November Updates in Honor of Mark Twain

Mark Twain’s birthday is today–the same as my father. Coincidence? I think not. lol OK. Anyway, I’m trying something new. I’m constantly reading and researching new techniques and products, right? Well, it occurred to me that I don’t really ever give you an update on how it has been working for me. Thus, you get the very beginning of a new idea, but you don’t always hear about the follow through and final decision. WELL–in the spirit of science and sharing information, I’m going to start updating you as I start seeing results.

First up, Witch Hazel: it is still a great toner with minimal drying. It is a natural, mild and low-cost way to clean the soapy residue from my face after a washing. I am going to definitely keep it in the rotation.

Rose Water: I found a small bottle at an Indian grocery store near my office. I read that if you get it from a grocer, it is more pure because it would be used in cooking–it is ingestible. So, I got the rosewater and added some liquid glycerine. Next time, I think I will just do rosewater. I think the glycerine was too much for my oily skin. At first it was great, but then I started to feel like it was too much, and I had a little round of white heads pop up. Hey–live and learn. So, next time around, I’m doing straight up rosewater.

I want to wait a few more days to report back on the dry brushing, I want to be sure that my hypothesis is right on.




Thanksgiving Pimple Mantras

Yeah, yeah. You are basting a turkey, raking leaves and still trying to de-code Martha Stewart’s most difficult turkey crafts. HOWEVER. You cannot lose focus on your skin and your skin care regiment. Since you are such an astute reader, I am going to throw out some prime time pimple tips to keep your acne away this autumn.

First–you can pack away your bikini, but DON’T pack away your sunglasses and sunscreen! Just because the day is shorter doesn’t mean you can’t still get roasted. We are still susceptible to sun damage, even as our earth’s axis turns. ALSO, if you are taking some types of medication for acne, it can upgrade your photosensitivity. Don’t forget!

Second, it is time to switch to a more emollient moisturizer, one that is non clogging for those angry pores. The air is cold and brisk with lots of windy moments–don’t suffer through random dry patches. Even if your skin is on the more oily side, you need moisturizer. (If you didn’t see the Rosewater post, I am seeing AMAZING results from my organic Rosewater-Glycerin mist. Just FYI.)

Last but not least: keep up with your acne treatments. If you have a medicated wash or mask that you are supposed to be doing weekly, don’t let that slip to the end of the list. Sure, things are crazy, but you will be glad you kept on it!

Don't let the holidays eclipse your acne assault!



Dry Brush your Face for Less Acne

Dry brushing your face is great to keep your acne at bay. In yesterday’s post, we discussed dry brushing your body to relieve toxins that lead to acne. The article yesterday is more about the entire body, while this post focuses on just the face.

Before you get crazy and sand your face off—don’t. Take it slow. Your skin may not be used to this level of exfoliation, so don’t go too hard. Plus, excessive brushing will OVER stimulate the skin and bring about some side effects that you won’t like. If this is your first time, do it softly and very gently until your face gets used to the rough feeling. A note: again, if this is your first experience, you must know that you are going to be stirring up some toxins and they will be looking to vacate your body. This could result in an acne flare up—but don’t be discourage. Stick with it, as these pimples were going to come out eventually and it is better to get it out of the way now. Also, before you start brushing, be sure you aren’t constipated; this type of blockage will cause too many toxins to leave through the skin. (Sorry, it is gross, but you needed to know.)

Ok, you’re going to spend about 5-15 minutes on your dry brushing session. Before you work out or before you shower, you will start with gentle; very light circular motions on your face. NOTE: If you have severe acne, you should really just gently massage with a clean hot face towel and NOT brush your face. It could leave you with seriously inflamed acne.

Next, always brush in the same direction—the direction of your heart. If you look at it from the feet upward, brush UP toward the heart. If you are at your neck, brush downward toward the heart. Once you finish dry brushing, give it about 5 minutes and hop into the shower to wash and remove the dead, old skin. NOTE: you can use a loofa in the shower with soap and use it to brush your skin as we discussed above. This is a much gentler way to brush your face and wash away the dead skin cells at the same time. You can easily rid yourself of current acne and prevent against future acne with a dry brushing session.

