Homemade Masks for Acne
Acne masks are easy to mix and apply and they are just as effective as the acne masks sold in drugstores.
by Brad Chase
Acne masks are a type of facial masks used for treating acne breakouts and for fading off acne scars. They are usually sold at departmental stores and drugstores. However, making one yourself is really a simple process.
There are advantages to homemade masks for acne. Often acne masks sold at stores contain harsh chemicals that can irritate the skin. Homemade masks, on the other hand, are usually made from botanicals and food items that are easily obtained home (e.g. eggs, honey and baking soda).
Furthermore, different acne masks work for different skin types. If you make your masks yourself, it is easier and more affordable to experiment until you get the perfect mixture of natural ingredients that works for you while producing no side effects.
Acne masks are intended to provide deep cleansing action as well as properly hydrate and moisturize the skin. They help exfoliate the skin and remove both excess sebum and dead skin cells.
What is Acne?
Acne breakouts are mostly caused by the accumulation of sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria in skin pores. When these pores are blocked, the skin is not properly aerated, its pH changes and it becomes suitable for microbial growth.
Increased sebum production is the direct result of the enlargement of the sebaceous follicles which is caused by the rising levels of male sex hormones. This is the reason why acne breakouts are mostly seen during the puberty years and in adolescents.
The oily skins of adolescents make the perfect growth environment for acne-causing bacteria. One of such bacteria is Propionibacterium acnes. Harmless strains of P. acnes can be found on healthy skins but some strains of the bacterium can cause acne when they colonize the skin.
This bacterium causes changes in the nature of the skin and increases the production of sebum, the breakdown of keratin and the development of inflamed lumps all over the skin.
The bacterium also changes the pH of the skin, and together with the excess oil on the skin, it forms a thin film that promotes the development of pimples, whiteheads, blackheads, nodules, cysts and scars associated with acne.
For most people, acne begins to clear off in their mid-twenties. This is because the oily adolescent skin changes to the drier and more stable adult skin. However, some people still experience regular acne breakouts well into their adulthood.
This is mostly true of women. Because hormonal imbalance is one of the major causes of acne, some women wrestle with acne for most of their adult lives.
Adult acne can occur in women during their menstrual cycles, during pregnancies, during menopause and when they are on birth control pills especially those that do not contain estrogen.
Homemade acne masks are particularly effective for treating adult acne. For women, applying acne masks requires little effort since they can be easily included in their beauty regimens.
What Makes An Acne Mask?
Acne masks are just like the regular facial masks used in skin treatment except that they are prepared with ingredients known for their anti-acne properties. Therefore, acne masks can be pastes or gels made from a mixture containing essential oils, plant extracts and common household food additives like baking soda and honey.
They work by penetrating the layers of the skin and getting into the pores to provide a deep cleansing action. They can also unclog the pores by tightening them.
Acne masks can improve skin tone by healing acne scars and reducing hyperpigmentation. They do improve microcirculation in the skin to keep the follicle cells nourished. Lastly, acne masks can exfoliate excess sebum and dead skin cells from the skin as they are washed off.
After removing acne masks, they leave the skin refreshed. They can also have effects lasting beyond the duration of their application by stimulating skin rejuvenation and promoting healing.
Acne Mask 101
The items used in making a homemade acne mask should be determined by the skin type of the acne sufferer. For those with oily skin, a clay-based mask should be made with compounds with astringent properties.
Dry skin types will benefit most from hydrating masks made from moisturizing household items such as essential oils and honey. For those with sensitive skins, soothing herbal extracts, such as green tea extracts, should be included.
Furthermore, the acne masks applied on dry and sensitive skin types should be prepared to a cream consistency rather as a hard, dry paste.
An acne mask should be applied with a makeup brush. Depending on the items used in mixing it, the amount of time to leave the mask on can be as brief as a few minutes or as long as overnight.
Short duration masks are meant to stay wet while masks to be left on for longer are allowed to dry. To remove an acne mask, you can rinse it off the skin with water. Solidified masks may have to be peeled off or wiped with a damp cloth.
After removing a homemade acne mask, a moisturizer and even a sunscreen should be applied. These will keep the skin from drying out and protect it from further damage from the ultraviolet rays of sunlight.
The application frequency of a homemade acne mask will be determined by the items used. Soothing and gentle mask ingredient such as honey can allow for an acne mask applied once or twice every week but stronger masks such as glycolic masks should be used once every month.
Simple Recipes for Homemade Acne Masks
There are endless variations of homemade acne masks. You can even invent a recipe for yourself if you have the time to experiment.
However, you should be careful when mixing and applying acne masks made from homemade items. These mixtures can be more potent than you think.
Below is a list of some of the simplest acne masks you can make from items you already have at home.
Apple Honey Mask: Dice and grate a medium-sized apple. Add 2 teaspoons of honey and mix into a paste. Apply the paste on the affected area and leave it on for 15 minutes before rinsing off with cool water.
This is a simple recipe for a homemade acne mask intended for dry skin type. Use Manuka honey if you can find it.
Egg Mask: Remove the egg white of an egg, and whisk slowly in a bowl. Apply the wet mask on the affected area and let it stand for 10 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
The astringent egg white can help heal acne lesions by drying them out. It will also tone the skin by tightening it up.
Honey Mask: Simply massage 1 teaspoon of Manuka honey into the area affected by acne. Leave it on for 10 minutes before rinsing off with warm water.
Manuka honey is known for its antibacterial activity which is due to its high methoxyglyoxal (MGO) content (other honey types have low MGO levels and produce their antibacterial effects by secondary means).
Yogurt Mask: Just apply plain yogurt on your face and leave on for 10 minutes before washing it off.
Yogurt is useful for removing excess sebum from the skin, for restoring the pH of the skin and killing off acne-causing bacteria.
Oatmeal Mask: Mix 5 tablespoons of oatmeal in a little water, and cook for 5 minutes. Allow it to stand and set for 3 minutes then add 1 tablespoon of honey to it. Mix well and let it cool before applying the mask to the affected area. Leave it on for 15 minutes before rinsing it off.
Honey not only allows the oatmeal to stick to the skin better but also contributes its antibacterial activity to the mask. Oatmeal removes oil from the skin and soothes inflamed acne spots.
Tomato Mask: Cut a tomato into 4 slices. Remove the seeds and drain out the juice. Place each slice on the area affected by the acne. Leave the slices on the skin for 15 minutes before removing them. Rinse the skin with warm water.
Tomato contains natural acids that can help remove acne comedones, nodules and cysts. This mask is astringent and should only be used for those with oily skins and not for dry and sensitive skin types.
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