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DIY: Skin Clearing, Healing, and Exfoliating Mask (aloe, MSM, niacin) – Great for problem skin, uneven pigment, and aging…

by Lisa on February 28, 2012

niacin msm aloe facial

If you haven’t previously noticed, I have a penchant for trying new natural skin care ideas. Over time, I’ve uncovered some of the things that caused my skin to be less than stellar, and it’s a great feeling to have (mostly) figured things out for now. I previously posted about some of the things I do for my skin and an exfoliating facial that I use often (it involved bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar, and I still love it. But I love this new one even more!).

I’m always on a quest to do certain things for my skin:

1. Keep it clear

2. Keep the pigment even (I had melasma–the doctor told me it was “permanent” uneven pigment on my face, that was spontaneously caused by birth control pills and worsened by sun exposure. I spent two years “fixing” it without pharmaceuticals. But even pigment efforts also apply to age spots, normal discoloration or unevenness, and some sun-induced freckles too)

3. Brighten, repair and exfoliate


The facial I came up with is a great complement to what I’m already doing (chlorella supplements, clarisonic, aloe/witch hazel toner, cultured veggies, MSM in my water, apple cider vinegar, infrared sauna…and probably more…).

Take an aloe leaf (if you can get one, and filet it so you can remove a chunk of gel).


If you don’t have access to aloe leaves (if you’re in the Rochester area, sometimes they have them in Pittsford Wegmans, but not always), buy aloe gel (whole leaf). Check out the ingredients too, sometimes there are parabens or alcohol and you don’t want that! Lily of the desert is a good brand.

Here are the brands I have been using lately (I bought the MSM online, but the other two at Lori’s Natural Foods in Rochester):

MSM, Niacin (+flush), Aloe gel

Niacin is known for its skin clearing effects when taken internally and when used topically. (I use the contents of 3 capsules because I can’t find the powder locally, which adds up to 1500mg. This is a lot–you’ll want to start with less and work up to no more than 1 tsp, especially if you haven’t experienced the “flush” yet).

MSM powder is known for its skin building and repairing ability. It also is a detoxifier and improves elasticity of all connective tissue (it makes me more bendy in yoga–I swear!). It can be used for arthritis and other joint issues too. If you have MSM pills, you could probably chop them up in a coffee grinder!

Aloe is known for its healing properties, inside and outside of the body. It is a digestive system soother and toner (but don’t drink too much, or it will act like Draino!). It is also used (quite successfully by several of my clients) for acid reflux.



Do you ever do facials or skin treatments at home?

In the past, I had all kinds of skin treatments done at spas, but I’ve honestly found that the ones I do at home work just as well and they don’t have any strange chemicals! Plus, they’re much cheaper.

Please note, the niacin will make your skin red—start small with that ingredient! Make sure not to buy the no-flush niacin, as that kind won’t cause the capillary dilation!

Please let me know if you try it!

niacin msm aloe facial 1

And coming tomorrow….a recipe for the flourless cookies I made up today, plus, I want to add an accessory to them (I mean, besides coffee). But I ate quite a bit of dough and 3 cookies…so I need to wait till I’m hungry again.

Peanut butter cookies, flourless and low sugar option
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  • Lauren George

    Your facial sounds amazing!! My skin has been acting up a little lately so maybe I’ll give it a try! Flourless cookies!!! I can’t wait!!

  • meri

    I haven’t done a face mask/ exfoliation since I think high school or junior high. It looks indulgent!

  • Alyse

    Ooh I’m very interested in your experience evening out your pigment. I freckle and spot easily, thanks to having basically transparent skin. I don’t mind the way it looks – I just worry that it’s not the healthiest state for my skin. 

  • Anonymous

    Looking forward to that recipe!  I have a big aloe plant, but I’ve only ever used it for sunburns.  I still remember reading on your blog about drinking aloe juice…I think it’s time to be more adventurous with my plant!

  • cathy@1970kikiproject

    i love aloe gel! i picked up a bottle in aruba last year (they make their own and it is a huge industry on the island) and am just getting to the end (a sign i need to go back – haha!). however, i just cannot fathom drinking aloe!
    thanks for sharing about what your skin goals are, what you’ve done, and of course – the new recipe! i am lucky in that i have not had breakouts since my teen years, and even then, it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for adolescent skin. at this time, i do feel a difference in my skin since giving up diet coke – can’t wait for summer and the drying impact of winter air to be gone! good luck with the new addition to your skin routine, lis! i love how you are always experimenting, looking for new improvements.
    can’t wait to see tomorrow’s recipe!

