Teen Acne: 6 Ways to Help Your Teen Help Themselves

Teen Acne: 6 Ways to Help Your Teen Help Themselves

Back in 2013, when I wrote my first (and now bestselling) book, Love Your Skin, Love Yourself, I made a bold statement:

“I’ll be damned if I let acne or any other skin condition ravage or destroy my children’s beautiful skin and beautiful souls. Not gonna happen, not on my watch.”

Wow! Just rewriting those words brings it all back: the years I spent avoiding mirrors and windows, hiding in the back of a group photo, and plastering myself with makeup to cover the blackheads, white heads, and redness. It also brings back the feelings I had that because of my teen acne (and later on, adult acne), I didn’t get to have the great things in life that the girls with clear, glowing skin got to have. Things like the confidence to get up in front of people and speak my mind, have all the hottest guys fawning over me, stuff like that. But most importantly, I remember the paranoia–feeling that people were always staring at me, gossiping about how gross my skin was, thinking I was unclean.

Acne and other visible skin conditions REALLY take a toll on your mental, emotional, and spiritual health by affecting your self confidence, self-image, and feelings of self-worth.

I was dead serious when I wrote those words back in 2013.

The problem?

I didn’t HAVE a teenager back then. I do now. And thanks to genetics (my husband also struggled with teen acne), my daughter is prone to breakouts. You know what I noticed though? It’s not because of her diet, or lack of sleep, or a sedentary lifestyle. She eats more fruits and veggies than I do, is better with sleep than I was at her age, and also is a classical ballet dancer (trains about 20 hours a week). It’s also not because of a lack of high quality skin care products and treatments–I make her a simple, yet targeted organic skin care regimen.

So what is the issue?

In a nutshell, she’s a typical teenager. She doesn’t always listen to me and has her head in the clouds half the time. In the morning before school, she’s usually rushing to get out the door, and at night when I ask “did you do your skin care?” she absentmindedly answers “Mm hmm.” But when I go to kiss her goodnight, it’s clear that she hasn’t.

What I realized is that when my daughter does what she’s supposed to do for her skin with her topical regimen, remembers to drink enough water, and is good with other aspects of hygiene (changing pillow cases and towels, not touching her face, etc), her skin is pretty clear. But like with many things, she needs a little help with reminders and motivation.

Here are a few of my favorite strategies to help my daughter manage her teen acne:

1. The My Skin Buddy™ AKA “MSB”

My Skin Buddy

Get FREE shipping on the MSB with code RPBEAUTY!

Teens love technology. That’s no secret. So I figured, there must be a skin care gadget out there that would make my daughter want to use it on a daily basis. Enter the My Skin Buddy (get free shipping on the MSB with code RPBEAUTY at www.myskinbuddy.com!). I found this at the International Congress of Esthetics and Spa a few years ago, and since then have noticed that many of my Create Your Skincare students who are aestheticians use and recommend it. This little gadget helps to deeply cleanse the skin without the danger of over-exfoliating or stripping the skin’s lipid barrier, like some of the other cleansing gadgets do. It also helps to support clear skin with the assistance of LED lights, and only takes a few minutes a day. My daughter likes this because she says it feels relaxing on her skin, and because it’s a gadget. She actually uses it almost every night, with the custom cleansing lotion and herbal toner I make her.

2. Fitness and wellness tracker apps

So much of having clear skin has to do with lifestyle factors like movement, sleep, and water. Luckily, there are many apps that track those things! Our favorite is the BellaBeat app, which you can use with or without their wearable wellness trackers to log things like water intake, meditation (it even comes with pre-recorded guided meditations), exercise, and menstrual cycle. If you purchase one of their products, you get additional tracking options. Apps like this gamify certain aspects of daily life that otherwise, might go unnoticed. It’s been hugely helpful for my daughter (and me too!).

2. Basic hygiene upgrade

Other than the “wash your face, brush your teeth, brush your hair” daily routine, there’s a lot that can be added to a teen’s hygiene routine to manage teen acne that might not seem immediately obvious. Pillow cases, sheets, wash cloths, and towels need to be changed regularly. Pathogenic bacteria, mold, and yeast can build up in linens, and exacerbate acne. Towels and washcloths should be changed daily, and if your teen has severe acne, so should pillowcases. If it’s not severe, 1 to 2 times a week is fine. Phone hygiene is also a must–cell phones accumulate high levels of microbes, most of which should NOT be on one’s face. Using ear buds or speaker/video options and sanitizing the phone often are a huge help.

3. Gua sha

gua sha

Some of my rose quartz, jade, and marble gua sha, acupressure, and facial massage tools.

Gua sha is an ancient practice that comes from Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda which uses a small gemstone (traditionally jade) or metal (copper) tool for massage that helps to support healthy lymphatic circulation. Gua sha was multiple skin benefits, and while it shouldn’t be used directly on pustular acne, there are many different protocols that can be done at home to support the skin and improve the appearance of teen acne. It’s especially helpful to help relieve congested/clogged pores and improve the appearance of acne scars. It’s also a gadget–though not an electronic one–and gua sha tools now come in a wide variety of shapes, cut from many beautifully colored stones. Gua sha can be overdone though (like anything else), so I recommend taking your teen to an acupuncturist or holistic aesthetician trained specifically in this modality to learn the right at-home technique.

