It has been quite some time since I posted any homemade beauty recipes. I only like to post what I actually use on a regular basis, or have tested out for at least a few weeks. I like to keep my routine pretty simple, however I do love playing with herbs and botanical ingredients to create all natural DIY skin treatments that are not only cruelty-free and synthetic chemical-free, but also effective.
I’ve talked in the past about my struggle with adult acne in my twenties, and how a plant-based diet, lifestyle changes, and natural, simple skin care finally helped me to achieve consistently clear skin (You can read more about how I got rid of acne the natural way, here). Diet and lifestyle changes should be your number one focus when struggling with acne, but while you allow your body to heal and balance, it’s nice to have some soothing treatments to improve the look of your skin.
The changing of seasons can be a tricky time for acne prone skin. Even though I rarely have breakouts these days, I seem to notice an increase in congested pores and a few minor blemishes as the weather starts warming up in the spring, as well as when the temperature drops in late fall. Chalk this up to changes in humidity, which my skin seems to be very sensitive to. This Thyme-Lavender toner, as well as my all-time favorite bentonite detox face mask, have done an excellent job at smoothing out any little bumps, tightening pores, and calming redness.
So why am I putting thyme in my skin care? Well, thyme has produced some very impressive acne-fighting results in scientific studies. Researchers from Leeds Metropolitan University found that thyme tinctures not only killed the bacteria that causes acne pimples and spots, but it did so even more effectively than standard concentrations of benzoyl peroxide (the active ingredient in most acne creams). The downside to using benzoyl peroxide treatments (and I know this from experience) is that it is very drying to the skin and causes irritation, redness, and flakiness that is as unsightly as the acne itself. Thyme based treatments, therefore, could be just as effective without the skin irritation and drying side effects.
I added lavender, as it also has antibacterial properties, and I have even used the essential oil “neat” (i.e. straight, without dilution) as a spot treatment. In addition to it’s cleansing and antibacterial properties, lavender has long been used for it’s aromatherapeutic effects and can calm, relax, and reduce tension. Since stress and acne often go hand in hand, stress reduction should be one of the lifestyle factors to consider when healing your skin. Using a lavender infused toner before bed, for example, may also help you sleep better, and getting more sleep on a regular basis is associated with better skin health.
Another major plus to making your own skin care? It’s inexpensive! Compared to the shelves and shelves of pricey acne treatments, this refreshing toner will cost pocket change to make. You could even grow your own thyme and lavender. These plants are perennials, so once you’ve got them growing, you’ll have fresh thyme and lavender for years! Witch hazel is inexpensive, and easy to find in most supermarkets. If you choose to use lavender essential oil, you’ll find tons more uses for it, and one little bottle will last a long time.
Are you ready to make your own anti-acne toner? It’s so easy! I hope you enjoy this refreshing toner as much as I do!
Thyme and Lavender Anti-Acne Toner
I use this toner every other day, before bed. If you have oily skin, you could use this once a day, or as often as your skin feels comfortable. If your acne-prone skin is on the dry side, which is very often the case with adult acne, try my dry skin variation below. Try to use organic herbs for this toner, as we don’t want pesticides in our skin care.
- 4 oz witch hazel
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme or 3 tablespoons fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon dried lavender or 10 drops of lavender essential oil
Place all ingredients in a glass jar with a tight lid and set in your cupboard for at least a week. Strain out the herbs through a fine mesh strainer and store in a clean container. I used a empty, well cleansed facial oil dispenser with a pump, or a small spray bottle would work well.
Dry skin variation: Try adding a tablespoon of pure aloe vera gel and a tiny amount of vegetable glycerin (about 1/4 tsp) after straining for a toner that will gently and cleanly moisturize as well as clear blemishes.