liesse’s journey to clear skin

close your eyes and think back to the first time you came to skinSALVATION. you sat in a comfy art deco chair for two hours and listened to us teach you about the sS protocol. we asked about your diet and lifestyle, the products that you were using and educated you about the treatments. at some point during that initial consultation you probably asked how long it would take for you to get clear (if you didn’t ask, you were probably at least thinking it.) the answer is that it’s different for everyone. for many people who are religious about their lifestyle and regimen they can see clear skin in 3 to 6 months.

as an esthetician and clear skin educator, i am dedicated to the acne safe lifestyle 100%. that means that i don’t eat dairy, soy, cloggy cooking oils, high androgen foods or coffee and limit my sugar intake. in addition, i don’t eat grains and am currently cutting eggs and nuts out of my diet to manage my inflammation and oil production. i take dairy free probiotics and 4 zyflamend per day. i do stress relieving activities like riding my bike to work (and wash my face of sweat when i get here), meditate and do yoga. i am religious about my regimen and ice twice per day. i don’t have a single cloggy product in my house (even my boyfriend uses safe body wash and lip balm.) i get regular treatments from the other estheticians at sS, including our most intense chemical peel – dr. fulton’s pro peel. all in all i am an ideal client.

it has been 3 months since i started receiving treatments here at sS. i was 55-60% clear when i started which means that nearly half of my face was congested with deep inflamed acne. in the first couple of weeks my clarity increased quickly to 70% and i was 80% clear a month later. 80% is the most clear i have been since i started breaking out with acne when i was a young teen. needless to say, i was really excited to see my skin clearing and anticipated that i would be 100% clear in no time at all. it has been 2 months since then and i am still hovering between 80% and 85% clarity. what gives?

3 month progress pic. the active acne is mostly gone but i have a lot of post inflammatory pigmentation remaining. this redness will lift over time with chemical peels and home care products.

i discovered that i had an allergy to gluten and most grains five years ago. some research shows that with developed allergies (in my case i ate grain with no problem throughout my childhood and late teens) you can take them out of your diet for a period of time and then successfully reintroduce them. a few months ago i decided to try gluten free oats, which i had been sensitive to in the past. turns out i can eat them now with no digestive or reactive problem at all! i was so pumped that i decided to wait a few months and then try the next safest thing – rice. when i had built up the confidence, i went to the best sushi restaurant in my neighborhood and ordered a simple roll. that night i felt fine and thought that i had conquered another food group! unfortunately, by the next morning i was sick to my stomach, lethargic and had a splitting headache. i believe that this weakened by immune system so much that i was extra sensitive to other foods. the combination of these reactions lasted for nearly a month! the inflammation in my digestive tract influenced my skin and the acne seeds that were deep in my skin and hadn’t been extracted yet (remember it takes 1-3 months for an acne lesion to form and show up on the surface of the skin) became inflamed and painful again. one delicious little sushi roll ended up being a month long set back on my clearing process.

since then, i have introduced gut healing bone broth and fermented foods to help get my digestion and skin back on track. i am beginning to get regular acupuncture and am taking a closer look at what’s going on inside of my body. i’ve had one pro peel and a handful of extractions and mandelic acid peels and i can happily say that my skin is back on track towards that ultimate goal of being 100% clear.

one of the most rewarding aspects of my job here as sS has been walking on the path to clarity along side my clients. i am sharing my story because it’s so important to understand that what is happening inside can manifest as acne on the surface. for me that was eating something that my body couldn’t process which will not be the case for all of you (most of our clients can eat grains without a problem.) getting clear is so multifaceted and it takes a lot of patience to figure out your perfect combination of diet, lifestyle and products. for any of you out there who are feeling anxious about how quickly you are clearing up i encourage you to take a moment to think about how far you’ve come. next time you’re in for a treatment ask us to see the photos that we took during your initial consultation and ask what percentage of clarity you were when you first came to see us. when you see progress happen in tiny amounts each day it’s hard to calculate the sum of your accomplishment.

be proud of how far you have come and have faith in yourself that clear skin is closer to your grasp than ever before.

with love (and a few stubborn acne seeds),


the CANDIDA cleanse

UPDATED 4/9/13

hello fellow sS’ers!

