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Cure Acne--Have Beautiful Skin

Updated on June 30, 2017
Fresh elderflowers
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Professional European-Style Facials

Professional European-style facials are the real-deal cure for acne. Acne is caused when pores are clogged with hardened skin oils. It is cured when pores are deep cleaned regularly. Professional facials consist of regular deep-cleaning of pores. Pretty simple concept, right?

Professional European-style facials are (or used to be) fairly cheap in some areas of the country, but quite expensive in others. However, I think you’ll find that the cost compares favorably with the cost of your dermatologist, and professional European-style facials have the added advantage of actually working.

While regularly scheduled trips to the facial salon are probably the ideal approach--simply because you won't be tempted to "skip it this week," because you have a regular appointment--you can do your own European-style facials at home.

In all of my own years of suffering from acne, visiting dermatologists, and trying every claimed “cure” on the market, European-style facials were the only real cure I ever discovered.

I tried this because I was fortunate enough to have a friend in the 1970s, who was one of New York’s most prestigious hairdressers, and whose clientele included models, actresses, and a good many very wealthy women. He was kind enough to tell me that this was how the proverbial “rich and famous” keep their skin clear and young looking—and he correctly supposed that I might want to get rid of my acne. He recommended an appointment at Marie Rallé’s facial salon. I absolutely assure you that this works. It is probably still the resort of fashion models.

The only reason that a professionally done European-style facial can work better than giving yourself a facial at home is because, when properly done, it involves steaming the skin during the cleansing cream application, and squeezing every zit and blackhead on your face—and your facial technician will not miss a single one of these, because she is viewing your face through a huge magnifying glass surrounded by a fluorescent tube.

My acne was completely cleared up after two or three months of treatments. The first two treatments were two weeks apart, and afterward I went in once a month, but the frequency of treatment is probably an individual matter.

When I returned to my hometown for a visit after a few months of professional facial treatments, all my old friends asked if I’d had dermabrasion surgery.

Here’s how these facials were done at Marie Rallé's facial salon in New York City:

How European-Style Facials Are Done

You lay down on a comfortable examining-room type table and cleansing cream was applied to your face. Then steam from a vaporizer was blown into your face for 30-60 minutes. This opens the pores and allows the cleansing cream to penetrate deeply.

After you got done steaming, Marie wiped off the cleansing lotion with tissues and positioned a large magnifying glass surrounded with a fluorescent tube over your face and squeezed every single blackhead and zit. She covered her fingertips with a layer or two of tissue to do this.

Covering the fingertips with tissues, especially after steaming the pores open, allows this to be done without the danger of scarring.

Residual cleansing cream was removed with toner-soaked cotton balls, and a very cold mud mask was applied. Marie kept her mud masks in the refrigerator. She said that the use of a cold mask toned the facial muscles.

After the mud mask had been in place for about 30 minutes, it was removed with very cold, wet washcloths from the refrigerator, and a toner applied again.

The final step was to apply something that resembled Clearasil, and I think the main idea of this was to not send you out into the street with a beet-red face.

You can probably do a fairly good job of duplicating this procedure at home, using a vaporizer to blow steam in your face. Alternatively, you could apply the cleansing cream and do some sweaty work for an hour or two. If you are lucky enough to be able to do this on a hot, humid day, it should work as well as the steam treatment.

It's important to use high-quality cleansing creams, toners, and mud masks for each step of this procedure. Unfortunately, if you read the ingredients on most commercial products, you will find that even the most expensive products are likely to contain cheap oils (such as mineral oil, rather that beneficial cosmetic oils), undesirable and even harmful chemicals, and stuff you should never put on your face to begin with, such as alcohol.

How To Make High-Quality Skin-Care Products at Home

It is my experience that acne is always greatly improved by never using soap on your face. If you are looking for a culprit to explain why your pores are clogged, this is the main one: Soap, and the detergents and other chemicals in commercial soaps, interacting with skin oils are what causes bathtub ring, and using soap on your face deposits this same stuff on your face, clogging your pores. Also, instead of cleaning the oils from pores, soap simply tends to harden them, resulting in more clogging of pores.

The oils that clog pores are best removed by something that will actually dissolve them, such as an oil-based cleansing cream, which is first removed with tissues and then followed by a toner to remove any remaining residue of the cream . A cleansing cream will actually penetrate into the pores and dissolve waxy blackheads and other gunk, unlike soap.

