hi, i’m liesse and i am addicted to chocolate.

as many of you know, there are certain foods that can cause acne seeds to form and/or inflame existing seeds. those of us who have acne have to be hyper aware of what we eat and how it effects our skin. although i seriously love cheese and coffee i was willing to cut these things out of my diet for the sake of clear skin. chocolate is a whole different story. thankfully there are a plethora of acne safe cocoa treats for you to try at home, from the store, or even in a lovely cafe setting. here are a few of my favorites:

hot out of your own oven: chocolate avocado cookies by the smoothie lover are melt in your mouth delicious and take less than 15 minutes to whip up.


for a cool summer treat try kim’s creamy chocolate pudding (via sS’er KH, who adapted it from “the recipe for radiance, by alexis wolfer”):

  • 2 medium-sized ripe avocados, pitted
  • 2 cups whole coconut milk (though a whole can, which is a little short of 2 cups, works just fine)
  • 12 dried pitted dates (kim finds 6 large dates are enough)
  • 2 tbs vanilla extract
  • 4 tbs maple syrup or agave nectar (try 1:1 coconut sugar and water, dissolved, to keep the glycemic index low)
  • 4 tbs raw cacao powder

combine all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor until creamy.  or, if you have an immersion blender, use that!  kim usually puts the the ingredients into a quart-sized mason jar and blends it right into the jar.  you can eat it as is, or chill it – you can also divide into 4 bowls and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  serves 4.

tip to whip faster: chill the bowl, cream and beaters then add a few drops of lemon juice.

p.s. raw cacao nibs or roasted pumpkin seeds on top are divine!

hot off the shelf at your local supermarket: moonstruck chocolate bars are the pretties darn bars i have ever seen. their bark chocolate bars come in varieties like, dark chocolate strawberry and basil bark, and can be found at chocolate retailers and grocery stores throughout the us. in san francisco you can find them at andronico’s, bristol farms, pharmaca, and mollie stone’s.

strawberry basil bark

RAW 100% + NIBS from antidote is totally raw an amazing. we haven’t found another chocolate bar that contains 0 sugar and tastes so heavenly.


hot out of someone else’s oven:

if you live in the east bay check out bittersweet chocolate cafe in rockridge or downtown oakland. they will make you a vegan (and acne safe) hot cocoa using almond milk and bittersweet chocolate that could put nestle out of business.

if you live in san francisco check out dandelion chocolate in the mission. their chocolate bars have two ingredients, cocoa and sugar. while you wait in line you can sample their different bars and decide which one you like best. my parents have me send dandelion chocolate to their farm in new mexico all the time. they eat it with fresh peaches and berries right off the tree for an amazing summer desert.


what treats do you miss most on the acne safe diet? comment below and i’ll try to find an alternative that you can indulge in while maintaining beautiful skin!



dry shampoo!

hey sS’ers.  i took this photo at a beauty store ages ago but haven’t had the time to post or write about it.  a client came in 2 days ago asking about dry shampoos so here you go!

L-R: it's a 10 miracle dry shampoo & conditioner in one; AG hair cosmetics fastFWD>>; pureology fresh approach; paul mitchell dry wash; redone pillow proof blow dry; sebastian dry clean only; and KMS hair play.

L-R: it’s a 10 miracle dry shampoo & conditioner in one; AG hair cosmetics fastFWD>>; pureology fresh approach; paul mitchell dry wash; redken pillow proof blow dry; sebastian dry clean only; and KMS hair play.

most dry shampoos have ‘isopropyl myristate’ which is incredibly cloggy; or argan oil.  these bottles have neither – but they all do contain some kind of fragrance.  and if you’ve read our previous post on it, you already know that ‘fragrance’ is an umbrella term for over 4000 ingredients, many of which are cloggy!

PLEASE KEEP IN MIND that we have not tested these, so we don’t know if they are actually safe or not – but with our expert opinion after reading through the ingredient listings, look like a safe place to start.

so, we encourage you to test these out and let us know what you think – it’s easiest to tell if something is cloggy if you are testing it on skin that is already clear, so you can easily identify the one variable in your regime that is breaking you out.  AND, we suggest using the product for at least 1-2 months to be sure (again, with no other variables in play).

