acne-safe travel tips

some quickie acne-safe travel tips!

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

wild night? tips for overcoming a hangover the acne-safe way

have too much to drink last night? we’ve all been there. while we recommend drinking in moderation, leading an acne-safe lifestyle doesn’t mean that you have to skimp on socialising and forego the nightlife altogether. and while we definitely do not aim to encourage an overzealous participation in nightlife until 6am every weekend, we know that we all stumble upon a wild night from time to time…and with a wild night often comes the dreaded hangover – the headaches, fatigue, nausea, poor sleep, disturbed digestion1 and the total inability to be around other humans.

unfortunately, the hangover is your body’s way of letting you know that you took it a bit too far last night and that it needs some recovery time. the positive sides of eating a well balanced and acne-safe diet far outweigh the one negative, which is that you might end up feeling a bit more sensitive to alcohol’s effects than you did when you were loading up on mac & cheese, frozen pizza and cheeseburgers before you realized that the standard american diet was actually hindering your journey towards clear skin. generally, the “cleaner” our bodies are, the more sensitive they can be to stimulation. but they are also much more capable of handling stress, fighting infection and keeping us well. so here are some acne-safe tips for helping keep the hangover in check, and better yet, for preventing it in the first place!

hydrate
we’ve all heard this one before: drink plenty of water before, during and after your big night out. alcohol’s diuretic effects take an extraordinarily dehydrating toll on the body as we flush essential electrolytes out via our urine. ever wake up with a splitting headache that makes you want to spend the day on the couch with the real housewives of new jersey? or do you wake up completely lacking the energy to even move from the bed to the couch? or are you afraid to leave the toilet’s side because of that gnarly nausea? these are signs that your electrolytes have left the building, so boosting and replenishing their stores throughout the night and the next morning are huge steps in the fight against the hangover. not only should you drink AT LEAST one (large) glass of water for every 1oz of alcohol, we also recommend sipping on beverages with naturally-occurring electrolytes like coconut water (no added sugar) and mineral water (with magnesium, potassium, sodium, etc). drink these luscious libations all throughout the night between your cocktails – you won’t even remember that they’re alcohol-free and you’ll be doing your head a favor.

be beverage-smart
what about alcohol? what should you drink to stay acne-safe and to avoid a debilitating hangover the next day? well, white russians are out for obvious reasons. we are huge advocates of any low-sugar clear liquor and recommend avoiding anything with added sweeteners, colors or strange chemicals. wine and cider are okay, but they are full of natural (and sometimes added) sugars, so be careful about ingesting too many of these. if you really gotta have your apples, there are more and more low and sugar-free ciders on the market these days, like the probiotic ones by 101 cider house.

if you find yourself at a swank cocktail bar, you might be lured in by their infused simple syrups, but if you have the option, try to go for natural fruit sweeteners instead. tequila packs a natural sweetness so it can be enjoyed with a simple combination of tonic water and lime. add citrus, add bitters (and ease your digestion in the process), and get creative! order a gin and tonic and add a splash of coconut water or an herbal elixir of elderberry that you had the foresight to stash in your bag before leaving the house. the bottom lineKISS (keep it simple, stupid!)

slow down
no need to pound 5 drinks over the course of one happy hour. pace yourself and take a break between drinks by going for a walk around the block, walking to grab a bite or a coconut water, or just by getting outside for a breath of fresh air. plus, the more slowly you drink, the less money you will spend and the better you will feel in the morning, both physically and financially.

