why olive oil may not be safe for people with acne- a scandal in the olive oil industry!



we have always been a little on the fence about our clients using olive oil. while it seems to be safe for most, if we don’t see improvement in the area around the mouth after a certain amount of time (and they’re using acne-safe toothpaste + lip products), we recommend switching to an acne safe(r) alternative.

a little background research FYI: olive oil was rated a 1-2 by dr. fulton in his research paper, “common ingredients” written in 1989, and sS has rated olive oil a 0-. we have it in our sS brand lipbalm, and have only seen (maybe) a handful of clients that reacted better with another lipbalm. as far as cooking and eating though, it’s an oil that is abundantly available at restaurants and grocery stores, and is certainly a ton better than the super-comedogenic coconut oil.

little did we know that a scandal rocked the olive oil industry and several well known and trusted brands have not measured up to snuff. this may be contributing to some of the reasons olive oil is not working for particular clients. many extra virgin olive oil brands have been found to be of poor quality, rancid or “adulterated” with other types of oil. at skinSALVATION, we know that a lot of cooking oils out there are not acne safe.

in july of 2010 the uc davis olive oil chemistry lab published a study about olive oils sold in california. the lab inspected the quality of the oils and whether they met the standards set for “extra virgin olive oil.” in a nutshell: german, italian, australian and california brands were put through a series of tests to see if they were, in fact, the real thing. 2 panels conducted sensory testing (sense of smell) followed by testing of each brand’s chemical makeup like fatty acids and diacylglycerol content. “sensory defects are indicators that these samples are oxidized, of poor quality, and/or adulterated with cheaper refined oils.” the sensory standard for extra virgin olive oil is that there is “zero defect and more than zero fruitiness.”

in an NPR live interview, tom mueller, a correspondent from new york magazine, stated that olives of poor quality, like those that are overripe or damaged, can contain free radicals and impurities. olive oils labeled as extra virgin may contain cheaper oils like soybean and canola. (soybean oil: there goes the acne-safe alert bell ding!).

this can mean bad news for our skinSALVATION peeps.

every country had multiple big name brands that failed these tests.

realfarmacy.com has a list outting some of the companies that “failed” the tests. these include Bertolli, Carapelli, Colavita, Star, Pompeian, Filippo Berio, Mazzola, Mezzetta, Newman’s Own, Safeway, and Whole Foods.

this same blog post also lists EVOO brands that did pass the uc davis test like California Olive Ranch, Cobram Estate, Lucini. Kirkland Organic Toscano (NOT the ones in the plastic liter jugs!), Lucero (Ascolano) and McEvoy Ranch Organic.

shopping local? how do you figure out the posers from the real deal?

tom mueller’s blog post on the “truth in olive oil” can help you choose brands in supermarkets that are easy to access. tom even performed a taste test of different brands from places like trader joe’s, whole foods and costco. the ones listed above that passed the uc davis test are included in his approved list; he also lists a few more that weren’t in the study.

the secret to finding a genuine extra virgin olive oil?

look for a harvest date. if there is no harvest date then it is instantly suspect. it’s also important to choose olive oils from the most current harvest (olives are traditionally harvested august through november depending on the local.)

what do you do if you have acne?

do your research and do your best to make sure the olive oil you’re using is the real thing. even then, we can’t guarantee it won’t break you out if you’re one of the few that is sensitive to it. adulterated olive oil (especially if it’s cut with soybean oil!) could be the reason for your lack of success on this, but only time and testing will tell.

for more information on cooking oils that are good at cold, warm and high heat cooking temperatures, check out our blog on acne safe favorite cooking oils!

happy eating!

POPZIT update

hope your new year is starting off with a bang! we’re still going strong on our team candida cleanse!

we wanted to remind you of some important information regarding our POPZIT appointments.  we are so excited that we can offer you this amazing service with our compliments, as a way to help you in between appointments to prevent picking.