PS – the sebastian dry clean only, in the matte black can, had the least ingredients in it’s formula, which is the most promising.  less stuff to potentially clog you up!

good luck!!!!

acne-safe pizza!

by kerry watson
kerry & her pizza!
i’m so excited to share one of my very favorite recipes with all of you sS’ers out there. i make this grain-free/soy-free/dairy-free pizza at least once a month and it’s always a crowd pleaser. it’s super tasty and filling and it’s also very easy to make!
for the crust you’ll need almond flour, arrowroot powder, baking powder, dried oregano, eggs, plain unsweetened almond milk, black pepper and sea salt (or any other non-iodized salt). here are the directions for making it here:

Pizza Crust (Grain-free)

2 cups almond flour
1 cup arrowroot powder (or tapioca flour)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 eggs
1/2 cup homemade almond milk (or milk of choice–we now use unsweetened coconut milk)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a round pizza pan (no holes) or cookie sheet. (I use a 15″ round baking stone.)
2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk to blend together.
3. Add eggs and almond milk to the dry ingredients. Mix well. (The batter may be runny–not like typical pizza dough.)
4. Use a spatula to spread batter onto greased pan.
5. Bake crust in preheated oven 8-12 minutes.
6. Remove crust from oven and top with sauce and desired toppings.
7. Bake for another 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!

here’s what the crust looks like after baking:
the crust takes about 20 minutes to make and pre-bake. the next step is adding the toppings and then it goes back in the oven for about 15 minutes more. here are some of my favorite toppings:
– pizza sauce from a jar like this one: (i reuse the jars for melting oils and waxes for making lotions and lip balms at home)
– sliced green peppers
– organic pepperoni
– sliced black olives
– thinly sliced red onion
– chopped fresh herbs like basil and cilantro (add these after all the baking is complete)
daiya cheeses happen to contain a little coconut oil – which is not the best – but we think, in moderation, is a hands-down much better choice than real dairy cheese.  after all, nothing in life is perfect 🙂
alternatively, you can also check our pinterest page for some acne-safe cheese recipe ideas – namely this page.  here’s a mozzarella recipe that looks awesome!
here is a listing of the ingredients in the daiya mozzarella shreds:
Filtered water, tapioca and/or arrowroot flours, non-GMO expeller pressed canola and /or non-GMO expeller pressed safflower oil, coconut oil, pea protein, salt, vegan natural flavors, inactive yeast, vegetable glycerin, xanthan gum, citric acid (for flavor), titanium dioxide (a naturally occurring mineral).
organicville pizza sauce only contains 3 grams of sugar per serving which is low when compared with most brands that contain 8 grams per serving. the ingredients are as follows:
organic tomato puree, organic tomatoes, organic agave nectar, organic extra virgin olive oil, salt, organic garlic, organic oregano, organic parsley
here’s what the pizza looks like cooked with diaya cheese and pepperoni – yum!
photo (1)
i like this recipe because it doesn’t have dairy or soy, which we all know causes inflammation and acne seeds. i also like it because it doesn’t contain any grains or white flour products. to some folks grains (even whole grains) can be inflammatory. i am one of these “lucky” people who just does better on a diet that’s very low in grains. one of the reasons that grains can be problematic is that they contain phytic acid which blocks the absorption of many essential minerals like zinc and calcium.
i do eat grains on occasion (couple times a month) but they are not a staple for me. also, i stick to the gluten free grains like quinoa, millet, amaranth and buckwheat. i also supplement the starches in my diet with starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, rutabagas and winter squash.
something that i find interesting is that grains have only been cultivated and eaten for the last 10,000 years but humans have been around for a couple hundred thousand years and we were doing very well before grains ever came into the picture. also, when we started cultivating grains they were not harvested right away, they were left in the field for a while which allowed them to be exposed to the elements. this started the sprouting process which breaks down the phytic acid and increases the nutrient content of the grain.
regardless as to whether you eat loads of grains or none at all this recipe is sure to please your taste buds and your conscience because it is delicious and acne-safe!