eat all the food
because we absorb alcohol through our stomachs, and because alcohol can upset both the stomach lining and gut microbiome, eating a substantial dinner before running out to the bar is essential. get your vitamin b6 from a dinner featuring poultry or beef and stock up on vitamin c in the form of bell peppers, citrus, dark green vegetables, and tomatoes. these vitamins can help detox the alcohol from your body, so try to plan your meals throughout the night and the next day around these star nutrients. if you really don’t have time to eat a full meal, pack some snacks, preferably ones with tons of fat and/or protein to balance out your blood sugar and to prevent your insulin from running haywire – things like epic jerky bars, justin’s packets of almond butter, an avocado, or even a handful of trail mix. drinking caffeine the next morning can also help to reduce the size of those pumping blood vessels in your brain and can bring your headache down. but stay away from the coffee! the bottom line: don’t skip meals when you know you will be drinking. eating well-balanced meals for dinner and breakfast the next day will help prevent and ease any signs of a hangover.

address your inflammation
at some point during the night, take a zyflammend to keep your inflammation in check. alcohol has an acidifying effect on the body as it zaps hydration from our cells, causes our hormones to fluctuate and generally stresses the body out. if you’ve ever woken up from a night of drinking with no appetite or with an inability to recall your conversation with that fly bartender, your inflammatory response was most likely on red alert. do what you can to mitigate these inflammatory effects by eating alkalizing foods like green vegetables and avocado, and by calming your body’s stress response with some soothing herbal tea before bed (if you remember, that is). the bottom line: alcohol is highly inflammatory – take this into consideration if you deal with inflamed acne and either avoid alcohol for a while or cut back.

never leave the house without charcoal
while drinking alcohol, pop 1-2 activated charcoal pills. charcoal is a powerful tool for detoxing the body and can be a great sidekick to the liver, which already has to work double time in the presence of alcohol. charcoal binds to toxins in the stomach and helps remove them from the body before we have a chance to absorb them through our blood streams.2 in previous posts, we’ve discussed the importance of detoxing excess hormones, like estrogen, from the body, but this task becomes herculean when alcohol is involved. just one drink of alcohol can elevate estrogen levels in women by 10-15%, which puts an extra strain on the liver as it frantically attempts to process and detox the extra hormones.3 so give your liver a break by drinking slowly over the course of the night and by consuming some charcoal alongside your alcohol. it will bind to both the alcohol and to any other nasty ingredients that may have crept into your cocktail, and it will help flush them out of your system. bonus: charcoal is great at expelling gas and decreasing the bloating that can often accompany a night of drinking. just don’t consume charcoal within an hour of any other supplements or nutritious foods.

take magnesium
we love this potent miracle mineral! magnesium is an essential electrolyte that is involved in over 300 bodily processes, so it’s extra important to stock up when you’ve had a night of raging at the bar. you can either take it before bed in supplement-form to help you get to sleep (it’s also a muscle-relaxant), or you can eat tons of magnesium-rich foods throughout the night and for breakfast the next day. if you didn’t already run to the store and buy a grip of coconut water after tip #1, do it now! and then make a breakfast with a huge bunch of leafy greens, a handful of almonds and pumpkin seeds, a banana, some avocado and…dark chocolate (watch out for added soy lecithin, of course).4

magnesium is also important to take after a night of drinking because it helps synthesize tryptophan into serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that elevates our moods and staves off depression. alcohol can cause temporary boosts in serotonin but ultimately has a dampening effect on the neurotransmitter, causing it to drop to a level lower than before drinking.5 so taking magnesium at the end of a party night can help protect against those hangover blues. bonus: magnesium aids in digestion by activating the enzymes that help break down food and it sends you into a deep, tranquil sleep.6

sleep it off
ever wonder why you wake up so painfully early after a night of drinking, when you need the extra sleep the most? alcohol can be extremely disruptive of sleep, especially rem, which is the deep, dreamy restorative sleep cycle, as well as, the later stages of sleep.7 this is known as the rebound effect and it occurs because the sedative qualities of alcohol wear off as the alcohol becomes metabolized by the liver.8 because of this, for every drink you consume, you should wait that number of hours before trying to fall asleep. so if you have three drinks by 8pm, you would (in a perfect world) wait until 11pm to get to bed in order to give your body a chance to adjust and re-balance itself.9

move your body
if a wild night of drinking left you feeling out of sorts, lethargic and totally bummed out, get up and move your body. i know it’s so tempting to lie around in bed all day, nursing your hangover with self-pity and pedialyte, but your endorphins are begging to be activated after being depressed by hours of alcohol consumption. endorphins, like serotonin, help us feel good. they are released after physical activity – but don’t take it too far. a simple 20-minute yoga session or a brisk walk around the neighborhood can do the trick. just remember to hydrate!

