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Homemade Skin Care Products

Updated on July 28, 2007

I have fallen in love with homemade skin care products. They're inexpensive, you can cook with some of them, and they're easy to make. Skip the complicated concoctions; simple is better.

Make sure you're not allergic to anything before you use it.

Multi-Taskers

I like products that can fulfill multiple roles. Here are a few of my favorites:

Exfoliating Scrub

For best results, use a scrub one hour after an AHA or BHA treatment.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Everyone seems to have "alpha hydroxy acid" on their skin care labels, but you probably already have it in your home. The concentrations of AHAs in foods are not as high as those found in store-bought cosmetics, but if you use them daily, they will make a difference over time.

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) are currently being tested by the FDA, and there are results that show that it may indeed help reduce wrinkles, skin aging effects, and sun damage, but there have also been studies that have shown that they can cause damage if used long term and easily trigger skin allergies and irritation in some people. If you use an AHA, pay attention to any reactions you have, and stop using the product immediately if you have any irritation at all. Reintroduce it slowly at lower concentrations or stop using it completely. It may also increase sensitivity to the sun, which increases your chances of getting skin cancer from, so always wear sunscreen, cover yourself up, and avoid direct sunlight when possible.

There are a variety of AHA's, including glycolic acid, malic acid, lactic acid, and citric acid. Products that contain AHA include:

Glycolic / Hydroxyacetic Acid (used for skin exfoliation, oil reduction, collagen building, and skin bleaching)

Lactic Acid (used for skin exfoliation and softening)

Malic Acid (used for skin exfoliation)

Citric Acid (anti-oxidant used for collagen building, and skin bleaching)

Tartaric Acid

You can simply puree the fruit or make a mixture or sugar and milk and apply like a mask. Leave it on for up to 30 minutes. Then remove with a washcloth and rinse.

You can also put powdered milk or juice in your bath.

Beta-Hydroxy Acids

Beta hydroxy acids (BHA) are similar to AHAs, but they have the a better ability to cut through the greases, waxes, and oils in your skin, and some people claim they don't cause as much irritation as AHAs. Again, the BHAs you have at home aren't as concentrated as the stuff you buy at the store, but if you use them daily, they can make a difference.

Salicylic Acid

Chemically salicylic acid isn't a BHA but cosmetically it acts like one.

Citric Acid

Yes, it acts as an AHA and a BHA.

Vitamin C (a.k.a. asorbic acid)

Everybody knows that Vitamin C is necessary for a variety of biological functions, but it can also be great for your skin. When use topically, it may help reduce lines and wrinkles, promote healing, aid in the development of collagen, and can even increase your natural sun protection factor (SPF) to decrease sun damage. It is also an anti-oxidant, so it may help to reduce free-radicals in your skin.

Puree fruit or mix vitamin C powder with water into a smooth paste and apply like a mask. Leave it on for up to 30 minutes. Then remove with a washcloth and rinse.

You can also apply juices directly to your skin and leave on over night.

You can also put powders and juices in your bath water. Don't forget to eat lots of foods with vitamin C to help your skin get healthy from the inside out.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is also an anti-oxidant, and it is anti-inflammatory. It also improve skin moisture levels and promotes a smooth skin texture. Some studies have shown that it may increase your natural SPF to decrease sun damage and help repair sun damaged skin.

You can puree tomatoes or almonds (or buy almond flour) with oil to produce a moisturizing mask that you can leave on for up to 30 minutes, or use the oils alone as a night time moisturizer (make sure you test it on a small area of your skin overnight before doing your entire face just in case it causes breakouts or rashes). You can also put juices, oils, or almond flour in your bath water. Don't forget to eat lots of foods with vitamin E to help your skin get healthy from the inside out.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A can help reduce wrinkles and even acne. It has been used in prescription anti-wrinkle and anti-acne creams for years. It has also been shown to help repair sun damaged skin, reduce brown spots, and increase smoothness. It may even help prevent skin cancer.

Vitamin A is available in two forms carotene and retinol. Most studies show that the retinol form is the one that has skin benefits. Some studies show that carotene must be consumed to produce any benefits, but other studies show that the skin can convert carotene into retinol products. Retinol, which is only found in animal sources, can be applied directly to the skin.

Some studies have shown that topically applied vitamin A cannot penetrate skin cells without being stabilized. Currently, retinoic acid is the only proven wrinkle-reducing version of topical Vitamin A, and it is only available by prescription. Still... a little carrot juice or milk on your skin can't hurt, and, who knows, it might do some good.

Carotene Sources

Eat lots of foods with carotene to help your skin get healthy from the inside out.

You can apply juices directly to the skin and leave on over night.

You can add juices to your bath water.

You can create a mask from pureed vegetables/fruit and leave on your skin for 30 minutes. (Caution: some masks may stain your skin.)

Retinol Sources

You can create a mask with dried milk and water and leave it on your skin for at least 30 minutes.

You can add milk to your bath water.

You can make a mask from egg yolk, but it may contain salmonella, so always use very fresh eggs.

Fish oil may stink.

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 (niacin) has been shown to effectively treat acne. It may even help prevent and slow down the development of skin cancer.

You can pure the fruits and vegetables to make a mask that you can leave on for up to 30 minutes, but I don't recommend making a mask out of meat. You can also put juice in your bath water. Don't forget to eat lots of foods with vitamin B3 to help your skin get healthy from the inside out.

Vitamin B5 (panthothenic acid) helps to increase moisture content in the hair and skin.

You can pure the fruits and vegetables to make a mask that you can leave on for up to 30 minutes. You can also make a mask out of yogurt or egg. You can use juice or yogurt in your bath water (but I don't recommend putting egg in your bath). Don't forget to eat lots of foods with vitamin B5 to help your skin get healthy from the inside out.

Sulfur

Sulfur is often used to treat acne, rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, and scabies.

Honestly, most of this stuff seems a bit icky to put on your skin, but you can do it. Many juices and dried fruits are preserved with sulfur, so you may be able to use those instead. Don't forget to eat lots of foods with sulfur to help your skin get healthy from the inside out.

Sources: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/SR15/wtrank/wt_rank.html, http://www.nia.nih.gov, http://www.fda.gov/fdac/features/1998/298_ahas.html, http://www.ars-grin.gov/duke/syllabus/index.html, http://www.aad.org/PressReleases/skincare.html, http://www.whfoods.com

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