you may recall from a previous post that candida albicans is a yeast that we all naturally have in our digestive systems. a variety of different factors like antibiotic usage, diets excessive in sugar, and even stress can throw off the balance of bacteria in our systems and cause an overgrowth of candida.  this overgrowth can lead to an endless array of symptoms such as chronic yeast infections, depression, bloating, gas, constipation, fatigue, joint pain and of course….ACNE.

when kimmy started seeing kim in december of ’09, she literally felt “clear” after the first treatment. but some time passed and she started breaking out again. this time, the breakout didn’t go away no matter how many times she came in for treatment.  along with the stubborn acne, she was having frequent yeast infections, and had an itchy rash on her face that just wouldn’t go away!  after much probing (both at her skin and into her life!), kim came to the conclusion that she had a candida overgrowth and would need to do a cleanse to get clear.

since sS was still fairly new to the candida cleanse, kimmy was sort of the guinea pig who tried and tested the crazy amount of information out there. now, after 3 rounds of the cleanse, hours of reading, and lots of frustration trying to navigate all of the conflicting information, we hope these tips she learned will help you and save you from all of the trouble she went through.

first, a few very straightforward pointers:

1. JUST DO IT. if you’re following the sS acne-free lifestyle, coming in for treatment as prescribed, and following your regimen and you’re still not clearing up; if you get chronic yeast infections, have poor digestion, crave sugar and carbs, have all around poor health and get sick all the time, just. freakin. do. it!!!

the good news is: it can’t hurt. “cleanse” is a misleading word because really, the “candida cleanse” is just following a healthy diet – and this way of eating will benefit you whether or not you have candida.a few months may seem like a long time but it is nothing compared to the months and years you will suffer with acne and all the other candida symptoms you may experience if you dont just nip this in the bud now. and lets just be honest, most of us could do with a few months of cleaning up our diets (and perhaps our livers too…)

2. don’t bother doing it half-assed. if you’re gonna do it, do it all the way! the first two times kimmy did the cleanse, she did it for two weeks each. her symptoms got better then got worse again. finally, she gave in and ended up doing it for the full two months. in the end, instead of just doing it for the full two months in the first place, she wasted time doing it half- assed because she was being lazy. also, yeast thrives on sugar — and yes, that means just a tiny drop of alcohol or a little bite of chocolate! don’t do the cleanse and cheat (even if its just a little bit) because ultimately, you’re just cheating yourself.

3. be prepared! don’t just decide to do the cleanse tomorrow without preparing and definitely don’t decide to do it right before vacation: you’ll be setting yourself up to fail and you’ll be really, really hungry. when the time is right, gather up some recipes, get some snacks in that fridge, and be prepared to spend a little time in the kitchen. if you’re someone like kimmy who’s scared to boil a pot of water, don’t worry!  we promise you, this doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming – but, you are going to have to get over your fear of burning down the house or poisoning someone every time you prepare food. and who knows, by the end of the cleanse, you may even enjoy cooking and be confident in your skills in the kitchen… as you should be! you can do it 🙂

now, on to the nitty-gritty!  we’re gonna warn you, you may start reading this list of foods to avoid and find that everything you eat is, well, a food to avoid. don’t run away just yet!  we promise you won’t be hungry and there is still a ton of things that you can eat! so, here it goes…


SUGARS (try xylitol or stevia instead!)
sugar, honey, syrup, lactose, sucrose, fructose, chocolate, molasses, rice syrup, artificial sweeteners, agave nectar, coconut sugar, candy, cookies, snack foods

ALL. OF.  IT.  wine, beer, spirits, liquors, cider.  yep.  sorry.

coffee, decaf coffee, black & green tea (or any caffeinated tea), diet & regular soda, energy drinks, sports drinks, coconut water, fruit juice, rice milk, kombucha (it has caffeine from the tea and sugar!)

all pork products, cured meat (like: salami, pepperoni, pastrami, hot dogs), processed meats (lunch meat, bacon, spam), smoked & vacuum packed meats

wheat, rye, oats, barley, bread, enriched flour, white or wheat pasta, spelt products, corn, corn by products, cereal

