Life Style

DIY Masks to Target and Control Your Oily Skin

woman putting mask on her face

Warmer weather is here, and we want to talk oil—not the kinds that are having a moment (à la grape seed, coconut, and tea tree), but the more annoying varieties that (quite aggressively) attack our forehead, nose, and chin with alarmingly little restraint.

Summer is all about embracing a more natural approach to beauty. It’s the perfect time to accept (and flaunt!) the natural bend in your hair, the curves that your mama gave you, and those freckles that pop up three seconds after being out in the sun. But somehow flaunting an oily T-zone (which is every bit as natural and inevitable as those adorable freckles, BTW) isn’t quite as enticing.

Luckily, there are plenty of all-natural skin savers that will help control oil and nix summer greasiness once and for all. Even better? These all-star ingredients can be combined to create oil-fighting (and quite possibly magical) elixirs right at home.

Aloe Vera, Cucumber, Yogurt, and Honey

Why it works: We all know that aloe is a skin-saving all-star and that it boasts incredible antimicrobial and reparative properties. But did you know that the plant can also aid in oil absorption? Paired with skin-soothing cucumbers (which are high in vitamins such as A and E), the lactic acid found in yogurt (of the plain variety!), which helps exfoliate skin and absorb excess oil, and honey (which naturally moisturizes and de-clogs pores), the powers of aloe reach an oil-fighting high.

How to make it:

  • Extract the gel from an aloe leaf (a store-bought gel works too)
  • Blend with a handful of sliced cucumbers (refrigerate beforehand for an extra cooling effect!). Next, add equal parts honey and yogurt (about one tablespoon works)
  • Apply to a clean, pre-washed face.
  • Veg out (pun totally intended) and relax for 15 minutes and then rinse thoroughly.

Usage: Use every other night. For extra-oily skin, try a more concentrated version with just the honey and aloe. Let the paste sit on your skin for 15 minutes, and then rinse.

Cucumber, Egg White, Lemon Juice and Mint

Why it works: As mentioned, cucumbers are heroic when it comes to soothing skin; they’re incredibly cooling and also an oil-busting astringent, so there’s a reason they’re seen on eyes more than salads! Combined with egg whites, which tone and tighten skin (thanks to vitamin A), and lemon juice, which contains citric acid (a great and less harsh astringent that helps balance your skin’s pH and even skin tone). This concoction is a shiny complexion’s worst enemy!

How to make it:

  • Simply puree half of a (thoroughly washed) cucumber, one egg white, and one teaspoon each of lemon juice and freshly chopped mint.
  • Apply the mixture to your face, relax, and blissfully inhale the spa-like scent for up to 20 minutes.
  • Rinse off with warm water, followed by a douse of cold water.

Usage: Try once per week, and expand to three times per week based on your skin’s tolerance. (Try refrigerating the pureed mixture for 10 to 15 minutes before application for a seriously cooling and extra-indulgent treat.)

Apple and Honey

Why it works: Fruits naturally have countless skin-loving acids, vitamins, minerals, and oils—and apples are one of the best when it comes to an oily complexion. Chock-full of AHA (including glycolic acid, which is found in many pricey, store-bought acne fighters), the fruit gently exfoliates and thoroughly cleanses the clogged pores that are responsible for oily summer skin. That, combined with bacteria and germ-killing honey, means excess sebum doesn’t stand a chance. Craving another apple option? Swap out the honey for plain Greek yogurt and lemon juice.

How to make it:

  • Puree one-half of a clean, medium-sized apple (make sure to remove any seeds!)
  • Then, combine one tablespoon of raw (preferably organic) honey. Stir well.
  • Evenly apply to face, and let sit until the mixture has completely dried (between 10 and 15 minutes).
  • Wash off with warm water, and pat dry.

Usage: Try once per week, and expand to three times per week based on your skin’s tolerance.

Oatmeal and Warm Water

Why it works: Oatmeal masks offer a range of benefits for the skin, says Dr. Troy Pittman: “Oatmeal is a great ingredient that can soak up excess oil and help treat acne. It also calms inflamed skin, contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help get rid of dead skin cells, and leaves your complexion bright and smooth.”

