How to get rid of your blackheads once and for all - naturally!
What are blackheads?
Blackheads and whiteheads are from the same family, Comedones. The difference between them is that they have different heads (obvious right?!). With whiteheads, they have a thin layer of skin covering the pore. With blackheads the surface of the skin is stretched and open around the pore and there we have the reason that blackheads are black, the sebum / dead skin cells in the pore is oxidised as it is exposed to air, turning the head black and creating a hard plug in the pore. As sebum continues to build-up behind the plug, it can enlarge and form a visible blackhead. Voila-a blackhead!
Banish Those Blackheads!
Below are a few natural ways to banish those pesky blackheads with ingredients found in your kitchen so you don’t even have to do a special shop or click around on the net trying to find the right stuff.
Lemon Squeezy- nice and simple
As you probably know, Lemon contains citric acid, what you might not know is that citric acid is part of the alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) group (like glycolic acid or lactic acid) and works as a natural astringent whilst also removing dead skin. Thus it is great for unblocking clogged pores. Lemon juice also contains vitamin C, which stimulates the production of collagen promoting healthy skin and helping reduce scarring from acne.
You will need...
- Rinse face with a gentle cleanser, pat dry
- Squeeze 1tbs of lemon juice into a glass or ceramic bowl
- Dip cotton wool into the lemon juice
- Dab onto your black heads
Either allow it to dry for at least 10 minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water, then apply your usual moisturiser or, you can apply to your blackheads 3-4 times a week, at bedtime and rinse off when you rise with lukewarm water and apply your usual moisturiser.Note - Lemon Juice can sting.
Cinnamon & Honey Pore Strips
This yummy sounding combination creates a blackhead busting team. Firstly, both ingredients are anti-bacterial. Honey acts as an adhesive to pull out what is clogging your pores while cinnamon increases your circulation giving your skin a healthy, smooth glow. Cinnamon also helps to eliminate acne as well as flaky skin.
You will need…
1 part Organic cinnamon
1 part Organic raw honey
A glass/ceramic bowl
Clean Cotton wool strips
- Make a paste using one part honey and one part cinnamon in the glass/ceramic bowl (adjust the quantities until you have enough to cover the affected areas)
- Apply a thin layer over the blackheads, then press a clean strip of cotton wool over it
- Leave it on to absorb all the goodness for 3 - 5 minutes
- Remove and wash off your face with lukewarm water and your all natural cleanser
- Pat dry and apply your moisturiser
Yes, baking soda is not just for baking! It can be turned into a potent potion for for busting out those blackheads. Baking soda can act as a natural and inexpensive way to occasionally exfoliate, clean out anything clogging your pores, that is because it has wonderful small, fine, granules. On top of that, baking soda helps to neutralise the skin’s pH and while pH may or may not have a role to play in blackheads, neutralising it encourages the skin to produce less oil. On that note make sure you don’t overdo it as it can seriously dry out your skin.
You will need…
1 tbsp of Baking soda (add more if you need too)
A glass/ceramic bowl
- In the bowl mix around a tablespoon of baking soda with a small amount of water, enough to form a thick but spreadable paste
- Using a gentle circular motion, massage the paste into your skin for a few moments
- Allow to dry for about 10 mins
- Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water, pat your face dry and of course apply an all natural moisturiser
You can repeat the remedy once or twice a week, but if you find your skin drying out, cut down.
No Beuno for Blackheads
Over-washing: Now I know this sounds a bit contradictory but over-washing your face can be just as damaging as not washing at all. Thoroughly cleaning twice a day will do the trick for most skin types. Over cleansing your skin can dry it out and cause irritation. To counteract this your skin may start to over produce oil, ultimately producing more blackheads and acne.
No Picking/Squeezing: Resist the temptation, the worst thing that you can do is to squeeze or pick them. Be patient and let your skincare routine do what it is meant to do. Patience is the way to go, as tempting as it is to pick at blackhead, resist! It will only make the long-term situation worse.
Be nice to your skin: Remember one of the most important things - be gentle with your skin! You are going to spend the rest of your life with it, so treat it well. Nobody wants blackheads and we all want to get rid of them straightaway but using strong products can damage and irritate your skin. Try to avoid over-stimulating your face with multiple products and rough exfoliation routines. Remember to be patient, you will see results.
