Turmeric has long been a spice used to add flavor in Indian dishes. But it’s also a fabulous all-natural anti-acne ingredient that kills bacteria. Yes, the color is a bright yellow that, for some, may be a bit frightening but the benefits are so worth it (and so will that Instagram pic of you with the mask!). Besides being a holy grail ingredient for acne, turmeric can also help soften fine lines and wrinkles for an overall glowing complexion on all skin types.
Here’s a simple and effective DIY Tumeric Face Mask for acne-prone skin types. It’ll take 2 minutes to make!
What You’ll Need:
1 Tbsp of turmeric powder
1 Tsp raw and organic honey
1 Tsp plain, organic yogurt (for oily skin, opt for fat free or skim)
Benefits of the Ingredients:
Turmeric – High in anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants to soothe, heal, and reduce redness caused by acne or skin conditions like eczema and rosacea.
Honey – A natural humectant that binds moisture into the skin; antioxidant and antibacterial-rich to help with sun damage and acne.
Yogurt – Contains enzymes and lactic acid to exfoliate, hydrate, and soothe while evening skin tone.
Mix the turmeric powder with the yogurt, then add in the honey to create a thick paste. If the formula feels to watery, add more honey. Apply the paste to your face, sit back, relax, and remove 15-20 minutes later with a warm washcloth.
Create a new batch for each use (you can do it, it’s easy enough even for us culinary-challenged folk).
For a quick spot treatment, combine a few drops of filtered water with turmeric powder to create a paste. Apply directly to affected areas, like pimples or overly red skin.
This is definitely one of the easier DIY recipes… but it’s also one of the most effective; especially for a good pore cleansing pre-summer. Acneic skin types will find the DIY Honey Nutmeg Cinnamon Mask beneficial as a bi-weekly (everyday for 10 minutes if you’re skin is super congested or scarred) treatment to reduce acne bacteria, swelling, and scars. For normal skin types, this is a great monthly or bi-monthly mask to deep cleanse and exfoliate, especially before a special event or holiday party. Results are immediate: If your skin isn’t glowing, you’re doing it wrong.
While there are several variations of this mask online, we’ve added a pinch of lemon and, that has made all the difference!
What You’ll Need:
1-2 TBSP Honey (organic)
1/2 TSP Nutmeg
1/2 TSP Cinnamon
1 Lemon Wedge
Benefits of the Ingredients:
Honey – A natural humectant that locks in necessary moisture to keep skin hydrated and soothed while antibacterial properties benefit acne-prone skin by reducing breakouts and healing current flair ups.
Nutmeg – An antifungal, antibacterial, and anit-inflammatory ingredient that reduces swelling and clears up infected skin.
Cinnamon – Aids in blood circulation and oxygenation; Plumps the skin; Dries out pimples and blackheads.
Lemon – A natural source of Vitamin C; an ingredient commonly used to lighten sun and age spots and even out skin tone; A natural astringent that tightens pores and brightens the complexion.
Instructions: Mix equal parts nutmeg and cinnamon into a bowl (between 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp). Add 1-2 tbsp of organic honey and mix into a paste. Squeeze your lemon wedge into the paste and mix some more. Massage onto clean skin and chill out for 20-40 minutes. Watch an episode of 2 Broke Girls. Peruse the web for Funny or Die videos. You could always FaceTime with your boyfriend, but not recommended – this mask looks a little cray-cray on the face. When you’re ready to rinse, remove by gently rubbing the mask off in circular motions (hello, exfoliator!). Add water to remove entirely.
Extras: You can also spot treat inflamed zits with a mixture of honey and nutmeg. Leave it on the affected area for a couple of hours. Rinse off, and repeat until the pimple has subsided.
Make a new batch for every mask.
*Note* Cinnamon can irritate some skin types, so test on a small patch of skin before applying to your entire face. If you feel itchy or irritated, wash off immediately.
Do you suffer from acne? If the answer is yes, then this post is for you. I know, I sound like a PSA, but acne is a serious issue that plagues so many women (including me) and the idea of a flawless complexion seems like a far off dream. But managing acne is attainable, you just need to know why you break out and how to fix it. I asked one of my favorite facialists, the talented Susan Ciminelli, to break down the breakout process: from determining the cause of your acne to eating your way to healthy, breakout free skin.
The different types of acne:
“Some acne is hormonal; an endocrinologist along with a holistic practitioner like myself can really help somebody’s health and wellness. Some acne is a result of diet – garbage in, garbage out – because the skin is an illuminative organ, one of the four organs that your skin uses to push waste out through. Some acne is hygienic; sometimes people don’t understand how to care for their skin properly.
