BLACK LIVES MATTER : thoughts + action items in solidarity


founders of the black lives matter movement: alicia garza, opal tometi, and patrisse cullors-brignac. add to your reading list: “when they call you a terrorist: a black lives matter memoir” by patrisse cullors and ashe bandele.

last week, i scrolled through about 50 wellness industry instagram stories to see who was speaking out about black lives matter (blm). i was looking for guidance – how to express what i felt, as a woman of color, while remaining professional and non-offensive to my mostly-white customer base. to my dismay, i found only five accounts that even remotely mentioned anything related to blm. this infuriated me.

(sidenote: the correlation between this silence and the fact that the wellness industry is vastly white, culturally appropriated and largely accessible only to the elite who can afford it (ie, goop) seems undeniable, and is fit for another standalone post).

i knew in my heart that i needed to do something to raise awareness, to stand for what i believe in, even if it creates difficult conversations, and even if i lose clients.

because unfortunately, in america, skin color matters.

i work with skin. i’ve been a licensed esthetician since my early 20s, and in 2008, started skinSALVATION. the main ethos of my business has always been to empower my clients with the tools they need to take charge of their own skin, so that they aren’t reliant on treatments to stay clear of acne. i want to free people from the hindrance of acne, so that they could be their best and fully confident selves, allowing them to focus on the meaningful contributions they have to give to the world.

the fact that the color of a person’s skin is a hindrance to the life they should be living is simply wrong.

i work with people of all skin colors. i hear stories, from clients, from friends, from people of color; real-life testimonies of discrimination i have never personally experienced. i heard from one girlfriend how tough it was to have kaiser permanente provide the care they promise in their ads, about the trouble she had to go through to get an appointment for her debilitating condition. i heard how a friend’s husband, using his given “ethnic name,” couldn’t get callbacks on job interviews, but switching to his “white” sounding middle name, scored a ton of in-person interviews. i heard from clients, so many of them brilliant and hardworking professionals, how they made it into the corporate world as the “diversity quota hire,” but were held back from promotions. these professionals often watched their white co-workers surpass them, with even less credentials or experience. and i’ve repeatedly heard about the talks my friends give to their kids, about how to behave when they are stopped by the police on their way home from school (aka racial profiling).

i’m a light-skinned, chinese-american woman. even though i was raised by a single, immigrant mother; and even though, by choice, i didn’t finish high school, i realize that compared with many i people i know, i was raised with privilege. i’ve never had a hard time getting medical attention or jobs, and i started my own business with relative ease. and for damn sure, i didn’t get talked to by my mother about anything more serious than staying away from drugs and kids that cut school. i grew up thinking the police were my friends, positive community leaders to call on whenever trouble came along.

i’m so fortunate and incredibly privileged. i’ll never be able to imagine the constant fear and trauma our black brothers and sisters live with every single day, as their ancestors have done for the 400+ years since being thrown into the cargo holds of slave ships, as they’ve had to face the threat of lynching, the cross burnings of the ku klux klan, the real danger from those sworn to protect them.

but i can use my voice and privilege to speak out, and round up my folks. it is long past time. it is a long hard road, but together we can and must overcome these injustices. we need all hands on deck. we need you, because BLACK LIVES MATTER!


before i get into sharing action items, i want to remind you that in the US: women, especially white women; people of color, especially immigrants, and the LGBTQ+ community all got the benefits we enjoy today because of the sacrifices and leadership by black activists and freedom fighters in the civil rights movement. it was the civil rights movement that propelled the women’s, gay, and roe vs. wade movements.

black americans are long overdue the thanks they deserve for fighting so selflessly for people like us, who enjoy the privileges that they are still being systematically denied. they showed up for us, and now we need to show up for them!

*the immigration act at the time centered greeks, poles, portuguese and italians, whom the quota discriminated against in favor of northern europeans. think about this if you now identify as “white” and think the BLM movement is not your problem.

marsha p. johnson, prominent figure of the stonewall uprising of 1969

what to do

in the running resource list below, i’ve included the same black writers and thinkers i am learning so much from, black community organizations and businesses to support, black wellness experts that are so generously offering tools for us all to heal collectively and so much more.

PLEASE share these resources with people in your communities, especially the wellness ones with black friends, colleagues and loved ones that need extra support right now.

this is a time of mixed emotions that are often paralyzing. but you can’t curl up into a ball and disappear, we need you now! doing the work, as different as it may look for each person, is essential. taking action is the only way out of this racist, patriarchal construct that creates more harm than good for us all, and for future generations.