Again, if you have very serious acne, dry brushing may not be for you. I would definitely speak to a dermatologist before you start.

You're definitely...DOING IT WRONG!

Dry Skin Brushing for Acne Detox

We all know that sometimes acne is best treated by working from the inside out. Well, your skin is your largest “elimination” organ. Did you know that it releases a POUND of waste every day? Yeah. Gross—but true. Also, did you know that if you aren’t feeling’ so great, your skin is the first organ to show symptoms? Yep. Your skin will rat you out in a second if you’re not taking care of it. Your skin is busy pushing out a quarter of the toxins from your body. In fact, it is sometimes called the “third kidney” because of all of the garbage that it gets rid of.

So, if your skin can’t release those toxins—you’re going to see an uprising of inflamed acne, maybe even rashes, itchiness, body odor, etc. Dead skin cells, leftover waste and skin care products or makeup just sit in those pores and gum up the works. If your toxins can’t escape the skin—they are shoved into your fat cells, which will emphasize your cellulite and other fatty areas. OR they will be re-circulated into the blood stream, which makes your kidneys work overtime.

Ok, so you know the problem, so how do we move forward? One idea is Dry Skin Brushing. It is exactly what it sounds like; you choose a natural, semi-firm bristled brush and exfoliate the skin before your shower. Benefits include: looking radiant, vibrant and fresh. It is also good for circulation, immunity and stimulating your nervous system.

With this brushing session, you are going to remove the layer of dead skin cells that are dimming your skin’s potential. Your skin will renew itself with each layer that you brush down—leaving you with a renewed texture.

Another advantage: dry brushing stimulates the nervous system, tones the muscles and ultimately tightens your skin. You are stimulating nerve endings in your skin, you will rejuvenate your nerves and activate individual muscle fibers, resulting in toned muscles. Whoa, right?

When you spend time dry brushing, you are also stimulating the blood and lymph flow. Your lymphatic system is a key player in cleansing the immune system. This is where white blood cells service the cells with nutrients and waste disposal. Speed up the waste removal part and you can avoid swollen tissues.

And lastly: it REDUCES CELLULITE! Yeah! This requires daily brushing and several months to see results, but if you massage and stimulate your cellulite, you will eventually break up those fatty deposits for results.

So, start dry brushing. See radiant, renewed skin and less acne because your body is eliminating waste faster!

Rosewater for All Seasons

In the summer, my skin is an oil slick. In the winter, my skin is a red, dry, flaky mess. Don’t bother prescribing me your “favorite” face lotion because everything makes me break out. I can’t wear bronzer on my chest unless I want to wake up to an army of new pimples.

I have always worshipped the harsh, alcohol based toners and stringent. I figure if it burns a little, it is working, right? (And, by the way, who invented that saying, anyway?) Well, a client suggested a rosewater mist for my oily, yet dry (I don’t get it either) acne-prone skin. I have tried everything else, so I figured what the hell.

First, I would like to report a very clear benefit—it works as a “refresher” when your makeup is a little lackluster. A spritz at midday will completely punch up my makeup. A rosewater mist is perfect for a dewy glow, something that is hard to find once the days get shorter and the sun is MIA. It also works as a way to “set” the makeup once you have applied. It also works with the makeup, making it much easier to blend. (And did I mention that it works as a makeup remover?) Yeah. This stuff is amazing.

Next, rosewater is a pretty great moisturizer. Here’s why, it is super light and hydrates without disturbing your makeup. It works as a great deodorizer, and after-shower splash. You can hydrate your whole body before you even put your robe on! This is ideal in the colder climates when the concept of being cold and wet—even for a minute is unbearable. No more “waiting for your lotion to dry” while your hair freezes. (Don’t ask.)

So, rosewater refreshes your oily skin in the summer and it gently hydrates and conditions winter skin. It removes makeup. It sets your makeup, and allows it to blend better. The fragrance works as aromatherapy, ideal for when your day gets a little nuts. I did a little bit of reading and saw that many people were using it before or after yoga. (Some were suggesting using it during yoga, but…how would that even work?) But, definitely spritz a little on that inflamed eyebrow after a tweeze session. It will soothe and calm, adding a pleasant touch.

