fragrance-free laundromats in the bay area

living in the bay area typically means living without common appliances like air conditioning, dishwashers, and washer & dryers. i’ve been lugging my laundry to laundromats for years now and always felt uneasy about the crusty grime in the detergent slots.

laundry detergent is a major factor in the acne-safe lifestyle. so while we all are making the effort to purchase acne-safe detergent, the cloggy residues from prior machine users can still be getting on our clothes. frustrating! (see our blog post about acne-safe laundry detergent.)

but, i have good news. there are 2 laundromats i discovered that offer fragrance-free machines 🙂

laundré

the new, hip, laundromat/cafe on the southeast corner of mission & 20th (the same block as sS!). this place is aesthetically pleasing, allows an area for work & refreshment, AND they offer free soap with every wash. and guess what? it’s ACNE-SAFE! 

they offer:

  • nellie’s unscented all natural powder detergent
  • nellie’s unscented all natural dryer balls
  • common good liquid soap ( i think for an additional charge)

temescal wash & dry

for my east bay folks. this place is located across the street from the temescal alley on telegraph & 49th. for the most part, their machines are not fragrance-free. but they do have 2 machines reserved for fragrance-free detergent only. while fragrance-free does not necessarily mean acne-safe, its still a step up.  there is a free parking lot and they offer free-drying on thursdays. oh, did i mention that curbside creamery is across the street? the ice-cream shop with cashew-based options :)!

let’s change our perspective and see chores as a form of self-love, not an inconvenience. every little refinement in our everyday adds up!

happy washing!

kayla’s acne journey

 

kayla’s acne journey

 


june 2017, clear-skinned and confident 🙂


march 2018, makeup + filter-free!

as i sit here now looking back on my experience with acne, i remember how i walked a very fine line between defeat and determination. i thought i would have acne forever, but at the same time would still make promises and deadlines to myself. i will have clear skin by my birthday next year! i will have clear skin before i see my family for the holidays!

it was a constant pain and obsession of mine. i would stand in front of the mirror and think of all the things i would give up for clear skin. i didn’t understand why my best friend and sister didn’t even have to wash their faces and their skin was perfect. i felt dirty and hideous.  

chapter 1: puberty

it first started on my forehead when i was 12 years old. little red blemishes started popping up, and my mom took me to the drugstore to get cetaphil face wash. that summer, on a family vacation to yellowstone national park, my family nicknamed me “cyclops” because of the large inflamed pimple i had between my eyebrows. at that time it was just dismissed as a “phase” and “puberty”, but it still lowered the hell out of my self-esteem. although i was an animated child with a big personality, i really began to second guess myself and stopped craving the spotlight. to this day, i still have scars from the inflamed acne i had from my youth, between my eyebrows.

(2018 retrospect: cetaphil face wash is extremely cloggy, and rather than dismissing my acne as a phase, it would have been amazing to have a place like skinSALVATION to teach me about the complete acne-safe lifestyle to save me from the next 14 years of struggle and physical and emotional scarring).

in high school, the acne spread to my cheeks and i started caking on the makeup. my dad felt sorry for me and took me to a dermatologist, who prescribed the oral antibiotic doxycycline and topical cream retin-a (a super common combination that we still see in our clinic, over 10 years later!). i used them for about 4 months and needless to say, this prescription cocktail didn’t work. i started using proactiv which helped with the inflammation for a while, but of course was not a long-term solution.

(retrospect: the antibiotics further damaged my digestion & gut flora and made my acne more resistant. the retin-a cream and proactiv regimen were cloggy and made my acne worse in the long-run – still not addressing the root cause of my acne).

at this time, my diet was 50% bread and 50% cheese, and i drank more milk than water. i was also chronically constipated & bloated ever since i was little, constantly struggled with yeast infections, and had taken antibiotics over 3 dozen times before the age of 16. i always had a headache, and low energy. my step-mom mentioned that ‘milk causes acne’, so i stopped that cold-turkey at age 16, and haven’t drank it since, but i continued to eat cheese and maintain a horrible diet.

