Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Beginner’s 5-Step Guide to Ethical Wildcrafting

Wildcrafting is the practice of gathering plants and herbs from the wild. If the term evokes pioneering images of the American frontier, that’s certainly accurate; Daniel Boone, for example, both made and lost a fortune on ginseng.

But wildcrafting was obviously practiced in North America for millennia before the first Europeans arrived, and it’s particularly associated with ancient Asian medicinal traditions. Ethical wildcrafting can be done for edible, medicinal, or cosmetic purposes. It’s also known as foraging, and its practitioners are called wildcrafters, foragers, or herbalists.

our core values

Ethical wildcrafting has a special place in our hearts here at Annmarie Skin Care. Some of the herbs and honey used in our products are foraged in the mountains – wildcrafted, rather than harvested on a farm. Wildness is among our core values, and truly living wildly was our team’s collective resolution for 2018.

If you yearn for more wildness and beauty in your life, wildcrafting could be an excellent hobby. But you’ll need to go about it the right way. This blog shows you how!

why ethical wildcrafting?

At first glance, wildcrafting seems to be perfectly in harmony with nature. What could be more natural, resourceful, and sensible than finding your own herbs and plants in the wild, where they grow?

It’s actually a little more involved than that. You need to be careful not to take more than the habitat can support; in other words, your harvest needs to be sustainable. You also want to make sure you’re respecting the property rights of private and government landholders, as well as any relevant laws.

protecting at-risk species

Several plant species offer cautionary tales about the impact of unethical wildcrafting. Ginseng, which has been used for centuries for everything from boosting energy to reducing stress to moderating blood sugar, has been overharvested in parts of the U.S. to the point that the plant’s very survival is threatened and several states have had to implement ginseng management programs.

Arnica, which ranks among the most popular wildcrafted plants due to its supposed painkilling and anti-inflammatory properties, is on the watch list of plant species at-risk in the U.S. and Canada and on the decline in Europe, where several countries have moved to protect it. Over the past decade or so, Ramps—onion-like plants that typically can’t be grown on farms – have become so popular with American chefs, particularly those favoring locally grown food, that some wild Ramp populations have become stressed.

ethical wildcrafting—in 5 easy steps!

1. BE SUPER CAREFUL

This is a combination of the precautionary principle and the campsite rule: first do no harm, and leave things better than you found them. Wildcrafting is an important responsibility; if you get it wrong, you could damage or destroy plants and harm the local ecosystem. You could also put yourself and others in danger (e.g., by handling or ingesting poisonous plants) and possibly run afoul of the law.

Filling in holes after harvesting roots, hiding discarded leaves and plant parts, replanting root crowns, and scattering seeds are a just few of the ways in which you can leave a harvested area in better condition than you found it. As you gain knowledge and experience, be thoughtful about how and with whom you share it. One of the ethical dilemmas for seasoned wildcrafters is balancing the desire to educate and include newcomers with the obligation to steward and protect the land, which could suffer as the number of wildcrafters grows.

2. KNOW THE PLANTS

First and foremost, make sure you know the rare and endangered plant species in your area and don’t harvest them. United Plant Savers, a well-respected organization, maintains an updated watch list of at-risk plant species in the U.S. and Canada; even beginning wildcrafters should know it well.

Native plant societies, conservation groups, regional groups, and state environmental departments may also offer guides to endangered and threatened plants. A simple rule of thumb: when in doubt, don’t pick it.

Find Substitutes 

In some cases, more common plants can be substituted for rare ones. For example, Oregon grape can be used in place of the extremely depleted and fragile Goldenseal (which should never be harvested). Other no-go species, in addition to the aforementioned American ginseng and arnica, include Echinacea, osha, black cohosh, and peyote.

It’s also important to know whether the plant is a perennial or annual, as this affects how much and what parts of the plant you can harvest without jeopardizing its survival; and whether you’re encountering the plant near the limits of its geographical range, in which case you’d want to be especially careful and possibly avoid it altogether.

3. KNOW THE LAND

For starters, you want to make sure that the land itself is healthy. Land near busy roads and power lines is often exposed to toxic pollutants and pesticides. If the land once hosted an industrial site, it’s best to steer clear. If you’re wildcrafting near a stream, make sure that you know the source.

