Natural Skincare Routine

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Due to popular request, I’m sharing my coveted natural skincare routine.

Just kidding! Those of you who know me, know I’m a plain jane when it comes to anything cosmetic or skincare related, however, I do have a general routine that I stick to on a daily basis.

Do I break out? Yes. Do I have the first signs of aging? Yes. Are there days/weeks when I don’t drink enough water or don’t get enough sleep and my skin feels like an alligator? Yes. This is not a “I will have perfect skin all the time,” solution. This is a cut back on toxins and minimalize my skincare routine solution.

I try to keep things as natural and toxin-free as possible. I also keep things fairly simple. The reasoning behind this is partially a laziness factor (I’m very low-maintenance), but I also believe that with many things- especially skincare- less is more.

Truly healthy skin starts with a good amount of water intake, eating healthy foods and making sure you get lots of needed rest. Everything in moderation.

Even for those who are regimented from a dietary and lifestyle perspective, it’s important to take a look at the products and chemicals you’re putting on your skin. Your skin is the largest organ on your body, and it’s porous- meaning it absorbs almost everything you put on it.

In East Asian Medicine, one of the diagnostic tools we use is looking at the face. The Shen, or human spirit, can be seen through the face and eyes. Clear eyes, healthy tone and good color all come from good health. You know those people who just shine from something internal? You look at them and they are beautiful in a way you can’t quite explain? This is good and healthy shen. It starts with nutrition, exercise and a good healthcare regiment (including regular acupuncture).

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Here are some chemicals/ingredients I try to avoid in skincare products:

  1. Parabens (preservative)
  2. Pthalates
  3. Artificial Fragrances
  4. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and/or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
  5. Polyethylene/PEGs- the tiny plastic beads found in scrubs
  6. BHA & BHT- commonly found in perfume
  7. Triclosan and triclocarban- commonly found in toothpaste and deoderant
  8. Coal Tar (Aminophenol, Diaminobenzene, Phenylenediamin)- commonly found in hair dye
  9. Retinol-derived ingredients- found in several moisturizing skin products
  10. Petroleum- commonly found in mascara
  11. Oxybenzone- found in several skin products
  12. The Toxic trio (dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde)- found in nail products
  13. Hydroquinone- found in skin lighteners

I know, this seems like I a long list, but I am sharing with you today all the brands and items that I use, all relatively affordable (especially compared to “designer” brands). I am as cheap as I am low-maintenance.

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Looking for an affordable, toxin-free skincare routine? Here’s my regiment:

Face

Daily:

  • Wash: The simpler the better, as a daily wash I use plain castille soap. I also really love Alba Botanica and Avalon Organics brands. Depending on your skin type, you may be using the wrong kind of cleanser:
    • Normal Skin: Balanced oil throughout face
      • Find a cleanser that isn’t too exfoliating or moisturizing. Foaming, gel or cream works well with this skin type.
    • Combination Skin: Oily through T-zone area
    • Oily Skin: Overall oily complexion, enlarged pores
    • Dry skin: Dry areas or overall dry skin (this can be seasonal)
    • Sensitive Skin
  • Rebalance: A great natural astringent is witch hazel without alcohol, I apply this daily after my wash and let it completely dry before moisturizing.
  • Moisturize: I really love this Alba moisturizer, it’s light and smells great. It’s great for my combination skin. I also love Dr. Guo’s Skin tonic, which I’ll put on 2x/week in place of my regular moisturizer.

2-3x/week:

  1. Exfoliate: 3x/week. I love Jason Apricot Scrubble.
  2. Moisturize: at the end of your shower and before drying off, apply grape seed oil after you exfoliate onto face and drier areas of your body (knees, elbows, etc.).
  3. Dr. Guo’s Skin tonic (see above).

1x/week:

  1. Homemade Facial: Mix half water, half apple cider vinegar (Braggs is my favorite) with bentonite clay until it becomes a muddy mixture, apply to your face, let it dry, and then rinse. I start with a tablespoon of water, a tablespoon of vinegar and two tablespoons of dry clay, slowly adding more clay until I reach the desired texture (a mud-like substance). I will alternate between this face mask mixture and plain raw manuka honey, which is great for anti-aging and moisturizing.
  2. I also give myself facial acupuncture once every week to two weeks. You can find out more information here.

Body

  1. Get a good loofah and pumice stone! Make sure to exfoliate 3x/week, especially extra dry areas including elbows and feet.
  2. In the winter, I use grape seed oil at the end of my shower for additional moisturizing.
  3. In the winter, I apply my favorite homemade body butter. It’s amazing! I also really love Emily cream for the redness and irritation that may occur with dry, winter skin. Emily cream is also really great as a hand cream to throw in your bag or for any irritating skin conditions including: eczema, psoriasis, rashes (including diaper rash), keratosis pilaris and rosacea.
  4. Everyday body lotion I really love: Lotion for Everyone and Naked Bee brands.
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Other Tips

Think about your exposure to the elements. Stay covered up in the winter with warm clothes and shoes, keeping your face covered. In the summer lather up with non-toxic sunscreen like Badger wear sunglasses and an eco-friendly UPF hat or clothes.

