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4 Natural Alternatives to Antibacterial Ointment (And Why You Need Them)

natural alternatives to antibiotic ointmentWhen you’re a parent, there’s always something to worry about or lose sleep over. Always. And when you have a little daredevil like I do, it’s sometimes hard to know where the legit concerns end (no running with a fork in your hand, Kid) and helicopter parenting begins (“Wait, don’t climb up the ladder on the playground until I am behind you to break your fall!”).

But even if you put your best helicopter parenting skills to the test, at some point you’re probably going to need (or want) some kind of ointment or balm to soothe your babe’s boo-boos. But before you reach for the triple-antibiotic ointment — you know the one I mean, right?! — take a look at that ingredients list. Then put the box back on the shelf and back away slowly. But don’t worry. I worry enough for both of us (I promise!), and I’m here to help.

Here are three great reasons to trash that little tube of unnecessary ointment, and four natural alternatives to reach for instead.

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Giveaway! Win a copy of “Beautiful You” by Rosie Molinary

Rosie Molinary Beautiful YouI have to take a moment to brag about one of the most amazing people I know. Her name is Rosie Molinary, and aside from being whip-smart and funny, she’s a serious inspiration when it comes to empowering young women, feminism, and basically just inspiring everyone around her to live their best life.

As a radical self-acceptance champion, Rosie uses profound questions and wholehearted connection to empower people to treat themselves well so they can connect with their talents and passions to authentically and intentionally live their purpose and help heal the world. The author of Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self Acceptance and Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina (both from Seal Press), Rosie teaches at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, serves as a national Dove Self-Esteem Project educator, offers workshops and retreats, and speaks on self-acceptance, body image, self-care, media literacy, the Latina experience, and intentional living around the country. Rosie also serves as a creative catalyst to companies and brands that wish to provide a synergistic, empowered, and soulful experience to their clients and employees as they serve the world through workshop and retreat facilitation and consultation.

A committed activist, Rosie helped found HAMMERS, a nonprofit initiative to provide emergency home repair for low-income families in her community, and Circle de Luz, a nonprofit that radically empowers young Latinas by supporting their transformation through extensive mentoring, holistic programming and scholarship funds for further education. (Full disclosure: I am a former board member and longtime donor to Circle de Luz.)

Today, I’m thrilled to be able to offer an excerpt from the second edition of Beautiful You, which was released today (yay!), and also a giveaway: One lucky Indigo + Canary reader will get a copy of the book! Read on for a daily dose of Rosie’s signature inspiration, and then enter to win at the end of the post. I’ll announce the winner on Monday, October 17. Good luck!

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New Calls for the FDA to Better Regulate the Cosmetics Industry

Library of Congress, Our new radium $5.00 permanent wave beauty

I can’t help it. Every time I come across a story in the mainstream media about the need to better regulate the cosmetics industry in the United States, I get a little bit excited. At some point, this has got to mean change is on the way, right? The more people who care about what’s in the products they put on their skin, the more people start to actively avoid ingredients that are already banned in places like Japan, Canada, and Europe … the more likely we’ll all have even more great, safe, effective products to choose from. Right?

Well, I’ve basically been giddy for the past week or so.

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Do You Know What’s In Your Sunscreen?

Is Your Sunscreen Doing More Harm Than Good?

Just because summer is coming to a close doesn’t mean you can stop thinking about protecting your skin from the sun. Sure, you might not have to lather it on before a day at the pool or the beach, but good skincare habits are just as important in January as they are in July!

I spoke with Dr. Jeremy Wolf, ND at LuckyVitamin.com, and outlined the most important insights from the Environmental Working Group’s latest sunscreen report for a story about the hidden dangers of conventional sunscreen I wrote for the StyleSeat blog.

Stop by and take a peek, then come back here so we can chat about your favorite sunscreen! Have more questions about ingredients or skin protection tips? Leave them in the comments and I’ll ask Dr. Wolf to answer them for us!

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How Pregnancy (and Parenthood) Ruined My Skin

pigtails pregnancy ruined my skin summer day indigo+canary

Hi guys. Remember me? The girl who used to have a little natural beauty blog? We had a pretty good thing going for a while, right? Well … surprise! I’m wading back into the water, and it’s feeling pretty great.