FRUIT (lemon and limes are fine!)
fresh fruit, dried fruit, canned fruit, fruit juice

potatoes, corn, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, beets, peas, parsnips, yucca, all winter squash,  basically anything starchy, which the body will turn into sugar upon consumption.

cheese, milk, cream, buttermilk, yogurt.  PASTURED and organic butter however, is ok in small amounts.

ketchup, store bought mayonnaise (homemade that you make yourself is ok), regular mustard, relish, horseradish, soy sauce, salad dressings, vinegars.  in place of vinegars, you can use apple cider vinegar, lemon and limes ONLY.

peanut oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, coconut oil, vegetable oils, canola oil, soy oil, margarine, shortening, lard

mushrooms, truffles, imported teas, cheeses, even dried spices (fresh herbs are best)

cashews, peanuts, pistachios

PHEW. you still with us? now, lets talk about the foods you CAN eat.

we know most of you have a diet right now that consists entirely of foods in the last section.  we also know how intimidating it is to read the list that you’re about to read and to never have cooked or even heard of some of these foods.

amaranth? is that a perfume?… buckwheat? wasn’t that a character from the little rascals?… um, NO. these are foods that for some strange reason are not a part of our american diet… but they should be! most of them are affordable, easy to make, full of nutrients and delicious.

take buckwheat for example. buckwheat is one of the gluten-free grains allowed on the cleanse. it can be found in the bulk section of most supermarkets and is usually even less expensive than rice. it’s high in quality plant proteins, both essential and non-essential amino acids, the powerful antioxidant rutin, and vitamin e. compared to rice, it has twice as much zinc and copper, over three times the amount of calcium and iron, and over five times the amount of potassium and magnesium. buckwheat takes less time to cook than rice and can be eaten as is or put in soups (like we like to do).

the point is, don’t be scared by foods you’re not familiar with. a fancy name doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s hard to cook or expensive.

now, onto the full list of FOODS TO EAT:

artichokes, asparagus, avocado, beet greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, cucumber, dandelion greens, eggplant, endive, garlic, green beans, kale, kimchi (raw – with no sugar or vinegar!), leeks, lettuce, okra, olives (as long as they are not in vinegar – apple cider vinegar is ok though), onions, peppers, radish, rutabaga, sauerkraut (raw), snow pea pods, spinach, summer squash, swiss chard, turnip, zucchini

NON-GLUTINOUS GRAINS (keep at a minimum, up to 25% of each meal)
amaranth, buckwheat, millet, canahua, oat bran, quinoa, wild and brown rice

BEANS  dont eat these more than 1-2 times a week max. they are high in carbohydrates, which turns to sugar. if you want to be super conservative, don’t eat them at all!

MEAT (be sure to use organic, hormone-, antibiotic-free and local products as much as possible!)
beef, chicken, lamb, turkey, wild game, eggs

anchovies, herring, sardines, wild salmon

almonds, almond milk (unsweetened), coconut milk, coconut cream (unsweetened), flax seeds, hazelnuts, hemp seeds, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts

olive oil, sesame oil, pumpkin seed oil, macadamia oil, almond oil, flax oil, safflower, sunflower, ghee, organic butter. (traditionally coconut oil and butter are allowed on the cleanse, but are not recommended for the acne-prone, so it’s best to avoid them)

basil, black pepper, cayenne, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, curry, dill, garlic, ginger, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, turmeric (fresh is always best, to reduce the possible amount of mold dried herbs can harbor)

black pepper, sea salt, lemon juice, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, mustard powder

chicory root “coffee” (aka inka), herbal teas (meaning, non-caffeinated like chamomile, senna, peppermint, etc.), fresh vegetable juices (avoid the not-candida-safe veggies like carrots and beets, though – also no fruit!).  pau d’arco tea is known for helping with rebalancing candida levels.

stevia, xylitol

let’s want to walk you through a typical day of food on the cleanse:

breakfast: 2 eggs scrambled with greens (kale, collard greens, spinach) in olive oil, oat bran w/almond milk, cinnamon and sliced almonds or coconut shreds (unsweetened), or even candida-safe grain porridge (you can eat this savory with leftover veggies and meat, or sweet with almond milk, cinnamon and almonds or unsweetened coconut)

snack: celery/bell peppers w/hummus or almond butter, mixed nuts

lunch: salad w/avocado and quinoa & dressed w/olive oil and apple cider vinegar, chicken

dinner: roasted brussels sprouts, cajun spiced fish, millet/buckwheat

all of these meals are super easy, economical, and easy to pack up and take to work or school.

