TREATING HORMONAL ACNE - DIET, LIFESTYLE & PRODUCTS

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By now you have probably come to realize that I’m a quality over quantity and less is more kind of person in all aspects of life - makeup, friends, ingredients, labels, skin care, all of it.

I prefer everything in my life to be bullshit free, like e v e r y t h I n g. I don't like toxicity of any kind and I definitely don't like to put chemicals in my body, on my body or anywhere near my body if I have any say in it so I’m happy to say that my entire skincare routine is finally completely nontoxic and clean - YAY - and honestly I think that that is a huge factor in the fact that my skin is finally getting better after a year + long journey.

MY SKIN JOURNEY..

I luckily never really suffered from acne growing up, I had the occasional breakout but it was never anything cray cray, but thanks to my hormones my skin has been a total war zone over the last year and it has been especially bad the last few months. I’m currently having one of the longest and worst acne flare ups I've ever had, I'm waking up to new breakouts every day and I would be lying to you (which I’d never do) if I told you that it didn’t weigh HEAVILY on my confidence and self esteem.

If I’m being totally real with you there was a point a few weeks ago where I didn’t even want to put makeup on (which is huge because I actually love makeup), but I didn’t want to not wear makeup because I hated how my skin looked, I basically just didn’t even want to leave my house and it was extremely hard on me mentally. I felt like it was all that anyone could see when they looked at me, I felt like it was dictating my worth and I felt defeated as f**k, and it honestly broke me down into tears multiple times.

But that was then and this is now and right now my skin is actually getting better for the first time in over a year and I'm going to share exactly what I’m doing with you, from nutrition to hydration to sleep to products. You're getting the low down on everything - so let’s get into it..

 DIET

*The first & most important part of skin health is glowing from the inside out*

It’s not a secret that what you put in is what you put out, you know that saying "you are what you eat" well it could not be more true. Every cell in our body is made up of what we choose to feed it with, we literally have the power to control what we are made of (how cool is that). We should want our skin to be high in vitamins, minerals and nutrients and low in all the crap that we don't need. If you feed your body with greasy, processed foods you are going to see that on your skin, that grease will most likely show on your skin in oil, dullness and breakouts. If you want to glow and look vibrant and alive it’s important to start on the inside by feeding your body with nutritious, whole foods and fruits and veggies and include healthy fats in your diet. It's also super important to practice mindfulness when you eat and pay attention to how you feel after eating a certain food! Healthy fats are also a HUGE part of skin health, essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes, they help produce the skin's natural oil barrier which keeps skin hydrated, plump, and looking youthful!

Some of my favourite skin foods are; 

  • Avocado

  • Spinach

  • Blueberries

  • Coconut oil

  • Whole grain oats

  • Almonds

  • Flax seeds

  • Chia Seeds

  • Cinnamon

  • Cacao

  • Coconut

Along with the foods that I include for glowing skin there are also foods that I stay FAR away from for my skin health as well as my overall health, and those are;

  • Sugar (refined sugar, processed sugar, I even try to limit natural sugars) - extremely inflammatory and leads to breakouts by producing enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles and digested sugar permanently attaches to the collagen in your skin through a process known as glycation. I have a full insta post all about added sugars, you can read it HERE!

  • Gluten - also VERY inflammatory and causes digestive disturbances which can lead to breakouts and more inflammation.

  • Caffeine - causes an increase in stress hormones like cortisol which increases the amount of oil produced by your sebaceous glands, making your more prone to breakouts.

  • Inflammatory oils and fats - (canola oil, sunflower oil, etc) these oils are incredibly bad for our health, not just our skin, and an excess omega 6 to omega 3 ratio leads to inflammation and causes breakouts.

WATER

Skin is an organ and just like every other organ in your body it needs water to function. If you are dehydrated then your skin will not be getting the amount of water that it needs and the lack of hydration will start to show. Dehydrated skin looks dry, tight and flaky, has less elasticity and is more prone to wrinkling!