POPZITS are a free service provided on an as needed basis – we are now limiting these appointments to 1 between regular treatments.  (for more severe grade IV cases, we will discuss on a case by case basis). after an average of 3-4 months, with a compliant lifestyle, regimen and clear skin, you should no longer need regular POPZITS. any other popzits past the 1 free will cost $20, as a tip that entirely goes directly to your esthetician. (estheticians have to hustle to finish treatments, treatment notes and clean the room to get ready for your popzit, which are made possible by scheduling them in between full treatments on our schedule – please see more info below).

if you find that you need more than 1 appointment in-between treatments, then please try to schedule your treatments closer together and be more honest about (and accountable for!) the choices you are making at home. remember that POPZITS are not an excuse to not doing your best regarding your acne triggers – popzits nor treatments can make up for the lack of what you should be doing at home.


– use icing as a preventative measure.  whether you have inflammation or not, you should be icing according to your needs. if inflammation does occur, try icing the spot before calling us to book an appointment.  use NO pressure (let the temperature itself work for you) and ice specific spots for 1 minute at a time, pull popsicle maker away and let skin warm up for a couple minutes and repeat.  if after doing this several times a day for a couple of days, the inflammation doesn’t subside and/or it comes to a head then give us a call and we’ll see if we can fit you in.

– spot treat.  you can also try very gently spot treating the pimples themselves with extra toner, exfoliating serum or bp by using a cotton swab and applying just to the tip of the pimple; more than that can potentially cause damage to the surrounding tissues, slowing down the healing process.

– good quality rest.  make sure you’re getting a good nights sleep. we like to see 8-9 hours of good quality, uninterrupted sleep every night. lack of quality sleep is a big inflammation factor!

– keep your stress levels down. i know, i know, sometimes it’s easier said than done, but stress plays a much larger role that we give it credit, and is largely responsible for the cascading effects of poor health. our staff has been really excited by a couple of tools that we find super helpful:

  • the headspace app has 10 minute guided meditations.
  • insight timer is another cool free mediation app that allows you to choose how long you want your meditation to be. you can choose from simple bell meditations to guided ones, with voices.  try these while you commute, if you need a time out at work, or any time during the day!
  • herbal remedies blended specifically for stress (you can find a plethora of these are your local health food store)
    stretching.  getting into a pose and breathing into it, hold each pose for at least a minute.
  • deep breathing.  fill up your belly and feel it rise and fall with each inhale and exhale. try to make your exhales a few seconds longer than your inhales.

all these ideas and more can be found in our blog and on our pinterest pages!

– sugar! sugar is an inflammation offender so back away from the candy jar! other sources of high sugar are sodas, sports drinks, alcohol (especially mixed with fruit juices), fruit juice, fruit and refined carbohydrates. try to eat whole grains, low glycemic fruits like apple, berries and grapefruit, and ditch the sugary beverages for another choice like herbal tea (hot or iced) or carbonated water.

– dairy, soy and coffee. eliminating these from your diet, especially in the beginning, is so important to keep inflammation from flaring and to stop planting the seeds of non-inflamed acne. discuss with your esthetician before reintroducing any of these back into your diet. it may or may not be a good idea for you.

– supplements.  trying out supplements to either keep inflammation down (like zyflamend or optizinc) or to keep stress levels down (your local health food store will have many options!) can also help with calming the nervous system, thus keeping swelling down.  you can find these at sS, both in-clinic and in our online shop.

with that said, we realize that we are not all perfect. stress and life happens. we realize some of you travel for work and that occasionally the timing of your treatments is not ideal.  we love that our relationship with you is open and forthcoming about your regimen, diet and lifestyle.  our support of you is our utmost concern, help us help you, by keeping communication open, regular, and honest.


we want to gently remind you that while it is super important to us at skinSALVATION to support and educate you through the often-times challenging process of clearing your acne, the POPZIT appointments are scheduled at the end of signature acne treatments, immediately before the start of another treatment, rest- or lunch-break. this can be stressful for the estheticians, especially on fully booked schedules, leaving little to no time for rest breaks.