4. Teen acne facials

If you’re a parent of a teen, you surely know that they are often more likely to listen to pretty much anyone else before they listen to you. Facials have been great for my daughter, not just because of the facial itself, but because she’ll actually have a conversation with the aesthetician and listens to what she says. It doesn’t matter that I’m an aesthetician myself–to her, I’m mom. Just make sure you find an aesthetician who vibes with your teen and also who is a good fit for your own philosophy towards skin care.

5. Focus on quality from the start

I’ll be blunt–most of the products marketed to teens are absolute crap. And most of the influencers they follow on social media are also peddling crap. But the teens (and sometimes the parents too) don’t have the ability to understand that, and it can be really hard to see past the marketing and hype. Explain to your teen how it works. Explain that influencers are paid to push products, and that their reviews are more often based on money than actual results. Explain that everyone’s skin and lifestyles are different, and that works for a rich celebrity or influencer who gets products for free is not necessarily what’s going to work for your teen. Explain that for many things in life, you get what you pay for, Skin care is one of those things.

6. Get your teen skin care help from someone who’s not you!

Must Have Secrets for Gorgeous SkinI can help! As someone who’s survived teen acne and also who’s a licensed aesthetician who makes skin care products, I’ve got street cred with the teens (tip: use the word “legit” when you describe me to your teen…works every time with mine!).

I’ve got a great video skin care course called Must Have Secrets for Gorgeous Skin that teaches exactly what strategies I used to clear up my acne and keep it gone. It’s a great companion to my book, Love Your Skin, Love Yourself, and both come with bonus DIY skin care recipes.

  • Get Must-Have Secrets for Gorgeous Skin + bonus recipes for just $29.97 HERE.

  • Get Love Your Skin, Love Yourself + different bonus recipes HERE.

Ultimately, it’s up to your teen to manage their acne.

You can buy them all the products and tools. You can give them reminders. You can buy them healthy food and supplements. You can take them to the spa. But they also need to learn that if they want something in life, they need to actually put all those tools and advice into action. Sometimes as a parent, we need to let things get worse before so they can get better. We also have to be OK with the fact that it’s not always going to be perfect (it’s usually NOT going to be perfect).

How do you help your kids manage their teen acne?

Please share your tips in the comments below!

*This post contains affiliate links

Earth Day: The Roses and the Bees

Earth Day: The Roses and the Bees

It’s Earth Day today. And it is an important day, because while the “Hallmark Holiday” nay-sayers might call it a fake holiday, and the cliche-ers might say things like “every day should be Earth Day,” we have to face the reality that in our modern, mass produced, tech-driven society, every day is pretty much the opposite of Earth Day. While I’ve written about Earth Day, and other issues concerning sustainability and the health of our planet, my vibe today is a bit different.

This year’s Earth Day falls during Passover and following Easter. It’s a month past the Vernal Equinox, and a time in many other spiritual and cultural traditions that symbolize freedom, new beginnings, and rebirth. It’s also just over a week following the fire that destroyed much of La Cathedrale de Notre Dame de Paris.

While you might not think about that as significant information for an article about Earth Day since it is a manmade building in the middle of a manmade city, its burning during this time in history was also seen as many as symbolic of rebirth and new beginnings. A symbol of a paradigm shift from a masculine dominated society to a Divine Feminine one.

Bee on dandelionWhat really grounded that idea for me was not only that the iconic famed rose windows were saved (Rose is one of the most powerful and universal images of the Divine Feminine–but Rose’s energies are also balanced with the Divine Masculine because of its thorns), and the bees who lived in hives on the roof (set there as a Paris initiative to protect the declining bee population) survived.

To learn more about Divine Feminine archetypes and their relation to beauty and skincare, take the free Beauty Archetype Quiz HERE.

Let’s talk about those bees.

The honeybee is another longstanding universal symbol of the Divine Feminine. It’s not just the fact that they are governed by a Queen, or that the workers are female–it’s that everyone knows their role, and fulfills it in collaboration every day, for the greater good of the whole–of the hive–of Mother Earth. While all that they do may appear to be in service to the Queen, the Queen herself is a busy bee, constantly feeding and nourishing all the larvae to ensure the future of the hive. It is a cooperative, collaborative, intuitive society that exists to nourish the greater whole beyond the single hive. Without the bees, just about every other species of life on the planet would suffer, because their efforts ensure food at nearly every stage of the food chain on this planet. It is true that if bees go extinct, humans will too. Protecting them needs to be a top priority.

I have a complex history with bees because I used to be deathly afraid of them.

It started when I was a child. I was at my dad’s house and we were running back and forth from the kitchen to the back patio bring food outside for a barbecue. The sliding glass doors must have been open for quite awhile, because when I opened a cabinet to get plates, three or four bees flew out of the cabinet right at my face. I didn’t get stung, but holy cow was I freaked out. For years after (and probably still now, to be honest), whenever I’d get a buzzing sound near my face, I’d flinch, sometimes to the point that I’d give myself a neck spasm!

Carpenter beeWe have carpenter bees in our yard. They are extremely aggressive, torpedoing right at me, buzzing loudly while I’m gardening. These are the males–they won’t sting or bite but they will pelt you right in the face–in order to protect the females, which are busily nesting in my deck. I do not like those bees, but I also don’t want to kill them, because they are important community pollinators, and pollinators are declining.