(retrospect: i was dehydrated, malnourished, had signs of candida, and continued to have dairy which was contributing to systemic inflammation, feeding the candida and creating acne.)

chapter 2: birth control

then at 17, i decided i wanted to start taking birth control. i had heard that it worked to clear up acne and gain weight (i was extremely thin and jealous of my sisters that could fit into jeans…and bras). and it actually worked! for a little bit. i had clear skin, or at least no inflammation, and i gained about 10 lbs. life was good until about age 20-21 when i got sloppy about taking the pill at the same time every day. my mom had stressed that i needed to take it at the EXACT same time daily, so i was great about that for the first 3 years. then, as my party life increased, my sleep schedule became so sporadic that i never took my pill at a consistent time.

(retrospect: the birth control was just a band-aid, and as soon as i stopped taking it properly, it started to cause fluctuations in my hormones, which lead to hormonal acne, and the inflammation that comes along with it. my partying, lack of self-care, structure, and healthy lifestyle worsened this.)

i remember going to Oktoberfest with a bad break out. i almost didn’t go because my skin was so bad, but decided it wasn’t that bad with enough makeup on. i went with my best friend jenni and her boyfriend sam. we ran into jenni’s gorgeous sister, and i noticed her skin was so perfect it actually hurt. right as i was thinking that, sam looked at me and said, “wow, you must be so jealous of her skin”. i immediately walked away and just kept walking until i found a taxi. i went home and cried in the mirror and picked my face off.

around this same age, i intuitively realized that my chin breakouts were most likely from eating a block of cheese and pizza rolls every day, so i went totally dairy-free (and have been ever since). in lieu of cow’s milk dairy, i started drinking soy frappuccinos. and i worked at a sushi restaurant, so pretty much all i ate was soy & sugar. i stopped using proactiv too, assuming it just wasn’t working anymore. my aunt was an esthetician and i emailed her with photos of a bad breakout, asking for help. she sent me some products and told me to ice my face. i held an ice cube over the break out, not knowing i should move it around, and got a huge blue frost-bite bruise on my cheek.

(retrospect: i stopped eating dairy, but started drinking coffee and eating soy, and a lot of both. i was also still eating a ton of processed foods. all this, plus not taking my birth control pill properly, my hormones were going crazy. i wasn’t icing properly and instead was just bruising my skin. my busy schedule and party life were still creating an unhealthy lifestyle.)

chapter 3: going off birth control

at 21, i decided to move from arizona to san francisco. i packed up my little honda coupe and took off. i decided to stop taking birth control that same week because i was starting to realize that it made me terribly depressed and moody.. and that’s when the jaw acne started. 1 or 2, here and there. they were large, hard as a rock, and had no head to them. i had never experienced this; i wasn’t even sure if it was acne, because it was so different. i realized they were cysts. then, i started to notice my cheeks were covered in little bumps, which i wasn’t sure was acne either. i thought my skin’s texture was just totally ruined, not realizing it was non-inflamed acne. i went to sephora and asked for “natural make-up” and started using tarte instead of bare minerals. definitely not safe makeup (not that bare minerals is acne-safe either). also, i never got my period back.

(retrospect: stopping the birth control was a smart move, but i was not prepared for the backlash of my hormones trying to balance themselves out after 5 years of taking it. plus, the stress of the move and new climate added to the storm. bare minerals makeup is cloggy (despite the “safe-looking ingredients”), but switching to tarte was worse.)

months went by and i still didn’t get my period. my acne was like an uncontrollable wildfire. it wasn’t until 6 months later that it returned. i attempted using the nuvaring for about 6 weeks, that was not helpful to my acne or overall mental state. i was also drinking 1-2 glasses of red wine every single night due to depression. for the next 2 years my periods would be very sparse and sporadic. 

