Beauty skin stuff, I think, can be a lot of fun. You get to play around in the kitchen and then pamper yourself silly just laying around your house. Doing external applications of powerful ingredients is also very gratifying because oftentimes you can see immediate results and improvements…and that just makes you feel good about yourself!
This recipe is one of my new favorites and it came about when I discovered just how much vitamin C and other micronutrients amla has. I hadn’t even really heard of amla until a while ago and even then, I had designated it only to the realm of hair care products (like this DIY Curl Activating and Defrizzing Spray). But after catching a glimpse of myself in the locker room mirror under fluorescent lights in the hospital one day (um, thanks, guy who invented those?), I was willing to do a bit of digging to find something new to play around with.
In addition (and because of it) to being chock full of skin-renewing Vitamin C, amla (also known as Indian Gooseberry) is a fairly potent antioxidant. While internal intake of Vitamin C is always more powerful in the antioxidant space, local application can be helpful for surface problems. The other ingredients in the mask have similar benefits and they work in an additive–if not synergistic!–fashion to make your skin look less dull, more clear, and very glow-y.
Skin and Gut Health
Through personal experience, I’m a huge fan of doing a whole food elimination diet. Not only do most people feel way, way, way better in all parts of their lives by removing foods that aren’t nourishing their bodies and/or actively making them ill, you best believe that all those benefits start showing up in your skin as well.
There are a lot of reasons why the gut and the skin are connected. For one, it’s important to understand that the lining of the intestinal tract and the skin share common embryological precursors and therefore they react similarly to certain stimuli.
Secondly, inflammation at the level of the gut (especially when particles from food that shouldn’t get absorbed actually get taken up by the body…this concept is part of what people mean when they talk about “leaky gut”) shows up easily on the surface of our bodies in the form of acne, rashes, and other impurities. In a way, it’s kind of a good thing because it allows us to change what we’re doing…but it’s not exactly pleasant when you haven’t figured what it all means yet!
Lastly (well, there are more but we’ll stop here!), inflammation and damage at the level of the gut throws off a significant portion of hormonal signaling molecules throughout the body. This is because information from the bowels is important in signaling to the rest of the body that it’s in a state of health, starvation, or reactivity. That’s why bad gut health leads to bad hormonal health which usually manifests in the skin in some way of another. Again, not pretty…but very useful to understand.
- 2 tablespoons amla powder
- 1.5 tablespoons aloe vera juice
- 3 drops grapefruit essential oil
- 3 drops orange essential oil
- optional: 1 teaspoon raw honey (local raw honey is the best, in my opinion)
- Combine all the ingredients into a small mixing bowl. Make sure everything gets well incorporated by using a whisk or a small fork.
- Apply to the skin of face and chest. I usually like leaving it on for about 15 minutes but I recommend starting with shorter times and making sure everything is working well for your skin before leaving it on for longer. (If you have sensitive skin, always make sure to test on the inside of your arm or thigh first!)
- Rinse off well with warm water and pat dry. I haven’t found it necessary to follow this mask up with any kind of cleanser but you can if you wish.
I like incorporating this mask into my pore cleansing method and usually do so by subbing out the bentonite clay mask in that set.
If hormonal or stress acne is a big problem for you, you might be interested in the free 4 part adrenal and hormonal health training video series than Megan of GingerNewtrition and I have coming out shortly. You’ll learn about adrenal and hormonal friendly recipes, get a chance to learn from the mistakes we’ve made along the way with our own experiences with hormonal/adrenal issues, and find out why hormonal panels are so, so helpful. It’s going to be a lot of fun so join us!