mask-ne and shelter in place 101

hey y’all, kim here currently in tokyo holed up in my tiny airbnb apartment safely sheltering in place. i hope you are holding it down, staying healthy and sane.

a couple of clients emailed to ask about how to deal with life as it is right now, and what to do about mask-ne (acne you’re getting from wearing masks!). here are the thoughts i jot down and sent them, and hope you find them helpful too.

basically everything we’ve ever taught you about living a low-inflammatory, acne-safe lifestyle are the same things that should bring stability and calm in your life during this stressful time. sleeping and eating at regular times, exercising daily, managing your stress in whatever ways work best for you, etc etc – no magic silver bullet, all the same shit. 🙂

i’ve been incorporating all of these while trying to practice extra compassion for myself which i think has been working – along with cooking all of my meals, i’ve finally gotten to a place where i’m razor-focused on (finally) finishing up the acne book! (i’m two weeks in, and i hope to have it all finished by the end of may. wish me luck!)

hoping these resources help you out, let me know if you have other ideas to share, want me to cover more areas or find more resources for you.

SHELTER IN PLACE LIFESTYLE

this is a big one. everything we’ve always taught our clients lifestyle-wise is to be integrated for exactly this particularly stressful time. most importantly, be gentle with yourself. it’s an incredibly unprecedented stressful time and judging yourself is not going help one bit. try to move towards a mindset of doing things that make you happy but also are good and healthy for you – in a way, just loving yourself as you are.
some IG accounts i love:
  • @lalahdelia – author of ‘vibrate higher daily’, a beautiful black woman author, spiritual writer and wellness educator
  • @the.holistic.psychologist – queer psychologist nicole lepera tells it like it is, speaks truths you didn’t even know you needed to disseminate and process; boundaries, trauma, addiction, ego, self-betrayal, all of it. really really deep work that i’m so grateful for her making so accessible and easy to understand.
  • @repairing_the_nervous_system – jessica macguire out of australia (i think?), she speaks specifically how to self-regulate the nervous system through trauma and the body
  • @kanpobliss – dr. jun negoro, an acupuncturist i have been following for years on IG and finally got to meet while in singapore earlier this year. she breaks down TCM into easy to understand (and cute!!) posts, and her app is impressively amazing and free!  a great tool to easily integrate some TCM knowledge and practice into your life.
some of my personal youtube playlists:
i’ll continue adding to these playlists as i discover new cool things i like.

2 ingredient sweet potato roti! the video is on my youtube playlist, but it’s pretty simple: mash together 1 part hot + steaming sweet potato with 1/2 to 1 part flour. once all is thoroughly mixed, form a log and cut into even pieces (1 whole potato +flour will make about 6 rotis). roll out onto a floured surface to 2mm thickness, then cook on a dry fry pan on medium heat, flipping every 30 seconds for about 2-3 mins. puffing up is ok, they’ll deflate naturally when you pull them off the pan. when done, tuck them into a cloth napkin/towel blanket to keep them warm and flexible. leftovers can be stored in an airtight bag to keep them soft, and gently warmed on the stove + will keep the next day or two, longer in the fridge. sooo good for avocado and/or whatever wraps. enjoy!

ALL THOSE MUNCHIES YOU ARE EATING

  • try eating only sweets that you make. this is how i’ve been getting through it (especially since i don’t want to go out, and food made by others you don’t know what’s in them, and refined sugar is high). michael pollan in one of his books wrote, it’s ok to eat junk food if you make it yourself; chances are you will just eat less of it, appreciate it more, and use better quality ingredients
  • try eating fruit as a sweet instead of something that has straight-up sugar in it
  • try using low glycemic sugars like coconut sugar, jaggery or treacle to replace regular cane sugar in your recipes. jaggery or treacle you can find at ethnic food markets so you’ll be supporting small local biz while avoiding crowded big box stores too 🙂 (ps, you can usually reduce sugar in recipes by half, and the finished thing will come out totally ok!)
  • i personally also make it a rule to eat savory food first and eat a sweet afterward (or as an isolated afternoon snack) as a treat, to keep my (usually high) blood sugar stable.

