acne safe wedding – week three “easy + practical ways to keep stress low”

the practical stuff: easy ways to keep stress low with flowers, table settings, wedding favors, cake, vows

flowers – sorry to break it to you but nobody cares that much about flowers and most people won’t even remember what yours looked like, including you! i’ve heard people talking, in retrospect, about how unnecessarily stressful the floral arrangement planning was at their wedding. i chose one flower for everything. it’s called baby’s breath which is a gross name for a flower (but whatever) it’s simple, not a big statement, inexpensive, and it was a good choice for a wedding in the desert.

we used the baby’s breath flower for everything. i found photos of what i wanted on pinterest, took extensive notes, and emailed each photo, numbered, to the florist. we went over my notes and the photos together to make sure we were on the same page. this is how i described it over the phone, in almost exactly this wording:

  1. bouquet for bride and bridesmaids – biggish bunch that looks like it was scooped straight out of the garden, with a discreet wire to hold them together.
  2. decoration for ceremony – smaller bunch tied with white ribbon to end of each chair bordering the isle
  3. boutonnieres for groomsmen and father of bride and groom – teensy bunch with a green twig or two, up to you
  4. wrist corsage thing for mother of bride and groom – small sploof with a special flair in white, up to you, just to make the mamas feel special
  5. for cake – 2 sprigs for 2 of the layers on the cake and a little for the top, basically messy laid down bouquets

whether or not the floral arrangement guy thought i was a nut job is beside the point. i only had to have two conversations with him to plan all the floral everythings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

table settings – i chose to just keep it simple and white. that’s usually the easiest for the place you are holding the reception at or the place you’re renting from so will be the easiest for you too. the less little details the better. plus, it’ll be timeless. to keep the dining tables clutter free we just had a number on them as a marker. guests would pick up their place holder with the table number on it (which was also their wedding favor!) that way, when they brought their place holder to the table and set it down, it looked nice and like it was meant to be part of the arrangement.

wedding gifts – we just gave everybody a cactus. my mom felt like it wasn’t enough and that people expected candy or a monogrammed water bottle, but i resisted because nobody needs that shit anyways. i figured that i have never regretted going to a wedding because the favors were shitty, so i didn’t think anybody invited to my wedding would have that issue. plus, cacti are awesome! we got them from this etsy page and they were delivered to the inn where we had the ceremony and reception. a lot of my friends still have theirs and it’s cool to see them growing in different places! for bridal party, i got bracelets from this lady on etsy. they are simple and are meant to symbolize tying the knot. like, “thanks for helping me tie the knot!” the sentiment is cheesy but the gift wasn’t i swear.

cake – i don’t even like cake all that much but for traditions’ sake we got one. i wasn’t planning on eating it so it didn’t matter if it was acne safe. i just got some simple photos of cakes on pinterest, emailed them to a few wedding bakeries in the area and asked them to send me back photos of anything they’ve done that is similar. i chose the place that got back to me with a good photo, easy peasy! the real decision making came in on the acne safe pies we got. i found a place that could change things up a bit to accommodate me and ended up getting acne safe raspberry pie, apple pie, and blackberry pie. if you are getting married in the bay area, wholesome bakery is a local spot that makes cakes free from the top allergens (which means they are also acne safe).

food – hold the reception somewhere that can accommodate your diet! it’s not that crazy to ask for a soy and dairy free meal (remember that butter is ok, especially on your wedding day!). you just need to practice voicing your dietary restrictions so that you don’t wuss out when the time comes (like me and the acne safe makeup situation). i recommend doing research before meeting with the chef/wedding planner/restaurant owner/taco truck driver so that you know which dishes are already acne safe and which dishes could be easily modified. if possible, choose from what they already offer on their menu so that you don’t complicate things too much and make it more stressful than it needs to be.

vows – write them ahead of time. i did this the night before the wedding and felt a little rushed. what helped me the most with my vows were my bridesmaids. they told me things they’ve noticed have shifted since i met adam (sense of everything will be ok, more settled with who i am) and i was able to go from there. adam, on the other hand, just sat with our dog leroy and gracefully wrote in cursive until it was done. the good thing about waiting until the last minute on vows is that they don’t sound too forced or scripted. so, maybe don’t plan ahead. up to you.

here’s the thing. yes, we could have made choices so that the wedding came off fancier, sleeker, more elegant but it would have been a waste of time and stress (and money). i could not have been happier! i will never look back and wish that i spent more time stressing on what type of silverware we chose or which songs we played.

