Skin Care

From Antivist


Basic Skin Care

A typical skin care routine would include the following steps:

  1. washing/cleansing
  2. toning (optional depending on skin type)
  3. moisturizing and sun protection.

For most people, performing the routine twice daily is optimal. Some people with dry and/or sensitive skin may do better with once a day washing/cleansing while moisturizing two or more times a day. Some experts feel that exfoliation should also be part of a basic routine. However, daily exfoliation may be excessive and may lead to chronic irritation in some people. Exfoliation once or twice a week is usually sufficient. People with fast natural epidermal turnover may need less or none at all.

The steps of the basic routine should be adjusted to fit your skin type. You should keep in mind that your skin type may change with the season, diet and age. In particular, the skin tends to be oilier in the summer and drier in the winter.

Oily skin

Oily skin produces excessive amounts of sebum, a lipid-rich protective substance. A good thing about oily skin is that it is usually well-moisturized due to its own protective oil. The downside is that it may look shiny or dirty and tends to develop large pores and be prone to acne.

Oily skin routines usually include the following recommendations:

  • Wash your skin twice a day with a cleanser containing salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid that reduces sebum production.
  • If you skin is extremely oily (e.g. oily even after basic cleansing), you can follow with alcohol-based toner with salicylic acid. Most people should avoid alcohol-based cleansers and toners due to the drying effect of alcohol. However, for extreme cases of oily skin, it may just do the trick.
  • Generally, people with oily skin shouldn't moisturize. If you feel you have to, apply nonocclusive, noncomedogenic, oil-free moisturizer after cleansing.
  • Use oil-free, noncomedogenic sunscreen whenever sun exposure is expected.
  • If the above steps are insufficient and you are still producing too much oil, try treatments that reduce sebum production. They include topical vitamin A creams (retinol, retinal or retinyl palmitate), sulfur creams, azeleic acid and retinoids (tretinoin, tazarotene, adapalene). Retinoids and high-strength sulfur creams require a prescription. If your oil problem is so bad that you are considering prescription treatments, you should probably see a dermatologist anyway.
  • Some people with oily skin may benefit from a clay/mud mask once a week.


The purpose of washing/cleansing is to remove dirt, makeup, grime, contaminants and so forth from the surface of the skin. Proper cleansing not only removes impurities but also clears the way for the penetration of active ingredients you may want to apply afterwards. Cleansing may be beneficial or damaging, depending on how you do it.

Most people should cleanse their face twice a day, usually in the morning and before going to bed at night. It is best to use warm (lukewarm) water and a mild cleanser (free of harsh detergents, soaps, alcohol or other irritants). Here is the key steps and recommendations to follow:

  • Gently run cleanser all over your face with your fingertips for about 20-25 seconds
  • Splash running warm water in your face several times to rinse off the cleanser until there is no more residue on your skin. Do not direct the stream of water onto your face.
  • Take a clean towel and gently pat your face. Make sure it remains moist.

Natural Cleansers


Toning is often touted as an essential step in a skin care routine. It is not. At least not always. The only exception is very oily skin. If you have oily skin and after cleansing it remains sticky or oily, you might benefit from applying toner after cleansing. Otherwise toning may do more harm than good.

Some experts argue that toners help close pores and tighten cell gaps after cleansing, thus reducing the penetration of impurities and environmental contaminants into the skin. Whether this is true is debatable. You can close pores simply by cooling your face. The cold constricts blood vessels and closes pores, producing a toning effect. You can step outside if it is a cold time of the year or gently pat your skin with a cold pack (refrigerated but not frozen) for a few seconds. If you are not using any active products, you can tone after cleansing by wiping your face with a chip of frozen green tea. The cold from the ice helps close your pores; the caffeine and tannins in the tea help tighten skin and reduce puffiness; and green tea polyphenols may provide antioxidant benefits. But don't overuse the cold - frequent excessive cooling may increase the risk of developing rosacea (stubborn skin redness).

Natural Toners

Rosemary/Chamomile Toner 1 tablespoon dried rosemary or 1/4 cup fresh, 2 tablespoons dried chamomile flowers or 1/4 cup fresh. 4 cups boiling water. Make an infusion. Store liquid with other beauty products. Wipe liquid over face after mask and follow with a moisturizer.

Cinnamon Facial Toner 1/4 cup water, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, a few drops of cinnamon leaf essential oil. Mix in clean container and use as toner. Has antiseptic and astringent properties. Will keep your skin clean and pores tight.


Contrary to popular belief and opinions of some experts, moisturizing is not a universal "must do" of basic skin care. Not everyone needs moisturizing. In fact, poorly selected and misused moisturizers may do more harm than good.

People with oily skin do not need to moisturize because the abundant sebum they produce has more than sufficient emollient and moisturizing effect. People with normal skin do not necessarily need to moisturize since they too produce enough sebum and other natural emollients and humectants. Under some circumstances (e.g. dry climate, frequent water exposure, etc.) people with normal skin may want to apply an oil-free moisturizer after cleansing to prevent the development of dry skin. Moisturizing does benefit dry skin (and dry areas of combination skin) by improving the skin's barrier function, reducing irritation, sensitivity as well as creating a plushier look.