EXERCISE

You can always tell when someone has just worked out by that post workout sweaty glow they have going on. If there was a way to make my skin could look exactly how it does after a workout all the time I would do it in a heartbeat! Exercise causes us to sweat and improves blood flow and circulation which is amazing for your skin. Our skin is the largest organ for detoxification and sweating helps move that detoxification process along by eliminating toxins. But make sure you wash your face and use a toner right after you workout to prevent breakouts!

STRESS REDUCTION

Stress causes the release of Cortisol which triggers inflammation in the body and the skin. After a while all of the excess inflammation starts to break down the collagen in our skin which is the protein that keeps your face looking smooth, firm, moisturized and youthful. Excess cortisol also reduces hyaluronic acid production - think of this as your skins natural moisturizer - which results in dry and easily damaged skin. 

If you follow me on the gram then you know that I just went through one of the hardest couple weeks of my life and you guys my stress levels were freakin’ out of control and I am definitely paying the price a little bit this week in the form of a couple mini breakouts which isn’t ideal but I knew it would happen so I’m just trying to not stress more about the breakups (its a vicious cycle) and just do what I can to reduce my stress going forward into this new chapter of my life. Stress happens to the best of us but unfortunately a lot of the time we can't really avoid the things that stress us out (work, relationships and bills I'm talking to you) but we can learn to manage our stress and reduce how it affects us. I take time to relax every day (multiple times), I meditate, I pull tarot cards, I journal and I make sure that if something starts to stress me out I just excuse myself from the situation and breathe. Honestly breathing has been the biggest game changer in reducing my stress, it sounds so simple but try incorporating some deep mindful breathing whenever you can and see how you feel. Remember that life is only as stressful as you allow it to be and you really do have the power to control how you deal with your circumstances!

SLEEP

Okay I’ll be totally honest, I’m a huge princess when it comes to sleep and make sure I get a MINIMUM of 7 hours of sleep every night first of all because I’ll be a total biatch if I don’t and second to obviously help with my stress levels and hormones.When we are sleep-deprived the body makes more of the stress hormone cortisol which increases  inflammatory skin conditions like acne and eczema! PRO TIP: I also *try to* put my phone and laptop away at least an hour before bed in an effort to lower my cortisol even more.

SUPPLEMENTS

Probiotics - we need probiotics to maintain our gut health, without them our microbiome becomes damaged and depleted and one of the first places that this manifests is in our skin in the form of acne and other skin issues like rosacea and eczema. It is particularly important to maintain gut health when dealing with hormonal acne because the microbiome helps process and eliminate excess estrogen. I personally take a probiotic supplement every day AND make a conscious effort to eat probiotic rich foods at least once a day

Omega 3's - think of this as nourishing and hydrating your skin from the inside out. The Omega 3 EPA reduces inflammation and alleviates irritation at a biochemical level which basically means that it gets to the root cause of aggravated skin conditions. The omega-3 fatty acids also protect the skin against sun damage, supply hydration to your skin and help with inflammation. I take a high dose liquid fish oil every day that has 1500 mg of EPA!

B Vitamins - taking a good B complex is crucial to skin health because the B vitamins provide all of the energy that our skin cells need to regenerate and renew. 

Vitamin D - unless you live somewhere that is constantly sunny or you take a supplement then chances are you are not getting/synthesizing enough vitamin D. In the winter our vitamin D production drops because we aren't exposed to sunlight as often, this causes our immune system to weaken which can cause the skin barrier to break down which puts you at risk of developing a skin infection (eczema). This is why eczema sufferers usually have flare ups during the winter!

Magnesium - a lack of magnesium causes inflammation in the skin. PRO TIP: when magnesium is taken with calcium it protects skin health by lowering the amount of C-reactive proteins that cause inflammation.

Zinc - zinc deficiency is quite common especially in women. When we are deficient in zinc our immunity becomes lowered and our susceptibility to inflammation and irritation increases in both the body and the skin.

PRODUCTS

SKINCARE

I’ve tried every product under the sun over the last 1.5 years and the products tab tI’m currently using, I’ve ben using for at least 6 weeks so I know they’re working. My full skincare routine is FINALLY entirely made up of clean beauty products and I think that switching over has been one of the things that has really helped my skin.

