Have you ever looked at someone and thought, “wow, they have gorgeous skin?”. You may think that their secret is expensive products and regular facial treatments at a high-end spa. But more often than not, the key to getting healthy, beautiful, and youthful skin is by nurturing it with natural ingredients and mindful practice. I should know something – I went from having very severe cystic acne at 19 that even Accutane couldn’t cure, to a clear, glowing, and blemish-free skin that still gets me carded even though I’m now 28! So if you’re struggling with acne or other skin problems, don’t panic. Here are the natural skincare tips that helped me obtain a youthful, glowing, radiant complexion:
- Treat blemishes with lavender essential oil. This method has helped me heal my skin in my early twenties, and still works for hormonal acne and other blemishes. Lavender essential oil, aside from smelling delicious, has countless healing properties. I personally apply a few drops of it directly to my skin right before bed, but – a word of caution – I strongly recommend you do a skin patch test before you do so. Everyone’s skin is different and might react differently to undiluted essential oil. Alternatively, you can always mix a few drops of essential oil to a carrier oil, such as coconut, olive, or sweet almond oil.
- Talking of coconut oil, use it as a makeup remover and cleanser! We are bombarded with false information (should I say propaganda!) on how oil causes acne. But in reality, acne is caused by dry, irritated skin caused by products that flood the market*. As a teenager, I wasted a lot of money on skincare regimens that promised clear skin, but only made my acne worse, leading me to need an Accutane prescription. When my skin was bad, I had to wear heavy make-up every day, to hide blemishes and distract from them by playing up other areas of my face (thank you, God, for giving me my eyes!). The cleansers I used made my skin even more irritated and didn’t even remove makeup properly. When I began using coconut oil as a make-up remover, combined with the lavender essential oil as a topical treatment, I began seeing a significant change in how my skin looked and felt. Skin needs to be nurtured, not scrubbed raw with harmful ingredients. So trust me, use coconut (or any other oil) to cleanse your skin, and let me know how it feels after a week!
- Tone your skin with orange blossom or rose water. This is a Lebanese beauty tip that I learned as a child from my grandmother. (FYI, Lebanese women are amongst the most beautiful in the world, #TotallyNotBiased). We don’t just use orange blossom and rose water in foods and beverages, but also use them to obtain beautiful, youthful-looking skin. I like using rose water more than orange blossom because of its healing properties** and its delicious smell. I either apply it to my face with a cotton pad, or put it in a small spray bottle, let it chill in the fridge, then spritz it on my face as a mist on hot days.
- Nurture your skin with shea butter. We already established that healthy skin needs to be nourished, not dried out. Shea butter does just that, and has helped many generations of women keep a healthy, youthful appearance. On top of that, it smells delicious! So don’t hesitate and grab yourself some. A small amount goes a very long way! Protect your skin from harmful sun rays during the day by applying a parabens-free moisturizer with SPF in the morning.
- De-puff your eyes with chilled tea bags. This is another beauty tip I learned from my grandmother – while I found it weird to see her to that as a child, I now know the benefits! Your eye area is the first to show signs of age, and even if this isn’t a concern, you might want to erase any evidence of the all-nighter you pulled binge-watching Outlander (true story). Steep chamomile tea bags (or black, or green, just nothing with flavorings or spices so you don’t have a bad reaction!), then put them in the fridge until they’re cold. Apply them to your closed eyes, lay back, and relax while you let them do their magic!
- Watch what you eat. Your skin needs to be nourished from the inside to have a beautiful, healthy and youthful appearance. So make sure you drink a lot of water daily, fill your meals with fresh fruits and vegetables, and make it a habit to drink green and herbal tea! (Rooibos tea is excellent for the skin and has no caffeine, so you can drink it at any time!). On the other hand, be mindful of your sugar, coffee and dairy intake. I’m not saying you should give up chocolate, cheese (I would never!), or your morning cup of jo. But make sure you eat these foods in moderation. They can be your special treats!
- Manage your stress with exercise, yoga, meditation, and self-care. In retrospect, when I look back at my late teens and early twenties, I can recognize that stress and anxiety were among the causes of my acne outbreak. Back then, I had extremely toxic people in my life, and was very stressed about the direction my life was taking. My skin improved significantly when I cut off said toxic people, and today, I manage stress-induced acne by taking long walks, doing yoga, meditating, and showing myself love through self-care. (To let you in on a secret, amazing sex, whether solo or with a partner, is a great stress reliever!).
I hope these tips will help you feel more confident, especially if, like I once did, you struggle with self-esteem due to acne or any other skin problems. Again, please be cautious when you use essential oils topically and stay on the safe side until you know how your skin reacts to them (click here to learn more about using essential oils safely).
Please let me know in the comments below what natural beauty and skincare tips you use!
*It lead me to ask myself whether certain companies would continue making money if people really healed after using their products?
**I also like rose essential oil, but it is quite pricey and not at everyone’s reach. Did you know it takes more than 10,000 roses to make a tiny bottle of essential oil?
Photo credits: Kevin Laminto.