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Homemade Facial Exfoliator
Woe Is My Skin
Oh the woes of my skin. It's almost a hub of it's own.
I have some terrible skin issues. I have this combination oily/dry/flaky skin on my face. I had acne and flakes and cracks all at the same time. It was unbelievable. I tried everything. When I treated the acne, I began to feel like my skin would just flake off. When I treated the flaky dryness, I broke out in acne worse than before. I thought there was no hope, and I was bound to be one of those thirty-somethings with the pimples of a sixteen year old.
By the time I had cracks and splits in the corners of my mouth, nose and eyes I became desperate. I would try anything. Of course I went to the dermatologist and he gave me a steroid treatment, the side effects of which included thinning of the skin, not an ideal long term treatment. I would use them, and my skin would clear up. I would stop and the problem would return. It really was a vicious cycle.
The Agent Orange Connection
"Beauty" has become quite the buzzword these days. Advertisements promise it to us, drugstores claim to sell it, and we fork over hundreds of dollars a year to achieve it. Perfect flawless ageless skin.
I apply this to my sensitive skin and I immediately begin to burn. Like worry that my face is about to fall off burning.
I've done some research. It turns out that the active ingredient in your acne wash- Propylene Glycol- is actually an ingredient in Agent Orange.
If you don't know what Agent Orange is, I'll give you a quick rundown. It was used in the Vietnam War. The American government told the people it was a pesticide. They sprayed it all over the Southern Peninsula and from then on the people of Vietnam and even the American soldiers that were exposed to it have suffered birth defects. I'm talking the babies born today in Vietnam are affected. Google it, this is all truth.
I don't know if it bothers you as much as it bothers me that companies are making billions of dollars by poisoning us.
How it Works
Washing your face with toxins is pretty stressful on your face. Makes sense, right?
Propylene Glycol dries your skin out something terrible, so in order to compensate for the dryness, your skin goes into overdrive and produces more oil. The oil makes your skin sticky thus trapping the flakes of dry skin and creating blackheads and pimples and in some cases abscesses. So to fix the problem, we go out and get a stronger wash with even more chemicals and drying agents. And the cycle continues.
When I first read about spreading oil on my face to rid my acne, I thought the world had gone mad. A little more research reminded me of chemistry class and the theory that oil actually dissolves oil.
My Secret Recipe
- Coconut Oil
- Baking Soda
- Vitamin E oil
- Tea Tree Oil
I'm going to start off by saying that coconut oil exfoliator smells divine, so I really love using it. The fatty acids in the oil have anti-microbial and disinfecting properties. The triglycerides help to keep your skin moisturized, and this is what helps to give it that fresh, supple look.
I add baking soda to mine because it scrubs the dead skin away without throwing off my skin's natural PH balance, which is another thing the coconut oil helps restore.
Coconut oil naturally contains vitamin E, so adding it is optional. I do it because I live in a dry, harsh climate so my skin craves moisture. I also have a lot of acne scars and premature wrinkles (from my smoking days). Since switching from brand name cleansers to kitchen cleansers, my acne scars have begun to heal, and my wrinkles are disappearing. I used to hide in my house so no one would see the skin on my face in the winter time. These days I get complimented. That's so huge for me.
Tea tree oil is also optional. I have a habit of breaking out right around menstruation time, and the coconut oil just doesn't pack enough punch to keep the breakouts under control. Adding some tea tree oil does take away from pleasant aroma, but it takes care of the acne.
Before You Switch
The most important thing you should know about switching to the oil cleansing method is that you should expect a bit of a breakout for the first month. Your skin's PH is so out of balance that it takes a while for it to adjust. Don't give up, just give it time.
The Cost Breakdown
Here's my favorite part: the savings.
With so many brands and special offers it's hard to average a price. They range from regimes sold by teenage popstars for $35 that last about a month to higher end department store packs that sell for $100 for a month's supply.
A jar of coconut oil costs about $10 at my local Safeway. I use about 1/4 c and that lasted me almost 3 months. Tee tree and vitamin E oil costs about $10 a bottle at Walmart, I use 2-3 drops of each. Baking soda is $2 for a huge box. I use enough to make a paste. I'm not going to figure out what that is per use, but it's a pretty big difference. More than a year's supply of skin care for $32. Definitely worth the try.
Has anyone else tried the oil cleansing method? What did you think?