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.
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.
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.
Makes about 0.5 oz or 15 ml
Saves about $13 (based on an average natural spot cream costing $15 )
Does not contain alcohol, parabens, SLS, or artificial fragrances and colours
Reduces 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
- It’s essential to test this in a discrete spot for irritation.
- Wash face and hands.
- 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).
- 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.
- Apply only to spots in small circles.
- 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.
- Rinse really well.
- Spray toner or rose water on face to rebalance the acidity.
- Moisturise as usual.
- 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.
- 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.
Has a skin condition ever stopped you from doing something?