You’ll want to pick selectively and minimally from many different spots in a stand, so that you’re essentially browsing with a minimal footprint. You also want to make sure you don’t interfere with any wildlife foraging in the area. As you get more familiar with a piece of land over time, observe how your activities affect it as well as any natural environmental changes that have occurred. Look for opportunities to steward and replenish the land, and modify or cease wildcrafting altogether if necessary.

4. KNOW THE RULES

You don’t need to be a wildcrafter or a genius to know that trespassing on private property is a no-no. On public lands, wildcrafting is often prohibited or strictly limited. The National Park Service bans all types of foraging from America’s national parks but allows park superintendents the latitude to permit what they deem reasonable. When exceptions are made, it’s usually for personal, non-commercial use only.

As obvious as it sounds, make sure that you know the law. Many an aspiring wildcrafter has discovered the law only as a result of breaking it. Obtain any relevant permits, observe all requirements (e.g., maintaining a certain minimum distance from roads and trails), and carry ID with you at all times. Punishments can be surprisingly stiff; in California, for example, violations are punishable by $1,000 fines and up to six months in jail.

5. TAKE A LITTLE

Because the health of the local ecosystem is always top priority, it’s important to err on the side of caution when harvesting plants in the wild. If you’ve determined that harvesting would be both ethical and sustainable, take only as much as you could reasonably use and no more than 10 percent. Allow the oldest and largest plants to remain; their genes are the hardiest and most successful, so it’s important for the health of their species that they continue to reproduce.

Given the pressures wildcrafting can place on plant populations, one of the best things you can do is to seek out less popular but equally valuable plants that grow in abundance. This is especially true for some weedy, invasive plant species; dandelions, for example, have both nutritional and medicinal value and are widely available at many times of the year. Blackberries are so hardy that they’re almost impossible to wipe out.

Finally, don’t just think about wildcrafting as taking from nature. Replant areas you harvest from and pay special attention to helping to re-establish at-risk species.

Many who practice ethical wildcrafting also emphasize the importance of mindset, believing that it’s essential to strengthening the symbiotic relationship that exists between you and the earth as well as the earth’s own regenerative abilities. For some, wildcrafting is less about the plants you harvest and what you do with them than it is “a commitment to deepen your connection to the natural landscape and take responsibility for its regeneration.”

more information

Educate yourself!

If wildcrafting sounds up your alley, several resources can help you learn more. The aforementioned United Plant Savers (abbreviated “UpS” to avoid confusion with the delivery service) works to protect the long-term sustainability of native medicinal plants of the U.S. and Canada. UpS offers a wealth of information, including a Species At-Risk Assessment Tool, as well as a membership program whose proceeds support the research, education, and conservation of native medicinal plants and their habitats.

If you’re still a book reader (you are, aren’t you?), two that come highly recommended are Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs and Backyard Medicine. (In the Small World Dept., Rosemary Gladstar is the Founding President of UpS.)

Edible plant database

Plants For A Future maintains a database listing the “edible, medicinal and other uses” of over 7000 plants. PFAF points out that despite there being 20,000 species of edible plants in the world, less than 20 species – roughly one-tenth of one percent – now provide 90 percent of our food; broadening this list can ease the burden on a planet already stressed by chemically-intensive agriculture and climate change.

Sustainability in action

Internationally, wildcrafting falls under the purview of the World Forestry Congress, an gathering of the world’s forestry sector held every six years by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. The most recent WFC, held in Durban, South Africa, in 2015, produced the “Durban Declaration” affirming forests’ role in issues as diverse as food security, biodiversity, and climate change.

From this perspective, ethical wildcrafting directly supports the sustainable consumption and natural resource management goals of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

What’s been your wildcrafting experience? How do you practice ethical wildcrafting?

The following post A Beginner’s 5-Step Guide to Ethical Wildcrafting was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

10 Tips for Your Summer Skin Detox—Get Your Glow On!

You’ve likely heard about detox diets, which are used to help cleanse waste and impurities out of the body, in an effort to improve digestion and restore energy. But is it possible to do the same with a skin detox? After a long, harsh winter, can you cleanse your skin and your pores and start fresh for the summer?

Turns out you can! Here are our tips for your summer skin detox. Try them out to create a fresh, radiant appearance!

Why a Skin Detox?

If you’re new to the world of detoxing, you may wonder why your skin would need one. What could a skin detox do for you?