When I’m with a client, I look at where they breakout on their face. For instance, if they breakout straight across their upper forehead area, that’s linked to the small intestines. I’ll ask that person, “do you eat after 8 o’clock at night” or “do you eat too quickly.” If they answer yes to either of those, I teach them about the best times to eat and about breathing techniques to calm their nervous system down and get them to “rest and digest” instead of “fight and flight” mode. When you eat during “fight and flight mode, your body doesn’t recognize that there’s food coming to the esophagus and that food rots in the stomach and then leaves the body and causes breakouts across the forehead.”
Where you breakout and what it means:
“If you breakout in between the eyebrows or on the eyelids, that has to do with the liver. At the temples is gallbladder, under the eyes is kidney, either side of the nose is stomach and spleen, the chin is endocrine [female organs], around the mouth is large intestines, base of the cheekbones is lungs.
If you smoke, if you eat dairy, if you live in too polluted an area, if you’re not exercising, this will all show in the cheekbones because of the lungs. Dairy is hard for humans to digest. If you are going to eat dairy, don’t eat it every day and try to eat cheese that is from goat or sheep before cow’s milk cheese. The protein chain in cow’s milk is bigger making it harder for humans to break it down. Ginger increases digestive enzymes and eating radishes, radish sprouts – anything in the radish family – will help get rid of the waste accumulation from dairy.
A lot of women breakout on their chin every month around their period. If you were to take one Evening Primrose Vitamin a day, that would balance the hormones.
If you breakout between your eyebrows, it is liver related. Milk thistle is great for the liver [you can buy milk thistle in pill form here]. It’s so powerful for the liver that it helps to repair the liver, which is ideal for someone who enjoys a few alcoholic beverages.”
Why does working out cause breaking out?
“Toxins are stored in fat cells. When you’re exercising and burning fat, the toxins are released into your blood stream. Since your kidney’s filter your blood, you need to make sure that they are very clean. The blood is going through all of the cleansing organs faster so you need to make sure that your cleansing organs are clean, otherwise the toxins will come out from your skin in the form of pimple. If your liver is clean, if you’re eating a green diet – lots of kale, spinach, broccoli, leafy dark green vegetables – your liver will be healthy and you won’t be as prone to breakouts.”
Caring for acne-prone skin:
“The right cleanser is very important. If your cleansing step is overlooked, whatever you put on afterwards won’t do you much good. Always wash with warm water and rinse with cool water. Always use a clean towel when you dry your face because bacteria grows. I have two great cleansers for acne-prone skin in my line: Algae Deep Cleanse and Bamboo Ginger Scrub.
The next step from my Susan Ciminelli line is an essential oil blend to tighten the pores and kill bacteria and viral infection on the skin. Essential oils have a bad wrap. They’re actually good for acne prone skin types as essential oil is essentially the blood of the plant. They have natural antibacterial and antiviral properties. For example, if you take a lemon and you twist the rind, you’ll see an oil spray out – that’s the essential oil. I have two essential oil blends for acne prone skin – it really depends how severe your acne is. For less severe acne, try the Toning Formula. For more stubborn acne, try the Oil Control Formula.
Seawater, which is the next step in my line, is a natural antiseptic. It naturally drives good moisture into the skin. It also has Pine Bark in it which is ten times stronger than Vitamin C as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. The problem with Vitamin C is that it evaporates very quickly from a product, that’s why Pine Bark Extract works better in skincare.
Even with acne, you still need to lightly moisturize your skin. If you dry out your skin, you cause wrinkles, you lose elasticity and can prematurely age. You can even make your body think that it needs to produce more oil.”
Foods To Eat For Acne:
“It all depends on what type of acne a person has. But keeping to a Mediterranean diet will help. Eat dark green leafy vegetables, lean proteins like chicken and white meat fish. It’s imperative to eat one apple a day. Apples have malic acid and they are also very nourishing for the body. They clean out your organs in a very gentle way. If your body has too much fat in it, radishes are necessary. Shiitake mushrooms get rid of excess toxicity from eating beef.”
Oh, acne, you pest! It’s as though we’re never too old to get a breakout… regardless of how well we care for our skin (and body). Since acne seems to be inevitable for a vast majority of us, we must learn to learn to live with it rather than fight it.
Here, a helpful list of do’s and don’ts of acne:
DO moisturize every day. The idea that acne-prone skin doesn’t need moisturizer is a myth. In fact, if you skip the moisturizer, you’re likely adding to the problem. Instead, choose a very gentle, oil-free cream that hydrates without adding any active ingredients that could irritate the problem.