MOVE YA BODY

  • man this is tough for me too, always has been. but, i have been doing 20-30 minute workouts (here’s my youtube list) and on @popsugarfitness ‘ IGTV, because when you think about it, 20-30 minutes really isn’t that much time. you can do anything for 20 mins. or maybe even 10! anything to start, you’ll likely keep going once you get started and get over the hump. with that in mind, i’m more motivated to get a short but effective workout in before i eat breakfast. it also helps me concentrate better, and be in a much better and healthier mood. (tip: you can watch IG TV on your desktop, just go to their profile and click the IGTV icon underneath their highlights; makes for much easier viewing while following along)
  • try to exercise without thinking about it. just do it first thing when you wake up and put your workout clothes on. the 30 mins you’d take waffling back and forth about it will be over and you’d have already been done with your workout!
  • if you can get outside while social distancing safely, getting out into nature or just outside for a walk in fresh air (with a mask) counts too. now (or ever) is not the time to guilt yourself for not training for a crazy marathon. just getting out of the house (even just sitting on your stoop or on the roof) for some direct exposure to natural weather elements definitely counts for something.
  • keeping a daily schedule is helpful just so there is some structured flow in your day. this can include showering first thing in the am, putting on an “outside” outfit even if working from home, and then changing back into pj’s after a nice nighttime bath to prepare for bed.

GENERAL PHYSICAL HEALTH STUFF:

  • eating enough at regular times is really important. there’s a huge tendency to snack all day and that can mess with the digestion, not giving the stomach enough time in between digesting meals to create more of the digestive juices needed for your guts to break down and assimilate the food we eat. finding an activity or hobby to keep you occupied will help boredom munchies 😉
  • keeping a regular bedtime is also super important; i get into bed at 10, read a book and aim to sleep by 11 latest.
  • ok so a client emailed about drinking “several matcha teas a day” – maybe you can relate to caffeine consumption or any other excessive thing you’re doing now that you don’t do “normally”. and so i wrote: hopefully you are making them and not drinking bottled sugary/dairy stuff. can you think about what you are compensating for in drinking so much caffeine? is it just something you’re doing without thinking about it, or are you super tired because your sleep schedule is wonky? in any case, these are things to think about, evaluate and adjust. personally,i alternate between matcha, golden milk, ginger and chocolate drinks i make myself with water, nut milks and a tiny bit of coconut sugar.
  • it’s a great time to google recipes to try! i’ve bookmarked a ton of recipes i always wanted to try and never got to do them til now, like a 2 ingredient sweet potato roti, 2 ingredient paleo banana pancake, banana oatmeal cookies and savory recipes from all over the world – think of your favorite dishes to order when you go to eat thai or chinese for example.
  • or support your local small businesses for new food ideas – think bodegas, ethnic grocery stores, or restaurants that are offering pickup. there are tons of gems out there if you take the time to try out a new spice mix or tamale joint.

GENERAL GET YOUR MIND RIGHT MENTAL HEALTH STUFF:

  • you all know by now that i love using the‘simple habit’ meditation app; there are soooo many well-curated gems in there and this app has helped me so much through my last several stressful years. the link will give you 2 weeks for free.
  • journaling / writing things down / lists help me get my thoughts, frustrations, fears, dreams and ideas out of my head, which helps my mind settle for bedtime / be generally less stressed out throughout the day
  • make sure to get some laughs in your day; @thedailyshow and @sarahcpr on IG have been keeping me informed but in a way that emits laughs. oh man. classic stand-up shows are also really good.
  • keep in touch with folks, staying in touch with your community and those you love can make or break your day. this is a PERFECT opportunity to catch up with people you’ve been meaning to get to know better, or spend more time with, like elders in your neighborhood
  • i’ve personally been very triggered by the current events in the us (political, racial violence), so i try to limit my exposure/reading of that stressful media AND do what i can to act on the cause; to me this means raising awareness and writing emails to government offices, signing petitions. seeing the shit and not doing anything about it makes me feel powerless and defeated, so doing even one small thing helps me feel more empowered and less depressed about the world.
  • it helps to get friends on board, or at least know what you’re up to. if you have roommates you can let them know that you want to work in healthier habits and maybe they can join in with you, or at least morally support you.