I live in a very “Suburbia USA” type of neighborhood in the Philadelphia suburbs where most of the houses look the same, and most of the neighbors mow their lawns around the same time on the same day each week. The majority of my neighbors focus on getting green, weed-free lawns and use pesticides and synthetic fertilizers to achieve that. We don’t use those, and we also don’t mow often. That mostly started because my husband has really bad allergies and between both our schedules, we just don’t have the time. We certainly could hire someone to do that for us, but honestly, it’s just not a priority for us.

So our house kind of sticks out among our neighbors (much to their dismay, I’m sure), because it’s a little bit wild, with dandelions, violets, plantain, unruly raspberries and honeysuckles, mints, and lemon balms. Because of this, we also have a lot of bees. Tiny ones, regular honeybees, fuzzy and chubby bumblebees, and those big and shiny guardian carpenter bees. By being busy and, well, because of my husband’s allergies, we accidentally created a sanctuary of native plants in our yard for bees, butterflies, sometimes hummingbirds, and other pollinators.

I made the decision to take that further, and plant more native plant species in my yard to make it even more home for the pollinators.

Every year, I add more perennial native plants, in addition to my annual herbs and flowers. We also have a couple of stumps in our yard from trees that we sadly had to take down, that we are allowing Mother Earth to take back, rather than grinding them down. Our soil is mostly clay, but it is rich with fungi and other microbes, so it happened with the first stump way sooner than we thought, and is already happening with the one we had to take down last year due to storm damage.

This year, Earth Day is about the roses and the bees.

yellow rose

One of the roses from my unruly rose bush with an attitude.

Last fall, I planted bee balm, in addition to other native plants (Joe Pye weed, goldenrod, witch hazel, and elderberry to name a few). This year, I will add to that, starting today, with a new rose bush. My current rose bush is the bane of my husband’s existence because first of all, it houses some of those aggressive carpenter bees, and second, it laughs at his landscaping efforts. It grows so fast, and every time he trims it, the next day, it will sprout a new branch that shoots two feet up over the top of all the other ones. It makes me smile all the time.

You might wonder, aren’t I afraid of the bees in my own yard? I’ve never been stung in my own yard. Neither has anyone in my family. When my husband teases me about my knee-jerking, neck-spasming reaction to getting buzzed, I now tell him it’s fine. I have made peace with the bees and they are welcome on my property. I don’t love when they accidentally get in my house–don’t get me wrong–but if that happens, we gently help the lost bee get back outside rather than killing it.

Many Earth-based cultural and spiritual traditions view Mother Earth as a living, breathing deity that like most mothers, gives of herself without a thought to nourish and protect her babies. For millennia, humans lived cooperatively with Mother Earth and Her other inhabitants–taking what we needed, giving back what we took when we could. Modern life has changed that. The need for mass production, instant gratification, and convenience that a consumer-based society requires depletes Mother Earth’s resources, pollutes Her air, soil, and waters, takes without consideration for when and if more will be available, and thinks not of the wellbeing of other living beings that also depend on Mother Earth for survival. It ignores the importance of other beings that play an integral part of the food chain and food webs; as well as their roles in our planet’s air, water, and soil cycles.

The answer is not to find another planet to colonize once we’ve eventually destroyed this one.

The answer is to pick one thing to start with to heal the Mother we have. My one thing this year is more planting, in order to provide more food and more of a hospital backyard ecosystem for the bees and other pollinators.

Earth Day treesMother Earth still sacrifices for her children, though she is wounded and struggling.

And like the shift that happens in human life when the relationship of the parent caring for the child morphs into that of the adult child caring for the aging or sick parent, it is time for us–the children–to care for our Mother Earth.

For simple, every day things you can do in your life and in your business to give back and protect Mother Earth, check these out:

I also teach extensively about sustainable, Mother Earth-friendly ingredients, formulations, and business practices in my online Create Your Skincare Professional Edition course. 

How are you celebrating Earth Day this day and every day in your home or business?

Please share in the comments below!

*Carpenter Bee photo by Daniel Schwen [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]. Trees photo by Casey Horner via Unsplash.

The Perfect Bedtime Bath for a Great Night’s Sleep

The Perfect Bedtime Bath for a Great Night’s Sleep

Oprah Winfrey swears by the power of a bedtime bath as a way to de-stress and get ready for sleep. Well, if it’s good enough for Mother Oprah, the queen of daytime and Super Soul Sundays, one woman empire and potential future president of the United States, then it’s sure good enough for you and me. But what makes the perfect bath? Well read on below and I’ll tell you. But first…

Why is a bedtime bath good for sleep?

Before we get into how to have the perfect bedtime bath let’s just cover quickly exactly why a pre-bed soak is my favorite way to get ready for bed. It’s all about heat but not in the way you may imagine 😉

Researchers have found that your brain needs to drop its temperature slightly in order to sleep. That’s why it is easier to fall asleep in a room that’s too cold rather than one that’s too hot. Being cooler will not only help induce sleep quicker it will also promote better deep non-REM sleep.

What has this got to do with a bath, that’s typically hot, not cold? Well, when you have a soak in a nice hot bath, capillaries expand and your blood rushes to the skin, a process referred to as vasodilation. Hence the rosy cheeks!

(Special consideration: if you have rosacea, spider or varicose veins, or another circulatory or known health issue, be sure to use tepid water in your bath and/or consult with your licensed health practitioner!)

bedtime bathWhen you then step out of the warm water, this heat is rapidly transferred to the air around you, and you experience a massive thermal dump. Your core temperature drops, and it’s this rapid cooling effect that is so good at helping you get to sleep.

