The skin is one of the most important parts of the body, making the task of keeping it clean and healthy equally important. It is easily attacked by dirt, free radicals, pollution, and other elements that, when left unchecked, will make the skin not only messy but may also trigger a host of problems.
Cetaphil is a family of products that are tailored to the task of keeping the skin clean. Many people swear by its efficacy, but some are actually turned off by its host of ingredients.
For those who belong to the latter, there are natural alternatives that can do the same job as Cetaphil, minus the scary and unpronounceable names slapped in the ingredients section. Make sure that the alternative is suited for your skin to avoid damaging it, as some of these alternatives are acidic in nature:
1.) Aloe Vera
Historically documented for its versatility, aloe vera has a multitude of uses that benefit the body inside and out. The plant contains a large number of beneficial amino acids, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals that work wonders in relieving skin and digestive problems, along with protecting the body against the dangers of bacteria, free radicals, and inflammation. Aloe vera contains mucopolysaccharide, a polysaccharide usually found in many skin products, which locks moisture into the skin to make it more fresh and hydrated. There are a few uses of aloe vera on the skin:
a.) Mix a tablespoon of brown sugar with a half tablespoon of milk in a cup until the sugar is no longer grainy. Peel the aloe vera gel in its leaves with a spoon and mix it along with the sugar and milk concoction. Spread it on skin and let it sit for up to five minutes before rinsing off with water.
b.) A more direct approach involves spreading the plant’s gel on the skin without mixing it with anything else. An overnight mask can be performed with this method, applying the gel on the face and leaving it overnight as you sleep, only to wash it off in the morning.
c.) Mix together one teaspoon of milk and honey, two smidgens of turmeric, and a couple of rose water drops until you come up with a pasty consistency. Throw in the fresh aloe vera gel and stir until it completely blends with the paste. Put the mix on your neck and face and let it sit for up to 20 minutes, then rinse away with warm water and use a clean face towel to pat dry.
Don’t forget to completely drain out the yellow sap and wash off the leaves before extracting the gel.
2.) Chickpea Flour
Better known as gram flour, it is widely used in India as an ingredient in many dishes and as a facial cleanser especially for brides prior to their big day. The flour contains saponins, a glycoside that effectively cleanses skin. Some uses for chickpea flour include:
a.) Make a paste with four teaspoons of chickpea flour, a teaspoon of orange peel (ground), and a half teaspoon malai. Apply to neck and face, let it sit for 15 minutes, then wash off. Lemon and / or green tea are acceptable alternatives to the two ingredients mentioned above, and both are equally as effective.
b.) For a whole body scrub, combine three teaspoons of chickpea flour, a teaspoon of oats (ground), two teaspoons of cornstarch, and a little bit of raw milk. The scrub removes excess dirt, dead cells, and oils for a much smoother and cleaner skin.
c.) Mix chickpea flour with honey and yogurt. Apply to the skin then rinse it off after ten minutes. This method works great for people with dry skin.
Utilizing the earth itself for cleansing has been around since the time of the great ancient civilizations. Different kinds of clay are available for the skin, each with their own unique properties and ways on how they benefit you. One thing in common is how to use them, which is as simple as applying as a mask for the face or topically applied for the skin. Here are a few:
a.) Bentonite: Regarded as among the best clays for healing. What makes it unique is its ability to create a charge when subject to water or any kind of fluid. This said charge allows the clay to remove pent up toxins on the skin, and encourage the entry of more oxygen to the skin cells. However, bentonite should not be allowed to touch any kind of metal. Doing so will negatively affect its efficacy. Be on the lookout for gray or creamy bentonite clay, as the ones with a whiter color denote lower quality.
b.) French Green: Its color comes from the iron oxide content and dead plant matter.The greener the color, the more potent the clay. Not only it removes skin impurities and exfoliates, the clay also absorbs oil and increases circulation by pulling up blood towards the skin.
c.) Kaolin: Packed with beneficial constituents for the skin such as aluminum oxide and silica. Kaolin comes in different colors that are not just aesthetic:
(c.i.1) Red kaolin: Has the most potent absorbing properties among all the other kaolin variants, making it the excellent choice for people with oily skin.
(c.i.2) White kaolin: The most gentle variant and does not have powerful absorbing properties. This is for people with sensitive skin.
(c.i.3) Yellow kaolin: Boosts circulation and has better absorption than white kaolin, without being too harsh on sensitive skin.
