DIY (Do It Yourself) is a huge buzzword these days. I recently purchased the book ‘Homemade Beauty’ by Annie Strole because I’m curious about what actually works on skin and what doesn’t. To be honest, I haven’t tried and of her suggested recipes yet. As a dermatologist I take pride in having perfect skin and am worried about a possible irritation or reaction. When it comes to your skin, it is important to understand that some DIYs could be ineffective (waste of money and effort) or damaging (allergic reactions, tissue damage, etc). Before you mix up something for your skin at home, here are five things to watch out for with DIY home treatments.
Coconut Oil – People rave about how soft this makes their skin. An all-natural oil that can be really effective and a great moisturizer. However, this oil can also be very allergenic. If you use coconut oil as part of your skin care routine, watch out for any suspicious rashes or irritation and stop use immediately.
Lemon – This highly acidic juice can irritate the skin and impact the acid balance. The natural pH of skin is 4.5-5 while lemon juice has a pH of 2. Keeping pH in balance is important to the overall health of your skin. Lemon juice is highly acidic and can cause irritation. Also, the oils in citrus fruits are phototoxic (meaning that exposure to sun can result in a dark hyperpigmented rash that can take weeks to resolve). While some people claim that lemon will help to fade scars and lighten dark spots, the risk of irritation and damage to skin is high. So lemon for your skin is a no-no but if you want to ingest it go right ahead! In fact, I swear by squeezing fresh lemon into my water every day. It’s a great detox, and it’s full of natural antioxidants that are great for the skin.
Baking Soda – The texture of baking soda mimics that of our favorite exfoliators and some say that it will help to slough of dry skin. However the pH of baking soda is too alkaline for the face. With a pH of 9, baking soda can damage the skin’s natural barrier (which keeps bad bacteria out). This can result in skin infections and can also result in moisture loss.
Sugar – I’ve already posted about how too much sugar can cause breakouts on your skin but using it externally can be just as bad. The skin on your face is really thin and is no match for the texture of sugar. You will actually find that many of the scrubs and exfoliators on the market are too rough and are likely creating tiny tears which damage and prematurely age the skin. Keep the sugar exfoliation on your legs and feet. When I want to exfoliate my face, I choose gentle exfoliators. I’ve already raved about Hydropeptide’s plump and polish peel. It uses gentle microdermabrasion crystals for exfoliating. If you’re looking for a more budget friendly option, a once weekly gentle apricot scrub will do.
Rubbing Alcohol – This antibacterial disinfectant is great for sterilizing wounds and cleaning your house. For your facial skin, I’m not a fan. Alcohol is one of the most drying, damaging ingredients that you can put on your face. Many toners and facial astringents contain ispropyl alcohol which will strip the skin. Stripping the skin of its natural oils will paradoxically cause you to produce excess oils that can clog pores. Be on the lookout for this ingredient and avoid these products.
I do have a DIY DO to share that I have had some success with. When my son was born I started having problems with my hair and began using a blend of oils that somebody suggested. I mix equal parts of peppermint oil, jojoba oil, Jamaican black castor oil, rosemary oil, and tea tree oil. Some studies have found rosemary oil to be as effective as 2% minoxidil.
Do you have a DIY that you swear by? Have you had a DIY disaster? Please share with me at email@example.com.
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