An ice cold shower would have much of the same impact. Let’s face it though, a soak in soothing bath salts with herbs and essential oils is more than slightly more appealing.

Ok, now that the science is out of the way let’s move onto what makes a perfect bedtime bath. I’m going to assume you know the basics of how to run a bath, so below I’m going to focus on the things around the edges that you might not have considered. It’s little details like these that will elevate a good bedtime bath to the perfect bedtime bath.

Here are my top 5 tips to create a perfect bedtime bath ritual:

Clear your post-bath schedule

Once bathtime is over, all you want to do is towel yourself off, wrap yourself up in that lovely soft rope and head straight to bed. The easiest way to ruin a pre-bed bath is for it not to be before bed.

If after your soak you still have a heap of chores to do then you are gonna instantly destroy all the good work your bath has done to relax you. So, before you even consider going near those taps, make sure absolutely everything is done for the next day.

Ask for, nay, demand privacy

Do not disturb!Nothing will drain the relaxation quicker than assorted family members banging on the bathroom door. Before you head for your soak make sure every single member of the household knows you’re not to be disturbed unless something very important has occurred.

By very important I mean of the level of someone’s bleeding profusely, the dog is on fire, or the cat is stuck in a tree!

If you only have the one bathroom in the house then make sure everyone gets the opportunity to use the facilities before you lock them out. Then, if their tiny bladders still can’t cope, kindly direct them out to the garden.

Create the right ambience

What’s the main difference between your bathroom and a high-end spa? Ambience, that’s what. When you walk into a spa the whole atmosphere oozes relaxation.

If you break it down to the fundamentals however, all these fancy places do is dim the lights a touch, light a few candles and play a little bit of ambient background music. These are three things you are perfectly capable of replicating in your own bathroom, no matter the size!

Invest in few nice scented candles (I prefer either beeswax or soy candles, scented only with essential oils), or if you’re sensitive to candles, an essential oil diffuser and top quality essential oils. Download a nice chillaxing playlist to your phone. And voila! Now you’re in for an instant five star spa experience.

Diffuse some oils

Essential oils for your bedtime bath

essential oils for atomatherapy treatment with lavender and gemstones in white backround

Creating the perfect ambience isn’t just about music and lighting, it is about massaging all the senses, including your sense of smell.

Try diffusing some essential oils. Frankincense and lavender are well known for their relaxing and hypnotic qualities. As you soak deep into your bath let the scent wash over you and transport you to another level of calm.

Try not to fall asleep completely in the bath, however, as that could be a little dangerous! It might be helpful to set a timer for 20 minutes or so.

Remember your refreshment

What we eat can affect how well we sleep. Some foods are sleep blockers, others sleep promoters. I like to enhance my bath time experience with a nice cup of chamomile tea, a well known sleep aid. Or, if I’m in extra need of some comfort I make a cup of golden milk.

Golden milk might sound expensive but it earned its name for its colour not its cost. Made by mixing a heaped teaspoon of turmeric into warm milk, then seasoned with ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon for taste.

Not only does the concoction taste delicious, it’s also incredibly comforting. Like a great big bear hug for your insides. And on top of that both turmeric and milk have crazy sleep inducing qualities. Yay!

Golden milk is the perfect bath time treat if you ask me!

Well there you have it, my five step recipe to the perfect bedtime bath.

Clear your schedule, put up the Do Not Disturb sign, get the ambience spot on, get the aromascape right and take on some light, comforting refreshment.

For more great sleep nuggets like this, check out the Sleep Advisor blog.

Have I forgotten anything?

What’s your favorite bedtime bath ritual? Please share in the comments below!

 

 

*Do Not Disturb image By Arz [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Keep Signs of Aging at Bay: 10 Healthy Habits to Adopt in Your 30’s

Keep Signs of Aging at Bay: 10 Healthy Habits to Adopt in Your 30’s

It is everyone’s wish to age well. Aging is inevitable, and while it may come with certain undesirable effects, how the process affects your appearance and overall health is largely up to you. The aging process can be slowed if your body adopts certain healthy habits before it gets too late!

Adopting good habits early on will help you to enjoy aging with a positive attitude and grace. For you to be able to control aging, it is important to know the agents and factors that can hasten the process of aging. Apart from genetics, most cellular processes that accelerate the aging process are affected by exercise, stress, lifestyle, and diet. It’s not possible to reverse the signs of aging completely–it takes time to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle regimen help your body age gracefully. When you start early–in your twenties or thirties–you’ll be able to enjoy your glow for years to come (although it’s NEVER too late to start!). 

Here are 10 healthy habits to adopt to help slow the signs of aging:

Stay hydrated

Stay hydrated to decrease signs of aging!Water is essential to help the body’s processes–including removal of waste and perspiration–run smoothly. Drinking plenty of water every day helps keep your skin looking moist, supple and plump. Well-hydrated skin will appear glowing and look younger, and any visible fine lines and wrinkles look less pronounced.

Additionally, adequate hydration promotes skin circulation, which aids in the repair of damaged skin cells. Drinking enough water also helps flush out toxins from your body and give you a healthy glow. Health benefits of drinking water are countless, and most people benefit from drinking 8 glasses per day.

