acne-safe guide to natural skin care trends

– by kerry watson
with all the natural skin care trends that fill up our social media feeds each day how do we know which ones are safe for our acne-prone skin. here’s a quick list of do’s and don’t’s to help you navigate the world of fad fabulous DIY natural skin care.
DON’T
“natural” trends to avoid:
100% apple cider vinegar (ACV) or 100% lemon juice: these are both very acidic and can cause burning of sensitive acne-prone skin. there are safe natural ways to hydrate and tone the skin that won’t cause burning or breakouts and these are not them.
the oil cleansing method (OCM): unfortunately, most of the oils used in the OCM are cloggy. coconut oil is a super popular example. it happens to be highly comedogenic (pore clogging) so stay away.
essential oils on the skin: most essential oils have not been tested for comedogenicity (rate of clogging the pores, producing acne) so we suggest avoiding using these directly on areas that tend to breakout. also, essential oils are too concentrated to use neat or without diluting first and most of the oils used to dilute essential oils happen to be cloggy. safflower or sunflower oils are the only acne-safe ones that we have come across. so if you are using essential oils on your skin, dilute them first and only apply them to areas that don’t get acne. the one exception is tea tree oil which can be used undiluted as a careful spot treatment for inflamed acne breakouts. all you need is apply one drop on a q-tip and then dab the inflamed spot gently.
clay masks: these sound like a good idea for acne; they are drying, detoxifying and natural. unfortunately, they are way too drying and can cause too much blood flow to rush to the surface of the skin. this can increase inflammation and can damage the fragile capillaries that lay just beneath the skin’s surface. no clay mask until your skin is all cleared up and then only keep them on the skin for a couple minutes, never allowing the clay to completely dry out on the skin.
facial steams: another good sounding thing for acne-prone skin: opening up the pores, hydrating, detoxifying – nope, don’t do it! especially if you tend to suffer from inflamed acne breakouts. the heat from the steam will make the inflammation worse. think of putting a heating pad on a sprained ankle. it’s just going to make everything swell up. your esthetician might use steam during your professional acne treatment but only if your skin clearly indicates that it would be beneficial. nine times out of ten it’s not.
manual scrubs and brushes: when it comes to acne-prone skin, exfoliation is key but not all types of exfoliation are the same or even recommended for acneic skin. chemical exfoliation in the form of peel, active toners and serums can work wonders on acne prone skin. physical exfoliation in the form of scrubs and brushes, though fine for some, are not always a good idea for all. scrubbing sensitive inflamed skin with active inflamed breakouts is going to make the inflammation worse and can cause lesions to burst open spreading bacteria to other parts of the face.
not washing your face: if you are working on managing your acenic skin, you are going to have to use a mild acne-safe cleanser twice a day. not washing your face will allow dirt, sweat and oils to sit on your skin which may not cause issues for some folks but if you are acne prone you need a more attentive skin care regimen which will most definitely include cleansing.
DO:
“natural” trends that are safe:
manuka honey:  manuka honey or any nice raw honey is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. you can use it as a mask all over or just apply it to inflamed breakouts. leave it on or up to 30 minutes and then rinse off with warm water.
collagen powder: it’s a great daily food supplement for the skin. we wrote a whole post on it. check it out here.
rosewater: looking for a gentle hydrating toner for your sensitive acne prone skin? try rosewater or rose hydrosol. it smells delicious and it’s great for any skin type because it’s hydrating, calming and slightly astringent. if you are struggling to control or manage your acne you may need an active toner with exfoliating ingredients. rosewater is a safe bet for cleared up acne prone skin but it may not be the best choice for active acneic conditions.
icing: icing is the best way to control inflammation topically. just as we would ice a sprained ankled or broken arm, we can ice the face to bring down inflammation. inflamed acne can quickly be reduced by icing at least twice a day for up to 30 minutes at a time. in addition to it’s anti-inflammatory action, icing the skin creates micro fissures in the skin, that allow the active ingredients in skin care products to penetrate deeper into the pore where acne starts to form.

celebrate skinSALVATION’s 9th birthday with us!

skinSALVATION is celebrating 9 years of helping empower people with the tools that they need to get, and keep, clear skin FOR LIFE. we would love for you to join us in our celebration on march 25th from 3pm – 6pm. we will have cocktails, an acne-safe and soy-free noodle bar from mau vietnamese restaurant, and hundreds of dollars of gifts from skinSALVATION, kabuki spa, mateo’s taqueria and more. come hang out with kim and the entire skinSALVATION crew and let’s have a great time!

