1. Spot Fix To banish pimples and blemishes, dab neat tea tree oil onto the problem area. Appy three times a day until it clears. To take the redness out of spots, dab on some eyedrop solution.
2. Refreshing Tonic Decant toner or some rose water into a spray bottle and store in the fridge. Spritz it over your complexion on a hot day, as a pick-me-up or use after applying make-up.
3. Liver Spots Small patches of dark pigmentation that appear on the skin, especially on the face and hands, are known as liver spots. They are usually the result of excessive sun exposure and can appear at any age. Try skin-lightening preparations (preferably those containing natural lightening ingredients) or consult a dermatologist who may recommend a laser treatment or chemical peel to remove the spots.
4. Weather Vain Avoid using water-based moisturizers during the winter months if your skin is exposed to harsh weather conditions as they can literally freeze on the skin. Use an oil-based formula.
5. Keep Smiling Children smile on average 400 times a day, whereas adults only manage 15. Smiling tightens the connective tissue around your mouth which helps to maintain the shape of your face.
6. Healthy Brew Drinking green tea can help prevent the ageing process as it is a rich source of powerful antioxidants. For best results, allow a tea bag to steep in hot water for three minutes before drinking.
7. Keeping Clean Always wash face cloths with hot water after using to remove residues of soaps and impurities, and put them through the washing machine once a week.
8. Monthly Matters Due to hormonal fluctuations, your skin naturally becomes oilier when you're premenstrual, so do not use aggressive products to mop up excess oil. Instead, cleanse your skin thoroughly and use an oil-free moisturizer. If skin is very oily, do not use moisturizer for a few days. Avoid facials while menstruating as skin is more sensitive and prone to break-outs in the days following a facial. Use oil-free make-up and invest in powdered papers to blot away excess oil.
9. Sugar Strife Eating sugary snacks can accelerate the ageing process. Research has shown consuming high levels of sugar can prompt collagen changes and this leads to skin sagging and wrinkles.
10. Bacteria Busters Avoid using antibacterial products as new research suggests they can damage the body's natural defence mechanism. These products may also create new strains of resistant bacteria.
11. Banish Blackheads Contrary to popular belief, blackheads are not an accumulation of dirt. They are caused by sebum blocking the hair follicles and attain their color when the sebum is exposed to air and oxidizes. To help prevent blackheads occurring, exfoliate regularly, steam your face once a week and apply a deep-cleansing face mask to keep pores from becoming blocked.
12. Label Alert When you are looking at the ingredients list on a product label, remember that the first 5-10 ingredients are usually the ones most abundant in the formula and the ones that affect the skin the most.
13. Fine Line If your skin is prone to breaking out in spots and blemishes around your hairline and forehead, stop using hair styling products for a while and see if it makes a difference. These preparations attract dirt which can cause a build-up on the skin.
14. Invigorating Boost Sluggish circulation and inefficient lymphatic drainage causes waste to build up, which can lead to break-outs and dull-looking skin. To ensure this does not happen, treat yourself to a regular facial massage when applying your moisturizer to boost lymph flow. Pinch the ear lobes between the thumb and forefinger and starting at the chin, press the pads of the fingers along the jaw line to the ear lobe (there is a lymph gland there which filters out toxins). Then, in circular motions, massage the cheeks and nose, working up the face and over the forehead.
15. Handy Advice Every time you put your fingers in a pot of face cream, you could be contaminating the product with bacteria and therefore shortening its longevity. Look for skincare preparations in pump-dispensing jars.
16. Blocked Pores If you are prone to break-outs, avoid using preparations which are very greasy, oil-based or contain mineral oil, as these are reputed to block the skin's pores. When choosing skincare products, look for those that have 'non-comedogenic' on the labels to ensure they do not clog the pores.
17. Sun Shelter Don't be fooled into thinking sun exposure is a simple solution to banishing pimples. Aside from the detrimental effects of the sun, ultraviolet light will only temporarily suppress oil production in the sebaceous glands. But 9-12 days later, the oil-producing glands go into overdrive to compensate for the sun exposure and the condition will become worse. Always protect your skin with a sunscreen - even on a cloudy day as ultraviolet light penetrates the clouds.
18. Puffy Eyes Consuming too much salt overloads the kidneys, preventing them from filtering fluids properly. This can lead to fluid retention, which may cause bags under the eyes. Reduce darkness and puffiness by placing two cold tea bags or two slices of cucumber over the eye area for 15 minutes. Cucumber is a rich source of minerals and water and the juice can also be used as an eyedrop solution for tired, irritated eyes.
19. Soap Suds Aside from the drying effect of many soaps, they can leave an alkaline residue after rinsing. This interferes with the effectiveness of moisturizer.
20. Natural Treat Honey is a great moisturizer for all skin types. For a conditioning treat, work some runny honey into clean skin, using small circular motions. Dip your fingertips into warm water and continue massaging for a few minutes. Rinse with warm water and pat the skin dry.
21. Facial Exfoliator Don't splash out on fancy exfoliators when one ripe papaya will do the job. It contains an enzyme called papain, which dissolves keratin, the hardened protein that binds dead cells to the skin's surface. Rub the fleshy part of the fruit over the face and neck for a few minutes and rinse with tepid water.
22. Lip Saver If your lips tend to be dry and flakey, exfoliate and hydrate regularly. Smooth on petroleum jelly and use an old toothbrush to gently rub the lips. This will remove any superfluous skin. Finish with lip balm to protect and hydrate.
23. Shelf Life Most products come with a use-by date. If not, take note if preparations have a funny smell or if they have separated as it's a good indication the product has 'gone off'. Never use products if you think they are past their prime - you run the risk of causing sensitivity or an allergic reaction.