Oatmeal with honey, ground sesame seeds and almonds…sounds like a delicious breakfast, right? But Omi Valiante says these organic ingredients can sooth redness, inflammation, and breakouts—when applied to your face. Along with a half-dozen massage therapists, Omi is one of two aestheticians at Vida Organic Wellness Center in Seal Beach, where all the skincare products are derived from organic plant ingredients.
Omi explains why these all-natural concoctions might be a better choice over even high-end skincare products. “If you’re using products that are too harsh for your face, you are creating sensitive skin,” says Omi. “Many anti-aging products—even some that are organic—contain sulphuric acids that dry the skin.” Many people overuse products specially designed to remove age spots, which creates rough spots on the face and can even cause scarring, she says. When skin becomes sensitized, it can be rashy and inflamed, or develop breakouts and even rosacea.
Vida has found the antidote to harsh products in a skincare line called Ilike. These all-natural products are made in small batches from organic plants in Hungary. “Each product is specifically geared toward a particular skin type,” Omi says. Sensitive skin, for example, gets pampered with the rosehip and rose petal line. And at Vida, Omi can custom-mix a peel made of fresh, raw ingredients especially for your skin.
But your home kitchen can be a great place to start treating your skin more gently and naturally. Honey works as a gentle cleanser with calming, anti-inflammatory properties. “The great thing about using honey is how it feels like velvet on your face,” Omi says. Just mix a little with water between your fingers, apply to the face, and rinse. Try the locally produced and incredibly delicious Honey Pacifica Creamy Wildflower raw honey, available at southern California farmers’ markets and Whole Foods.
For a gentle—and delicious—exfoliating mask at home, try Omi’s yogurt power peel. Simply stir up ½ cup Greek yogurt and spread on your face, leave on for 15 to 20 minutes, and rinse. For dry skin, mix in one tablespoon of honey. The yogurt’s lactic acid hydrates and exfoliates your skin, removing built-up keratin layers. Make sure to use plain Greek yogurt, and full-fat if possible, as it’s less processed than reduced-fat yogurt.
Teens are also vulnerable to skin damage from harsh products. Kids with acne “think they have acneic, oily skin, but it’s actually the complete opposite.” Trying to combat the oil, they use skin-drying products. “They’re completely stripping their face of its normal oils.” When this happens, she says, skin tries to replace the oil and doubles production. This excess oil clogs the follicles and causes blackheads and blemishes.
People often think they have oily skin when it’s really dry. To know if your skin is dry, wash your face and feel your skin afterwards without any product. If it has that feeling like it might crack, your face is crying out for more moisture. Olive oil is another home ingredient Omi says works “like a cure-all; it’s full of anti-oxidants that fight free radicals to fight aging in your skin.” And unlike most skincare products, “it doesn’t just sit on top; it penetrates your skin.” Use organic extra-virgin olive oil.
For those worried that all this food on your face will lead to trouble, Omi assures you, “it won’t clog your follicles. You’re not going to experience any breakouts, unless you have food allergies.” Try these natural skincare alternatives, and see how natural foods can nourish from the outside as well as in.