my acne journey

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i started experiencing acne as a pre-teen. my earliest memory of an “acne treatment” is of my mother applying a steaming hot washcloth to my face and then squeezing the black heads out of my nose and cheeks. it wasn’t too long after that she started bringing home creams, spot treatments and face cleansers from the drug store. nothing I tried ever made a dent in the acne breakouts. the blackheads turned into red swollen papules and pustules and eventually i went to see a dermatologist. he told me to wash my face with the same bar soap i washed my body with (dove/irish spring)! when that didn’t work it was on to the antibiotics, retin-a and other harsh prescription topicals. at one point i was even making a home brew of sugar and toothpaste and putting that on my face after my mom’s friend told her that it was a magical cure for acne. i couldn’t understand why none of these things fixed the problem. in the end, they just made matters worse. all the years of harsh creams and products left my skin sensitive and permanently pink and flushed.

during my teens and twenties the state of my skin was constantly on my mind. every morning i’d wake up and look in the mirror hoping that things had improved since the day before. i was usually disappointed. before acne came into the picture i was outgoing, i laughed a lot and was even considered to be a bit of a class clown. after i started breaking out i just felt like everyone was always looking at my acne and not me. i figured they must be thinking “her skin looks awful. why doesn’t she do something about it?”. in an effort to avoid attention i became introverted and self conscious. even after my skin finally improved i still remained somewhat shy and reserved. it’s a tendency that i still have to this day.

the breakouts persisted for many years with no apparent pattern except that all the little pimples on my chin and jawline got bigger and more inflamed about a week or two before my period. now at age 40 and i still have acne. the only difference is that today my acne is under control. a few years ago I read a book called “it starts with food”. the book talked a lot about systemic inflammation.  inflammation starts inside the cell producing chemicals that when released set processes in motion that, over time, have a detrimental effect on the entire body. this type of inflammatory cascade is believed to be the precursor to many diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and, you guessed it, skin disorders. controlling systemic and localized inflammation is the first step in successfully managing acne.

the book inspired me embark upon a 30 day diet program called “the whole 30“. it’s a diet that is designed to calm systemic inflammation get the body back onto a path to health and wellness.  the diet wasn’t too hard for me because i was already eating a paleo-based diet to control blood sugar swings (i’m hypo-glycemic). i started eating this way about a year earlier and noticed improvements in my overall health and skin but it my acne never completely cleared up. to start the whole30 I needed to completely eliminate all dairy, soy and sugar.

after 3 weeks on the whole 30 the papules on my cheeks and chin and the nodular acne on my neck and jawline went away. my skin looked better than it has ever looked and the redness calmed down as well. the effects of the diet went beyond my skin, I lost 10 pounds, i looked younger, i had more energy, slept better and my outlook on life had greatly improved.

after the 30 days, it was time to start adding foods back into my diet and take note of how my body felt with the introduction of each food. dairy made me extremely tired and the inflamed acne came back after about a week. soy gave me terrible gas. sugar was ok in small amounts, but too much made my heart race and i started gaining weight again after a month or so of adding it back in.

today, I am soy free and almost 100% dairy free ( I do my best with this one) and monitoring my sugar intake is a daily battle. stevia has been a huge help. i bake with it and put in smoothies and teas for sweetness.

completing my whole30 was something that I had to do in order to see, first hand, how these foods were affecting my health and skin. i was able to do something in 30 days that I hadn’t been able to do in over 20 years, finally get control over my acne.

my own transformation was so life changing that I decided to find a way to help others through my experience. as an esthetician at skinSALVATION, i’m able to use cutting edge treatment modalities like expert extractions and chemical peels alongside customized home care regimens and nutritional and lifestyle counseling to help people clear their skin of acne in just a few short months. The feeling i get when a clients starts to see their skin turn the corner to clarity is indescribable. I am extremely blessed to be in a position to help empower other acne suffers to uncover their own beautiful skin.

 

Boost Your Candida Cleanse with Herbs and Probiotics

by kerry watson

taking probiotics, antifungals and detoxifying supplements during the candida cleanse enhances the effectiveness of the cleanse in terms of beating down the candida population in the body and preventing the yeasts from turning into their more destructive fungal form. in the beginning weeks of the cleanse, if you have candida overgrowth, you will experience die-off symptoms while the yeasts are starved of their main fuel source – sugar. you may feel very tired, headachy and irritable among other things. taking supplements that support the liver and other detoxification organs can help to get you through the die-off more quickly and with less intense symptoms. probiotics are important in rebuilding the healthy flora of the digestive tract that has been taken over by candida. the more healthy bacteria that are present in the digestive tract, the less room there is for the yeasts and they essentially get squeezed out. anti-fungal herbs increase the die-off aspect of the cleanse which is what you want. however, its important that you are supporting the body’s detox functions at the same time. if you think you have candida, you will want to stay on the cleanse and supplements for about 3 months for the best effect.

