• How to Manifest Clear Skin and Beat Stress Acne

    How to Manifest Clear Skin and Beat Stress Acne

    *There are some affiliate links below and I may receive a small commission from purchases made through these links, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t personally used.

    Tell me if you’ve ever been here before: your days are long and tiring, dealing with an annoying coworker and a never-ending to-do list. Every time you finish one item, a new item pops up, and you worry that you’ll never get a chance to catch your breath.

    Then, on top of everything, you look in the mirror and notice it- a zit! But you’ve been eating healthy and taking good care of your skin– how could this happen?

    While this may just seem like the cherry on top of a terrible, exhausting week, your stress acne is actually trying to tell you something about what’s going on inside your body- and you should listen to it.

    In this post, I’ll be talking about stress acne, what causes it, and simple actions you can take to manifest clear skin!

    Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com

    Stress and Your Skin

    Could your stressful week at work actually be making your skin worse? The answer is yes!

    When you feel stressed, your body produces more of the steroid hormone cortisol. According to The Dermatology Group, “When cortisol levels are high, it forces your glands to go into overdrive and unnecessarily produce more oil. An overproduction of natural oil (also known as sebum) is the leading cause for skin issues like breakouts and severe acne.”

    Higher cortisol levels can also lead to a host of other skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.

    Now you’re probably thinking, how can I get my cortisol levels down when the world keeps handing me stress? Well the good news is that stress relief doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming! Read on for some easy ways you can manage stress for clearer skin.

    Easy Ways to Reduce Cortisol Levels

    1. Relaxation Techniques. Practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation is the best way to eliminate stress from your life. In fact, regularly practicing meditation has been clinically proven to lower cortisol levels.

    According to the Exploration of Consciousness Research Institute, “In 2013, researchers at UC Davis discovered a very powerful connection between mindfulness and cortisol, with remarkable results seen within only a few short weeks.” Furthermore, “another study by a Rutgers University doctor discovered that meditators had a nearly 50% reduction in cortisol levels.”

    If you’re interested in learning the basics of meditation, check out this helpful infographic below.

    Meditation infographic courtesy of Business Insider Meditation infographic courtesy of Business Insider

    2. Self-care. Adding some relaxing self-care rituals to your routine is another way to lower your cortisol levels and banish stress acne. This ritual could come in the form of a Epsom salt bath, a yoga class, a massage, you name it.

    My self-care ritual of choice is turning on my essential oil diffuser at night while I’m reading before bed. (You could even double up and use your diffuser while you meditate, if you like.)

    When choosing an essential oil, it’s best to avoid more energizing oils like lemon or eucalyptus and opt for something more calming like lavender or ylang ylang.

    3. Positive Thinking. There are many easy and inexpensive tools you can use to promote positive thinking and boost your mood. One such option is smudging–the ancient Native American practice of burning sage.

    According to Healthline,  “A 2014 study documented white prairie sage (also known as estafiate) as an important traditional remedy for treating anxiety, depression, and mood disorders in certain cultures.” They also noted that “A 2016 research project for the University of Mississippi established that white sage (Salvia apiana) is rich in compounds that activate certain receptors in the brain. These receptors are responsible for elevating mood levels, reducing stress, and even alleviating pain.”

    Smudging can be done easily in your home by following the steps below.

    Photo courtesy of Our Peaceful Planet Photo courtesy of Our Peaceful Planet

    Some options for smudging kits:

    Another mood-boosting method that may lower cortisol levels and help control your stress acne is the practice of crystal healing.

    I know you may be rolling your eyes, thinking ‘crystals are just pseudo-science’- but hear me out! Despite a lack of scientific data, what we’ve learned from other alternative medicine practices such as acupuncture and cupping (both of which are also not backed by science) is that the placebo effect can be powerful!