Cleansing the skin with an oil-based cream will also make your skin more soft, moist, and young-looking, because this approach is moisturizing rather than drying.

Moisturizing the skin by cleansing with a cream makes for an especially marked improvement in older people, for whom the use of soap on the face is far too drying, making the skin crinkle.

The cleansing creams and toners that you can buy at cosmetics counters are expensive and feature a long list of chemical ingredients. The oil in the various commercial creams and lotions that I’ve looked at is the cheapest available—mineral oil, rather than a more expensive and higher quality oil, such as almond oil. Here's a link on why mineral oil should be avoided in cosmetic products:

In other words, the ingredients are the probably cheapest available, and the product is likely to be loaded with chemical additives.

You can easily make your own cleansing cream and toner, and the products will probably—nay, certainly—be of a far higher quality, and quite a bit cheaper, than anything you can buy.

For one thing, there is no better toner for the skin than a flower-vinegar made with apple-cider vinegar (recipes follow)—or even diluted apple cider vinegar. This is because apple cider vinegar is one of the best products available for dissolving oil and grease, and it has many healing benefits when used on the skin. It does need to be diluted to about half strength, so that it doesn't feel irritating to the eyes, or to areas where the skin is already broken or irritated. It can be diluted with plain water, with a homemade flower water that is simply a tea made from flowers like lavender or chamomile, or with purchased flower waters, such as rosewater. (It's nice to use plain rosewater as a final "finish" toner for smoothing and tightening pores and refining skin texture.)

If you make your own cleansing cream and toner, you will be using only the finest natural ingredients, with no chemical additives, and perfuming them with your favorite fragrances. Plus you will be able to customize the product, developing something especially suited to your skin. Another advantage is that, by making these products yourself fairly cheaply, you can use them lavishly.

Cleansing Cream

Face creams are an emulsion of oil or other fat with water. Most commercial creams use a chemical detergent (surfactant) to get the fat and water to emulsify and not separate. In making your natural face cream, you can use a natural detergent to achieve this: lecithin.

Lecithin is a natural “soap” or detergent found in soy whey. The Japanese used to use the soy whey left over from tofu production as a cleaner for washing their hair, cooking utensils, floors, and everything else, as it dissolves grease and oils. In making cosmetic creams, lecithin works to make fats/oils and water mix, as in the following recipe:

Basic Face Cream Recipe

1/2 cup fat or oil (coconut, almond, cocoa butter,

shea butter, olive oil, or a combination)

½ cup plain water or flower water (It will keep better if

you use plain water.)

2 tablespoons liquid lecithin

½ teaspoon borax

a few drops essential oil (or leave unscented)

Directions: Warm the fat/oil and lecithin very gently until fat has melted (if necessary) and lecithin is dissolved. If you are using an oil that is liquid at room temperature, do not heat at all.

Mix warm water or warm water or flower-water with borax to dissolve. When both mixtures have cooled, combine the water mixture with the fat/oil mixture a little at a time.

Both water and oil should be room temperature, or no warmer than lukewarm.

Stir vigorously until you’ve achieved a nice emulsion. I use an electric mixer for the “stir vigorously” part. The final consistency of the product depends on whether the oil used is liquid or solid at room temperature. The mixture will thicken as it cools.

Mix in the essential oil (fragrance), if you are using it.

Makes about six ounces and will keep for four-six weeks.

This is a VERY nice product.

Drawbacks: This cream keeps four-six weeks. To prevent spoilage, use lavishly as a hand and body and foot lotion, as well as a facial cleanser—or keep refrigerated.

Spoilage or mold growth can be prevented for a bit longer by never sticking your fingers into the cream, using a spoon or other clean utensil to remove it from its container, or by keeping it in a pourable container. That way it doesn’t get contaminated by hand germs.

Making the cream with plain water makes it less likely to spoil. Still, try not to put your fingers in it.

To Use Cleansing Cream

Use as you would any other facial cleansing cream: Apply to your face and wipe away with tissues. It seems to help to leave it on for a few minutes, if you have time, so it can penetrate to cleanse the pores.

After wiping away the cream with tissues, remove pimples or blackheads. To squeeze zits and blackheads without the risk of scarring, cover your fingers with tissues first. Next use cotton balls soaked in flower-water vinegar (recipe below), or diluted apple-cider vinegar, to wipe away any residue of cleanser, as you would with any follow-up toner.