Herbal Supplements:

CAN-SOL is an herbal tincture recommended by naturopath, dr. anstett, to be taken in conjunction with the diet. dr. anstett says there are a lot of candida cleanse kits on the market that are not effective. the manufacturer of can-sol, pure herbs, is the one he trusts and uses in his own practice.  the recommended dosage is 3 dropperfuls 3 times in a glass of distilled water. we have also heard of success with taking oregano oil, but haven’t tested this out.  let us know how if this has worked for you!

the main herb in the can-sol formula is chaparral, a strong anti-fungal and anti-parasitic herb. it is extremely effective in quickly eradicating  fungal yeasts/candida from the body. the herb also helps the body remove heavy metals and toxins. the powerful cleansing action of chaparral increases the liver’s workload. we strongly suggest that anyone with a weakened liver or immune-system work with a qualified practitioner to strengthen the body before embarking on any type of intense cleanse and before taking this supplement. this supplement should not be used by pregnant or nursing women

ZYFLAMEND is an herbal anti-inflammatory supplement that quickly calms systemic inflammation. the recommended dosage is two capsules a day. this is a great supplement to take if you develop headaches early on in the cleanse as the body adjusts to not having caffeine or sugar. in addition to the anti-inflammatory herbs like ginger and turmeric, zyflamend contains herbs that help the body adjust to stress. these include holy basil and chinese skullcap. this herb should not be taken by pregnant or nursing women.

Probiotics:

KYO-DOLPHILUS Probiotics are an important part of clearing candida from the body because they reintroduce beneficial bacteria to your GI tract. Supplementing with a high quality probiotic supplement builds up the good bacteria colonies that can overtake the yeast in number and essentially crowd them out. healthy bacteria also balance the acidity in the stomach and boost immune function.

Please remember that we are not doctors. We do not prescribe supplements or medication. We hope to be able to empower you with knowledge of different tools and alchemy to help sustain the best version of you!

 

CANDIDA CLEANSE – WEEK 2: STICKING TO IT

by kerry watson

the main goal this week is to stay the course. you will be tired and cranky and you’ll be tempted to cheat. thankfully, you are a planner and that means that you will have candida-safe meals ready to go at every turn.

 

as a rule i refrigerate stuff for up to 3 days and freeze/reheat the rest. i like to package my food in meal sized containers so that i can just grab it and go as needed.

 

pro tip: to make the shopping part super easy – use instacart and just get all this stuff delivered so you can take a much needed and well-deserved nap 🙂

 

breakfasts:

 

1.) this is my new go-to breakfast even before i started on the candida diet. its yummy and easy which are two of my favorite things! toasted buckwheat groats (i cook this in broth instead of water) with two hard or soft boiled eggs

 

a couple things to keep in mind:

 

– soft boiled eggs should be made fresh each time. it doesn’t take long and its super easy once you’ve done it once

 

– make the buckwheat ahead of time and just reheat it in the morning. 1/3-1 cup cooked is a good serving size. (don’t forget the salt and pepper)

 

2.) veggie and egg muffin cups

 

– these freeze up and reheat really well (good as a snack too)

 

lunches:

 

1.)  creamy veggie soup and a zucchini muffin (just use olive oil if you don’t have beef tallow lying around)

– for the soup, the recipe says that you can add honey to sweeten it but in order to keep it candida safe you’ll need to skip the honey. you can try adding a tiny bit of stevia or xylitol (both of these are candida safe sweeteners – go easy though, a little goes a long way)

2.) indian spiced turkey burgers with roasted garlic spread and cilantro sprigs wrapped in lettuce – these are so good! make a double or even triple recipe – you’ll be glad you did.

 

dinners: 

 

1.) crispy chicken 4 ways with roasted cauliflower (just use olive oil)

 

how to make the chicken “4 ways”:  basically you swap out the italian spice blend in the recipe with 3 different spice blends. here are some good ones. or just do it all with the it italian spice blend – its very good just like that. double this recipe as well. you want to end up with about 8 thighs.

 

2.) slow cooked red beef curry (the green chicken curry is great too!) with cauliflower rice

 

add some fresh or frozen broccoli florets to the beef curry when there is about a 1-1.5 hours left to the cooking time.