How to make it:

  • To apply to your face, Pittman says to combine half a cup or one full cup of oatmeal and mix with warm water to form a paste.
  • “Then, stir one tablespoon of honey into the paste,” explains Pittman.
  • Next, massage the mixture onto your face for about three minutes, then wash it off with warm water,” Pittman says.

Usage: Try whenever skin is suffering a breakout, starting every other day and building as necessary.

Honey

Why it works: “Honey is an excellent ingredient for oily skin because it helps moisturize the skin without making skin oily, clear pores, reduce excess oil, and has natural antibacterial and antiseptic properties that may benefit acne-prone skin,” Pittman says. “Honey also has antioxidant benefits, protects the skin from harmful effects of free radicals, nourishes the skin from within, and can balance the skin’s pH level.”

How to make it: “You can spread a thin layer of honey on your face and let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with warm water,” Pittman says.

Usage: Gentle enough for everyday use.

Baking Soda and Water

Why it works: “Baking soda contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities that aid in the treatment of greasy skin. It is a natural, gentle abrasive that will gently exfoliate your skin while absorbing excess oil and impurities that are buried in the skin,” says clinical esthetician Kimberly Gallo

How to make it:

  • “Form a fine paste by mixing 1 tablespoon baking soda with 2-3 tablespoons of water,” says Gallo.
  • “After it has dried, apply this paste to your face and wash it off after a couple of minutes.”

Usage: “Baking soda can irritate your skin and dry it out, so start at a couple of minutes and build up if needed,” Gallo says. “Do this up to three times a week, with a day off in between. It’s alright if you want to use your regular face wash in between those days, but I don’t advise it. Your face might benefit from some downtime to recuperate and figure out what it really wants.”

Honey and Coffee

Why it works: “Honey has been used as a skincare treatment for centuries,” notes Gallo. This delightful scrub is an excellent exfoliant that is especially beneficial for oily skin.”

How to make it:

  • “To make a scrub, combine coffee and honey in a bowl, about a tablespoon of each,” advises Gallo.
  • “Apply this scrub all over your face and gently massage in circular movements for 2-3 minutes. Wash it off with warm water when it has dried.”

Usage: Gentle enough for everyday use.

Lemon Juice

Why it works: “Lemon juice brightens your skin quickly, and its citric acid acts as an astringent, toning and controlling greasy skin,” Gallo says. “Lemons have antimicrobial characteristics, making them an excellent choice for oily skin treatment.”

How to make it: “Use a cotton ball to apply a combination of 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon distilled water to your skin. Leave it on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with warm water and pat dry,” Gallo says.

Usage: According to Gallo, “This has the potential to be drying, so apply it just once or twice a week or during acne flare-ups.”

Banana and Honey

Why it works: “Honey is a natural humectant, which means it keeps your skin moist but not greasy,” says Gallo. “This is due to the fact that humectants absorb moisture from the skin and do not replenish it.”

How to make it:

  • Mash one ripe banana in a bowl, and incorporate two teaspoons of honey, forming a paste.
  • Apply to skin and leave for 10-15 minutes before washing off.

Usage: Apply two or three times a week, as oily skin persists.

Aloe Vera, Lemon and Honey

Why it works: Aloe and honey are both soothing and antimicrobial, but they won’t strip the skin of all of its oils — which is a good thing. “Though having oily skin might be annoying at times, it is not always a terrible thing,” notes Gallo. “Sebum is created to maintain healthy and hydrated skin, aiding in the formation of a stronger barrier for immunological function.” Lemon, meanwhile, aids the skin with its astringent properties.

How to make it:

  • Mix 2 tablespoons of honey with one tablespoon aloe vera, and one teaspoon lemon juice and slather it all over the skin.
  • Leave on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with warm water.

Usage: Gentle enough for everyday use. But as with any homemade treatment, Gallo advises: “If a homemade recipe worsens your symptoms, discontinue use and consult your doctor or a dermatologist. If your oily skin symptoms, such as acne, are severe, you should seek medical attention since they can lead to infection or scarring.”

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