By Tiyani Rikhotso
If you’re like me and have super sensitive skin, then you can relate to the trauma that comes with the way your skin freaks out to most face cleansers on the market. Whether it’s a rash, redness or itchiness, my skin always finds a way to cry for help when I try use conventional cleansers. Ingredients to look out for that might be irritating your skin in these off the shelf products are alcohols, perfumes, sulphates, parabens and mineral oil or petrolatum. Whether your skin is sensitive or not, switching to natural skincare is a great move you can make not only for your skin health but your overall health – and the environment!
Luckily, there are a lot of natural alternatives you can use to wash your face that will leave it clean and refreshed (without the bad skin reaction the next day). These products are most probably already in your kitchen, so they won’t break the bank either as many natural cosmetics on the market come at a hefty price which makes the switch harder.
1. Oatmeal cleanser
Place some dry oats in a blender or food processer and blitz until you get a fine powder. You can store this in a sealable container and keep it in your bathroom. When you are ready to wash your face, take about a teaspoon of the oat flour and mix it into a smooth paste in your hands with water. Apply to a damp face, rub in circular motions and then rinse.
Oatmeal reduces inflammation thus soothes irritated skin. It is also non-drying (the polysaccharides offer nourishment and moisture for your skin), and its texture gives you a mild exfoliation (gently removing dead skin cells will keep your skin soft and supple). The saponins in oatmeal which are mild cleansing agents gently remove dirt and oils which tightens and reduces pores. Over time this cleanser will reduce dark marks and can brighten your skin tone, fighting against hyperpigmentation.
2. Honey cleanser
Take half a teaspoon of honey and apply it to a slightly damp face (not too wet or it will run down your face easily and possibly into your eyes). Rub in circular motions and then rinse off. If you can, for an added moisturizing effect, leave the honey on your face for 5 – 10 minutes (this can be while you shower) before rinsing it off.
It’s important to use raw honey as it has natural anti-bacterial and probiotic properties that help with skin conditions such as eczema and fights off the bacteria that cause acne. The natural enzymes in honey may assist with smoothening out your skin’s texture as well. In addition, honey is a humectant which means that it draws moisture from the environment towards your face. If you suffer from dryness cleansing with honey will be great for moisture restoration.
3. Oil cleansing
Choosing your favourite oil that works well for your skin, apply a generous amount to your face. Olive, grapeseed or sweet almond oil work best for sensitive skin as they have a low comedogenic rating which means that they will not clog your pores and cause a breakout. These oils are also lighter and well tolerated by sensitive skin. After rubbing in circular motions for several minutes take a warm and damps face cloth and wipe off the excess oil. You can use this as a pre-cleansing step and follow up with a honey or oat cleanse or a face wash that works well for your sensitive skin. This method is great as is it highly moisturizing and there is often no need to follow up with a cream.
Oil cleansing is a great way to purify the skin as it works on the premise that oil better dissolves oil. The oil that you choose mixes with the natural oils and dirt on your face, cleansing it without drying. Depending on which oil you choose to use, you can reap its added benefits. If you go with olive oil, which is high in oleic acid it can help reduce any inflammatory flare ups on your skin such as redness, sensitivity or acne and grapeseed oil helps improve skin elasticity and has anti-ageing properties. Oil cleansing is best done at night so that you wake up with a soft and hydrated face.