When looking into getting massages, facials, mani-pedis or any spa services, search for organic spas in your area. It’s worth spending the extra money on quality products being put on your skin.

Keep in mind that less is more and if you have any other questions, never hesitate to reach out.

If you’d like to schedule a visit, click here for scheduling. Otherwise, check out my website, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for more information!

Be well,

Lexy

 

My Natural Medicine Cabinet

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I can still envision my medicine cabinet from growing up: vaseline, Benadryl, Nyquil, throat spray and bandaids. My mom literally kept anything and everything for any and every ailment you could imagine (she also had an embarrassingly large stash of hotel soaps, shampoos and conditioners that may have been obtained by illegal means, but that’s a story for another time).

When I had my daughter, I wanted as natural a medicine cabinet as possible, while at the same time having the essential Western items available as well. An important thing to remember is to check expiration dates 1-2x per year for all products. Although most herbal supplements and medications will only decrease efficacy over time, some may be dangerous to take when expired.

Mental Health

  • Yoga Mat & Meditation Pillow: Okay, you can’t fit this in your medicine cabinet, but it’s good to keep one set up at home for that emergency child’s pose and/or meditation.
  • Rescue Remedy: This is a Bach’s Flower Remedy that is good for anxiety or trauma. It can help with sleep and is made in a children’s form with no alcohol.
  • Bone Broth: from a Chinese perspective, “blood deficiency” can cause a plethora of mental health issues including anxiety and depression. Bone Broth will build blood and you can get it in powder or pill form or make your own.
  • CBD Oil: Reduces anxiety without the THC, or hallucinogen of regular Mary Jane.
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Upper Respiratory & Immune

  • Neti Pot & Salts: I will sometimes add a drop of tea tree oil to help with any potential sinus infection.
  • Eucalyptus Essential Oil: You can combine 10 drops with a 1/4 cup of coconut oil for your own at home vapor rub, you can also add a few drops to a bath or facial steam to clear the sinuses (peppermint oil also works WELL).
  • Elderberries or Elderberry Syrup to boost immunity, can also add to a tea.
  • Echinacea Tea: Traditional Medicinals makes an Echinacea Tea with Elderberry that is amazing!
  • Throat Coat Tea: Also by Traditional Medicinals, soothes sore throats.
  • Cool Mist Humidifier in the winter for dry air and to open up sinus passages.
  • Essential Oil Diffuser: You can get these with or without water added, can add eucalyptus, peppermint, or any other essential oil you’d like.
  • Some Other Vitamins/Herbs: Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, garlic, oregano essential oil

Ear Infections/ Ear Aches

  • Dr. Mom Otoscope: A great way to check for inflammation.
  • Colloidal Silver: Colloidal silver, unlike traditional antibiotics, has antifungal, antibiotic and antiviral properties. You can put a couple drops in your child’s ear as an alternative for ear infections.
  • Garlic Drops: Garlic helps boost the immune system and reduces pain. You can also place a couple drops in the ear for pain.
  • Onion: I know, I know, now I’m just getting CRAZY. However, this is one way to help ear ache. Heat up the onion so its warm, then scoop out enough of the center to fit an ear, place over the ear for about 10 minutes. You can also use onion drops if that’s easier.
  • *Note: If your child’s eardrum is extremely red or irritated, they have a high fever or are feeling lethargic, please bring them to their pediatrician as soon as possible.
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First Aid

Stomach

  • Peppermint tea & Ginger tea are great for anti-nausea.
  • Probiotics: Probiotics help replace the healthy gut bacteria that leads to better digestion. They are great for restoring gut health and treating digestive issues.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Take a tablespoon of ACV with water daily to help promote better digestion, reduce inflammation and help with acid reflux and food regurgitation. It’s also great to take at the start of a cold to knock the pathogen out of your system.

Sore Throat

  • Throat Coat tea: LOVE this tea! It helps with sore throat and discomfort. Make sure you let it seep for 10 minutes or so.
  • Loquat Syrup: Helps to clear the lungs, build immunity and treat sore throats.
  • Raw, local honey: You can take a tablespoon or mix it in with tea
  • Warm/hot lemon water
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Aches and Pains

  • Arnica: You can apply this topically, or take pellets for pain reduction.
  • 37 Cream: Available in-office, this Chinese Herbal version of icy hot is amazing for muscle pain and weakness.
  • Epsom Salt Bath (find my favorite bath recipe here)

Insomnia

  • Foot Soak: Put a quarter cup of epsom salt and 3-5 drops of lavender oil in a small to filled with hot water. Soak the feet 10-20 minutes before bed.
  • Melatonin: This can be a great sleep regulator. It can help you fall asleep, and if you get the slo-release can help you stay asleep, too. Start with a smaller dose and work your way up as needed.
  • Valerian Root: I’ll often alternate between Valerian Root and Melatonin so my body doesn’t get adjusted too much to one. Valerian can also help a lot with anxiety.