here are a few tips while you’re on the cleanse:

you may experience “die-off” symptoms, a.k.a.: sugar withdrawals. as you starve the yeast, it releases toxic byproducts into your system and this can cause symptoms ranging from sweating to headaches to fatigue. if this happens, don’t stop! it simply means that the cleanse is working and your body is cleansing itself of the yeast.  just try to take it easy, and be gentle with yourself.  take extra time to rest, have relaxation time, take epsom salt baths, take up a new hobby like coloring or reading paperback books 🙂

try not to eat out too much during this time: it will just make you really frustrated.  if you must, mediterranean restaurants are a good choice because a lot of the dishes are yeast free.  you can also go to a high end restaurant that serves good, clean locally grass-fed beef or organic free-range chicken or wild fish, and ask that they prepare them with only olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic.  they often will also have veggies you can ask to have as sides instead, and have seasoned the same way.

MAKE SOUP!!! soups were kimmy’s saving grace during the cleanse!  she’s all about the easiest and fastest way to do things and making a soup is a great way to make something easy, fast and economical. every saturday, she went to the alemany farmers market, bought tons of organic veggies and made a soup that would last me almost the entire week.  no cooking everyday, and super easy to reheat and eat?  hallelujah.

CANSOL 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 and most of them are garbage. the manufacturer of cansol, pure herbs, is the one he trusts and uses in his own practice.  we have also heard success with taking oregano oil, but haven’t tested this out.  let us know how it works out for you!

CANSOL INFORMATION from pure herbs, the manufacturer:

CAN.-SOL – (CANDIDA yeast – SOLOMON, formerly known as CAN. COMBINATION) Kills stubborn yeast infections. This unique Combination was designed and formulated by the much loved and admired, living, Amish Herbal Practitioner, Solomon Wickey, for severe cases of Candida and other persistent yeast infections. Part of Solomon’s wisdom in choosing two of the herbs in this combination was to observe Nature and note which plants can and do live in dark and moist or wet environments and never have problems with a fungus infection such as yeasts. The roots of Purple Loosestrife (loves to be near or in water) and the White Pond Lily fill these requirements exactly, and lend their strength to us for protection against yeast and other fungus infections. Indiscriminate use of antibiotic treatments, which are in reality yeasts themselves, do kill bacteria, but, at the same time, encourage the growth of fellow yeasts and other types of fungus. Often, normal yeasts associated with the body, such as candida, are pushed to an overgrowth type of situation by the use of antibiotics and cause an even worse problem. Yeast infections can be sexually transmitted and traded back and forth between sexual partners. This must be guarded against while a person is using CAN.-SOL, so it can do its job properly. Avoid all “sweets” and refined carbohydrates such as white flour products, bread, cookies, crackers, stuffings, etc. during use of CAN.-SOL. Also, avoid vinegar, beer and wines. Some natural sweets such as fruit juices and fruits can be enjoyed, by some, during this time. Do use a bowel program that produces at least 2, and preferably 3, easy and complete evacuations per day, to clean out the area in which yeasts can house and use as a base of operations, from which they can continue to invade the rest of the body. (SEE: Cascara SagradaC.C.E.-WBuckthornSennaBlack Root) It may also be necessary to eat only organically raised meats, as commercially raised farm animals are often routinely fed antibiotics in their food and passed on to us. CAN.-SOL does offer a welcomed solution and relief to this modern scourge of stubborn yeast infections.
COMBINATION:   Greasewood, Purple Loosestrife, White Pond Lily.DOSE: take 3 dropperfuls, 3 times a day, in conjunction with the candida diet for the best results. Do not be alarmed if cleansing discharges occur; persist and rejoice!