Farmacy Green Clean Cleansing Balm - Okay you guys this is step one in my skincare routine and it is literally one of my fav products I’ve ever used.. I’ve repurchased it 3 times now since I first started using it in January, it’s AMAZING. I use this to remove my makeup and I let it soak into my skin for like 1-3 minutes before rinsing it off.

Philosophy Clear Days Ahead Salycilic Acid Cleanser - this is the most recent thing I’ve added into my routine an it is not 100% certified “clean” but it’s formulated without ALL of the nasty stuff and the salycilic acid helps keep breakouts at bay. I use this morning (after my workout) and night after I take my makeup off.

Thayers Witch Hazel Toner - I have NEVER been a toner kind of girl but this product has really changed my skin for the better, I use it morning and night after I cleanse.

Sephora Clean Brightening Eye Cream - I’ve never really been huge into eye cream, like I used to Justus my facial moisturizer under my eyes but my best friend is a makeup artist and she basically made me get my hit together and now I’ll never go back.

Drunk Elephant TLC Glycolic Night Serum OR Sephora Clean Glycolic Peal Pads - adding in. a glycolic acid to my routine has probably been the biggest game changer for me, it helps with texture and redness, smooths everything out and really tightens your skin up. I use a glycolic every other day but the DE serum is PRICEY AF (but also worth it) and I’m not trying to break the bank rn so I’ve been switching back and forth between that and the Sephora brand peel pads.

Drunk Elephant LaLa Moisturizer - this is my OG, I’ve been using it for a year and to be honest I’ve tried to switch to other ones because it’s definitely not cheap but nothing even comes close, its definitely worth the $$. I use this every night. If you want a cheaper option the Sephora Clean Nourishing Moisturizer is pretty comparable, I used it for a few weeks!

Drunk Elephant Marula Antioxidant Oil - again I’ve tried to move away from this because it’s NOT cheap (I sense a tend here) but I view it as an investment and it’s literally the best thing ever, I use it every other on top of my moisturizer. A good cheaper option is the foursigmatic superfood serum, it’s honestly incredible and very reasonably priced.

Sephora Clean Vitamin C & E Serum - I used to use the Drunk Elephant one but I recently ran out and thought I’d give this one a try and so far so good! I use this every morning after I have cleansed and toned.

Sephora Clean Hydrating Serum - I use this in the morning after the Vitamin C serum, it’s super hydrating but light weight so it’s good for under makeup!

Cocokind Matcha Stick - this literally saves my eczema flare ups and is amazing for moisturizing your under eyes and lips which if you know me you know I L O V E a moisturized lip like ooh baby.

Fresh Umbrian Clay Mask OR Sephora Clean Mud Mask - I use one of these masks once a week, they’re really good for breakouts and you can use the fresh one as a spot treatment as well.

MAKEUP

I’m only sharing my skin makeup because it’s obviously the most important, if you have questions about which eye products I use you can message me on insta!

Josie Maran Tinted SPF 47 - this stuff is AMAZING, I’ve been using it for over a year and I love it sooo much. It’s tinted so you can wear it on it’s own in the summer or under makeup, it’s kind of sticky too so makeup sticks to it and it makes you look flawless it’s the best.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Tinted Moisturizer - this has been my GO TO tinted moisturizer for the last 3 years and it is THE BEST, it has really nice, glowy, sheer coverage and doesn't clog my pores.

RMS Concealer - I just reordered my second one of these, soo good!

Milk Makeup Cream Stick Matte Bronzer - I love a bronzey glow so I’m a very big bronzer gal!

Milk Makeup Highlighter Stick - I am OBSESSED with highlighter, like I want to be so highlighted that I look wet okay haha i’m all about the dewy glow.

I should note that as always these are things that have worked for me and my skin and might not work for you. Healthy skin starts with a good diet, lots of water, sleep and a happy and (mostly) stress free life so before you run out and buy a bunch of products or supplements try to get those things working for you first!

xo -LU

MY UPDATED SKINCARE ROUTINE + HOLY GRAIL PRODUCTS

This is my skin now - clear + glowing + healthy.

This is my skin now - clear + glowing + healthy.

