Kamis, 09 Februari 2017

Delicious Chicken Dinner

Just wanted to share my dinner from last night!

1/2 avocado
1 serving of my fermented vegetable dish (carrots, garlic, chives, turmeric, hot pepper and cabbage--4 days fermented)
Baby greens tossed in raw apple vinegar and organic olive oil
4 olives
Spinach, garlic, and purple kale, lightly cooked in coconut oil
2 chicken tenders, skillet-cooked
fried onions

It was good!

One Year of Dreadlocks

Hello! Just a quick post to share that tomorrow will be my official ONE YEAR anniversary of having dreadlocks! In perfectly poignant timing, the other day was the first time a random person on the street (or rather, the grocery store) stopped me and complimented them. I've received many compliments on my tumblr, but never in real life. So that was nice.
This has definitely been the best year of my life, hair-wise. I highly recommend dreads to anyone who wants a low maintenance, fun and beautiful hairstyle that will make you feel good about yourself. For me, my dreads share who I am with the world. They represent the fact that I'm a bit counter-culture, that I believe in living in balance with nature, and that I treat my body with kindness, patience and good foods.

They make my outsides match who I am inside. And I like that.

Go dreads!


ps. I want to get back to making more posts about makeup and skin-care again. I've been using a lot of new makeup lately and am finding a lot of great stuff! So stay tuned for more.

Acne and Determination: Knowing When to Change Your Path

If you've ever watched the show Seinfeld, you may remember the episode where George becomes more successful than he's ever been by doing the opposite of what he's always done. Lately, I've been wondering if that strategy is actually more intelligent than it seems. 
A few months ago, I made a post about my battle with acne and my plan to fight it using only natural ingredients and foods. I made this post after already struggling for a very long time with terrible breakouts.

For over a year, I avoided every food that I thought may be inflammatory or damaging to my skin, I refused any and all chemical acne treatments, medications, makeups and skin-care products. I did cleanses, fasts and nearly wore out my juicer making more green juice drinks than you could imagine. I worked hard to rebuild the natural flora in my intestines using fermented foods, drinks and probiotic supplements. I focused on relieving my stress using EFT therapy and other relaxation techniques. 
I did all of this, and yet there I was, still suffering. My acne was getting worse than ever, and I knew I'd reached a point where I just couldn't continue like this anymore. Despite my determination, I was sadly forced to admit that the natural path, which I had such high hopes for, was failing me. 

That was when I remembered that episode of Seinfeld. I had to think, if being completely closed off to the idea of anything chemical led to one of the worst periods of acne of my life, then maybe I should change my ways. Maybe it was wrong of me to reject all chemical medications because a few of them failed me or damaged my skin. Maybe the chemicals in certain makeup formulas are there for a reason--making the product feel smoother and nicer on our skin. Maybe there are some excellent products out there that I just haven't tried yet.

So, as embarrassing as it is to admit failure, I've made a decision. I'm going to be open to any and all solutions for my skin issues.

As soon as I made this choice, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, as if my body itself was relieved. Just by giving myself permission to break away from the limited path I was on, I freed up a ton of energy.

Since then, I've been trying a number of new things, from chemical peels to BB cream to new makeups and powders. I feel like a whole new world is opening up to me, and it's been there the whole time. I was locked in a prison by my own choice. Now I have let myself free, and my skin is better than it has been in a long time. 

I just wanted to explain this so you all weren't confused when I started doing reviews for some less-than-natural products coming up pretty soon here. Although the majority of my efforts are still focused on natural solutions such as diet and exercise, I am officially taking back my all-natural position in favor of a more balanced approached.

Stay tuned for reviews coming within the next week or two! 

Product Review: Perfect Image Lactic Acid Gel Peel

I found out about this product when it was reviewed by daiserz89, a beauty and skincare vlogger on Youtube. Just like me, she is a long-term sufferer of cystic acne, and from what I could tell from her videos, her breakouts look somewhat similar to mine. For this reason, I was excited to try out any product that she claimed help her skin.

This peel is made by Perfect Image, a company that makes a variety of skin peels. I'm using the lactic acid gel, which comes in a 50 percent strength and is infused with a lot of good botanical extracts and antioxidants. It comes in a small bottle with a dropper and is really easy to use. The gel appears to be of a consistency similar to honey, but I was pleased to discover that it actually is more like aloe vera, very non-sticky and easy to spread around the skin.

What the Product Claims to Do

According to the manufacturer, it's supposed to improve "fine lines, wrinkles, acne, oil skin, uneven skin tone, scars, dry skin, blackheads, enlarged pores, whiteheads, hyperpigmentation, rosacea, melasma, warts, enlarged pores, age spots, sun spots, eczema, seborrheic keratosis and keratosis pilaris."

What This Product Actually Does

Generally speaking, on the night of the peel you will experience a bit of a burn. Your face will sting and feel very sensitive, even after you've rinsed it in cold water. Surface acne will probably pop and drain up from being eaten away by the acid, and deep cystic acne will likely remain but may also begin to surface.

Then, in the following few days, your skin will probably look a bit weird. There may be a lot of scabbing, flaking and roughness as the dead skin peels off. During this phase, it's very important not to touch, scratch or pick at your skin. The first protective layer of flesh has been removed and you are more vulnerable to damage than usual.

