Face packs are a popular part of skin care in India, where DIY recipes are ritually passed down through generations. Think about the haldi ceremony in weddings or the common practice of applying chandan or sandalwood paste, multani mitti or Fuller’s earth, raw milk, curd or fresh cream – and you’ll know that face packs are a huge part of Indian skincare traditions.
And, the best part is, it’s all-natural, purely organic, and beneficial for your skin. This is another reason why DIY face packs have come back in vogue. Cosmetic peels, face packs and moisturizers may say “natural” or “organic” on their labels, but they aren’t always safe for your skin, as a 2019 study in JAMA Dermatology indicates. It’s easier to just get a spoonful of turmeric from your kitchen and turn it into a face pack within minutes – and safer too.
The side effects of DIY face packs
But what many fail to understand is that DIY face packs have their own set of side effects too. Sure, they’re natural and safer than chemical-based skin care products, but that does not mean every pack will suit everyone. Peanuts are natural and yet there are people who are allergic to them. Similarly, ordinary ingredients with beneficial properties can harm you if you’re not cautious about what you use and how you use it.
This situation has probably been exacerbated by the internet being flooded with easy-to-make DIY face packs for all types of skin issues. From de-tanning to hair removal, acne reduction to natural moisturization – DIY face pack recipes for all types of problems you could or are facing are available. It’s likely that most of these DIY face packs will benefit you, but you need to be able to make the best choice for yourself to minimise the risk of harm and for optimum skin health. Use the following tips to make your DIY face pack choices:
- Don’t try everything
You might have received DIY face pack recipes and recommendations from friends but be mindful of your choices. If you try everything at once, how will you know what actually benefits you and what doesn’t? If you try three different packs or more in a week and get a skin rash, how will you know what to eliminate and what to keep? Pick a regimen and try it for a few months to fully grasp the effect on your skin.
- Get the proportions right
The recipe is there for a reason after all. You might think you don’t need to stick to the precise quantities mentioned or adding a pinch or two extra of something won’t make a difference, but it just might. For example, lemon juice may be good for your skin but if you add half a cup of it instead of the recommended half teaspoon or so, you could experience a severe allergic reaction.
- Skip potential irritants
If you’re trying DIY face packs for the first time, ensure that you test ingredients that may irritate your skin on a small patch near your elbow first. Usually, ingredients like honey, turmeric, yoghurt, coconut oil, aloe vera, olive oil, and avocados are considered to be safe. But others, like lemon, raw fruits, vegetable oil, spices like cinnamon, and even milk could be potential irritants, so use them with caution.
- Frequency matters
A face wash might be for daily use, but face packs definitely aren’t. Applying a face pack every day can harm your skin instead of making it look and feel better. No matter which DIY face mask you choose to use, don’t use it more than once a week.