It's no secret that over the last 10 months I have been dealing with some serious sh*t when it comes to my skin. Between my hormonal acne and eczema flare ups I wasn’t really able to catch a break for the bulk of this year and I would be lying if I said it didn’t start to take a tole on my self confidence, but I'm happy to say that after A LOT of trial and error and trying what feels like a million different products and methods things have COMPLETELY turned around for my skin over the last 8 weeks.

I didn't want to share much in regards to products in my hormonal skin care post a few months back (read that here) because I hadn't found a system that had actually worked for me, until now. I finally have a legitimate routine in place that I know actually works which means I feel totally confident sharing it with you guys! So let's get into it..

Skin is our bodies largest organ so it's important that we have the same standards when it comes to what we put on our skin as we do with the food that we put into our bodies.

This was my skin mid July.

This was my skin mid July.

Acne + Eczema + Inflammation + Redness

Acne + Eczema + Inflammation + Redness

PRODUCTS:

In the beginning of August I bit the bullet and switched all my products over to DRUNK ELEPHANT (DE) products and I am NEVER looking back! DE is an American based company and all of their products are created, tested, made in the USA. DE chooses their ingredients based on biocompatibility, which means that their products are formulated with both cutting-edge synthetic and natural ingredients and without “toxins”, sensitizers and irritants, such as the disruptive essential oils, that block the pathway to healthy skin. All of their products are free of the “Suspicious 6” (Essential Oils, Drying Alcohols, Silicones, Chemical Screens, Fragrance/Dyes and SLS,) making them appropriate for all skin types. 

I will warn you guys that DE products are a little on the pricier side of things but a little goes a long way and the quality is 100% worth the price tag.. You guys I'm not exaggerating when I say that these products have honestly changed my skin in a major way, I really and truly can't say enough good things about them *insert ugly appreciation cry* 

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THE PRODUCTS

Peekee Bar -  I use this every night after I take off my makeup and every morning after I workout. It cleanses, tones, softens and has an ideal pH level of 6.51 so it cleanses without drying or stripping the skin of its protective barrier.

JuJu Bar - I use this every other night because it is a an exfoliant. It cleanses, exfoliates and detoxifies the skin, this bar has a pH level of 6.34!

T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum - I use this every night mixed with my moisturizer after I have washed my face. It’s a 12% AHA/BHA night serum that helps refine and resurface skin to even out any texture and colour. T.L.C. Framboos™ also enhances the performance of the other DE products.

LaLa Retro Whipped Cream Moisturizer - I use this every night mixed with the TLC Glycolic serum. It is a blend of six rare African oils, whipped into a retro-style moisturizer that rescues dry, dull skin while slowly delivering a steady dose of moisture throughout the day and night.

C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream - I use this every morning and night under my eyes and on my eyelids. It is a multivitamin Eye Cream is rich and restorative, featuring a brightening combination of eight peptides, five forms of vitamin C and cucumber extract.

C-Firma Day Serum - I use this every morning after I have washed my face post workout, mixed with the B-Hydra serum. It is a super-potent vitamin C day serum packed with a powerful antioxidant complex, essential nutrients, and fruit enzymes, all working together to firm and brighten the appearance of skin, while improving the signs of photoaging.

B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum - I use this every morning mixed with the C-Firma serum after I’ve washed my face post workout. It is an ultra-hydrating vitamin B5 gel replenishes nutrients, visibly brightens and improves the appearance of skin texture and tone while providing intense skin hydration throughout the day.

MAKEUP:

When it comes to makeup I keep it simple and rarely change it up. I love Tarte and Josie Maran and have used all of these products for over 2 years, this may seem like a lot of products but I use a very small amount of every single one so it actually isn't as much as you think and they last a long time!

Josie Maran Argan Oil Tinted SPF 40 - An Argan-infused, chemical-free sunscreen with a slight tint to add warmth and radiance to skin and protect against UV-induced free radical damage.

Tarte BB Tinted Moisturizer - I've used this for 3 years and I have ZERO intention of switching because it's amazing. It's oil free and vegan and is made from skin-balancing Amazonian clay combined with chamomile and vitamins A, C, and E!

Tarte Aquacealer Concealer - vegan, paragon free and lightweight with skin nourishing benefits.