FINALLY, these action items are for everyone who is not black to dive deep into and use, including and especially light-skinned, “white-adjacent” people like me. indigenous and brown people are also very much treated unfairly, but because black people are disproportionately discriminated against, it’s important to center the fight for justice around them now.  when black lives matter, every other marginalized community will be lifted up!


the first step in doing this work is deep, honest and uncomfortable exploration of self. learning how we ourselves are racist (and how we got that way), how we have benefitted from our privilege (at often times, at the cost of others’ not getting it), and most importantly, exactly how to become anti-racist. the above graphic has been circulating on IG, and it’s tough to look at. we must be honest, what in this image have we been a part of, and now that we know, what are we going to do to change that? in the words of angela davis, “In a racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be ACTIVELY anti-racist.’

allow yourself to process all the emotions that come up, and if you are not black, it is so important NOT TO TURN AWAY. inform yourself by watching the videos of what’s happening on the frontlines of protests, police brutality, and listen to the voices of our black brothers and sisters sharing what their experiences have been for the last 400+ years. learn what it’s like to literally feel and be hunted, to be oppressed for generations and generations. it is a true privilege to learn about racism, instead of experiencing it your whole life. really getting to know and empathizing with the struggle of black people worldwide will help you learn how to be a better co-conspirator in the fight for justice.

you will be confused, and afraid of doing or saying things for fear of “doing it wrong.” but the silence while figuring it out is deadly – black lives (and many others) are literally being lost while we wait to feel ready and comfortable enough to do the work. form friend groups to process what’s happening, where you can be vulnerable in a safe space, and learn from each other on how to do better.  the main thing is, start, learn and course-correct along the way.

there is no perfect way to do anything, the most important thing is that you simply start.

checking in – some pointers

DO NOT ask your black friends what to do, or tell them how you think they should cope, what “good things” you’re doing or unload your emotional guilt or sadness on them. they don’t owe anyone more emotional or intellectual labor than they already deal with on a daily basis. do the research to empower yourself, and let your love show by your actions!

DO send love to your black friends, and let them know you are available for them whenever they need. and don’t expect a response back. they are going through it and need to practice self-preservation, which may include not responding to you immediately (or if at all). it’s not about you, so don’t take it personal. however, feel free to buy and send them a meal, a case of wine, send some love notes or seriously, straight up send them a venmo! especially if they are in the social justice space, putting the work in so that WE can learn about how the systems we benefit from are oppressing THEM.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, check in with your NON-BLACK community and have those difficult conversations about white supremacy. what do they feel about what’s going on? do they even recognize it? what do they plan to do about it? who are they voting for and why, and how will they hold those elected accountable? are they talking to their parents, families, friends, colleagues, etc etc?

action items

probably THE MOST IMPORTANT thing you can do, is to register and to actually vote. it’s people that have the “one vote won’t matter” mentality that got us in this political mess in the first place, so don’t one of those.

registering literally takes less than 2 minutes. the next presidential election is this november and we need to make sure each and every single vote counts!!

SIGN PETITIONS to reopen cases for full investigations

signing petitions take less than 1-2 minutes to do, longer if you want to write a personal note. i’ve also heard that sending snail mail actually counts for more, so if you’re able to write and send a postcard to the local government offices where these crimes occur, do that too!

here is an article on how to help black trans people now, who’s deaths are usually swept under the rug and ignored. there are petitions in this article to sign too.

breonna taylor
was an award-winning EMT who planned on going to nursing school. she was shot to death while asleep in her own home, when police came looking for a suspect at the wrong house, who was already in custody. she would have turned 27 years old on june 5, 2020.

nina pop
was a 28 year old trans-woman who was murdered in her missouri apartment as a result of anti-black LGBTQ+ violence. the murderer has been arrested and is awaiting trial, the petition is to raise awareness.

tony dade
a trans-man who was killed by the police in tallahassee, florida. “crimes against trans-people are grossly underreported. in less than a week of being released from prison, tony had been robbed, survived a car crash, had his heart broken by the woman he thought loved him, and was violently attacked by 5 men as bystanders cheered on while live-streaming his beating on social media. all of this, before being gunned down by police. tony deserved better than that, and he most certainly doesn’t deserve our judgement in death.” – shared from ashley marie preston

kendrick johnson
he was 17 when he was brutally murdered in his high school gym in 2013. the details on the internet are gruesome, do an internet search if you want to find out more. this petition was shared by kim kardashian (i know, sorry) to reopen and do a full investigation on his case. though the petition synopsis is very poorly written, the point is to get enough public pressure on the goverment officials to get justice served!

marshae jones
a 27-year-old pregnant woman in alabama got shot in the stomach, killing her baby, is now in jail and charged for failing to protect her unborn child. the woman who shot her was not indicted. UPDATE: the manslaughter charges against marshae were dropped! you can read about the confusion of the law in the article linked above.

police force defunding and regulation

divest inflated police budgets to instead fund social services, access to food, healthcare, housing, education, parks, jobs, youth programs, restorative justice, and mental health workers to create better + safer communities, not police them! tarana burke, founder of the #metoo movement, created a great slideshow explaining the #defundpolice movement. 

to be clear: divesting does not mean totally shutting down the police. it means to take some of their already insanely inflated funding and moving it to service and care for the communities that need it most (like education, affordable housing, human services, parks + rec and transportation). the SFPD spent $611 million dollars in 2018-2019, oakland $264 million (out of the city’s $592m) and LAPD spends $3.14 billion with a B (1/3 of the total city budget; AND he was trying to raise it by 7%!!!).

think of it as taking just a few million of jeff bezos’ trillion dollar fortune, and giving that to schools that need new books.

