I cleaned my closets last weekend; finally turned in my tiny pre-pregnancy jeans to the local thrift shop. I haven’t consumed diet soda in over two weeks, and I have just recovered from the resulting urge to scream murder rage at people’s faces. I bought a new makeup bag and reorganized my gym things. I am simplifying, downsizing, purifying.
There’s no real reason why this is all happening at once, but let’s just blame it on autumn. The air is brisk(er)--good enough for me.
In the midst of this, I spoke with a good friend who had recently edited her skincare routine. She reports that she had two different cleansers, an eye cream, a night cream, a serum here and there, an acne spot treatment, a Clarisonic, and on and on. She now uses three products.
“Do go on,” I said in my creepiest maître d’ voice.
She went on to tell me that she now only uses one basic cleanser, one moisturizer with SPF, and one mask once or twice a week. Upon telling me that the mask gently exfoliates and helps clear breakouts and leaves her skin glowing, I was all over it like white on rice. Or in this case, white on aspirin. Little ol’ 99-cents-for-a-bottle aspirin.
Say it with me now: Aspirin is a form of salicylic acid.
And salicylic acid has been shown to reduce swelling and irritation, unclog pores, soften thick, scaly skin, and in higher concentrations, reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Good! However, it can be drying. Not so good.
I have been in denial about my skin for some time. After a trip to my dermatologist in July, I have come to grips with the fact that my “sensitive yet congested” skin is, in fact, papulopustular rosacea. It breaks out like acne, and it is sensitive and temperamental like a hungry baby.
Usually, the words “salicylic acid” kind of make me cringe. But hear me now and believe me later: This mask is soothing and moisturizing. (If you have sensitivities to dairy or aspirin, you’d most likely want to avoid this. If you’re not sure, do a patch test behind your ear.)
**Puts on Mr. Rogers cardigan and walks into the kitchen**
- 3 to 5 aspirin
- plain yogurt (full fat!)
- honey (mine is only organic, but you’ll get more goodness if you do RAW organic)
First, crush the aspirin. Make a cocaine joke to any bystanders. If your aspirin are uncoated, you can skip this step because they will magically dissolve in the yogurt. (Aspirin dissolving not actual magic.) Fellow rosaceans might use fewer aspirin if desired, as salicylic acid can be irritating to some.
Add yogurt. I use about 1 TBSP.
Mix in about 1 TBSP of honey or enough to create a cold cream-like consistency. We don’t want it dripping off of your face and onto whatever it is you like to do while waiting for masks to dry.
Yogurt has an astringent quality, and honey is moisturizing. (That’s my basic take on the science.) If you have dry skin, you might want to use more honey than yogurt. Oily skin, use more yogurt. You might also use moisturizer or aloe vera gel as a base if you don’t have yogurt/honey in the house.
Apply the mask to clean skin and hang out for 10 to 20 minutes. You will smell like dairy, but it feels cool and refreshing, so pop in an old episode of What’s Happening!! and deal with it.
Remove with a warm, moist washcloth. Marvel at how smooth and soft your skin feels.
I use the mask twice a week and have found that (after a brief purge) my skin has never looked better. I feel glowy and dewy, and though I know pore size can’t actually be changed, they do seem a bit more calm and collected. In fact, I have stopped using my Clarisonic brush.
I have read conflicting reports and reviews about the use of a Clarisonic by rosacea sufferers. Some say that the exfoliation is gentle enough and that it effectively reduces thick and erupted skin. Others report that the mechanical exfoliation can exacerbate broken capillaries.
In my own case, the broken capillaries around my nose and on my cheeks are currently the most glaringly obvious symptoms of my condition. When I use the brush, I find that my skin stings and glows red for several minutes. But it makes my skin so soft!
I have decided to err on the side of caution. I will use my delightful yogurt mask on my face and relegate my Clarisonic to neck and chest only. Everyone ends up with soft, glowing skin. Everyone wins.
Tell me how late I am to the DIY beauty product thing. What’s your favorite passing-the-time sitcom?