please plan to come early for your popzit appointment, to allow time for parking.  if you come too late, we may have to turn you away, in order to start our scheduled appointments on time.

that said, your first pop in between scheduled treatments is offered free of charge from the clinic, and gratuities for this first pop that go directly to your esthetician are very much appreciated.  any other additional pops will cost you $20, and its’ entirety will go to the esthetician as a tip. we are hustling harder with our busy schedules to facilitate to your popzit!

we love our sS’ers and your support means the world to us!
keep up the good work, and thank you for your continued support!



candida cleanse- week 3 menu – step away from the broccoli!

a funny thing happened in the sS lunch room the other day. after appraising all of our lunches we realized we all had a different version of chicken and broccoli. and juan says if he eats another hard boiled egg…. well that’s just not appropriate conversation…

up until now things have been going pretty smoothly. i will admit i’ve had the occasional craving for some bread and i swear i can hear the chocolate chip jar in the lobby calling my name after lunch, but mostly the challenge has been to be organized and prepared. yet, since the acne safe lifestyle requires this as well, it’s not too much different than before.

this week my goal was to try some flavors we haven’t had in the previous weeks but still make meals utilizing what you have in your fridge and pantry, with a couple additions here and there.

1 lb ground turkey
1 whole chicken (or parts but we want the bones)
1 large new york strip steak (per person)
buckwheat soba noodles
chia seeds
coconut or almond milk
kale (or southern greens)
head of lettuce (need big leaves)
salad greens
green onions
sesame oil
zucchini and/or summer squash
lemons and limes
hibiscus leaves
dried or fresh tarragon
plain gelatin

prep beginning of the week
  • 1 batch of quinoa for the week
  • poached chicken with broth- got this idea years ago from jaques pepin

in a pasta pot toss in a chicken with aromatics (onion, celery, garlic, herbs, 1 tbsp salt) cover with water, bring to a rapid boil and boil for 20 minutes. turn off heat, cover with lid and let sit for 45 minutes to 1 hour. remove chicken and pull meat off the bone. if any chicken close to bone is uncooked leave it on bones, put bones back in pot and turn heat back on to make stock. now you’ve got flavorful poached chicken and stock on the way.

  • asian style meatballs
    in addition to the recommended substitutions on the pin to make it acne & candida safe, sub out the rice wine vinegar for raw apple cider vinegar. it tastes great!
  • hibiscus tea concentrate- boil 1 quart of water with 1/2 cup hibiscus leaves. for iced tea: use 1 part concentrate to 4 parts water.  add stevia to taste (optional)
  • kale/ greens- braise with chicken stock, onions, sea salt. finish with a dash of raw apple cider vinegar to taste

  • candida safe smoothie- kale, avocado, coconut, lime or lemon juice, chia seeds, coconut or almond milk, stevia (to taste)
  • omelet- with avocado, green onion, spinach, kite hill nut cheese, black beans (can only have twice a week so eliminate if needed)
  • kale and olive oil fried eggs

lunches– like the trend liesse started the first week. use protein from your meal the night before for lunch

  • chicken soup- with celery, onions, summer squash
  • lettuce wrap steak tacos- with avocado, kite hill nut cheese, onions, jalapenos and quinoa. (add black beans if you haven’t had more then once this week.)

  • chicken soup- with celery, zucchini, onions and greens
  • steak and carmelized onions
  • buckwheat soba noodle stir fry- with egg, chicken, green beans and zucchini.

 end of the week and out of food?

roast up some chicken legs marinated in coconut aminos, ginger, garlic and sesame oil. they pack up so easy for lunch. eat them hot or cold!


sides and snacks
  • almond butter and celery
  • half an avocado with salt and pepper
  • chopped salad with zucchini, celery, avocado, onion and creamy herb dressing
  • brussel sprouts and walnuts (blanch brussel halves and stir fry them in olive oil with walnuts
  • zucchini noodles tossed with creamy herb dressing



  • hibiscus jello- mix gelatin in with your hibiscus concentrate, stevia and water.