I remembered a rule of thumb about skin care which, when I follow it consistently (even when I don't realize I'm following it), I benefit from greatly.
The rule is this:
I never wear on my skin or cleanse my skin with something I would not put in my mouth and eat.
The skin is an organ, the biggest organ in my body, and it absorbs as well as secretes. Whatever I put on my skin or extended period of time or use everyday to cleanse my skin will eventually end up in my internal system and will affect my health. So if it would make me sick to eat, why should I think I would be free from its affects if it were on my skin?
This rule manifests itself in several ways, the first of which is that I don't wear makeup at all. Not even the "natural" stuff from the grocery store. In addition to my no-eat no-wear rule, using the same pot and same brushes everyday can spread infection over the skin. I believe it's a big part of why my skin began so inflammed and I had infected acne leading up to and during early 2016. After I stopped using makeup, my skin was finally able to heal (with help from proactivity) without having to fight new break outs. I've thought of mixing up some of my own makeup using ingredients like arrowroot power as a base and cinnamon and carob power for coloring, but over the past year of no makeup, I've grown to love my bare face, acne scars and all. I don't feel a need to cover up anymore. However, I do still earnestly try to avoid breaking out again.
I do not use any made-man, especially chemical, cleanser. They never helped my skin stay clear anyway. I use baking soda or fine sea salt to exfoliate. Both are ingredients and I have found incredible healing while using baking soda. It not only exfoliates but also acts as an anti-inflammatory. Sea salt I'm just beginning to try, but so far I've found it to be exfoliating, healing, and not drying out my skin.
Even though I'll be content if I remain scarred my entire life, I am still trying to remove the scars. I don't use any man-made face mask or cream. Instead, I use a combo of honey, lemon juice, olive oil, and essential oils as a mask everyday for about 10 to 20 minutes. I've found it to be healing as well; the scars looks less prominent and the redness is fading faster. I haven't been using it consistently or for long, so I've yet to see if it stands the test of time.
Another natural face mask I've used but rarely in the past is clay. I never liked using it because when it dried and cracked, it would irritate and inflame my skin. Clay actually falls within the rule though. Some people take it as a method of absorbing internal toxins, so yes, I would eat dirt. Highly purified, bought-at-store dirt, but dirt nonetheless.
I mentioned essential oils previously, and this is where the "of thumb" bit of this rule comes into play. In my scar healing mask, there are three different oils, two of which I have taken internally before. The third is a very powerful healing oil, one which I wouldn't take even if heavily diluted. This oil and a few others are the exception to my rule. I'll wear them, but I won't eat them.
This list isn't comprehensive and I probably could write on about skin care for a thousand more words, so I'm gonna stop here haha.
I realize by sharing this publicly, others may want to try to use the techniques I do. I say go ahead, but I want to caution you as well. If the methods that help me don't help you, don't get hung up over it. Each person has a unique bodily chemistry and one thing isn't going to magically work for every person out there. It's just not the way we are created. If you don't see noticeable improvement after about two weeks of using my methods (no quick fixes in my camp), move onto something else. Find something that helps your skin and stick with it. If you've already found something that's working, that's awesome! Stick with it.