(retrospect: not only did i stop bcp, but i tried it again for a few weeks and stopped again = insane hormonal fluctuations. plus i was still drinking coffee, eating soy, sleeping at odd hours, and then drinking a ton of wine at night which was full of sugar, furthering my inflammation. not to mention the depression and emotional stress that took control of my life from having acne and bad eating habits.)

chapter 3: treatments & lifestyle 101

so there i was, with full-blown adult acne, painful to the touch and making me feel more hideous than ever. i went to get a specific product one day from a place in san jose. the esthetician touched my cheek and said, “forget the product, you need to come in for a facial”. i started receiving treatments from her every week. i would drive down every thursday, from san francisco, after work for 2 years. i really respected and appreciated her, so i would have done anything she told me to.

the main things she taught me were:

  1. to stop drinking coffee.
  2. to stop eating bread (my diet was too bread-heavy, which were probably filled with soy and dairy, which i replaced with sweet potatoes and other veggies).
  3. to ice my face daily
  4. to stop drinking wine every night, and suggested i stop drinking altogether (i didn’t).
  5. to switch my laundry detergent and change my pillow cases & face towels frequently.
  6. not to let my boyfriend or dog touch my face (or myself, or anyone for that matter)
  7. to stop picking

things that she lacked knowledge of, which made my acne worse:

  1. her extractions weren’t thorough and gave me severely inflamed acne in my cheeks – which are now texturally scarred.
  2. she did not apply peels to exfoliate my skin during my treatments
  3. she had me using terrible, cloggy products and makeup.
  4. she didn’t know about soy, peanuts, safe vs non-safe cooking oils and sugar, so i was still eating a lot of that.
  5. she had me ice my face with ice packs, but eventually i started using ice cubes directly on the skin, but not nearly long enough, just a minute or two.
  6. she didn’t teach me about how stress or sleep were affecting my acne
  7. she didn’t link the birth control & hormonal fluctuations to my acne
  8. she didn’t investigate my past with antibiotics and gut problems


i went through thousands of photos, and unfortunately, i have no pictures of my acne without makeup – i was way too ashamed. i came across these, but i have a ton of makeup on. if you zoom in you can see that i was extremely inflamed and congested. these above were taken in january 2016, after 2 years of weekly treatments from an esthetician in san jose.

chapter 4: sweet potatoes

the main thing i learned here was that i needed to eat better, though i still wasn’t properly educated on the “acne-safe diet” because i didn’t know about soy, sugar, peanuts, cooking oils, or checking ingredients in my products (or food) yet. and i was working in the catering department of a local market and eating their freshly provided lunch each day, which was an amazing perk. i never thought about what could be making my skin worse, so long as i avoided dairy, coffee, and bread. looking back, there was probably a lot of soy & inflaming oils hidden in what i ate, even at this “healthy” market. for breakfast i had sugary granola with 2 tbs of peanut butter and almond milk. i was constantly eating “kind” granola bars and dried apricots (so much sugar!). for dinner, i began my sweet potato phase.

sweet potatoes were a fascinating discovery for me. one day, i tried to recreate the sweet potato fries i had at a restaurant, but they didn’t turn out quite as crispy as fries. they were better, more soft and filling. i started craving them more & more and realized they were my new comfort food. this was an upgrade from baguettes and junk food, my former comfort food. so every single night for 2 years i roasted sweet potatoes for dinner. i think my body was craving them in order to try and have some hormonal support, which sweet potatoes are anecdotally known to be amazing for. birth control depletes your B vitamins and sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins B & beta carotene! i focused on my vegetable and whole-food intake overall, and the sweet potatoes felt the most nourishing and satiating for me. while my skin still struggled, my mood and energy drastically improved, and my hair grew 10 inches after literally not growing past my shoulders my entire life. i still eat sweet potatoes the majority of the time for dinner, especially before my cycle.