 

dessert:

 

1.) vanilla coconut custard – this recipe is a little more involved that i thought when i first looked at it. i made a quick version which is more of a vanilla coconut egg bake.

 

 if you want to try this simplified version here are the steps:

 

– blend 4 eggs, a can of coconut milk a vanilla bean (use the seeds inside) or a teaspoon of pure alcohol free vanilla extract and 20 drops of stevia with a hand mixer or emersion blender. pour into a glass pie dish and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. its not custard but it was pretty tasty for a candida-safe dessert 🙂

 

2.) coconut almond no-bake balls

 

snacks:

 

1.) rosemary marcona almonds and mixed olives

2.) celery sticks and almond butter

3.) these! only the unsweetened variety is safe for this cleanse

 

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)

Ingredients:
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)

Directions:
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:
photo
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: http://organicvillefoods.com/category/products/pizza-sauces/ (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!

 

kerry’s acne journey

the only photo i could find, of myself with acne. you can hardly see my cystic complexion in this scan of an original photograph from the 90’s. but hey, i’m with my mom!

i started experiencing acne as a pre-teen.  my earliest memory of the words “acne treatment,” is the thought of my mother applying steaming hot washcloths to my face, and then squeezing the blackheads out of my nose and cheeks. it wasn’t too long after that when she started bringing home creams and face washes from the drug store for me to try, but nothing i tried ever made a dent in the acne breakouts. i went to see a dermatologist and he told me to wash my face with the same bar soap i washed my body with. i remember mixing sugar with toothpaste and applying that to my pimples after my mother’s friend told her that it was a magical cure for acne. i couldn’t understand why none of these things made my skin look any better. in the end, they just made matters worse. all the years of harsh creams and products left my skin sensitive and permanently pink and flushed.

during my teens and twenties, the state of my skin was constantly on my mind. every morning i’d wake up and look in the mirror hoping that things had improved since the day before.

i was usually disappointed.

before acne came into the picture i was out going, i laughed a lot and was even considered to be a bit of a class clown but after i started breaking out i just felt like everyone was always looking at my acne and thinking to themselves “her skin looks awful!”. in an effort to avoid attention i became very introverted and self conscious. years later after my skin improved i still remained somewhat shy and reserved. it’s a tendency that i still have to this day and it’s all because of acne.

the acne breakouts persisted for many years. i am now 38 and i still have acne. the only difference is that today, my acne is under control.

EATING MY WAY TO CLEAR SKIN

a few years ago I read a book called “it starts with food”. it talked a lot about inflammation and how it is the precursor to many diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and skin disorders. inflammation starts inside the cell producing chemicals that when released set inflammatory processes in motion. this inflammatory cascade has detrimental effects on the entire body.

i decided to embark upon a 30 day diet program called “the whole 30”. it’s a diet that calms inflammation and gets the body back onto a path to health.  it wasn’t too hard for me because i had already been eating a healthy paleo-based diet. i started eating this paleo-based diet about a year earlier and noticed improvements in my overall health and skin, but my acne never completely cleared up. with that diet at the time, i wasn’t eating any grains or beans so there were just a few things i needed to eliminate to start the 30 day diet program: dairy, soy and sugar.

after 3 weeks on the whole 30, the papules on my cheeks and chin and the nodular acne on my neck and jawline went away. my skin looked better than it has ever looked and the redness calmed down as well. the effects of the diet went beyond my skin – i lost 10 pounds, i looked younger, i had more energy, slept better and my outlook on life improved greatly!

after the 30 days, it was time to start adding foods back into my diet and take note of how my body felt with the introduction of each food. dairy made me extremely tired and my acne came back after about a week. soy gave me terrible gas. sugar was ok, but it made me gain weight after a month or so of adding it back in.

today, i am soy free and almost 100% dairy free ( i do my best with this one); monitoring my sugar intake is a daily battle. the diet gave me power over my own body. it was something that i had to do in order to see, first hand, how these foods were affecting my health. it was amazing to be able to do something in 30 days that i hadn’t been able to do in over 20 years: get control over my acne.

my own transformation was so life changing that i decided to find a way to help others through my own experience. as an esthetician at skinSALVATION, i was able to further my clarity with the knowledge of truly acne-safe (aka non-comedogenic) skincare products, along with cutting edge treatment modalities like expert extractions and chemical peels.  these, alongside customized home care regimens and nutritional and lifestyle counseling, help our clients clear their skin of acne in just a few short months.

the feeling i get when a client starts to see their skin turn the corner to clarity is indescribable. i am extremely blessed to now be in a position to help empower other acne suffers to uncover their own beautiful skin.