I don’t know about you, but with Boston’s bipolar weather behavior and midterm season approaching, I am stressing out. With stress comes skin inflammation. Whether it’s breakouts or dry spots, stress never fails to wreak havoc on my skin, and it’s hard to find the best treatments on a college budget. Plus, if you’re anything like me and obsessed with natural remedies to everything, finding the best products to treat your skin is even more of a struggle. Fear not, stressed student. Here is an all-natural guide to skin care that won’t break the bank, but will beat your stressed-skin woes.
1. Apple cider vinegar
This is by far my favorite natural remedy for pretty much anything. While it’s recognized for its anti-allergy and cold properties, apple cider vinegar doesn’t get nearly enough credit for its effects on acne. It contains anti-bacterial properties that work wonders when it comes to reducing current acne, preventing future acne and sanitizing your pores. Use it as a toner by soaking a cotton pad and pressing it on any acne blemishes as well as wiping it all over your face after showering and exfoliating your skin. It may sting a little from the acid, but don’t worry, that’s just the apple cider vinegar working its magic.
Its high concentration of citric acid makes lemon another wondrous antibacterial remedy for skin, purifying your pores and counteracting excessive oil production to prevent whiteheads and blackheads. With its ability to tighten, lighten and rejuvenate skin, just think of this sour little citrus as your own Fountain of Youth, especially as midterms come around and those late-night study sessions seem to age you about 40 years. And the best part? You can literally find them in your nearest dining hall (but you didn’t hear that from me or the Ziploc bags in my backpack).
3. Coconut oil
Coconut oil has been all the rage on Pinterest and other self-help social media, so you may have heard about its usefulness for the skin. Aside from being a fantastic moisturizer and natural makeup remover, coconut oil has multiple anti-bacterial and detoxifying properties that are great for preventing acne while fighting dry skin. The best thing about coconut oil is its multiple uses; an investment in coconut oil is not just an investment in facial skin care, but in everything from cold sore treatment to diaper rash guard. When buying coconut oil, you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.
4. Raw honey
Another natural anti-septic, raw honey is a miraculous skin treatment and a great alternative to chemical-ridden acne products. I’ve used organic raw honey in masks and cleansing treatments religiously for the past four months or so, and another interesting thing I’ve found is that it’s really good at drawing impurities, such as whiteheads, to the surface of the skin. By leaving a thin layer of organic raw honey on my face for five to 10 minutes before hopping in the shower, I am moisturizing my skin and opening my pores, not to mention that this routine almost always results in scar-free pimple removal and smoother, brighter skin. Side note: While normal processed honey might be a bit cheaper, it doesn’t contain the same essential nutrient-rich qualities that make raw honey so key for skin care. But don’t worry! The organic raw honey is well worth it — it’ll last you a long time and you can use it in your beverages, too!
Honey face masks + a hot mug of sweet tea = a perfect study break.
While this isn’t exactly a product, I still felt that it was a necessary addition to this list. The worst thing to do to your skin is pop pimples and pick at impurities when your pores are closed and your skin is dry. Wait until you’re in a hot shower or have some sort of hot-water compress to place on your pimples before going in for the kill. Once the pimple is popped, immediately treat its remains with the aforementioned apple cider vinegar and/or lemon toner, and voila! Your skin will thank you for it in the morning, and so will your wallet because stream is free.
6. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is undoubtedly acne’s worst enemy. I’ve never had a blackhead that didn’t immediately disappear once it was faced with this essential oil. In terms of acne, it will dry out your pimples almost instantly without harshly stripping or irritating any surrounding skin. It’ll also kill the bacteria in your pores to prevent whiteheads or blackheads from reappearing in previous pimple locations (something that happens to me all too often). You can combine tea tree oil with other masks or moisturizers, or simply dab it on the affected area with a Q-tip. Super effective, long lasting and most importantly, not expensive.