(retrospect: i was eating “healthier” and making great changes to my diet, but still not eliminating all of the other acne-causing factors)

chapter 5: a new esthetician

after 2 years of weekly treatments with the san jose esthetician (with not much progress as we were treating my skin topically and half-heartedly holistically), my acne spread to my neck with a vengeance. i was horrified, and would have done anything to avoid having to wear a ponytail. my hair was long past my waist and i wore it covering most of my face. my esthetician recommended i get my inflamed and cystic neck lesions shot with cortisone by a dermatologist (which did nothing to actually clear the acne). the dermatologist immediately recommended accutane. i was not about to go on this crazy medication, and i immediately felt hopeless. while i denied the accutane, i did give antibiotics another go for about a week. he recommended one month and i could not even make it past 7 days. i immediately felt sick and lethargic. i knew it was not the answer and i had hit a wall.

in these photos you can kind of see my jaw & neck acne, but again it’s covered with a ton of makeup.

i decided to see if anyone else in the bay area (or the world) knew anything about acne and extractions. for 2 years i was convinced this one esthetician i’d been commuting to and working with was the only one who could help me.

i found an acne clinic in san francisco and went in for a consultation and a treatment. i was so surprised when I didn’t get inflamed after the extractions. i switched to their products and started using colorescience foundation and spf powder (the spf turned out to be cloggy but the foundation is safe). i remember the first time i looked in the mirror and noticed that the outline of my face wasn’t bumpy, it was smooth. i could feel this while washing my face too. catching my reflection in the car window didn’t make me cringe (that happen to anyone else?). the mornings where i woke up with cysts and inflammation happened less and less frequently. i still hadn’t learned about soy, but learned about sugar, peanuts, & cooking oils at this point. after a few months, my skin was nearly clear. however, even with all these positive changes, i still had small patches of lingering non-inflamed acne.

chapter 6: going vegan

so i decided to go vegan. let me just say that i am NOT knocking the vegan life, but in my opinion, going vegan is not going to clear up anyone’s acne. but at the time, i thought that meat was causing stress on my digestion and i was all about going raw and eating “clean”. my intentions were on point, but the approach incorrect. for about 6 months all i ate was raw veggies with homemade hummus, oatmeal, pressed juice, avo-toast, and roasted sweet potatoes. i avoided nightshade vegetables, nuts, and i stopped drinking alcohol altogether. when eating out, i would have the vegan-meat alternative, which probably had a lot of soy. i also started putting spirulina in my smoothies, and my esthetician quickly put a stop to that, but she did support my going vegan. at first it felt great, then after some time my sugar cravings went through the roof, which i gave into, leading to anxiety because i knew that would make me break out. i stopped enjoying food altogether. i never felt full or satisfied (or happy). i became super neurotic about my meals and really judgemental. i truly believed that by making my body completely “alkaline” my acne HAD to go away.

the first problem with going raw and vegan – for me at least – was that because of my overall physiological constitution, my body craved warm food and i was forcing it to digest cold, raw food (a big no-no in traditional chinese medicine). the second problem was that my body really needed animal protein and fat in order to properly heal and gain strength to generate healthy skin (hello amino acids!). third, i was having way too much sugar.

(retrospect: eventually, my skinSALVATION fam remedied this and got me back on the meat ;))

i will mention that during my vegan phase i did incorporate 2 other factors that i think helped a lot. i started drinking adaptogen & anti-inflammatory teas like ashwagandha, turmeric, and maca. and i also stopped drinking alcohol for 6 months. this supported & replenished my adrenals, hormones, minerals, and overall prevented a lot of inflammation. 

chapter 6: skinSALVATION & the final purge

during this time, i also decided that i wanted to become an esthetician and enrolled at the cinta aveda institute. i began to envision and manifest a career in skincare that allowed me to help others with acne. i figured, my whole life had revolved around acne for the last 13 years anyway, might as well become an expert at it! i was working 2 jobs and going to school 30 hours a week. towards the end of school, my skin was damn near clear but not quite. once i graduated and started at skinSALVATION, all the missing pieces fell into place. i began at skinSALVATION with 80% clarity and quickly reached 100%. i’ve been bouncing around 95%-100% ever since.

this post was in october 2016 (just 8 months after the feb 2016 photos from chapter 3) towards the end of my education at cinta aveda, shortly before starting at skinSALVATION. 

the final steps to getting totally clear happened all at once:

