Evaluating 9 Ingredients that Arab Skincare Gurus Swear By
By Emily Tain/Arab America Contributing Writer
During quarantine, hundreds of thousands of teens and young adults have been obsessed with skincare. Whether it is because of viral TikTok aestheticians like Hyram or simply due to having more free time in the day, this investment in personal health can be great for those with problematic skin. While there are some amazing products on the market these days, many consumers are looking to save money while taking care of their skin. This is why I wanted to take a closer look at Arab skincare “hacks.”
YouTubers like Daniela M Biah have made a myriad of videos explaining the advantages of traditional Arab skincare routines. While there are great benefits to homemade remedies, some are not as safe as they seem. I have evaluated popular Arab skincare ingredients you probably already have at home, and from this created a list of 9 ingredients and their pros and cons. Click on the numbers to find out more.
1. Baking Soda
Though it is often used in conjunction with other ingredients, baking soda is easily the most harmful remedy on this list. Chemically, sodium bicarbonate is just too basic to use on your skin. The skin has a natural pH that leans acidic; something as basic as baking soda can easily alter this pH. It also strips your skin of its natural oils that form a barrier of protection as well as eliminates the healthy bacteria that work to prevent acne and infections. While it may be great for cleaning your sink, baking soda should not be applied to your face.
2. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice contains some beneficial ingredients, like vitamin C, citric acid, and vitamin B3. Looking deeper, however, reveals a plethora of harmful chemicals in lemons that greatly outweigh the few benefits. For example, chemicals like psoralens and furanocoumarins have adverse effects when exposed to sunlight, leading to chemical burns. Lemon also has properties that lead to skin lightening; the phenomenon is referred to as chemical leukoderma. It becomes even worse when applied unevenly, as patches of light spots can appear randomly on the skin. In this instance, the cons outweigh the pros of using lemon juice on your skin.
3. Olive Oil
One of the most popular DIY cosmetic ingredients, olive oil, can be used for virtually anything. Whether or not it is truly beneficial for the skin is difficult to determine. As the Cosmopolitan article suggests, some studies have shown that olive oil is prone to clogging pores. This stoppage can lead to a weakened oil barrier and water loss. However, olive oil is also a natural anti-inflammatory and high in healthy antioxidants. Because of this balance, most skin care professionals suggest leaving olive oil out of your skincare routine.
Seeing benefits from using yogurt highly depends on the type of yogurt you use. Cosmetologists suggest using plain or Greek unflavored yogurt, as flavored yogurt has too many unnecessary and unhelpful ingredients. When using the right yogurt, the benefits seem boundless. For example, studies have seen yogurt brighten, tone, and moisturize skin. Using it as a mask can definitely be advantageous as long as you have the right product.
Though it is highly debated in the skincare community, turmeric is a staple for many home remedies. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties make it alluring along with its ability to help with acne scarring. However, it is temperamental and must be used with caution. Not only does it metabolize quickly, but it also can react with medications you are taking. It is for this reason that dermatologists suggest talking to a professional before starting to use the product.
Despite the work necessary to use them in skincare, bananas offer endless benefits to both skin and bodily health. Some effects include anti-aging, anti-acne, oil control, deep moisture, and protection from UV damage. As described in the Bellatory article, bananas can be turned into moisturizer, exfoliants, face masks, and spot correctors. One thing to watch out for is the ripeness of the banana, as this can affect the texture. All in all, bananas are a great treatment for your skin.
7. Argan Oil
When it comes to argan oil, the benefits are boundless. Reducing dark spots, erasing fine lines, brightening the face, and minimizing inflammation are just some of the few things argan oil can do to your skin. The only consideration you need to make is the quality of the argan oil you purchase. Most dermatologists agree that using cold-pressed oil is the only way to reap the benefits fully.
While its sticky consistency might seem unappealing to apply to the face, honey has endless benefits for the skin. The oldest skin care product there is honey cleanses, moisturizes, and nurtures the skin. Its low pH is to thank, as most bacteria cannot survive within it. Similar to argan oil, the quality of the honey is very important: you cannot use standard store-bought honey. After grabbing a jar of raw, local honey, try using it as a cleanser in the shower!
9. Rose Water
Similarly to honey, rose water is one of the oldest skincare products, as it dates back to the Middle Ages at the very latest. Some of the benefits your skin can reap from using rose water are soothed skin, reduction of redness, and healed wounds and cuts. Like most of the other ingredients on this list, you can also consume or apply rose water to other parts of the body for additional benefits. If you decide to make your own, be sure to use fresh and organic flowers.
Skincare is a very individualized process, as everyone’s skin differs. Be sure to do your research and find out what products are best for you and your skin!
Check out Arab America’s blog here!