Your skin is one of the major organs involved in eliminating wastes and impurities from your body, mainly through perspiration. Sometimes, if your system is overwhelmed, your skin may develop issues to compensate, and try to get rid of these impurities.

A skin detox seeks to help the skin to get rid of the body’s waste products, which can, in turn, help your skin look and feel better. Particularly if you notice problems in your skin, a detox may be just the ticket. Signs that you may need a skin detox include:

•     Dull, sallow skin
•     Uneven skin tone
•     Oily skin
•     Wrinkles and sagging skin
•     Dry or sensitive skin

In other words, if your skin isn’t looking as good as you’d like, a summer skin detox may help improve its condition and help you look more healthy and vibrant for the warmer months.

Tips for Your Skin Detox

Depending on your skin type and condition, and how much time you want to spend, we’ve included several ideas below that will help cleanse your system and give you a jump start. We’ve included some internal methods of detox as well, since your skin is only as healthy as the rest of you, and internal detoxing can only benefit your appearance. Pick and choose as you wish!

Super mud mask

Mud masks help pull impurities and waste materials out of your skin, unclog clogged pores, and revitalize the look of dull skin, so they’re good for purification anytime. To supersize them for a summer skin detox, slather them on a little thicker than usual, let sit for 10-15 minutes, then step into a steaming hot bath and let the steam further work the ingredients into your skin. After another 5-10 minutes, rinse off and enjoy the fresh feeling! Of course, we recommend you use our Purifying Mud Mask for this step.

Drink more water

A common recommendation for health, drinking water is an important step in detoxing your body, inside and out. Unfortunately, particularly in the winter, we tend to drink less, taxing our internal waste removal systems. Make a point for at least a week to drink more.

For a detoxing boost, sip plain hot water every 10-15 minutes through the day for the week, and in addition, drink half your ideal weight in ounces of room temperature water each day as well. So if you weigh 120 pounds, drink an additional 60 ounces (about 7.5 cups). Make sure your water is pure. Consider using a water filter if you don’t have one. And if you want some extra detoxing power, add some lemon to the water. Lemons naturally promote healthy digestion.

Cut out the junk

The more you eat junk foods, the more your skin will suffer. At least for one week, stay off “congesting” foods like animal fats, dairy products, white bread, fast foods, and sugar. Eat as clean and healthy as you can, including lots of fresh berries and fruits.

Sip more tea

Teas like nettle, ginger, dandelion, and sarsaparilla root are known to support the body and skin. Drink at least two cups of these teas a day for at least one week.

Citrus steam

For a deep cleansing facial, try a citrus face steam! pour hot water into a small bowl and add a few drops of citrus essential oil. Soak a hand towel in the water and drape over your face. Lie down and allow the steam to open your pores and pull out the impurities. Follow with a refreshing cleanser, such as our Citrus Mint Facial Cleanser.

Exfoliate

Try stepping it up for a week and exfoliating a few more times than usual. Try our Ayurvedic Facial Scrub 2-4 times in one week, depending on your level of skin sensitivity.

Go sweating

Exercise gets your heart beating and your skin sweating, which helps to cleanse impurities from your body. Try your favorite exercise at least five times a week, and consider a heat yoga or spa session to turn up the heat.

Dry brush

Dry brushing is the best way to exfoliate the skin all over your body. Use those brushes made for the job, and right before your bath or shower, take about five minutes to brush your skin. Using circular motions, start at your feet and work your way up, massaging toward your heart. You’ll remove dead skin cells and make your skin incredibly clean.

Cleansing bath

Use your bath to detox your skin by adding a cup of Epsom salts and a cup of unfiltered apple cider vinegar to your hot water. These will draw dirt and other impurities out of your pores, helping your skin to start over fresh. To make it more luxurious, add some lavender or sandalwood oil.

Natural acid peel

Using the insides of natural papaya or cucumber skins, rub on the surface of skin to neutralize wastes. Each of these contains natural alpha hydroxy acids, which are recommended for purifying skin.

Do you have other tips for detoxing your skin? Share your favorite methods in the comments!