    As stated by Medical News Today, “those who use crystals as a psychological treatment may also experience positive results based on their expectations. People who believe in the efficacy of holding or wearing certain crystals for courage, love, positivity, or happiness, for example, may actually experience some of those emotional results based on their mindset.”

    So, assuming this is something that you’re into, you may be wondering- which crystals make the best healers for stress and reducing cortisol levels?

    Rose Quartz is an excellent stone for both healing and self-care. It is also believed by crystal healers to promote emotional balance and feelings of self-love. Rose quartz is both affordable and easy to find.

    Amethyst is known to have a high vibration and to block negative and stressful energy. What I love about amethyst is that in geode form (shown above), it makes beautiful decor for a desk, shelf, or coffee table.

    Citrine is known to support the endocrine system, which is responsible for regulating how much of each hormone is released (i.e., cortisol). It is often associated with optimism and positivity. It is commonly used in jewelry, like my ring pictured below.

    Cocktail ring with citrine stones Cocktail ring with citrine stones

    How to use crystals. Now that you’ve chosen your healing crystal, it’s time to put it into action! Keep your crystal somewhere accessible, whether it be in your handbag or on your desk, and when you’re feeling stressed, hold it in your hand and absorb it’s positive energy. You can also pair it with one of the clear skin affirmations below and make it a habit to repeat your affirmation to yourself in your head every time you hold your crystal.

    Affirmations For Clear Skin

    Come up with some positive affirmations you can repeat to yourself throughout the day. You can write them down on sticky notes and put them on your bathroom mirror, or type them into the Notes app on your phone. If you can’t think of any, use the examples below;

    • I am at peace in my own skin.
    • I am healing my skin from the inside out.
    • I am making healthy choices each day in order to heal my skin.
    • Each day my skin gets clearer and clearer.

    When you wake up in the morning, your affirmations will help you start your day on a positive note. Positivity = less stress = less stress hormones = clearer skin! 🙂

    Sources: https://www.thedermgrouppartners.com/blog/is-stress-impacting-your-skin

    https://eocinstitute.org/meditation/meditation-decreases-your-levels-of-cortisol/

    https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-burning-sage#mood-booster

    https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/crystals-for-anxiety-and-depression#psychological-effects

  • The Best Affordable Clean Skincare Products

    The Best Affordable Clean Skincare Products

    Please click this link to view the updated version of this post at www.myglowskincare.site

  • 5 Simple Homemade Cleaning Products with Essential Oils

    5 Simple Homemade Cleaning Products with Essential Oils

    If you’re using gentle skin care products and cosmetics but still experiencing acne and skin irritation, then you may be very frustrated and wondering, what am I doing wrong? 

    The culprit might be your household cleaning products. A lot of products sold in stores contain ingredients such as ammonia, sodium hypochlorite, and sodium or potassium hydroxide. (See webMD’s article which includes a full list of ingredients to avoid if you have sensitive skin here.)

    So, if you’re looking for safer products that won’t irritate your skin, look no further. Here are five easy, safe and effective cleaning sprays all tested by me!

    My finished cleaning supplies in glass bottles :) My finished cleaning supplies in glass bottles 🙂

    All-Purpose Cleaning Spray

    This multi-purpose cleaning spray can be used to clean most countertops, showers, toilets, etc. In my experience, it is just as good as store-bought sprays, but without the artificial smell and ingredients.

    Ingredients:

    • 13 oz. distilled water (tap water can leave behind streaks)
    • 1/2 cup white vinegar
    • 15 drops essential oil (something with a fresh, clean scent such as grapefruit, lemon, or eucalyptus)

    Instructions:

    Mix all ingredients together and pour into a spray bottle.

    Gentle All-Purpose Cleaning Spray

    Acidic ingredients such as vinegar and lemon can leave dull spots on soft surfaces like marble and can erode sealant on granite countertops. For a more gentle spray to use on these surfaces, use the following ingredients instead.

