Friday, November 21, 2014

Honey, Yogurt, and Lemon Face Mask

I usually make my own Greek yogurt, but sometimes I feel lazy.

As you may or may not know, I LOVE honey - almost as much as I love DIY, all-natural beauty products! Well, this post combines my two loves!

For a long time I used commercial acne products on my face, with little improvement. The only time I quit using them is while I was pregnant with my son 6 years ago. Most skin care products contain salicylic acid, a mild acid used to treat acne and other skin disorders, which is actually advised against during pregnancy. The reason doctors caution pregnant women against using salicylic acid is that high doses taken orally have been shown to cause birth defects and various pregnancy complications (Source: Safe Skin Care During Pregnancy). It never occurred to me back then to search for a safer alternative; I just dropped the face wash from my shower routine. Thankfully, my pregnancy acne never got too bad.

Before I started on my journey to be toxin-free, I actually tried this DIY honey, yogurt, and lemon facemask because I ran out of my old commercial one and didn't feel like shelling out $5 for a new bottle. Other than being toxin-free, what better reason is there to try an all-natural alternative than saving money?

The original inspiration for this mask comes from Alyssa & Carla, however I did tweak it a bit: Greek Yogurt Mask.

This recipe is so easy, it only calls for 3 ingredients: honey, Greek yogurt, and lemon juice! Fortunately, I usually have these three things on hand (I actually make my own Greek yogurt!), so when I came across it on Pinterest I had to give it a try.

First let's discuss the benefits of these ingredients, and why they're good for fighting acne:

  • Honey - honey is an antiseptic, therefore it prevents the growth of the bacteria in your pores, and disinfects your skin. In fact, if honey is applied to a fully developed pimple or whitehead, it can stop the infection in your pore from worsening (Source: Honey and Acne). Honey also has anti-inflammatory properties, which reduce swelling and redness that can accompany pimples. Finally, honey is a humectant which preserves the moisture in your skin and draws moisture from the air, which leaves your face moisturized without feeling oily.
  • Greek Yogurt - the lactic acid in Greek yogurt helps to exfoliate and the fat moisturizes (which makes it great for dry skin). The yogurt itself acts as a very mild bleach, making it good for evening out complexion and calming skin.
  • Lemon Juice - Lemon also helps to lighten the skin and even complexion, while the citric acid exfoliates. Since lemon juice is an astringent, it also dries the blemish. *Since it can be drying, it's important not to add too much lemon juice, especially if you have dry skin.*
After trying out the original, and adjusting it to my preference, I found that I preferred to add a bit more honey to help reduce redness more and fight bacteria better.

Honey, Yogurt, and Lemon Face Mask:

  • 1/8 cup RAW honey (very important that it's raw, and not processed with corn syrup or any other fillers)
  • 1/8 cup PLAIN Greek yogurt (must be plain, with no added sweeteners)
  • splash of lemon juice (less or none for dry skin)
Combine ingredients in a small container, mixing thoroughly. Apply mask to clean face with hands or clean foundation brush. Allow mask to dry (about 20 minutes, depending how thick you apply it), then wash face with a wet washcloth (or clean hands) and pat dry. Store leftovers in the fridge (or eat it, because it's completely edible!). This face mask is gentle enough to use more often then commercial ones, but I'd still try to limit it to 3 or 4 times a week.

After I use this face mask I apply a homemade toner of diluted apple cider vinegar (the same one I use to rinse my hair, about 1 part ACV to 3 or 4 parts water), although that is completely up to you. It is perfectly safe to use a toner after a face mask; in fact, it tightens the pores! I usually just hop in the shower to wash the mask off, follow up with my ACV toner, and then rinse my face with cool water.

A foundation brush can help apply an even layer of face mask.

The great thing about this recipe is that all of the ingredients are edible, so you know that it's safe to put on your skin! You can play with the recipe to find something that suits you better, if you'd like. This could also make a wonderful gift for the holidays! (Just be sure to remind the recipient to keep refrigerated!)

I've had someone mention concerns about the lemon juice stinging their face, but I can assure you that I've had no trouble with this. However, every skin type is unique. As I mentioned before, lemon juice is an astringent so it has a drying affect. If you have dry or sensitive skin, you may want to leave the lemon juice out.
Some people have mentioned having an adverse reaction to honey and/or lemon juice, so be sure to test this recipe (as well as any other) on the inside of your wrist. If you feel any stinging or burning, wash it off immediately and DO NOT use it on your face.

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