doing halloween the acne-safe way

it’s that time of year again, folks – time for pumpkins to adorn doorsteps, for witch memes to take up residence on our social media feeds, and time for a general frenzy among the holiday aisles of our local big box stores as we stitch together our last-minute halloween costumes. the air is a bit more crisp than usual, orange leaves dangle from the trees and everything seems perfectly pumpkin-spiced. halloween has arrived and it’s time to sink into this ghastly season with a few acne-safe survival tricks up your sleeve.

first, let’s talk halloween makeup. the costumes we choose, as the acne-afflicted, are often contingent upon the amount of makeup, goo and guache we are willing to cake onto our faces. if you’ve ever thought, “dang, i can’t be a zombie…there’s no acne-safe makeup out there for me,” you are not alone. but you’ve got more options than you think for making up a horrifically ghoulish acne-safe face.

  • makeup tip number one: your eyes and lips are your greatest assets. find a way to accentuate your eyes in interesting ways that compliment your costume so that you don’t have to go overboard with caking makeup onto the precious pores of your cheekbones. go with dramatic lip colors that make a spooky statement and fangs or creepy teeth!
  • makeup tip number two: work with what you’ve got. if you know that a particular brand’s foundation doesn’t cause breakouts for your skin, stick with it and find lighter and darker shades for contouring a coveted pale zombie look. use deep blushes and bronzers, pinks and browns to define a hair-raising style. we love youngblood foundation and alima blushes for these purposes, as we have tested them in house to be completely acne-safe.
  • makeup tip number three: choose your products wisely. cross-check your ingredients with our comedogenic ratings list, and if you have any questions about specific products, ask your esthetician for advice. most conventional halloween makeup is meant to stay on your skin through a night of running around and sweating beneath layers of costume, which means it is perfect for clogging your pores. right now we are digging fat and the moon’s lip paint and eye coals as face makeups for halloween. they are made with a sunflower oil base, so they may require touch-ups throughout the night or at least a good setting with some primer beforehand and youngblood mineral rice setting powder afterwards. you can paint your face the rainbow with their green, brown, black, blue, and red face makeups.
  • makeup tip number four: no matter how much you have to drink at your neighbor’s halloween party, remember to thoroughly remove your makeup before hitting the hay. use a couple rounds of your charcoal cleanser in order to ensure that all of your makeup has been extricated from your pores. you can even use some microfiber towels to really dig deep and remove any makeup that’s been hiding away for the night.

is candy gonna cause a breakout? we all know that sugar can be a major contributing factor to acne, as it causes blood sugar imbalances and stimulates a systemic inflammatory response. does that mean you can’t trick or treat yourself to a couple of orange-colored candies on all hallow’s eve? of course not! but we do recommend exercising some self control before diving into your kid’s trick-or-treating bounty after they go to sleep.

if you are concerned about your body’s potential inflammatory response to the sweetness of the holiday, take some omega 3-rich cod liver oil or some zyflamend for the week leading up to and following halloween (these are great supplements to take regularly, too). consuming anti-inflammatory food and drink can help your body adapt more readily to the onslaught of sugary toxins. so up your dose of greens: eat more kale and drink green tea, especially matcha, which is made from ground green tea leaves and contains more antioxidant properties to combat the sugar. always try to eat protein or fat with your sweets in order to curb blood sugar spikes.


if you do choose to indulge in halloween’s grand feast, certain candy is off-limits: anything smothered in peanut butter or dairy (the reese’s family, take five bars, any milk chocolates, peanut chews, candy bars with peanut chunks like snickers, butterfinger, etc). if you go the conventional candy route, opt for dark chocolate (preferably without soy products added) or fruit-flavored treats. better yet, choose organic candy like yum earth pops, equal exchange chocolates, unreal almond butter cups or annie’s fruit snacks.

looking for a candy-alternative to hand out to trick-or-treaters (so you don’t have the extra candy in the house)? try fake tattoos (always a hit), odd-shaped ugly fruit from imperfect produce, stickers, bubbles, snap bracelets or other small toys. it can be quite refreshing for kids to receive fun doo-dads instead of candy bar after candy bar after candy bar.

what about the highly anticipated pumpkin spice latte? even though this is a seasonal treat that many people dream about all year long, we recommend steering clear of conventional PSLs – it’s not worth derailing all of your hard work and skin journey progress just for a taste of spicy nutmeg atop a mountain of milky foam. plus, there are many alternatives out there to choose from. you can make your own at home – it just can’t contain coffee or dairy!

as for non-dairy pumpkin spice creamers, they are usually packed with sugars and gums and ingredients we don’t love, but two companies are doing it right. nutpods makes a delightful pumpkin spice creamer in addition to their original, vanilla and hazelnut flavors. because of their popularity, they can be difficult to find, but they are worth the search! vital proteins also has a brand new gingerbread spice powdered collagen creamer, which is fantastic in matcha lattes and morning black teas.

acne-safe pumpkin spice latte recipe
if you want to brave the kitchen and make your own, here is a recipe that we love. it’s creamy and delicious and will satisfy all of your naughty PSL cravings throughout the season!

