acne safe wedding – week three “easy + practical ways to keep stress low”

the practical stuff: easy ways to keep stress low with flowers, table settings, wedding favors, cake, vows

flowers – sorry to break it to you but nobody cares that much about flowers and most people won’t even remember what yours looked like, including you! i’ve heard people talking, in retrospect, about how unnecessarily stressful the floral arrangement planning was at their wedding. i chose one flower for everything. it’s called baby’s breath which is a gross name for a flower (but whatever) it’s simple, not a big statement, inexpensive, and it was a good choice for a wedding in the desert.

we used the baby’s breath flower for everything. i found photos of what i wanted on pinterest, took extensive notes, and emailed each photo, numbered, to the florist. we went over my notes and the photos together to make sure we were on the same page. this is how i described it over the phone, in almost exactly this wording:

  1. bouquet for bride and bridesmaids – biggish bunch that looks like it was scooped straight out of the garden, with a discreet wire to hold them together.
  2. decoration for ceremony – smaller bunch tied with white ribbon to end of each chair bordering the isle
  3. boutonnieres for groomsmen and father of bride and groom – teensy bunch with a green twig or two, up to you
  4. wrist corsage thing for mother of bride and groom – small sploof with a special flair in white, up to you, just to make the mamas feel special
  5. for cake – 2 sprigs for 2 of the layers on the cake and a little for the top, basically messy laid down bouquets

whether or not the floral arrangement guy thought i was a nut job is beside the point. i only had to have two conversations with him to plan all the floral everythings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

table settings – i chose to just keep it simple and white. that’s usually the easiest for the place you are holding the reception at or the place you’re renting from so will be the easiest for you too. the less little details the better. plus, it’ll be timeless. to keep the dining tables clutter free we just had a number on them as a marker. guests would pick up their place holder with the table number on it (which was also their wedding favor!) that way, when they brought their place holder to the table and set it down, it looked nice and like it was meant to be part of the arrangement.

wedding gifts – we just gave everybody a cactus. my mom felt like it wasn’t enough and that people expected candy or a monogrammed water bottle, but i resisted because nobody needs that shit anyways. i figured that i have never regretted going to a wedding because the favors were shitty, so i didn’t think anybody invited to my wedding would have that issue. plus, cacti are awesome! we got them from this etsy page and they were delivered to the inn where we had the ceremony and reception. a lot of my friends still have theirs and it’s cool to see them growing in different places! for bridal party, i got bracelets from this lady on etsy. they are simple and are meant to symbolize tying the knot. like, “thanks for helping me tie the knot!” the sentiment is cheesy but the gift wasn’t i swear.

cake – i don’t even like cake all that much but for traditions’ sake we got one. i wasn’t planning on eating it so it didn’t matter if it was acne safe. i just got some simple photos of cakes on pinterest, emailed them to a few wedding bakeries in the area and asked them to send me back photos of anything they’ve done that is similar. i chose the place that got back to me with a good photo, easy peasy! the real decision making came in on the acne safe pies we got. i found a place that could change things up a bit to accommodate me and ended up getting acne safe raspberry pie, apple pie, and blackberry pie. if you are getting married in the bay area, wholesome bakery is a local spot that makes cakes free from the top allergens (which means they are also acne safe).

food – hold the reception somewhere that can accommodate your diet! it’s not that crazy to ask for a soy and dairy free meal (remember that butter is ok, especially on your wedding day!). you just need to practice voicing your dietary restrictions so that you don’t wuss out when the time comes (like me and the acne safe makeup situation). i recommend doing research before meeting with the chef/wedding planner/restaurant owner/taco truck driver so that you know which dishes are already acne safe and which dishes could be easily modified. if possible, choose from what they already offer on their menu so that you don’t complicate things too much and make it more stressful than it needs to be.

vows – write them ahead of time. i did this the night before the wedding and felt a little rushed. what helped me the most with my vows were my bridesmaids. they told me things they’ve noticed have shifted since i met adam (sense of everything will be ok, more settled with who i am) and i was able to go from there. adam, on the other hand, just sat with our dog leroy and gracefully wrote in cursive until it was done. the good thing about waiting until the last minute on vows is that they don’t sound too forced or scripted. so, maybe don’t plan ahead. up to you.

here’s the thing. yes, we could have made choices so that the wedding came off fancier, sleeker, more elegant but it would have been a waste of time and stress (and money). i could not have been happier! i will never look back and wish that i spent more time stressing on what type of silverware we chose or which songs we played.

