product discontinuation alert:

by: kerry watson
 
after many years of carrying reviva stretch mark lotion, we will be discontinuing and no longer recommending this product as an acne safe option. the company has reformulated the product to now include a highly comedogenic ingredient, cocoa butter. if you have this product at home please read the ingredient list to make sure that your bottle does not contain this ingredient. you can use the following non-comdeogenic products in place of this product:
 
– organic safflower oil
– organic sunflower oil
– pure shea butter
 
about our acne-safety testing process:
 

finding acne-safe products is a very painstaking and time consuming process.  we carefully shop for products with acne-safe ingredient listings, and then test them in-house for at least 6 months on skins that are already clear, and on people who are religiously living the acne-safe lifestyle, so that we can isolate any new breakouts to that one variable – the product he/she is testing.

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.

relax and unwind!

by kerry watson

after a long stressful day at work or at home with the kids, making evening “me time” can be a challenge but it’s well worth the effort! prioritizing healthy downtime each night counteracts the negative effects of a stressful busy life, which otherwise takes it’s toll over time. so instead of flopping on the couch and turning on the tv, give your nervous system a much needed break each night by incorporating some of our favorite evening and bedtime rituals

if you enjoy doing yoga but have had trouble finding the time to take a class, try down dog. it’s a totally awesome free yoga app that provides you with your own private yoga class anytime and anywhere. use it at home or in a hotel room or even in your office at work. to have some fun, set little challenges for yourself like 20 minutes of yoga for 20 days. your entire body will thank you!

if you haven’t given meditation a fair try, there’s no better time than the present! especially now that there are so many great free apps available that make it super easy and fun! checkout headspace or calm or my absolute favorite one – insighttimer. i have a fear of public speaking but have had to do it many times over the course of my professional life. meditating for 5-20 minutes before a speaking event has absolutely saved me every time. the guided meditations on insighttimer are wonderful. you can search for a specific topic and length and each meditation is rated by other users so you never end up with a dud. my favorite topics to search for include – manifestation, letting go, sleep and anxiety. it works every time! and kim likes insighttimer for a quick am mediation t wake up verses snooze!

instead of looking at your phone, computer or tablet in bed, reach for a good old fashioned paperback book 1-2 hours before turning in. looking at the light from electronic devices can raise cortisol, a stimulating hormone that tells the body that it’s time to wake up. not exactly, the best thing to do when it’s bedtime. right now, i’m reading all the poldark books by winston graham. if anyone wants them after i’m done just say the word! also, if you have trouble falling asleep, kim likes to listen to brainwave sleep tracks on youtube with the display turned off to keep the room dark. it helps her slip off to dreamland in no time!

whenever i’ve had a particularly trying day, i light a yummy candle, turn down the lights and fill up the tub for a much needed evening soak or acne-safe bubble bath. what better way to let go of the trials and tribulations of a tough day?

and of course, last but not least, don’t forget to cleanse, ice, tone and apply your moisturizer. sweet dreams!

attention – new product announcement!

by kerry watson

we recently undertook a research project here at skinSALVATION with the goal of finding the best possible brand of cod liver oil supplements to recommend to our clients. we did extensive research on a number of brands including green pastures (the one we previously carried). and the winner is….(drum roll)…..nordic naturals! a long-time pioneer in omega 3 products, nordic uses centuries old fishing traditions that go back to the time of the vikings. the pride they take in their products and process is truly inspiring. from sea to supplement every step in the production process has been meticulously streamlined to deliver the freshest quality product while staying true to their ancestral heritage. for an in depth look at their process and ethics check out this 12 minute documentary video.

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cod liver oil is high in omega 3 fatty acids which are “good” fats that the body needs for proper hormone synthesis and healthy prostaglandin formation. healthy hormone synthesis is important in hormonal balance which is vital in  keeping inflammation levels low and in preventing excessive cell turnover in the pore which plays a major role in acne seed formation. prostaglandins are lipids that have hormone-like actions with the ability to turn on or off inflammatory messages in the body. high quality cod liver oil contains significant amounts of the vitamins a and d. these vitamins are converted to their active forms, retinoic acid (vitamins a) and calcitrol (vitamin d) in the body. both are precursors to hormones that regulate healthy gene expression. to sum this all up, cod liver oil helps to balance hormones and control inflammation.
as some of you may know, before I started my career in esthetics I worked on the b2b side of natural products retail at SPINS, the leader in data, analytics and consulting for natural/speciality products retail. nordic naturals has been a leader in the EFA category for the past 15+ years that i have been in the business. they have maintained their place on top because of their stellar brand transparency and authenticity, which is something we at skinSALVATION celebrate and support!