defund berkeley police department petition – sign

defund oakland police department – learn more and donate

sf mayor london breed has already promised to defund the SFPD, so hold her accountable by writing and calling the mayor’s office

require racial bias and psychological evaluations for all police every 6-12 months – sign

require virginia PD to have de-escalation training – sign

BAY AREA organizations to donate to

in terms of donating, if you can, please do. even if it’s just $5! every little bit counts. over the years skinSALVATION has donated thousands of dollars to causes near and dear to my heart, including monthly contributions to the ACLU and to, a non-profit started by my good friend (and longest-running client!) linda calhoun.

there are a ton of organizations doing good work, but i decided to center my list around the smaller local organizations that often fall through the cracks, since the bigger national orgs have been getting the center stage spotlight (and are getting overfunded!) these days.

please let me know if you know of non-profit orgs that are black-led and of service to the black community in the bay area! most i found that were credible were oakland based.

here’s a list of ways to support the black LGBTQ+ community.

the east oakland collective
serving oakland’s unhoused brothers/sisters and other vulnerable populations (seniors, disabled, immune-compromised, low-income families) with food and critical health supplies. you can donate here.

bail for protesters in jail
with bails as high as $250k for protestors arrested in sacramento, all the brave people (many of them youth students!) that got arrested need as much help as possible to get bailed out. the bay area anti-repression committee fund has a donation drive started (and have plenty of other resources on their page), and broke ass stuart wrote a great article on how the bail system works, and mentions many bay area funds to contribute to.

people’s breakfast oakland
is a socialist org serving the people of oakland, that helps the houseless of oakland. they also have an educational podcast called hella black podcast that uplifts the of black radical organizers that are doing the work on the field usually not reported in mainstream news. you can donate here, just scroll to the bottom.

TGI justice project
focuses on supporting the trans, gender variant and intersex community in and out of the prison, jail and detention centers of the bay area by facilitating re-entry programs for those coming out of the incarceration system, and connecting them with legal support. you can donate here. 

anti-terror police project
a black-led, multi-racial and multi-generational non-profit dedicated to supporting the victims and families of police brutalization in communities of color by documenting police inflicted abuse, and connecting them with resources such as legal representation and healing. they hold events and meet regularly. it seems they are oakland based, and have a sacramento branch as well. you can donate here.

the center for black equity
the global leader of the black LGBTQ+ pride movement, and national leader connecting the community to resources and education.

founded by my good friend and mentor (and one of my very first facial clients!) linda calhoun. she’s created a wonderful non-profit and database centered around professional women of color, to inspire girls (and boys!) all over the world to reach for the dreams, no matter the color of their skin, no matter where they are. the site is wonderfully diverse with women of all backgrounds speaking to all aspects of their jobs, sharing tools and encouragement on exactly how to get into those industries. it’s also brilliantly abundant with resources for educators, mentors and parents – like toolkits, activities and posters! i love linda and this work of hers, and am proud to be a monthly donor to empower future generations. you can donate here.

donate for free by streaming
if money is tight, you can donate for free by streaming any of the videos on this youtube playlist i compiled. by letting these videos play and not clicking away from the ads, all the money generated from the ads played will be donated to BLM.

the strategist has a list of 135 orgs to donate to, benefitting black lives and POC’s

black writers + thinkers to read, listen and learn from

please consider buying your books at america’s oldest black-owned bookstore called marcus books in oakland in-store (they’re open!) and soon, online. they’re still working on their website, but here’s the contact page they’ve got now, including an order request form and mailing list at the bottom of the page, until their official website launches.

i’ve started a running youtube playlist of our great black speakers and artists, that you can listen to while you do things (i like to paint and do dishes while listening!).

in addition to the greats:
angela davis
audre lorde
june jordan
toni morrison
james baldwin
malcolm x
martin luther king

check out:

ijeoma oluo
seattle-based author of “so you want to talk about race,” a great practical guide on doing exactly that

rachel cargle
akron, ohio based writer, public academic, and founder of so many amazing social justice focused brands (including the loveland foundation, offering free therapy to black women and the great unlearning, a donation-based uncensored american history course).

sonya renee taylor
new zealand based queer poet, activist and author of “the body is not an apology, the power of radical self love” and “celebrate your body and it’s changes too,” written for girls about puberty.

ibram x. kendi
author of “how to be antiracist,” and many others, including a children’s book “antiracist baby” coming out june 16, 2020. he wrote that “being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination.”

ta-nehisi coates
writer and journalist, author of “between the world and me,” a letter to his son about growing up black in america.

black businesses to support in the bay area

roots plant nursery
you can buy + roadside pickup tues-sun 1-5pm
owned by sf native blasian (black and asian!) owner michelle, she outfitted our last clinic with all of our plants. her shop on 16th and south van ness was my refuge when i needed some comfort on a tough day, she is so generous with her love with me. visiting her shop is an instant mood booster and bonus, she has 2 cute older puppies to pet. 🙂

black earth farms
you can donate or buy from them
run by black and indigenous folks, they have CSA boxes on a sliding scale, but prioritize the distribution of food to students, houseless folx, elderly folx, indigenous, afro, trans, and gender non-conforming folks.

