As we all know natural hair requires lots of moisture, and those of us with natural hair are constantly using products that are made up of oils and creams to keep our hair looking its best. Although these products are great for the hair they can clog pores and cause a lot of trouble for the skin on the face. There are four basic skin types: normal, dry, combination, and oily. For the purposes of this article only oily and combination skin will be discussed because these skin types are most prone to acne. This is because these skin types produce more than the needed amounts of sebum for the skin. Sebum is an oily substance produced by glands in the skin to keep the skin moisturized. Excess amount of sebum fills pores and allows bacteria to flourish which causes inflammation. What you see in this situation is commonly called a white head. Also the excess sebum can trap dead skin cells and dirt in the pores and cause black heads. Now factor in all those wonderful essential oils and creams used on your hair that eventually can make there way down to your face one way or the other and it’s a perfect storm for serious acne. Here are a few simple tips for prevention and treatments of breakouts.
- Wash last
This is a simple one, but can be forgotten at times; It’s a good idea to wait to wash your face after your are done using any products on your hair. This includes after co-washes and deep conditioners because the process of rinsing causes the products to run down your face and under the chin which can cause break outs in those areas. The same is true when using oils because oils have the tendency to spread and run very easily after applying. It’s a good idea to wait a few minutes after application and then wash the face to prevent the oil from settling.
- Use a toner
Apple cider vinegar works great as a toner for the skin, it removes dead skin cells and regulates the ph level of the skin making it less susceptible to break outs. It can be used straight out of the bottle, but for those with sensitive skin it would be best to dilute with water before use to prevent irritation.
- Hands off
This is major, hands are covered with bacteria from day to day activities and when the hands are constantly on the face they introduce more bacteria on to the skin and in to the pores. By washing hands regularly and keeping them off the face breakouts can be greatly reduced.
- Bentonite clay products
Bentonite clay is a clarifying agent that can be used on the skin and hair. In regards to use on the skin, it has the ability to absorb toxins and dry out excess oil preventing breakouts. Also it reduces inflammation and irritation seen on the skin over night in most cases. This helps reduce dark marks and scaring from breakouts. The clay can be purchased in bulk and mixed with water as needed for skin masks or can be purchased pre-made with other ingredients. The best pre-made product I have found is the Queen Helen Mint Julep Mask in which one of the main ingredients is bentonite. The mask is effective in shrinking pores, drying out breakouts, and reducing skin irritations. After use there is noticeable improvement in overall skin texture and tone.