easy peasy pumpkin recipes + holiday closures

this beautiful photo is from monica at themovementmenu.com and the pumpkin soup recipe she’s got there is more robust than the lazy one i’ve got below, is delicious and acne-safe too! (just use ghee instead of coconut oil) 🙂

i am so thankful for all our loyal sS’ers that have trusted us with letting us help take care of you, your health and your skin.

this would be impossible without open and honest communication and i sincerely appreciate every single opportunity to dialogue with you about everything: your clear skin program and how tough it can be, when our online shop was broken and wasn’t accepting credit cards (ugh!) and our fave, words of encouragement to keep sS going strong for clients all over the world that need our help!

THANK YOU for keeping us going, we love optimizing quality of life for you through our work <3

HOLIDAY HOURS!
in november, we’ll be closed wednesday 11/21 and will reopen sunday 11/25.
in december, we’ll be closed friday 12/21 and will reopen sunday 1/6/2019.

* please note that online orders placed on days we’re closed will be shipped out the first monday we are back in the shop.

SUPER EASY PUMPKIN RECIPES
i cooked up a pumpkin earlier this month and since it was so good and easy, i wanted to share a few ideas with you on how i used my first pumpkin purchase of the year and hope it inspires you too!

PUMPKIN PREP: 
take one sugar pie pumpkin (about 6-8″ tall), place it whole on a baking sheet and roast at 350F for an hour-ish (you can do other things while it’s in there), til the insides are soft. cut it in half, remove the seeds (i love using a serrated edged grapefruit spoon for this) and scoop out the flesh for any use!

SAVORY GARBANZO MISO PUMPKIN SOUP: 
i quickly made some pumpkin soup this weekend by blending up some garbanzo miso (you can find this at rainbow grocery’s bulk section, or just use good quality stock/broth) into hot water and once that was combined, added the prepped pumpkin flesh and blended it all til smooth. add some smoked paprika for flavor, a chopped up hard boiled egg and/or avocado for extra protein & healthy fat, maybe some crumbled bacon on top for salty crunchiness!  i love this because it reheats very easily and when put into a thermos, i had an easy lunch for an intense all day + night conference this past weekend.

SWEET PUMPKIN CRUMBLE:
scoop the prepped flesh into a baking pan, and top with candied nuts and call it a day, or top with your own easy homemade strudel topping: combine 1c oatmeal, 1/2c coconut sugar, 1/2tsp cinnamon, 2tbsp melted ghee and 1/4c honey. crumble over the pumpkin and put back into the oven at 350F for about 10-15 mins til the top browns. serve warm with acne-safe ice cream or whipped coconut cream.

* bonus points for pouring a bit of brandy or rum over the whole thing right before serving!

kayla’s experience with venus viva skin resurfacing for textural acne scars

i’ve happily been bouncing between 90%-100% clarity for almost 2 years now and it feels like a true victory. i still follow the acne-safe lifestyle and get frequent treatments to take care of my skin. my pigmentation is nearly completely gone, but the textural scarring in my cheeks & between my brows is severe and keeps me from being truly happy with my skin.

we often refer clients to medical spas for more invasive procedures once they are clear, so i went in to a local one see what they would recommend for my textural scarring. i was initially thinking microneedling would be the route for me, but after their examination, the venus viva was strongly suggested.

VENUS VIVA (vs micro-needling)

venus viva is a skin resurfacing treatment with significantly less downtime than the commonly used CO2 lasers. it works by pressing tiny pins into the skin while the handset simultaneously delivers heat, creating micro-wounds (and stimulating the skin’s collagen-producing healing response). it is similar to the popular micro-needling, but the tool is ‘smart’ in that it can detect areas in the skin that need more attention as well as penetrate deeper than micro-needling.

