Friday, May 10, 2013

Combating Acne

I've always struggled with occasional breakouts (usually one monster zit right around the time of my period.)  But for the last couple weeks it's been much worse.   I've had breakouts all around my mouth, chin and jawline.  According to the internet breaking out in those areas is usually caused by hormones.  Maybe my hormones are all mixed up due to breastfeeding?  Whatever the cause, it's been very embarrassing.  Especially since I work in a store that specializes in skin care!  So I came up with a plan of action and it's been working very well so I thought I would share.

The plan:  HERBAL STEAM (every day) + CLAY MASK (3 x a week)

Herbal Steam
1.) Throw a few handfuls of herbs and water into a pot on the stove.  Bring to a boil.  I used Comfrey Root & Lavender buds.  Both are indicated for their astringent properties and they also stimulate the skin and normalize the sebaceous glands.
2.) Pour the steaming herbal water into a glass or ceramic bowl or container.  I use a large glass measuring cup because it's easier to pour when I'm straining out the herbs.  At this step I usually add in a drop or two of Organic Tea Tree essential oil for it's anti-bacterial properties.
3.) Tent a towel over your head and lean your face in over the steam.  In the beginning when it's really hot keep your face at least 8 inches away from the water.  As it starts to cool down you can lower your face and blow into the water to try to shoot the steam towards problem areas.  Stay like this for 5-10 minutes.
4.) Strain out the herbs and reserve the herbal water for use in the facial mask

A few times a week I follow my facial steam with a clay mask to draw out toxins.  Post-steam is the perfect time for a mask because all of your pores are open wide.  I don't do the mask every day because it can be drying.  Even the oiliest of skin should be toned and lightly moisturized after a mask.

Clay Facial Mask
1.) Into a small bowl add a tablespoon of dry clay.  I have been using red clay because it pulls very tightly.  French Green clay would be another great option for all skin types.  Spoon small amounts of the herbal water and mix with the clay until it it makes a light paste consistency.
2.) Apply to dry or only slightly damp skin.  You can apply either to your whole face or just to problem areas.
3.) Wait 10-15 minutes until mask has completely dried.  Rinse thoroughly with warm water followed by a splash of cold water.
4.) Tone and moisturize.

Since I've started this routine my skin has been clearing up nicely and has had a wonderful glow.   I believe I will continue this routine even after my acne clears up.  The herbal steam is a great start to the day and allows me 10 minutes of meditation to clear my head and focus on my breathing.  I will probably only do the facial mask only once a week because, as I mentioned, it can be drying.

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