Big Blackhead Myths
Can you shrink your pores? No, sadly not. Pores are holes that cover your body and house sebaceous gland and hair follicles. They are not muscles and cannot open or close. They can be stretched so keeping them clear of blockages is important. Pores can be made to appear smaller by using astringents such as lemon juice (see natural remedies above) which cause the skin tissue to contract. Many factors such as age, genetics and sun exposure have an effect on your pores. But when it comes down to it there is now way to magically shrink pores.
Dirt Causes Blackhead - Blackheads are not caused by dirt. Dead skin and sebum build-up in pores reacts with oxygen turning the substance at the surface black, especially so if you have larger pores, there is no dirt involved in this process!
Sebaceous Filaments vs Blackheads - Sebaceous filaments are small greyish/tan dots that appear usually grouped together on your nose, upper cheeks, forehead and chin. They are the ones that when squeezed pop out like whitish spikes, unlike blackheads whose plug is darker than the rest of what comes out (not that you should squeeze them). The good news is that they are basically made up from our naturally occurring sebum which is good for our skin, creating a waterproof barrier that fights bacterial and fungal infection keeping skin protected and healthy. Sebum is an ingredient in most spots/pimples/white heads/blackhead but you should never aim to get rid of it completely as it is beneficial for your skin. The not so good news is you cannot permanently get rid of sebaceous filaments. After being extracted they fill up usually around 30 days later, if not sooner, but all is not lost. You can minimise them with masks/peels (the enzyme peel is my favourite), keep an eye out for the blog on the best ways. The important thing is not to confuse sebaceous filaments with blackhead.
Note: When you use pore strips mostly what is coming out is sebaceous filaments
We would love to hear from you about how you get on and what you find works best. Good luck banishing those black heads!
The DO'S and DONT'S for Glycolic Acid.
Here is our ultimate guide to get you in the know and feeling confident about using Glycolic Acid, once you start using it we can assure you, you won't be able to stop!
So what is Glycolic Acid ?
Glycolic Acid is a natural ingredient derived from sugar cane. It is part of a group know as Alpha Hydroxy Acids and has a reputation as being one of the safest forms of AHA's.
Glycolic Acid is a natural chemical exfoliator which removes the outer layer of dead skin cells on your skin by breaking down the substance that holds the dead skin together. This enables the fresh new skin to be brought to the surface in a gentle manner, without damaging it.
This is perfect if you have acne, suffer from blackheads or fine lines and wrinkles. Glycolic Acid helps with discolouration such as sunspots or age spots. It is also a wonderful anti-ageing product as it smooths and evens ageing skin.
Some of the benefits of using Glycolic Acid:
- Fresh new glowing skin
- Smoother skin
- Easily applied and used
- Removes dead skin cells without being abrasive
- Helps to control acne and eliminate blackheads
- Suitable for all skin types, colours and ages
- Can be used in conjunction with most skincare programmes
- Works to prevent ingrowing hairs on face or body
- An excellent treatment for the condition called keratosis pilaris (the bumpy skin you normally find on the back of the arms).
How to use Glycolic Acid:
- Start using it slowly - once a day for the first week, moving up to twice a day to allow your skin time to acclimatise to the lower pH of an AHA
- Do not use different ranges of AHA's together as you will not be sure how much you are using each day and you do not want to overload your skin.
- Do not use near the eyes
- Always use an SPF (minimum factor of SPF 30) even on rainy or snowy days. This is important as you need to protect the fresh new skin cells from sun damage.
Here are a few of our favorite brands of Glycolic Acid skin care products:
Jan Marini - Bioclear Lotion ( £38.99 www.skinoracle.com).
Harley Street Skin - Clean Tech Renewal Lotion (£35.00 www.harleystskin.com)
Vi Derm Exfoliating Body Lotion ( $40.00 www.dermstore.com)
Tip: Have a gook at the ingredients when buying a product with Glycolic Acid in it. The product should contain around 10% Glycolic Acid, less than that may not be as effective.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids are naturally derived from milk and various plant sources, although most AHAs used in cosmetics are created synthetically. The different types of AHA's are: Glycolic Acid - derived from sugar cane. Lactic Acid - made from soured or buttered milk, molasses, yogurt, honey, or bilberries. Tartaric Acid - made from grapes, berries, currants, passion fruit, honeysuckle, and red wine. Malic Acid - made from apples. Citric Acid - made from citrus fruits of all types. Out of the AHA's, Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid are considered to be the most effective and well-researched.