    Ingredients:

    • 1/4 cup vodka
    • 2 3/4 cup distilled water
    • 10 drops tea tree oil

    Instructions:

    Mix all ingredients together and pour into a spray bottle.

    Air Freshener Spray

    This air freshener spray is perfect for musty rooms and can be made with the essential oil of your choosing. I used my personal favorite, ylang ylang oil.

    Ingredients:

    • 8 oz. distilled water (tap water is also fine here)
    • 2 tbsp. 60+ proof vodka or rubbing alcohol
    • 5 drops of essential oil (you can add more if you like)

    Instructions:

    Mix all ingredients together and pour into a spray bottle.

    Garbage Disposal Deodorizer

    Garbage disposals work hard, so it’s important to keep them clean and odor-free. Use 1/3 of this bottle every few weeks to keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
    • 1 tbsp. baking soda
    • 5 drops tea tree oil

    Instructions:

    Mix all ingredients together and pour into a bottle or jar.

    To use:

    Pour 1/3 of the bottle into your garbage disposal and let the appliance run for 1 minute. (If you like, you can add a few extra drops of tea tree oil to the garbage disposal when you’re finished.)

    Laundry Detergent

    For DIY laundry detergent, you don’t need essential oils, all you need is Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds. This all-natural concentrated cleaner contains just a few ingredients, including fir needle oil and spruce oil. It is made without an artificial dyes, fragrances, or preservatives, which makes it safe for even the most sensitive skin.

    (Sal Suds can also be used for other purposes such as mopping your floor or cleaning your bathtub or shower. For more uses, check out drbronner.com.)

    Instructions:

    Add 2 tablespoons Sal Suds per 1 load of laundry, or 1 tablespoon per load if you have a high efficiency washing machine.

    Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds

    A Guide to Choosing Essential Oils

    When you know the scent profiles of essential oils, you can get creative with which oils you use in your DIY products.

    Below are the profiles of some popular oils and a chart for some different ways you can blend them together. These blends can be helpful not just for making cleaning products but also for putting in your diffuser, adding to your bath, or even making your own all-natural perfume!

    Cooling/Calming Essential Oils

    • Chamomile
    • Rose
    • Lavendar
    • Ylang ylang
    • Frankincense
    • Jasmine
    • Bergamot
    • Clary Sage

    Fresh/Invigorating Essential Oils

    • Lemon
    • Grapefruit
    • Orange
    • Spearmint
    • Peppermint
    • Tea Tree
    • Eucalyptus
    • Basil
    • Cedarwood
    Photo Courtesy of Hello Glow Photo Courtesy of Hello Glow
  • The Worst Foods for Acne

    The Worst Foods for Acne

    While using gentle and clean skincare products will certainly help minimize hormonal acne breakouts, if you really want to get to the root of the problem, you have to make dietary changes- there’s no way around it!

    The Worst Foods for Acne: Inflammatory Foods

    When you’re trying to balance your hormones through diet, it’s important to choose foods that have a low Glycemic Index, which is the measure of how much a certain food increases your blood sugar levels. Foods with a high Glycemic Index spike blood sugar levels and lead to inflammation, causing acne.

    Photo courtesy of PharmacyPlanet.com Photo courtesy of PharmacyPlanet.com

    According to Healthline, “Choosing foods with a high GI, such as soda, white bread, candy, sugary cereals, and ice cream, cause dramatic fluctuations in blood sugar and can exacerbate acne.” Here is a list of the top inflammatory foods to avoid or minimize:

    1. Added Sugar: Our bodies weren’t made to process all the sugar we consume, so when we eat too much of it, it triggers an inflammatory response that leads to acne. Many foods that you wouldn’t expect contain high amounts of added sugar, such as low-fat yogurt, pasta sauce, and granola bars. The best way to avoid added sugar is to check the labels of your pre-made food and cook your food whenever possible, so you can control the ingredients.