sfgate’s article on more black owned farms and CSA’s you can support

you can buy from them via instagram or at their SF store
owned and operated by my good friend delila, relove is a haven for fashionable used clothing to buy or sell. you’ll find great basics, niche brands and amazing designer vintage.

joy street design
owned and operated by my friend and colleague kelly, she’s one of interior design’s few black designers based in the heart of oakland.

here’s sf chronicle food writer soleil ho’s comprehensive list of black-owned restaurants in the bay area and eater sf’s article with links to an LA list.

marcus books
you can buy books from them, or donate to keep their shop open
as mentioned earlier, america’s oldest black owned bookstore in oakland.

one united bank
america’s largest black-owned bank, you can move your savings and checking accounts over to them online OR just open up a savings account and keep a nest egg there. letting your money sit in community and black banks like one united helps them gain capital to make loans for the communities they serve, creating economic literacy and independence.

(i have a personal savings account at one united, and all skinSALVATION accounts are at self-help federal credit union, who focus on empowering the black and brown communities of the bay area).


the strategist has a list of 125 black businesses to support

to keep up to date on news affecting the black community locally and nationally

an organization dedicated to preserving and encouraging black culture to thrive in the bay area

here’s a list of black centered news outlets

shaun king
speaker, author and activist, founder of, who grew up with..

lee merrit esq
the civil rights attorney who represents many families of black lives lost, including ahmaud arbery.

* there is some controversy around shaun king’s fundraising efforts and use of “trauma porn” to publicize black crime cases, but his instagram feed is very up to date, he was the first modern black activist i’ve learned from and he has organized many successful large scale petitions and rallies to bring criminals to justice.
* however, he released documentation (including bank statements, tax returns, FEC reports to the government and statements from families he’s helped.
* it’s a bit confusing because most all the black women writers i respect aren’t down with shaun, i’m not sure if it’s an MLK/malcom x rivalry thing where they share the same end goal, but very different approaches.
* in any case, if you know of another news source as up to date, please share them with me.

black wellness experts

dr. tiffany lester MD
SF’s parsley health practitioner is an sS’er, and at parsley health integrates holistic and conventional medicine for all-around medical care. @drtiffanylester on IG

dr. lisa upshaw, acupuncturist
based in LA, i found her on instagram and she’s generously shared many tools you can integrate for relieving stress during these times. @drlisaupshaw on IG

the wellness of we
was a 7 day virtual conference of speakers working together towards true, all-inclusive, collective wellness. their talks were recorded and were very inspiring to me personally, to keep skinsalvation going in the midst of covid and recent BLM happenings. @thebigwe on IG

kevin curry of fitmencook
i found him on instagram, and love his upbeat personality and very easy to follow paleo-inspired recipes (sometimes you’ll have to omit dairy). @fitmencook on IG

lalah delia
author of “vibrate higher daily,” a black prolific spiritual writer in a sea of white authors. her messages are powerful and timely, i love seeing her posts on my IG feed for daily uplift and encouragement through tough times. @lalahdelia on IG

support black film and tv

there are sooooo many. here’s a short list to start you off:
12 years a slave
time: the kalief browder story
hidden figures
when they see us
insecure (i lovvvve this show)
trigger warning with killer mike (a rapper and social justice activist)

talks to help you understand the black american experience:

here’s a youtube playlist of black speakers and musical artists, which include the ones below and more. please let me know if there are any you like so that i can add them!

kimberly jones speech about black americans’ systematic economic defeats (7 minutes)

trevor noah’s 18 minute monologue

activist and rapper killer mike, atlanta native, speaking to his city to get their shit together! this is a prime example of how to round your people up to plot, plan, strategize, organize, and mobilize for the fight for justice.

jane elliott first started teaching about racism the day after martin luther king jr. got killed, to her class of third graders. here’s a 7 min video of her talking a little about it with jimmy fallon, one where she checks a room full of people in 45 seconds, and a 30 minute vintage 1992 episode of oprah, where she conducts the “blue eye/brown eye” exercise demonstrating and conversing about racism.


here are some very thoughtfully and deeply researched spotify playlists compiled by my good friend craig, that combine hip hop, soul, speeches and soundbites from great black artists and leaders. i asked him to write a few blurbs explaining the background behind the playlist names, which are included below. they’ve pumped me up and hope they too keep you inspired and enthusiastic about the fight ahead!

fear of a black planet
The title Fear Of A Black Planet speaks to the insanity that overtakes white folks whenever high profile figures from the subjugated class demonstrate autonomy or speak out with their own authority on topics of race and inequality. It can be seen in the image of Tommie Smith and John Carlos raising their fists in solidarity for the black power movement on the olympic podium at the Mexico City games in 1968 and traced through to Colin Kaepernick taking a knee in protest of police brutality during the 2016 NFL season. This playlist was also informed by the 2008 documentary Salute by Matt Norman, the book, Revolt Of The Black Athlete by Harry Edwards, and the movie, High Flying Bird by Steven Soderbergh.