Note: AHA's are of little benefit when added to rinse-off products, as their contact with skin is too brief for them to function as exfoliants or absorb into skin.
Please leave us a comment below, we would love you hear about your experiences with Glycolic Acid or any other AHA's!
We LOVE rose, it has so many amazing properties. It is an ancient remedy that has been used for hundreds of years. The petals of this beautiful flower are steam-distilled to produce essential rose oil which is used in many green beauty preparations. Attar of rose, which is essential rose oil, contains more than 300 compounds, which makes rose oil an important ingredient in beauty products.
Top 10 Uses:
1. It is anti-microbial. An anti-microbial is an agent that kills micro-organisms and inhibits their growth.
2. Can be used to help alleviate depression. According to aromatherapy practitioners, using essential oils, like rose oil, transmits messages to the limbic system - the part of the brain responsible for controlling emotions and influencing the nervous system.
3. Very effective on acne skin. Rose oil has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
4. Packed full of anti-oxidants it is great for repairing damaged cells and helping to prevent ageing.
5. Encourages an even skin tone and healthy complexion. It can help to refine skin texture.
6. Very calming on red and irritated skin as it helps to control sensitive skin and has an astringent effect on the capillaries.
7. Rose oil is anti-bacterial. Medical papers have shown that, among the essential oils, rose oil presented the strongest bacterial properties and was shown to kill P acnes bacteria (the bacteria which causes acne) after about five minutes.
8. Helps to balance moisture levels in the skin and protects the skin from future moisture loss. This can be particularly helpful during the winter when cold winds and hot central heating can disrupt the skin's moisture levels and, in the summer, to calm skin irritated by too much sun exposure.
9. It is an effective antiseptic with a wonderful scent that can help to prevent infections and even assist with the healing of small wounds.
10. Rose oil helps in the prevention of wrinkles by retaining moisture in the skin which can leave the skin looking naturally plumped, hydrated and radiant.
You can help to clear your acne by applying one drop of pure rose oil directly onto a blemish. Apply morning and evening. Ensure that your hands are clean before application. Ensure that your face is thoroughly cleansed before applying rose oil as you do not want to lock in all the dirt and debris into your pores.
For Oily Skin
Although it seems unlikely, essential rose oil is a particularly effective treatment for those who suffer with oily skin.........
For Dry Skin
For those with very dry skin, try applying a generous layer of rose oil to the face and neck and allowing it to deeply penetrate into the skin. This will help to provide a lasting treatment for tight, dry skin.
For a glorious rose petal bath combine one and a half cups of Epsom Salts with half a cup of Pink Himalayan Salt, a quarter of a cup of baking soda and 10 drops of essential rose oil to your warm bath water. For an extra luxurious bath add half a cup of dry rose petals. The mixture can be stored in a mason jar to be enjoyed whenever you have time to relax and appreciate it.
To make the perfect accompanying body butter mix a teaspoon of Almond Oil with a cup of Coconut Oil and add 10 drops of Rose Oil. For the colouring make a strong solution of Hibiscus Tea and leave it to cool then add a few drops to make the colour you desire. Don't add too much as you can always add a little later if you wish to make the colour more intense. Using a hand whisk or blender beat the mixture until it is light and fluffy. This may take a little longer than you might expect for it to become light and airy but it will happen. Once you have completed your body butter store it in a clean, airtight, glass container and apply it lavishly on your skin after your rose petal bath.
NOTE: USE ROSE OIL WITH CAUTION IF YOU ARE PREGNANT.
Roses are widely considered the most beautiful flowers in the world. They are an inspiring flower that has and does play integral parts of innumerable myths, legends, legacies and stories. Along with Rose Oil's amazing attributes it is powerful remedy for many aliments, it is an underestimated and fairly unknown gem of skin care, especially natural skin care. Let us know in the comments below how you use rose oil and how it helped you!