just try to keep in mind that the only goal for your wedding day is to have fun! you are your own biggest critic – nobody is judging you the way you’re judging you. so have fun and be unapologetically yourself. this is, after all, the only event everyone you know and love will feel obligated to show up for you – so take advantage of it and throw a good party!

all wedding photography done by heidi zumbrum

acne safe wedding – week two “makeup: planning ahead and day of”

makeup, planning ahead and day of (including advice from a makeup artist that can do your makeup acne safe in the bay area!)

best decision i made makeup-wise was to do a trial run well before the actual wedding day. i highly highly recommend doing this! my adorable and talented makeup artist, isabel macias, suggested we do the trial run and i agreed, without realizing how valuable it would be. i showed isabel the photos from pinterest i had found and liked – i thought the photos i shared were natural, yet defined enough to look good photographed. she did a great job mimicking those looks, but i learned the look i thought i was going for required wayyyy more makeup than i expected. from far away it looked great but up close it was too much for my taste.

so, this realization made it so that the day of i was able to articulate what i did like and what i thought we could do differently for the ceremony. we ended up using non-acne safe makeup because i wussed out – i didn’t want to be needy or bridezilla-ish with the makeup artist. i brought all my acne safe makeup and thought i had given myself enough pep talks to voice what i wanted… but the day of, i didn’t have it in me to be nit-picky and didn’t feel like micromanaging the artist was the right thing to do. plus, i saved myself stress the day of and just went with the flow.

my makeup was perfect, i couldn’t have been happier – but it did break me out afterwards. so i had a few months of pesky breakouts from the cloggy products we used. though, i have no regrets! but i wish i had the advice of bay area makeup artist rachel rockwood, who has been a skinSALVATION client since 2015.

not only does rachel personally understand the stress that goes along with having acne, but she also works for youngblood, a makeup company that makes most of the acne safe makeup we carry at skinSALVATION. (please note that some but not all of their makeup offerings are acne-safe!).

rachel has four basic tips for the day of the wedding:

  1. exfoliate beforehand (like with regular peels!) so that makeup application is even and doesn’t look cakey
  2. moisturize face, including eyebrows, to avoid flakiness when combing and grooming
  3. avoid sunscreen that’s over spf 15 because it can bounce light back in photos and make you look ghostly
  4. use a primer so makeup stays put through the kissing, hugging + tears

ok so now feast your eyes on rachel’s professional product recommendations and application advice below!

helpful hint: apply products in the order laid out below!

side note: only acne safe products that we would recommend to clients are clickable links.

primer – youngblood mineral primer or kasnoff tinted primer if you don’t want to wear foundation but want to even skin tone a bit

concealer under eyes – choose a color a half a shade lighter than your foundation and blend from the inner corner of the eye down the side of nose and out towards towards the cheekbone in a V like pattern. this will also add a highlight to the cheek bones. too much product will settle into creases so go sparingly and pat it quickly.  many sS’ers like using illuminare liquid foundation in the concealing formula for this!

concealer for breakouts – rachel loves the illuminare concealing formula we carry at skinSALVATION. set with youngblood loose foundation using a small eyeshadow brush.

foundation – youngblood loose foundation or illuminare’s moisturizing liquid mineral foundation for a more dewy look (or on drier skin).

eyes – pick eye colors that are complementary to your eye color. (for example green eyes pop in warm browns and rosy reds. blue eyes sparkle next to rose golds as well as cooler greys. brown eyes look great in purples and golds). tarte brand shadows and alima pure’s loose shadows are talc free. consider using individual lashes instead of the lash strips. you want them to blend in with your natural lashes! finish with mascara. (or get lash extensions!)

blush – apply a little more blush on than you think you need. blush tends to fade fast, but remember to blend evenly!! alima makes a wide array of acne safe blushes and a few bronzers (just choose the loose powders, as their pressed formulas are cloggy).

highlight – only the cheekbones, bridge of nose and cupids bow. you don’t want to look sweaty because you put highlighter everywhere! rachel likes the youngblood lunar dust in moonbeam. some of us at skinSALVATION (including me!) have been using fat and the moon highlighter and love it. alima also makes a few loose powder highlighters that are safe.

lips – pick a hydrating lip color. rachel doesn’t recommend long wearing lip color because they are so drying and they look dry on. she prefers the old fashion way of (1) sponging a base foundation on the lip line, (2) powdering, (3) lining the lips fully and (4) applying your color.

finish – youngblood rice setting powder or youngblood minerals in the mist. this step is a must to lock in the makeup and finish your look. their loose powder is nice for a natural look, but the pressed is easier to keep in your purse for touch-ups.

