When it comes to DIY beauty, treatments that really work are rare delights. A honey-and-nutmeg mask is one of these: soothing, fragrant and quite effective against acne scars. Honey and nutmeg each has curative properties that help to prevent infection and reduce swelling, and may actually help new skin growth. This can mean smoother, less obvious acne marks at a fraction of the price you'd pay for a commercial remedy.
Effects of Honey
Honey is more than delicious: it has demonstrated medicinal benefits. Though it's been used in traditional healing for centuries, it has not been thoroughly studied in modern medicine. A recent review published in the Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing found that honey is widely demonstrated to have antibacterial properties, with some types of honey actually being sold as therapeutic agents. In addition, there is some evidence that honey can actually help your skin heal from wounds. When applied to acne spots, honey may stop swelling by killing any infection, and make your scars heal more quickly and smoothly than they would otherwise.
Effects of Nutmeg
Nutmeg contains several potent substances, one of which is mace or Myristica fragrans. A study published in the Journal of Natural Products found that mace "exhibited strong antifungal and antibacterial activities." Ayurvedic medicine promotes nutmeg for its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties; in fact, it's traditionally been used to treat eczema and other skin conditions. Like honey, nutmeg can reduce the infection and swelling around your clogged pores, resulting in smaller spots and smoother scars.
To make a honey and nutmeg mask, combine 1 tsp. ground nutmeg with 1 tsp. honey. Apply to your face gently, without rubbing--or apply a small amount directly to acne spots. Leave on for 30 minutes, then wash off carefully.
You can apply this mask during or after a breakout, or when your skin is clear. If you're sensitive, be very careful not to rub the mask in, as the nutmeg can hurt your face. Use this mask two or three times a week at most. According to beauty blogger Viva Woman, this treatment soothed her acne almost immediately, and lightened scars slowly over time. BellaSugar called this treatment "a minor miracle," saying its effects were visible within just a few weeks.
Nutmeg in particular is a strong astringent, and may be too harsh for sensitive skin. If you're sensitive, test this treatment on a small section of skin, or leave on for less than 30 minutes. Follow with a moisturizer: Viva Woman recommends aloe or emu oil. While you're using this mask, avoid exfoliating your face; over-exfoliating can cause dryness, sensitivity and damage.
Honey is naturally drippy, and this mask may stain; wear clothing that can handle being dripped on, and be sure to have a towel at hand.
Viva Woman and BellaSugar both recommend adding cinnamon to your treatment. Cinnamon adds to the antifungal and astringent effects of the mask, while increasing its exfoliation potential. However, it also increases the potential for stains and may be painful to sensitive skin. To add, mix 1 tsp. of ground cinnamon into your treatment; apply as normal.
Some recommend adding lemon juice as a skin lightener. However, Viva Woman found that the lemon caused painful stinging and photosensitivity.
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- J Wound Ostomy Continence Nurs.; Honey: A potent agent for wound healing?; PE Lusby, et al.; Nov. 2002
- Journal of Natural Products; Isolation and characterization of two antimicrobial agents from mace (Myristica fragrans); KY Orabi, et al.; May-Jun 1991
- AyurvedicCure.com: Health Benefits of Aromatic Nutmeg
- Viva Woman: DIY Beauty: Cinnamon & Nutmeg Acne Mask
An award-winning blogger, Jessica Blue has been promoting sustainability, natural health and a do-it-yourself attitude since graduating University of California, Berkeley in 2000. Her work, seen in a wide variety of publications, advocates an environmentally-responsible and healthy lifestyle.