Updated: Jul 6
At some point as a grown woman, I looked at my skin and felt indignation over the fact that I had four children of my own, yet my skin was still breaking out like I had just entered puberty. And my boobs didn't look all amazing anymore. What? No fair!
I know that healthy skin comes from the inside. No matter how many expensive creams or potions I am tempted to purchase, I also know that they will not work alone. A synergy must exist between external products and internal health.
About a year ago, my skin was breaking out regularly, with huge hormonal zits on the apples of my cheeks. I had a smattering of blackheads on my chin at any given time. I ate a slice of pizza one night, trying to impress my husband, and I woke up the next morning with a constellation of pustules wandering down my chin.
So I set out to find a few inexpensive ways to help my skin look its best. I have been following this regimen for about a year now. Yesterday I saw my aesthetician and she commented on how great my skin looked compared to last year. That was sweet news to hear from a professional, so I thought I would share my tips with you.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the dietary component of skin health. Dairy is a huge contributor to breakouts. The A1 casein protein in American milk is highly inflammatory. I think that there are many amazing hormonal benefits of dairy, so I encourage my clients to eat plenty of European butter. Your skin (and hormone cascade) needs the fat soluble vitamins, especially Vitamins A and E. Eat your Kerrygold! Dairy from across the pond has fewer inflammatory substances, so seek out sources of European dairy if dairy is your thing.
And sugar. Watch it with the sugar.
So. Here are a few non-traditional products I use to encourage skin health.
I try to do a niacin treatment 3-4 times a week. I dilute niacin powder in a cup of tea or in the Afternoon Pick Me Up. I use 200-500 mg at a time. When I started using niacin, I began to really see the benefits in my skin. This treatment is not for the faint of heart. Realize going into it that you may feel a bit uncomfortable the first few times, and that is ok. Nothing is wrong with you- the reaction is normal.
What do I mean?
Niacin (vitamin B3) dilates the blood vessels, causing a sensation of warmth (and itching...though it is a pleasant itching, if there can be such a thing!)
By increasing dilation of blood vessels, niacin also mobilizes toxins in the body. Niacin is also used clinically to reduce cholesterol. Increased blood flow can mean a whole host of other benefits, like hair growth and reduction of arthritic symptoms. And other stuff, if you are a dude.
There is a noticeable difference in the coloring of my face, the reduction of blackheads, and the reduction of large hormonal breakouts.
Work up slowly with your niacin dose. Too much will cause a seriously uncomfortable flush. (Fix this by taking 2000 mg vitamin C.)
2. Sangre de Drago
You could call it Dragon's Blood. But I prefer Sangre de Drago. Way more exotic, no?
I came across this substance while doing research for clients with IBS-D. Sangre de Drago is effective against diarrhea in many cases. I have had some success with women using this for their IBS. But it is also used in many skin care products, so I ordered some and started using it on my face.
It's pretty cool stuff.
Sangre de Drago comes from the sap of a tree that grows in the Amazon.
"Dragon’s blood contains a broad range of naturally-occurring compounds, many of which have been well studied. The sap is rich in protective antioxidant phenols, and anti-inflammatory compounds of various kinds. Due to these compounds, Dragon’s blood sap helps to protect the cells of the skin, and reduces redness and swelling. It also contains a group of compounds called proanthocyanidins, which actually repair collagen, the lattice-like main protein that makes up much of our tissues. Additionally, Dragon’s blood contains taspine, a known tissue-healing agent. The sap also demonstrates antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activity. This is why Dragon’s blood is so widely used on infectious skin conditions of all kinds with great success."
I am a sucker for anything that talks about antioxidants and collagen and tissue-healing.
So I bought some and have been rubbing it on my face for a good 6 months. I have to say, it absolutely helps. I put two or three drops in my palm (watch out, it is blood-red and will stain clothes!) and rub it on my face. For extra measure, and with extra hope, I also rub it on the back of my 35-year-old hands.
Use it 3-4 times a week as well.
It is a great product to have around the house because it also helps to heal cuts, burns, and other skin problems.
3. Tea Tree Oil
I love this stuff. It even smells like it is doing amazing things for your skin. My kids are used to the tea tree oil smell wafting after me as I walk around the house (tangent: I theorize that this is how our children will remember their collective mothers- half-hippies who are fragrant with random assorted essential oils. I could identify my friends, blindfolded, just by their personal essential oil smells.)
Rub a few drops of tea tree oil on the palms of your hands and gently massage all over your face. The anti-bacterial properties ward off the b. acnes bacteria that contribute to inflamed skin.
I use the tea tree oil and the dragon's blood at the same time, a one-two punch.
That's pretty much it. I use an organic Vitamin E cream for my face and body. My whole facial regimen is very affordable:
Sangre de Drago: $36.00
Tea Tree Oil: $7.00
Kerrygold Butter: $3.00
Jason Vitamin E Cream: $11.00
The niacin, sangre de drago, and tea tree oil last about 3 months each, so my monthly skin care regimen costs around $30.00.
Not bad, right? Especially when high end skin creams are ridiculously overpriced and still toxic.
Maybe I will bottle my stuff and call it La Jennie.
Doesn't really sound the same. Never mind.
Get yourself some of this skin-clearing, inflammation-dampening, color-boosting concoction. Let me know if you like it. These products are also great for teenagers, or husbands who are worried about their skin but don't want no girlie creams.
To your skin health,