Social Justice Grenadiers, Right To Assemble Dragoons, and Radical Ideology Lancers co-opts British military terminology (Grenadiers, Dragoons, and Lancers) and combines them with the language of social justice reform. These terms were chosen in direct contextual response to the ways in which the current administration has chosen to characterize lawfully peaceful protesters with criminalizing language such as “thugs” and “looters”.

social justice grenadiers
Social Justice Grenadiers could be said to throw “thought bombs”

right to assemble dragoons
Right To Assemble Dragoons could be seen as the “mounted cavalry” of significantly numbered protesters demonstrating their constitutional right to free assembly

radical ideology lancers
Radical Ideology Lancers could be viewed as individuals who are “armored” with indefensible moral arguments against an unjust system

the invisible contract

The Invisible Contract is best described in a recent article by Adam Serwer for the Atlantic.
It’s about how black folks and people of color are supposedly “treated equal” in our so-called free society, until they come up against the invisible contract… which says they’re not. These songs speak to that disparity.
anderson paak (a half black and half korean artist out of LA) just put out his video for his song “lockdown.” the beats are awesome, his words are true and the imagery powerful.

more lists + resources

75 things white people can do for racial justice

FREE ANTI-RACISM CLASSES til june 30! generously offered by the diversity and resiliency institute of el paso

instagram accounts to follow


@bldpwr – engaging with athletes and entertainers to use their platform for social change




@diet_prada – most known for busting designers, they have been offering really great coverage of current events, unearthing racist practices in the fashion + magazine industry as of late


@shak_simley – SF city and county department of racial equity director (who used to work at!)

@nedratawwab – therapist, boundaries expert, writer

@sonyareneetaylor – listing her twice because she’s that good. her daily “what’s up y’all” videos are great convo starters for dismantling the racist structures we live in.

@yrsadaleyward – beautiful poet

@mspackyetti – brittany packnett cunningham, activist, co-founder of campaign zero, former executive director of teach for america in st. louis, former member of obama’s 21st century policing task force.


@nextshark – global asian news

@aapiwomenlead – non-profit in oakland, ca

@kalamendoza – a filipinx activist

@activismgirl – young asian college student that’s been posting a lot of petitions to sign




@favianna1 – oakland native artist + political, environmental, vegan and sex activist

@funnyaida – comedienne + activist, real raw thoughts and i love her for it


@your.latina.nutritionist – loving self-care provider promoting healthy relationships with food

@richiereseda – formerly incarcerated activist




@hellomynameiswednesday – political british artist with really great messages and education in her art





@yung_pueblo – amazing poetry that offers internal reflection

@thebigwe – host of conference i loved so much, mentioned above

@thenapministry – rest is a form of resistance and reparations


@theconsciouskid – resources for raising great kids

@teachermominspired – my friend’s sister shares her educational play exercises

@diversereads – books!

@hereweread – books!

@themompsychologist – therapy specifically for moms (and dads)


@feminismbitches – funny stuff!

@lizclimo – really great little cartoons






this is by no means a complete list! and i’d love your additions.

i haven’t figured out how to manage comments, which is why they are closed. i literally get 3000 hits of spam on every blog post, so if you want to contribute more resources, further converse or reach out please email us at frontdesk @ skinsalvationsf .com





sS + mindbodygreen collaboration

though it’s been really quiet over here on a social media front, i’ve been busy with some really big projects behind the scenes, that will be revealed in the coming months. (it also just dawned on me that most people probably don’t know that skinsalvation is a one-woman show – me! alongside kerry, who handles the treatment side in our san francisco clinic).

one of these projects i was very fortunate to be a part of was a collaboration with mindbodygreen! with this first video of the series, we hone in on the 6 super common mistakes that we see clients make when washing their face. you can really boost results of your regimen with these simple tricks without spending a dime on new products (unless you need to stock up on acne-safe products, use this tool to check your stash!).

click here to the mindbodygreen website to see the full video, and get all the nitty gritty details you know i am crazy about, and let us know what else you want to see covered in our collaboration!

kim’s bug bite (and heat rash) hack

i love camping and the outdoors, nature and grassy wooded areas. being bug bite prone though, is a surefire way for me to become a debbie downer. as a kid spending a summer in the philippines, i remember once that my legs were so eaten up and raw that my aunt took me to a dermatologist to check out my poor limbs; they gave me a cortisone cream, which didn’t do a damn thing. most conventional bug bite creams on the market are cortisone based which still don’t do a thing for me (and are toxic to boot). my skin is so sensitive to these bites that they usually quickly turn into huge bumps that make me look deformed (no joke), and are sooooo itchy that they distract me from enjoying myself in said nature, putting me in a cranky mood. 🙁

over the years, with extensive research and travel, i think i’ve figured out my magic combination of bug bite prevention and relief! and they are, for the most part, non-toxic. different bugs exist in different places, so these may not be as effective in one locale than another, depending on your own skin and where in the world you are. but if you have to use DEET, use it. it’s better to be safe and not get malaria than to try and be all hippy with your natural remedies, imo.

so you know an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure bla bla bla. in this case, it’s totally true. i am not above putting on a hat with a bug net on it, and in most cases find that diligently applying and reapplying my anti-mosquito potions are enough for me.