THE PROCEDURE + HEALING

i did 2 rounds of venus viva, 5 weeks apart. my first round was at the end of march, and the second one at the beginning of may. the treatment itself is very quick (15 mins) and very painful. i applied their BLT numbing cream 30 mins prior – which appears to be acne-safe whereas most numbing creams don’t disclose ingredients – but it was still really painful. luckily, like i said, it was very quick. she was essentially pressing a tool into my skin that had 160 pins to puncture the surface and the nano-fractional radio frequency caused a strong (painful) zapping sensation.

when i left, my skin looked & felt like it was extremely sunburnt. i was advised to not put anything on my skin for 24-hours and to stay out of the sun.. so i hid out at home. after 24 hours, i was back at work wearing makeup. and honestly, you couldn’t even tell that i had a procedure done! if you looked really closely, you could see a distinct pattern of tiny dots on my face, which were teeny-tiny scabs that felt like sandpaper. the redness was gone within a few days, and by day 5-6 i felt like my skin was completely healed. did my textural scars magically go away? no. did i see a difference? not in my scars, but overall, my skin appeared more supple and refined. when i went back for my second round, my esthetician assured me that since the healing starts from the inside-out, it can take 3 months for the full results to show, post-procedure.

round two was a bit different. she focused the tool specifically on my scarred areas, rather than evenly dispersing, which i was very happy about. again, the healing was fast and painless.

RESULTS..?

it’s been about 3 months since my last treatment and to be totally honest – the results are underwhelming. i don’t see a major improvement in the textural scars, especially the deeper ones. i think the mild ones are less noticeable, but overall i think to see a true difference i would need a few more (costly) rounds.  each session was about $800, and i expected much more visible results to justify the cost, so my search for textural scarring rejuvenation will continue for now..

please do share any information you may have if you’ve gotten successful results from the venus viva, or any other textural scarring treatment! we’d love to hear 🙂

 

acne-causing heavy metals in protein powders – how a client’s own detective research cleared him up!

