Saturday, February 23, 2008

Home Made Facials

Home Made Facials

I started making facial masks after reading several books on natural cosmetics. Common ingredients used in home made facials are eggs, lemon, milk, honey, cucumber, tomato, essential oils and lots more fruits, herbs and other ingredients.

The assumption I had was that home made cosmetics, being all natural and preservative free were much safer than the commercial masks you found in stores.

That may be true especially for a person with very sensitive skin. But preservatives actually make cosmetics safe to use. Preservatives kill or at very least, inhibit the bacteria, mold, viruses and nasty things that would otherwise thrive in the cosmetics we use.

Commercial preparations usually contain some preservative or other to make these products safe for use. Some of the very high end cosmetic formulations are packed in sterile capsules to do away with or at least, minimimize, the need for preservatives.

If you make your own skin care for use later in the week, chances are, unless you are anal about sterilizing everything and freezing every batch once it has cooled, thawing it only when you are going to use it, and keeping your cosmetics away from the raw meat in the freezer, eventually, you could find yourself using contaminated home made cosmetics, which could lead to a skin irritation.

I used to make my own skin care but found all the precautions I had to take such a hassle, now I buy mine off the shelves. Even if you make your facial products for immediate use, you have to be careful about using only the freshest ingredients.

A mouldy fruit or anything that is spoilt can lead to disastrous results on your skin. Then there is the safety of the ingredients used in your skincare products. I once told a pharmacist about the lemon remedy I was using on my pimples.

She was horrified. Lemons are highly acidic. Lemon juice is pH 2. Sulphuric acid is pH 1. Lemons can cause a nasty acid burn if you are not careful. We had a discussion about this. She told me about a customer who showed up with an acid burn. Turns out, she had a sunburn. Back in Australia, she would soothe that sunburn by rubbing cut cucumber over her skin. The juices would ease the sunburn.

This time around, she was unlucky. The cucumber she used was more acidic than the ones she was used to and she ended up with a really nasty acid burn. Though cucumber is soothing, cucumber contains Alpha Hydroxy Acids as do most fruit and some of the other ingredients used in homemade beauty recipes.

You see, in home made skin care, the exact chemical makeup of the ingredients you use may vary, leading to unpleasant results if you are unfortunate. That is why, everytime you make any facial mask, test it on the inside of your wrist first, before you let that mask touch your face. I was lucky. The lemon facial I did helped clear my skin by killing the bacteria, without burning my skin. The pharmacist said I was fool hardy.

As did my cousin who has been making her own beauty products for years already. Lemon can thin the skin. It is so acidic. The pharmacist thought the other things, like the almond meal I mixed with the lemon juice helped neutralize the extreme acidity.

Also, when I used freshly squeezed lemon juice directly on my face, I would dilute it with water first. Yet the books I read with home made beauty recipes often include lemon in their recipes. After all, lemon has lightening properties. Lemon juice is often used to lighten freckles. Lemon was even recommended in a book by a former model, for use as a toner.
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