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Missed opportunities in life and homemade pimple paste


by Bele

Is it my imagination or are more people suffering pimples into their adult years? I know I am. Once upon a time, pimples were for teenagers and taxes were for grown ups, not anymore.

Pimples can have a huge impact on our self esteem. When I think back, I cringe at all the opportunities and experiences I said no to, because of pimples, which is ridiculous. We all suffer them at some time and why let something so insignificant get in the way of life, but, alas, I did.

I once backed out of working on a Japanese game show, because I was sure my skin would explode at any minute and I was too embarrassed to face that… Ah, well, one door closes and another one opens, as they say. No point in having regrets.

The big picture and pimples

Serious pimples or acne is something to speak to your healthcare practitioner about. However, this new research  is interesting (but not for the squeemish) and suggests some quite logical causes. It suggests rosacea (a special type of acne, usually in people over thirty) is worse for those with weak immune systems and that exposure to sunlight can make it worse.

So making sure you’re eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep and wearing a hat outside are good places to start on the road to skin recovery. Without  addressing the underlying causes of breakouts, the pimples will probably keep coming back no matter what happens on the skin’s surface.

Having said all that dutiful and sensible stuff, I have to say that sometimes we could all do with a little helping hand and that’s where a little spot cream comes in.

Pimples and blackheads and the passage of thyme

Whilst there is no silver bullet cure for pimples and blackheads, this study suggests thymol is an unsung skin-clearing hero and I have to agree. Thyme oil has a high content of thymol and has been the best thing for me, ever. However, everyone’s skin is different and it’s not for pregnant ladies – sorry! Sensitive types need to proceed with extreme caution, if at all, because thyme is a very active oil.

However, thyme is thought to be less irritating than benzoyl peroxide – the active ingredient in most anti-acne creams or washes, according to Dr Gomez-Escalada. Although, he recommends trying it in an alcohol tincture, but that might be very drying for the skin and could lead to a crazy oily-dry pendulum swing.

You can also use thyme oil to make toner and foaming cleanser.

Bicarbonate soda and the face

Bicarbonate soda can also be drying for the skin and needs to be used carefully. In my wanders around the Internet, I’ve seen a lot of recipes for bicarbonate soda (a.k.a. baking soda in the US) being used as a face scrub, but it’s a bit too drying to be used all over the face without oil. It’s also quite alkaline (pH 8.3), so it’s important to only use this paste on spots and follow up with an acidic toner, like this apple cider vinegar toner or rose water (if you prefer something nicer smelling) to keep the skin in balance. You can read about ravings on how slightly acidic skin is happier skin here.

How to make pimple cream

The instructions may sound complicated, but I’m hoping you can make sense of them, please let me know if it isn’t clear. I don’t want people to feel overwhelmed, as it’s actually pretty easy to make this a part of daily face care until the pimples have cleared.

Pimple paste ingredientsHow to make pimple cream

Makes about 0.5 oz or 15 ml
about $13 (based on an average natural spot cream costing $15 )
Does not contain
alcohol, parabens, SLS, or artificial fragrances and colours
carbon emissions and water use

2 drops of thyme essential oil
1 teaspoon of skin friendly oil, like jojoba, grape seed or pomegranate oils
2 teaspoons of bicarbonate soda (a.k.a. baking soda in the US)
Sterile or very clean jar
Sterile or very clean small spoon or spatula

How to make the thyme paste

1. Mix the thyme essential oil with the skin-friendly oil.
2. Stir the oils into the bicarbonate soda and keep stirring for a couple of minutes. It’s important to make sure it’s thoroughly mixed. Store in a labeled and dated jar.