refresh – youngblood minerals in the mist or rosewater spray. when makeup moves throughout the day/night, spray again and buff with a powder brush to refresh the makeup.

according to rachel, bottom line is that healthy skin is essential for a good makeup application. 

her best beauty tip that won’t cost money: smile and laugh!! 

here is a link to rachel’s bridal portfolio:

http://www.rachelrockwood.com/portfolio/#/bridal/

stay tuned for next week’s acne safe wedding blog “easy ways to keep stress low: flowers, table settings, wedding favors, cake, vows”


all wedding photography done by heidi zumbrum

acne safe wedding – week one “straight up skincare routine and timeline for treatments”

straight up skincare routine and timeline for treatments –

first off, do not switch everything up before a big event. you should try to avoid throwing new variables into the mix! my pre-wedding routine with products and treatments worked so well because it had been tweaked for two years beforehand to find the best combination of active acne-clearing and healing products for my skin. so, that being said, don’t wait until the last minute to see an esthetician or try a new product, even if you have great skin! it’s best to try things out with enough time before the big event so that if something does go haywire, you have time to heal and switch back to the routine that works. at minimum, if you plan to use a product for exfoliation before the big day, please make sure to test-drive it about a month before to make sure you don’t have a bad reaction.

my own personal normal-to-dry-ish, clear-skin-maintenance-mode skincare routine for 6 months leading up to the wedding (please note that your skin is different, so your own personal routine may be different – hit up one of our estheticians to help you find yours!):

am:

charcoal wash

mandelic + d2o blend toner

max + jane eye serum

salicylic acid 2%

odara oil as moisturizer

tizo 3 sunscreen

makeup (acne safe, no time to mess around)

rosewater spray to set makeup

pm:

odara oil on dry skin as makeup remover

charcoal wash

remove with makeup removing sponge

mandelic + d2o blend toner

max + jane eye serum

vitamin a10+ serum

either: benzoyl peroxide and hydrating gel   OR  odara oil as moisturizer

having been a skinSALVATION client for several years, my skin was already relatively clear, so my appointments were spread out.

for best results, we recommend that clients who are experiencing active acne get treatments every 2-3 weeks until they are clear then 1 treatment a month to maintain clarity, with the last treatment being no less than 2 weeks prior to the big day.

here was the treatment schedule that personally worked for me, leading up to the wedding. :

  • every 3 weeks for 6 months: signature face treatment
  • 1.5 months before: signature face treatment
  • 3-4 weeks before: peel only treatment

if you don’t have acne or you’re already super clear (lucky you), then just get regular peels to keep your skin looking fresh. i’d say the last peel i did 3-4 weeks before the big day was key, because my skin was in that sweet spot after a peel where it looked smooth and radiant (and finished with the flaky dry skin that these peels are supposed to induce). alternatively, you can also opt for our acne-safe spa facial to help introduce some relaxation and moisture much needed with all the wedding planning jitters – again, at least 2 weeks prior to your big day.

it was making a decision to plan all this out beforehand that helped me to time it all out perfectly with my esthetician!

stay tuned for next week’s acne safe wedding blog – makeup, planning ahead and day of (including advice from a makeup artist that can do your makeup acne safe)!

all wedding photography by heidi zumbrum

acne safe wedding – introduction

if i’m being fully honest, i will admit that while planning my wedding i became strangely obsessed with people telling me i was a laid-back bride. i’ll also admit there were times i felt stressed while planning my wedding (like when the photobooth company ghosted on us), but overall i am pretty proud with how i handled all the planning. this is partly due to meditation but mainly due to making a whole lot of little decisions with just this thought as the guiding factor: what is the low-stress option?

before we dive in, i want to fill you in on my skin “situation” so you know i’m legit and trust my advice. i’ve been a skinSALVATION client since 2014. my skin cleared up within a few months of strictly following the acne safe lifestyle. i got a little cocky after maintaining 95-98% clarity for 2 years. during this cocky period where i felt invincible, i stayed diligent with the acne safe products but ate pizza (dairy and potential soybean oil in dough = not acne safe), chinese (soy up the wazoo = definitely not acne safe), and an occasional slice of cheddar cheese off the block (precise + literal definition of not acne safe).

whew! that felt good to get all that off my chest. so, that aside, about 6 months before my wedding i got really serious about getting my skin to a state where i wouldn’t have to slather on concealer to get a smooth finish. so, i did everything skinSALVATION recommends: the acne safe diet, products, signature face treatments, peels, stress management, sleep, the whole shebang.

