At-Home Beauty Remedies: Do They Really Work?

| June 22, 2013 | 0 Comments

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When it comes to beauty products, many of us often think that “organic” or “natural” must mean “better.” But that’s not necessarily so.

While at-home beauty remedies can be lighter on the pocket, and free from harsh chemicals, they still come with their own risks, which many of us tend to overlook.

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We talked to Angela J. Lamb, M.D., director of Westside Faculty Practice, Mount Sinai Dermatology, who helped separate fact from fiction.

“If you have an allergy or are sensitive to certain ingredients, you may still develop a rash or reaction,” she said.

Dr. Lamb sees many patients, in fact, who try at-home remedies then show up in her office, dismayed to discover a skin reaction. Certain ingredients can cause allergies and make things worse. Tea tree oil, for example, is a common allergy-inducing culprit due to a small molecule that can act as a “sensitizer.”

That’s not to say that you can’t use at-home hair and skin treatments, but it’s important to understand that these remedies are not necessarily guaranteed alternatives to what you can find on drugstore shelves.

Here, we dispel some myths and shed light on some at-home skin and hair care remedies that just might work.

1. Rose Water Toner

Apparently used for centuries as an ingredient for gentle cleansing eyewashes, rose water, according to Lamb, does contain some acidic properties, which might offer medicinal qualities. Soothing and cooling, rose water can work to tighten large pores.

“But,” said Lamb, “there are not a lot of intrinsic properties in rose water in the use of exfoliation.” Rose water does, however, smell nice. Paired with its cooling property, rose water may offer a soothing remedy after a long day.

For your own soothing DIY rose petal freshener:Try this recipe from motherearthliving. Boil water, then cover and steep the petals until the liquid is cool. Strain and then squeeze the liquid. Refrigerate in sterilized jar.

For a better anti-inflammatory option, Dr. Lamb recommends chamomile and calendula. These two ingredients can be used to ease pain and swelling.

For a DIY astringent oil: Try this at-home remedy.

What you’ll need: 4 oz. water or herbal infusion, 1 teaspoon dispersant (like aloe vera or vegetable oil), 5 drops of essential oils (your choice. Lavender is one option).

Mix the essential oil with the dispersant and then add to the liquid. The dispersant is used to dissolve the essential oil.

2. Lemon Skin Softener

Lemon might actually help soften skin, thanks to its oxidizing properties. Lamb also suggests that lemon can be used to lighten hair, streaking darker locks.

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