(c.i.4) Pink kaolin: Regarded as the combination of red and white kaolin. A package of good oil absorption and exfoliation, plus being gentle on the skin.
d.) Multani Mitti: Also known as fuller’s earth. It is rich in minerals with antiseptic and cleansing properties for the skin. It can absorb oils, balance the skin’s pH level, improve complexion and elasticity, and clear away dead skin. When used as a mask, in combination with rose water, multani mitti improves circulation on the skin. As the clay is pretty much drying, people with normal skin should only use it once every week.
e.) Rhassoul: Originating from Morocco, rhassoul has been used for centuries as a facial scrub, skin softener, and even as shampoo. It is teeming with minerals and is negatively charged, making it a very powerful magnet of toxins (as a majority of them are positively charged). The clay is gentle enough to be used on a daily basis, and does not totally dry out the skin when used.
Sweet to the taste, and incredibly healthy for the skin. The handiwork of bees is a good source of antioxidants and nutrients that do a lot of wonders when applied. It is also a humectant or, in other words, an absorber of moisture derived from air and keeps it locked in the skin’s layers. It can be used as is, directly applied on skin for 20 minutes then rinsed off, or used in conjunction with other materials such as:
a.) Combine a tablespoon of honey with two tablespoons of either coconut or jojoba oil. Apply and rinse as usual, no need to let it stay for a long time. This will clean your pores and protect it from further bacterial invasion.
b.) A concoction of a tablespoon of baking soda and two of the same measure with honey makes for an effective exfoliator. Rub the mix on wet skin, massage, then rinse off. Skin will be hydrated and cleansed, while dead skin cells are replaced with a fresh new batch.
c.) On a bathtub full of warm water, throw in a cup with two tablespoons of honey and hot water. Enjoy a relaxing bath with the added benefit of a whole body cleansing thanks to honey’s antioxidant properties.
Just like honey, milk is a treat when consumed and also when applied to the skin. Different kinds of milk are available for topical use:
a.) Buttermilk: Rich in lactic acid, a very nourishing compound that’s also part of many costly cosmetic products. A cup applied on a bathtub of water is good enough to cleanse the entire skin. Another method is to mix egg and honey with powdered buttermilk which can be used as a mask. Its high amount of lactic acid may not suit those with sensitive skin.
b.) Curd: Gentle to the skin, and an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, calcium, and protein. Direct application to the skin is enough to make use of curd.
c.) Kefir: The microbes residing on kefir help nurture the ones that are already in our skin, making it more nourished and stronger in terms of repelling diseases. It is not as gentle as curd, so it may not be suitable for all skin types.
6.) Oil Cleansing Method
Natural oils are well-known for their slew of health benefits, without any risk of harmful side effects. It also acts based on one of the most basic chemistry expressions of “like dissolves like”, meaning these oils dissolve the ones on your skin. With this method, you are replacing unclean oil on your face and skin with better substitutes that will do you good in the long run. Here are some oils to get you started:
a.) Castor Oil: An astringent that effectively purges impurities on your skin. Dilute first prior to application.
b.) Hazelnut Oil: Full of beneficial fatty acids that cleanse and moisturize skin. It also encourages regeneration and does not feel greasy when applied.
c.) Jojoba Oil: Has fatty acids and wax esters, making it very similar to the sebum in humans. This makes it reduce the amount of oil produced in the skin, plus anti-bacterial properties on jojoba protect the skin from other forms of harm.
d.) Hemp Seed: Provides the skin with linoleic acid in the event of a deficiency, thus reducing instances of blackheads. Hemp also balances the amount of sebum that’s already on your skin.
7.) Mashed Fruit
Fruits are undeniably important if we wish to maintain good health. That is also one good way of keeping skin clean and radiant. You can also mash them for topical application, which doubles its effects. However, not all skin types are suitable for all kinds of fruit due to their different kinds of acid. Do a small test first to determine if the said fruit is right for your skin:
a.) Cucumber: Soothes the skin and makes it more softer. Mix cucumber juice with some raw milk then apply it to your face and skin with a cotton ball.
b.) Banana: Excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Simply mash it, apply, wait, then rinse.
c.) Lemon: Squeeze a fresh slice of lemon into a bowl, then add a tablespoon of plain yogurt and honey. Prior to application, place a towel dipped in warm water on your skin so your pores will open. Let the mix sit for a minute then wash it off with cold water. Enjoy a fully cleansed skin afterwards. Lemon cannot be applied directly due to its acidic nature.
d.) Mango: Mix a pulp with raw honey for a 20 minute mask, or just massage your skin with a fresh slice. The tasty mango is packed with vitamin A and protective antioxidants.
e.) Papaya: With vitamins B and C, minerals, and enzymes, papaya is a skin cleaning powerhouse. It can be applied the same way as the mango method above.