just try to keep in mind that the only goal for your wedding day is to have fun! you are your own biggest critic – nobody is judging you the way you’re judging you. so have fun and be unapologetically yourself. this is, after all, the only event everyone you know and love will feel obligated to show up for you – so take advantage of it and throw a good party!

all wedding photography done by heidi zumbrum

acne safe wedding – week two “makeup: planning ahead and day of”

makeup, planning ahead and day of (including advice from a makeup artist that can do your makeup acne safe in the bay area!)

best decision i made makeup-wise was to do a trial run well before the actual wedding day. i highly highly recommend doing this! my adorable and talented makeup artist, isabel macias, suggested we do the trial run and i agreed, without realizing how valuable it would be. i showed isabel the photos from pinterest i had found and liked – i thought the photos i shared were natural, yet defined enough to look good photographed. she did a great job mimicking those looks, but i learned the look i thought i was going for required wayyyy more makeup than i expected. from far away it looked great but up close it was too much for my taste.

so, this realization made it so that the day of i was able to articulate what i did like and what i thought we could do differently for the ceremony. we ended up using non-acne safe makeup because i wussed out – i didn’t want to be needy or bridezilla-ish with the makeup artist. i brought all my acne safe makeup and thought i had given myself enough pep talks to voice what i wanted… but the day of, i didn’t have it in me to be nit-picky and didn’t feel like micromanaging the artist was the right thing to do. plus, i saved myself stress the day of and just went with the flow.

my makeup was perfect, i couldn’t have been happier – but it did break me out afterwards. so i had a few months of pesky breakouts from the cloggy products we used. though, i have no regrets! but i wish i had the advice of bay area makeup artist rachel rockwood, who has been a skinSALVATION client since 2015.

not only does rachel personally understand the stress that goes along with having acne, but she also works for youngblood, a makeup company that makes most of the acne safe makeup we carry at skinSALVATION. (please note that some but not all of their makeup offerings are acne-safe!).

rachel has four basic tips for the day of the wedding:

  1. exfoliate beforehand (like with regular peels!) so that makeup application is even and doesn’t look cakey
  2. moisturize face, including eyebrows, to avoid flakiness when combing and grooming
  3. avoid sunscreen that’s over spf 15 because it can bounce light back in photos and make you look ghostly
  4. use a primer so makeup stays put through the kissing, hugging + tears

ok so now feast your eyes on rachel’s professional product recommendations and application advice below!

helpful hint: apply products in the order laid out below!

side note: only acne safe products that we would recommend to clients are clickable links.

primer – youngblood mineral primer or kasnoff tinted primer if you don’t want to wear foundation but want to even skin tone a bit

concealer under eyes – choose a color a half a shade lighter than your foundation and blend from the inner corner of the eye down the side of nose and out towards towards the cheekbone in a V like pattern. this will also add a highlight to the cheek bones. too much product will settle into creases so go sparingly and pat it quickly.  many sS’ers like using illuminare liquid foundation in the concealing formula for this!

concealer for breakouts – rachel loves the illuminare concealing formula we carry at skinSALVATION. set with youngblood loose foundation using a small eyeshadow brush.

foundation – youngblood loose foundation or illuminare’s moisturizing liquid mineral foundation for a more dewy look (or on drier skin).

eyes – pick eye colors that are complementary to your eye color. (for example green eyes pop in warm browns and rosy reds. blue eyes sparkle next to rose golds as well as cooler greys. brown eyes look great in purples and golds). tarte brand shadows and alima pure’s loose shadows are talc free. consider using individual lashes instead of the lash strips. you want them to blend in with your natural lashes! finish with mascara. (or get lash extensions!)

blush – apply a little more blush on than you think you need. blush tends to fade fast, but remember to blend evenly!! alima makes a wide array of acne safe blushes and a few bronzers (just choose the loose powders, as their pressed formulas are cloggy).

highlight – only the cheekbones, bridge of nose and cupids bow. you don’t want to look sweaty because you put highlighter everywhere! rachel likes the youngblood lunar dust in moonbeam. some of us at skinSALVATION (including me!) have been using fat and the moon highlighter and love it. alima also makes a few loose powder highlighters that are safe.

lips – pick a hydrating lip color. rachel doesn’t recommend long wearing lip color because they are so drying and they look dry on. she prefers the old fashion way of (1) sponging a base foundation on the lip line, (2) powdering, (3) lining the lips fully and (4) applying your color.

finish – youngblood rice setting powder or youngblood minerals in the mist. this step is a must to lock in the makeup and finish your look. their loose powder is nice for a natural look, but the pressed is easier to keep in your purse for touch-ups.