A few days later, the magic happens. The dead skin will be gone, revealing brand new skin underneath. Aside from any active breakouts, your face will be baby smooth. Another thing I've noticed is that some of the freckles I've had on my face since childhood have completely vanished. They aren't just faded, but GONE. I wasn't exactly on a mission to get rid of freckles, but this is a good sign about the lightening power of this product. It also helps fade the red marks left after acne, but for whatever reason, it seemed to have the biggest effect on freckles.

What This Product Does NOT Do

Unfortunately, after using it for over a month, I can say that this product does not clear or affect my cystic acne in any way. It's such a bummer, especially because it has the power to make the non-inflamed parts of my face look so smooth and lovely. But I have to be honest: If you have serious cystic acne before using this product, you are probably still going to have it after. The last thing I want is for anyone to get their hopes up for nothing.

Why it Isn't Going to Work For Me

In my case, healing and clearing my cystic acne is my biggest concern. Therefore, I have decided to go back to the only thing that has ever helped me in the past: The Dan Kern Regimen from Acne.org. I was hoping I could do the Regimen and chemical peels at the same time, but after trying it this week, I've decided that doing both is too irritating, at least in the beginning while my skin is still getting used to the medication. My hopes are that I can stabilize my skin with BP, then slowly lessen how much I need per day and begin doing chemical peels again once per month. I'm also planning on buying the Regimen brand of AHA glycolic acid lotion to hopefully gain some of the effects of the chemical peel in a more gentle way. When and if I try it, I will post my review here.

In Conclusion 

If you have severe cystic acne that is very painful and inflamed, you may be better off focusing on using something anti-bacterial to help your problem. Acne that is so inflamed can sometimes become infected with Staph, and you don't want to be using chemicals to peel off the top layer of your skin when you are already in such an irritated situation.

However, if you have mild to moderate acne that isn't painful and inflamed, plus you have scars or red marks that you'd like to get rid of, definitely check out this product. I believe that it will do great things for you!

Stay tuned for more updates about how the Regimen is working for me, as well as reviews on my favorite new BB cream and other cool makeup products that I've recently found.

Product Review: Skin 79 BB Cream

Hey everyone! I'm super excited because today I finally get to review a product that I really love. I like the chemical peel product I reviewed in my last entry, but it isn't something I'm currently able to use due to my acne. This product, however, I use almost daily.

I began looking into BB creams because I kept hearing people rave about them. I was highly interested in a product that could apparently provide some amount of coverage without feeling heavy on my skin like a foundation. I don't mind foundation, but I don't like to wear makeup every single day. Still, when I'm home, I want to have something on my face, just to increase my confidence, minimize my acne a little, and protect my skin from the sun.

I chose this particular BB cream after seeing it mentioned on a number of "Best BB Creams of 2012" lists. There are also a few different beauty vloggers I follow on Youtube that recommended it.

What This Product Claims to Do

The product is supposed to be long-lasting. They claim it can control shine, whiten, improve wrinkles and help acne breakouts.

What This Product Actually Does

Well, I do not believe that this product does anything to help acne, but then again, I clearly have one of the most persistent cases of acne ever (feels like it, anyway). Therefore, I can't really say whether it would help someone with more mild acne. It does helps to control shine, although I don't have very oily skin to begin with, so if you do, your results may vary. I can't really speak on its ability to improve wrinkles either, as I've only been using it a couple of months and I'm also now on a semi-harsh acne medicine that can dry out skin.

Now, the good stuff. This product, while not able to entirely cover acne, does make it look much better. I took a couple pictures so I could show you the results. I'm aware these are terrible pictures, I wasn't wearing any other makeup besides the BB nor was I posing or doing anything else to make myself look cute.

 Bare skin (AAHHHHH!)

Skin 79 BB Cream (about 2 hours after application)
You can't really tell from the pics, but this cream does great things for the texture of your skin, aside from just lessening the redness of acne. It gives you a really dewy, glowing finish. I like. :)

What This Product Does NOT Do

This BB doesn't entirely cover acne (I'm not sure anything can hide a big bump). It also doesn't do anything to clear or heal acne, but it doesn't clog pores or cause breakouts, and that is enough for me.

Other Details

A few other things worth mentioning:

-I love the pump. It's very easy to use and squirts out a perfect amount for each section of my face. I typically start on my forehead and gently spread the cream down my t-zone and outward on my cheeks and then do my chin.

-I love the hot pink bottle. It looks so cute and girly on my bathroom counter.

-Although I would prefer an unscented product, I don't mind the smell. It reminds me of the various sunscreens my mom would slather us in as kids. :)

-I dislike that you can't see through the bottle to know when you're running low. But you can remedy that by purchasing two at once and then always buying a new one with the first one runs out.

-This BB only comes in one shade (that I know of) and is only suitable for those with light skin. You can see how light I am from my pictures, and it perfectly matches me. The tone of the BB is sort of a grayish-beige color, but once blended and soaked in it seems to take on the exact color of my skin. I imagine it would work for any light skin tone, but if you're much darker than myself, you may need another BB. Skin 79 does make other creams, but I haven't looked into them to see if they come in darker shades or not.

In Conclusion

I will definitely be buying this BB cream again. It has everything I want and I'm very happy with my purchase.