Acne and Iodides

those of you who are clients at sS know that our acne clearing regimen includes looking at your diet and lifestyle to determine what may be triggering breakouts. for some clients we recommend that they watch their iodide intake. most people nod along and agree but don’t really understand why we recommend this. here’s a little info on iodide and why it’s important to find out how much YOU need to stay healthy and clear.

What are iodine and iodide anyway?

iodide is iodine + potassium which can be ingested to help our bodies grow and have a properly functioning metabolism. When iodide is combined with the amino acid tyrosine it forms thyroid hormones that regulate our metabolism. if we have too much or too little iodine in our systems it can lead to hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, which may contribute to acne breakouts.

how much iodide do i need? as with most things, everyone is different. the best way to know how much iodine your body needs is to have it tested.

the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) as administered by the FDA is 150 micrograms per day for the average adult. some doctors recommend nearly one hundred times that! you can see why it’s so important to figure out how much your body needs. sS’s trusted naturopathic doctor, dr. figoski can test your iodine levels in her office.

bromide is the salt version of bromine, a chemical that’s held in the same receptors in your body as iodine. this means that even if you are ingesting your recommended daily value of iodine your body may not be able to absorb and use it. this can lead to an iodine deficiency and may cause the iodine that your body can’t process to leach out through the skin.

bromide is commonly found in: commercial breads, pesticides (especially the ones used on conventional strawberries grown in california!), citrus flavored sodas, plastic drinking bottles, and hot tub water treatments. avoid these!

how can iodine effect my skin? Dr. Fulton says that if you have excess iodine in your body it is excreted through your skin which can be very irritating to the pores. some people experience an “iodide rash” which looks like non inflamed acne or little white bumps all over their face. these bumps do not contain a seed and cannot be extracted like normal acne.

if you have too much or too little iodine in your body it can throw off your thyroid which influences your hormones. this can contribute to acne, weight gain, and other hormonal imbalances.

what’s the safest source of iodide? 

  1. norweigan dulse. it is important to make sure it’s from the clean waters of norway as seaweed from japan is still testing high in radioactive contamination from fukushima.
  2. free range local organic eggs
  3. free range organic turkey
  4. organic veggies grown in iodine rich soil. it can be hard to find out what kind of soil your produce is grown in. if you shop at your local farmer’s market you can ask the farmer directly 🙂


want to learn more about iodine? check out my sources below!



meal prep monday: low inflammatory diet!

i have officially been living the acne safe lifestyle for 6 weeks! i threw away all of my cloggy products and replaced them with ones that are sS approved, i’ve been icing 20-30 minutes every morning and night and taking zyflammend. i haven’t even had coffee, dairy or soy in almost 2 months (a serious feat for me!)

although i have noticed a HUGE improvement in my skin, i am still having some issues with inflamed acne. as a huge believer in the healing power of food i decided to put my faith in the kitchen this week and eat only low inflammatory foods.

this week’s menu doesn’t include anything that’s known to cause inflammation. it is also autoimmune protocol, paleo, gut healing and mostly candida safe.


  • dairy
  • soy
  • eggs
  • nuts & seeds (except for chia and coconut)
  • grains
  • legumes
  • nightshades
  • alcohol & vinegar (except for apple cider vinegar)
  • added sugar

my lovely boyfriend and i prepped all of this food in a couple of hours on monday. this makes breakfast, lunch and dinner for the two of us for an entire week.



  1. beef stew with rosemary & olives! adapted from this recipe using beef instead of lamb and carrot instead of rutabaga.
  2. bacon turkey butternut squash! we turned this recipe into a casserole by layering mashed butternut squash and sweet potatoes with ground turkey instead of beef. *omit the balsamic vinegar and pepper for aip or candida cleanse.
  3. coconut milk baked chicken! see our pesto inspired recipe below.
  4. grated carrot & mint salad! we left out the oil and pepper and used organic raisins instead of currants in this recipe.
  5. cucumber salad! we swapped the tomato in this recipe for avocado and used apple cider vinegar instead of white wine to keep it #aip.
  6. beet salad! see my easy family recipe below.
  7. blueberry chia seed pudding! see this easy egg free breakfast recipe below.
  8. chocolate chia seed pudding! see this easy egg free breakfast recipe below.