The following post 10 Tips for Your Summer Skin Detox—Get Your Glow On! was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Friday, May 18, 2018

5 Foods to Eat—and 5 Not To Eat—to Reduce Acne Outbreaks

In 2010, researchers surprised some people when they reported that diet could indeed, affect acne outbreaks. That year, an article in the scientific journal Skin Therapy Letter reported the results of a 27-study analysis—21 observational studies and 6 clinical trials. Scientists found that cow’s milk intake increased acne prevalence and severity, and also found an association between a high-glycemic load diet and acne risk.

Foods that reduce breakouts

An earlier study published in 2007 showed similar results—Australian researchers found that young men between the ages of 15 and 25 with mild-to-moderate acne experienced dramatic improvement when they switched from eating the typical American diet (with white bread and highly processed breakfast cereals) to a healthier diet of whole grains, lean meat, and fruits and vegetables.

“The acne of the boys on the higher-protein, low-glycemic index diet improved dramatically,” said senior author Neil Mann, associate professor at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia, “by more than 50 percent, which is more than what you see with topical acne solutions.”

Some people have long believed that diet affects acne, but only recently have researchers started to find evidence that this is true. If you’d like to try changing your eating habits to enjoy clearer skin, we’d encourage you to try it….you have nothing to lose!

What Not to Eat

Studies so far have focused mostly on the foods that make acne worse. Here are the five that come up most often as culprits in increasing breakouts. Avoid these for about a week, and see if you notice a difference.

Cow’s milk

The 2010 study found an association between cow’s milk and acne. Scientists aren’t yet sure why this may be, but there are several theories. Cow’s milk spikes blood sugar, which can increase inflammation (leading to pimples). It also increases insulin levels, which encourage the production of skin oils (sebum). A lot of the commercial milk we buy comes from pregnant cows, and thus contains other hormones that can trigger the production of sebum.

Milk also has growth hormones that can encourage the overgrowth of skin cells, potentially blocking pores. In 2005, researchers studied data from the famous Nurses Health Study II, and found that participants who drank more milk as teens had much higher rates of severe acne than those who had little or no milk as teens.

Sugar

You may have already suspected that sugar is related to breakouts. Some studies now suggest that there may be a link. This doesn’t mean that if you eat a cookie you’re going to get a pimple. It comes down to how much sugar you’re eating in a day—particularly at any one time.

If you consume a soda and a candy bar, for example, you’re likely spiking your blood sugar levels, and you could break out hours later. If you suspect sugar could be a culprit for you, try to cut back even by one sugary drink a day to notice a difference.

High-glycemic foods

These are foods that break down quickly in the body, triggering an insulin spike and raising blood sugar levels. They trigger hormonal fluctuations and inflammation—both of which encourage acne. We’re talking foods like white bread, processed breakfast cereals, white rice, pretzels, potato chips, cookies and cakes, etc. Choose low glycemic-index foods instead, like vegetables, whole grains, sweet potatoes, and most fruits.

Junk food

For the same reasons stated above (hormonal fluctuations, blood sugar levels), junk foods are on the list to avoid if you’re trying to clear up your skin. Drinking lots of water and healthier food choices for a hormonal acne diet will help your body stay balanced.

Fast food

Greasy fast food creates inflammation in the body. Studies have already linked fast food to conditions like childhood asthma, strictly because of its ability to raise overall inflammation in the body. Inflammation leads to pimples, so if you’re going to a fast-food restaurant, choose the salad or the yogurt.

What About Chocolate?

Long suspected to trigger acne, chocolate has received a pass until just recently. One small study from the Netherlands published in 2013 found a connection between chocolate and skin changes leading to acne. For the study, the scientists collected blood from seven healthy people before and after they ate 1.7 ounces of chocolate, each day, for four days.

Researchers then exposed the blood cells to bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes—which contribute to acne when they grow inside clogged pores—and to Staphylococcus aureus, another skin bacteria than can aggravate acne.

After eating the chocolate, the participants’ blood cells produced more interleukin-1b, which is a marker of inflammation, when exposed to Propionibacterium acnes. Eating chocolate also increased production of another immune system factor called interleukin 10 after exposure to Staphylococcus aureus. Interleukin 10 is thought to lower the body’s defenses against microorganisms, so higher levels could allow bacteria to infect pimples and worsen them.

This suggests that chocolate could increase inflammation and encourage bacterial infection, making acne worse. This was an extremely small study, however, and more research is needed. Dark chocolate has health-promoting antioxidants, so depending on how much you eat per day, you may want to wait for more evidence. In the meantime, to see if you may be sensitive to chocolate, try eliminating it for a week, by itself, and see if you notice a change in your skin.