refresh – youngblood minerals in the mist or rosewater spray. when makeup moves throughout the day/night, spray again and buff with a powder brush to refresh the makeup.

according to rachel, bottom line is that healthy skin is essential for a good makeup application. 

her best beauty tip that won’t cost money: smile and laugh!! 

here is a link to rachel’s bridal portfolio:

http://www.rachelrockwood.com/portfolio/#/bridal/

stay tuned for next week’s acne safe wedding blog “easy ways to keep stress low: flowers, table settings, wedding favors, cake, vows”


all wedding photography done by heidi zumbrum

the official sS guide to constipation and acne

throughout my twenties, i was in a band that toured the country often. i had persistent acne that would not relent despite my efforts to “eat clean” and to pare down my skincare regimen. during this period of my life, i noticed that every time i left town to go on tour, my digestive functions would, without fail, shut down. i found myself going 6, 7, 8 days without…dropping the kids off at the pool. now several years later, i recognize this as extreme constipation in response to the stress of travel, alcohol consumption, disrupted sleep and altered dietary routines. at the time, i couldn’t make sense of it all. i mostly just laughed it off as a quirk, not fully comprehending the gravity of constipation as a health condition.

but what exactly is constipation and why am i talking about it on an acne blog? as we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, digestion plays a crucial role in skin health. if your digestive system is not functioning like a well-oiled machine, other organs, like the skin, usually take up the slack. for those with acne-prone skin, keeping things moving is an essential step on the skin-healing journey.

constipation affects 20% of the american adult population.1 it’s a condition that results in a person having “fewer than three bowel movements a week, or hard, dry and small bowel movements that are painful or difficult to pass.”2 though we should aim to eliminate 1 to 3 times each day, modern lifestyle factors like stress, poor fiber intake and dehydration can slow down our body processes. healthy bowel transit time should rest anywhere between 12 and 24 hours. an easy way to test for this is to swallow 2 tablespoons of whole white sesame seeds with a meal, record the time and observe when they appear in your stool afterwards.

have you ever taken a moment to really examine the stuff that ends up in the toilet? if not, you’re not alone! we are encouraged from an early age to avoid this taboo subject, to replace direct language with euphemisms and flat-out denials, to dance around the doo-doo. many of us are afraid to even admit that we undergo this natural and perfectly healthy daily routine altogether.

here at skinSALVATION, we are not afraid to get right to it. if you’re a client, you are probably already familiar with the digestion-acne connection. the main purpose of defecation is to swiftly remove toxins and excess estrogens from the body. when people suffer from constipation, these toxins and hormones get held up at the border and if they are stopped up for too long, they make their way back into the bloodstream. the body then finds alternate ways of pushing them out and the skin becomes the next exit point. the influx of estrogen back into the bloodstream has an additionally negative impact on hormonal balance, which in turn, can contribute to acne.

so how do you know where you stand on the poop spectrum? in the late 90s in bristol, england, some medical researchers generated a genius poo-determination tool called the bristol stool chart. while other healing modalities like chinese medicine and ayurveda had been examining poop characteristics as a means of determining illness in patients for centuries, the bristol stool chart was the first standardized poop test in the west and it has been important in the diagnosis of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (ibs) and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (sibo).

how does your poop match up? if types 1 or 2 seem all too familiar, it might be time for a re-evaluation. here are some of our favorite tips to combat constipation:

drink more water. this is an easy one. aim to consume at least half your body weight in ounces each day. so if you weigh 160 lbs, try to get at least 80 ounces of water into that beautiful bod to hydrate your cells and to loosen up your stools. carry a large glass or stainless steel water bottle with you and sip from it all day. add tasty accessories to your water to make it more palatable – citrus, cucumber, spearmint and sage work wonders to spruce up some plain old water.

drink herbal tea (these can count toward your total water goal for the day). try drinking teas with digestive herbs after eating in order to lend a helping hand to your overworked digestive organs. look for teas with black pepper, licorice, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and fennel, all of which beat the bloat while helping to move things along. if your constipation is dire, senna tea can be a temporary solution, but avoid relying on this herb, as it is more of a bandaid that doesn’t tackle the root of the problem.eat enough fiber – both soluble and insoluble. soluble fiber is the soft stuff that hastens our bowel movements – bananas, the inside of a sweet potato, and the fleshy parts of root vegetables. insoluble fiber consists of fruit and vegetable skins and stalks – all of the roughage that we don’t digest and which contributes bulk to our stools. we would be lost without both of these important types of fiber and we should all aim to consume 25-40 grams in total each day.