How to use the pimple cream

  1. It’s essential to test this in a discrete spot for irritation.
  2. Wash face and hands.
  3. Using a clean spoon or spatula, scoop a pinch into the palm of the hand (avoid putting fingers in the powder, as this will increase the risk of contamination).
  4. Flick a finger of the other hand under the tap, so a drop of water is on the end of the finger and dip this drop of water into the pinch of powder in palm and mix into a paste.
  5. Apply only to spots in small circles.
  6. Leave for 1-3 minutes (usually enough time to brush teeth). It might feel a bit cool, but rinse off straightaway if you feel the slightest burning sensation.
  7. Rinse really well.
  8. Spray toner or rose water on face to rebalance the acidity.
  9. Moisturise as usual.
  10. Repeat once or twice a day until the break out has cleared. Stop if the skin is becoming irritated or dry. It’s not a good idea to use this continuously, so if the breakout hasn’t cleared or improved after a month then it’s best to stop and try something else or give the skin a break for a week before trying again.
  11. After a month or if any water ends up in the powder, throw out any remaining and make a new batch. It’s important the powder stays as clean and dry as possible.

Again, please don’t use if you’re pregnant.

Bele x

Has a skin condition ever stopped you from doing something?

About BlahBlahMagazine

Cybele Masterman (Bele) trained as a beauty therapist, aromatherapist and journalist. After working as all of the above has found herself on a quest for a beautiful and meaningful life that doesn't cost the earth. Follow on google: +blahblahmagazine twitter: @blahblahzine or Instagram: BlahBlahMagazine

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  1. I can practically smell it by just looking at the gorgeous photos. Great idea chick xx

  2. I am treating my rosacea, following the hypothesis that it is a bacteria and skin mite sensitivity. I feel it may be a hereditary sensitivity rather than ‘weak immune system’. Thyme happens to clear that bacteria that is causing the red and leading to the pimples. Since I started using and eating thyme, people don’t believe that I have the condition. I feel extremely lucky to have found this out so early.

  3. I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your website?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could
    a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having 1 or 2 images.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  4. How long can I keep it on my shelf?

    • Good question. Bicarbonate soda is a salt and a natural preservative, so can last almost indefinitely. Thyme oil is one of the anti bacterial queens of the essential oil world and has a very long shelf life. Destructive bacteria and friends need water to survive and this is why I try and keep water out of my recipes.
      In an ideal world where the powder is mixed in a sterile container and never comes into contact with fingers or water this mix could last a very long time, but we all live in the real world, so I would make small batches that last six months, but this is assuming you have a spoon or shaker container, so that you don’t need to dip fingers in the mix. If the colour or smell changes then throw it out. Luckily it’s easy to make and the ingredients aren’t too expensive. I hope this helps. I would love to hear how you find it.

  5. Sorry- could you use coconut oil instead of jojoba/grape/pomegranate? Thank you

    • You could, but it will set firm, possibly hard, but I find this quite good because it forces me to use a knife or a spoon to get it out and this keeps it cleaner. I hope this helps!

  6. This sounds great, as someone who suffers from occasional breakouts I can’t wait to give this a try! So affordable and with the oils I bet it smells lovely.

  7. Hi will it work on 2-3 year old acne scars also ? And also how can I extract the oil from the thyme leaves on my own as in its not available in any of the stores in my area

    • Hi Kriti, Apologies for the delay, I wanted to double check a few things first. The way thyme is credited as working means that it works best for current acne. I haven’t tried it yet for scars, but apparently Helichrysum is one of the best, however it is quite expensive and only available from online aromatherapy suppliers. Lavender and geranium are also thought to be good or a blend of all three could be good too.
      I don’t make my own thyme oil, because the inexact home extraction methods tend to leave an aspect of the leaf that is very irritating for the skin. Similarly, the geranium oil is extracted from the leaf of the rarer scented geranium. However, here is a link for lavender extraction: http://blahblahmagazine.com.au/lavender-oil/ It’s not perfect, but if you have lavender available it makes it very affordable.
      As a general rule,older scarring can be difficult to treat with essential oils, but worth a shot. I’d love to hear how you go. I hope this helps, Bele x

  8. How would olive oil react?

  9. Would this work on razor burn?

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