Vol.1, No.8

Make your own facial skin care treatment for combination skin

Simple ways you can create a skin care regimen in your own kitchen that is perfectly tailored to your combination skin.

Woman with combination skin
Photo Credit: Heidi Breeze-Harris
Skin care is a billion dollar industry, fueled by millions of women eager to try every product that promises miraculous results. Moisturizers, creams, toners -- all overflowing on the shelves of the cosmetics department of your local drugstore -- leave you wondering if any of these expensive little jars will do what they promise. To an extent, they will. This is because cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing are all vital to achieving beautiful skin. This does not mean, however, that only their products will work. Before Oil of Olay and Neutrogena, women were responsible for their own skin care. Today you can be, too, and it is not as complicated as you might think.

Although most people believe that they have combination skin because they have an oily nose and forehead but dry cheeks, it is better to use products designed for one type of the other. You have dry skin if your skin tends to flake or feel tight, especially after cleansing your face or taking a shower. Dry skin is also more prone to wrinkling. If your face often looks shiny and feels greasy to the touch, you have oily skin. Try the following suggestions to create a fabulous skin care regimen that is perfectly suited to your face.

Exfoliate

Removing dead skin cells from the face is necessary for clear, glowing skin. Exfoliate one or two times a week to remove impurities and help new cells form. If you look through your cupboards, you are likely to find many natural exfoliates. Wheat germ, oatmeal, and cornmeal are gentle and nourishing grains for all skin types. Simply grind them until you have a very fine powder and mix with water to make a scrubbing paste. Finely ground seeds and nuts (sunflower, avocado pits, and apricot kernels) can also be used in this way. If you have especially oily skin, try using peels from citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruits), finely ground. They contain citric acid, which removes excess oil from the skin.

Cleanse

Because it is one of the most visible parts of the body, your face is constantly exposed to substances that can clog pores and create a dull complexion. To remove dirt, make-up, and the various environmental pollutants you encounter daily, use a cleanser morning and night. For dry skin, there are many foods that do a great job of cleaning without removing moisture from the skin. Wash your face with whole milk or buttermilk and rinse, or create a "facial mask" using any of the following: plain yogurt, egg yolks, mayonnaise, or mashed bananas or avocados.

For oily skin, try a mask of egg whites, or pureed strawberries, apples, or tomatoes. These ingredients remove excess oil from the skin. They also have healing properties that make them of extra benefit since people with oily skin are also troubled with acne. For all masks, simply leave on the skin for 10-15 minutes and rinse with warm water.

Moisturize

Keeping your skin properly moisturized is the ultimate way to stay young. The sun's UV rays, dirt, and wind remove vital moisture from the skin, making it prone to wrinkling and aging. Although it is best to purchase commercial sun blocks for adequate protection from the sun, you can create simple moisturizers in your kitchen that will help keep your face looking youthful for years -- without the high price you will find at the store.

The basic concept of moisturizers is to add moisture to the skin and create a barrier between it and the outside world. All moisturizers are a combination of nourishing oils and water, usually with an extra ingredient to bind the two called an emulsifier. Using the following recipe for a basic moisturizing lotion and adding ingredients to compliment your skin type, you can create a long-lasting product that is the cheaper equivalent of many popular commercial products available.

Simple Moisturizer

* 1 cup oil (especially olive, canola, or grape seed oil)

*1/2 cup water (Use purified water, as tap water's quality can be questionable.)

* 4 T. grated beeswax (If you do not have this handy, it is sold at many craft stores, especially those that

offer candle-making supplies.)

* 1/4 t. borax powder (This ingredient is for gentle cleansing.)

(Note: T. = tablespoon and t. = teaspoon)

Combine the water and borax, letting the powder dissolve completely. Use a glass container for this, as borax is a mild alkali and may react with other containers. In a separate glass container -- I like to use a Pyrex measuring cup for this -- mix the oil and beeswax. Place this jar in a pot holding about two inches of water. Heat the water and stir the mixture until you wax has melted. Next, heat your water and borax mixture in a similar manner using a separate pot of water until it is about 90 degrees, or nearly boiling. Add the borax water to the oil and beeswax mixture, stirring as you pour. Once the cream has cooled to a comfortable temperature, place it in any sterilized container you wish to store it in. Although it may look too watery, it will stiffen up to the consistency as it cools.

Although I have found that this recipe works beautifully for all skin types just as it is, you may wish to add ingredients to customize your cream. For dry skin, experiment with adding the contents of 2-3 vitamin E capsules or 2 tablespoons of glycerin (you can also find this at craft stores, most likely in the soap making department). Add these to the oil and beeswax mixture. You might also try adding pureed avocado to the completed product, but if you do you will have to store your moisturizer in the fridge to prevent spoiling. Olive and coconut oils are both great moisturizers for dry skin types.

If your skin is oily, consider using grape seed oil for your moisturizer. It absorbs easily, leaves no residue on the face, and is very gentle for even sensitive skin. Oily skin can also benefit from vitamin E, but cut back the dose to 1 capsule because too much can cause excessive shine. Several astringent products can be added to this lotion as well -- a teaspoon of lemon juice, a tablespoon of cucumber juice, or 2 tablespoons of witch hazel. Add these after the lotion has cooled down and remember to keep you concoction in the refrigerator if you add any fruit or vegetable juices.

Experiment with these simple facial products; I bet you will be surprised that looking great does not have to cost a fortune. Like the women of days gone by, you can take charge of your own beauty and feel as good about the results as the money you save.