 

you had me at tadasana!

by: kerry watson

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need a little yoga in your life? we’ve found the perfect thing! it’s the down dog yoga app! i have been meaning to get myself into better physical shape for many months now and after many failed attempts i’ve finally found this awesome app. it’s free, fun and something that i think i can stick to. it’s like having a private yoga class in the comfort of my own living room. i love the music and the routines. you can choose from yoga flow or restorative and there are beginner and intermediate options for both. you can choose the length and pace of your practice as well. i’ve been doing 30 minutes a day at the normal pace.

sticking to a regular yoga practice is a great way to calm and balance the stress response which helps to control inflammation. it also helps to improve sleep which has a positive effect on the skin. the other apps that we’ve found to be helpful with stress management are insighttimer and headspace. these are great mindfulness mediation apps. insighttimer is my personal fave. you can search for different guided mediations. i love to do the true north sleep mediation right before bed. here it is on youtube as well. it works like a charm anytime i’m having trouble falling or staying asleep.

 

sugar free february! (team sS is doing the candida cleanse)

maintaining a healthy balance of microorganisms within the body helps us have strong immune systems, productive digestion and clear skin. if these microorganisms are disrupted by an overgrowth of candida, it can throw everything off and can prevent you from achieving the acne free complexion that you desire. if you think that you may have candida you have a couple of options:

  1. see a naturopathic doctor who can run a test in office
  2. do a test at home by purchasing a diy kit from nutritionaltestingkits.com which you send in to have the test completed
  3. just do the diet. the most cost effective route but it takes a little will power to do a diet without knowing if you actually have a candida overgrowth. bonus* even if you don’t have candida, the diet is pretty great for your skin and body over all.

the entire skin SALVATION team has decided to do the candida diet for the month of february. kim and i have done tests and neither of us have a candida overgrowth problem however, we are excited to eliminate sugar from our diet for the month to reset and feel great.

throughout the month of february we will be blogging weekly meal plans, how we are feeling and photos of our skin. we will be posting on instagram with #sugarfreefebruary #candidacleanse and #healthybodyclearskin. follow us @skinsalvationsf. you can also find great candida safe recipes on our pinterest board.

we invite you to join us on this journey to clear(er) skin and healthier bodies. 

wishing you joy and happiness,

team sS

whole 30

happy wednesday sS family!

this week kim, kerry and i are embarking on a back to basics diet called whole30. whole30 is pretty much the acne safe diet taken to the next level. the idea is to strip your diet of dairy, grains, legumes, and sugar for 30 days. these foods can be difficult to digest, inflammatory and not to mention – potentially acne causing! swapping these ingredients for real whole foods allows the body can repair and rebuild.

it starts with food

here are the rules:

  1. no added sugar of any kind, real or artificial (that includes honey, agave, and stevia)
  2. no alcohol in any form (even for cooking)
  3. no grains
  4. no legumes
  5. no dairy
  6. no additives like carrageenan, msg, or sulfites
  7. do not try to recreate baked goods, junk food, or “treats” with approved ingredients (maybe the number one difference between whole30 and paleo)
  8. you aren’t allowed to step on the scale or take body measurements throughout the 30 days, although you can before and after.

find the complete list of rules, grocery shopping list, and helpful tips by falling this link to whole30.com.

why are we doing the whole30?

kim: “i am doing it for health reasons – it was prescribed by my naturopath, and to lose some weight (pre-diabetic blood sugar levels).  also, i have noticed sensitivities when i eat certain foods that i shouldn’t, so that’s a good motivator too, to not feel sick, bloated, allergies or get headaches.”

liesse: “to be the most clear and healthy version of myself. it has been very empowering to get my acne under control but along the way i fell off of the exercise bandwagon. i’m coupling the whole30 diet with a new gym membership to get my body and mind in tip top shape.”

kerry: “weight loss and energy gain!”

i am making this awesome one pot meal for dinner tonight! click the image for the recipe. i’ll be using homemade bone broth and bacon fat instead of butter.

Baked-Chicken-with-Spinach-and-Artichokes-by-Diethood

if you have stubborn inflammatory acne or digestive issues that are influencing your skin, the whole30 diet is a great way to press the reset button on your body. if you are interested in joining us on our journey to sustainable health and clear skin, follow us on instagram @skinsalvationacneclinic or email liesse@skinsalvationsf.com

cheers,

liesse