When it comes to treating and preventing blemished skin, we’ve got a couple of natural allies, ready to show those spots who’s boss, should they decide to rear their ugly, yellow heads. Among the ingredients most widely praised by blemish-busters, you’ll find tea-tree (with natural anti-bacterial properties), jojoba and witch hazel. If you’ve been battling with something that resembles less of a pimple and more of a portal to a parallel universe, here’s what we at IMAGE have found useful. As with all skincare, however, what works for one person may not work for another, and if you’re dealing with chronic acne, it’s probably best to consult the help of a dermatologist.
Tea tree kills bacteria, plain and simple, hence its popularity in coping with blemishes and acne. Derived from the Melaleuca alternifolia plant in Australia (by steam distillation), if you’re a die-hard tea tree fan, the Australian Bodycare Range is gentle yet effective. When it comes to tea tree oil, a little goes a long way. We find Tea tree best as a preventative measure more so than as something to treat spots when they’ve already come to the surface. We’ve loved their facial cleansing gel with 1% tea tree (did we mention its potency?). It’s non-drying, moisturising and it won’t break the bank. Prices start as low as €4 for their range; check it out online at www.australianbodycare.co.uk.
Jojoba – ‘ho-ho-ba’ – has long been a cult favourite when it comes to natural skin remedies. Though you may shy away from seemingly oily products if you are already dealing with oily skin, the science of how this works bears considering. Jojoba oil is a waxy substance extracted from the jojoba tree that, when applied to the skin, is incredibly similar in nature to the sebum our skin produces. The skin is then tricked into ‘thinking’ it’s produced enough sebum and, therefore, slows down that process, resulting in a reduction of excess oily sebum and fewer spots. On top of that, it has cleansing and moisturising properties, so you’re getting three birds with one stone. Ta-dah! As one of our recommended jojoba products, try Ren’s Rosa Centifolia Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser, formerly called Jojoba Microbead Purifying Facial Polish. It’s a non-abrasive 2 in 1 cleanser. First it works by cleansing the skin with exfoliating jojoba wax beads. These will gently lift and exfoliate dead skin cells and other unwanted pollutants. Then, once the wax has melted and your exfoliation is complete, the jojoba gets its deep hydration on, firming and plumping up the skin. €22, Arnotts.
Witch hazel is a herb that is used to treat skin issues internally and topically. The witch hazel we use on our skin is taken from the bark and leaves of the shrub and has always been a popular old-school remedy for its disinfectant, anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant nature. It’s a natural astringent, but it’s mild enough not to exacerbate any flare-ups, and so, is regularly included in many skincare products. Boots carry a brand called Witch, and their Blemish Stick will work instantly to reduce those bad boys. €3.69.