What to Eat

Just cutting out the damaging foods listed above will likely lead to clearer skin—especially if you were regularly consuming them before. But what if you’re already eating healthy? Are there certain foods that could give you the edge against acne? Research is in its earliest stages, but we do have some knowledge of particular foods that may help. Here are five of them:

Fish or flaxseed

The typical Western diet contains too many omega-6 fatty acids, which are tied to inflammation. Eating more omega-3 fatty acids, such as those found in fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseed, and the like, can help tame inflammation and improve acne breakouts.

Green tea

Green tea is filled the antioxidants that can protect from environmental stressors. Drink more green tea throughout the day.

Oysters

Several studies have indicated that the mineral zinc may reduce the effects of acne. It’s best to get zinc from your food, however, as too much in supplements (more than 100 mg a day) can result in side effects.

Eat more oysters, toasted wheat germ (sprinkled on salads and steamed veggies), veal liver, roast beef, roasted pumpkin and squash seeds, and dried watermelon seeds.

Juicing

Eating more fruits and vegetables can naturally help clear up acne, and juicing is a great way to do so. Many contain beta-carotenes, which naturally help reduce skin oils, and all are naturally anti-inflammatory. Dark, leafy greens also help clear impurities from the body, which can encourage acne. Dark-colored berries contain phytonutrients good for skin when eaten.

Probiotics

These have been found to reduce inflammation in the gut, which may help reduce acne. According to a 2011 study, intestinal microflora may affect inflammation throughout the body, which in turn, can affect acne breakouts. Since pre and probiotics can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, scientists believe they may help reduce acne breakouts.

“There appears to be more than enough supportive evidence to suggest that gut microbes, and the integrity of the gastrointestinal tract itself, are contributing factors in the acne process,” the scientists wrote. To get more probiotics in your diet, try yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, dark chocolate, microalgae, miso soup, pickles, tempeh, kimchi, and kombucha tea.

Of course, there are many factors that contribute to acne, and diet is just one of them. Along with eating cleanly and avoiding acne triggers, there are many other factors that can contribute to your situation.

Have you cleared up your acne with dietary changes? Please share your story in the comments.

 

Sources
Ferdowsian Hr, Levin S, “Does diet really affect acne?” Skin Therapy Lett, 2010 Mar;15(3):1-2,5, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20361171.

Adebamowo CA, et al., “High school dietary dairy intake and teenage acne,” J Am Acad Dermatol, 2005 Feb;52(2):207-14, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15692464.

Myung Im, et al., “Epigallocatechin-3-Gallate Suppresses IGF-I-Induced Lipogenesis and Cytokine Expression in SZ95 Sebocytes,” Journal of Investigative Dermatology December 2012; 132:2700-2708, http://www.nature.com/jid/journal/v132/n12/full/jid2012202a.html.

Yoon JY, et al., “Epigallocatechin-3-gallate improves acne in humans by modulating intracellular molecular targets and inhibiting P. acnes,” J Invest Dermatol. 2013 Feb;133(2):429-40, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23096708?dopt=Abstract.

“Acne,” University of Maryland Medical Center, http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/condition/acne.

Whitney P Bowe and Alan C Logan, “Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis—back to the future?” Gut Pathog, January 31, 2011; 3(1): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3038963/.

The following post 5 Foods to Eat—and 5 Not To Eat—to Reduce Acne Outbreaks was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Face Mapping: What Your Pimples Are Trying To Tell You

You may be able to find out how to stop breakouts by doing some detective work and face mapping.

Argh, those nasty breakouts. You scrub and you wash and you tone and you moisturize, and still they show up just when you least need them, like right before a big interview, presentation, or meeting with your new in-laws.

You know how to grin and bear it. You probably know how to cover it up. You may even know how to control your hormonal acne. If you want to say goodbye to your acne for good, however, the next time it shows up, you may want to perk your ears a bit. After all, we’ve heard that if you listen, your breakouts will tell you what you need to know to stop them from coming back.

Where are You Breaking Out?

Look carefully at where you’re breaking out. There is a theory called “face mapping” that suggests the location of your acne could present clues about what’s causing it. Traditional Chinese medicine, for example, maintains that a weakness or toxicity in a certain organ or gland in the body can result in acne showing up in certain areas of the skin. You can use this theory to do some detective work on your breakouts.