Tarte Eyeshadow Palette - I basically only use the 2 lightest shades out of this unless it's the weekend or a special occasion - told you I prefer low maintenance.

Tarte Contour, Blush and Highlight Pallete - I told you guys I am OBSESSED with Tarte. 

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara - One of the questions that I get asked the most on instagram is “what mascara do you use” well you guys this is it. I’ll warn you now though that this mascara is NOT natural, it is rated low on EWG which is better than nothing though. I have tried a ton of other natural brands of mascara but they just don’t work as well and I like to pick my battles so I figure that one product being not natural is okay in the grand scheme of things.

MY ROUTINE:

MORNING

When I wake up the first thing that I do is wash my face with warm water, I use my hands to splash my face a few times and then use a damp clean face cloth and gently rub, I then turn the faucet to cold and do the same thing. The cold water helps me wake up, closes my pores, soothes my skin and helps to alleviate any puffiness - which is caused by our cells regenerating and our pores expanding while we sleep!

I don't do anything else to my skin until after I get home from my workout! After I shower I wash my face with my Peekee Bar,  rinse with warm water, pat dry with a towel. Then I take one pump of C-Firma serum and 1 pump of B-Hydra Serum and rub it between my palms to warm it up then apply it to my face in an upwards circular motion - it's important to always apply products upwards to help lift our skin, we already have gravity working against us in the sag department we don't need to make things worse right?!

Makeup comes next and for me this is super minimal and quick, I just use the products I listed above and then literally just slap on some chapstick and I'm good to go in about 9 minutes flat..  Maybe 15 if I'm checking instagram or dancing to music #multitasking.

EVENING

Taking your makeup off and washing your face is quite possibly the best feeling ever and I'd like to see someone try to argue that with me. Try it, you'll lose. So when I'm done my day I take my makeup off IMMEDIATELY, it doesn't matter if it's 6:30pm or 10pm - if I'm in for the night my makeup is coming off. 

I've preached coconut oil before when it comes to skin care and it is honestly the holy grail of skin, hair, and body care in general. You can literally use it for anything and everything and it will do the job. Need a hair mask? coconut oil. moisturizer? coconut oil. bad breath? coconut oil. yeast infection? coconut oil. Okay you get the point. As you probably can guess I use coconut oil (shocker) to take off my eye makeup, I take about a quarter sized amount and literally just gently rub it on my eyes until my make up is loose I guess you could say? Basically when feel your mascara slide off of your lashes and you look like a racoon or a heart broken teenager (take your pick) you know it's done it's job. I use a damp organic bamboo cotton pad to wipe the makeup off and then its time to cleanse.

I use a warm wash cloth to wet my face and the Peekee Bar to cleanse my skin and take off any left over makeup, then I wash it off with warm water and dry with a clean towel - every second day I use the JuJu bar after this to exfoliate!

Then I go in with one pump of the LaLa moisturizer and one pump of the TLC glycolic serum all over my face, the same way I do in the morning (upward motions) and then I use my C-Tango moisturizer under my eyes and on my eye lids and I’m done!

SKINCARE PRO TIPS

  • Nutrition is EVERYTHING - you can have the most extensive and strict skin care regime ever but if your diet is not good your skin will reflect that! Read all about this in my post about dealing with hormonal acne and eczema!

  • Water water water - should I say it again? If you're not hydrating properly your skin will be dull and dry and your pores will likely become clogged.

  • I don't really eat dairy - I cut dairy out 3 years ago and this was huge for my eczema and acne at the time. If I'm out though and do eat something with a little bit of dairy in it I don’t mind and it doesn’t affect my skin much at all.

  • I change my pillow case every week to prevent any sweat, oil, dead skin cell or other residue from building up and clogging my pores.

  • I sleep with my hair in a high twisted bun to keep it off of my face and out of the serum - this also helps my hair lasts longer between washes (I wash twice a week).

  • I try not to touch my face too much - fingers have oil, dirt, and bacteria on them and touching your face will just make things worse!

  • I try not to pop or pick anything on my face - this one is HARD for me, I don't know what it is but if I have a tiny breakout or blemish of any kind I instantly want to mess with it even though I know that it makes it so much worse.

