If I can’t eat it, I won’t put it on my skin.
This is my personal skincare motto and I mean it in the most literal sense.
If something is toxic for my belly, I’m not about to rub it all over the biggest organ of my body (the skin).
So when it comes to skincare I head to the kitchen.
Fruits, vegetables, oils, flours, dairy, herbs, and spices are all skincare ingredients in my eyes; not toxic chemicals like estrogen-mimicking parabens, reproductive system-disrupting synthetic fragrances, and kidney-damaging sodium lauryl sulfate (nor any of the other scary ingredients in commercial skincare products).
Here I’m sharing my favorite anti-acne, anti-aging ayurvedic facial of all time. It’s made up of 100% natural, edible ingredients.
The star ingredient is turmeric, which has long been praised as a beautifying herb in ayurveda.
Because turmeric has natural anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties it’s an all-around anti-aging tonic for the skin. It helps to soothe acne and promote healing, and even lightens acne scars and hyper-pigmentation.
I do this facial at home about once a week for general skin-love and whenever I feel a pimple coming on. Its effects never cease to amaze me. This facial banishes impending blemishes as it nourishes and hydrates.
Step 1: Cleanse.
First things first, remove the day’s dirt and grime. Rinse your face with water. Then, using your fingertips, gently massage plain, organic yogurt over your skin. The lactic acid in yogurt kills bacteria while its vitamin content nourishes the skin. Rinse with water.
Step 2: Exfoliate.
After cleansing, slough away dead skin cells with a natural exfoliant customized for your skin type.
For pimple-prone skin, use a mix of tomato juice and sugar. Slice a small ripe tomato in half. Using your hand, squeeze the juice into a bowl. (Save the skin to rub over ashy elbows.) Mix 1/2 teaspoon organic granulated sugar with the tomato juice.
For dry or normal skin, use oatmeal and milk. Add organic milk little by little to one teaspoon ground oats or oat flour until the oats are well-moistened.
For oily skin, use rice flour and water. Mix one teaspoon rice flour with a little bit of water until the rice is well-moistened.
Spend a minute or two gently massaging the exfoliant over your face and neck in upward strokes and circles. Rinse with water.
Step 3: Steam.
After exfoliating, open up the pores with a mild steam so that the mask can really penetrate the skin.
Fill a pot with a few inches of water and a half teaspoon turmeric powder. Bring to a simmer and turn off the heat. Place the pot on a table in front of you. Tie your hair back, lean over the pot, and drape a towel over your head and face to make a mini-sauna. Make sure you’re not too close to the water; it shouldn’t burn.
Steam for up to 5 minutes. Steam only very briefly if your skin is inflamed.
Wait a minute or two for your skin to cool before applying the mask.
Step 4: The Mask.
Turmeric is the star ingredient of this facial but yogurt and honey are also healing agents. Yogurt is nutrient-rich and moisturizers while honey has natural anti-bacterial properties and brings balance to oily skin. The flour helps to reduce staining. You can adjust the ingredients according to your skin type.
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon flour (rice flour for pimple-prone and oily skin, or almond or oatmeal flour for normal and dry skin)
1 tablespoon plain organic yogurt for pimple-prone, dry and normal skin; OR 2-3 teaspoons honey for oily skin
Mix everything together, adding only enough yogurt or honey so that the mask is a thick consistency.
Slather the mask over your face and neck. Avoid your eyebrows and hair as turmeric is a natural hair remover! Remove the mask with water just before it starts to dry; about 10-15 minutes.
Step 5: Moisturize.
If your face tends toward dryness apply a few drops of hydrating oil like rosehip, coconut, or almond.
It’s best to do this facial before bed because turmeric temporarily stains the skin the tiniest bit yellow. But don’t worry–the yellow will be gone by morning, and you’ll be left glowing.
(This article was also featured in Popular Lately on elephantjournal.com)