Be social

An active social life helps lower stress levels, which in turn, can help you live a long and healthy life. Social support will also help you age gracefully, prevent cognitive decline, and depressive symptoms that can hasten the aging process. Even for introverts, there are many ways to create a positive and supportive social network, whether online, or in person!

Adequate sleep

Get your beauty sleep for healthy skin!Lack of sleep can cause premature signs of aging, such as facial wrinkles, fine lines, and unevenness of skin texture and tone. Poor sleep quality weakens the skin’s ability to repair itself, which in turn, accelerates the aging process. As you age, it is helpful to increase nighttime sleep (most people require 7-8 hours per night), as it will make your body and skin feel rejuvenated and replenished the following day.

Adequate sleep has numerous health benefits, as well, as it helps to improve memory and lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. It also improves your skin health, as it allows the body to release hormones that help to restore elastin and collagen levels.

Apply sunscreen

Keep signs of aging at bay with sunscreen!Daily use of sunscreen will protect your skin from damage caused by UV rays and other harmful effects caused by prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. Liberally applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a SPF of 15 or higher will help to slow down the aging signs and reduce the risk of skin cancer. Ensure you apply liberal amounts of sunscreen daily at least 2 hours before going out to the sun, and then again every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating while still outdoors.

Healthy eating

Feeding on nutritious and high-quality food will help to improve your overall health. Reducing sugar intake will prevent premature aging of the skin. Eating a diet of fresh, whole foods rich in skin-healthy nutrients like zinc, selenium, vitamin C, and carotene provides antioxidants, which promote cellular repair, increased production of elastin and collagen, keep the skin firm, increase cellular regeneration and reduce visible signs of aging like fine lines. In addition to a more vibrant appearance, eating healthy, whole foods will make you feel rejuvenated.

Proper skincare

While the aging process affects the entire body, often the first place that people notice signs of aging enough to take action is the skin. Making proper skincare part of your routine will help to slow down the aging process and significantly improve the most visible signs of aging. Keeping the skin hydrated and moisturized will make it look soft and glowing. Incorporating all natural, organic (and preferably handmade!) skincare products in your daily skin routine will help to restore the proteins of youth, and help you look younger.

Refrain from smoking and drinking

Stopping drinking and smoking will help you age gracefully and improve overall health. While some studies show that some people benefit from drinking a glass of wine with dinner, others contradict that, and there is enough evidence to show that more than moderate alcohol consumption can have pro-inflammatory effects on the skin, which speeds up the aging process. Reducing alcohol consumption prevents dehydration, promotes healthy sleep, and is otherwise protective of the skin and health. And when it comes to smoking, we’ll keep it simple and just say that there is nothing at all healthy about smoking for the skin or health, and there are very few things worse for the skin and overall health than smoking. Just quit. Now.

Exercise your body

Exercise helps keep signs of aging at bay!Regular exercise will help to improve your overall health and reverse the signs of aging. Facial yoga exercises prevent premature thinning of the dermis, and may help your skin appear younger than your actual age. Regular workouts reduce stress and help your body eliminate built up toxins, which also help keep premature aging and acne breakouts at bay. Physical activity allows the supply of fresh oxygen in your body, which makes you look and feel younger.

Be positive

Being positive towards life will help you stay physically and emotionally healthy. Choosing a positive attitude when handling challenges is more likely to help you create a successful life and stay healthy. By positively embracing aging, you will be able to take care of your mind, body, and skin, consequently slowing down the aging process. One simple way to help shift your mindset from negative to positive is to work with affirmations.

Practice meditation

Meditate for glowing skin!Practicing meditation regularly–even if it’s for 5 minutes a day–is the easiest road to less stress and more ease in life. Daily meditation will keep your mind relaxed, clear and focused. It also helps to provide emotional balance, increase immunity, and lower blood pressure. It helps to prevent depression and other mental health issues, thus improving the overall quality of your life. The beauty benefits of meditation also can’t be ignored–there are numerous accounts of acne, eczema, and other skin issues improving after meditating regularly for just a couple of weeks, in addition to visible improvement in signs of aging like fine lines.

Aging is a process that cannot be avoided, and it affects everyone despite your health status or your lifestyle. It is a natural process that should be appreciated for the privilege it is, rather than attacked as it is in mainstream culture. Many factors accelerate the aging process and being familiar with them will help to slow down and reverse the aging process. You cannot completely stop the aging process, but there are healthy habits that you can adopt to help you age gracefully and stay a healthy life.

About the author:

Margaux DiazMargaux Diaz has been writing about health, beauty, skincare, and fitness for many years. In addition to her writing, she recently got a chance to assist in the research and development of Idol Lash. Connect with her Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

*All images provided by Margaux Diaz.

Healthy, Tasty Food Made Easy? Yes Please!

Healthy, Tasty Food Made Easy? Yes Please!

I love talking about skincare products, making skincare products, and different herbs, oils, and other natural skincare ingredients more than just about anything else. But the truth is that topical skincare wasn’t enough to help me clear my skin, and it’s not enough for most people. You’ve got to make positive changes in your diet, lifestyle, and mindset too, which I talk about in my bestselling book, Love Your Skin, Love Yourself. That was my first book, and really has become my holistic skincare manifesto. Besides Create Your Skincare and the Nutritional Aesthetics Alliance, it’s also what I’m most known for.