avoid processed food, dairy and fried foods. these foods can contribute to major backups and often have a dehydrating effect on the body.

take a magnesium supplement like natural calm before bed. not only does magnesium help you drift off into a blissful night’s sleep, it is also a crucial mineral for skin health and acts as a mild muscle relaxer. most americans are deficient in this mineral and it is not easily absorbed from food, so taking at least 400 mg each night is advised.3 taking an epsom salt bath is another great way to absorb this precious mineral through the skin. a quality cod liver oil supplement can also help move things along. we like nordic naturals.

keep your stress in check. is there any physical ailment that does not include stress management as a treatment? no! as i parlayed in my story above, the gut-brain connection has a huge impact on our bodily functions. our digestive systems shut down during times of stress as the body funnels its energy to our fight or flight response. eating in a calm environment and practicing stress management techniques daily is essential for keeping constipation at bay. the better we manage stress, the more energy our bodies have to devote to digesting and eliminating our food.

consume prebiotics, probiotics and enzymes. prebiotics are particular foods (artichoke, asparagus, green bananas and plantains, onions, garlic) that are consumed and digested by our good gut flora, while probiotics re-populate our guts with new bacteria. since our stools mostly consist of bacteria, having balanced gut flora is essential. additionally, taking an enzyme before each meal can help our bodies break down proteins, carbohydrates and fats, allowing us to absorb more nutrients from our food. for those suffering from sibo or ibs, be careful with pre and probiotics and talk to your doctor for recommendations.

get into proper squat position when you’re ready to release. using a squatty potty or a footstool can make all the difference. it’s important to create good bathroom habits – don’t rush, always try to relax and try to eliminate at the same times each day.

express yourself. get those emotions out, either by going to therapy, talking to friends or by starting a daily journaling practice. your body’s physical need to hold onto matter within its walls often reflects a psychological need to hold onto habits or emotions that no longer serve you. instead of bottling up your emotions, let them out in positive and healthy ways. this release can be illuminating in more ways than one!

move and stretch. yoga and gentle exercise are fantastic ways to get things moving downtown. try wind-relieving pose, child’s pose, downward dog, supine twist and forward fold – these twisty yoga poses can all help relieve constipation and encourage movement.

constipation is a serious issue. it means that something is out of balance internally, either with digestion, stress or hormones. so if you find yourself unable to eliminate for several days in a row, seek professional medical advice.

footnotes

1. pinto sanchez, m.i., bercik, p. (2011) epidemiology and burden of chronic constipation. canadian journal of gastroenterology. v.25(suppl b).
2. national institute of diabetes and digestive and kidney diseases
3. kresser, c. (2011) 9 steps to perfect health – #4: supplement wisely. posted february 2011.

product replacement alert: new face sunscreen!

ch-ch-ch-ch-changes! as kim mentioned in an earlier blog post, we are switching things up in the realms of serums and sunscreens. we are working with a new manufacturer that is more aligned with our values as a small business and along with a few other items, we have replaced our superlight spf15 moving forward with a new sunscreen.

we are thrilled to announce that we will now be stocking a face sunscreen from the miami-based company, beyond complexion, whose owner, olga valencia, worked closely with our beloved dr. fulton (the author of the acne bible, acne rx). olga has done extensive research on comedogenicity and has closely monitored the efficacy of her products for years through direct client interaction at her miami skin clinic.

beyond complexion’s daily facial moisturizer with spf30 is wonderfully lightweight and it offers more protection for longer periods of time while keeping your skin moisturized and healthy. it’s also perfect for helping prevent and reduce hyperpigmentation and redness. the combination of aloe and plant botanicals in this formula help nourish the skin while protecting it from uva and uvb rays. plus, it’s got double the spf of superlight, which means tons more protection!

as always, we’d love to hear your feedback! let us know what you think about the new beyond complexion sunscreen by emailing us at frontdesk@skinsalvationsf.com. thanks for your patience while we determine our next steps with our products!

how to be a happy acne-safe camper (plus tips for burning man)

so you wanna be an acne-safe camper, eh? you’ve come to the right place! camping season is well under way here in the bay area. with burning man just around the corner, it’s time for an updated guide to experiencing the wilderness in an acne-safe fashion. i just got back from a week-long camping and backpacking adventure in the glorious yosemite backcountry, where i didn’t let my acne-safe lifestyle ruin my fun. experiencing the bountiful nature that california has to offer is one of the many privileges of living in the bay area, but there’s no need to derail all of the hard work you’ve put into achieving clear skin just for a few days off the grid. here are some essential acne-safe camping tips from a pro backpacker!

