Jul 18, 2012

Beauty at Home, Part 1: Kitchen/household ingredients you can use on your skin and body!

Ever since I've been following the YouTube beauty community (since spring 2008!) I have learned so much about different skin care products. I've also learned about different home treatments and remedies and I've tried quite a few throughout the years. So I figured I would share what I know about ingredients you might have in your cabinet that can also be used on your skin! The best part is that if you already have some of these ingredients and they don't work for your skin, it's not extra money out of your pocket. If they do work for your skin, then you'll be saving money (and space) in the long run! I will also note that I know more about products for sensitive, combination/oily, and acne-prone skin because that is my skin type. There are some ingredients that can be used for most skin types, though.

Extra virgin olive oil: I probably can't even list every possible use for olive oil. To start off, olive oil is very moisturizing and has been used in skin care for centuries. Some people use olive oil as a makeup remover because chemicals in commercial makeup removers could be damaging in the long run. I have read that olive oil can even help with dark circles. If you have dry skin, you could probably also mix it with your nighttime moisturizer for an extra boost of moisture. I have also read that some people with oily and acne prone skin do not have problems using olive oil, but since everybody has different skin, it is all very personal (for example, jojoba oil is supposed to be ideal for acne-prone skin yet it does clog my pores). People also use olive oil in their hair for hair masks.

Honey: Honey is antibacterial and moisturizing. I have used honey for a while on my face and I always feel like my skin glows after I use it. I mix it with different things to change things up, but I always see great results. I recommend using organic, local raw honey because I have heard that using local honey can help with seasonal allergies and raw honey has all the nutrients that grocery store honey lacks. The only disadvantage I have seen is that honey is messy and sticky (and has a tendency to drip when I apply too much), but for me it has been beyond worth it.

Yogurt: Yogurt contains lactic acid and is also found to be antibacterial. It can help with acne, has anti-aging properties, and can even out discoloration. It is not as messy or sticky as honey, so that is an extra bonus. It can also be mixed with honey so the benefits of both can be experienced.

Lemon juice: Lemon juice can lighten hyperpigmentation, clear acne, and function as a chemical exfoliant. It does sting and increase your sensitivity to the sun. Some people use it as a mask on its own and others use it as a toner. However you use it, I suggest diluting it because it will probably sting the first few times you use it. I also suggest using either bottled lemon juice (try something without preservatives because preservatives are one of the bigger reasons I am looking into home remedies) or freshly squeezed lemon juice. I would say that using freshly squeezed lemons would only be inconvenient if you are a college student living in a dorm.

Baking soda: To me, baking soda feels very gentle. It is more abrasive than the Bellaboo scrub I reviewed a while back, but it is far less abrasive than the St. Ives scrub. You can make a paste of this with water, mix it with yogurt or honey, or mix it with your cleanser. This also can be used with your shampoo for a deep cleanse if your hair is feeling oily.

Sugar: Another especially effective exfoliator. I have used plain white refined sugar and brown sugar and both exfoliate nicely. Sugar is more abrasive than baking soda, but not as harsh as aspirin (which will be listed below). For most people, sugar as a scrub will not clog the pores and will balance the skin. Sugar also contains glycolic acid, which is an alpha hydroxy acid (so don't forget sunscreen). It can be used on face or body. I have mixed it with some of the ingredients I have listed in this post and my favorite cleanser and I have always been happy with the results. I don't recommend using turbinado sugar, though. The particles are too big and I could imagine that the result might be slightly painful. But I do find turbinado sugar to be quite tasty in coffee ;)

Salt: Salt scrubs seem to be more commonly used for the body and the face. The great thing is that there are so many different types of salt you can use that you will probably be able to find a type that works for your skin. I haven't used a salt scrub in a few years, but it's something I will be trying again soon.

Green tea: Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. Simply drinking it can give you plenty of benefits, but it can also be applied as a toner. It is less drying than lemon juice.

Milk of magnesia: This is said to be great for controlling oil. Some people apply it as a mask and others use it daily under makeup. I only recommend this if you have the "original" flavor though.

Aspirin: this one is a bit controversial. Some people have found that using (uncoated) aspirin mixed with either water, aloe vera gel, or honey can help reduce inflammation and redness from acne. The particles also can exfoliate your skin and make it feel smooth and soft. The controversial side is that there could be side effects to using this mask regularly. Anything that comes in contact with your skin can be absorbed into your bloodstream, so if you cannot take aspirin (if you are pregnant or under the age of 18, for example) then you should absolutely not use aspirin as a mask. As I (sort of) mentioned above, it is not recommended that anyone under the age of 12 take aspirin, but I have heard anywhere from 12 to 18 so I will stick with 18 for safety purposes.

I have been trying different recipes for my skin and I hope to post recipes as I figure out what works for me with the hope that it will work for someone else. I hope you enjoyed this post! This list is by no means the end all list to more natural home treatments, but I hope this has been helpful!