If you are looking for natural remedies to combat your whiteheads and other skin blemishes, there are many natural products that are effective astringents and antiseptics. Tea Tree oil is well known and commonly used but in this article, I wanted to talk about the benefits of using two other natural ingredients, Witch Hazel and Manuka Honey.
Witch Hazel is similar to Tea Tree oil in that it is a natural astringent but some people prefer it. It acts in a similar way to salicylic acid, removing surplus oil and soothing inflammation of the skin. It has been used for hundreds of years in America, ever since the earliest New England settlers learned how to make the extract of witch hazel from Native Americans.
Witch Hazel is a shrub and the extract used to treat inflammation of all kinds, even tumors was made by boiling the woody stems. According to Wikipedia, it was a missionary called Dr. Charles Hawes who discovered that by distilling the steam from boiling the twigs produced a more effective product and this, known as “Hawes Extract”, was first sold way back in the mid 1800s.
The Uses Of Witch Hazel Today
Witch Hazel has many uses, including on sore places, bruises, insect bites and poison ivy. Many non-prescription remedies for haemorrhoids (piles) and varicose veins also include this product. For skin care, it has really excellent antioxidant and astringent properties so it is excellent for treating all types of skin blemishes. Some men prefer to use it as an aftershave lotion to avoid whiteheads after shaving. Commercial preparations include it in toners, moisturizers and in the form of a blemish stick which is particularly effective on individual spots and whiteheads. You can view the range of witch hazel products at Amazon by using the link.
As with any skin preparation, it is always worth checking with a pharmacist before using Witch Hazel for the first time. It can be applied to patches of blemishes using a cotton wool pad and individual spots can also be treated with a cotton bud.
The blemish stick mentioned earlier, is called a ‘Witch Stick’ and this is a very convenient way of using this natural product as it can be popped in a purse or bag and applied at the first sign of a spot which is always the best method of ensuring you get rid of it as quickly as possible!
Manuka Honey and its Uses
If you have never heard of this very special honey before, you should try some to eat, it really is delicious (which is another great property!). It comes from New Zealand and the bees that make it have gathered their pollen from the native Manuka plants.
This honey is very special because it has particularly good antibacterial and anti-oxidant properties and is excellent for reducing inflammation. All honeys share these properties, but Manuka seems to be particularly good at fighting the bacteria that cause inflammation leading to whiteheads and pimples.
Not all Manuka honey is created equal! Some of the cheaper ones have a lower UMF rating. This stands for Unique Manuka Factor and the higher the rating the better when using on your skin.
The honey is included in several commercially available creams, scrubs, soaps and toners but you can just use the plain honey if you wish. Add a few drops of the honey to your facial wash as the antibacterial action of the honey can enhance the effectiveness of any product it is added to. Be sure to wash it off thoroughly with warm water afterwards.
The honey can also be made into a soothing face mask to relieve irritation and inflammation. I like to use it mixed with some ordinary oatmeal (cooked like you were making breakfast oatmeal and then cooled). I find the mixture of the oatmeal and the Manuka together is particularly effective as it leaves my skin feeling lovely and soft and smooth as well as soothed. Just take about two tablespoons of the cooked oatmeal and mix with about two teaspoons of honey, apply this mixture to your cleansed face and relax for around fifteen minutes.
If you want to treat individual blemishes with this honey, all you need to do is to dab a little on with a cotton bud. This is probably not practical unless you are at home – and you do need to be careful about it attracting insects in the summer! See the range of Manuka Honey available from Amazon with this link.
I hope you will enjoy trying out both Witch Hazel and Manuka Honey as two natural alternatives to treat whiteheads and other acne blemishes.Alison Graham on Google+