Juggling roles between being a business owner and a freelance yoga instructor has been an amazingly fulfilling experience. However, the exposure to constant heat and humidity (from teaching 4-6hrs of hot yoga each week), dust and fabric chemicals (from inventory checking and listings), have not been kind to my skin.
Coupled with the stresses of managing a business and post-30s hormonal changes, my skin is…or should I say, has become my enemy. Never ending break outs, scarring seems to have worsen with age and the marks and dark spots take a long time (2-3months) to heal and fade away, even so not completely and another round of breakout would appear there, in the exact same spots!
Facial cleansers and products which used to work so well in the past, no longer seem effective. New remedies I’ve tried just did not seem to have consistent results. It is just as well, to say, that my skin is going through the “terrible-twos”! You never know what to expect and how to handle…
It wasn’t until I spoke with my sister Carrie, and shared my woes with her, that she introduced me to sugar scrubs.
Now this all natural, simple, homemade formula isn’t exactly a new discovery. Carrie had discovered this DIY scrub (sugar, coconut oil and lemon juice) from the internet when she was looking for a treatment which could help ease the appearance of blackened lips, something she had come home with, post-trip, returning from the harsh cold, dry winds and blazing sun of Kyrgyzstan.
I then decided to improvise upon this lip scrub with a slight tweak of ingredients, replacing coconut oil with black cumin seed oil and white sugar with coconut sugar.
And I have to say, "Thank god!" My skin started to clear up right after the first use!
Black Cumin Seed Oil
Nigella Sativa; commonly known as black seed oil; has been known to treat a variety of illnesses and conditions since the oldest of times.
However, it was in the golden era of the Egyptians, believed to have been popularised by the Queen herself, Cleopatra, that black seed oil became the go-to elixir for beauty and good skin.
Also, known as fennel or nutmeg flower, or Roman coriander, black seed oil contains crucial vitamins A, B, and C, and minerals such as Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium and Zinc which not only contribute to building a strong immune system and healthy skin, but also protects against external toxins and pollutants.
Its antibacterial, antifungal and anti-parasitic properties ensure deep-cleansing of the skin, detoxifying it from bacteria and infection-causing microbes. It also has powerful anti-inflammatory, antiviral qualities and high levels of antioxidants which aid cell regeneration, healing the epidermis (outer most layer of the skin) in as short of a time as 12 days.
Studies have even shown that with these powerful compounds, black seed oil helps enhance the body’s ability to handle and manage abnormal cell proliferation, making this a breakthrough in research for treatments for skin cancer.
Black seed oil also contains natural antihistamine, proving it to be highly effective in soothing the skin’s reaction due to my severe allergy towards dust.
My constant exposure to heat and humidity means I have an increase in sebum production resulting in an increase in clogged pores. With this, it means I have make sure to exfoliate every alternate day.
Sugar is a natural humectant. It helps retain moisture, making it ideal for sensitive skin by ensuring skin stays hydrated. It is also a natural source of AHA (Glycolic Acid) which aids in breaking down dead skin cells.
Using a natural abrasive like sugar not only helps remove dead skin cells and unclog stuffed pores but it is also friendly for the environment.
Nothing against white sugar but I just don’t use or consume white sugar in our household. You can use white sugar instead of coconut sugar if you prefer.
Rich in Vitamin C and citric acid, lemons are known for their powerful brightening and lightening effects on the skin. Vitamin C is a super antioxidant, helping to neutralize free radicals and boost collagen production.
Lemons are also antibacterial and can help reduce excess oil, making it ideal for treating acne and clogged pores.
Word of caution; avoid using lemons/applying lemon juice on skin in the day or before you head out as the exposure of skin to a combination of sunlight and lemon juice can cause severe chemical reactions which leads to a painful skin condition called Phytophotodermatitis. Application of any skin treatments containing/using lemons/lemon juice is best done at night before bed and always use a good, high quality SPF protection after.
Black Seed (Cumin) Oil – 1 teaspoon
Coconut Sugar – 2 teaspoons
Lemon Juice – 1 to 1.5 teaspoons
Combine all ingredients together on a dish. Mix well with a spoon until it turns to a gooey consistency (it may turn runny if too much lemon juice is added) and becomes a paste. Scoop paste into palms. Spread paste onto face and start with gentle, circulating motions, rubbing paste into skin. Scrub well. Rinse off with water and apply a good facial toner and moisturizer after.
*Do not use scrub on open sores/wounds or teared skin.
Good skin stems from good diet and nutrition. I generally don't restrict myself from any particular foods but try to refrain from refined sugar as much as I can. In addition to keeping a relatively balanced and nutritious diet, I have also started taking daily Vitamin C and Marine Co-enzyme Q10 tablets.