Forehead

Pimples here are usually linked to the digestive system, and may indicate that you’re having a hard time breaking down certain foods. It may also indicate liver problems, stress, or an irregular sleep schedule. Try using bitter herbs or digestive enzymes like bromelain and papaya before each meal to help break down foods, and make sure you’re getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you suspect liver issues, try some dandelion tea or some extra garlic and onions. Drinking hot water with lemon in the morning may also help.

Between the brows

Did you have to break down and get fast food yesterday? Greasy, fatty foods may be connected to acne here. Stick with healthy choices as much as you can! Another possible cause—too much alcohol. If you find pimples here after a night out where you consumed a few drinks, that may be your issue.

Cheeks

If you spent time in the city, had to sit in traffic for hours, or otherwise came into contact with polluted air, that may explain pimples showing up here. And unfortunately, the air in our homes can be just as bad, or worse! Consider adding plants that clean the air to your home. Allergies that affect the respiratory system may also be to blame, or if you pressed your cell phone against your skin while talking, germs may have been transferred to your face. Always wash skin thoroughly before bed to try to get rid of trace contaminants. Sometimes, acne here can be a symptom of too much sugar in your diet—cut back for a few days and see if that helps.

Chin

Did these show up around that time of the month? Chin pimples often come around because of changes in your hormones. In the days before your period, try to pay extra attention to your skin care. Consider eating foods that help regulate our natural hormonal cycles. Also be sure you’re not resting your chin in your hands when bored or tired, as this can transfer oils from your fingers onto your chin, which can cause pimples.

When Did Your Breakouts Show Up?

Tracking just when your breakouts show up can also help you determine what may be causing them. Here are some tips to help:

First thing in the morning

If you’re finding pimples in the morning that weren’t there the night before, there could be a couple things at work. First, you may have forgotten to wash your face before bed (always a must!). Second, you may have eaten something for dinner or dessert that didn’t digest well, causing changes in your skin. Eating too close to bedtime may also encourage the formation of pimples.

Afternoon

This may be caused by hormones, if you’re getting close to your menstrual cylce, or it could be that your makeup or moisturizer is to blame. If you start out with a fresh face and then by afternoon see pimples and blackheads showing up, check the ingredients in your makeup and moisturizing products. Things like mineral oil, propylene glycol, dimethicone, and others can actually create a barrier on skin that traps bacteria underneath, increasing your chances of a breakout.

Evening

Did you wash your face after work? Before your exercise routine? Before cooking? Remember that all day, your skin is subjected to pollution and contaminants in the air. Makeup, as well, can sit on your skin all day long. The second you walk in the door, wash your face and put on a fresh moisturizer.

What kind are you?

Look more closely at your breakouts. Do you have just one or two inflamed pimples, or a cluster of blackheads? This information can give you more clues as to what may be going on:

Blackheads and clogged pores

These are those tiny black spots that like to dot your skin like pencil pricks. Your skin may be dry in the area of the breakout. This may indicate a congested liver, in which case you may want to try a short detox-diet to flush out your system. Drink extra water, and try the liver-cleansing foods listed on Renegade Health.

Cystic acne

These pimples like to sit underneath the surface of skin, forming swollen bumps. They can take weeks to heal. Oily or dry skin—doesn’t matter. All skin types can suffer this type of acne. It may be connected to hormonal issues, including PMS, menopause, pre-menopause, childbirth, and breastfeeding. It may also be related to digestive issues. Consider getting more probiotics in your diet (from things like yogurt and kefir).

Frequent acne

This usually comes with whiteheads and blackheads, though they are usually small. The key here is “frequent”—this type of breakout comes around a lot. If this is your acne, look at your products, as it’s likely to be related to some ingredients that your skin doesn’t like.

Occasional

This is the acne that shows up out of the blue. You thought your skin was fine, and then wham, the pimples show up. Most likely, this type of acne is related to stress. Have things been difficult in your life lately? Have you been worried about something? You may need to take some time out.

Check out our resources page if you're looking for more resources on various skin care issues or concerns.

Do you know what causes your breakouts? Please share any other tips you may have.

 

If you would like to learn more on face mapping and the different parts of the face that are connected to different organs in the body, check out the rest of our Face Mapping series!