For a full-on facial, you would follow the vinegar toner with a mud mask, which you would rinse off with plain water.

If you would like to really cleanse your pores, apply the cleansing cream and leave it on while you do some sweaty work—a work-out, a run, or a little lawn-mowing or gardening. This will help the cleansing cream work, by giving it time to penetrate and sweating out more impurities.

Different oils have different properties.

Almond Oil: Gerard says, “The oil of Almonds makes smooth the hands and face of delicate persons, and cleanseth the skin from all spots and pimples.” Almond oil is excellent for acne, in that it is a very fine and penetrating lubricant—once used by watch-makers to lubricate the innards of delicate machinery. It is thought to reduce scarring and has been used to treat psoriasis and eczema.

Olive Oil: This is healing and nourishing, and its nourishing properties are absorbed well through the skin. Olive oil will heal some skin conditions.

Coconut Oil: Antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial. Especially good for dry or aging skin and helps some skin diseases.

Cocoa Butter: Anti-aging; contains Vitamin E and anti-oxidants.

Shea Butter: Stimulates collagen production; contains Vita-min E and antioxidants; natural sun screen, antiviral, helps eczema and psoriasis. Often recommended for aging skin.

If you would like to incorporate more than one kind of oil into your face cream, because you are looking for more than one kind of benefit, there is no law that says you can’t. You are making a custom product—just for you and your needs.


Next, if you want to dilute the apple cider vinegar with a flower water rather than plain water, make a flower tea that you will mix with the apple cider vinegar. The easiest way to do this is to fill a small jar with lavender buds, elderflowers, or chamomile flowers and add boiling water to cover. Let this steep for 10-20 minutes to make a strong tea, strain, and mix with apple cider vinegar. Voila! A beautiful, high-quality and all-natural toner that is actually good for your skin!

Be sure to use only apple cider vinegar, which has powerful healing properties, both internally and externally. Apple cider vinegar contains malic acid, rather than acetic acid in distilled white vinegar. Malic acid is a component in some commercial beauty products because it tones the skin.

Lavender-flower water is said to be good for acne. I like to use it to make the flower-water vinegar because it turns a deep red when ACV is added to it. Dried lavender flowers are also much more readily available than dried elderflowers. Elderflowers were much valued for cosmetic use in former times, and were considered especially healing and beneficial after exposure to the sun.

Other Uses for Flower-Water Vinegars

Any cosmetic vinegar, if made with ACV, is a wonderful remedy for sunburn. Elderflower water or elderflower vinegar are especially good for sunburn.

Flower-water vinegars or diluted ACV also work fairly well as deodorants—certainly as well as most “natural” deodorants.

Sometimes it seems almost impossible to completely scrub away underarm odors in the shower, especially in summer. Rubbing your underarms with a cotton ball soaked in ACV or vinegar flower water will get rid of this lingering odor. This is because vinegar is such a good grease cutter.

If you don’t like using commercial deodorants, rubbing the underarms with flower-water vinegar to clean away odors can substitute for them.

If you are bothered by the vinegar odor and don’t want to wait for it to dissipate, follow up this treatment by going over the underarms again with cotton balls soaked in plain water.

Choosing a Mud Mask for the Final Step for the Home Facial

Dozens of different types of cosmetic clays are available for mixing with a little water to make homemade mud masks. These clays are also sometimes added to high-quality soaps and other beauty products. Here are some of the most widely available and popular clays for mud masks:

French Green Clay is the clay most commonly used for acne and oily skin.

Red Clay is used for normal skin and is believed to help skin renewal and regeneration, making it helpful for strengthening and firming the skin helping heal sun-damaged skin, bruises, burns, broken capillaries and varicose veins.

Rose Clay is a fine application for sensitive skin, providing the benefits of a clay mask while also soothing skin irritations.

Bentonite Clay is known for its powerful healing and detoxifying effects and if much used om mud masks for acne.

How to Make a Mud Mask

Mix about 2 tablespoons of cosmetic clay powder with about one tablespoon water to make a paste, and apply to the skin. Leave on for at least 30 minutes and wash off with damp cloths and plain water.

After using a mud mask, it's nice (but not necessary) to follow with an application of rosewater.


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    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 2 years ago from Odessa, MO

      Thank you, Ashley!