MASK-NE: if you’re breaking out from wearing all these damn masks

  • ice as per usual, maybe even more. it’s definitely meditative so will do double duty in calming your nerves by taking your mind off everything else except the freezing cold
  • consider taking the supplements optizinc or zyflamend for systemic inflammatory support; a nurse client has done this for years and it’s helped (we stopped selling them but you can easily find them online)
  • if you can wear a new clean fabric mask that you switch out every day vs those paper n95 type / breath-restricting kinds every day that would be better for breathability and skin friction but if you can’t there’s not much room to work with 🙁 i ordered a mask and matching headwrap from this lovely nigerian-born-in-italy-scientist-turned-designer iffy of olive ankara i met in singapore that allows you to tuck a surgical mask inside the washable cloth mask, so finding or making something like this could be good. those clear plastic face shields are good too, but aren’t to replace masks. (ALSO scroll down to see sS’er marissa making masks by hand in the bay for donations or free!)
  • try to stay inside safe spaces where you don’t need to wear masks as much as you can ie at home and when alone in your car
  • wash your face and ice as soon as you get home and if you can, tolerate toner / exfoliate
  • manage other inflammatory factors as much as possible incorporating stress management, emotional support, self-compassion, low glycemic diet, regular sleep habits, hydration etc etc. all the healthy things we teach you is to keep inflammation down
  • at this point it is what it is and this all we can do. stay strong and rest in the fact you know what your acne is from and know what to do to get rid of it as soon as you’re able (to stop wearing the masks!)
  • come for treatment when the clinic opens back up, but know that repeated wearing of the masks will still pose the same irritations

ice ya face! image source: healthline.com

IF YOU’RE BREAKING OUT IN GENERAL

maybe you’ve been eating stuff or experimenting with products and are breaking out. or are just maintaining your already clear skin! either case, stick with your BASIC regimen twice a day. do this for at least 2-3 weeks before trying to work any of the other stuff (including serums) back in, if you even need them at that point:
  • cleanse
  • ice
  • tone – probably 5% if you can tolerate that twice a day. if not, then 2.5% once then twice til you run out then 5%
  • hydrating gel or rejuvenation serum if you have/need it
  • spf in the day and hydrating cream at night
this will address pretty much any and all skin concerns (breaking out, inflammation, anti-aging), and keeping inflammation down is paramount to keeping the purge as painless as possible.
again, stick with the basics and check-in with us in a few weeks to see how we can bump it up, if you even need to.
rejuvenation serum is safe to use anytime, after toning and before moisturizing preferably day to protect against sun damage, but nighttime works too because it feels and smells good, which will help lift your spirits (and offer moisture/antioxidant support to your skin).

SHAMELESS sS’er PLUGS:

a couple of our fab clients are doing great things for the community and i want to share them with you! check these ladies out and give them a shout. and please let me know if you’re doing something awesome you’d like me to share too 🙂

sS’er marissa (@marissadpoulin) has been getting crafty and is making masks for donations (and for free if you can’t donate). she’s got several fabrics to choose from – check her out on IG if you are interested 🙂

lovely sS’er berlin-based acupuncturist rachel root made some super cute videos: “three morning routines for a better day” and “couples acupressure massage“.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST, KERRY’S NEW INSTAGRAM!

since she is now operating independently as a licensee of skinSALVATION, we thought it’d be a good idea for her to start a new IG page to communicate to her SF clients directly about clinic-related updates. you can keep up with what she’s up to on her daily walks, and updates as they come. give her a follow here 🙂

remember to breathe deeply (and safely), be patient, be kind.
we’re all going through it, together.
take good care of you and each other.
xo
kim

february 2020 news : new year + new BIG things

this is a jpg of the newsletter that went out, so the links don’t work.. so i’ve pasted them here for you to quickly navigate.

thanks as always for your continued support – 12 years and counting!

xx
kim

link to winter dry skin tips blog post
link to simplehabit, my favorite meditation app
link to 18reasons, my favorite SF cooking school + non profit
link to space2b, meditation center in singapore

link to book appointments with kerry!
link to restock on your skinsalvation products 😉
link to all the sale stuff on the shop – while supplies last!

