Sunday, October 25, 2009

Quick, cheap skin and hair care tips

Pimples and Blackheads

I saw a list of tips somewhere recently for dealing with adult acne. Despite having very dry skin, adult acne is a problem I occasionally have, and blackheads was a problem I regularly had before I started making my own skin care products. In addition to recommending commercial products and retinol (which you may need a prescription for), the list of tips told readers to avoid using any oil on your skin, since acne is aggravated by oil. From personal experience, I disagree.

Many thanks go out to the original web site (which I can't recall) that inspired me to make my own products. That site suggested using organic, cold-pressed cod liver oil to cleanse and moisturize skin. Due to the fact that I couldn't find cod liver oil anywhere that was both organic and cold-pressed, I went with shea butter instead, and started melting it and mixing it with an equal amount of extra virgin olive oil to make it creamier and easier to use.

The reason the cod liver oil recommendation impressed me was a test the blogger suggested. She wrote that it may seem counter-intuitive, but the truth is, oil attracts dirt and oil, and if you use a non-pore clogging oil on your skin, it can actually help rid your skin of excess dirt and oil, while cleansing and moisturizing your skin. (Consider this also: back in the days when people made their own soap, what did they usually make it out of? Lard. In other words, animal fat. And according to wikipedia, lard and other oils are still used to make soaps commercially).

The test was to put a little oil on a pimple or blackhead and wait for a while and see what happens. This is what I did: I put a little of my shea butter/olive oil mixture on the biggest, most stubborn blackhead on my nose, and covered it with a small bandaid. I waited 24 hours and removed the bandaid. Then I placed a hot washcloth over the spot, and the blackhead popped right out! This was a blackhead that I had never been able to rid myself of using commercial skin masques and products such as Biore nose strips. From that point on, I was a believer.

So here's my adult acne tip: cover the pimple or breakout area with a very hot damp washcloth, followed by a very cold damp washcloth. This will reduce the swelling. Apply witch hazel to a cotton ball and pat the pimple(s) very gently to cleanse. Then add a pure moisturizer to the spot several times a day: I alternate my shea butter/olive oil mixture with pure aloe vera gel. Using this method, any pimples I have disappear within a day, usually with no blemish. This process has also worked with other blemishes or itchy spots on my skin.

(And btw, I no longer get any blackheads!)

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Itchy scalp

I have written before about how, alternating between baking soda washes/apple cider vinegar rinses, and "Curly Girl" recommended conditioner washes (using Trader Joe's TeaTree Tingle Conditioner) with apple cider vinegar rinses, I have cured my lifelong dandruff problem. However, being a curly girl, I wash my hair once a week and sometimes get itchy scalp in some spots between washes.

A quick way to ease that is to soak a cotton ball with vinegar and wipe the itchy spot with it, then apply pure aloe vera gel to the spot. The vinegar smell dissipates after a few minutes.

1 comment:

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