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You've probably seen it on Pinterest. You may have even tried one or two of the DIY face mask recipes you found online. Egg whites mixed with lemon juice promising to shrink pores and tighten skin. Banana masks promising glowing, clear skin based off of the ingredients it holds within its yellow peel.
But are these masks actually beneficial to your skin? The short answer to this is no. In fact, some of these ingredients may actually be causing harm to your skin. But don't get me wrong, certain natural ingredients can have a moisturizing or exfoliating effect when used properly, but in order to gain any of the vitamins and nutrients you are trying to nourish your skin with, whole foods are not going to be how you achieve this.
The Science Behind Skin Care Products
Dermatologists and Estheticians work closely with Cosmetic Chemists. They spend a great deal of time researching ingredients and formulating products so that they can provide consumers with the best, most effective products that are going to deliver a variety of results to one's skin.
If taking care of your skin was as simple as going to the fridge and picking out what to mix up into a mask that day, why would they spend so much time studying these ingredients and figuring out how to deliver these results to the skin?
There are so many factors and ingredients that go into making a formulation. And unfortunately, applying a whole food to the face to achieve these same results isn't going to happen.
Skin and Its Absorption Process
Think about your skin the same way you would the rest of your body. If you eat healthy food and expect to get the proper nutrients your body needs from that food, then you must digest it so that the nutrients can be shuttled directly where they need to go. Without your body breaking down the food, there is no way for your body to absorb the nutrients that food provides.
The same goes for your skin. You cannot place a whole food (yes, even the juices or the mashed up version) to the skin and expect the nutrients from those foods to be absorbed into the skin and used how it needs to be. The nutrients need a way to be absorbed by the skin.
This is what scientists that are formulating these products do. They extract the beneficial ingredient and formulate it along with other ingredients so that your skin can be properly penetrated.
So save those bananas for snack time. You will get more benefits out of your healthy foods by eating them.
Some ingredients commonly found in DIY face masks can actually harm your skin if used topically. Lemon juice, for example, should never be applied directly to your face. It will cause severe dryness of your skin and could actually cause more acne than you originally had by stripping natural oils you need. It disrupts the skin's acid mantle and can also cause sensitivity because of this loss of protection.
Egg whites can also dry out the skin. That tightness you may feel after applying this mask is not a good sign that the mask worked. You should never have a tight feeling after cleansing or applying a mask as this is a sign of skin dehydration and you need to moisturize as soon as possible.
Egg whites can also carry bacteria, such as salmonella, that you risk spreading all over your face.
Safe Ingredients to Use
If you are still set on using a DIY face mask or any type of DIY skin treatment, then I recommend you using Himalayan salt, Epsom salt, sugar, yogurt, or honey.
Himalayan salt, Epsom salt, and sugar can all be used as a body exfoliant. If you use a sugar or Himalayan salt scrub on your face, be very gentle and only make 3 passes over the face to avoid over-exfoliation.
Yogurt and honey can provide extra hydration to the skin so these are always homemade options you can use. If you are feeling extra crafty, you may even choose to add essential oils to the blend.
Always take caution when dealing with your skin, and know what you are putting on your face!