I love using common kitchen ingredients in skin care. One of my favorite ingredients for blackheads and blemishes is the humble tomato!
Tomatoes are a very nutrient and antioxidant rich fruit. They are a good source of vitamins C, K, A, E, and lycopene. Tomatoes have citric and malic acids, and they mildly exfoliate. They are astringent, and they brighten, tone, and soften the skin. Tomatoes are excellent for blemished skin and they help deep clean the pores! Tomatoes are usually recommended for oily skin types, but some people with dry skin may like using them too, especially if the skin is dehydrated with blemishes. Here is my recipe for an easy tomato mask for acne prone skin and blackheads.
1 tomato slice or a couple cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes
1 teaspoon of yogurt
2-3 teaspoons of clay
1 teaspoon honey
optional: 1 drop of lavender essential oil
Add the tomato, yogurt, and honey to a blender and mix well (alternatively you can mash the tomatoes using a fork, and then mix in the yogurt and honey, but if you mix it by hand, it won’t be as smooth). Remove from blender, and mix in the clay and essential oil. If the mask is too thick, then add a little more honey or yogurt. If the mask is too thin, add more clay.
Dampen the skin and apply the mask. Leave it on for 5-15 minutes. Rinse well. Store any excess in the fridge (don’t forget to label it!) and use within a few days. This recipe makes enough for a couple to a few uses.
For the tomatoes I used about 2 tablespoons of chopped tomato. It is okay if you use a little less or more tomato (since tomatoes vary in size). You may need a little more or less yogurt, clay, or honey than what is stated, depending on how much tomato you use.
Yogurt contains natural lactic acid, which is a gentle exfoliant. Yogurt is great for blemished skin and blackheads. Vegans will want to use a non-dairy yogurt such as soy, almond, or coconut, etc. Try to find a vegan yogurt with few additives. Vegan yogurt by itself will not exfoliate, but a vegan version of this mask will still exfoliate since tomatoes contain natural acids.
For this recipe I used kaolin clay, which is a nice clay that is suitable for most skin types (including dry skin. But some people with dry skin can’t use clays at all. If your skin can’t tolerate clays, then omit it, and use more yogurt). However, you can use any type of clay you like. Some clays absorb more water than others, so you may need to use less or more clay. Very oily and extremely clogged skin may like using bentonite clay, which is an extremely drawing clay.
Honey contains many vitamins and trace nutrients. It is a humectant and an emollient. It is also one of my favorite ingredients to use as a spot treatment on blemishes. You can use any kind of honey but manuka honey is especially good for blemished skin. Vegans may want to omit the honey (simply add more yogurt) or use organic agave as a substitute.
I used lavender essential oil in my mask, which is great for blemished skin. Use only a single drop, as essential oils are very concentrated plant substances (a single drop is a kin to many ounces to pounds of plant material). You can omit the essential oil if you like, or use your favorite essential oil for skin care. Some other good choices for blemished skin include tea tree or geranium essential oils.
About The Author:
Li Wong is the owner of Earth Alkemie, an all natural, vegetarian skin care and perfume company. She has a B.A. in Environmental Studies (Biology) and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy. Li has been crafting natural cosmetics and studying aromatherapy and herbalism since 2001. Environmental interests include conservation, botany, ethnobotany (uses of plants by indigenous peoples), mammals, organic standards in cosmetics, urban wildlife issues, environmental education and awareness, and public perception. She is the all natural beauty website’s Eco Living and DIY Natural Beauty Formulating Expert, and the anb’s mall Eco Living writer. http://www.anbportal.com/meet_the_all_natural_beauty_experts.htm
For more information on environmental issues, Eco Living, natural cosmetics, aromatherapy, and herbalism check out: Solarkat’s Eco Blog: http://solarkateco.blogspot.com/
For information on Earth Alkemie's products (skin care, hair care, perfumes, DIY raw ingredients, and containers), properties of natural ingredients, the benefits of natural cosmetics, and green business practices, please visit Earth Alkemie’s blog: http://www.earthalkemie.com/blog