Most of us want to put our best face forward. We want the world’s first impression of us to be bright, clean, and healthy. But nearly everyone has some aspect of their skin they would like to improve, whether it’s too oily, too dry, or a more severe skin condition.
If you suspect a health problem with your skin, your first choice should always be to speak to your doctor. But if you just want to make your skin look as good as it can be, you might not need an expensive doctor’s visit. Instead, you might prefer a relaxing home facial using everyday products.
Face Mask Ideas
While face masks are far from a medical treatment, an affordable and relaxing home spa day can be a delightful treat. So don’t be afraid to engage in some self-care. Here are some face mask ideas to get you started on your weekend spa day:
Face Mask Materials
As you can tell, there are a number of ingredients that are used in face masks, but what makes them effective? Let’s look at the research done on some of these everyday products used in homemade facemasks.
There seems to be a mix of opinions when it comes to the clinical significance of honey. However, you can’t deny that this sweet, viscous substance is quite soothing.
A randomized controlled trial study did not find any significant advantage in the use of medical-grade Kanuka honey (in conjunction with 10% glycerine) as a treatment for acne. However, a comprehensive in-vitro study showed that honey has antimicrobial (i.e., bacteria-fighting) effects. And the bacterium propionibacterium acnes plays an important role in the formation of acne. What’s more, in the antimicrobial study, Manuka honey was found to inhibit the growth of p. acnes.
Do note, however, that there are many types of honey, and each may act differently on the skin.
In addition to being a tasty addition to your salad, olive oil has some pretty impressive effects. A study on hairless mice showed that applying extra virgin olive oil to mouse skin after UVB exposure had “an anti-cancer effect against murine photocarcinogenesis.” However, it is important to note that use on young children was discouraged in another study.
Who knew avocado could garnish your face as well as your toast? According to one study done on rats, oral or topical avocado treatments could, on average, complete wound healing on day 14. But the control group rats in the study completed their healing on day 17. So, in short: avocado extract’s modest wound-healing properties may be useful if you have small cuts on your skin.
A bright yellow spice and found in tasty dishes like curry, turmeric can have a positive effect on your skin, too. For example, one study found that a 5% extract derived from the rhizomes of the turmeric plant can help decrease sebum secretion. And excessive sebum secretion is associated with acne, so turmeric could help reduce any blemishes you might have.
When to Avoid Certain Face Mask Materials
If you notice negative effects after applying one of these materials, stop using it. You may be allergic to the material.
The best thing to do in this case is to talk to your doctor, who may be able to suggest alternatives. Natural remedies, though very popular, haven’t been researched as vigorously as pharmaceutical options, so it’s best to use caution.
Other Things to Do to Improve Your Skin
If riffling through your kitchen cabinets to make a DIY face mask isn’t the sort of thing you want to do this weekend, there are other ways to enhance skin health.
Wear sunscreen. Sunlight and outdoor time is good for you, but too much exposure to UV radiation can increase your risk of skin cancer. Tanning beds demand similar caution. So apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.
Practise good hand hygiene. You likely spend a lot of timing touching your face without even knowing it, so cleaning your hands regularly means less chance of germs entering your nose and mouth. Use water that is neither scalding nor freezing, but comfortably warm when doing so. And your body — and everybody else’s body! — will thank you.
Stay active. Who knew that sweating and exercising were good for your skin? In fact, physical activity helps blood, nutrients, and oxygen flow better to your skin.
Continue eating a healthy diet. There’s no specific diet that will make your skin glow, but eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, protein, and low in fat and sugar is excellent for your overall health.
Contrary to popular belief, greasy foods, stress, and an unclean face do not cause acne. However, for people who already have acne, stress may make it worse.
When to See a Dermatologist
While materials in your house can be effective and soothing for your skin, there are some cases where visiting an expert is the best decision. Visit your family doctor first, and if necessary, they will refer you to a skin specialist called a dermatologist.
According to the University of Utah Health, the following reasons are good ones to see a dermatologist:
- If you experience persistent skin irritation from flaky, red, and itchy skin that does not respond well to over-the-counter treatments, consult an expert. Sometimes, skin is irritated by weather and climate changes, but irritation can also mean a chronic skin condition.
- If you have persistent acne that doesn’t respond to conventional treatments, see a dermatologist. No one deserves to suffer negative self-esteem from acne.
- If you encounter a mole or patch of skin that changes in color, shape, or size, talk to a health-care provider as soon as you can. This symptom may be an early sign of skin cancer, but don't panic! Get a professional opinion quickly for peace of mind.
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Sometimes, caring for your skin goes beyond weekend face mask treatments.
Making your skin look good may seem like a vain endeavor on the surface. But your skin is what the world sees first, and your self-esteem shouldn’t have to suffer because of a skin condition. It doesn’t help, however, that many skincare products are very expensive. You may be tempted to forgo your skincare prescription in an effort to save money.
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DISCLAIMER: The content in this article is intended for informational purposes only. This website does not provide medical advice. In all circumstances, you should always seek the advice of your physician and/or other qualified health professionals(s) for drug, medical condition, or treatment advice. The content provided on this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.