Acne troubles many adolescents, but also adults, and it can persist into old age, or throughout the hormonal activity of the gonads. Heredity, immunity, stress and of course hormones also play a role. Teenagers are particularly at risk, but also women with menstrual disorders and women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In this blog, we will focus in particular on the options for non-toxic acne care, so if you are interested in delving deeper into the issue of acne, keep reading.
What to wash acne-prone skin with and how to clean it?
- You can try washing your face with soaps (to a limited extent), which we otherwise do not recommend too much in skin care due to the higher pH, but for example non-toxic soaps containing sulfur, activated carbon and zinc can help to gently disinfect acne-prone skin, which is prone to overgrowth of the "naughty" bacteria Propionibacterium acnes. Do not use soaps that contain any questionable ingredients, such as mineral oils, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, preservatives or artificial foaming agents (so-called sulfates). You can choose one of the soap bars we offer in the webshop, but we would recommend the extra gentle soap from french brand Les Huilettes that respects the most fragile and sensitive skin
- If you're not comfortable with soap on your skin, you can try using a solution of distilled water with epsom or sea salt (about a third of a teaspoon per 50 ml, add water if this concentration stings).
- Another helper in cleaning and toning acne-prone skin is apple or wine vinegar, for which you should always prefer BIO quality. Dilute the vinegar again in an amount of approx. 1 part vinegar and 9 parts distilled water. Use instead of regular micellar and cleansing waters and chemical toners. About 3-5 drops of tea tree essential oil can be added to this mixture, if you tolerate it well. But do not use it near the eyes!
- You will often come across the so-called oil cleansing method (OCM) on the Internet, which is popular in various natural and homemade focused groups or websites. Our partners from non-profit organization “Svet non-toxic” do not recommend this method for acne, due to the frequent complications and often worsening of the skin conditions that they observe in the members within their group. In their opinion, the OCM method is not suitable for oily and inflamed skin. So we leave its use to your own discretion.
- Baths in Epsom salt and Dead Sea salt are also suitable. Regular stays by the sea would certainly be the best solution, but not everyone can do it, so at least regularly treat yourself with a bath with sea minerals (e.g. Dead Sea Minerals by Das Gesunde plus).
For acne, introduce regular masks that will help regulate sebum production. In addition to the usual yeast mask, you can also try a mixture of kefir or high-quality white yogurt + a little honey. You can also enrich this combination with cucumber juice or pulp from a non-chemically treated tomato. Crushed or mixed sea buckthorn and generally all berry fruits with vitamin C are also perfect, you can also help yourself with the contents of a raw vitamin C capsule (e.g. Garden of life, or use a little acerola powder). You can also use amla (Indian gooseberry) powder as an ingredient in a skin mask. A popular ingredient in anti-acne masks is green French clay, activated vegetable charcoal (the powder can be found in pharmacies under the name Carbofit), and also turmeric (but here we point out that it significantly stains the skin yellow and more sensitive people may not tolerate it well!).
Masks made of clay (green, Moroccan, etc.) or mud from the Dead Sea can be a good helper if they do not have other ingredients, but be aware that they promote increased blood circulation heavily and the skin may be red for a long time after applying the mask. Be careful with the mask with cinnamon, it can cause long-term redness and burning or even severe allergic reactions, which is why we prefer not to recommend it for skin masks. Seaweed can also be used very well for acne masks, e.g. kelp powder or Irish moss, which at the same time nourishes the skin and enriches it with valuable collagen.
Masks can be applied quite often if they have a noticeably positive effect. About 2-3 times a week.
What to use as additional care after cleaning?
Oils and thick butters may not be suitable helpers for acne. Ideally, lighter serums with hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, but a non-toxic composition with these components is very difficult to create, so we usually classify them as compromise. Try one of these serums we carefully selected for you.
However, if you have enough patience and determination to continue caring for acne without compromise, you can help yourself in the meantime, e.g. with concentrated or diluted neem extract, or a suitable hydrolate (mint, rosemary, lavender, sage, chamomile, rose).
Some acne patients respond well to fresh aloe vera gel (fresh pulp from the plant, not commercially sold gels). If you have a good quality plant available, you can give it a try. A small number of people may suffer from contact allergy to the aloe ingredients, so first do a tolerance test on a smaller patch of skin e.g. on the forearm. If no redness appears within 3 h after application, then you can use aloe.
Oils on acne - yes or no?
The tolerance of oils in acne-prone skin is very individual and rather poor in most people, yet there are many cases where oils in a reasonable amount have worked well in the final care. The amount must be chosen very carefully, feel free to start with one drop and only when you see that the oil is well tolerated, add the amount to about 2-3 drops on a pre-moistened face to treat the whole face. However, you can skip the most problematic areas with clogged pores, as they usually don't react too well to the oil, concentrating the oil on less oily areas.
Oils worth trying for acne-prone skin include light grape seed oil, good quality cumin oil, good quality jojoba oil, neem oil, and good quality argan oil, which is usually recommended for dry skin, but if you buy argan oil from a good source, you will surprised how quickly and well it absorbs and doesn't leave a greasy feeling.
From butters, you can use shea butter or mango butter, in a very small amount. You can mix a suitable anti-inflammatory essential oil with the oil or butter, e.g. lavender, tea tree. Treat the skin outside the so-called T-zone and outside oily or inflamed areas.
For acne, red spots and pimples, always use a zinc paste at night (preferably oil-free, water-based), in which you can use a few drops of tea tree or propolis or oak tincture. During the day, you can use either diluted essential oil of lavender or tea tree directly on pimples.
Even oily skin needs hydration, so sometimes only care based on cleansing and hydrosol is not enough, although in some cases (with very damaged skin, where commercial cosmetics have been used extensively) the minimalist care chosen in this way is, paradoxically, the best solution for a limited period of time. However, if you feel that your skin is losing its elasticity and hydration despite excessive greasing and clogging of pores, then it is necessary to use a cream with a water component to a limited extent. The oil itself has no moisturizing power, it only helps retain/lock moisture in the skin. However, if your skin lacks moisture, you may suffer from combination skin, which will be oily in some places, but dry, for example, in the areas around the eyes and cheeks. One of the creams we recommend is i+m Freistil Sensitiv Moisturising Cream for Sensitive Skin.
Every cream contains oils, so no one can ever guarantee that the aforementioned or another cream will suit every person with problematic skin, it is also a mixture of oils, but the advantage of the cream is its better moisturising ability and lighter texture.
Are you also interested in other non-toxic topics? You might like:
- Natural perfumes: all you need to know
- Pure’n’Well recommends: must have non-toxic products for Fall-Winter season
Materials from the Facebook group “Svet non-toxic” (non toxic world, our partner non-profit organization). Author of the original article is the president of the organization and admin of the FB group, Pavla Pavlištová. Link to the original article.