But did you know I wrote another book just about a year after Love Your Skin, Love Yourself was published? I actually co-wrote it with my husband Joe, who’s an award winning chef (like serious award winning chef–he’s placed in the Culinary Olympics and Hotelympia international competitions, Societe Culinaire Philanthropique, in addition to others). It’s called The Sauce Code, and it has seven really versatile sauce recipes, but more importantly, it teaches busy families how to save time and money in the kitchen, and make just about any meal healthier by adding simple, delicious, plant-based sauces. It truly does teach you healthy, tasty food made easy.

The Sauce CodeIt’s a great little book, but I don’t get asked to talk about it that often, since it’s not about skincare directly (even though adding more veggies to your meals and snacks can only benefit your skin). So when Brodie Welch invited me to talk about the connection between what we eat and how that impacts our skin, as well as strategies for getting out of a “food rut” and how to implement healthy eating in an easier way, I was so excited to talk about this great little book, in addition to Love Your Skin, Love Yourself and some of my other work.

In Healthy, Tasty Food Made Easy, Brodie and I talked about:

  • What does being a health coach have to do with skincare?
  • The important role a health diet plays in having healthy skin.
  • What is the “Skin Trigger Trifecta?”
  • Once you have removed some of the trigger foods in your diet, what is the next step to having clear skin?
  • What it was like to write a book with my chef-husband.
  • How preparing sauces in advance can be beneficial for those with busy lifestyles.
  • The benefits of looking at a home kitchen as a professional kitchen.
  • What foods we should avoid buying on sale. 

Give my episode, ‘Healthy, Tasty Food Made Easy’ a listen below:

You can download this episode, and subscribe to A Healthy Curiosity on iTunes HERE!

A Healthy Curiosity’s mission is to explore what it takes to be well in a busy world, offer self-care strategies and support around what gets in the way, and demystify natural healing modalities. Host Brodie Welch, L.Ac., is an expert in Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, as well as a teacher and practitioner of qi gong, meditation, yoga, lifestyle and diet counseling who tries to walk her talk about health and mindfulness as a recovering Type-A, parent, and business owner. The podcast blends interviews with fellow experts in Chinese Medicine and natural health care about the conditions we treat and strategies we use clinically, with simple self-care tips to help you feel calm, centered, and energized; and personal chats where we explore what gets in the way of our best intentions: perfectionism, big goals, habits and routines, chronic pain, overwork and overwhelm, boundaries, limiting beliefs — and what it takes to overcome such obstacles mindfully.

Love Your Skin, Love YourselfWant to grab copies of my books?

They are both available on Amazon!

  • Get Love Your Skin, Love Yourself HERE (available in paperback and Kindle)
  • Get The Sauce Code HERE (available in Kindle only)

Oh and please leave a review after you’ve read them! I greatly appreciate it 🙂

What was your biggest takeaway from ‘Healthy, Tasty Food Made Easy?’

Please share in the comments below!

 

What You Need to Know if You Struggle with Eczema or Psoriasis

What You Need to Know if You Struggle with Eczema or Psoriasis

No skin condition is fun or easy to live with, but some tend to be tricker than others to overcome. Skin rashes–especially those associated with eczema or psoriasis–fall into that latter category. Part of the reason for this is that unlike acne, premature skin aging, and even rosacea, eczema and psoriasis are both autoimmune diseases.

Eczema and psoriasis are widespread, especially here in the United States. Did you know that 31.6% of Americans have some form of eczema? And while 3% of world’s population has psoriasis, 2% of the US population has been diagnosed.

It’s not just about the numbers for me though. In my work, I see how profoundly skin issues affect people on an emotional and spiritual level. Those with eczema have higher risks of developing asthma, depression, anxiety, and skin infections. (sourcePsoriasis quality of life surveys have found that more than 50% of sufferers have had their physical activities affected, and  experience social relationship disruptions. (source) As a mother, I’m also concerned about the fact that young people with skin disorders are often targeted by bullies

For all these reasons and then some, I am really happy that my friend, clinical nutritionist and former eczema sufferer herself,  Jennifer Fugo has organized the first ever Eczema and Psoriasis Awareness Week, which happens April 16-22, 2018. I was honored that she asked me to be a speaker for this event, and to help spread the word, we did a little broadcast together on Facebook.

Watch my interview with Jennifer Fugo to get a sneak peek at 2018 Eczema and Psoriasis Awareness Week!

Or read the highlights from our interview here:

Rachael: Welcome, Jennifer. It’s so great to have you here.

Jennifer: Thank you. I want to thank you first for being willing to do this, because one of the things that I love about you is that you’re very focused on helping people understand there’s a lot of complexity in skincare. The thing that I recognize and that I learned a lot from you, Rachael, was that there’s a lot of stuff in skincare products that actually makes chronic skin rashes worse.  I find it so troubling when people go to the drugstore, for example, and see all these products that are marked for eczema or psoriasis or severe dry skin. They buy it, try it, it burns terribly or it doesn’t work or it makes it worse–and then they end up with this box of products that they can’t return, that were very expensive. Thousands of dollars of ointments, salves, all this other stuff.

Rachael: Yeah, I see it a lot. It always drives me so nuts when I see ingredients on the products that are intended to treat eczema or psoriasis or extremely dry skin that actually make it worse. Eczema and psoriasis are not the same as acne, in that they are considered autoimmune diseases now. Can you speak a bit about that?