and…the day of my wedding i didn’t have to wear a full face of makeup!

now i’m going to be straightforward. adding the requirement “acne safe” to my wedding day definitely made things more complicated. while working reception at skinSALVATION i have had the pleasure of chatting with some of our clients who are getting married this year and realized i had some solid advice for planning a low stress, acne safe wedding. so, i have decided to be a good samaritan and share what i’ve learned. i’ve organized what i am going to share with you into sections so that it’s easier to navigate. we are going to separate them into 3 blog posts and will post one a week:

  • week one: straight up skincare routine and timeline for treatments
  • week two: makeup, planning ahead and day of (including advice from a makeup artist that’s also a skinSALVATION client and can do your makeup acne safe!)
  • week three: easy ways to keep stress low: flowers, table settings, food, cake, vows, and wedding favors

so, stay tuned for next week’s post on straight up skincare routine and timeline for treatments!

blake’s acne journey

march 2018, loving the skin i’m in.

 

i don’t remember a time when i didn’t have acne. not once in 22 years can i remember having clear, smooth, beautiful skin. what i do remember is staring at my mother’s skin and wondering when mine would finally be like hers. and guess what- i’m not there yet. i’m still working on it, each and every day. before i dive into my journey, it’s important to understand my background when it comes to my family values and views of health, as i grew up with an amazing and unique outlook on my body and a respect for how it works.

 

i was born in boise, idaho, to two badass humans. my mom and dad opened a wildly successful chiropractic office that served hundreds of people every day and built the house of our dreams just a short drive away. i am one of three sisters (i’m the middle child) and my parents consciously chose to raise us holistically, taking an inside-out approach to health (not outside-in) and instilling within us an understanding and consciousness of what goes in our body and how the nervous system works.

 

my mom gave birth to all three of us at home, 100% naturally, with my dad right there by her side. my dad adjusted our spines two minutes after we entered the world and has continued to do so ever since. my sisters and i have never been vaccinated, taken prescription drugs, or have been hospitalized. i was taught that “the power that made the body heals the body”, and so i was never handed advil when i had a headache, or cough syrup when i had a cold. i took care of myself, stayed healthy, and whenever i did come down with something, i allowed my body to do what it does best – heal!

 

as i developed, so did my acne. my incredible mom, being the holistic warrior that she is, tried and tried and tried to help clear my skin. we acknowledged that being a teenager, my hormones were playing a huge part but that ended up being only one small piece of an enormous puzzle when it came to my acne. i tried dozens of natural products, made half assed-attempts to cut dairy (…failed instantly and repeatedly) and we eventually found ourselves bouncing from dermatologist to dermatologist in search of answers. 

my non-inflamed acne was, in a word, severe.

my face was extremely congested and i lost all confidence. i shied away from my love of volleyball and quit the team. i became a homebody and dreaded going to my work as a restaurant hostess in fear that a co-worker or worse – a customer – would mention it.

 

i finally gave up on my skin and fell into a state of depression, accepting that the only way to fix my skin was to go against our values of health. at 15, my mother and i accepted the derm’s recommendation to start birth control. my mom was SUPER against it, but i had come to a crossroad of choosing my beliefs or my happiness, and i chose the latter.

 

fast forward a year or so and i graduated high school, took a few photos and disappeared without saying goodbye to anyone because of my skin. right before i moved to san francisco for college, my acne worsened – something that, with my skin already being so bad, i didn’t think was possible. after hours of research, my mom found the “best derm in san diego” and said we should try them out. before writing this post, i called and had them send me a summary of my visits in order to remember all the notes and prescriptions about my skin, and they sent a 41 PAGE PDF.

ashamed of my skin (hard to see in this pic) and disregarding my own graduation.

on 6/5/13, we met with the derm and went over my challenges and goals. i stated that i had tried epiduo and differin for 6 months, minocycline for 2 months, the birth control pill for two years and a 10% glycolic cleanser…she definitely had her work cut out for her. she prescribed me 20-40mg of zenatane and saw me back in a month. she then prescribed me 100 mg of minocycline and 100 mg of spironolactone. i then returned twice in two months for salicylic acid peels.

 

my acne didn’t change and i was ready to give up. the final “solution” was her recommending isotretinoin (accutane) in november of 2013 when i was already living in sf and in my freshman year of college. to put this into perspective – in her over 20 years of practice i was the FOURTH person she had ever prescribed accutane to. fed up and having reached my breaking point, i did it. i signed up for the iPledge program (a requirement for those going on the drug), acknowledged the side effects, and was pregnancy tested through both urine and blood.