Constipation

  • Cal/Mag: This combination of vitamins can help move bowel movements.
  • Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera is a natural laxative and because it is anti-inflammatory can also treat a plethora of digestive disorders.

Headache

  • Peppermint essential oil: place a couple drops on a tissue and place it near your pillow as you rest.
  • Epsom Salt Bath: Magnesium will relax you, and tension is one of the leading causes of headaches!

Seasonal Allergies

  • Neti Pot: I can’t praise the nets-pot enough! It clears the nasal passages of allergens, reducing inflammation and allergic rhinitis.
  • Raw, local honey: Raw honey contains local flower pollen, it is said that repetitive exposure to small doses of allergens can help treat allergies naturally.
  • For more information on treating allergies naturally, visit my blog.
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PMS

  • Heating Pad: A good plug-in heating pad is an essential item to help reduce the pain of cramps and headaches that go along with PMS!
  • Black Cohosh: Although known to treat Menopausal symptoms, black cohosh can also treat the irritability and sleep disturbances of PMS. Please be careful using this herb, as it is very moving and not safe to use while pregnant
  • Wellness Mama has a wonderful blog about natural treatments for PMS you can check out here.

 

*Remember, most herbal remedies are not regulated or supported by the FDA. Make sure you are buying, whole food, organic vitamins from a quality source. Check with your healthcare practitioner before taking any vitamins, supplements or alternative therapies.

 

If you’d like to schedule a visit, click here for scheduling. Otherwise, check out my website, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for more information!

Be Well,

Lexy

Easy Detox

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After all the holiday eating, drinking, and being merry, I think we’re all in need of some serious detox. But what exactly does that entail? There are lot of options for detox, but what’s right for you?

Here are some easy tips to incorporate into your already very busy life!

 

Cut out the bad stuff

There are a lot of things that can wreak havoc on our insides. Many create inflammation and affect the way our bodies process food. Eliminate caffeine, any drugs or alcohol, gluten, refined sugars, and dairy to start. Check out my Making Changes that Last blog for more information on how to change your diet progressively.

My Tip: Read your food labels! What are you actually putting in your body? Look for things like artificial sweeteners (Aspartame, Sucralose, Saccharine- check out a full list here), genetically modified ingredients (check out the Non-GMO Project), high Fructose Corn Syrup (now labeled as fructose or fructose syrup), nitrites (found frequently in hot dogs and sandwich meat), artificial coloring or flavoring, and over-processed foods. Here is more information from the FDA about food ingredients, additives and colors.

Drink at least 90 ounces of water a day

Water is necessary for the body to function. Most of our bodies are used to running dehydrated because we do not drink enough water! Water is essential to maintain a healthy balance of body fluids. These body fluids are necessary for digestion, circulation, muscle tone and beautiful skin!

My Tip: Check out my instagram, for my favorite detox water recipe.

Green Tea

Green tea is great to boost metabolism, it moves stagnation and clears impurities in the system. Don’t go too overboard, it has caffeine and may keep you awake at night- try to intake it in the morning to early afternoon, no more than a few cups a day.

Detox Bath

I’m going to let you in on my favorite detox bath recipe. By adding essential oils to castille soap first, they become more water-soluble and don’t just float in the tub. If you’re not a bath person, you can either add the oils to a diffuser or to a carrier oil to apply topically.

Ingredients:

6 drops Clove Bud Oil

5 Drops Lemon Oil

2 Drops Cinnamon  Bark Oil

2 Drops Eucalyptus Oil

1 Drop Rosemary Oil

2-4 Tbsp Castille Soap

2 Cups Epsom Salt

Instructions: Combine Essential Oils with 2-4 tbsp of castille soap in a small container, add mixture with 2 cups of epsom salt to bath, soak at least 20 minutes and enjoy!

Exercise

Cardiovascular health is always important. The heart pumps oxygenated blood throughout your system, allowing your body to function properly. A healthy body starts with a healthy heart. From a Chinese Perspective, exercise moves stagnation in the body. Stagnation is the cause of disease, by moving the body, we move stagnation.

My Tip: Start small. Add in 2 days a week of 20 minutes cardio, this can be as simple as a brisk walk!

Meditation

A good detox can’t be successful without a little mind-body connection. Being mindful helps productivity and lowers stress levels. Check out this article for how to start a meditation practice if you don’t already have one!

Yoga

Yoga calms the mind and moves stagnation. Hot yoga helps you sweat out toxins! Lots of studios offer new member specials or a free first class, so it’s easy to try!

My Tip: Be wary, if you do take a hot yoga class, be sure to drink plenty of water before and after and listen to your body! Not everyone is made to be folded up like a pretzel or to stand on their head.

Acupuncture

I have a specific detox protocol, but acupuncture can help assist with detox in a few ways. It moves stagnation (see exercise above), regulates metabolism, regulates fluids and calms the mind. If you’d like to schedule a visit, click here for scheduling. Otherwise, check out my website, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for more information.

 

Be Well,

Lexy