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9 Surprising Ways You Sabotage Your Skin

Miranda Kerr photo by Eva Rinaldi

If you want that supermodel glow like Miranda Kerr, don’t make these skin mistakes.

If you have blemish-prone skin, you probably already practice good skin habits. But even if you wash your makeup brushes regularly and never go to bed without washing your face, chances are there are things you’re doing — or not doing — that have an impact on your complexion.

Pro tip: If remembering to wash your face before bed is an issue for you, stash some natural face-cleansing cloths on your nightstand. (I like these unscented cleansing towelettes from Acure Organics.) Easy peasy for those nights when you crash and then realize you still need to wash your face!

Here are nine ways you could be sabotaging your complexion without even realizing it. 

(Please note: This post contains an affiliate link, which means I could earn some money — at no cost to you — if you click on it. View my full disclosure here.)

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The Beauty Benefits of Apples

Beauty Benefits of Apples

Fruit juice can be a potent natural beauty ingredient—there’s even a (great!) line of natural cosmetics based on the sweet stuff. But there’s one specific fruit that takes center stage this time of year: the apple. Whether you eat them or use products with apple on your skin, there’s lots to love about this fall staple.

In honor of the start of apple-picking season (at least here in North Carolina), here are four reasons to add apples to your beauty routine. 

  1. It can help combat acne. Packed with Vitamin A (otherwise known as retinol), apples can help combat acne by increasing cell turnover.
  2. It has moisturizing and skin tone-perfecting qualities. Apples are full of Vitamin B, which is great for dry skin and fading age spots, and can help even skin tone.
  3. It can lessen undereye circles. If you battle dark undereye circles like mine that are mostly unaffected by a lack of sleep, an eye cream with Vitamin K, which is found in apple juice, can help shrink the capillaries under the thin skin beneath your eyes and decrease some of the discoloration.
  4. It has anti-aging benefits. Apples are packed with Vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that helps your skin protect and repair itself, leaving you with a fresh-looking complexion.

Have you spotted apple on the ingredients list of any of your favorite skincare products? Share your favorites in the comments!

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Link Love: Rise and Shine

I’m an early riser. I haven’t always been a morning person, but for the past several years, I’ve simply just been unable to sleep in. It started with a desire to get in an hour or two of writing or researching or brainstorming or reading before heading to the office. Now, I feel like I’ve discovered the most beautiful part of the day—those lovely, quiet morning hours in which I can read, sip on my morning cup of coffee, and yes, do a little work—but mostly just gently enter a new day.

My morning habit means I rarely stay up super-late anymore, but I can’t imagine my life without my calming, meditative morning hours—which is why I love the lead story in today’s Link Love Friday post: 8 Ways to Wake Up Happy, from Prevention.

Here are the other things I’ve been reading+enjoying lately. Happy almost weekend! —Aleigh

More information on the dairy + sugar = acne debate.

There were definitely some news-to-me items on this list of 20 things you didn’t know you could recycle.

From MindBodyGreen, 8 things you should always buy.

CV Skinlabs has launched a new campaign to help get their gentle, natural products into cancer treatment centers and hospitals. I always love hearing about how natural skincare companies come to be—Britta’s story is really inspiring.

(Image via Victoria Nevland)

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Spotlight: The Beauty Benefits of Evergreen

Evergreen trees and bushes—the ones that retain most of their foliage through the winter—play a large role in natural cosmetics, with benefits* ranging from acne treatments to stress relief. Here’s a quick look at five of the most commonly used evergreen goodies.

Fir. The oil extracted from needles, usually of the Balsam or Siberian fir tree, has long been used in cosmetics for its invigorating scent, making it a good choice for aromatherapy. But it is also helpful used topically to treat sore muscles, cramps, arthritis, and stiffness. Find it in: Naturopathica Deep Forest Bath & Body Oil, Pangea Organics Canadian Pine with White Sage Body Wash

Juniper. One of the most widely-used evergreens in cosmetics, juniper was even used by the ancient Egyptians in cosmetics and perfumes. Today you can find it in a wide range of cosmetics, from acne treatments to aromatherapy and even cellulite reduction and detoxification. Find it in: Kimberly Sayer Slimming and Contouring Lotion, Blissoma Awake Morning Firming Facial MoistureCleansing Juniper Cypress Body Scrub

