Typically when the word “oil” is used, people cringe at the thought of their pores getting clogged and breaking out with blemishes. If you’re a person with acneic skin, I’m sure you’ve already hexed all products with an oil base for fear of breaking out worse than you already have. I hear you, I had cystic acne in my younger years too. This is partially why I became an aesthetician, so I could figure out my own skin problems.
What if I told you that oils do not have to be feared? By choosing the right oil for your skin type, and understanding the difference between quality and genetically modified, oils may become a standard in your skin care routine.
The name “carrier oil” reflects its action; of carrying another ingredient. Carrier oils are typically blended with essential oils. The carrier oil naturally dilutes the essential oil, allowing it to safely absorb into skin. Most essential oils are too strong to use on their own and could cause irritations, even burn the skin, if not used properly.
To find a quality carrier oil, look for oils that are organic and/or cold pressed. This means that they are still nutrient-rich and have not been compromised. Genetically modified ingredients are overly-processed in a way that destroys their phytochemical properties; they become dead oils.
Mind you, not all oils, even really good quality oils, will benefit ALL skin types. This is why it’s important to speak to a professional who can recommend one for you, or you can research and experiment on your own.
Here are just a few that I highly recommend trying:
This carrier oil makes a perfect hydrating tool alone or as a vehicle for other nutrients. Jojoba oil mimics skin’s sebum, the oily secretion of the glands in the skin, so it will benefit most skin types and really nourish the pores without clogging them. Though jojoba can be used by all skin types, it can be a bit too heavy for acne-prone or oily-skinned individuals.
Complimentary Essential Oil: Rose or Geranium
Apricot Seed Oil
Processed from the seeds of apricots, this holistic gem carries phytonutrients that have anti-oxidant properties which will slow down aging cells, reduce inflammation, and kill bacteria. The apricot seed, as well as apple seeds, are known for their powerful anti-carcinogenic properties and Vitamin B-17 (laetrile).
Complimentary Essential Oil: Sandalwood or Neroli
Excellent for calming redness and inflammation in acneic skin, while for oily skin, it helps to balance oil production without clogging pores. I would suggest applying a thin layer at night, before you go to bed, so that it can work it’s magic while you sleep. When you wake up, take a nice cleansing shower, and your skin will be fresh and ready for the day.
Complimentary Essential Oil: Lavender or Rosemary
Sesame oil is an ancient Ayurvedic medicament. It’s antibacterial properties promote wound healing and it’s great for reducing redness, inflammation, and tenderness that usually occurs with breakouts. Apply a thin layer over the face to combat acneic skin: pustules, cysts, and closed comedones.
Complimentary Essential Oil: Tea Tree or Rosemary
This carrier oil encourages youthful aging due to its cell regenerating properties. It’s one of the richest sources of essential fatty acids, is loaded with vitamins and minerals, and will hydrate the driest of skin. It will also aid in skin inflammations like eczema, rashes, and psoriasis. Because of its fatty acid content, it does leave an oily residue on the skin, which may deter oily-skinned individuals. I’d recommend this oil for individuals with mainly dry or mature skin.
Complimentary Essential Oil: Rose Otto or Geranium
The distillation and alchemy of creating aromatic oils dates back to about 3,000 B.C. A perfectly preserved distillation apparatus made of terra-cotta was discovered and resides at the foot of the Himalayas, in the museum of Taxila. Throughout the ages, alchemy masters created their own aromatic masterpieces with their own native herbs. Chymical oils, now what we call essential oils, were bought from apothecaries in the Middle Ages. René-Maurice Gattefossé coined the term aromatherapy in 1928 after he accidentally discovered the healing properties of lavender oil when he severely burned his hand.
According to Julia Lawless, a qualified aromatherapist and member of The International Federation of Aromatherapists, she states that “…essential oils have three distinct modes of action with regard to how they interrelate with the human body: pharmacological, physiological and psychological.”