Jennifer: Yeah, absolutely. It’s interesting. We have to thank the drug companies, actually, funny enough, for that information. Big pharma has made it official that these are autoimmune processes. We’ve known for a long time that psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. Eczema’s a lot more complicated, unfortunately, because it’s not just the immune system and gut health–there are a lot more triggers for eczema, and it’s more complicated. I think one lesson I’ve learned is that, with eczema especially, it’s really a two-pronged approach. It is outside in and inside out at the same time to simultaneously see resolution. Biologic treatments are also not always the best or most effective way to treat these conditions. In case you’re wondering, “What’s biologic?” biologic is involved in stopping these inflammatory processes. But one year’s worth of that biologic, Dupixent specifically, is like something around $35,000 a year. The other ones that they use, like Humira and such that are used off label for skin issues, are closer to $50,000 a year. I know because I pay for my own health insurance and other people do, the deductibles are going up, the co-insurances are going up. So if you’re on a medication like that, it is hard to oftentimes even get them approved because they’re so expensive. So you could look at it from a financial standpoint, but then you also have to be on them for life. It’s not like you do it, the skin resolves, and then you can just go off them. It’s a life-long halting of a process in your body that’s then triggering the skin.

Rachael: Right, and that’s what I want people to understand, is that these treatments, they’re treatments. They’re not cures. They’re not going to make it go away. They’re intended to help you live with the condition and manage the condition, but it’s not going to make it go away. I believe that there is a place for Western medicine in certain instances. But I have to say, when it comes to chronic situations, and when we’re talking about the skin, the skin usually shows us something when the rest of our body’s systems have tried and we haven’t listened. So by the time the skin is like, “Hello, you can’t ignore me anymore because I’m looking right at you and you’re going to see it,” we’ve already ignored other symptoms that have been going on on the inside that I think as chronically stressed, overworked, tired people we’ve kind of just come to accept those as normal.

Jennifer: One of the things I’ll share too is that I’ve been doing all this research over the past so many months and discovered that there are at least 15 different skin triggers for eczema. Eczema alone. That includes genetics, because you can’t ignore the genetic implications of certain proteins that are produced in the skin to keep the barrier healthy. So if you have a problem producing those proteins, then naturally, you may be more prone to eczema or psoriasis. There are genetic triggers, but also environmental triggers. It could be your cat, your dog, or maybe the carpeting that’s throughout your house, the chemicals in the paint, the fumes off gassing, mold, or food. We feel like we have some control over food allergies, but in looking deeper, you then have gut dysfunction, gut infections, gut dysbiosis. You can have allergies to things like nickel, which you’d go, “I don’t eat nickel. Why would that matter? I just won’t wear cheap jewelry.” But guess what, there’s an awful lot of nickel in some very healthy foods. So it becomes more complicated than just saying, “I’m going to throw some Vaseline or Crisco on my skin,” which you and I were laughing about.

Rachael: Yeah. We’re not advising you do that. Spoiler alert.

Jennifer: No, but there’s an awful lot of triggers that people are not … We’re not given that information, and it’s buried and scattered. I, in no way, shape, or form want to be all conspiracy theory, but when you look at it purely from a financial standpoint, what impetus does the drug company, for example, even have to want anybody to stop getting rashes? Because then you don’t buy their products anymore, and they have spent millions and millions of dollars not only paying physicians, by the way. There’s some really disturbing research out there about how much money dermatologists are getting from drug companies and also how much they spend on developing these drugs in the first place. So if the customer base goes away, if the drugs work too well, what happens to your bottom line?

Rachael: Right, and never mind the cost of those expensive TV commercials that they’re now marketing to everyone and their children. My kids are even like, “Why on Earth would somebody risk cancer to get rid of a rash?”

Jennifer Fugo, MS, CHCJennifer: That is a side effect, by the way, of biologics and those that suppress the autoimmune system. It’s important to understand that we all, to some degree, have cancer cells at any given moment, but it’s more about the state, the amount of cells that have been produced that are not healthy, and your body’s ability to maintain that. When your immune system is suppressed, that army, or force, that’s meant to be there to protect you by getting rid of those cells that your body accidentally produces that are not as healthy or appropriate as they should be goes away. So there’s no check and balance, and that’s why there’s a side effect of cancer for those drugs. I had eczema, so I understand very well how awful of an experience this is. I got sick and tired of dealing with, “Here’s a cream, here’s an ointment. Try this.” And it was frustrating from an integrative approach, because I’m already gluten free, I’m already dairy free, I’m already egg free.

Rachael: I find that eczema and psoriasis, as you said, there are more triggers, there are more combinations of things going on, and when you’ve done what you’re supposed to do but you’re still having symptoms that’s when people get really frustrated and they give up, and that’s when they feel like they have no other choice but to go on these biologics and risk these horrible side effects. I think that that’s a big difference we see with eczema and psoriasis versus some of the other skin conditions that occur on a chronic basis.

Jennifer: I think that’s also a good heads up for people who are listening to this that are like, “My doctor told me to go on a gluten-free diet and maybe that’ll stop the rashes.” Sometimes it does, but when I developed my own hand eczema, I was already gluten free, like seriously 100% gluten free, for six years. I was gluten, dairy, and egg free, and it still developed. So you can’t assume that it’s just always tied to food. Food is one piece, but there’s also the complicated matter of what caused the food sensitivities in the first place, and you need to look underneath those. For me, it was like, “Okay, number one, is my skin getting enough of the nutrients?” We need raw nutrients to come in and make sure that we’re not depleted anywhere else, because the skin is the least important … Isn’t it so funny? We spend so much money on making our skin look beautiful, but it is the lowest priority on the totem pole of organs.

