By: Marlene Affeld ~
Taking care of our skin can be especially challenging during the cold winter months. Freezing temperatures, strong winds, central heating, and too many holiday late nights indulgences take their toll, leaving skin dry, dull and fragile.
Homemade facial masks crafted with nutrient rich, skin-nourishing ingredients are an excellent beauty treatment to give parched skin a much-needed moisture boost while soothing irritations. It is easy to make spa-quality, effective face masks from common household ingredients.
Homemade facial masks cost little compared to costly commercial products or expensive spa treatments. With homemade face masks, you also have the confidence of knowing that all the ingredients are completely natural and you are not applying harmful chemicals or toxins to your skin.
Homemade skin treatments are nothing new. Since the dawn of time mankind as turned to Mother Nature’s medicine chest for natural oils and plant extracts to relieve painful irritations and heal infections of the skin.
- If you are worry about problematic skin, rosacea or eczema, a mask made with grated raw potatoes and egg whites can calm the skin and soothe redness and inflammation. If available, add a few drops of carrot essential oil available from health food stores. Grate ½ of a white potato and combine with 2 beaten egg whites. Mix the mixture well and apply into the skin and let dry for 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
- Do you want to look your very best for a party or up coming event? Papaya is an integral ingredient in a refreshing face mask to leave skin glowing. Mash the meat of ½ papaya with 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and the juice of ½ lemon. Blend well and apply to the face, massaging gently. The papaya is useful in removing dell skin cells, hydrating the skin and diminishing the signs of wrinkles.
Persons with dry, sensitive skin are more prone to wrinkles and premature aging. Honey soothes and softens dry, irritated skin and is especially healing for those suffering from sunburn, acne, rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis.
WebMD.com notes, “Honey has a long medicinal history. The ancient Egyptians not only made offerings of honey to their gods, they also used it as an embalming fluid and a dressing for wounds. On that last point, at least, they were on to something. Today, many people swarm to honey for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Holistic practitioners consider it one of nature’s best all-around remedies.”
The National Honey Board advises that in ancient China, a mixture of ground orange seeds and honey were applied to keep skin soft and clear of blemishes and the ancient Romans combined honey with animal fats and starches to make facial creams and skin healing ointments.
On you next visit to the farmer’s market or local health food store, purchase a jar of raw honey. Raw honey is simply the unpasteurized version with filtration for impurities. Research indicates that the pasteurizing process can diminish honey’s anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, so using raw honey is best.
Honeyo.com reports on the healing properties of honey, stating, “Australian researchers have revealed the secret explanation for the deadly bug-killing properties of honey. Researcher, Shona Blair from the University of Sydney has found that, when diluted honey is applied to a moist wound, it produces hydrogen peroxide, a known anti-bacterial agent. The research has also revealed that honey is powerful even against drug-resistant hospital killer golden staph Staphylococcus aureus.”
- To perk up tired skin and soothe irritations, mix 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons yogurt with half of a mashed ripe avocado. Blend well. Spread the mixture on the face and neck and leave on for 20 minutes. Splash face with tepid water until you remove all traces of the mixture. Gently pat face dry with a soft washcloth. As an added bonus, avocado, with a high concentration of vitamin K, lessens skin redness and reduces dark circles under the eyes while the oil in the avocado soften wrinkles and soothes irritation. Avocados contain powerful moisturizing ingredients including vitamin E as well as sterolin, a form of protein that helps reduce sun damage, age spots and acne scars as they moisturize the skin.
- If you have oily skin and are prone to acne breakouts, strawberries, honey, cinnamon, and brown sugar make a pore cleaning mask and scrub to brighten and even skin tones and calm eruptions. Mash a handful of handful of ripe strawberries with 2 tablespoons raw honey and a dash of cinnamon. Add 2 tablespoons of course raw brown sugar and spread the mixture on the face. Scrub with gentle, circular motions, concentrated on the oil prone “T” zone of forehead and nose. Avoid getting the mask mixture in your eyes. Leave the mixture on the skin for 15 minutes, rinse well with warm water and pat dry. Persons with delicate skin may wish to omit the cinnamon as cinnamon may irritate overly sensitive skin.