    2. Artificial Trans Fats (Partially Hydrogenated Oil): Artificial trans fats “are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid.” says Heart.org. They are known to increase inflammation in the body, especially in people with excess body fat. In fact, they are so bad for you that in 2015 the FDA announced that they are no longer considered safe and gave food-makers three years to eliminate them from their products.

    Beware, though! Trans fats can still be found in vegetable shortening (such as Crisco), certain vegetable oils, fried fast foods, dairy-free coffee creamers, bakery items, and many other foods. When checking food labels, you’ll want to look out for trans fats, they are typically listed as “partially hydrogenated oil”.

    3. Refined Carbohydrates: Refined carbohydrates are also sometimes called “empty carbohydrates”. What this means is that they have been stripped of all their fiber, vitamins and minerals. Refined carbohydrates include white flour, white rice, and white bread. Carbs that are refined have a high glycemic index and therefore lead to sugar spikes and in turn, inflammation that can impact acne. For this reason, you’ll want to opt for whole wheat bread instead or white bread, brown rice instead of white rice, and whole wheat flour (or other alternatives, such as almond flour) instead of white flour whenever possible. Once you make the switch to complex carbs, you won’t miss empty carbs at all!

    4. Processed Meat: Foods like bacon, hot dogs, and other processed meats contain large amounts of sodium and nitrates, which can damage the skin and cause inflammation and acne.

    5. Saturated Fats (in excess): Saturated fat often gets a bad reputation, however, it is actually found in many healthy foods such as avocados, nuts, and extra virgin olive oil. It is only when it eaten in excess that studies have shown saturated fats to cause inflammation in the body. The American Heart Association recommends that only 5-6% of the calories in your daily diet be from saturated fat.

    5. Alcohol: All alcoholic beverages contain high levels of histamines, which are chemicals created in the body that cause an allergic response. This allergic response can cause skin inflammation that is associated with acne lesions. Red wine is particularly high in histamines (ugh! I know).

    If you’re struggling with acne, eliminating alcohol could be very effective in clearing up your skin. However, if you’re like me and know that you’re never going to do this, then cut back on your red wine intake and switch to alcohol with lower levels of histamines such as vodka (plain, not flavored), tequila, and gin. Using real fruit juice in your cocktails rather than sugary drink mixes is also a great idea! And if you like sweet cocktails, use a natural sweetener such as agave or monk fruit liquid sweetener.

    6. Gluten (If you’re intolerant): Although in recent years it has gotten a bad reputation, gluten is not entirely proven to be inflammatory if you do not have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. According to Healthline, “it’s unclear whether everyone – regardless of health status – should change their eating habits” however, “several theories have developed as to why human bodies may not be able to handle gluten. Some research suggests that human digestive systems have not evolved to digest the kind or amount of grain proteins that are common in modern diets.”

    It seems that until gluten is definitively proven to be bad for us, there is no need to eliminate healthy gluten such as barley, rye, and whole wheat from our diets.

    Avoid Dairy Products

    The other culprit that may be making your acne worse is dairy. Most of the milk in America comes from pregnant cows, and some cows are given steroid hormone drugs to increase milk production. When we consume milk, according to Byrdie.com, “The idea is that when the hormones in milk react with your own body’s cocktail of testosterone and hormones, your sebum production skyrockets.”

    Photo courtesy of Onlymyhealth.com Photo courtesy of Onlymyhealth.com

    To minimize dairy in your diet, try swapping cow’s milk with almond or oat milk in your morning coffee. Cooking with olive oil or coconut oil instead of butter can also be an easy way to reduce your dairy intake. I like Alison Roman’s recipes because she often gives you the option to make them dairy free by replacing the butter with olive oil (also, they’re delicious!).

    Stop “Yo Yo Dieting”

    The information above is meant to provide you with tips for transitioning to a cleaner lifestyle that will ultimately result in clearer skin. While a restrictive diet will make your skin clearer, what I have found from experience is that cutting out all these foods is not sustainable. As you may already know, diets usually fail and often lead to what we know as “yo yo dieting”.

