Many of us are plagued with the scary beast that is acne all through high school and well into college. If you're particularly lucky, your skin will start clearing up when you turn 18—but if you're like most people, hormones will continue to ruin your life with monster zits, tons of blackheads, and other fun skin disorders. Since trips to the dermatologist and commercial topical acne treatments can get expensive fast, I've complied a list of five of the cheapest, totally natural acne fighters that will soothe skin stressed from midterms without breaking your (or your parents') bank.
Before we delve into these awesome acne warriors, a tip: a healthy diet and lots of water are two of the main ways to keep skin clear. Stuffing yourself with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while avoiding processed foods is the best way to maintain smooth skin. What you put in your body will likely be reflected in the condition of your skin, so remember your battles with the dreaded buttne before reaching for that mozzarella stick.
All right, on to the natural acne fighters.
1. Lemon's anti-bacterial, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties kill zits. Simply apply fresh lemon juice on affected areas (dilute with water if your skin is sensitive) and let dry. Do this preferably at night and leave on while you sleep for best results. Lemon can also be taken internally for general cleansing; add it to water, sprinkle it over appropriate foods, or try a cup of hot lemon water in the morning before breakfast. This cleanses the system, especially the gallbladder, and contributes quite a bit to keeping skin clear. I don't recommend drinking hot lemon water on mornings before class, however, as you'll be getting up to use the bathroom every 15 minutes.
2. Raw, unprocessed honey has antibacterial properties that fight bad skin while keeping it moisturized, making it an excellent treatment for combination skin or dry skin that still breaks out. Raw honey also draws out impurities and will help keep skin blackhead free. Apply in upward strokes on the face and let sit for five to 10 minutes, mix it with oatmeal for a great skin smoother, use it to spot-treat zits and cover with a Band-Aid, or try honey in many home facial recipes.
3. Chamomile tea is not only a soothing and healing tea before bedtime but has a slew of other properties (as all herbs do), some of which keep skin smooth and clear. Among the active ingredients in chamomile tea are essential oils that calm irritated skin and fight acne inflammation. Plus your skin will—no joke—look brighter. Just boil some water and throw in about five tea bags depending on how much toner you want to make. Allow to steep and cool before putting toner in a glass jar and refrigerating. (We want to avoid exploding glass jars). Apply generously to affected areas with a cotton ball to thoroughly clean and heal skin.
4. Cucumber has long been celebrated for its soothing and cooling abilities when applied to the face. Rubbing cucumber peelings (cut side down) or lying down for five to 10 minutes with some slices on your face seriously reduces blackheads. Putting peeling cucumber through a blender and applying the liquid to face combats acne as will drinking four or five cups of cucumber juice daily for a week. Cucumber cleanses the blood and the lymphatic system, leaving skin smooth and clear.
5. Raw, unprocessed apple cider vinegar contains powerful enzymes called "the mother" that cleanse the system. It also regulates skin pH and contains alpha hydroxy acids that keep skin smooth and scale-free. Apply it directly to problem skin to heal acne and work blackheads to skin's surface (again, dilute with water if skin is sensitive) and/or take internally to fight acne and as an overall tonic. Add two tablespoons of raw ACV to water along with two tablespoons of raw honey. The honey cuts the acidity of the vinegar and provides additional acne treatment. Skin will look smoother, pores will be tighter, and acne will be bye-bye.
So there you have it: five ways to keep skin clear without resorting to pricey gimmicks. When purchasing honey or apple cider vinegar, make sure the bottles say things like "with the mother" (for ACV), "raw," and "unprocessed." Honey and AVC that have been processed and do not contain the mother, respectively, have been stripped of all their powerful enzymes and are pretty much useless for combating problem skin or any other health issue. Processed ACV may even contain chemicals that will make acne worse. Keep that in mind when shopping and you'll be in good shape!
Have you tried any of these natural remedies? We're gonna put some cucumber slices on our chin when we go home tonight!
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