  1. i received skinSALVATION treatments with super thorough extractions and medical grade chemical peels that effectively exfoliated and resurfaced my skin.
  2. i stopped using the colorescience powder SPF, which turned out to be cloggy (it has corallina officinalis, a type of red algae) and started using the youngblood pressed powder foundation. i also tossed the glossier highlighter, which i stopped using because it is cloggy. 
  3. i started getting 9 hours of sleep instead of 6.
  4. i started working just ONE fulfilling and rewarding job instead of 3 just-ok ones (stress went down).
  5. i stopped being so neurotic about every single thing by putting my faith into the process and practicing positive affirmations (stress went down).
  6. i started eating meat again, therefore my sugar cravings decreased. and my stress went down from not being so neurotic about food.
  7. i started paying attention to labels while grocery shopping and being sure not to consume soy (along with dairy which i had already been doing for years).
  8. i switched from often mislabeled + rancid olive oil & coconut oil to acne-safe ghee.
  9. i started taking high-quality, shelf-stable probiotics.

i’ve now been clear for almost a year. like, no foundation makeup on the regular, clear. i still wake up and check my face in the mirror first thing, in search of a breakout. i still don’t let my boyfriend touch my cheeks (slight PTSD). i still ice my face twice a day and follow my regimen and the acne-safe lifestyle religiously. the best part is that i belong to a community that understands and follows the same lifestyle. i used to get embarrassed explaining to people why i couldn’t eat the ice cream, or why i had to wash my face even if we were camping, or why i packed my own pillowcase & needed a cup of ice. now it’s something i get to easily talk about every day, and i get to teach others these tips that took me 14 years to acquire.  

sometimes i start to wish that i had someone else’s skin, but then i realize that having acne gave me a wakeup call to a healthier lifestyle as well as a career. It is truly a blessing to be able to use my pain and experiences to heal people.

february 2018 – clear skinned, confident, and empowered!

how kayla handles stress

Processed with VSCO with q5 preset

kayla joined the skinsalvation team in january 2016, after a whole lifetime of battling acne. she found her calling and has been able to combine her love of self-care and acne-awareness taking care of her clients here, and not only creates but prioritizes time in her life for her other loves – art, her dogs and her partner!  clients love  her straightforward approach, quick (and as painless as possible) treatments, and as she’s been through the acne journey herself, embodies everything she preaches. she’s also an artist of all mediums, and is an astrology lover!
stress can be an all-consuming monster that convinces us that we’re the problem. i can look back on my acne journey and now see that i was chronically stressed out, even though at the time i thought it was normal and i was totally fine. i thought this was how hard life had to be and i was being weak if i felt overwhelmed.
i believe this is a huge issue right now in society, especially in the bay area. we have become conditioned to be work horses and spread ourselves too thin, and call it “life”. then there becomes a common notion that we have no control over our day, our sleep schedule, the food we eat, or the stress we bear.
everything changed for me when i started to prioritize my self-care. my favorite saying is, you cannot pour from an empty cup. we must put our health and wellness first in order to thrive, not just survive. setting boundaries and rituals for yourself is the first step. taking control back is the next.
this is how i take control:
– sleep: i always guard my sleep hours with my life. i will get 9 hours of sleep every night and nothing and no one is going to interfere with that.
 breaks: every day, i honor my lunch breaks instead of working through them. i read, go for a walk, etc. it is my legal, unpaid, uninterrupted break and i ensure that i treat it that way.
 bedtime rituals: each night i stay away from screens (phone, tv, computer) 2 hours before bedtime and i do my nightly ritual (shower, burn sage or palo santo, and read a paperback book). doing the same thing each night trains my body know when it time to go to sleep.
– slow down: i used to try to fit too many things into my schedule; appointments, dates, trips, etc.. i realized that this causes me serious stress and tardiness. so i try to be realistic with my self.
will i REALLY be able to run that errand before work? 
will i REALLY want to land at the airport at 11pm and work the next morning? 
will i really want to go to the dentist at 8am after working the night before and then to yoga and then to lunch with jenni? 
can i really get off work at 7:30 and be at the airport by 8:30?
i used to say YES to all of these. i was trying to do way too much. the simple solution was just to slow down and give myself more downtime by planning for more downtime.
– wellness days: I plan for 1 day each week to meal prep, clean, binge watch netflix, and sleep-in. the meal prepping is especially important because this relieves me of the stress of having to find acne-safe meals last minute. the cleaning, binging, alone time, and sleeping-in just make me happy. (and go along with that whole “planning for downtime” bit.)
 being early: as for the tardiness, now I always give myself plenty of time to get to work (or appointments, flights, etc.) so i don’t start my day already stressed out. once again, i’m just realistic with myself. technically i could leave at 9:48 and be there by 10, but if I just leave at 9:30, I can enjoy the ride and be there early, have a snack, walk slow, and just overall feel more prepared. and less stressed 😉
it also helps not to plan too many things back to back. i can definitely try to squeeze a yoga class & hair appointment in my day and still be on time for my dad’s birthday dinner, but that leaves no room for error or traffic, and the slightest thing that can make me late to everything. so instead, i’ll just do yoga and give myself a few hours of downtime (there’s that word again).
– emotional therapy: when dealing with emotional stress, i have always found art to be very calming and meditative. so i try to make time to draw, paint, sing, take photos, etc. to keep my spirit alive and well-nourished. this has helped me reconnect with my self-expression and significantly decrease my stress.
to summarize, i take it easy on myself and give myself plenty of time to enjoy life 🙂
-kayla, esthetician