extra help in the kitchen for eating acne-safe

with our busy lives we are all looking for ways that make it easier to stick to an acne-safe diet. here are some kitchen appliances and recipes that can help!
must haves:

vitamix: making soups, smoothies, sauces and dips is a breeze. you need a high speed blender in your life. vitamix blenders are pricey but they are worth every penny. think of all the money you’ll save once you start making fancy juice bar smoothies at home.

favorite recipes:
quick and easy smoothie – 1/2 frozen banana (i cut it into chunks before freezing), 1 scoop of this protein powder, 8-10 oz of this almond/cashew milk – run on the smoothie setting.
refreshing lovely skin smoothie – 2 scoops collagen powder, 10 oz coconut water, frozen fruit of your choice
 
delicious dessert smoothie – 3 dried black mission figs (soaked in warm water until soft), 12oz of this almond/cashew milk, 1-3 TBSP raw cacao powder (depending on how chocolatey you like it), 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, pinch of salt. run on the smoothie setting.
refreshing easy smoothie – 8-12 oz coconut water, a handful of frozen fruit – run on smoothie setting

instant pot: i use this 4-in-1 steamer/slow cooker/pressure cooker/saute pot everyday, sometimes several times a day. it gets way more action than my stove or oven. you can cook a whole chicken in 30 minutes, make amazing soups, pot roast, acne-safe indian food, spaghetti squash noodles and just about anything else you can think of.
 favorite recipes:
tikka masala – i use this acne-safe yogurt in place of the coconut milk/heavy cream
saag paneer – i use kite hill’s soft fresh original variety of acne-safe cheese alternative in place of paneer and the coyo – acne safe yogurt alternative in place of the yogurt in the recipe. for the cheese, cut it into 1 inch cubes, coat with some olive oil, dust with garam masala and bake on parchment paper at about 350 for 10 minutes, then turn the cubes once and bake again for another 10 minutes.
mexican meatloaf – serve with cilantro springs, chopped green onions and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
all these are really good over spaghetti squash, cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles, cauliflower mashed “potatoes” (use ghee instead of butter if you can)
nice to haves:
rice cooker : for making kasha or buckwheat groats, the most delicious gluten-free breakfast porridge that you never heard of. my husband and i take this little gadget with us when we travel and it’s been a life saver. you can also make buckwheat groats in the instant pot but it’s a little tougher to travel with.
 favorite recipes:
sweet breakfast groats – 2 cups coconut milk, one cup toasted buckwheat groats (sold as kasha), a little cinnamon, salt, raisins and whatever else sounds yummy. you just put all the ingredients into the rice cooker and turn it on. it stops cooking automatically when it’s done. if you make it in the instant pot then you lock the top and set it to high pressure for 10 minutes and then do the quick release when its done.
savory breakfast groatsbasically make these the same way as the sweet ones (without the raisins, cinnamon, etc) but instead of coconut milk, use chicken broth, beef broth, bone broth or veggie broth and add salt to taste. it’s also really good with a soft cooked egg on top.
spiralizer and/or food processor: i have witnessed the inflammatory effect of simple carbs like pasta first hand and i’ve seen it time and again with our clients. as you may already know, the first things acne sufferers need change about their diet is avoiding soy, dairy and coffee. a very close second is cutting way down on sugar and simple carbs. this is so much easier when you have a substitute for those comforting pasta and rice dishes. enter the spiralizer and food processor. with the spiralizer you can make oodles of zucchini and summer squash noodles or you can get really fancy and try cucumber noodles, carrot noodles, rutabaga noodles and sweet potato noodles. with the food processor making cauliflower rice is a breeze. i also love to make the carrot and fennel salad listed below with the food processor about once a month.
 favorite recipes:
carrot and fennel salad – i don’t bother with the mandolin slicer. i just shred the carrot and fennel together in the food processor.