camping in the summer heat is a perfect excuse to ice your face. it’s cool, it’s refreshing and once others see how much fun you’re having, they’ll want to join right in. since it’s not always practical to travel with your sS ice pop, we recommend bringing plenty of clean ziplock bags, putting fresh ice directly inside and then placing them in your cooler. when you’re ready to ice, pop out some clean ice cubes and go to town, inflammation be damned!

plan your meals. seriously. just do it. here is a sample meal plan from my last camping trip. planning your meals ahead of time ensures that you bring exactly enough food for the number of days you’ll be camping so you won’t go hungry and you won’t have an excuse to eat a ton of dairy and soy. bring acne-safe packaged foods that don’t need a ton of preparation – epic bars for protein, trail mix for good fat, hard boiled eggs, low-sugar fruit and cans of sardines (truly). and yes, you can enjoy some soy-free smores around the campfire at night, too.

greet the day with some fresh herbal or black tea. revel in your body’s chance to reset its circadian rhythms to match the cycles of the sun and moon.

bathe in the refreshing waters of nearby lakes and streams. this is a great way to reset if you’re feeling like your hygiene game is suffering. you can rinse away any dirt or dust and follow up your dip with a swipe of some sS hydrating toner and sunscreen.

and don’t forgot your product essentials. pick ’em up from the sS clinic before you begin your camping adventures:

  1. for sun protection, along with layers and a hat, we recommend amping up your spf by using sS safeguard spf40 for your face and goddess garden sunscreen for your body. their sport line is water resistant up to 80 minutes and is completely biodegradable so you can splash around in some cool alpine lakes with nary a worry. don’t forget to protect those luscious lips with our lip balm and reapply as needed. always seek shade when possible and get yourself a good pair of sunglasses.
  2. if you’ve been out hiking all day and anticipate sore muscles the next morning, pop a magnesium pill or two before bed. this will ease any bodily tension and help you sleep peacefully.
  3. if you’re worried about mosquitoes, grab some greener ways bug spray, an organic and safe alternative to deet and picaridin.
  4. if you won’t have access to clean water for bathing, bring along our hydrating or sterilizing toners and some toner pads to freshen up throughout the day. if you’re on the road and don’t have access to these products, yes to cucumbers face wipes will work in a pinch.
  5. feeling like your hair is melting into a colossal oil slick? bring along a homemade arrowroot starch dry shampoo in a small jar to apply as often as necessary. combine 1/4 cup arrowroot starch with 5 drops of essential oil of your choice (lavender, cedarwood, etc) and store in an airtight jar for the duration of your trip. for dark hair, combine 2 tablespoons arrowroot plus 2 tablespoons cacao powder with the essential oils. experiment and find what works for you!1

 

but what about burning man? the dusty environment of “la playa” is an entirely different ballpark from heading out onto the foggy, fragrant trails of marin with a few friends. so here are some burning man-specific tips and tricks to stay acne safe.

  1. stay hydrated internally and externally. bring at least a gallon of water per person per day and hydrate your skin frequently with sS hydrating cream to combat the dusty dry landscape. bring along some rosewater hydrosol and spritz your face all throughout the day. and don’t forget to ice your face!
  2. stay sun-safe. bring several hats – you don’t want to be caught in the desert without one! reapply safeguard spf40 sunscreen and sS lip balm often and bring some acne-safe aloe just in case you burn.
  3. deal with the dust. bring sunflower oil in a tiny jar to dab in your nostrils and to moisturize your feet at night – you can avoid “playa foot” by keeping all nooks and crannies of your skin moisturized constantly. wear gloves and goggles to avoid getting too dusty and dirty, and bring a few bandanas as protection when the wind picks up.
  4. stay clean. since you probably won’t have access to a shower (unless you have a very kind neighbor with a solar shower), bring an extra tub to fill with water for makeshift “showers” and foot baths. bring some sS hydrating toner with toner pads to freshen up throughout the day.
  5. plan out your meals ahead of time so you only bring what you need. bring snacks and food that need little preparation and pack your cooler full of acne-safe food so you aren’t tempted to snag a bite of your friend’s dairy-filled lunch.
  6. sleep well. if you’re a light sleeper, pack some ear plugs to drown out the rowdy campers. pack extra pillow cases to switch out over the course of the week and bring layers for the nighttime temperature drop
  7. most importantly, relax, enjoy the festivities, and have a good time! plan to come in for a treatment 7-10 days after you get back so your skin has a chance to heal from the sun exposure.

how do you enjoy nature while staying acne-safe? 

footnotes

1. dry shampoo recipe adapted from mommypotamus