pets and acne

pets & acne

we love our pets as if they’re our own children. they teach us was what unconditional love & loyalty looks like. unfortunately they can have effects on our acne, so before you go snuggle your fur-baby, take some precautions to help keep your skin clear.

my pups have been under the impression many times that my bed is their bed, my pillow is their pillow. and while i hate to disappoint them, i make sure they don’t touch my pillow or the top half of my bed. (i do let them on the foot of the bed, i’m weak!) 

the reason it’s important to keep your pets away from your face & bedding is due to the oils, residues, and flea medications that coat their furs (as well as the random dirt + dust they get from roaming around in their day to day). often times the ingredients in their shampoo is not acne-safe and the residue can transfer. also, most flea medications keep your pups safe from fleas by coating their hair follicle in chemicals. not to mention the other grime on their fur just from being dogs/cats 😉

while I’m out out of the house, one of my dogs likes to break the rules and sleep on my pillows and even started digging and burrowing, i would end up coming home to a disheveled bed and dog hair everywhere. so I started taking precautions to prevent her from being able to get in the bed by tucking the bedding and putting extra layers on. this has been successful for about 2 years now! read on to see my step by step in action.

in a nutshell, you make your bed first, then lay a big bedspread over it to keep it contained, and lay a smaller snuggle blanket on top for the dogs to burrow in.

here is a time lapse of my routine:

here is a step by step

  • pull the sheet up to cover my pillow(s) and tuck in:

 

  • pull the comforter up to cover the sheets, and place display pillows/shams over the top:

 

  • pull a blanket up over the pillows/shams and tuck in at the top:

  • put a bed cover over the entire bed and tuck in at the top. it’s important to get this tucked securely, as this is the protective layer that will keep the dogs out of your sheets safely tucked underneath!:

whew! it sounds like a lot but it’s super fast. she got the picture quickly and she’s pretty happy just laying at the foot of my bed. I even got her her own dog bed & blanket to burrow in. and as a treat, i let her under my covers and all up in my bed on sunday mornings – which is when i do laundry & change the bedding.

this goes the same for snuggles, kisses, and clothing. I keep scarves & shower towels, and face towels away from my pups. and as evil as it sounds, i don’t let them kiss my face or touch my face in general. they can snuggle my head, my chest, my arms… just not my face.

BUT were all human right? and we may end up letting our pets touch our face & bedding despite our best efforts to avoid it. I’ve been using earthbath shampoo on my dogs and the ingredients seem somewhat safe. although the ‘coconut-based cleansers’ is questionable (coconut oil?) and the orange oil is most likely not safe. a better option would be their hypo-allergenic shampoo. but none have been tested or proven to be safe.

my fellow sS esthetician, emily, bathes her dogs in her shikai body wash, so that’s definitely another option!

so while we all may wish to use our pet as a pillow, we just have to be mindful and make adjustments. like maybe while you’re laying your head on your pet, make sure it’s just the back of your head, or put a clean blanket over her :)! And if your pet wants to come up to the top of your bed, have her lay on her own special blanket, etc.. they will still feel the love and so will your skin!

