Thursday, 21 October 2010
Eczema, Ingrown Hairs, Zits; Natural Treatments From Your Kitchen
Anne-Marie of byAmor here, sidetracking slightly from handmade into homemade, with quick, natural solutions to perk up your winter skin. It's not just for girls. So boys, if you wouldn’t be caught dead in Boots with anything other than deodorant in your basket, I have a few secrets for you too for those ingrown hairs, eczema and other little nuisances. No-one need ever know as the ingredients all come from the kitchen.
There are tonnes of recipes for natural beauty and grooming out there. I am sharing my personal experience, with some of my tried and tested, super-quick favourites, mostly passed on by my crafty Mum. Please do not use any ingredients you are allergic to and always avoid the eye area when applying.
An exfoliating scrub is the best thing for the said ingrown hairs and brightening dull winter skin. An egg and sugar scrub for sloughing off dead cells will do the trick while softening the skin.
Separate the yellow from the white. Beat the yolk. (You don’t need to use all of it if you want to keep half for your breakfast.) Gradually fold in sugar until you have got a stiff, granular consistency. Those forgotten, limp sachets saved from cafes can come in handy.
Gently use the mixture to polish your face then rinse it off with water. It’s also great for scrubbing flaky skin or stale fake tan off elbows, knees and the rest of your body, leaving your skin smooth and buffed. For extra moisturising, you can substitute the sugar with oatmeal (raw porridge flakes.) If so, leave the mixture on your face as a mask for 10 mines before exfoliating. As with all these recipes, avoid the delicate area around the eye.
The egg white can be used as an astringent mask for oily, spot prone skin My sisters and I used this on our adolescent zits. This mask will feel a little tight. Whip the egg white up as for meringue. Add two drops of glycerine if you have any. If not, substitute with a teaspoon of honey. For very oily skin you can add two drops of lemon juice, witch-hazel or soothing, antibacterial lavender oil if available. Apply for 10 mins and rinse off.
Any leftover whole egg can be mixed up with natural yoghurt and used as hair conditioner. The recipe is 1 whole egg to 4 tablespoons of yoghurt but I make less and use on dry ends only.
For dry skin, avocado makes a quick, moisturising, vitamin E mask. Blend a couple of scoops of the flesh into a creamy paste, the smoother the better as the goodness will penetrate quicker. Apply as before. If you have oily skin you can blend in an egg white. I fess up that I ate this avocado in salad instead. After all, it’s full of vitamins and antioxidants, which do your skin good from the inside.
Full of enzymes, pineapple is said to help elasticity. This yummy fruit is used to brighten, moisturize and can allegedly, reduce the appearance of fine lines and age spots. This was a new one for me so I tested it out last weekend.
The recipe said to smooth 3 or 4 chunks of pineapple with 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a blender. I have no patience for measuring and rarely follow recipes. So 2 pineapple rings from a tin were flung in the blender (I might have accidentally eaten some though). Pouting a la Nigella Lawson, I flamboyantly splashed in what felt like the right amount of olive oil. Having combination skin, I added a dropeen each of tea tree and lavender oil and blitzed the lot.
I applied the resulting goo to my face for 10 mins. (No photos available!) I had loads over so 1 pineapple ring would suffice. Don’t expect instant miracles but afterwards, my skin really did feel super soft and my complexion was fresh and glowing.
Honey is my all time favourite beauty secret. For tired skin or ‘hangover face’, this should make you look more alive. As well as moisturising, it has anti microbial and apparently, anti inflammatory properties. Leave it on your face 15 mins or so before rinsing.
A friend told me that potato slices are a great toner or clarifying agent for removing the residue of cleansers and closing pores. In the name of research, last weekend I rubbed a slice over my face after the mask. For good measure, I lay down a few mins with fresh slices balancing precariously on my cheeks and forehead. I have no idea if it did anything, but I had a good snooze.
Lately I’ve had a flare up of eczema on my hand. Plain old camomile tea soothes the itch and inflammation. You can put a bag of it into a warm bath or use just a little (cooled) for soaking the affected part.
In the interest of authenticity, this weekend I used the egg and sugar scrub, the pineapple mask, the potato slices and the yoghurt conditioner as well as the camomile tea. I also tried out olive oil in lieu of cleanser, night cream, body lotion and hand cream. (Removing makeup took several goes though.)
My skin feels silky soft and smooth, my hair is shinier and the eczema, much calmer. I’m sure it’s taken yeeeears off me too.
No frogs were hurt in the making of this article.