mosquitoes are notorious for being the most active at dawn, dusk, and around still water + swampy areas. they also like to get our ankles and feet while sitting at dining tables. being mindful of these times and locales have been helpful for me to know when i should stay on guard, inside or perhaps take the seat at the end of the table vs in the corner against a wall.

i like the sawyer picaridin insect repellent lotion to put on my legs and find that once i put this on before going out for the day, i don’t need to reapply, so long as i don’t get wet. it’s important to speak on lotion vs spray because applying lotion with your hands ensures a more thorough application, thus making it stay on the skin better, last longer, and won’t easily sweat or rub off like a water-based spray (the same can be said about any other spray product, SPF included). picaridin is an ingredient that is synthesized in a lab (as most skincare ingredients are) that is modeled after an extract from the chrysanthemum flower, and also has been shown to be just as effective as DEET, without the toxicity or fragrance (check out the EWG’s stance on it here).

i am not a fan of chemicals in general (toxicity, smell, general grossness and support of those industries), and will use chemicals only when i have to (like using the picaridin lotion above). i much prefer using natural products as much as possible and in the realm of bug spray, will stick to using a natural one on my upper body, to avoid inhaling or ingesting said toxins. if you eat with your fingers, are doing any smooching or are handling babies/kids, it’s best to be exposed to a natural bug spray than a toxic and bitter tasting one.

for years i have loved using the greenerways organic bug spray, the only one on the market i’ve found to be water-based AND organic. most natural ones on the market are in a base of cloggy ass soybean oil and are just oily, sticky and gross. plus, it’s a small family out of pennsylvania that makes this stuff, so all the more i am happy to support another small biz. i’ll decant this into a smaller spray bottle to take with me for reapplications, since natural products work best with repeated usage over time.

the way i apply this is to spray it onto my hands, and then rub it onto the areas affected. remember, actually massaging product into your skin is going to yield a much more effective and long lasting application.. as well as prevent the product from 1. being wasted, and 2. being sprayed onto surfaces other than your skin, including rivers, lakes and oceans. (i have seen people put on spray sunscreen while standing in freshwater lakes and it is disgusting how much ends up in the water.)

note: i find that their 4oz bottle is difficult to handle, so decanting the liquid into their smaller 1oz (or a different shaped spray bottle, muji and rainbow grocery has great ones) is necessary for me.


DON’T SCRATCH OR PICK AT IT (sound familiar?)
the key is to preventing more itching, scarring and swelling is to RESIST SCRATCHING. the less you scratch, the less annoying it will be, the less scarring will occur (from scratching the skin open, leaving you with scabs) and the faster it will heal, i promise! the same can be said for acne 🙂 here are some things you can do instead:

some hard, heavy slaps on the bumps as they appear may be enough to numb the nerve endings that make it start itching.. this is a quick fix until you can get access to the following:

just as you would to relieve inflammation for acne, icing is one of the best remedies to employ. it numbs the nerve endings and instantly relieves the itching – with relief lasting (for me, usually) at least a couple of hours afterward. also, if you are getting bug bites you’re probably in a hot place, so getting ice cubes – or just something cold at least – should (theoretically) be easy. i have no shame in digging an ice cube out of my water glass at a restaurant and icing the bumps on my legs, arms, etc for relief. i’ll just wrap it with a napkin to soak up the dripping water as best i can.

anything that’s got camphor or menthol or peppermint is going to have that cooling sensation that’s great for numbing down itching. when i was in thailand, every convenience store i went to had some kind of a tiger-balm thing, be it a salve in a jar or an oil in a roller stick. i am a big fan of the oil roller sticks because it makes for a mess-free application, and is multi-purpose. i used them to relieve headaches, shoulder pains, sore feet and legs from standing around for hours (like i did when mom and i were in bangkok for the late rama 9’s cremation ceremonies). know that it can take a few minutes for the itching to go away after applying these oils, so have patience to allow them to work their way into the skin, calming those itch nerves. this is why i like to ice first to quickly numb, then apply these oils to prolong the itch relief.

when i get heat rash, this also helps immensely with managing the itching associated with it, speeding up healing. for my own skin, i find washing the affected skin with an anti-bacterial soap, keeping the skin as dry as possible (no applying oils or lotions, even aloe gel!) and relieving the itching with a muscle oil rub stuck is the speediest way to recovery.

in the US, you can find saje’s peppermint halo. i LOVE this stuff and use it everyday. i roll it onto my head, temples, neck and shoulders to help keep me calm in a busy day of work, in traffic or when i’m bored. it has that minty effect to help calm down any itchiness from bites!

i went camping at the south yuba river a year or two ago and totally forgot all my bug bite stuff. and of course, our campsite was buzzing with skeeters and were having at it on my face. so i went on a hunt to a “natural” store in town and thought to look for a bug bite salve. one lady behind the counter suggested i mix up some clay and essential oils to apply, but the other lady remembered an all-natural toothpaste they had which was basically the same thing, just fancier (plus already mixed up and ready to use). i was skeptical but desperate so i bought the stuff and lo and behold it worked.  so well in fact, that it’s actually changed my life.

preventing bug bites can be tough, but so long as you have the right tools to manage the itching, it’s not that bad at all. a little of this paste goes a long way, leaves no residue or stain, and is soooo effective. for me, just a dab of this pretty instantly calms down itching. i forget about the bite, and get on with enjoying my nature experience. it’s really been amazing how much quality of life enhancement and sense of relief this little product has given me. it comes in a glass 2oz jar, so i scoop some out into a smaller plastic jar to keep in my day bag and reapply as needed. one jar has literally lasted me years, and i freak out if i can’t find or forget it on my travels.