what about going out if you don’t drink alcohol? you can still party with the best of us! just reach for a sparkling water or kombucha, or better yet, find a bar in your area that serves kombucha on tap. sip on some tonic water with lime and bitters or bring your own herbal syrup to make a luxurious alcohol-free cocktail that will tempt even the most hardline mixologists. we love bringing our local bay area syrups by taproot to the bar and pouring a couple spoonfuls into a glass of seltzer. so refreshing and healing!

if you do have a wild night out, have fun and don’t stress. worrying about how much you are drinking while you are drinking will only increase your cortisol and lead to elevated systemic inflammation. so have a good time, drink wisely and in moderation, and take care of yourself the next day!

what are your favorite hangover cures?

footnotes

1. mayo foundation for medical education and research. diseases and conditions: hangovers. accessed august 2017.
2. hultén, b.a., et al. (1986) does alcohol absorb to activated charcoal? human toxicology. 1986 may; 5(3):211-2.
3. balanced bites podcast (2017) self-love & adrenals, stress & alcohol, hormones & birth control with dr. jolene brighten. episode #302; june 29, 2017.
4. dr. axe. (2017) top 10 magnesium-rich foods plus proven benefits.
accessed august 2017.

5. pietraszek, m.h., et al. (1991) alcohol-induced depression: involvement of serotonin. alcohol and alcoholism. 1991; 26(2):155-9.
6. abassi, b., et al. (2012) the effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. journal of research in medical sciences. 2012 dec; 17(12):1161-9.
7. roehrs, t. and roth, t. sleep, sleepiness and alcohol use. national institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism. accessed august 2017.
8. mann, j. (2017) 8 ways that booze messes with your sleep. sleep junkies. accessed august 2017.
9. wolf, r. (2017) wired to eat: turn off cravings, rewire your appetite for weight loss, and determine the foods that work for you. harmony: new york.

PRODUCT ALERT: charcoal cleanser

Link

hello clear skinned beauties!

most of you have used our signature charcoal wash in the past, which does an amazing job of removing makeup, dirt and oil from the skin. the formulation that is on our shelves right now is the same one that we have used for years. some of you may have experienced recently that the charcoal seems to have settled to the bottom of the bottle, leaving the top of the bottle clear and the bottom black. this happened because charcoal is a natural ingredient that is heavier than the other ingredients in the cleanser and when left over time without motion it can settle.

easy fixes:

  1. after you cleanse, set the cleanser bottle upside down so that the charcoal can fully immerse again. 
  2. vigorously shake the bottle to mix the charcoal back in!
  3. a client told me that she put hers upside down for a day and then put it in her 2oz bottle – at this small size she hasn’t noticed that it settled again.

although this is an easy fix, we know that it’s kind of a hassle. so, what are we doing about it? we are currently reformulating the charcoal wash with a new emulsifier that will keep the charcoal particles suspended. in addition to this, the new formulation will include quinoa protein instead of wheat protein to make it completely gluten free. this being said, please note that we have had many people (myself included) who are allergic to wheat be able to use this cleanser topically without a reaction. i personally keep my mouth closed during cleansing to be sure that none effects me internally.

reformulating a product is a long process. the new cleanser will have to go through testing at the lab, client testing, and stability testing before it can be made available to you. please be patient with us while we work hard to bring you the best possible product to help you achieve and maintain clear skin. in the meantime please continue to use your current cleanser and put it upside down or give it a good shake if need be.

thank you for your continued support! we love you guys!