the team at skinSALVATION does a lot of investigating in order to find the safest and best quality foods and products to recommend to our clients to keep their skin clear long term. we absolutely love it when our clients become detectives in their own right and bring our attention to potential acne triggers that we haven’t discovered yet. yay for teamwork!!
recently, one of our savvy male clients, TB, came across this super interesting report on protein powders put out by an organization called, “the clean label project”. they “use data and science to reveal the true contents of america’s best selling consumer products. products are tested in an accredited analytical chemistry laboratory for 130 harmful environmental and industrial contaminants and toxins, and their results are published as product ratings.” the clean label project currently tests baby food, pet foods, and protein powders. there are some people out there that weren’t as impressed with the clean label project as we were and in an effort to provide all perspectives and information available. we want to share this link where the writer talks about some of the clean label project’s shortcomings and issues with it’s research.
TB, a very active vegan athlete looked up protein powders, and unearthed information on the one he had been taking – which looked acne-safe (meaning, it didn’t contain soy or whey or other acne-causing foods we look for). through this report, he found out more about its’ nutritional value, heavy metals, pesticides and mycotoxins and we were shocked by the findings.
CASE STUDY
TB came to us in september of 2017 with over-exfoliated, inflamed and picked-at skin. his clarity at the time was about 60% and 95% of the acne lesions that he did have were inflamed. being a gluten-free vegan, his protein options dramatically decreased after learning that he’d need to stop eating acne-causing soy in order to clear up his skin. on top of this, we discovered that he was likely suffering from a systemic candida imbalance after he scored high on this candida questionnaire. he decided to embark on a vegan candida cleanse but because the diet was so restrictive he only lasted on it for about 3 weeks. (generally, folks stay on this whole + natural foods diet for 2-3 months to clear up the candida. candida can cause sS-resistant acne, among other more serious long-term conditions).  he also started taking this anti-fungal candida control tincture which is the other necessary component to getting candida successfully and fully under control. (ideally, you need to avoid all sugars in your diet to starve the yeast, and supplement by taking anti-fungals to clean out and purge the excess yeast. there are many other components to this; check out our other posts on candida). he continued to work hard to avoid soy, sugar, gluten and eat as close to the candida diet as he could and we started to see his inflammation calm down and his clarity improve.
in addition to the dietary changes and supplement regimen, he was coming in for regular treatments and using our targeted skinSALVATION home care products. unlike most clients we see, his acne was really not extractable (he was too inflamed), so instead of focusing on extractions during his treatments we opted for chemical peels, high frequency (a machine that kills acne bacteria, reduces inflammation and speeds up healing) and 20 minutes under our LED panel to further heal the skin and combat inflammation at a deeper level.  we continued to do extractions where we could. by his 4th treatment on november 26, 2017 he was 80% clear and showing vast improvement in terms of inflammation and overall skin health. by january 21, 2018, he was 95% clear. check out his amazing transformation below!
THE PROTEIN POWDER DISCOVERY
after moving away from the bay area, TB reached out to us, letting us know about the clean label project study. he had been taking vega protein powder every day, even several times a day for about 6 months before seeing us. his skin had got really bad, super inflamed with very deep cysts in april-aug 2017, around the time he starting taking the vega protein powder.
at his consultation appointment in 9/2017, his clarity was 60% and most of that was the inflamed and cystic type of acne. he was baffled as to why his skin had gotten so bad over the last few months when really nothing had changed. looking back we both really think that this protein powder is the main reason it got so bad. another major factor was probably physical stress from all the intense working out he was doing at that time – he himself said his body looked it’s best but his skin looked it’s worst!
we didn’t think of the protein powder to be a major acne-causing factor for him at the time because the ingredients seemed acne safe (no soy or dairy/whey) – and he was eating so much soy up until we told him how much soy breaks all of our other clients out. shortly after his first treatment at the end of 9/2017, he started the candida cleanse, had two colonics and backed off the protein powder because he wasn’t working out as much anymore. we started to see a big improvement in his skin towards the end of november, 2017 at his 4th treatment and it quickly improved from there. by january 2018 (3 months after first starting with us) he was 95% clear and has been able to maintain that after moving away from the bay area.
through the clean label project’s research, vega was found to be one of the worst rated, containing high levels of toxic heavy metals (!!!). after sharing his story of clarity working with sS on social media, several folks on social media contacted him regarding vega protein powder, citing similar acne experiences while consuming the same thing!
here are some interesting facts from the study to note:
  • organic protein powders had on average 2x the heavy metals than conventional ones
  • egg protein was the cleanest with the least heavy metals/toxins
  • plant-based powders were on average, the most toxic
  • 75% of plant-based tested most positive for lead (they are doing more research on how and why toxins get into these foods so stay tuned for another post once this research comes out)
after reviewing the study findings, we are no longer recommending vega protein powder to our clients and we are currently looking into safer options. so far we have found the following to be acne-safe and clean-project-label-clear on paper, but have yet to actually see clients through using these powders for an extended period of time:
protein source: hemp protein
EAT REAL FOOD
it’s also important to keep in mind that protein powder is a dietary supplement which may be helpful in a pinch, but is not going to be the best option to replace actual real whole natural food meals humans should be eating every day. remember, these are SUPPLEMENTS and NOT everyday meal replacements! instead of making a protein powder shake your daily go-to breakfast, try some of these quick + easy, make-ahead options instead:
steel-cut, gluten-free oatmeal topped with hemp seeds and fresh berries (you can easily no-cook this by soaking them them overnight in the fridge, they’ll be ready in the am)
sprouted grain toast and eggs
hardboiled eggs, fermented veggies (like saurekraut or kimchi) and avocado (super easy to get ready the night before)
avocado toast with kite hill “cream cheese”
avocado and sugar-free lox
low sugar granola and unsweetened almond milk (kim loves this over cut up papaya)
TAKEAWAY

a mantra from kreation organic juicery in the LA area – you are what you eat. don’t be cheap, fast, fake or easy!

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