Others report that rosewater is ideal for wrinkles and redness. (I started a couple weeks ago, I see decreased redness, but maybe it helps with wrinkles, don’t know yet.) Oh, and did I mention that you can get it cheap? Winning. (Yeah, I know no one is doing the Charlie Sheen one-liners anymore. But I’m going to bring it back. You’re welcome.)

Wide, Wonderful World of Witch Hazel

Add Witch Hazel to your "potions".

So I was wandering the drugstore in my neighborhood–you know the mini-drugstore that has more stuff than you’d ever know what to do with? Seriously, if there is a zombie apocalypse, I’m going to this drug store to live happily for at least the next three years, zombie-safe. Anyway, I was killing time and I passed the aisle with all the random products in it. Next to the alcohol is Witch Hazel. Now, I remember as a kid, my mom swabbing me with this clear stuff when I had mosquito bites or to cool off in the hot weather. I always relegated it to those functions as an adult.

WELL. Witch Hazel is the jack of all trades. This stuff can literally do it all. Sure, it works for bug bites and to “cool off.” BUT, did you know you can use witch hazel for underarm odor? Yeah. Whoa. Wipe some of this stuff in your armpits, let it dry and then use your normal antiperspirants or deodorant. It can dramatically decrease the odor and the wetness.

Witch Hazel has a number of different uses–most of which I had never heard of. It’s major purpose is to serve as an anti-inflammatory solution, it also packs an antibacterial punch.

Did you know that you can use your Witch Hazel for….

Ingrown Hairs and Razor Burn: swipe some on before and after you shave. It should be able to cut the sting and redness of shaving, as well as those painful ingrown hairs.

Under Eye Bags and Redness: Refresh your tired, red eyes and shrink those bags with Witch Hazel. Drip a paper towel in the stuff and let it rest on your eyes for ten or fifteen minutes. If you’ve been crying this is a great treatment.

Witch Hazel can help with dry skin, bruises, cuts, sunburn and spot and blemish control. When your acne, pimples and zits are all inflamed and on fire, a little WH will help keep the swelling to a minimum.

If you had a weird weekend and turned up with Poison Ivy or Poison Oak, you can cut the swelling and pain with–you guessed it–Witch Hazel. Soothe your baby’s diaper rash with the WH. You can also use it to soothe varicose veins. See. I told you this stuff was insane.

You can even use Witch Hazel for external hemorrhoids relief. It will tighten the skin and it also serves as an anti-itch remedy. (It is supposed to have some of the same ingredients as Preparation H.)

The best part about Witch Hazel? Yeah. It’s like one dollar a bottle. SO. Get crackin’.


Sleeping in Makeup is Worse than you Thought

You know how everyone says that falling asleep with your makeup on is the worst thing you can do? Well. I did a little experiment. With all of the Halloween activities, all of the parties and shopping and preparation, I have been getting what would amount to three or four hours of sleep a night. Now that Halloween is over, you can believe that I’m hitting the sack until Thanksgiving.

In any event, I spent a good five nights of “sack time” with a full face of makeup. (Good thing I was in costume for the past few days because my skin is SCREAMING.) Here is why you just freaking cannot leave your makeup on at night:

Your skin repairs itself while you sleep. When you sleep, your skin cells turnover and cell turnover is vital for fresh, young looking skin. Since my skin cells have been neglected, by face looks like an old catcher’s mitt—dull and covered in blemishes.

Next, dried mascara will cake over night and break the delicate eyelashes in half. If you aren’t careful, it can straight make them fall out.

Lastly, your skin is sort of like a net, or a lightning rod of sorts. It collects all of the bacteria from smog, oil, your fingers, and the phone, EVERYTHING throughout the day. So, because you’re not washing it off, it just settles in to clog up your pores. Cute. SO cute. (No. It isn’t. At all.)

Long story short—I was too lazy to wash my stupid face. You really REALLY shouldn’t ever go to sleep with your makeup on. I tried it. You’re welcome.