Natural Moisturizers

Moisturize Dry Skin with Avocado Avocados contain fatty acids that soften your skin and help it hold in moisture. To make a soothing mask, mash half of a ripe avocado (it should yield to your touch) and apply it to your face and neck in a thin layer. Leave it on for 15 minutes, and then rinse with warm water and pat your skin dry. Use it two or three times a week, as needed.

Moisturizing Mask 1 lg Avocado, 1 T Honey - Peel and slice avocado. Puree with honey. Pat it gently to the face and continue patting until the mask feels extremely tacky to the touch. Relax and leave the mask on 20-30 mins. Rinse with warm water.


Exfoliation is a technique where the layer of mostly dead epidermal cells on the outer surface of the skin is removed to expose fresher mostly living cells. Potential benefits of exfoliation include fresher, brighter looking skin, better penetration of active ingredients of skin care products and, for people with excessively oily skin, a varying degree of reduction in oil secretion.

It is important to exfoliate skin twice a week only, unless it is a daily exfoliator. Be gentle with the skin, do not press down hard, lightly stroke it across the face. Use a gentle exfoliation with smaller grains to prevent irritation, never exfoliate straight after shaving, however it is beneficial to exfoliate to prevent ingrown hairs.

Natural Exfoliants

Wheat Germ
Wheat germ makes an excellent exfoliate. It is high in protein and vitamins B and E, making wheat germ a nourishing, soothing free radical fighter. The texture is very gentle and light, making it an excellent choice for those who have sensitive skin or painful skin eruptions.
Sugar has always been a popular method for stimulating the skin while gently cleansing it. Adding 2 tablespoons of your favorite oil like lavender, apricot, or olive to ½ cup of sugar and the juice of ½ a lemon is a powerful exfoliation combination. It can be used on the hands or feet to moisturize and revitalize the skin while sloughing off all of the dead cells. Sugar contains Glycolic Acid, a Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that help remove dead skin cells by eating away at the paste that holds them to the surface of the skin.
Simple Skin Exfoliant
Combine 1 cup of raw sugar with 1/2 cup olive oil to make a paste. Rub it into your skin using a soft wash cloth, bath sponge, or loofah. Rinse well with warm water.
Sea Salt
Sea salt is a time honored ingredient in some of the best scrubs and body washes. It removes dry skin effectively, and leaves the skin smooth, soft, and incredibly conditioned. Adding ¼ cup of oil to 2 cups of sea salt produces a fantastic polish for the skin.
Salt Scrub for the Back
1/2 cup sea salt or table salt, 1 tsp. aloe vera gel, 1 1/4 cup warm water, 1/2 papaya (has an enzyme that dissolves dead cells), and 2 drops tea tree oil. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Massage into back and shoulders; them rub off with a heated towel.
Citrus Fruits
Tomatoes, Lemons, Grapefruits, Oranges, and Limes can all work to your skin’s advantage because of the citric acid present naturally in citrus fruits. Instead of relying on commercial preparations, you can use nature’s highly potent chemicals. For an easy treatment, mix the juice of a citrus fruit with a few tablespoons of honey. Leave on the face for 15 minutes, and rinse with warm water
Grape Seeds
There are many reasons why grape seeds are a favorite among exfoliates. It is known to heal skin irritations when crushed. Grape seeds also contain many vitamins beneficial to the skin, like vitamins A, C, and E. The antioxidants they carry protect the skin from free radicals. They are very good at removing hard, dry, rough, scaly skin deposits on the soles of the foot.
Yogurt and Milk
Yogurt and milk are natural exfoliants known as alpha hydroxy acids, and they will slough off dead skin cells.
Cleanse Skin with Yogurt
Normal or oily skin types especially benefit from daily cleansing with whole-milk yogurt. The milk fat collects and removes dirt and impurities. Yogurt also contains lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid that dissolves dead cells, leaving your skin silky. Bring 1 tablespoon of yogurt to room temperature (or you can warm it in your hands) and massage it onto your face. Rinse well with warm water and pat dry.
Oatmeal is probably one of the most commonly known exfoliants. Oatmeal is a great oil absorber. If your skin is suffering from frequent breakouts and excess oil, try an oatmeal mask at least twice per week. For a simple scrub, place Oatmeal in blender or food processor and grind until fine. Keep in jar by sink. Place small amount of oats in palm of hand and add small amount of water to form a paste.
Oatmeal Honey Face Mask
1/2 c Uncooked oatmeal. 1 T Honey, 1 T Cider vinegar, 1 t Ground almonds, Combine all in a glass or enamel bowl To Use: Steam face or lay warm washcloth on face for 1 min. Applymixture to your face avoid the sensitive area around eyes. Let dry on skin completely. If your skin is young and firm, you can gently rub dried mixture off with a clean terry washcloth or towel. Lean over sink and rub face in brisk but gentle circles with the cloth. Rinse with warm water. Follow with a toner and moisturizer.