I believe the most important aspect of using these oils is the transformation or alchemy that occurs with these interactions. It’s like introducing an elixir of plant frequencies onto the body, a subtle yet demonstrative effect of nature’s sound healing to assist us on many levels. Mind you, less is more regarding application. Below is a helpful reminder of how much you should actually use to create and apply a hydration blend to your skin. If you have extra, apply it to your décolleté. More than likely, it too, is thirsty for hydration and nutrients.
I encourage you to experiment and make new friends with these plant frequencies at your own pace. It can be a bit overwhelming if you’ve never used them before. Here are a few you can familiarize yourself with until you develop the courage to dive deeper:
Rose Otto (Rosa Damascena)
Every drop of this precious essential oil is made from 60 roses, making it a very potent and pleasurable anti-aging tool to incorporate into your every day regime. It rejuvenates and balances the skin, while enhancing elasticity in the connective tissues of the face. It has vulnerary and antiseptic properties so it can help speed up the repair of tissue damage. Energetically, this flower is known to have the highest vibrational resonance out of all the botanicals, which may be why you feel lighter and happier after you enjoy it’s aroma.
With over 700 varieties of cultivated geranium and pelargonium, it is P. graveolens that is mainly utilized for its oil production. It contains anti-inflammatory, astringent, styptic, and vulnerary properties which help with acne, broken capillaries, burns, and skin inflammations.
Famous for its hair-growing properties, rosemary is also an analgesic, helping to reduce pains related to gout, fluid retention, arthritis as well as rheumatoid arthritis. It assists with asthma and bronchitis, and stimulates mental focus. As a skin topical, it can regulate oil production, increase circulation, and repair cell damage.
Our knowledge of this powerful immuno-stimulant traces back to the aborigines in Australia. It’s remarkable in that it kills bacteria, viruses AND fungi. It helps with infectious illnesses in the respiratory system like bronchitis and sinusitis, and also assists with fever, flu and colds. As a skin topical, it can help with conditions such as warts, cold sores, herpes, blisters, abscesses and acne.
Highly distinguished as ‘the most versatile essence therapeutically,’ lavender aids in muscle and joint pain, reducing inflammations and infections residing in the respiratory system, uneasiness and cramping in the digestive system, boosting the immune system, and assisting in stress-related disorders and nervous tensions. Topically, its anti-inflammatory properties help alleviate skin conditions ranging from bug bites, psoriasis, eczema to ringworm, lice, and athlete’s foot. It does wonders for burns and really calms acneic skin.
Unique for its ancient roots in Eastern perfumes, incense, cosmetics, and embalming material, this essential oil has also been known to treat many digestive system conditions in Chinese medicine, as well as urinary and respiratory infections in Ayurveda. As a skin topical, it assists with acne, oily, and dry cracked skin.
Made from orange blossoms, this oil calms the nervous system, helps with poor circulation, assists the digestive system, and is a beautifully scented skin tonic for scars, stretch marks, wrinkles, and skin sensitivity.
You may want to mix and match different essential oils to other carrier oils, or even blend a few essential oils together to create a facial elixir you absolutely love. Fine-tuning these ingredients to suit your skin and preferences may take time. Enjoy the process!
The exfoliants, masks and hydration ingredients mentioned above can become very helpful tools to save money, learn about self-care, and remind you how simplified ingredients can give you high-quality benefits and help create the glowing complexion you’ve always wanted.
Below is a ‘skin-type’ mandala for my recommended go-to ingredients. If you have skin conditions or sensitivities, or you’re using prescription drugs or topicals from the dermatologist, please be aware of the cautions listed throughout this blog. For independent Self-study, I highly recommend checking out the resource books at the end of this blog. For a personal consultation where we can discuss and create a customized skin care plan for you, reach out at my website.
Here’s to a GLOWING you! Enjoy the journey!
Your Skin, Younger by Alan C. Logan, ND, Mark G. Rubin, MD, and Phillip M. Levy, MD
The Optimum Nutrition Bible by Patrick Holford
Renegade Beauty: Reveal And Revive Your Natural Radiance by Nadine Artemis
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy and Herbalism by Julia Lawless
Photo Credits: Pixabay & Unsplash
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