Image Source: Flickr user Peyman Zehtab Fard
Pumpkin spice, Imma let you finish, but Halloween is over. As everyone knows, as soon as the clock strikes midnight on Nov. 1, it's pretty much fair game to get your Winter on. One way to get festive is by putting cinnamon in everything — your lattes, mulled wine, sugar cookies. Lo and behold, your face can also get in on the fun: turns out, the sweet spice both tastes great and kicks acne booty.
According to a 2013 study, when compared against a bevy of essential oils, cinnamon extract showed the highest antibacterial activity of them all. This is because the brown powder "[possesses] anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and clotting properties. It has been known to kill bacteria as well as fungi and viruses."
TLDR: this condiment basically kills acne. As someone who plans to put my face through a lot of eating (and drinking) this season, I plan to hit up Fresh Direct and order cinnamon in bulk.
As someone who plans to put my face through a lot of eating (and drinking) this season, I plant to hit up Fresh Direct and order cinnamon in bulk
The DIY beauty space is not my favorite corner of the Internet (remember that "put toothpaste on your pimples" debacle?) but I, was feeling a little spicy, so I dived in. I found a recipe from Snapguide that tickled my fancy — mostly because its only two ingredients were readily available in the POPSUGAR pantry.
All I needed to do, the Internet told me, was mix three tablespoons honey and one tablespoon cinnamon, then paint the goo onto my face. It sounded a tad too good to be true, so I reached out to NYC cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Howard Sobel for guidance. Cinnamon sugar in every bite is great for cereal, but did I really want to rub it into my money maker?
"That mixture has great moisturizing effects," Dr. Sobel wrote via email. "When used as a mask, it can exfoliate dead skin cells and make the skin brighter." Why? "Cinnamon is an herbal extract that can halt the growth of bacteria," he offered.
That was enough to make me want to jump in a vault of McCormick's Ground Cinnamon and live there until Spring like some kind of skincare groundhog, but Dr. Sobel urged me to go easy on the mask. For one, he said the mask should only be used "once or twice a week," and is best for mild acne.
When I asked him if cinnamon's healing properties gave me a blank check to drink all the spiced cocktails and sweet treats I wanted to this Winter, he let me know that, unfortunately, wasn't the case. "It's best applied topically" — so gorging yourself on Snickerdoodles doesn't count as a skincare step.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Alaina Demopoulos
Warning: things will get a little sticky and messy if you try this out. I smeared the sh*t on with my hair down for the purpose of a better selfie, but please don't be like me — tie those strands back! After I applied the mask, my face immediately began to tingle, much like the feeling that comes with using other detox products.
After five minutes, I sloughed it all off — and it was hard work. Four makeup removing wipes and one wash cloth all lost their lives to the endeavor of removing this mask. And as I write this now, I'm still picking errant flecks of cinnamon off of my face.
My face was pretty red afterwards, like it would be post-peel. But, once that subsided, I started feeling my skin — and I couldn't stop! I had transformed from a dull, Winter-ravaged monster into a soft-skinned, bright-faced wonder who is totally ready for post-work martinis.
I found this to be a super effective, quick pick-me-up for my skin. Only continued use will tell if it actually clears my acne (there is, unfortunately, no quick fix for that). Still, I definitely feel much more invigorated after my quick brush with living life as a cinnamon roll.