- Persons plagued with blackheads and enlarged pores find a facemask blended with baking soda is ideal for exfoliation of dead skin cells and balance skin pH levels. Inflammation and acne are a result of skin that has an unbalanced pH. Mix 2 tablespoons baking soda with ¼ mashed apple, a teaspoon of oatmeal and 2 tablespoons of milk. Blend well into a smooth paste. Apply to the skin and leave on for 20 to 30 minutes. Splash face with warm water until clear of mask material and gently dry for naturally beautiful results.
- Bananas, bran, honey, and cream combine to create an excellent mask for flakey, dry and dull skin prone to aging. Select an overly ripe banana, one where the skin has turned black. Cut off the tough end of the peel and place banana, peel and all, 1/3 cup of bran, 3 tablespoons of honey and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream in a blender. Blend until the mixture is smooth and the peel finely ground. Gently smooth the mixture on the face with a concentration on areas with clogged pores or flaky skin. Milk or cream with more fats, is refreshing for skins and brings out your natural radiance.
Bananas, rich in vitamins A, B, and E, work as a great anti-aging ingredient to this healing face mask recipe. Allow the mask to dry for 20 minutes. Rinse well with warm water and pat dry.
Citrus Fruit Facemasks
A treasure trove of vitamin C necessary for collagen production, homemade face masks that include citrus fruit extracts helps tighten pores and detoxify the skin, removing blackheads and foliated skin cells. Lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit extracts are super ingredients in facemasks to reduce oiliness on skin and tighten pores. Lemon is especially useful for its bleaching properties to lighten the appearance of old scars and age spots.
- If oily skin is a persistent problem, mix 1-tablespoon plain yogurt with 1 teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Mix well and apply to the face. Allow the mixture to remain on the skin for 20 minutes then wash with steaming washcloth. If lemon juice is not available, the juice of any citrus fruit may be substituted.
- Another wonderful facial to reduce skin oiliness incorporates grapefruit juice as a primary ingredient. Combine one teaspoon of sour cream with one teaspoon of grapefruit juice and an egg white that has been beaten up until fluffy. Blend it all together and apply to the face. Leave the oil reducing mixture on for 15 to 20 minutes and then rinse off with tepid water.
- Persons with dry, sensitive skin can benefit greatly from a facemask made from egg yolks. The yolk contains beneficial fats. Separate two eggs and beat the yolks lightly. Add 1-tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of yogurt and 1-tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice. Yogurt contains probiotics to help rid the skin of harmful bacteria. Mix well and apply to the face. Wash the mixture off with warm water after 20 minutes.
- For a moisturizing mask for normal combination skins, blend 3 tablespoons of mashed ripe avocado, ½ mashed ripe banana and the juice of ½ of an orange. Mix well and apply liberally to clean skin. Allow the mask to remain on the skin for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse the mixture away with warm water and pat dry.
When used in homemade face masks, tomatoes work best when they are very ripe. Choose one that is soft and mushy but yet to develop mold or black spots. (If any black spots are visible, cut away that portion of the tomato prior to use.)
- The fastest tomato facial and one that can be used daily, is simple to rub half of a fresh cut tomato over the skin of the face. Allow the juices to dry until skin feels taunt and slightly tingly. Rinse with cool water and pat your face dry with a soft towel. Skin will be soft, pink and glowing with renewed health.
- A combination of tomato and cucumbers soothes wind-burned skin, reduces redness and inflammation, all the while refreshing tired skin. Mix ½ tomato, ¼ of a small cucumber, 1-tablespoon aloe vera gel and 2 tablespoons of oatmeal. Blend in a food processor until smooth. Apply to the face and allow mixture to dry for 20 to 30 minutes. Rinse off with cool water and pat dry.