 

acne-safe travel tips

some quickie acne-safe travel tips!

 

  • charcoal pills & oregano oil / when traveling, you sometimes have to take risks when eating! sS founder and ceo, kim, likes to pack activated charcoal pills which absorb toxins and help with digestion & gastrointestinal discomfort. it’s best to take 2 hours prior to eating something questionable, or within 2 hours if you start to feel discomfort. oregano oil is also handy for this reason, with anti-fungal & anti-bacterial properties, it can help to prevent illnesses & infections that we are commonly more susceptible to while traveling. (taking one or two charcoal pills each hour with plenty of water will help stop diarrhea quickly, and the oregano oil should help with eliminating toxic bacteria. be advised that for a day or two after taking this supplement you may experience some constipation and dark/black movements, so drink lots of water and try to eat lots of insoluble fiber to help rebalance your gut). 

 

  • soap nuts /  we have quite a few globetrotters as clients who travel for long periods of time. this can be tricky when it comes to finding an acne-safe way to do laundry. since packing a gallon of laundry detergent isn’t really an option, these soap nuts would be a great alternative. soap nuts are actually dried berries from the himalayas that act as a surfactant when lathered up in the wash to naturally & thoroughly clean your laundry. they are travel-sized & can be reused up to 10 times 🙂

 

  • hydration – both inside + out/  we’ve all experience travel-induced breakouts and dehydrated skin (not to mention all-too-common constipation). travel is very stressful on the body and it’s important to take extra care and be proactive about your skin. topically, i like to add an extra layer of hydrating gel under my regular daytime moisturizer and bring a small bottle of rose water with me to regularly spritz my face during the trip. in the article, “why does food taste different on planes?”  by katia moskvitch, she notes that, ‘at about 30,000 feet, humidity is less than 12% – drier than most deserts.’ this can wreak havoc on your body and skin causing intense dehydration. add a cocktail in the mix and you’re guaranteed to wake up from your in-plane snooze with a headache. “the complete guide to surviving long-haul flights”, an article from the atlantic, recommends that you drink one liter of water for every 5 hours of air travel.

 

  • icing / if you haven’t heard it enough, we love icing 🙂 the benefits of inflammation control & prevention are invaluable. while traveling, our physical stress is at an all time high, so staying on top of icing is the best weapon for maintaining clear skin on the road. ideally, your airbnb will have a freezer so you can easily use your ice pop maker. in the case where you’re staying in a hotel without a freezer, we find it best to order a glass of ice from the hotel barand take it to-go, or get some ice from the ice machine and give the cubes a rinse before using. if the hotel has no bar or restaurant, the next best option is to pack sandwich bags and use ice from the ice machine. happy icing!

 

  • hand sanitizer and wipes / we all know the airplanes are a bacteria playground. to avoid getting sick, which tends to increase inflamed breakouts, it is good to bring hand sanitizer & pure alcohol wipes on the plane. use the wipes to clean the plane window, armrest, eating tray, etc.. we like the disinfecting wipes from “clean well”, or you can get a box of individual alcohol wipes in the first aid section of walgreens. i find these easy to keep in my wallet, and our esthetician kerry is convinced that this has been a game changer for her and her immune system while traveling. these wipes also come in handy to frequently wipe down the rims of my sunglasses and phone 🙂 be sure to avoid touching your face after using hand sanitizer, hand soap or lotion from the plane, both of which can be cloggy!

 

  • snacks/ airport and road trip food is often filled with dairy, soy and lots of salt. this article from BBC says that airplane food is heavily salted because lack of humidity and low pressure in the cabin decreases our ability to taste salt + sweet by 30%. not only can this heightened salt intake increase water retention making your body feel puffy, it can also irritate acne. forego the airport food and bring these snacks with you instead: justin’s single serving almond butter with apple chips (i’ve found these at most metropolitan airports lately), fresh fruit, a sandwich. keep leftover snacks from the trip with you in case you’re in a situation where you didn’t get much to eat at a meal that was dairy or soy heavy. foods that you pack tastes 1000% better than most airport food anyway!