 

the next seven visits were spaced out over the course of 7 months. each month i went and had my blood taken at LabCorp (terrifying for a kid that had never even set foot in a doctors office) and flew down to san diego for my derm appointment, which included a urine pregnancy test as a second confirmation (it’s extremely harmful to become pregnant while on this drug) and then a skin analysis. by visit #7 i had developed eczema on my arms, my lips cracked and bled open. i had the driest, most uncomfortable skin and couldn’t wear makeup because of how my face physically felt. i also couldn’t go in the sun at all, for risk of sunburn (with my already fair skin). by visit #9 my skin worsened and was i prescribed acanya gel. i was mortified when i looked in the mirror and was so freaking frustrated. 

*fun fact: i had my wisdom teeth removed recently and when the surgeon showed me my teeth, the roots were BROWN. naturally i asked why and he said it was from taking accutane and all the other oral acne prescriptions. i was horrified to say the least. case in point: it’s disturbing to know that i put something in my body that made the roots turn brown, but i was a young girl desperate to feel comfortable in her own skin who, like thousands of others, was misinformed by the marketing around the acne and cosmetic industry.

it’s important to note that this was my first year of college, a time that you’re supposed to be out meeting people and having fun. i couldn’t drink with friends being on accutane and i was mortified about my skin. i felt horrible at my job and avoided going out as much as possible, leading me to hide in my dorm and become depressed. it was high school all over again. by my last visit, visit #12 (6/25/14) she noted that i had “some improvement” (ugh!) i had reached the max dosage of 80mg of accutane and i was sent on my way. my skin had improved slightly but nothing like i believed and hoped it would. i had watched transformation stories on Youtube and was convinced my skin would clear up just like theirs. i created an unrealistic expectation in my head and was devastated when it wasn’t fulfilled by this drug.

over the next few years, i cleared up a little bit but not by much. i was back on birth control and ignored my mom’s encouraging words of “stop eating dairy, drink more water, etc.”. every time i returned home for a family visit i was getting hydrafacials from an esthetician my mom and sisters knew. it helped to extract a bit of my non-inflamed acne but the acne always immediately returned. during my junior year of college, i studied abroad in vienna, austria. my acne got worse due to my diet of cheese and alcohol. i was traveling around europe three times a month and drinking very frequently, while the stress of school and loneliness of living in a foreign country continued to wreak havoc on my skin (and mental + emotional health).

 

in sep 2016, i found skinSALVATION on yelp. i started researching and bookmarked the website under the “important” tab on my phone. as a broke college kid, i saved up my tips and booked an initial consultation for feb 2017. i was in a lot of debt from going abroad and promised myself i would afford my treatments and products with the tips from my serving job. i literally came home after every shift and put them in an envelope titled “for a rainy day”, A.K.A the freaking cure for my skin!

 

at my consultation, my esthetician determined that i was 40% clear. this number was daunting. it stuck in my head and made me feel defeated but was important to track my progress. my partner came to my consultation and was shocked at seeing my non-inflamed acne under the light during the skin analysis. he was sweet and supportive, but never truly understood what i dealt with until that moment.

 

after the consultation, i rushed home with all the knowledge and tools i learned, printed my homework email and taped it to the inside of my medicine cabinet and purged my apartment of anything that contained dairy and soy. i said my tearful goodbyes with cheese, my favorite food, and haven’t had it since! i’ve never drank coffee so i thankfully didn’t have that hurdle to jump over. as months passed, my skin improved to 80%. i graduated college and got married in the same week (…just a LITTLE bit stressful!) and icing helped keep my skin calm during quite possibly the most stressful seven days of my life! i became so interested in skinSALVATION and passionate about what my esthetician, kayla, was teaching me that i ended up applying to be the full-time front desk gal.

feeling incredible!

surrounding myself with incredible, intelligent and supportive women makes the diet and lifestyle feel simple. my skin has fluctuated between 70-80% clear due to finally ditching the birth control pill which has made my skin go through a purging phase while my hormones regulate themselves. i’m aware that i have a systemic imbalance due to my love of sugar and am looking into working alongside a naturopath and will eventually embark on the candida cleanse to help clear that last 20%.

 

my journey isn’t done yet, but you know what? i’m happy and feel comfortable in my own skin. i feel beautiful and love taking care of my body. i’m grateful to not obsess over percentages anymore and accept my progress. skinSALVATION has given me more than clear, manageable skin – it’s given me the confidence and positive mindset that i was searching for all along.

my rockstar mom who supported me through many years of skin struggles. i love you!