As I get older I’ve noticed I start to develop melasma on my cheeks. I’m assuming some of it has to do with thyroid issues, added to the fact that I go out and work in the sun gently without using sunscreen. One of the advantages of being Cherokee is I’ve not really ever had to worry about using sunscreen. Except for the area around where my glasses are, unless I do something like fall asleep in direct hard-core sunlight for several hours, I don’t generally burn.
Apparently my skin is far more sun sensitive as I get older, or it might have to do with the meds I’m taking. I had what’s called Graves Disease for nearly two decades ago and they radiated my thyroid (it took two tries) so I haven’t had a working thyroid since then. I take synthetic thyroid hormones and have for all these years. So yeah, there’s a good chance sun sensitivity as I can older has developed. This means I’m being forced into more closely considering my habits around skin care, especially when it comes to protecting my skin against the sun.
It’s not just sunscreen I’ve been considering more carefully lately. I’m generally one of those who people jumps the shower, runs a brush through my hair, throws something clean on, and considers that done. I don’t do daily face cleansing, toning, moisturizing, exfoliating, any of that stuff. It’s just not something I think about. Strangely enough, I started thinking about it recently. Not because I’m particularly worried about what other people think of me, but more out of a desire to spend time each day really focusing on taking care of myself. I was never particularly fussy on the feminine end of things, like doing makeup every day or anything like that, but I’ve always been pretty proud of my skin. Even as a teen I didn’t really break out much. But skill is always pretty clear.
Even now my breakouts generally happen in times of heavy stress or around my moon time each month, but I have noticed that my pores are far larger and more noticeable then they used to be. That and the melasma has made me a little (okay a lot) self-conscious. This is the biggest reason I’ve been thinking about the need to have the daily routine of face care. It’s not something I ever really learned. I hung around mostly guys growing up, and most of what I learned from my mother involved the proper use of power tools. Luckily I live in the age of YouTube videos, so I was able to find information on reasonable regiments of daily face care and when needed to be done. I have a very clear idea of how much these products generally costs in the store, and how you could very quickly run into spending lots of money on this crap. That is why am very pleased to have found some natural options to the store brought products that I hope to try. Keep in mind I haven’t tried these yet, just doing research to find stuff to try.
Cleansing: it’s been suggested that raw honey not only makes a good cleanser for the skin (they did say you have to use a separate makeup over because it won’t remove makeup really. I did read someplace that Jojoba oil is great for cleansing makeup off, so I might give that a try.), and can also be used as a deep cleansing mask will left on from 10 minutes to one hour. Another thing I learned was that hot water tends to make your body produce more oils, where as washing with cool or lukewarm water doesn’t.
Toner: witch hazel was highly recommended, especially the stuff without added alcohol. This was great to hear since I generally use it as a stringent when my face is feeling oilier than I would like, and I like the way it works. One woman recommended witch hazel with added rose water to it which sounds very soothing. I’ve also use witch hazel after getting my eyebrows waxed (one of the few pampering things I do since I tend to grow fuzzy caterpillars over my eyes) to soothe the way the redness.
Moisturizer: coconut oil was suggested, which sounds a bit too greasy for me. Someone also suggested rose hip oil, which I think I like the idea of much better. I know it’s good for the skin, and like the smell, not to strong but still pleasant. Someone also mentioned to Jojoba oil and mix with a few drops of argan oil makes for a good nighttime moisturizer. The same person also mentions prior to the oil, she tends to use a spritzer with distilled water and lavender oil to hydrate her face. I might even have some spritzers with that, and even some of the other soothing es. oils that might be good for facial hydration as well. I’m gonna check for those.
Acne: it has been mentioned also that a drop of tea tree oil will dry out pimples, so when I do have breakouts I know that I have some tea tree oil on hand for that.
Melasma: one suggestion that I liked was using a teaspoon of tumerick with a few drops of lemon juice, and leaving that on the skin for about 10 or 15 minutes. Not sure how long you have to do that. I guess until you see results. They also mentioned vitamin E oil left on the skin overnight. Lemon juice mixed with a tablespoon of honey and soaked into a cotton ball, left on for 5 to 10 minutes. Also fresh cut potatoes were mentioned as a treatment as well, rubbed on the skin from 5 to 10 minutes before being rinsed off. Since I have the honey, lemon juice, and potatoes those are some I might try first.
Under eye circles: potatoes were also mentioned being used for under eye circles is something I’ve struggled with like forever it seems. The way it works, as I understand it, is that you grate the potatoes and then squeeze out the “juice” through a piece of muslin. Then using cotton pads (like the kind you use for removing makeup), you apply the liquid to the area under your eyes by soaking the pads in the liquid (both sides) and then placing them over your eyes. Keep in mind you need to squeeze the excess juice out before you place these on your eyes for about 10 to 15 minutes. They say you have to be careful not to get any potato juice on your clothing, apparently it stains. They also recommend you refrigerate the potato for several hours before grading it, because the coolness helps as well. Considering potatoes are also mentioned for skin discoloration, I’m curious if the grated method will work for both my eyes and cheeks. I also saw somebody suggest taking Rosewater and infusing it with mint leaves overnight in the fridge, then using it the same way the potato juice is used. I’m a big fan of mint as a medicinal, so I’d like to try this to. And I always have Rosewater on hand because I love making Rosewater lemonade. I did find something very interesting in my research. That one of the biggest causes of under eye circles is not lack of sleep, but sinus issues. This would completely explain why I’ve struggled with heavy coloration under my eyes for so long. I’ve had horrendous allergies that cause sinus issues since I was very young. One woman suggests taking one of those cleansing cloths that they use to remove makeup, washing it out, freezing it for two hours, and then using that for reducing puffiness under the eyes.
Exfoliation: it was recommended that once a week at least you do some sort of exfoliation on your skin to get rid of dead skin cells. The trouble was if there was a ton of recipes for exfoliation scrubs. My favorite was the one using green tea. Basically all you had to do was make yourself some tea, let the teabag cool down, and then dump out the tea leaves and mix with a tablespoon of honey. How easy is that? I’m curious if green tea is the only tea you can use for it.
Protection: didn’t find much on making your own sunscreen, however, but pretty much everybody whose videos I watched said to use sunscreen on your face any time you’re even going to walk outside your door and chance sun exposure. I did find a couple good vid on making sunscreen
1/4 Cup oils(s) of your choice
1/4 Cup Emulsifying Wax
1 TB Beeswax
1/4 TSP Citric Acid
2-4 Tabs Vitamin E oil
1 1/4 Cups Water (120 Degrees)
Zinc Oxide and Aloe Vera Concentrate (see below for amounts)
Mix oils, bees wax and emulsifying wax together in pyrex measuring dish. Place in pot with some water in the bottom. Bring water to a boil and stir until waxes have melted. Add citric acid, vitamin E oil and essential oil (if using) and stir. Add water and stir again. Allow to cool ether by itself or in pan of cool water to speed the process. Be sure to stir often to keep the beeswax from separating and forming a skin on the top of the mixture. Once it has cooled and has thickened some add 1 tablespoon zinc oxide and 1 table spoon aloe vera concentrate for every spf 5 that is desired. For example: for an spf 20 add 4 tablespoons each of zinc oxide and aloe vera, for an spf 35 add 7 tablespoons of each, etc.
SAFETY WARNING: see the update on this post on 08/29/2015. I had a severe reaction to the Rose oil, and a milder reaction to the Rosewater mixed with the Hazel. Do patch tests before using either one of these.