When I read, see, or say this word aloud (and many of its synonyms), I immediately think of the Silence of the Lambs. Feel free to read the rest of this post in my worst Hannibal Lecter impression… “Fava Beans!”
If you remember, I stressed that I started toying with the idea of cutting out product crud many years ago in order to find a resolution as to why my skin looked so terrible. I had terrible, terrible, terrible skin. Acne cysts everywhere! I was on birth control to help the influx, I took creams that made my skin fall off, I even used products that were natural, but nothing was helping. I then started realizing it went beyond just what I was putting on my skin (and hair), but what I was putting in my body; as in food. Turns out, my hormones were really out of whack in my teens and 20s.
When we are young, we don’t necessarily think about long-term consequences. We pop the pimples, we scratch the scabs, we apply ungodly amounts of makeup to cover it all up. We also tan (My gawd why did I ever do that?!?!) as it helps dry the skin out and makes the pock marks less visible, but this is still a really terrible idea (hello, moles). Older me is scolding younger me.
Food wise, I started cutting out soda and sugary, sugary beverages. Even milk is riddled with sugar (amongst other things [antibiotics, hormones]– depending on the source). I slowly realized my sugar intake was through the roof and I depended on it so much to get me through the day. I do have a soda on occasion (I’m not perfect– and I can’t resist a Vess) and it is very hard to resist dairy. Cutting out processed sugar and not relying on milk as a source of calcium and protein has helped my skin immensely.
One of the very first product transitions I made was switching to an all natural deodorant. For the longest time, my lymph nodes in my arm pits huuuuurt. They were always, always very tender to the touch. I also had a few lumpy, bumpies in the girls (thank my lady doctor for that visual). Something my doctor has since reassured me is benign, but the reality of it all is very scary. I finally found a deodorant that works after many crafting attempts, ones made from friends, and products available for purchase. My favorite so far is by Native. The scents are divine and this stuff has staying power.
We then started making our own homemade laundry detergent as I have very sensitive skin. Your clothes should not be coated and riddled with smell despite what the ads tell you. And then I quit using laundry sheets (dryer balls are awesome), and then fabric softener (vinegar is a replacement), and then synthetic fragrance of any kind (hello, essential oils, my beautiful, wondrous friends). We then moved on to homemade toothpaste and homemade hand soap and I am always crafting new recipes out of few ingredients.
Once I got the ball rolling to better skin, things started getting easier and I was able to notice things that were my personal triggers. Like soy. It’s in almost EVERYTHING! For me, soy is a trigger food. It is one of those ingredients that gives me adorable little chicken skin bumps on my upper arms and little, sometimes cystic pimples on my jawline and neck. In my best girl impression, “Sooo cute, you guys! Sooo cute!” Certain types of bread and pasta affect me as well… I still consume it. “I love bread!” ~ Oprah Winfrey.
I also made other changes, like switching out my makeup for natural alternatives. I only put things on my skin that are fairly pure. Like 100% Pure (I freaking loooove this brand). If I can’t eat it, I don’t want it. Not that I am going to sit there taking a taste of my concealer. It eases the mind knowing that if my daughter accidentally gets into my makeup bag she won’t find anything toxic.
I also switched out my shampoo and conditioner with better for you varieties. I hate to break it to you, but many of the products you find at the store and brands you thought were trustworthy, are not. Here is one of my favorite shampoos. I tried going no poo. If you’re not familiar, it’s regulating your scalp and hair oil in a way that requires less washing when you shower. You’re not supposed to wash your hair everyday or even every shower. What I found by doing this is my skin broke out more because of the dirt and oil, I couldn’t get my hair as clean as I wanted because I have very hard water, and I had to change my pillowcases and sheets daily (they smelled more oily)– which is a good rule of thumb if you have oily, acne prone skin. Changing out your pillowcases helps your face not break out as much. I will try the no poo regimen again when our hormones are more regulated (I had a baby last August) and when I get a water softening system (Santa, please bring me one)– I can make my own shampoo bars, again.
Lastly, I quit washing my face. You read that correctly. I stopped putting soap on my face. It’s hard to remind your brain that soaping bubbles does not always equal clean. Soap is harsh and it can also take away your precious “good” oils that keep your skin moisturized. I take my makeup off with water and one of these Norwex cloths. It even gets mascara off with ease. These things are the freaking best. I then follow up with a dab of frankincense and carrot seed oil (found on YoungLiving) mixed with some jojoba oil (found on Amazon) on my freshly cleaned skin. On occasion, I’ll do a mask (but it scares people, see below) or I remember to rub in this lovely scar removing gel (there’s probably a better, more natural version out there, but this one works pretty well).
All in all, I am more happy with my skin. I can now go without makeup– something I was never able to do before. If you are reading this and I ever said I had no makeup on, I was lying. I am sorry.
I’m not here to tell you to stop doing or eating anything. I am just giving a testimony to what works for me. That is all. I’m not a doctor or a scientist, but I am observant enough to see correlation between various health issues and diet needs. Your gut tells you more than you know about the rest of your body. I recently attended a seminar that touched on skin ailments and how it mirrors gut health. I now have a new love for probiotics and fermented foods!
If you are new to cutting crap out of your life and finding (or making) alternatives, I am proud of you! It’s not an easy thing to do. And many onlookers may make faces or comment. I get weird looks and hear remarks all of the time. I have many times wanted to scream, “me wanting to make my own toothpaste has nothing to do with you!” Or “Yes, I made my own almond milk. Why? Because I wanted to and I am a grown ass woman.” Why wouldn’t you want to be self-reliant? I am proud that I can whip up white chocolate from complete scratch. It empowers me, but I know it’s not for everyone. Find your support people and let them lift you up.