Rachael: I know, which is crazy, because it’s the biggest one and it’s our first line of defense against the outside world. The nutrients and hydration that come in all go to nourish and hydrate the internal vital organs first, and then the skin gets the leftovers.

Jennifer: I had to figure out what my unique combo of triggers was and address that because my solution is not necessarily somebody else’s solution. Part of it was food, part of it was nutrients, part of it was stress. There was a big stress component to it. I want to give people hope because there are so many facets to this, whether it’s hormonal, environmental, food, or gut-related. I want to give people the tools that I was blessed to have available to me, so that they can find actual resolution, not just management.

Rachael: Right. Let’s get to the bottom of it. Let’s find your unique bio-individualized solution by doing a little bit of self-detective work here, because that is required. There’s some trial and error required, but really, we’re here to give you hope that this can resolve. You don’t have to live like this, for real. Jen, you’re proof of that.

Jennifer: I have to be more aware of my skin than a normal person, but my level of awareness around my skin now is not nearly as hyper-focused as it was when it felt like my hands had a thousand paper cuts. It’s just so painful. For me, it’s like if I just have to be a little aware, like, “Oh, I’m starting to get a little bit of dryness. Oh, I got to get back on. I just got to do a little bit extra,” and it goes right away. Right now I have zero eczema, and it’s amazing. It changes your life in so many ways. That’s why, Rachael, I’m so excited too because your presentation is just so fantastic and you offer this completely unique view of why skincare products don’t work that are out there on the market and why they’re so bad. You talk about it in a way that’s so relatable, so I’m really excited to have you as one of our presenters, because there’s never been another event like this, ever.

Rachael: No, it’s really unique. I want to talk about that, because it’s not just … this is not a webinar or a course. This is an awareness week that you’ve created. This is the 2018 Eczema & Psoriasis Awareness Week. We’ve talked about some of what’s not working, but as you’ve said, what is going to work is so dependent on each person, so you have put together this entire event with speakers, but with resources that people get as soon as they sign up. Let’s talk about that.

Jennifer: Register (USE THIS LINK) and you’ll get a free seat to this event. It happens between April 16th and April 22nd. What we’ll have every day is presentations that will be shown. I really tried my darnedest to keep the presentations consistent and concise, because I also know that you’re busy. You have a life, especially if you’re a parent and this is for a kid or just even for yourself. You want the good stuff. You don’t want fluff. So we tried to keep everything to about 30 minutes for each presentation, focusing on what works and why it works and what the next steps are for you from a functional and integrative approach, as opposed to just slapping more medication on and giving it a try. There are 25 different presenters. Rachael is one of them, and I’m so, so excited to be able to share what has worked for me and for other people. It’s not just, though, the how to and why. There is some mindset to this, because I recognize that this makes you feel really alone. We want to address that emotional component, the emotional wellbeing, and the impact that these issues can have, because you’re walking around, essentially, with a red scarlet letter on you making you look different, and people do treat you differently when they see that your skin is not clear. They’ll say you’re infected or diseased or whatever, so we want to address this from all pieces, all facets of how it affects us, people who suffer with this. When you sign up, you’re also going to get immediately a copy of the Eczema & Psoriasis Awareness Week Skin Supporting Cookbook. It has 34 recipes that I’ve conglomerated from all the different presenters of things that they recommend to their clients. These are practical, great recipes to try, and there’s a lot of different flavors and all sorts of stuff, so you’re not going to feel like you’re eating weird diet food or anything. We want people to be happy. Something for everyone. We also have over $2,000 in giveaways from natural skincare companies and food product companies of things that I use in my kitchen and things that have helped me and my clients.

Rachael: I want to thank you for coming on today to share about 2018 Eczema & Psoriasis Awareness Week. Jenn, before I let you go, what is one bit of a preview, like your favorite thing, that you gleaned as you went through all of these materials that you want to give people as a little sneak peek?

Jennifer: One thing that’s been really interesting and fascinating is the piece on mold, because we’ve had these huge natural disasters in the U.S. specifically, but people have had hurricanes and typhoons and things all over the world. We don’t realize that when our home is exposed to water, the mold that can grow behind the walls where we don’t see it can actually cause a really big problem. One way you know if mold is a potential trigger is if when you go on vacation and everything seems to start clearing up, and then you come back home and, you get another flare. That’s usually a sign that it’s something in your home, and it may be mold, because actually is a suppressor of the immune system. We’re going to talk about that and what the implications are and how you can test and whatnot. That’s one little preview.

2018 Eczema and Psoriasis Awareness Week happens from April 16-22.

Click HERE to secure your free ticket to the presentations (including mine!), your complimentary recipe book, and entries to all the amazing giveaways Jennifer mentioned.

And on a personal note, I really do hope you share this event with anyone you know who might be struggling with skin rashes, extreme chronic dry skin, eczema, or psoriasis. This is information that is going to help a LOT of people!

*This post contains affiliate links. Purchases made after clicking on a link in this post may result in me earning a small commission (at no extra cost to you). These commissions help me continue to bring you top quality free holistic skincare resources and educational events like this. I appreciate your support!

 

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