It's easy to find highly effective and affordable skin care products, which are available online, from the dollar store, and the department store. However, it's even easier to make your own skin care remedies—these home made alternatives often don't even require a shopping trip.
Acne can be one of those persistent problems that always seem to pop up at the worst time. We've all had these flare-ups before a big party or an important date. The best at-home treatment for acne is a warm compress: a simple washcloth soaked in some warm water.
Then follow these steps:
1. Apply the compress to the pimple or acne-prone area and hold on for 3 to 5 minutes, warming it up as necessary to maintain a warm feeling on your skin. Be sure not to use water that is too hot. Not only will it burn you, it won't do any good in treating the acne.
2. Repeat the compress every 2 to 4 hours until the acne disappears. Depending on where you are in the breakout, your skin should clear up within 24 to 36 hours.
For an inexpensive product that can be used in conjunction with this remedy, I suggest any acne treatment that contains salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, and/or resorcinol (like this Murad Acne Spot Treatment).
Not many faces are completely blackhead-free. To help rid your skin of them, mix equal parts oatmeal and rose water to create a soft paste, cover problem areas, and rub in small circular motions, then leave on as you would a face mask. Wait 15 to 20 minutes and then rinse away. You can use this oatmeal mask anytime to give your face a radiant glow.
For an affordable and effective skin cleanser and exfoliator, I recommend creating a solution of about a tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of water. Before applying the solution, open pores by leaving a warm cloth over your face for a few minutes. Then rub the water-and-sugar solution gently into your skin for about a minute and rinse. Your face will be left clean, clear, and refreshed. For a more aggressive exfoliator, mix in sea salt instead of sugar. This can be used to exfoliate your entire body and works great on those annoying rough spots like feet, knees, and elbows. Salt is also an anti-inflammatory and has antiseptic properties, so it can have additional medicinal benefits when used on the skin. Be sure not to overdo it, though.
Occasional manual exfoliation—about once a week—is good, but not on an everyday basis. Not interested in making your own exfoliator? Pick up St. Ives Apricot Scrub. It's a solid alternative.
Take a quick trip to your pantry and pull out a bottle of olive oil. Olive oil was good enough for the ancient Greeks to bathe in and to moisturize with, and it's also great for you. Almost every vegetable oil is compatible with the skin. Apply a palm-sized amount of oil daily just after bathing and smooth on gently with your hands to help reduce dry patches and the appearance of stretch marks.
A homemade honey mask is a great way to brighten and lighten the skin on your face. Beat an egg yolk, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, and blend well. Add 1 tablespoon of honey with a spoon that has been rinsed in hot water and blend the mixture again. Apply this honey mask to your face, avoiding your eye area. Leave on for 20 to 30 minutes and rinse. The improvement in your skin will be visible. Check online for other home facial masks to address your different concerns, whether it's oily skin, dry skin, a combination, or sensitive skin (try these homemade face mask recipes to start). A great drugstore alternative to the honey mask is the Original Mint Julep Masque.
Witch hazel, also available at any drugstore, is the main ingredient in most toners and works great on its own. Apply it with a cotton ball after washing and drying your face. If you have dry, flaky skin, try diluting the witch hazel with two parts water. Since witch hazel is an astringent, always moisturize after you tone. For a more refreshing toner, try mixing 2 tablespoons of witch hazel with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of rose water. Always keep witch hazel at home; not only does it do a great job of toning and tightening your skin, it's also an excellent topical remedy for the treatment of traumatic bruises and bumps, and it promotes speedy healing.
Moisturizing is essential for your skin because it locks in hydration and creates a protective barrier between your skin and nature's elements. Making an effective moisturizer at home is not difficult. Put 5 to 6 drops of sweet almond oil in one of your palms and add a few drops of water. Mix the two ingredients in your palms, rubbing both hands together, then gently smooth the blend into your skin. Moisturizing is the bottom line in skin care—almost any moisturizer will do the trick. Eucerin Daily Hydration Broad Spectrum SPF 15 Body Lotion is a great product readily available nationwide.
From time to time you may find your skin is red and irritated, and taking care of it at home is as easy as a glass of milk. It doesn't matter if you prefer cow's or soy milk—both get the job done. Soak a washcloth in milk that's cool or room temperature and then apply the cloth to the affected area, pressing gently on the skin for at least 5 minutes. Repeat as often as necessary depending on the irritation. Milk soothes, softens, and nourishes the skin and helps to promote healing. For the store-bought alternative, try an aloe vera gel.
Our pores are an open target. They collect oil and often get clogged, causing them to appear larger than we want. To minimize pores for free, run hot water into a stopped sink or a large bowl, then drape a towel over your head and lean over the rising steam for 2 to 3 minutes. Follow this by gently cleansing or exfoliating the skin to help minimize the appearance of clogged pores. Pat skin dry and use a toner to tighten and refine. Neutrogena Pore Cleanser Mask and Bioré Deep Cleansing Pore Strips are excellent over-the-counter pore-minimizing products.