VERY IMPORTANT: make sure you have 2-3 long and formed bowel movements a day, to flush the excess candida completely out of the gut. you can drink extra water, eat more fiber (marshmallow and parsley teas, flax seed, fibrous veggies like celery, cauliflower, broccoli), eat more salad and raw veggies, do some digestive yoga poses.

dr. anstett also recommends you drink ONLY distilled water, and eat organic/locally sourced/antibiotic-free meat and produce.

and last but not least, keep in touch! you can email or call us anytime if you need help, have questions, or you just want to vent your frustration.

we’ve got a pinterest board where we’ve collected tons of recipes and tips. let us know if you find something good to add to it!   just remember, beans (in general) should only be eaten sparingly (1-2 times a week at max) and many of the recipes on our pinterest have garbanzo beans (so don’t go crazy with those recipes!).

we hope this helps and we wish you all the best of luck!





SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL ARTIST – FRI OCT 26: san francisco women against rape

our very own kimmy’s got a little sister named SUE who is a beautiful person with extraordinary artistic talent, and a truly special soul.  christine, kim and kimmy went to san jose for the face and body skincare conference a couple of weekends ago, and sue tagged along.  we got to know her and for a 20 year old, she’s totally got a good steady head on her shoulders and a beautiful inspiration – we are so proud to know her and promote her artistic growth!

sue will be participating in ‘we are the truth tellers: creating altars of liberation”, an art event featuring a silent auction, artwork by local artisans, and community-made altars to represent SF WOMEN AGAINST RAPE.  the event’s proceeds will benefit local rape organizations to help survivors.

come out, come out and support strong beautiful women, and inspire each other with the strength of the human spirit.

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL ARTIST: hiphop + photography&video + dranks = LOVE!

one of sS’s coolest & nicest loyal clients is a well connected photographer of underground hiphop stars, along with his independent commercial and portraiture work – and is putting on a show with his friend (who does video).

if you are around, definitely come through!

support your local artist and have a drink to kick off a thursday night in the city!

ART EXHIBITION: my healing garden is green

come out and support local woman artist and sS’er extraordinaire, susan o’malley at her second solo art show, my healing garden is green.  kim is planning to be at the opening reception this coming friday, may 11 from 6-9pm.

here is the press info from the romer young gallery in the mission!

1240 22nd St., San Francisco, CA

Romer Young Gallery is pleased to announce its second solo exhibition with artist Susan O’Malley, My Healing Garden is Green.” There will be an opening reception for the artist on Friday, May 11, 6-9pm.

O’Malley loves and collects inspirational sayings. She adores the crisp and authoritative language of optimism and the Zen-like messages of just being. She is drawn to the simple and recognizable tools of engagement – offering Pep Talks, installing roomfuls of inspirational posters, distributing flyers in neighborhood mailboxes, conducting doodle competitions at high schools – in order to offer entry points into the understood, and sometimes humorous, interactions of everyday life. Ultimately she looks for moments between herself and individuals in her life, moments which offer glimpses into the possibility of understanding one another better.

For her upcoming exhibition at the gallery, My Healing Garden is Green, O’Malley finds inspiration close to home. The artist writes: “With a strained hand my mom wrote My Healing Garden is Green after she was diagnosed with a rare and terminal neurological disease called Multiple Systems Atrophy. Her handwriting was just one part of the loss. Soon she could no longer do many of the activities she loved, like tend to her garden, work, or walk independently. Everything was happening very rapidly, so I asked her to write down phrases she always says to me. I think she wrote me things both of us needed to remember. The notes she wrote to me comprise this exhibition.”

The show will feature a series of handwritten phrases, a photograph, and an inspirational poster. Most importantly, the artist would like to thank her mom, Guadalupe Reina O’Malley. Not just for agreeing to make art with her, but for her endless inspiration on how to live: with love, grace and a sense of humor.

O’Malley received her MFA from California College of the Arts’ Social Practice Area. As both an artist and curator, she has participated in programs and exhibitions at Southern Exposure, Hardware Store Gallery, CCA, Mission 17, Curiosity Shoppe, The Lab, Headlands, SJICA and Ping Pong Gallery.

For additional information, please contact the gallery at 415.550.7483 or email Romer Young Gallery is a San Francisco based contemporary art gallery committed to showing regional and international emerging and mid-career artists.