July 02, 2009

my skin used to suck, but...

i've  had the misfortune of skin which, left to its own devices, is just awful (large pores, acne and oily). now, taken in perspective, this is about as minor a problem as you can have, but it sure can get you feelin' down and ugly. i'd tried every type of product and treatment on the market, only to find that my skin is as stubborn as the rest of me. that being said, i've learned to take immaculate care of my skin and finally have figured out a regimen that works. while what works for me may not work for you, my hope is that this blog could lead you to effective alternatives you weren't aware existed. 

*a great supplement that is good for more than just your skin: AKN  skin care by Nature's Way comes in a yellow and white bottle in select health food stores. its main ingredient? dandelions of course! but it also has licorice, sarsaparilla and burdock all which help the liver work better thereby clearing your bloodstream of toxins, may of which lead to acne. It also helps you produce more bile which helps with hormone levels-- for many of us, too much testosterone is the culprit behind breakouts. 

*exfoliating is key. now, if you have sensitive or dry skin then proceed with caution. if you have thickish, oily skin like so many of us mediterraneans do then a product i strongly recommend is Avalon Organics Exfoliating Enzyme scrub with lavender. use it once a day if your skin can handle it --> your skin will GLOW. seriously. if you'd rather go the unnatural route, then proactive face wash is for you, but beware: exfoliants not made from natural materials (like walnut shells or pumice) use plastic micro-beads and the last thing the world needs is more plastic. 

*another great skin wash for oily skin is none other than dr. bronner's pure castile soap in lavender. if you have only one cleansing agent in your entire house you know it is dr. b.'s all natural, organic and completely vegan miracle soap. 

*i've been using spf religiously since age 14. i've yet to discover if it truly helps prevent wrinkles, but i have faith. again, Avalon Organics makes a wonderful daily moisturizer with spf, lavender scented naturally. i do not reccomend their anti-aging moisturizer with spf and Q-10 (in an orange bottle) because it is rather oily, though if you have dry skin this could be your savior. for more serious protection, Aveeno makes face specific sunscreen that is great all over because it is absolutely not greasy and has that adorable sunscreen smell. Neutrogena dry-touch sunscreen is also great and has spf as high as 70. might sound excessive, but not if you've ever witnessed the brutal yosemite sun.

*two essential oils your skin can't live without: lavender and tea tree. Lavender is great even for sensitive skin thanks to its calming and anti-inflammatory properties. Not to mention it is also anti-septic, anti-viral and anti-microbial. Plus, the aromatherapeutic benefits are incredible at reducing stress, which we all know leads to nothing but trouble for your entire self. Tea tree oil is quite strong so you may need to dilute it with water. dab it on big red zits, mosquito bites, ingrown hairs and anytime after you've picked at your skin (you know you shouldn't, but we all do). it zaps redness and inflammation almost overnight. the brand i like best is desert essences which make a whole line of tea tree oil products including floss.

*ok, this is not skin care but seriously, flossing is key to good oral and physical health. it helps reduce heart attacks and can help add 10 years to your life. if my word's not good enough, apparently dr. oz from oprah says if you are willing to do only one thing to improve your health, he says floss! floss! floss!

*pesky relatives told me for years to stop eating sweets and my skin would be nicer. don't get me wrong, those relatives are no less annoying, but turns out they weren't wrong. i accidently gave up sweets and processed sugars this spring as part of my nutritional makeover and i started getting all kinds of compliments on my skin. i've also read somewhere in natural health magazine that the effects of processed sugar on the bloodstream raise inflammation levels in the body (look up inflammation if you don't already know what it is) which can lead to acne. 

*while you're at it, drink lots and lots of water every single day. your lips will look their fullest, you'll have great energy and your skin will reflect your new found healthfulness. 

*suffer from under eye circles and tired puffy eyes? try a product with caffeine, like Garnier Skin Renew anti-puff eye roller at night. don't waste cucumber by putting it on your eyes; a metal spoon placed in the freezer for a few minutes is a much more sustainable alternative.

*speaking of caffeine, here's a great way to exfoliate and firm the skin on your body for mere pennies. first be sure to line your bathroom with newspaper, then make yourself a pot of coffee (not decaf!) and then use the wet, warm coffee grounds to exfoliate by rubbing it in circular motions, concentrating especially on the back of the thighs and bum. rinse it off and drink some java and you're ready to attack the day in a bikini. 

well, i hope this has been helpful to at least one person out there. maybe i'll have more tips soon.

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