    • Ashley DeVaney profile image

      Ashley DeVaney 2 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks for this! Really love your articles :)

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 2 years ago from Odessa, MO

      Thank you!

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 2 years ago from Michigan

      no problem - we figured it out. But, if you are like me, I figured you'd want to update. ;) Thanks!!

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 2 years ago from Odessa, MO

      I apologize for not testing the amount of water to add to the bentonite for making a clay mask. I did not have any bentonite on hand at the time I put this up and so I simply found directions elsewhere on the Internet. I'll be sure to change this suggestion for preparing the clay mask--as soon as I can try mixing some up!

    • Mekenzie profile image

      Susan Ream 2 years ago from Michigan

      Great Hub for those of us committed to using pure products.

      I do have a question. I tried making the bentonite clay mask and wonder if the amount's are wrong. I wonder if the 2 T. Clay should be 2 tsp. The clay was hardly wet with 2 T. Clay and 1 T. water. I just kept adding water until I got a clay consistency.

      Happy New Years! I'll be trying some of the other recipe's you share. Thanks for sharing your expertise.


    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 2 years ago from Odessa, MO

      Some people may want to look into preservatives for lotions, for those who would rather not keep their products refrigerated and make small batches that can be used up withing a week or two. This was an area that I had not yet researched at the time I wrote this article. However, one good preservative for water/oil mixtures is Optiphen ND, available from Brambleberry (and many other suppliers). It's fairly inexpensive and directions for use are on Brambleberry's website. Swiftcraftymonkey has some good discussions on which preservatives to use for what purpose. Here's one link:

      I use Optiphen ND as the preservative in my hair conditioner. I would write a blog about how to make shampoo bars and a recipe for an easy conditioner recipe, except that I would be stealing from someone else's blog. So Here's a link to the recipe for the famous Liz Ardlady shampoo bar: And here's a link to the super-simple recipe for Liz's homemade conditioner:

      Liz has literally become famous in the soapmakers groups for these great recipes!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from USA

      I have enjoyed learning how to make these fine products to do an at-home European facial. Excellent instructions. Thank you.

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 2 years ago from Odessa, MO

      Thank you, Payal!

    • Payal N Naik profile image

      Payal N Naik 2 years ago from Mumbai

      Thank you for the wonderful info.

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 4 years ago from Odessa, MO

      The European style facials do work wonders. You're kind of scaring me, though. I haven't looked at that hub in months. (You know how that makes you uneasy?)

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

      I don't know of any European style facials, but you've given me a good idea for a mud mask for my teenage daughter. Thanks so much.

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 4 years ago from Odessa, MO

      Honestly, I think the most important thing is to use diluted ACV to removing the cleansing cream--or just to refresh the skin between cleansings. Diluting the ACV with flower waters is an "extra." I usually have ACV diluted with rosewater, elderflower water, and lavender-flower water on hand. They each have a reputation: The elderflower for sun damage, especially; the rosewater to heal and moistureize; the lavender-flower as a disinfectant. I use whichever my mood dictates, usually with no rhyme or reason.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

      You had mentioned lavender water. I know lavender essential oil is an excellent infection fighter and can also help with acne.

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 5 years ago from Odessa, MO

      I think a facial cleansing cream made with almond oil might work best to loosen and dissolve blackheads. It is a fine, light cosmetic oil that soaks into pores. I have sometimes seen blackheads pop out on their own, because it's such a fine lubricant.

      The great thing about making your own products is you can use these fine cosmetic oils. And doing your own facials a home means you can give yourself a facial every day of the week, if you have time--even though facial salons usually schedule facials for once a month. And even once a month does wonders.

    • Sadika Alloush profile image

      Sadika Alloush 5 years ago from Baja, California

      yeah that's what I need my pores are big because i have blackheads in them.

    • blueheron profile image

      Sharon Vile 5 years ago from Odessa, MO

      I think often the improvement will mainly be noticed by people who haven't seen you for awhile. After I recently started doing home facials, my daughter came by and I asked her if she thought it was helping. She said, "It looks like you're wearing makeup." I wasn't. Getting the gunk out of your pores allows them to shrink up on their own.

      I want to add a recipe for a homemade herbal mask.

    • Sadika Alloush profile image

      Sadika Alloush 5 years ago from Baja, California

      I'm going to try this. Thank you


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