How to make Face Masks for Acne Skin
Out there on the shop shelves are all sorts of masks that all promise the same thing, to help clear your skin of acne, but sometimes simple is best, and what is more simple than a homemade face mask? Well not much! Granted, there is a bit of elbow grease involved (we’re talking minimal effort though) but this is offset by the fact you know exactly what is going into your products, zero preservatives, zero dyes and only natural ingredients.
Here is a list of five effective Face Masks that you can make with ingredients found in your kitchen, they are simple, hassle free and easy on your wallet, what more do you need!
Greek Yoghurt, Lemon and Honey Mask
In this mask, the antibacterial properties of honey are boosted with the anti-fungal and whitening properties of lemon. Both lemon and yogurt work as excellent natural peels, helping fade post acne marks. Egg white adds proteins that help strengthen the skin’s own defences, while lemon and vanilla create a comforting, soothing cocoon while you linger with the mask in your bath. You can store this mask in the fridge and use it up within one week.
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 4 teaspoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed or bottled)
- 3 teaspoons of plain or Greek-style yogurt
- 1 egg white
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk until the mask thickens
- Apply to clean, dry face and let set for 15 minutes. Gently wash off with warm water.
P.S. while you have the lemon and honey out, it might be time to make yourself a nice cup of tea…?
Aloe Cucumber Mask
The Egyptians called Aloe “the plant of immortality”, it certainly does have some incredible properties. Aloe soothes and can help reduce skin inflammation, while helping the skin to heal more rapidly. Cucumber is full of antioxidants, it also helps to soothe and reduce water retention. The juice is ideal to relieve blemishes and acne. I recommend using organic cucumber in this mask. When you start using organic fruits and vegetable in your home cosmetics, you will be amazed how rich and vivid the scents are. Experts say that the concentration of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals is higher in organic veggies, too.
- ½ a peeled, sliced cucumber
- 2 tablespoons of plain aloe juice
- 1 tablespoon whole-fat condensed milk
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Blend the cucumber in a blender or food processor. Add the aloe juice, milk, and honey.
- If the mask is too runny, add some kaolin clay until the mask forms a comfortably thick paste.
- Apply to clean, dry face and cleave on for 15 minutes or until dry. Gently wash off with tepid water.
The Oo Mask
Onion acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and inhibits the overproduction of collagen in acne scars, while oatmeal penetrates deeply into pores, cleansing the excessive cell build-up and clogged pores
- 1 ounce of purified mineral water
- 3 tablespoons of plain organic oatmeal
- 1 medium onion, peeled
- Boil the water and pour it over the oatmeal, letting it steep for five minutes.
- Finely grind the onion in a food processor, making a smooth puree. Add it to the oatmeal while it is still warm.
- If the mask is not thick enough, add some honey or green clay until the mask is thick enough to sit comfortably on your face. Store the mask in the fridge for up to a week
Spicy and Sweet - Cinnamon and Honey
These two unlikely partners combine to make an super effective mask when it comes to acne. Cinnamon has antimicrobial properties, which can prevent the spread of bacteria. Honey is antibacterial so is great for acne prevention. Honey is also moisturising and soothing leaving behind a wonderful glow.
- 2 tablespoons of honey
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- flannel/paper towels
- Blend the ingredients together until they form a smooth thick paste
- Apply to a clean dry face (or spot treat), leave on for 10 - 15 minutes
- Gently wash off, this is a sticky mixture so make sure you have a flannel at hand to help
Flowers & Flour Mask
This mask works as a temporary lift while deep-cleansing and drawing out impurities from the skin. It is most suitable when you could use additional nutrition for your skin. The egg white rejuvenates your skin by supplying it with protein and collagen, which can help to reduce skin inflammation or fine lines and wrinkles. Chamomile is also an anti-inflammatory and helps to diminish scars marks and spots on the skin.
- 2 tablespoons of white clay
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 1 organic free-range egg white
- 1 drop chamomile oil
- Blend the ingredient together. Mix well to dissolve the egg white completely
- Apply to clean, dry face. If the paste is too thick, dilute the mixture with freshly brewed chamomile tea. Allow to dry and wash off with tepid water.
The simple answer is patience. When it comes to your skin, a diligent skincare routine with good, natural acne remedies is simply the best. It might take a little extra work but stay committed, give your treatment time. Skin cell turnover depends on age, for a teenager it is around 21-28 days, middle age people are looking at 28 - 42 days and those 50 and older it is around 42 - 84 days. To see the results it is advised you wait for a skin cell cycle, sometimes more. Minimal effort, quick solutions although they sound good, aren't really possible. Love the skin you're in, treat it well and with patience and you will be rewarded.