I have missed you all desperately, but it turns out that parenting a tiny human + working a pretty demanding full-time job + busting a move with a freelance side hustle + serving as a board member on a (fantastic) nonprofit organization called Circle de Luz has pushed Indigo + Canary down a few notches on the priority list. (PS: You must, must, must watch the video on the Circle de Luz site. I’m serious. In addition to featuring the story of one of Circle’s adorable participants, it also won an Emmy Award!)

However, a few of those things have changed: My tiny human is a little less tiny (although still pretty darn cute, I must say), I’m rotating off the nonprofit board now that my three-year term is complete (although I am still a volunteer and contributor — they can’t get rid of me!), and so I’ve got a little bit of hustle left. And Indigo + Canary is where I want to put it! Because, as it turns out, becoming a parent didn’t change a thing about my raging addiction to clean/natural/organic beauty products.

Just how did parenthood and pregnancy ruin my skin, exactly?

Sigh. Here’s my sad-but-true tale of skin woes, in chronological order:

  • Before pregnancy: A condition I have — polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) — made my skin pretty awful sometimes. People with PCOS often have out-of-control hormones, and I was no exception. It took a pretty regimented system to keep my skin from being a mess, but a combination of medications + thoughtful skincare products helped a lot. Unfortunately, I still had to deal with regular cystic acne, usually during my period. (Cystic acne is no joke.)
  • During pregnancy: My skin was perfect. My skin was flawless. My skin was freaking amazing. Pregnancy sort of “cures” PCOS, temporarily, and that was my experience. Some women experience terrible breakouts, discoloration, and other terrible things during pregnancy, but not me! (I did have other pregnancy complications, however, so I would not say I enjoyed being pregnant.)
  • After pregnancy: All was fine for a few months, but as more time went by, I started to notice my breakouts were getting more severe and more frequent.
  • Post-breastfeeding: By this point, forget about it. My skin was a mess. It was inflamed. I woke up to new blemishes every single day, and almost always had at least one or two cystic acne blemishes to deal with. It got so bad I would re-apply makeup several times throughout the day, and by the end of a workday, I would want to sob when I looked at my face in the mirror.
  • Now: Fast-forward to this morning, and I can see that I’ve made progress, but I’m still completely frustrated by what’s happening with my skin. I frequently have breakouts across my cheeks, which was never a problem area pre-pregnancy. Plus, I have the normal hormonal breakouts near my mouth and chin — with awful flare-ups right around my period.

What am I doing about my awful post-pregnancy/parenthood complexion?

Well: Trial and error. I can tell that I’ve made some improvement. I’m taking baby steps to get back to my original pre-pregnancy regimen of medication + topical treatments (because my old frenemy PCOS is back with a vengeance), but I’m still not comfortable with my skin, and it’s a daily frustration. Lately, however, I’ve tried a few products that seem to be helping a lot.

So if you’re in the same boat, first off: I feel you, girl! It super duper sucks. But maybe these products will help give you some relief too.

Fig + Yarrow Foaming Cleanser, $19.99: I love that this foaming cleanser is at Target, because I already make a weekly pilgrimage to the big red bullseye for pull-ups, wipes, and toddler snacks. It has activated charcoal, which has antibacterial and detoxification properties, making it a pretty powerful acne-fighter.

Osmia Organics Detox Exfoliationg Mask, $50: My Osmia fandom knows no bounds. This exfoliating facial mask has activated bamboo charcoal and manuka honey for a great balance of detox/cleansing/moisturizing properties. If you like facial masks, this is a must-try. I use this or the Acure Organics scrub about once a week.

Shea Moisture Natural African Black Soap, $3.59: Another Target find, this one is supremely affordable and leaves my skin feeling clean but not overly dry. It has oats to help soothe and calm my skin, but it’s also moisturizing in all the right ways. I use this one in the shower and the Fig + Yarrow at the sink.

Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub, $9.99: I love this scrub (and Acure products in general), but a word of caution: when you have regular breakouts, you have to be careful about scrubs, which can further irritate already angry skin. If you use a scrub mid-breakout, it can very well make your breakout worse. I use this scrub very sparingly, and only when my skin is in not-great-but-not-horrific shape. I love how smooth my skin feels (and how my makeup just glides right on my skin) afterwards. Hint: I also make sure to give some attention to my neck and decollete, because those are two spots that often show early signs of aging.

Did your skin freak out after (or during) pregnancy? What are your go-to products? Please share! I’d love to know your secrets.

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