Acne + Scar Removal :: A Daily Cleansing Ritual

What makes our skin healthy, glowing, and rejuvenated? The same thing that makes our insides and gut happy too: cleaning off dirt and toxins, creating a protective environment of acidity to balance and prevent bad bacteria, and adding healthy fatty-acids to retain moisture and reduce inflammation.

This is a self-care ritual that I’ve created for my students and clients, inspired by the wisdom of my herbalist and skin gurus, to reduce acne and scars with a daily regimen. Our skin is naturally acidic, but when we use cleansers and soaps that are harsh or full of chemicals, the natural acidity is removed, and the protective acid mantle of our skin (which is needed to protect our skin from toxins, germs, bacteria, and pollution) is disrupted. The combo of oil cleansing and then toning with apple cider vinegar is a great cure for acne because it reduces inflammation with herbs and therapeutic oils, returns a healthy, pH balanced acidity to our skin with the toner, and restores the protective acid mantle, while killing bad bacteria, removing excess makeup, oil and dirt, and dissolving dead skin cells that dull and irritate our skin.

Good luck and let me know how it goes!

PREPARATION (make or buy 2 products)

1) Make (or buy) a cleansing anti-inflammatory scar oil: 1 part castor oil, 1 part rosehip seed oil, 3 parts carrier oil like sunflower; infuse calendula, chamomile, and lavender flowers in the oil for 4 weeks (ratio: 1 part flowers to 5 parts oil). Strain and use. [You can buy it on my website if you don’t feel like making it.]

2) Make (or buy) apple cider vinegar toner: 1 part apple cider vinegar to 4 parts water. Infuse this with witch hazel leaves, calendula, chamomile, and lavender flowers. Add a few drops of tea tree essential oil.  [You can buy this too on my website.]

RITUAL (do this daily, before bed)

  1. Rinse your face a few times with a few splashes of warm water.
  2. Massage your face with the oil, which removes dead skin, reduces the production of acne-causing sebum, cures inflammation related to it, and keeps the acne-prone skin sufficiently moisturized (key to oil control).
  3. DIY sink facial: remove the oil with a steamy washcloth by soaking the cloth in hot water, then hold it over face for a minute to steam open pores (lean over the sink and gentle press the cloth to your face), then gently wipe clean; repeat this a few times (soak in hot water, steam face, wipe face).
  4. Finish by dabbing face with the apple cider vinegar toner to balance the skin’s pH and reduce inflammation; pour a capful (or a few spritzes) into hands or use a cotton square to dab on the toner. Let it dry on your face, don’t towel off.
  5. The next morning, your skin will feel baby soft and pleasantly hydrated.

A NOTE FOR CITY DWELLERS AND THOSE THAT WORK OUTSIDE: in the sticky dog days of summer, or if I’m feeling gross from lots of city huffing, I do a midday on-the-go cleanse: I use water wipes to remove the dirt, grit, toxins, and then I spritz my face a few times with my apple cider vinegar toner.