 

 

  • prep your climate-sensitive skincare regimen/ it’s important to pack the right outfits according to your destination’s forecast 🙂 the same rule applies to your skin regimen! by simply changing up your cleanser and/or moisturizer, you can stay ahead of the climate. if you’re traveling to a hot + humid climate you may want to opt for a foaming cleanser (like the charcoal) and lighter moisturizer like hydrating gel instead of hydrating cream. also, lay off of harsh exfoliants like vitamin-a on days that you’re spending in the sun to reduce your chance of hyperpigmentation. if you’re traveling to a cold climate, opt for a heavier cleanser and moisturizer like our green tea cleanser and hydrating cream (you can even add a few drops of pure sunflower or safflower oil + mix it up in your palm for added moisture) to prevent dryness and cracking from cold temperatures and dry indoor heaters.

 
for both climates it’s good to have pure shea butter on hand. you can apply a thin layer of shea butter on your skin when spending the day in extreme cold, like when you’re skiing, and also in warm weather to protect your skin before dipping in the pool or the ocean.

 

  • neck pillows/ neck pillows are amazing, but they can also get extremely dirty and become problematic for your skin, similar to your pillow cases at home. it’s best to get one that has a washable cover to ensure it’s clean before each use, like this one 🙂 kim personally loves using this blow-up travel pillow, which packs light and small, adjusts to whatever fullness you’d like and can be very easily washed with soap and water.

 

  • linens/ it’s essential to bring your own washcloths and pillowcases with you so that you don’t have to use host’s or hotel’s that are washed in cloggy, fragranced laundry detergent and fabric softener. in addition, it can be embarrassing to bleach a host’s linens with benzoyl peroxide! bring one washcloth per day of travel. you can use the same one morning and night, but not into the next day. bring 1 pillowcase for every 3-5 days of travel. use one side of the pillowcase only to avoid the transfer of cloggy detergent or fabric softener from the sheets to your face or benzoyl peroxide residue from your face to their sheets.

 

  • REI co-op multitowel lite / if fussing with extra pillowcases is too much to deal with when on vacay, try buying one or two of these extra large travel quick dry towels from REI.  i love using them for travel as they dry quickly, can be a blanket for warmth or to sit on, and also as impromptu pillow cases…  i just fold it in half and lay it on top of the hotel pillows for a quick and easy acne-safe sleep! one of the best parts is, is that they go on sale during REI’s 2 annual sales, to about $15! (kim likes to use them to sit on the beach, and in rental cars or airbnb’s with questionable upholstery, etc). 

 

  • zyflamend/ zyflamend is an herbal supplement that lowers your body’s inflammation. This can be a great tool to prevent travel-induced breakouts. I find it helpful to take 2 before a flight and 1-2 per day on my trip as tolerated.

 

  • sleep/ sleep is extremely important for many reasons. when we are deprived of sleep, our inflammation increases and hormones can go out of balance, both of which can create a breakout. when traveling, our time zones often change and we tend to neglect sleep during this time when our bodies especially need it. when traveling, keep your sleep consistent. try to go to bed at the same time as you would if you were at home and be sure to get 8-9 hours of quality sleep each night. if your time zone is dramatically different, try to tune your body to the local sleep schedule right away.  for example, if you land at 1pm in switzerland, stay up until your normal bedtime back at home to quickly acclimate.  taking melatonin can help you fall asleep, and apparently a brisk run first thing in the morning (no matter how groggy you are) can help quickly get your body acclimated to local time.

 

  • birth control/ if you take a birth control pill, take it every 24 hours – NOT the same time in local time (ie, 9am in SF = 12noon in NYC would be the right time to take your pill). when traveling to different time zones, your pill schedule can easily get messed up. even taking it 1 hour off can cause a fluctuation in your hormones, which can affect your skin.