As always these are the things that work for me and might not work for you in the same way! That being said I feel more than confident in recommending every single one of these products and tricks to you guys because I know that they are made with the highest quality ingredients and free of all of the nasty crap that we don't need on our skin.

xo -LU

BENEFITS OF TONGUE SCRAPING

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I'm sure by now you've probably seen someone somewhere on the internet using a tongue scraper and if you haven't then you need to climb out from the rock you're living under and get with the times. It's probably one of the most underrated tools out there and if I'm being bold (what else is new) it's basically going to change your life - no joke. I'll just come right out and say that if you haven't already run to your nearest health store (or amazon) to pick one up then you need to get on it.. like NOW. And if that wasn't enough convincing then read on because I have some serious tongue scraping knowledge for you.

THE HISTORY

If you're new to the whole tongue scraping thing then I should give you a bit of a backstory. Tongue scraping has been around for hundreds of years, it originated as part of Ayurveda which is the traditional Hindu system of medicine and is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems! In Ayurveda tongue scraping is a way to remove the Ama or toxins from your mouth which helps to bring balance to the body.

THE BENEFITS

IMPROVES ORAL HYGIENE & GIVES YOU FRESH (TO DEATH) BREATH

Okay hands up if you have ever brushed your tongue with your tooth brush... be honest. We've all done it and we have all probably at one time or another thought of this to be totally sufficient away of cleaning our tongues and freshening up our mouths. Well I hate to be the one to break it to you but it's actually not doing anything for you or your mouth. A toothbrush is designed to clean the solid structure of our teeth and not the flexible surface of our tongue while a tongue scraper actually dislodges bacteria and any left over food residue that may be lingering and causing tooth decay and your breath and mouth to be a little less than kissable. 

IMPROVES DIGESTION

In Ayurveda, proper digestion is the core of all health, it is the practice of nourishing our body's and our souls. Tongue scraping cleanses our tastebuds and enhances our taste which is the first stage of digestion. The taste of food triggers enzymes that make saliva and start to break down and digest food long before it enters the stomach or GI tract.

STIMULATES INTERNAL ORGANS

Different areas of the tongue are associated with different organ systems like the lungs, heart, kidneys, intestines, liver, etc and a white or yellow coating on the tongue is a direct indication of the presence of toxins in those organs as well as on the tongue itself. Tongue scraping removes these toxins from the tongue and stimulates and cleanses the organs and tissues associated with the area.

HELPS TO GAGE CURRENT HEALTH

As I said the tongue is a direct reflection of the health of almost all of our vital organs and can tell us if there are any imbalances or reoccurring toxins that we need to focus on!

WHICH SCRAPER TO GET

Okay so in traditional Ayurvedic practice tongue scrapers are generally made from copper and I don't know if they just had no idea about copper toxicity back then but I'm not really into putting copper in my mouth twice a day every day. So that being said, I use and recommend stainless steel tongue scrapers to all of my clients because it contains less allergens, is easy to clean and is very durable so it will last you a long time. I love these ones  they're super affordable, good quality and they come in. 2-pack so you will never be without a tongue scraper again - win win WIN.

*PLEASE NOTE: In the picture I'm holding a BPA free plastic scraper because my most recent stainless steel one suffered an untimely death and I am waiting for my new ones to arrive and couldn't just not scrape my tongue..*

HOW TO

It's pretty straight forward but I'll lay it out for you exactly how I do it just in case you're confused! I like to tongue scrape twice a daybefore I brush my teeth in the morning right when I wake up and at night before bed. In the morning I do it after I have oil pulled and at night I do it after I have flossed (both before I brush my teeth). On a side note, I'd love to say that I floss in the morning and at night but you guys know that I am brutally honest and in the spirit of never bullshitting you I'll just come right out and say that I almost always only remember to floss at night. So judge me if you want but just remember that I'm the one explaining tongue scraping to you here so who's really to judge.. kidding.

Okay I've officially given you every reason to step your oral game up (holy sh*t that sounded dirty) so it's time to hop on the tongue scraping train and rock your mouth's world.

xo - LU