Strawberry Drawing Mask

1/2 c Strawberries, very ripe, 1/4 c Cornstarch -Mix strawberries and cornstarch together to make a paste and apply to face, avoiding the delicate area around your eyes. Leave on for 30 mins and rinse off with cool water.

Herbal Astringent for Oily Skin

1 ounce Chamomile, 3 tablespoons Witch hazel, 1/2 teaspoon Cider vinegar,1 ounce, Peppermint extract, 8 ounces Water, Few drops of peppermint -- extract, 1/4 teaspoon Boric acid (optional) Boil chamomile, witch hazel, vinegar, peppermint and water. Cool and strain. Add remaining ingredients in a spray bottle and shake. Keep refrigerated

Heal Blemishes with Strawberries

Strawberries contain salicylic acid (found in over-the-counter acne medication), which rids your skin of the dead cells that can clog pores and helps heal blemishes. Strawberries' high vitamin C content also kills the bacteria that can cause or irritate blemishes. Try using this exfoliating strawberry scrub once a week: Remove the stems and mash 5 to 7 strawberries. Gently massage the paste onto clean, damp skin. Rinse well with warm water and pat dry.

Oatmeal Citrus Scrubbing Grains

1 cup dried orange and lemon peel. 1 c cooked oatmeal, 1 c blanched almonds, and 1/2-cup pwd milk - Place peels, oats, milk and almonds in food processor and whirl until mixture is a fine powder. Store in an attractive container near the bathroom sink and use a tiny portion as needed. To Use: Place as bit in the palm of your hand and moisten with a few drops of warm water. Rub paste onto face with a gentle circular and upward motions. Rinse with water and pat dry.

Victorian Cleansing Grains

Grind 2 Tablespoons oatmeal,1 teaspoon lavender flowers & 1 tsp dried rose petals in a coffee grinder add 2 tablespoons white kaolin clay. Store in an airtight container. Mix 1 teaspoon with water into paste. Clean face with paste and rinse.

Deep-Clean Oily Skin with Honey

Naturally antiseptic and antibacterial, honey makes a good cleanser for oily and blemished skin. Twice a day, slightly warm 1 or 2 tablespoons in your hand or the microwave to soften it, and massage it onto clean, damp skin, pressing and releasing with your fingers for deeper cleansing. Rinse well with warm water and pat dry.

Bath Products

  • Body and baby powder- put cornstarch in a shaker and you will never need to buy powder again, particularly one containing cornstarch that costs more than a package of cornstarch. This is one of the products I like to scent.


  • Oily skin- Beat an egg white and add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice. Apply to face and rinse when dry. Be sure to test this in a small spot before applying to the whole face, some people are sensitive to certain products.
  • Milk and yeast- I have long forgotten the exact measurements but I mix a little milk and yeast for a facial that softens my milk and leaves it looking healthy. Just as the egg and lemon juice one, I rinse when the mixture has dried

If desired, you can add one teaspoon of your favorite kitchen herb. Try ground ginger for a nice oriental scent, or thyme or rosemary for a nice herbal smell.

The best way to save money making your own salves is to grow the herbs, but the second best way is to buy them in bulk. You can buy a whole pound of herbs in bulk for about the price you would pay at the health food store for a tiny fraction of that amount.

Have you ever thought you would like to make your own balms and salves and put the exact herbs in them that you would like to use? I will give you the basic recipe for making a salve or balm and you can make any herbal salve you would like to have.

First you have to "infuse" the herb in pure olive oil. To do this, fill a canning jar (either pint or quart) almost full with your herb. Then pour pure olive oil over the herb. I like to let mine sit near a heat source, not hot, just warm for a couple of days to get the infusion moving. If you have a pilot light on your stove, you can sit it in the middle of the stove and let it soak up the heat. If not, a window sill in the sun is a good place to put it while it infuses.

After two weeks of infusion you are ready to make your favorite salve or balm.

You take some bee's wax, start with about two ounces or so in the top of a double boiler. Let it melt over slow heat, not to let the water boil, but enough heat to melt the bee's wax. Start adding the infusion to the bee's wax and mix. You will want to use the back of a saucer to "check" your slave or balm until it is the right consistency. Here is how you do it. Put a few drops on the back of the saucer and then rub a piece of ice on the other side of it..... it will cool down the salve quickly.

You can see if you need to add more bee's wax or more oil by feeling it. When the consistency is the way you like it, put it in little glass or plastic jars and use as you like.

You can add other things to your balm, like cocoa butter, shea butter, essential oils, sweet almond oil and a large variety of other ingredients, but the basic recipe is always the same; bee's wax with infused oil.

Some of the herbs you might like to consider are:

  • comfrey
  • black walnut
  • citronella
  • peppermint
  • eucalyptus
  • camphor
  • calendula
  • rosemary

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