TRY: Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Hydra-Pure Oil-Free Moisture ($78)
DON’T overload on the drying ingredients. For most acne, harsh ingredients like sulfur, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid can actually be too aggressive, irritating, and drying, especially when using all three in different forms (one in your cleanser, one in your moisturizer, and one in your treatment). If you’re feeling oily or acneic, opt instead for a simple skincare routine and use the tough stuff as a weekly or bi-weekly treatment, like a face mask.
TRY: DDF Sulfur Therapeutic Mask ($45)
DO spot treat. So you have a big blemish making it’s way to the surface. OR (gasp!) you just went to town on your skin. Instead of smothering your face with the aforementioned drying agents, spot treat just the problem area. We’re huge fans of zit creams that can we worn during the day, thus they double as concealer.
TRY: End-Zit Acne Control Drying Lotion ($19) – this is really the only product to use.
DON’T switch up products too often. Keep your skincare routine simple: Cleanser, toner (one without alcohol), moisturizer, spot treatment, repeat. That’s it! Again, we cannot stress this enough: Leave the active ingredients aside and stick with your simple skincare regimen long enough to get your skin used to it. During this time, skin may freak out, thus breaking out. But the more you introduce new products into the routine, the more likely you are to cause the breakouts.
TRY: Dickinson’s Original Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner ($9)
DO wash your face last. When it comes to bathing, many of us use conditioner as the last step. For acne-prone skin (including acne), this is one of the worst things we can do. Conditioner leaves a filmy substance on skin that will cause sensitive, acneic types to breakout before you can say End-Zit! Therefore, cleansing the face – and back – should be the last thing you do before turning off the water. Make sure to keep long hair away from face and back by wearing t-shirts that cover the back and pulling hair into a ponytail for sleep. Also, cleanser face and back with a simple, non-active cleanser that won’t dry out the skin, but will remove all dirt, grime, and conditioner.
TRY: Simple Facial Foaming Cleanser ($6)
DON’T Pick. Duh. Easier said than done. But if you do…
DO treat the scab. Picking happens, so be prepared with a treatment to get that scab off without scaring. Here’s what we’ve found to work: Neosporin applied directly onto the scab, followed by pure vitamin E oil (again, directly onto the scab, applied with a cotton swab). This combination will help heal the skin and treat the likely scar (vitamin E is a powerful anti-scaring ingredient).
TRY: Nature’s Bounty Vitamin E-Oil ($8)
DON’T exfoliate. Another myth is that scrubbing the sh*t out of your face will make the zits go away. False! In face, a deep scrub can actually spread the bacteria, irritating the skin and creating more breakouts. Instead, opt for a non-abrasive, enzyme-packed wash two times a week to remove dead skin (which, yes, can clog pores). And steer clear of abrasive scrubs!
TRY: Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel Exfoliator ($60)
DO change your pillow cases every other day. This may seem ridiculous (and like a hefty load of laundry by end of week), but it could be the difference between acne-free skin and one that is broken out like a pre-pubescent teen. Why? Because oils in your hair (and any hair product residue) resides on the pillow case, which is where your face spends 6-8 hours a day. Clean pillowcases equal clean skin. It’s that simple.
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on foods to eat for a flawless complexion.
Struggling with acne at any age is zero fun. Add breakouts into the dreaded aging mix, and it feels downright cruel. Over the years, we’ve pretty much tried it all – cleansers that bleach our towels, creams that make our skin peel, and even oral antibiotics to fight from the inside out. When breakouts continue despite these efforts, one can’t help but wonder if perhaps a more gentle – and friendlier – approach is the key. Question is, what exactly is the right way to do this?
We turned to Karen Ballou, CEO of the only immune-centric natural skincare line on the market, Immunocologie, and Renée Rouleau, celebrity esthetician and founder of Renée Rouleau Skin Care Collection, for professional insight on how to treat our skin woes without downright attacking it.
Beauty Banter: What natural ingredients are best to fight acne?
Karen Ballou: Tea tree oil is not only antibacterial, but also anti-fungal. Salicylic Acid helps to dissolve the oil in the follicle, which can cause inflammation, blockage and prevent clear skin. It’s a BHA (beta hydroxy acid) that is exfoliating, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory.
BB: But what should be used for various types of acne?
Cystic Acne – Look for a spot treatment with lactic acid. Lactic acid helps dissolve cells blocking the pore as well as purifying within the pore.
