Here at Jan de Vries, we’re all in favour of homemade DIY face masks and moisturisers, however, there seems to be a lot of worrying rumours circulating about what you should be putting on your skin, and sometimes these myths can end up doing more harm than good. That’s why today I’m going to take a look at a few of these so-called skin saviours and how they can harm even normal or combination skin.
1 – Baking soda
Baking soda – the darling of homemade exfoliators everywhere! Baking soda is such a versatile product that it’s not really that surprising that skincare would come into the equation at some point. However, just as undiluted apple cider vinegar is too acidic, baking soda falls at the other end of the spectrum, being far too alkaline.
You skin relies on a delicate alkaline/acid balance and on the pH scale, it sits around 4.5-6.5 (anything above 7 is considered alkaline). If you apply a product that is too acidic or too alkaline, this balance can become disrupted, damaging your natural skin barrier and changing the activity of the enzymes and bacterial flora that naturally inhabit your skin.
This can result in weaker, drier skin that’s more prone to damage and bacterial infections so next time you see a DIY recipe that calls for baking soda, make sure you give it a miss!
Our simple swap: Baking soda is usually incorporated into face masks to help combat spot-prone skin, but I’d definitely advise using PHB Beauty’s Brightening Face Mask with Rice Oil and Galbanum instead! It’s bursting with antioxidants and soothing ingredients, including Aloe Vera, Kaolin Clay and Rice Oil, helping to moisturise skin as well as fight off pathogens for a clearer, brighter complexion!
2 – Lemon juice
Rich in vitamin C, lemon juice is often used in DIY skin remedies as a way of naturally brightening your skin or as a natural exfoliator. However, as I’ve just mentioned, your skin relies on a delicate pH balance and while baking soda is too alkaline, lemon juice is far too acidic sitting at around a 2 on the pH scale. If you put undiluted lemon juice on your skin, expect to see some aggravation!
Worse still, lemon juice can be phototoxic, meaning it can irritate skin when exposed to natural light – just think red angry sunburn. Not a good look.
Our simple swap: Lemon juice is a popular option due to its content of vitamin C, however, PHB Beauty’s Gentle Gel Serum with Organic Aloe and Sweet Almond is incredible when it comes to hydrating your skin and fighting free radical damage. It also contains potent amounts of essential fatty acids and vitamin E so even for normal or combination skin, this oil is definitely a great option.
3 – Toothpaste
Toothpaste – an essential cleaning product for your teeth, NOT an answer to your recent spot problem. Somehow this dental hygiene product has become a makeshift solution for pimples, with many applying it to the offending blemish and leaving it on overnight, hoping it will dry out their breakout.
And sometimes, yes, it can work but it definitely isn’t a long-term solution. You have to remember that it’s not just your spot that toothpaste is drying out – it’s drying out your skin too! You see most toothpastes contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, or SLS, an abrasive ingredient that is notoriously harsh on skin and can dry your epidermis out very quickly, making it easier for bacteria and pathogens to permeate your skin, leading to repeated episodes of spots and blackheads.
Our simple swap: Salcura’s Antiac ACTIV Gel Serum is specially formulated for troubled, spot-prone skin. Containing soothing extracts of Aloe Vera and Tea Tree Oil, it gently cleanses that affected area and prevents bacteria from irritating any open spots, reducing their appearance and protecting vulnerable skin.
From one DIY exfoliator to another, sugar is definitely not the answer to removing dead skin cells. It might get a pass being used on your lips but, when it comes to your skin, the jagged edges of sugar crystals are far too harsh and can cause tiny micro-tears, scratching your epidermis and stimulating an inflammatory reaction – not exactly ideal, even if you have normal or combination skin!
These scratches can also upset your lipid barrier, making you even more prone to bouts of dryness, punctuated by flakiness and irritation. As with baking soda, if you see this on any lists avoid it like the plague and instead stick with a natural exfoliator.
Our simple switch: Exfoliating can be a valuable part of any good skin routine, particularly if you're suffering from a bout of dry skin. Instead of relying on ingredients like baking soda, though, you could try using PHB’s Beauty Gentle Jojoba Bead Exfoliator with Grapefruit & Kukui instead. This formula contains gentle, nourishing ingredients like Aloe and Sea Buckthorn Oil so it should be kinder for your skin – just remember to moisture thoroughly afterwards!
5 – Scalding hot steam
Don’t get us wrong, steam can be a great way to unblock pores, but there does seem to be some confusion about how hot the steam should be. If you boil up a kettle and then immediately expose your skin to those scalding hot vapours, the effect will not be so much soothing as blistering, upsetting your skin and triggering an inflammatory reaction, even damaging your capillaries!
So next time you want to use steam, give your bowl of water a couple of minutes to cool down – remember, WARM water, never HOT.
Our simple swap: A natural, nourishing face wash, PHB Beauty’s Brightening Facial Wash with Lime and Turmeric is infused with Neroli and Spearmint, making it a very soothing option for troubled skin. Working in a similar way to a toner, it can reduce your pores and signs of pigmentation, flushing out toxins for a more even complexion.