  • Gen

    How interesting!! I definitely want to try this mask out soon!

  • Heather (Where’s the Beach)

    Thanks for sharing the exfoliating recipe. And can I have one of those cookies now please? Love PB cookies ;-)

  • Pure2raw twins

    looks great for a skin mask! love all those ingredients! we have being doing MSM in water for a while now and love it!

  • Jane

    Very cool!  I use aloe and apple cider vinegar all the time on my face, and love my clarisonic!  I’m trying to be nicer to my face and use natural products, so I will definitely give this a try!  The cookies are cute!

  • Brittany

    I was just talking about doing a mask, exfoliating style facial rub with Manfriend the other day. This one sounds wonderful, and natural (the best part.) My face felt cleansed just reading about it. Those cookies also look delicious. YUUMM.

  • Anonymous

    I had gotten monthly facials the 6 months before my wedding in 2010. Since then, I’ve gotten a few, but haven’t recently. I do my own mini facials at home!
    I have this natural mud mask that Maria gave me but I forget the exact name of it! I really want to try this and will look for all this ingredients soon!

    I have very uneven skin tones on my chin because of acne scars so maybe this would help even them out a bit!

    Oh and those cookies look yummy. Recipe please! :-)

  • Lisakthrives

    I’m gonna post the cookie recipe tonight…I made a vanilla cream to sandwich them with, and it turned out even better than I thought!
    I think this facial will help with acne scars…or at least with the discoloration that is left behind. I swear my skin is so soft and wonderful after this facial, I have to concentrate on keeping my hands off it (cuz it feels amazing!) so I don’t sabotage the results! One reason I think it’s good (besides all the healing and repairing, and the release of toxins from dilated capillaries) because it does not disrupt the natural balance of the skin. I think about the facials I used to get—with the chemicals used, and how they MUST have seeped into my blood stream (actually I have proof of that, because I had one treatment for the pigment issues before I went “natural” that, over time, caused the white parts of my fingernails to turn brown…and it left a permanent mark on the nail bed of my left pinky. My doctor told me it was nail fungus—I disagreed and got pissed off b/c I had already ruled that out, and researched it myself, and found a side effect of the chemical was the finger nail thing. I stopped. It went away in a few weeks.). Anyway, I’m kind of wondering if there could be some benefit of probiotics included too…maybe not even as a part of the facial mask, but afterward. Still searching info on that one!
    On Wed 29/02/12 13:55 , “Disqus”

  • Faith

    Thanks for sharing your skin routine!  I’ve seen aloe at the grocery store before, and next time I do I’ll pick some up. 

    Those cookies look amazing!

  • Brianne

    I don’t usually have the time or interest in doing different facial treatments.  I am just looking forward to the cookie recipe :-)

  • hännah @ dishesanddishes

    I love trying new homemade body care products and this looks like a winner.  Can’t wait to try it!

  • 3 Lac

    Now people are use a several kind of product for screen clearing matter. I prefer to use a certified product to glow my screen.  These are saw some popular facial product which is useful to glow our skin.

  • Olivia

    I can’t wait to try this. I also wanted to ask if you’ve ever used tallow balm for the skin discoloration a brought on by melasma. I’ve been making my own and both my mother and a good friend have seen amazing results in just a couple weeks of using it. You should try it!

  • Lisakthrives

    Thanks for sharing that with me! I will definitely try it.

    On Sun 19/01/14 09:59 , “Disqus” sent:

  • Maureen

    I just recently found out about Niacin added to your facial protocol. I like your mask protocol.
    I would love for you to share with me, what amount of Niacin (Tablet/Capsules) would you recommend be added to 8 oz’s of Facial cream, (I just bought a CeraVe cream and can’t afford not to use it).

    Your wonderful knowledge in this area is inspiring. Thank You for sharing you wonderful recipes, etc.

  • Lisakthrives

    Hi Maureen! Since I’m not totally familiar with that facial cream, I would say taking the experimental method is probably best at first. So, at first just put a dollop of cream into a small bowl and then add the contents of one capsule of niacin and mix it together. The number of capsules you add depends on the amount of niacin in each capsule and it’s probably best to experiment with just a little the first time so you can see what type of results you get. It’s better to use not enough than too much while you’re figuring it out! Plus, if you experiment that way, you can save on using too much niacin and wasting it. If it doesn’t give you the results you want, you could try adding more the next time, etc. The ingredients in the cream will play a big role in how it works (I’m guessing) compared to the aloe/MSM combo. If it works well, I’d love to hear about it!

    On Wed 05/02/14 16:23 , “Disqus” sent:

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