We're all familiar with garlic as a pungent cooking herb, but it has also been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine. In modern times, it has been proven to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, making it a useful substance for anyone interested in choosing natural medicines over artificial substances created in labs with dubious side effects. Garlic, with its antibacterial properties, can help treat a wide variety of skin ailments, including acne. Making a garlic astringent and applying it to your face can reduce the amount of bacteria on your skin, reducing the severity of existing acne and preventing new pimples from forming. The following recipe is for a standard-sized batch of astringent. You will need 4 to 5 large garlic cloves, 4 ounces of water, a small jar to hold the finished astringent, and optionally, a few teaspoons of alcohol or witch hazel and a few drops of essential oil.
- Peel the garlic cloves and finely chop them.
- Infuse the garlic into the water. Some people do this through boiling them together for 5 to 10 minutes, but others believe that this destroys many of the garlic's beneficial compounds. If you choose not to boil it, you can instead let the garlic infuse by mixing it with water, mashing it with a spoon to help it diffuse, and letting it soak in the water for 48 hours. For a compromise, you can boil it for less time (or zap it in the microwave just until boiling) and then allow it to soak for 48 hours.
- Strain the mixture, using a tea strainer, a coffee filter, or cheese cloth to remove the garlic pulp. You can discard the pulp or save it to use as a poultice on problem areas of your face.
- You may want to mix in a little rubbing alcohol or witch hazel to kill more bacteria. Also, adding a few drops of essential oil will make the mixture smell better.
Depending on how often you use the astringent, you may want to make a larger or smaller batch. After washing your face, apply the astringent to your face once or twice a day using a cotton ball. If you find it too harsh, dilute it with a little water or apply it less often. This garlic astringent can be used to treat other skin afflictions, including warts, as well. Store it in your refrigerator up to two weeks.