24 HOUR RULE (?)
so maybe i’m making this up, but it seems for me that most bites – so long as i don’t go crazy waking up those itch nerves by scratching them as soon as i get them – itch only once in a 12- or 24-hour cycle. i get bit, i employ any or all of the above post-bite tactics, and then i’m not bothered by them for another 12 or 24 hours. then after a few days, the itching subsides completely and the bites heal up and away. observing and knowing this has somehow calmed my nerves whenever i get into an itching frenzy.

so hopefully you didn’t scratch the hell out of your skin, creating a wound and thus scarring. but if you did, you can still employ the tricks above and if you must, gently rub-and-not-quite-but-kinda-scratch around the bite/wound to relieve any itching as it heals. if there is pigmentation left behind, it will likely go away on its own, or you can use any of your active sS skin products (like your mandelic toner, skin brightener or vitamin a serum) to speed up the brightening of the spots left behind once the scab heals and falls off.

i hope these tips help you out and make natural outdoor time less miserable. these discoveries were a serious game changer for me and i hope it helps others too!

founder’s letter – next chapters for sS in 2017

celebrating 9 years. not pictured is blakely at the front desk who’s joined team sS just last week 🙂

i’ve got to always start with gratitude. we live such good lives. we are amazingly fortunate to have access to most everything we could ever want or need here in the bay. it’s easy to forget to honor ourselves, and so i’d like to..
THANK YOU so much for choosing to invest in yourself! the time, resources, and hard work you put in everyday for your self-care and wellbeing is a really big deal.
THANK YOU choosing sS to partner with in helping you on that journey for over 9 years!
THANK YOU for your support in my business, the intelligent and wonderful women running it, our local economy, and by extension, me!
our single clinic in SF has helped thousands of people clear up for good, and hundreds more remotely. this past spring we celebrated 9 years of doing this work, and you are a part of making that happen.
gratitude + love + light to YOU!

feeling happy and healthy, with wild elephants in sri lanka

KIM’S OOO. date of return, TBD…
after 9 years, i’ve officially moved away from the day-to-day operations of sS SF (!!!). i’ve been given the opportunity to make progress with sS in different inspiring locations, and the SF location of sS will be in the hands of general and assistant managers, liesse jones and lacey mons.
liesse is a licensed esthetician overseeing the entire clinic with the help of lacey, who runs the operations side of sS.  L2 (as i like to call them) + our amazing team are upholding the high standards upon which i’ve built sS, and are building it to be bigger and better than i ever could on my own. i am grateful and fortunate to have these women on my team to take good care of you!
as i concentrate solely on self care + the growth of sS:
  • i have retired from the treatment room and am no longer administering treatments. you are honestly in great hands with any of my estheticians – we have trained them to be the best of the best in SF! (ask about our training process the next time you’re in for treatment)
  • all client related inquiries will be managed by L2 on my behalf, and i will contribute as i am able.


i thank you so much your continued trust and support of sS with this exciting transition. 🙂
sS is now in this really exciting growth phase. all of these are works in progress and we’ll let you know when they launch. some of what’s launching in 2017:
  • MORE NATUROPATHIC DOCTORS! i’ve been meeting with and getting to know several in the bay area to widen our network of experts to help our clients that need it. more on this on our blog as we complete our research 🙂
  • NEW ONLINE STUFF. in our shop, we’ve got new product photos up and will soon implement a subscription option for your favorite sS essentials (thanks to sS’er JN for the nudge!). on our site, we’ll be adding some video content and on our IG, lacey’s stepping up our visuals while continuing to preach the lifestyle gospel with practical, everyday acne-safe life hacks.
  • LOYALTY PROGRAM. as gesture of appreciation to our most loyal clients, we’re launching a loyalty program so you can earn credits towards future sS purchases!
  • REPLICATION. liesse and the SF clinic team are working hard to standardize our clinic model so that we can empower others to open up sS clinics of their own all over the world.
  • THE BOOK. once i leave SF and have my workflow sorted, i’ll be able to finally finish up the book that will empower people and change lives beyond the walls of our clinic in SF.
be sure to follow us on instagram, our blog and these same emails for updates.
thank you for your support and patience as our lean team makes small biz magic happen!

had to get a photo of this woman hustling behind me – on her bike, laptop AND cell phone. she could very well be getting her sS on, remotely!

book your consult or follow-up appointment by phone or skype if you can’t get into our SF office! just book online, and notate it’s a remote session. (we are soon piloting a 1 hour remote consult appointment format, yay!)
and a bonus for all sS clients! if you’ve ever come in or bought anything from us: we are piloting a remote client-support program to see how we can better care for our clients. email us to schedule a free 15 minute phone call with one of our expert estheticians for skincare product counsel.we want to make sure you are using the right products for your skin, optimized for travel, seasonal, climate, hormonal changes.