    Instead of implementing a strict diet and then relapsing a few days later with an entire box of cookies, you are better off starting with small healthy habits like the ones mentioned above. If your goal is to reduce your dairy and sugar intake in half, you are much more likely to succeed than if your goal is to eliminate all dairy and sugar!

    The more you educate yourself on nutrition and how it impacts your skin (the sources listed below make great additional reading), the better equipped you will be to make healthier choices. 🙂

    Sources:

    https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/hormonal-acne-diet#diet-tips

    https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/trans-fat#:~:text=Artificial%20trans%20fats%20(or%20trans,ingredient%20list%20on%20food%20packages.

    https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/is-gluten-bad#should-you-avoid-it

    https://www.byrdie.com/breaking-out-dairy

  • 3 Delicious and Easy Cucumber Snacks

    3 Delicious and Easy Cucumber Snacks

    You probably don’t have strong feelings about cucumbers. They’re healthy, they’re 95% water, and they don’t taste like much. But let me tell you why I love them so much, and why you should make them your new favorite food!

    Ever since I read Anthony William’s book, Medical Medium Life Changing Foods I’ve been obsessed with cucumbers. (Some background: he’s the guy who started the celery juice movement.) In his book, William refers to cucumbers as having a “fountain-of-youth effect, hydrating us at the deepest cellular level possible.”

    This is great news if you struggle to get in your 8 cups a day of water (I know I do). In addition to hydrating the body, the chlorophyll in their skins makes makes cucumbers a natural skin brightener. Cucumbers are also high in anti-oxidants that cleanse the blood, thereby reducing acne breakouts.

    Photo Courtesy of Disney Photo Courtesy of Disney

    I could go on and on about the benefits of cucumbers, but I’d rather spend my time presenting them in a way that will make you actually want to eat them! So without further ado, here are three deliciously refreshing cucumber snack recipes created by me, a self-proclaimed cucumber fanatic:

    Mediterranean Cucumbers

    2-3 servings

    Ingredients:

    • 1 garden cucumber
    • 8 oz. garlic or regular hummus
    • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes (about 15)
    • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley (optional)

    Instructions:

    1. Wash and dry produce. Slice the cucumbers into 1/2″ thick slices and arrange on a large plate or tray.

    2. Take a plastic Ziplock bag of any size (I used a quart size bag) and cut a 1/2″ wide diagonal line across one of the bottom corners to make a piping bag for the hummus. Fill the bag with hummus and decorate the cucumbers with little swirls of hummus, pictured below.

    Like frosting a cookie, but healthy! Like frosting a cookie, but healthy!

    3. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and place on the top of each cucumber.

    4. If using, finely chop the parsley and sprinkle over the tops of the cucumbers.

    Aren't they beautiful?! Aren’t they beautiful?!

    Zesty Cucumbers

    2-3 servings

    Ingredients:

    • 1 English cucumber (also referred to as a hothouse cucumber)
    • Juice from half a lime
    • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
    • A sprinkle of red pepper flakes (to taste)

    Instructions:

    1. Wash and dry produce. Trim the ends of the cucumber and use a vegetable peeler to remove the skin in alternating strips to create a striped appearance.

    2. Cut cucumbers crosswise into thirds, then cut each third into sixths. Place cucumbers into a serving bowl.

    3. Grate the ginger and juice the lime.

    4. Toss the cucumbers with the lime juice, grated ginger, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, to taste. (I like to use a large pinch that is close to 1/4 teaspoon)

    Add more red pepper flakes for more spice🌶️ Add more red pepper flakes for more spice🌶️

    Brunch Cucumbers

    2-3 servings

    Ingredients:

    • 1 garden cucumber
    • 4 oz. smoked salmon or lox
    • 4 oz. cream cheese (regular or dairy-free)
    • A few sprigs of dill

    Instructions:

    1. Cut cucumbers into 1/2″ thick slices and arrange on a serving plate or tray. Pat slices dry with a paper towel.

    2. Cut thin 1″ x 1″ squares of cream cheese to go on top of each cucumber slice. For soft cream cheese, use a small dollop around this size.