TRY: Renée Rouleau Anti-Cyst Treatment ($42)
Blackheads – Although there is no way to permanently get rid of blackheads, your best bet is regular monthly deep pore cleansing facials followed by home use of products with Salicylic Acid and Glycolic Acid to keep the pores clean.
Whiteheads – Since these have no infection (meaning, they are not generally sore), using harsh acne products will only make them worse by causing dry skin cell build up trapping the oil in the skin longer. Exfoliate!
BB: Can chemicals in many acne-fighting treatments actually aggravate the problem? What ingredients should we actively avoid?
KB: People think rubbing alcohol will help control their acne and oil, but it causes the skin’s acid mantle to be disrupted – the skin then produces more oil to ensure it’s protected like mentioned before. We need to remind ourselves that the skin is the first line of defense against the environment as well as our largest organ. Benzoyl Peroxide, meanwhile, is used specifically to dry out the skin and make it peel, meaning your skin will over-produce the natural oils it uses to keep it healthy.
RR: Sodium or Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate are commonly found in cleansing gels and are extremely dehydrating to the skin. Meanwhile, mineral oil and petrolatum can have pore-clogging effects on the skin. Finally, apricot kernels are often found in facial scrubs, but only scratch and irritate the skin and spread bacteria.
BB: Acne-fighting ingredients can oftentimes cause dryness. What is the best way to treat this?
KB: Transepidermal water loss (the amount of water that passes from your skin to the atmosphere) is a naturally occurring phenomenon that we have no physiological control over and which can be exacerbated by acne treatment. In this case, you want to make sure you’re looking for a product with hyaluronic acid, typically found on ingredient lists as sodium hyaluronate.
TRY: Immunocologie Hyaluronic Serum ($195)
We fully intend to take this advice to heart, and something tells me a crystal ball would predict clear skin in our future…
-Casey Sharbaugh is the blogger behind www.comfortablycasey.com
Retinol is one of the few ingredients that is truly anti-aging. If implemented into your skin care routine early on, it is actually preventative. It’s also ideal for those suffering from breakouts, uneven skin tone, dull complexions, and sun spots.
Retinol is a concentrated form of vitamin A which is used to increase skin cell turnover, boost the skin’s antioxidants, and reveal healthier cells by brightening the complexion and decreasing pores and wrinkles. In short, it really is an ingredient that gives you better skin instantly, as well as over time. While many forms of retinol are available only through a doctor’s prescription (think Retin-A), there are a myriad of products containing this powerful anti-aging, anti-acne ingredient that can be purchased immediately without a Rx.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Ren Bio Retinoid Anti-Ageing Concentrate ($65) – An ideal solution for sensitive skin types, Ren’s retinol oil contains 100 percent naturally derived vitamin A to fight wrinkles and sun spots while making the skin instantly appear brighter and healthier.
Obagi 360 Retinol 1% ($29) – This is a great retinol starter product, and you can purchase more aggressive percentages of the time-release retinol formula once your skin adjusts. Will decrease fine lines and wrinkles, skin discoloration, and scarring.
Murad Time Release Retinol Concentrate For Deep Wrinkles ($65) – If you’re way past preventative, this is the treatment for you. It immediately softens and smoothes the appearance of lines and wrinkles while working overtime on these targeted areas to provide lasting anti-aging benefits.
Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil ($105) – Your skin does its most important work while you sleep — and Sunday Riley’s Luna Oil is the product you need to kick your complexion into anti-aging high gear. A BB favorite, this trans-retinol ester oil combats fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of skin elasticity without any over-drying. Better skin by morning, seriously.
Dr. Brandt Skincare Glow By Dr. Brandt Revitalizing Retinol Eye Cream ($55) – If crow’s feet are your primary problem, then a retinol-infused eye cream will be your new best friend. Incredibly nourishing, this award-winning eye cream is ideal for dry, sensitive skin types that want a boost of hydration while instantly smoothing the appearance of fine lines.
Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM ($65) – This nighttime treatment serum combines retinol with vitamins C and E to noticeably improve skin tone and texture, assist in collagen production, and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution ($88) – This unique solution is a go-to for sun damaged skin, as well as premature aging. Retinol and ferulic acid brighten and tone the complexion while also eliminating dark spots, hyperpigmentation and acne scarring. You can use the liquid as an all-over treatment or spot treat target areas of concern.
*Retinol products should not be used while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Have a favorite retinol product? Let us know in the comments below!