Tip: Astonishing Apple Cider Vinegar
Simple and effective Apple Cider does wonders when acting to eliminate Acne. Apple Cider has several super properties. Firstly, it kills off bacteria which can be one of the causes for swelling and redness. Secondly it helps to balance the pH of your skin. Apple Cider Vinegar is also an astringent and will help dry up excess oil.
- 1 part Pure unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 3 parts Fresh water
- Wash your face with water and pat dry.
- Mix the ingredients together using the the 1:3 ratio above.
- Using a cotton wool pad/ball dip into the tonic and apply to your blemishes. Leave on for 10 min and wash off.
- Apply a gentle natural moisturiser.
Note: Use only once/twice a week as over use could cause you skin to dry up making your sebaceous glands over-produce to compensate, thus, triggering an outbreak.
New year, New Skincare Regime
The new year is here and it’s time to start that all important new skincare regime! We’ve put together the ideal skincare starter pack to help you do just that. Inside you’ll find our rose cleansing milk, skin tonic, vanishing cream and a face cloth. Here’s our step by step guide to clearer, glowing skin this year.
Step 1 - Rose Cleansing Milk
Your first step to fresh, glowing beautiful skin. Our Cleansing Milk contains Rose, Aloe Vera and Sunflower Oil. These ingredients all ensure a calming , soothing and moisturising effect on the skin. The Cleansing Milk has a beautiful delicate scent of rose. Use Glorious Rose Cleansing Milk morning and evening.
Apply a generous amount of cleanser to face and neck and massage, then wash off with a damp, warm face flannel. Repeat if desired. Leaves your skin ready for toning and moisturising.
- Rosa Damascena Flower Extract - An ancient ingredient high in Vitamin C.
- Aloe Vera - Soothing and calming, high in antioxidants.
- Sunflower Oil - Retains moisture in the skin’s cells, antioxidant so helps keep wrinkles at bay.
- Also rich in Vitamin A, C and E, which prevents free-radicals from damaging your skin and creating wrinkles and the appearance of premature ageing.
Step 2 - Rose Velvet Skin Tonic
Rosina's delicate rose water works wonders for even the most sensitive skins by calming and soothing any redness. It contains Palmitoyl Tripeptide 5 which penetrates deep into the skin to stimulate collagen. Rose is a natural astringent which helps to tighten pores and restores suppleness, ensuring a glowing complexion that leaves your skin looking and feeling smooth, but not dry. Use morning and evening after cleansing with Glorious Rose Cleansing Milk. Spritz all over the face and neck or moisten a cotton wool pad and sweep over face and neck. Do not wash off. Follow with moisturiser. Suitable for all skin types.
- Rosa Damascena Flower Water - High in antioxidants, also an anti-inflammatory. Anti-ageing good for sensitive, red, inflamed and acne skins.
- Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 - Stimulates collagen production.
- Glycerin - Extremely hydrating.
Step 3 - Rose Radiance Vanishing Cream
Rosina's beautiful Vanishing Cream contains Rose, Argan, Jojoba and Baobab Seed Oil to improve the skin's elasticity and helps to promote cell regeneration creating a radiantly refreshed complexion. Rose Radiance Vanishing Cream is the perfect moisturiser for providing that refreshed, all-day moisturised feeling.
Apply after cleansing and toning using upwards strokes and massage until the cream is absorbed. Avoid the delicate eye area. Suitable for or normal to dry skin.
- Argan Oil - Rich in vitamin E and fatty acids, reduces wrinkles and hydrates.
- Glycerin - Hydrating.
- Jojoba Wax - Moisturising.
- Aloe Vera - Healing, soothing and full of antioxidants.
- Rosa Damascena Flower Extract - A cell rejuvenator, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, especially valuable for dry, ageing sensitive skin.
- Hyaluronic Acid - Helps retain over 1,000 times its weight in water within the cells of the skin, making it an excellent moisturiser.
- Carnosine - Anti-ageing, anti-wrinkle, antioxidant said to reverse the signs of ageing.