Whether you suffer from acne, dark spots, or dry skin, you’ve probably been told that easy DIY remedies will work wonders for you. Sure they’re fun to make and very inexpensive, but what if I told you that some of these common household ingredients are doing more harm than good?
Lemon and Citrus Fruits
Lemon is often recommended for its brightening and astringent properties, which should be helpful for acne and dark spots. But that “good” sting you feel from lemon hitting an open acne spot is actually irritation and can cause more inflammation, which means more redness. The brightening effect of citrus juice is from its high acidity levels (pH 2), which is far too high to be regularly applying on the skin. Have you heard of a chemical peel? That’s essentially what citrus juice is, so you must be careful with application or you risk getting a serious chemical burn. Excessive use of citrus juice on the skin can also lead to photosensitivity, or sensitivity to sun exposure. If you insist on using citrus juice in your daily routine, consider diluting the juice with water and wearing sunscreen daily.
Baking soda is commonly recommended as an inexpensive alternative to scrubs. It’s said to be gentle on sensitive skin and can also be mixed with other ingredients to make a mask. The danger in baking soda is in its pH level of 8.5, which is highly alkaline, the opposite of acidic lemon juice. Now, what’s the harm in a scrub or mask that’s too alkaline? The natural pH of skin (4.5-5.5) leans more on the acidic side to fight harmful bacteria in the environment. But when we cleanse skin with an alkaline product, it changes the skin’s pH making it a breeding ground for bacteria. High pH levels can also lead to moisture loss, irritation, and skin aging.
It’s important to find a gentle facial cleanser so you don’t disrupt the natural balance that your skin needs to protect and heal itself. Now you know to steer clear of DIY projects that are too acidic and too basic and to maintain a proper balance to keep bacteria away and help acne heal.