acne-safe guide to natural skin care trends

– by kerry watson
with all the natural skin care trends that fill up our social media feeds each day how do we know which ones are safe for our acne-prone skin. here’s a quick list of do’s and don’t’s to help you navigate the world of fad fabulous DIY natural skin care.
DON’T
“natural” trends to avoid:
100% apple cider vinegar (ACV) or 100% lemon juice: these are both very acidic and can cause burning of sensitive acne-prone skin. there are safe natural ways to hydrate and tone the skin that won’t cause burning or breakouts and these are not them.
the oil cleansing method (OCM): unfortunately, most of the oils used in the OCM are cloggy. coconut oil is a super popular example. it happens to be highly comedogenic (pore clogging) so stay away.
essential oils on the skin: most essential oils have not been tested for comedogenicity (rate of clogging the pores, producing acne) so we suggest avoiding using these directly on areas that tend to breakout. also, essential oils are too concentrated to use neat or without diluting first and most of the oils used to dilute essential oils happen to be cloggy. safflower or sunflower oils are the only acne-safe ones that we have come across. so if you are using essential oils on your skin, dilute them first and only apply them to areas that don’t get acne. the one exception is tea tree oil which can be used undiluted as a careful spot treatment for inflamed acne breakouts. all you need is apply one drop on a q-tip and then dab the inflamed spot gently.
clay masks: these sound like a good idea for acne; they are drying, detoxifying and natural. unfortunately, they are way too drying and can cause too much blood flow to rush to the surface of the skin. this can increase inflammation and can damage the fragile capillaries that lay just beneath the skin’s surface. no clay mask until your skin is all cleared up and then only keep them on the skin for a couple minutes, never allowing the clay to completely dry out on the skin.
facial steams: another good sounding thing for acne-prone skin: opening up the pores, hydrating, detoxifying – nope, don’t do it! especially if you tend to suffer from inflamed acne breakouts. the heat from the steam will make the inflammation worse. think of putting a heating pad on a sprained ankle. it’s just going to make everything swell up. your esthetician might use steam during your professional acne treatment but only if your skin clearly indicates that it would be beneficial. nine times out of ten it’s not.
manual scrubs and brushes: when it comes to acne-prone skin, exfoliation is key but not all types of exfoliation are the same or even recommended for acneic skin. chemical exfoliation in the form of peel, active toners and serums can work wonders on acne prone skin. physical exfoliation in the form of scrubs and brushes, though fine for some, are not always a good idea for all. scrubbing sensitive inflamed skin with active inflamed breakouts is going to make the inflammation worse and can cause lesions to burst open spreading bacteria to other parts of the face.
not washing your face: if you are working on managing your acenic skin, you are going to have to use a mild acne-safe cleanser twice a day. not washing your face will allow dirt, sweat and oils to sit on your skin which may not cause issues for some folks but if you are acne prone you need a more attentive skin care regimen which will most definitely include cleansing.
DO:
“natural” trends that are safe:
manuka honey:  manuka honey or any nice raw honey is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. you can use it as a mask all over or just apply it to inflamed breakouts. leave it on or up to 30 minutes and then rinse off with warm water.
collagen powder: it’s a great daily food supplement for the skin. we wrote a whole post on it. check it out here.
rosewater: looking for a gentle hydrating toner for your sensitive acne prone skin? try rosewater or rose hydrosol. it smells delicious and it’s great for any skin type because it’s hydrating, calming and slightly astringent. if you are struggling to control or manage your acne you may need an active toner with exfoliating ingredients. rosewater is a safe bet for cleared up acne prone skin but it may not be the best choice for active acneic conditions.
icing: icing is the best way to control inflammation topically. just as we would ice a sprained ankled or broken arm, we can ice the face to bring down inflammation. inflamed acne can quickly be reduced by icing at least twice a day for up to 30 minutes at a time. in addition to it’s anti-inflammatory action, icing the skin creates micro fissures in the skin, that allow the active ingredients in skin care products to penetrate deeper into the pore where acne starts to form.

celebrate skinSALVATION’s 9th birthday with us!

skinSALVATION is celebrating 9 years of helping empower people with the tools that they need to get, and keep, clear skin FOR LIFE. we would love for you to join us in our celebration on march 25th from 3pm – 6pm. we will have cocktails, an acne-safe and soy-free noodle bar from mau vietnamese restaurant, and hundreds of dollars of gifts from skinSALVATION, kabuki spa, mateo’s taqueria and more. come hang out with kim and the entire skinSALVATION crew and let’s have a great time!

 

you had me at tadasana!

by: kerry watson

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need a little yoga in your life? we’ve found the perfect thing! it’s the down dog yoga app! i have been meaning to get myself into better physical shape for many months now and after many failed attempts i’ve finally found this awesome app. it’s free, fun and something that i think i can stick to. it’s like having a private yoga class in the comfort of my own living room. i love the music and the routines. you can choose from yoga flow or restorative and there are beginner and intermediate options for both. you can choose the length and pace of your practice as well. i’ve been doing 30 minutes a day at the normal pace.

sticking to a regular yoga practice is a great way to calm and balance the stress response which helps to control inflammation. it also helps to improve sleep which has a positive effect on the skin. the other apps that we’ve found to be helpful with stress management are insighttimer and headspace. these are great mindfulness mediation apps. insighttimer is my personal fave. you can search for different guided mediations. i love to do the true north sleep mediation right before bed. here it is on youtube as well. it works like a charm anytime i’m having trouble falling or staying asleep.