If your acne isn’t responding to typical treatments, step away from the harsh cleansers and salicylic acid creams and open up your kitchen cabinets instead. Cinnamon and honey are two traditional folk remedies for bacterial and fungal infections. Mixed together, they may have the zit-zapping power you need.
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Causes of Acne
Acne would be easier to fight if there were just one cause; however, there are three contributing factors that can lead to breakouts. You’re headed for trouble when your skin produces too much oil, when dead skin cells get trapped in your skin’s hair follicles and when you experience a buildup of bacteria. All three causes lead to plugged hair follicles, which become blackheads or whiteheads. If the follicle becomes infected beneath the skin, you’ll develop a cyst; if the infection is on top of the skin, you’ll develop a pimple.
Honey as an Acne Treatment
Honey is a natural antibacterial agent made up of sugar and water. According to the University of Waikato in New Zealand, the sugar and water molecules bind to each other so tightly that few water molecules are left over to bind with nearby bacteria, inhibiting their growth. Honey also has a low pH; the University of Waikato reports that most formulations fall between 3.2 and 4.5, far too low for bacterial species such as E. coli, Salmonella and Streptococcus. Since one of acne’s causes is an overgrowth of bacteria, many home remedies include honey to tamp that growth back down to normal levels. Honey is also also useful in home acne remedies because it provides your skin with natural nourishment and moisture, unlike some commercial acne products that can by drying.
Cinnamon as an Acne Treatment
Like honey, cinnamon has anti-microbial properties and can halt the growth of bacteria and fungi. According to the MedlinePlus, cinnamon’s beneficial properties come from the chemical cinnamaldehyde found in the plant that may have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Cassia cinnamon is used in topical remedies such as skin liniments and suntan lotion.
Cinnamon and Honey Acne Mask
To make your own cinnamon and honey acne treatment, mix the two ingredients into a paste. Specialty honey retailer Manuka Honey suggests blending 3 tbsp. honey with 1 tsp. cinnamon powder and leaving the mixture on your face for an hour before rinsing it off with warm water.
Test for Allergies
Before using a homemade cinnamon and honey mask, prepare a small batch and do a patch test on your inner arm to be sure you’re not allergic. Cinnamon is an often overlooked allergen and cases of contact dermatitis can be sparked by cinnamon oil, cinnamon toothpaste and cinnamon chewing gum.