1 cup brewed base (strong dandelion root tea, roasted chaga tea, dandy blend, black/chai tea, matcha)
1/2 cup dairy-free milk (we like to do half coconut, half almond but you can use any nut, hemp or oat milk)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 T maple syrup to taste
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 T pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 t cinnamon, 1/4 t ground ginger, 1/8 t nutmeg, 1/8 t ground cloves)

– whisk together all ingredients except for the base in a sauce pan over medium heat. once combined, pour milk mixture and brewed base into a blender and blend for one minute.
– if you’d rather use this recipe as a creamer to keep in the fridge, skip the heating step and blend all ingredients except for the base in a blender until creamy.

let us know what you think and happy halloween from the skinSALVATION crew!

dairy-free calcium sources


one of the most important tenets of an acne-safe lifestyle is cutting out dairy from your diet. since dairy provides some important nutrients – namely calcium – it’s important to make sure you incorporate new sources of these nutrients into your diet after cutting out dairy. doing so will not only make sure your body is getting the nutrition it needs, it will also help to cut down on dairy cravings. (though we can’t promise that cheese plates will ever stop looking delicious.)

adding in these acne-safe and calcium-rich foods to your diet will help maintain the health of your bones and teeth, and can help to stave off osteoporosis down the line.

almond milk
almond milk actually contains more calcium and more vitamin D than cow’s milk, and with only 40 calories in a cup it’s less fattening, too. pour it over your cereal, use it to replace cow’s milk in recipes, or just have a glass with your favorite (acne-safe) cookie.

oranges and orange juice
vitamin c isn’t the only vital nutrient you get from oranges, they are actually naturally high in calcium as well . oranges are super portable, so just throw one in your bag and have it for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. just remember to drink orange juice with moderation – it’s packed with sugar, so make sure you’re pairing it with high fiber, high protein foods to keep the glycemic index of your meal lower.

a serving of these little salty fish has one-third of the daily recommended value of calcium. surprised? sardines are actually one of the healthiest fish you can snack on, providing not only calcium, but also tons of vitamin D and omega 3’s. try adding them to a salad, or, if you prefer just straight out of the can.

what can’t kale do? it’s no wonder kale has earned the monicker of “superfood.” kale salads are great year round (try adding some fruit into your salad to balance kale’s natural bitterness). also, kale chips are a great alternative to potato chips, and they bake up in about 15 minutes.

…and all those other dark, leafy greens
many leafy green vegetables such as turnip greens, spinach, collards, bok choy, dandelion greens, broccoli and artichokes offer as much as 175-350mg of calcium per 1 cup.  an easy and simple way to prepare your greens is by throwing some garlic and olive oil in a pan and sauteeing the vegetables for a few minutes.   adding just a teaspoon of water can help cook the greens faster.  you could also add some eggs in the mix for an easy, filling and healthy breakfast.

while you definitely shouldn’t rely on the herbs in your seasonings for all your calcium needs, there are quite a few calcium-rich herbs that you should consider adding into your sauces, dressings, and other recipes. some all-stars include: dill, basil, thyme, oregano, poppy seed, mint, celery seed, sage, parsley, and rosemary.

chickpeas are a super versatile food – eaten on their own, as hummus, falafel, as part of a salad, or even as a substitute for soy in a miso base, there really is very little you can’t do with chickpeas. in addition to calcium, you’ll also get a healthy dose of potassium and folate.

blackstrap molasses
blackstrap molasses is darker in color and thicker than regular molasses – it’s also filled with calcium, iron, and other vitamins, so when you’re craving something sweet it’s best to first reach for this.

chia seeds
chia seeds are the darlings of the health food industry these days (and for good reason). packed with dietary fiber, healthy fats, and calcium, chia seeds are a great addition to any diet. mix them into your morning smoothie or oatmeal, add them to salads, or even mix them with your orange juice to unleash their natural, gelatinous state.

these are just a few of many, many non-dairy sources of calcium. if you’re concerned about your calcium intake since cutting out dairy just remember to always check labels, and to incorporate as many whole foods into your diet as possible. if you still feel like you aren’t getting enough, you can always consider taking a supplement or eating foods fortified with calcium. just remember, it’s always best to get your nutrients from your food, so don’t use these products as a replacement, but rather as a supplement to the calcium you’re getting from whole foods.