  1. preheat your oven to 350.
  2. cut your butternut squash in 1/2 and place on a baking sheet with whole sweet potatoes. cook until tender, about 30-45 minutes.
  3. put your beets on to boil.
  4. fry your bacon in a pan to desired crispiness. drain bacon and save fat in a sealing glass container.
  5. chop all of the onions, garlic & root veggies that you need for all of the meals. sauté in 2 pans, one for the turkey casserole and one for the beef stew.
  6. brown beef with root veggies.
  7. cook ground turkey. in the meantime chop cooked bacon. once turkey is fully cooked toss it with bacon and sautéed onions.bacon turkey
  8. remove cooked sweet potato and butternut squash from oven. peel and mash together. this will be your base layer for your casserole. top with ground turkey mixture and refrigerate. sweet potatobacon turkey
  9. add bone broth and remaining ingredients to beef stew. bring to a boil then cover and let simmer for at least 1 hour or until beef is tender.
  10. make coconut chicken.
  11. make chia seed puddings.
  12. drain beets, slice and toss with dressing.
  13. make cucumber salad.
  14. make grated carrot salad.
  15. enjoy the fruits of your labor for the next week and say goodbye to inflamed acne! 



  • 2 large sweet potatoes


  • kalamata olives
  • uncured bacon ends and pieces
  • 2 cans organic light coconut milk
  • 2 large california avocados
  • organic cold pressed extra virgin olive oil (pantry)
  • 1 bag organic chia seeds

fat avocado


  • 2 packages grass fed stewing beef
  • 2 packages 99% lean organic turkey breast
  • 1 bag frozen organic chicken breast


  • 2 white onions
  • 2 small bunches organic carrots
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 box baby cucumbers (can also use 1 large american or english cucumber)
  • 1 bag organic baby spinach
  • 1 bunch organic beets


  • 3 organic lemons
  • 32 oz box organic blueberries
  • 2 bananas


  • organic fresh rosemary
  • bay leaves (pantry)
  • organic cinnamon (pantry)
  • organic fresh basil
  • organic fresh ginger
  • organic fresh garlic
  • organic fresh mint
  • organic dried oregano (pantry)
  • organic fresh chives


  • organic beef bone broth
  • organic raisins
  • local raw honey (pantry)
  • bragg’s apple cider vinegar with mother (pantry)
  • 1 box maple water
  • organic dark cocoa powder

maple water

coconut milk baked chicken recipe

  • blend: 1 can organic light coconut milk, 1 tbs fresh ginger, 1 cup fresh basil, 3-5 cloves fresh garlic, 1 tsp celtic sea salt.
  • pour mixture into 1 whole bag of frozen organic chicken. shake to coat chicken.
  • arrange in single layer on deep baking dish. cook at 350 for 30 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked.
  • remove from pan, dice chicken breasts in cubes & toss in coconut milk sauce from baking dish.

beet salad recipe

  • boil 1 bunch of whole beets in water until you can easily pierce them with a fork (30-45 minutes)
  • remove from water, slice thin and toss with 1 tbs olive oil, the juice of 1/2 lemon, 1 tsp celtic sea salt & 2 tbs chopped chives.

blueberry chia seed pudding

  • blend: 1 cup maple water, 1 cup light coconut milk, 2 cups blueberries, 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • mix in 1 cup chia seeds.
  • refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. serve cold.

chocolate chia seed pudding

  • blend: 1 cup maple water, 1 cup light coconut milk, 2 tbs cocoa powder, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 banana, 1/3 cup chia seeds, pinch celtic sea salt, pinch cinnamon,
  • refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. serve cold.


*skinSALVATION has no affiliation with any of the brands, stores, or blogs mentioned in this post. these resources are from my own personal research and preference.