follow me on instagram: @kimsthecoolest

stay informed. link up with us on IG (@skinsalvationacneclinic), our blog or these emails and be the first to know of all our new launches. (we also post last minute appointment openings & clinic closures for team building events/meetings/trainings on IG)
see what i’m up to, and the world through my lens. follow my personal account on IG at @kimsthecoolest and keep in touch with me that way.
real talk: all of your support has got me this far (9+ years!), and the real, raw feedback you provide directly informs how i will choose to grow sS’s outreach to empower everyone, everywhere. please email me any and all thoughts you have about my company. your opinions are my gold!
cheers to positive growth, exploration and discovery into new chapters of life, and thank you again for your love and support!



team sS volunteering at dress for success – we are women, for women empowerment!

hey sS’ers, kim here.  long time since i’ve written a post – i’ve been busy with quite a few big game changing projects in the works!  more announcements about this about all that to come soon, but i wanted to share a little bit about something we’ve been doing at sS that i’m very excited about, and how will inspire you in some way. 🙂

many of you may know my story, that i founded sS after finding the regular ‘spa’ facial world boring. when i was part of the opening team at remede spa (within san francisco’s st. regis hotel) all the way back in 2005, i was at the highest end, 5-star luxury hotel spa in the city. it was beautiful, we had thorough training and regularly had high profile clients. i also had a great work/life flow: my workweek consisted of wednesday to sunday like this: i’d take bikram class at funky door yoga on new montgomery st. at 12noon, get into work by 2pm to have a leisurely homemade lunch, before starting my 3-9pm work shift.

however, i felt unfulfilled with my work.

after i found acne, and saw, with time, how well the work worked, i felt inspired, of service to my community, and finally, TRULY FULFILLED.. because what i was actually slanging now was empowerment to the people – not just short-lived relaxation, a feel good face rub or expensive diamond creams.

fast forward 12 years later (!), it’s now 2017 and i’ve had skinSALVATION for 9 years now. i know that our work is truly life changing and amazing, and i’m ready to layer on the next level of fulfillment, in service to our community.

in order to do that, i’ve committed to donating a portion of our clinic profits to legit, charitable organizations every month. in years past, my donations were random, but since this january, with the help of my team at sS SF, we’ve been making it a regular + structured thing.

we are also doing our best to create the time and space to physically volunteer individually or as a group, whenever we can.  check out the photo above, of team sS at dress for success just last friday!

so far this year, we’ve supported the following charities.  we’ll promise to write more in depth about why we’ve chosen these particular ones, and our personal connection to them.

EMPACT NORTHWEST (international medical crisis support – my best friend, tamara, used to run this org, and is still involved)

PLANNED PARENTHOOD (in honor of mike pence – duh)

ACLU (in honor of donald trump – duh)

DRESS FOR SUCCESS (the team volunteered there this friday, it was super fun!)

UNITED WAY OF GENESEE COUNTY (in support of the flint, michigan water crisis)




AIDS LIFECYCLE (in support of many friends doing the ride AS I TYPE, like RIGHT NOW!)

RIDE FOR A REASON (to support oakland’s public schools)

LA CASA DE LAS MADRES (a local + kick ass org that provides shelter, advocacy and support services to women, teens, and children exposed to and at risk of abuse and domestic violence)

DALY CITY YOUTH HEALTH CENTER (i grew up partly within the daly city school system, and have very good friends that have served as marriage + family therapists there)

with your continued support of my business – buying products, coming in for treatments, tipping your sS estheticians (to be closer in line with the hourly compensation rate they’d normally make at standard spas & salons), doing what we tell you to do to clear up and telling all your friends about us –  we can continue supporting our acne-prone community to be healthier and happier – and on a larger, more impactful humanitarian level – these charities, for years to come.


ok so you may have stumbled upon this blog piece from our instagram post, and want to know what’s up with these super pro looking bikers.  they are 3 friends of friends of sS that we’ve allocated our june donations to, to ride the grueling, uber challenging AIDS lifecycle for us, so we don’t have to train like crazy, haha. (if you don’t know about it, participants ride a bicycle from SF to LA over the course of a week to raise money for AIDS research + support). they are now on day 5 of 7, but it’s never too late to send some $$ love their way!

if anything, i’m happy to just raise awareness about this amazing cause, and shine the spotlight on some of the real-life brave riders i know that are doing it.  one of them is an sS’ers sibling, another is an sS’ers best friend, and the other a cool strong-legged friend of theirs!  feel free to support each one of them with this link here, here and here 😀

OUR (acne-safe) THANK YOU, TO YOU!
i like to think that our sS’ers are on the same wavelength as us on these kinds of things, so if you donate your time OR money to any of the charities we tell you about, show us your confirmation (even it’s just one hour, or $5!) and we’ll give you an sS gift as our (acne-safe) high-five to you!

SO MUCH GRATITUDE TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU for putting your faith into our process, and allowing us to do the important, life-changing and fulfilling work we love to do.  we very much appreciate the opportunity to make this our everyday, giving us purpose in life 🙂