    3. Cut quarter size pieces of smoked salmon to go on top of the cream cheese.

    4. Break off smaller sprigs of dill to garnish the tops of the cucumbers.

    No need for crackers when you have cucumbers 🥒 No need for crackers when you have cucumbers 🥒

    Enjoy 💚

  • These Are The Worst Sunscreen Ingredients

    These Are The Worst Sunscreen Ingredients

    *There are some affiliate links below and I may receive a small commission from purchases made through these links, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t personally used.

    Summer is almost here! That means more time spent hiking, at the beach, or wherever you go when the weather’s nice. Whatever you’re doing though, it’s important to always use sun protection.

    When you have sensitive and acne-prone skin, choosing the right sunscreen brand and knowing which ingredients are safe and which to avoid can be difficult. The FDA has confirmed that certain ingredients found in sunscreen can permeate the skin and absorb into the bloodstream, making it especially important to take care when selecting a sunscreen.

    What Ingredients Should I Avoid When Choosing Sunscreen?

    Octinoxate & Oxybenzone – These organic compounds are commonly found in sunscreen. They have been banned in several travel destinations such as Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands because of the damage they cause to marine ecosystems. Both are common allergens and have been known to cause contact dermatitis and to worsen eczema. If you’re struggling with acne and skin irritation of any kind, choosing sunscreen that is labeled as “reef-safe” or “eco-friendly” can help both the environment and your skin!

    Nanoparticled Titanium Dioxide – While titanium dioxide (TiO2) is safe to use, according to the National Library of Medicine, “TiO2 nanoparticles predominantly cause adverse effects via induction of oxidative stress resulting in cell damage, genotoxicity, inflammation, immune response etc.” If titanium dioxide is listed as an ingredient in your sunscreen, be sure that it does not say “nanoparticles” next to it and you are good to go!

    Avobenzone – Avobenzone is another commonly used ingredient in sunscreen that has been known to cause contact dermatitis. It is also known to cause pimples on acne-prone and sensitive skin.

    What Ingredients Are OK?

    Phenoxyethanol (in concentrations greater than 1%) – This preservative is often used in sunscreens and other cosmetic products. In small concentrations it is considered a safe ingredient, but it can cause skin irritation. If you have acne-prone skin, it is best to avoid using sunscreen that contains phenoxyethanol directly on your face.

    Zinc Oxide – Studies have shown that Zinc Oxide is safe and that ZnO nanoparticles do not penetrate the skin.

    The Best Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin

    Best Face Sunscreen: MyChelle Dermaceuticals SPF 28

    This mineral-based sunscreen from MyChelle Dermaceuticals provides a nice matte finish and is free of harmful ingredients and potential irritants. I like to use it on my face because it does not clog pores like most sunscreens do. It works well for both body and face, but please note that it is not water resistant, so if you’re a swimmer it may not be the best choice for you.

    Best Spray Sunscreen: Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Spray SPF 50

    This highly-rated spray sunscreen from Neutrogena is water resistant and goes on clean without an oily residue. If you’re a fan of water activities or are planning a beach vacation, this sunscreen is a must!

    Best High SPF Sunscreen: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-in Milk Sunscreen SPF 100

    If you have a fair complexion and need a high SPF for maximum sun coverage, then this sunscreen from La Roche-Posay is for you! I recently used this sunscreen and was impressed to see that it actually did “melt” in pretty well. However, if you have sensitive skin you should avoid using this product on your face because it contains a small amount of phenoxyethanol.

