Did you know that your skin is your body’s largest organ? It is. It’s actually a total area of 20 square feet on average, if you can believe it. It consists of three layers: the hypodermis, the dermis, and the epidermis.
The hypodermis consists of fat and connective tissue, and the dermis is comprised of tough connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands. Both layers are very important, but they are not the layers that are typically honed in on when it comes to skincare beauty regimens.
The epidermis is the outermost layer of skin—the star of the show. This layer of skin provides us with a waterproof barrier, protects us from the elements and microbes, helps us to regulate body temperature, and even provides us with our skin tone. (1) It’s easy to say that the epidermis has a pretty big job that it performs for a pretty large amount of space—its jurisdiction stretches longer than every other organ, in all honesty.
Any help this incredibly busy organ can get while completing its arduous list of daily tasks is always much appreciated. Think about it—your skin can be managing projects ranging from ringworm to dandruff to even melanoma (always wear sunscreen) at any given time. Talk about a big job, right?
The most efficient way to remove the cells that are long past their prime is to exfoliate your skin. Unfortunately, many people think that equates to over exfoliating or using harsh chemical peels that ultimately: lead to the body having a harder time creating new skin cells in a natural way (3); leave us more vulnerable to sun damage; and even cause wrinkles, scarring, or skin lesions. (4)
Stronger doesn’t always mean better—especially in this instance. You don’t want to use harsh chemicals on your face day after day, right? However, you can use natural ingredients for skincare like sugar, olive oil, honey, or even oatmeal to get the job done just as well without the harsh side effects. (5)
DIY Face Scrubs
If your skin is sensitive, oatmeal is also a great choice as it helps soothe itchy and/or irritated skin (think back to those good ol’ chickenpox days). (7)
The great thing about making a DIY face scrub is that there are so many mix and match recipes to choose from, depending on what you like!
To get the look and feel of a fresh day every day, simply mix ¼ cup oil, ½ cup sugar or salt, and add 2 tablespoons of ground coffee. Massage gently onto your clean facial skin and then rinse with cool water.
Recipe: Cup-o-Joe Scrub | Greatist
Calming Milk Oats Scrub
For a little more TLC with your scrub, opt for this scrub. All you have to do is mix ½ cup of oats and ¼ cup of whole milk. Massage on clean skin and then rinse with cool water.
Recipe: Calming Milk and Oats Scrub | Greatist
Honey Face Masks
When mixing up a face mask, one of the best ingredients to use is honey. Honey contains antioxidants, such as phenolic acids and flavonoids, which help control acne. (8) It’s also a good idea to mix in a moisturizer, such as bananas or avocado, so your skin keeps its healthy (not oily) shine.
Organic Face Mask
To create a moisturizing face mask, first make sure to wash your face with organic soap so your face truly gets the full benefit of the mask. Then blend a banana and two teaspoons of raw, organic honey. Add five drops of lemon juice and mix well. Apply to your face for 20 minutes, and then rinse with cool water. Tip: make sure to avoid your eyes when applying—lemon won’t do well there.
Recipe: Organic Face Mask | Mind Body Green
Mukhalepam is an ancient treatment in which facial skin is massaged and coated with oils or herbal pastes specifically tailored to your individual skin type. This sounds great, but how does this help you?
- Increases elasticity of skin
- Cleanses skin
- Prevents pigmentation
- Removes dead cells
- Fades existing scars and blemishes
Here’s the catch: one size does not fit all here. You have to find out which treatment is best for your skin type. There are three types: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Figure out which category you fall in, and then follow the treatment instructions suggested for your skin type.
For example, I am a Kapha—my skin is prone to be oilier. It is recommended that I exfoliate with a mixture of sea salt and honey, and then steam it with a combination of water and mint leaves. Afterward, I should moisturize with aloe vera and turmeric paste and apply a mask of yogurt mixed with ripe papaya, grated cucumber, and tomatoes. To achieve the best results, I should repeat this regiment daily.
Find out what your skin type and regimen should be by reading up on what your skin and bodily responses are telling you.
“Recipe”: Mukhalepam | Mind Body Green
Sometimes you don’t want all of the bells and whistles—you just want results. Nothing wrong with that. What better way to reach deep down into those pores than with—soap and baking soda, which we use as a natural cleaning product? Baking soda is an alkaline that softens sebum and debris, giving you a clean face. (10)
Sure, you can’t eat this recipe, but it is an effective natural exfoliator nonetheless. Also, make sure you keep this mixture out of your eyes—it’s not fun for them.
Baking Soda Exfoliator
Mix together baking soda, water, and add a dab of liquid soap. A great brand is Dr. Bronners. I am personally a fan of their rose scented soap (if you are looking for this mixture to smell up to par). You want the mixture to create a paste, so make sure you add enough water to do so. Wet your face with warm water, and then gently massage the mixture on your face. Rinse off with warm water and pat your face dry.
Recipe: Baking Soda Exfoliator | PaleoHacks
Alpha hydroxy acid is naturally predominant in citrus fruits, and specifically lemons. Alpha hydroxy actually does a great job removing the top layers of dead skin cells and promotes firmness in the skin as well. (11)
Technically, you could just rub citrus fruits on your face and call it a day, but why not create an exfoliate that smells great and uses lemons as the central ingredient instead? There are many ingredients you can mix lemon with to create a scrub that’s packed with alpha hydroxy acid, but if lemon isn’t your favorite flavor, oranges, grapefruit, apples, or grapes will work too.
Lemon + Sage Scrub
Mix ½ cup sea salt, one teaspoon dried sage, the juice of one lemon, olive oil, and two to three drops of lemon essential oil. Make sure to add enough olive oil to make the mixture into a paste. Apply in the shower and rinse with warm water.
Recipe: Lemon + Sage Scrub | Hello Glow
(You’ll Also Love: Paleo Beauty: 10 Alternatives to Conventional Cosmetics)