All I ever wanted for Christmas was clear skin…
Acne and I: inseparable since 7th grade. It requires pages to explain the myriad of treatments, lotions, potions and prescriptions under my belt. Basically, I’ve tried every prescription besides Acutane and birth control pills (and I will never touch those). Everything from drugstore cleansers to $100 serums have graced my medicine cabinet. I’ve even invested in at-home peel chemical peels, a Clarisonic, and laser treatments.
Natural acne treatments that work!
Beginning the GAPS Diet to address my autoimmune disease made significant changes in my skin. Unfortunately, my improved facial acne situation was still considered “severe.” I’ve been experimenting with this specific combination of natural acne treatments and I think I’ve discovered what is going to permanently treat my acne.
I went cold turkey on all my skin care products–albeit “natural” products–and have been using the following, homemade regimen for about a month. While my acne is not completely gone, I know with a bit more time this routine will cure my acne.
1. Oil Cleansing in the Evening
I was apprehensive about smothering my face with oil, since my face has always been veritable oil slick one hour after I wash it. So it took a big dose of courage to throw out my face wash and tried this method for oil cleansing. I love it! It removes all traces of makeup and leaves my skin soft.
Most importantly, my face’s oil production is normalizing. This is because–in conjunction with the facial oil I’ll talk about–it does not need to overcompensate with oil production like it did when I cleansed with soap.
2. Honey Cleansing in the Morning
In the mornings, I wash my face with honey. With slightly dampened fingers, I massage about 1/2 teaspoon of raw honey over my dry face and then rinse. The antibacterial properties of honey work to inhibit breakouts. Additionally, it removes excess oil but leaves skin moisturized. You can read more details on my post The Honey Cleansing Method.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar Toner for Acne
Mornings and evenings, I spray my face with a mixture of 2/3 alcohol free which hazel and 1/3 raw apple cider vinegar. The apple cider contains gentle exfoliating acids to calm acne and it balances the skin’s pH. It also allows my homemade facial oil to absorb quickly and evenly.
4. Homemade Acne Facial Oil
For years, I diligently avoided any skincare product with oil. After all, I reasoned, oil clogs pores and causes more acne.
Now, I’ve had the opportunity to research and experiment with holistic skincare. I am also privileged to learn from Michelle Ornstein, founder of Enessa Skincare, who is one of the leading organic estheticians in LA.
Oils targeted for acne-prone skin provides powerful properties to normalize oil production, reduce the signs of aging, and heal old acne marks. Only synthetic oils (like mineral oil) or some heavy (comedogenic) oils does oil-based skincare cause breakouts.
I share simple DIY Facial Oil recipes for acne in my free digital book QUIT ACNE RECIPES.
5. Honey, Cinnamon and Nutmeg Spot Treatment
If you ever visit my house without giving me prior warning, you might just see me walking around with dots of gooey cinnamon on my zits. This is my normal routine ever since discovering that this mask makes a super effective spot treatment.
I mix raw honey with enough cinnamon to form a paste, add some freshly grated nutmeg, and store it in a small container in my bathroom. I’ll leave this spot treatment on for a couple of hours. If you want to use it as a full face mask, leave it on for only 10-15 minutes.
6. Acupuncture for Acne and Hormone Balance
Before starting the GAPS diet, my health was so poor that I rarely got periods. GAPS brought my cycle back, but also delivered intense PMS. I’m talking nausea, headaches, and doubling over in pain from cramps. Desperate for a solution, I gave acupuncture a try. After two months of weekly treatment, my periods are getting better and better.
So how does this relate to acne? During that time of the month, my skin usually erupts into landscape of deep, painful cystic acne. Since starting the acupuncture treatment, I’ve noticed a marked improvement in PMS breakouts. I am going to continue regular acupuncture to see if my periods will continue to improve, and I think it will continue to reduce my hormonal acne.
UPDATE: Imbalanced hormones were absolutely the main cause behind my acne and cystic acne. After many, many hours of research and self-experimentation, I have learned how to balance my hormones naturally through dietary, lifestyle and supplemental changes. My cystic acne and PMS is now a thing of the past! I share all the resources and instructions to end PMS in my new ebook Quit PMS: End Your Menstrual Misery.
7. Enessa Clove Acne Control for Cystic Acne
Yes, so the title says 7 things. But I had to update this post with a #8 because I couldn’t believe I had forgotten this! I rely on Enessa Clove Acne Control to reduce cystic acne (the deep and painful hormonal acne). This is the only topical treatment I’ve found that drastically reduces the inflammation and redness of cysts overnight. I always have an extra bottle around because I cannot bear to run out of this magic potion.
Enessa Clove Acne Control is a proprietary blend of clove oil and other essential oils in a base of jojoba oil. Do not go out and by a bottle of clove essential oil and think it will do the same thing. As a matter of fact, putting straight clove oil on your skin will burn and damage the skin (speaking from experience), because it is so strong. The Enessa product may be a bit pricey, but it works… so it is a worthwhile investment for me.[UPDATE] Michelle, the founder of Enessa, found this post many years ago and reached out to collaborate. Since then, I’ve had the privilege to learn about holistic skincare under Michelle’s tutelage. Recently, we worked together to create a package of my essential products for you at a discounted price.
I worked with Michelle to create the Acne Kit, which contains introductory-sizes of the following products:
- Bergamot Purifying Cleanser, an ultra-gentle, morning-and-evening cleanser
- Tea-Tree HydraClear, a skin superfood toner
- Clove Acne Control, my Holy Grail product that diminishes cystic acne overnight
- Moringa Balance Elixir, a light moisturizing oil that absorbs beautifully
- Seaweed Bio-Exfoliant, a gentle exfoliant suitable for sensitive skin
Why go the natural route for acne?
These homemade acne cures may seem crazy, but it is not as crazy as dousing one’s face in toxic, stripping, chemical-based products. Normalizing the skin’s oil production, using gentle spot treatments and exfoliation and (for the ladies) balancing period hormones through acupuncture means a safe and effective solution to acne.
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