  • The Best Detox Drink for Acne is Lemon Water

    The Best Detox Drink for Acne is Lemon Water

    As mentioned in a previous post, vitamin C delivers some major skin benefits. In the form of a serum, it can brighten and repair skin, reducing the appearance of post-acne dark spots. But there’s also another way to reap the benefits of vitamin C: drinking a daily glass of lemon water.

    Although there are no scientific studies that drinking lemon water will reduce acne, lemons are packed with antioxidants and are proven to have anti-inflammatory properties. According to EcoWatch.com, “The antioxidants in lemons are also powerful anti-inflammatory agents. They can help to reduce swelling (even minor internal swelling), thereby enabling your body to repair any damaged tissue.” This means anyone experiencing skin inflammation and redness could likely benefit from lemon water.

    How to Drink Lemon Water

    For best results, you’ll want to drink your lemon water first thing in the morning before breakfast or coffee. Heat 1 cup of water until it is warm but not too hot (warmer water is better for digestion and will hydrate you faster than cold water) and mix it with the juice from 1/2 of a lemon. To protect your teeth from the acidity, I recommend drinking it through a metal straw.

    Personally, I cannot say enough good things about lemon water, I’ve been drinking every morning for several months and have noticed that my skin is brighter, clearer, and even less oily. It is quick and affordable, and once you get into the habit of it it will be as easy to remember as pouring your morning coffee. Enjoy!

    *Warning: There are many articles online touting the benefits of putting lemon water or lemon juice directly on your face. I wouldn’t recommend this for people with sensitive skin because skin irritation is a common side effect of fruit acid. Instead I would recommend using a Vitamin C Serum to get the same benefits without the risk of irritation.

    Source: https://www.ecowatch.com/benefits-of-lemon-water-2608637935.html#:~:text=The%20antioxidants%20in%20lemons%20are,to%20repair%20any%20damaged%20tissue.

  • The Best Supplements for Hormone Balance

    The Best Supplements for Hormone Balance

    *There are some affiliate links below and I may receive a small commission from purchases made through these links, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t personally used.

    Supplements are an important element of any holistic skin care regimen, and the good news is that they are easily accessible and affordable. So why are they often subject to debate?

    Supplements are regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration as foods, not as drugs. This means that while they are required to be safe, they are not required to actually work.

    Berberine capsules Berberine capsules

    There are also misconceptions about supplements and what they are actually for. They’re not a magical cure-all, rather they are meant to supplement an already healthy diet. This is why it’s important to educate yourself on supplements in order to determine which ones will be effective and beneficial for you.

    If your goal is to improve your skin and reduce acne, then balancing your hormones with supplements can be an effective way to do so.

    white and blue health pill and tablet letter cutout on yellow surface
    Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com

    How Do I Decide Which Supplements to Take?

    Different supplements can enhance your health in different ways. And since you don’t want to exhaust yourself taking 15+ supplements a day (I tried this for a while and got supplement burnout, lol), it’s important to pay attention to your body and lifestyle habits to decide which supplements are best for you. For example, eggs contain some of the highest levels of Vitamin D of any food, so if you eat scrambled eggs every day for breakfast every day then you don’t need to take a Vitamin D supplement. Below is a list of some of the best supplements for hormone balance and a guide to choosing them based on your symptoms and diet:

    B Vitamins (Vitamins B2, B6, B9, B12)

    Why it’s important: According to Healthline.com, “B vitamins play a vital role in maintaining good health and well-being. As the building blocks of a healthy body, B vitamins have a direct impact on your energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism.” Vitamin B6 specifically plays an important role in the production and regulation of testosterone in your body.

    Who should take it: The birth control pill depletes your body of several B vitamins, so if you are currently taking it or have recently come off it, it is a good idea to take a Vitamin B-Complex to restore your hormonal health.

    Berberine

    Why it’s important: Berberine is an organic compound found in some plants, including tree tumeric. According to a study led by the National Library of Medicine, Berberine helps the body by “inducing secretion of insulin in the body, reducing insulin resistance, and improving sensitivity of liver, muscle tissues and fat to insulin.”  Insulin resistance is a resistance in the body to the hormone insulin. It causes increased blood sugar levels, which can often lead to acne. (Click here to read more about how blood sugar impacts acne.)