Summer is my season. I love everything about it except for one MAJOR drawback, and that is the dreaded and seemingly unavoidable acne that it causes. Before it gets too incredibly hot, which is when my acne woes really skyrocket, I decided to get to the root of the problem with Dr. Jessica Weiser of New York Dermatology Group, partner of Dr. Colbert of Colbert MD. With her tips and product suggestions, I’m hoping to make sweat and heat induced blackheads and bumps a thing of the past.
Beauty Banter: What environmental irritants cause acne flare ups in the summer?
Dr. Jessica Weiser: Heat and humidity trigger increased sweating and sebum production, which leads to accumulation of oil, dirt and debris on the skin surface causing clogged pores. Smog and environmental pollution add dirt and debris to the skin surface as well.
BB: What treatments do you recommend for congested skin?
JW: Congested skin or comedonal acne typically presents as small bumps under the skin surface or as blackheads. They are best treated with twice weekly gentle exfoliation to increase skin turnover and remove excess dead skin cells, in conjunction with a retinol to gently refresh surface cells, unclog pores, and prevent further congestion. Also, using a cleanser containing salicylic acid can help gently break down dead skin cells from the skin surface to help reduce this pore congestion.
Colbert MD Intensify Facial Discs ($64) two to three times a week
Skinceuticals Retinol 0.5 ($57) at bedtime OR RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream ($23)
Clarisonic Acne Daily Clarifying Cleanser ($27)
BB: What if my acne is hormonal?
JW: Inflammatory acne consists of pink bumps and sometimes pus-filled pimples on the skin surface caused by overgrowth of Propionobacterium acnes (P. acnes). This bacteria is present on all skin surfaces but feeds off of dead skin cells and sebum which are abundant in acne prone skin. The key here is to use antibacterial and anti-inflammatory products in addition to reducing oil gland production with retinol-type products.
BB: Could my SPF be causing breakouts?
JW: Some skin types are very sensitive to active ingredients in sunscreens. It is important to stick to products that are non-comedogenic or those that will not clog pores. The phrase “oil-free” can often be misleading because some occlusive ingredients like lanolin are not specifically called oils, but can still trigger acne flares. In general, the best SPF for acne prone skin is a zinc oxide based product. In addition to providing broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection and causing minimal to no irritation, zinc oxide also has some antimicrobial properties and may diminish bacterial counts on the skin to help improve acne.
BB: Acne tends to victimize various areas of the body during the summer. Can you use the same products on face and body?
JW: Yes, absolutely. Many patients complain of body acne in the summer as a result of heat and sweat trapped against the skin by bathing suits, clothing, and exercise wear. It is crucial to remove sweaty clothes immediately and shower to prevent the oils and debris from staying on skin and causing irritation and acne. Cleansers used for facial acne can certainly be used on the body as well. Be cautious of sensitive skin areas like the chest because they may be more prone to dryness and irritation, especially if new to a treatment product.
BB: Many products seem harsh in order to be effective. Is it possible that this could only make acne worse?
JW: The key with acne treatment is controlling the breakouts using a few gentle products to improve skin turnover and reduce bacteria and inflammation, lightweight retinols to reduce sebum production and improve skin renewal, and if needed prescription strength medication for more severe outbreaks. Scrubbing the skin is not advisable for acne prone patients because this aggressive procedure is causing undue irritation to the skin, which triggers redness and swelling and can exacerbate acne breakouts. It is equally important to use a lightweight moisturizer on the skin surface to avoid over-drying. When the skin becomes dry this causes irritation and can even conversely trigger increased oil gland production to compensate, which only worsens acne.
BB: When are prescription products necessary versus over-the-counter options?
JW: For mild acne flares, it is ok to start with over-the-counter products if your acne is transient, easily controlled at home and not leaving you any scarring. When breakouts start to leave discoloration or any other type of scarring it is important to seek medical consultation from a board-certified dermatologist who can guide you through an appropriate acne treatment regimen and help you prevent potentially permanent scars. For acne that develops very suddenly or in conjunction with other hormonal irregularities, seek medical advice immediately as this may be a sign of an internal problem that may be easily treated by a doctor. Prescription strength treatments can be used on an as needed basis or daily depending on the severity of the acne.
Thanks to Dr. Weiser, I have already tossed my harsh facial scrub to avoid further aggrevation. I also realized my sunscreen contained an irritant, so swapped it out for her suggestion with zinc. I’m ready for you, summer irritants! Nothing will be coming in between me and my clear skin… except some sweat, possibly.
-Casey Sharbaugh is the blogger behind www.comfortablycasey.com