Pine. Pine has long been recognized for its healing properties and soothing scent. Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, noted its ability to heal the human respiratory system. Pine extract has antiseptic, antibacterial, pain relieving, aromatic and anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it great all year. Pine bark extract has been proven to have many health benefits: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, potentially even antiviral and antimicrobial. Find it in: Living Nature Cleansing Clay Peel, Kahina Giving Beauty Eye Cream, Erbaviva Breathe Body Lotion 

Rosemary. A common herb for skincare, rosemary boosts circulation (which helps with complexion-clearing), and also helps to tone and firm the skin. The savory herb also helps reduce puffiness. Find it in: Naturopathica Alpine Arnica Bath & Body Oil, Pai Rice Plant & Rosemary BioAffinity Toner, Moksa Organic Rosemary & Sage Body Oil

Thyme. In addition to a long history of use in cosmetics, recent research from Leeds Metropolitan University has shown that thyme is a more effective acne treatment than over-the-counter creams—with the added benefit of being less harsh on the skin. Find it in: Clearcalm 3 Anti Acne Treatment Mask, 100% Pure Purity Spot Treatment, Intelligent Nutrients Anti Aging Cleanser

You have probably used evergreen on your skin, even if you didn’t realize it! —Aleigh

(Image via Lulu the Bold)

*Statements on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness, disease, or condition.

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Reader Question: Battling Hormonal Acne

I’ve said it before, and it’s still true: I can’t resist a plea for help. Which is why, when Amanda emailed me asking for tips and relief from her hormonal acne, I was spurred into action! Here’s what she said:

The past year and a half my face has gone from one to two pimples on any given day to a full blown acne attack. When I was in high school it was mainly forehead and the occasional chin pimple but nothing crazy. I am now 22 years old and have the worst acne on my cheeks and jaw line (20 plus everyday) plus, the occasional forged pimples popping up weekly and very congested/dull looking skin everywhere (small bumps the color of my skin on pretty much my whole face). My face is combination/dry and I even have crows feet and forehead wrinkles already!

Man, can I sympathize. I’m also an unfortunate victim of hormonal acne, but after lots of research and lots of trial and error, I’ve discovered a few techniques that I think might help.* Since Amanda’s skin is combination/dry and mine is combination/oily, I’ve been both researching and considering my own tactics to come up with some things she might try—but I think these are techniques that can work on just about any type of skin that’s battling a hormonal acne invasion. Here goes, Amanda! I hope you’ll let me know how they work for you.

Don’t over-exfoliate. A little exfoliation is fine, but a lot is not better. Limit (gentle) exfoliation to once or twice a week—hard scrubbing and exfoliating too frequently can exacerbate the problem instead of offering relief.

Avoid dairy as much as possible. Amanda did mention that she eats dairy products about three times a week, and unfortunately, there are plenty of studies that prove a direct link between milk and acne. Milk can be loaded with hormones (both naturally-occurring and added), which can stimulate your skin’s sebum production, which can produce acne. With you have the right hormonal balance and if your skin is acting up, try removing dairy from your diet and use supplements for a week or two and see if you notice a change. If so, add it back in slowly, or try to avoid it entirely.

Moisturize with facial oils. Amanda mentioned that her skin tends to be dry—sometimes overly dry skin can stimulate acne, just as oily skin can. (The idea is to find a balance between the two!) I really like facial oils. Here’s what I would try if I were Amanda: tea tree oil applied directly to the acne-prone areas (it has antibacterial qualities), and then a gentle, skin-calming oil (grapeseed oil, tamanu oil, and evening primrose oil are all great options) all over. Two I like: balancing facial serum from Co-Op 108 and Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil.

Supplement. I have noticed a difference in my hormonal acne (along with a few other benefits) since I started taking my Nordic Naturals Omega Woman supplement. It’s an Omega-3 supplement that contains fish oil and evening primrose oil, plus hormone-balancing ingredients.

Avoid caffeine. Here’s the thing: I love coffee. I try not to drink too much of it, but man, do I love it. I’m pretty good with all of the other recommendations I’ve made here, but this is one I really have a hard time with. The good news? There’s no proven direct link between caffeine and acne. However, caffeine tends to spur your body to make cortisol, the stress hormone, which can stimulate your skin’s oil production…which can cause acne. As with dairy, I’d say try eliminating caffeine for a few weeks, see if you can tell a difference, and then add it back in slowly…keeping a close eye on your skin.

Do you have tips or advice to add? I’d love to hear what works for you! —Aleigh

(Image via Colin Kinner)

*Statements on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness, disease, or condition.

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