    Who should take it: If you have recently stopped taking birth control pills and are experiencing acne and oily skin, you should try taking Berberine supplements.

    DIM (Diindolylmethane)

    Why it’s important: DIM is a natural chemical compound found in cruciferous vegetables. It is one of the best supplements you can take for acne because it blocks excess androgen. Women experiencing acne often have high androgen levels, which lead to increased sebum production. (Click here to read more about hormones and how they can lead to oily skin.)

    Who should take it: If you are struggling with hormonal acne and your diet is lacking in cruciferous vegetables (brocolli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and more) then DIM supplements are an excellent choice for you.

    (Click here to see a complete list of cruciferous vegetables from Happy DIY Home.)

    Magnesium

    Why it’s important: Magnesium might be the most important supplement on this list. As stated on FloLiving.com, “Magnesium is magic for your hormones. It is a foundational support to all hormone functions in the body – without it you will not produce hormones at levels you need, and ovulation will become irregular.”

    Who should take it: Everyone can benefit from a magnesium supplement. Most people do not get enough of it. Even once your hormones are balanced and acne has subsided, it is advisable to continue taking magnesium long term.

    Probiotics

    Why they’re important: Probiotics are important for maintaining a healthy and diverse gut microbiome. Scientists have even discovered links between gut microbiome diversity and reproductive health. As mentioned by Flore.com, “One study found that a probiotic regimen could restore the gut microbiome’s diversity in rats with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. This restoration improved the function of their reproductive system.”

    Who should take them: Anyone suffering from PCOS, Post-Birth Control Syndrome, or hormone imbalance in general could benefit from probiotics. See other tips for restoring gut health in my post about gut health testing.

    Saw Palmetto

    Why it’s important: Saw palmetto is a type of palm that grows in the southeastern United States. According to HealthLine.com, “Some research suggests that saw palmetto has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help treat certain conditions. For example, one study in mice with enlarged prostates observed that saw palmetto extract decreased swelling and several markers of inflammation.” It is also high in antioxidants, which are crucial to skin health because they help the skin repair itself.

    Who should take it: If you’re struggling with red and inflamed skin and acne, taking a saw palmetto supplement may be beneficial.

    Zinc

    Why it’s important: According to EternalDermatology.com, “Zinc’s anti-inflammatory properties help the body to reduce swelling and redness in acne patients. Studies show that patients who were treated with zinc noticed a decrease in active breakouts compared to those who didn’t. Since zinc also helps wound healing, it can help to reduce any residual acne scarring.” It can also help decrease redness from rosacea and dermatitis.

    Who should take it: Zinc is best obtained through foods, specifically oysters, red meat and poultry. If you’re not getting enough of these foods and you’re experiencing acne and acne scarring then you may want to try zinc supplements.

    Tips For Taking Supplements:

    -Take your supplements with a glass of water after eating to avoid nausea.

    -For efficiency, keep your supplements in a weekly pill organizer.

    -Always take your supplements according to the instructions on the back of the label. If you have concerns about a particular supplement then consult a healthcare provider before taking it.

    Thanks for reading 🙂 ❤

    Sources:

    https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/vitamin-b-complex#benefits

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6434235/#:~:text=Berberine%20improves%20physiological%20stimulation%20of,fat%20to%20insulin%20(16).

    https://www.floliving.com/benefits-of-magnesium-for-hormonal-balance/

    https://flore.com/blogs/learn/probiotics-and-womens-health

    https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/saw-palmetto-benefits#4.-May-decrease-inflammation

    https://eternaldermatology.com/zinc-and-acne/#:~:text=Zinc’s%20anti%2Dinflammatory%20properties%20help,reduce%20any%20residual%20acne%20scarring.

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