Face it: you can’t go to the spa as much as you’d like. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do some at-home pampering by making facial masks to calm down your acne. Your kitchen or bathroom are probably stocked with ingredients that could at least make your skin feel softer. Some might even combat the bacteria that cause acne as well as reduce redness and slough away pore-clogging oil, dirt, and dead skin.
Four top beauty experts weigh in on their favorite home-brewed acne solutions.
“I needed my doctor’s help to treat acne, but I wanted to do something of my own that I knew was beneficial for my skin, too. I always talk to my doctor about what I put on my skin. Your dermatologist might not love what you’re planning to do at home, but as long as it’s not harmful and you’re not picking your face, they’re usually okay. You want to make sure you’re not doing anything that contraindicates medical treatment. For example, lemon juice might be helpful sometimes, but if you’re using a topical or even systemic retinoid, it could cause your skin to flake. Some homemade acne mask recipes suggest sugar to use as a scrub, but that could be irritating, too, if you’re using retinoids, or if you have sensitive skin.
“I cleared it with my doctor to use a mask made with egg whites, honey, and lemon juice. Just mix them together. Egg whites are great for clearing your skin, honey just feels delicious, and lemon juice can help brighten the skin. Mix up as much as you think you’ll use, keeping the lemon juice to a tablespoon or less. You might need to experiment with how much lemon juice your skin can handle.”
“The ‘pirin mask,’ named for how Nathan Lane’s character in ‘The Bird Cage’ refers to aspirin, is simple to make and is loaded with salicylic acid to keep pores clear. Take four or five uncoated aspirin pills and mash them up with a very little bit of water so they make a paste. Apply the paste liberally to your face, wait five minutes, and rinse. It illuminates skin just like a trip to the aesthetician.”
“Mix full-fat Greek yogurt with a teaspoon of pureed carrot, sweet potato, or pumpkin — always use organic. No need to puree the vegetables yourself, just use baby food, or canned pumpkin. You could add 1/4 teaspoon of raw honey. It’s jam-packed with enzymes, as well as antibacterial and antifungal components. Apply to clean, dry skin, and let it fully dry, for at least 20 minutes. Then take some white sugar and scrub the mask off. If your skin is more irritated or sensitive, just use a warm wash cloth.
“Another possibility is using some red wine for the benefit of resveratrol. Mix one egg yolk with a teaspoon of red wine and a teaspoon of raw honey. Avoid your lips and eyes, of course.”
“To help remove buildup and oil, you can make a baking soda mask. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with a teaspoon of water to create a paste. Apply it on your face and let it sit for 10 minutes. Add some warm water and gently scrub off.”