•     Face Mapping: An Introduction
•      Face Mapping: the Digestive System and Your Forehead
•      Face Mapping: the Liver and Between the Brows
•      Face Mapping: the Respiratory System and Your Cheeks
•      Face Mapping: Heart, Blood Pressure and Your Nose

The following post Face Mapping: What Your Pimples Are Trying To Tell You was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

What Herbs are Best Aligned with your Astrological Sign?

Contributed from our friend Shirell Bishop

Each of us at some in our lives has taken a moment, or two, to indulge our zodiac related curiosities. While it isn’t an “exact” science, horoscopes have helped to guide and entertain people through many of life’s obstacles. If you went beyond the usually daily horoscopes, you’ll have learned about the various categories that include each of the zodiac signs.

Herbs for your Astrological Sign

During one of my more curious moments, I learned there is much more than just seasons, birthstones, and colors associated with our signs. My interest was piqued when I learned of the ailments connected to each member of the zodiac. Especially those ailments that are similar to what I often experience. The discovery of ailments, led to finding herbs that can help alleviate some of the symptoms. Thats right, herbs for your astrological sign! There are a few studies that explain the benefits of herbal remedies. I suggest researching if you are interested in non-prescription alternatives.

Below are a small percentage of the herbs I found that relate to each sign. I’m not a doctor. But, I have had positive experiences with herbal remedies, more often than not. Remember, it’s always a good idea to do your research and consult a doctor before trying new herbal remedies and supplements. Adverse bodily reactions are possible.

Aries

March 21 – April 19
head, brain, and face

The competitively bold Aries is the first sign of the zodiac. This cardinal fire sign uses “headfirst” as its mantra. This rambunctious ram rarely wavers from the more challenging situations and loves to be number one. They have a dynamic personality, and are equally loving. Some of their less positive traits can lead to stress, depression, and stroke – ailments associated with this sign.

Helpful herbs: St. John’s wort, kava kava, Tienchi ginseng, and chamomile.

Taurus

April 20 – May 20
neck, ear, and throat

This fixed earth sign is one of the more practical signs of the zodiac. The Taurus tends to patiently finish what they start, making them quite reliable and benefactors of their hard work. They love surrounding themselves with loving people, and the serenity that comes from relaxation. But colds, sore throats, ear aches, and under-active thyroid are associated with knocking Taurus off track.

Helpful herbs: Uumcka, licorice root, echinacea,nettles, and mullein.

Gemini

May 21 – June 20
shoulders, arms, and hands

Gemini, a mutable air sign, is a gentle, creative whose adaptive abilities allow them to maneuver in various spaces. This sign embodies two personalities in one body – social butterfly and thoughtful loner. The two personalities can sometimes lead Gemini to believe they can be in two places at the same time, and cause them to take on one too many projects. Stretching themselves too thin invites colds, anxiety, and insomnia.

Helpful herbs: Eucalyptus, sage, lavender, valerian, and ashwagandha.

Cancer

June 21 – July 22
breast, chest, and stomach

Cancer is a cardinal water sign who fiercely guards their emotional space. This can make it a bit of a challenge to get to know this mysterious sign. But once they open up to you, you’ll find them to be extremely intuitive and sentimental. Once you are emotionally close to them, you’ll experience a level empathy and loyalty that make them amazing friends. Their connections and concern for others can be breeding grounds a few troublesome traits for this sign – depression, obesity, and digestive trouble.

Helpful herbs: Rhodiola rosea, Siberian ginseng, green tea, dandelion, and peppermint.

Leo

July 23 – August 22
heart, back, spine, blood

Leos are the true rulers of the celestial kingdom. These fixed fire signs enjoy being illuminated by the spotlight. Leos are an attractive and self confident bunch, who make very loving and loyal friends. Once they have focused on a particular goal, they often achieve it. They are often bursting with energy and passion. But dialing back and relaxing can be helpful. High blood pressure, blocked arteries, and heart issues can be issues.

Helpful herbs: Hawthorne, celery seed, gotu kola, and cat’s claw

Virgo

August 23 – September 22
abdomen, intestines

Virgo is a mutable earth sign. Virgo is highly analytical and tends to choose reason over emotions. These perfectionists have a very logical approach to how they choose to live their day to day lives. They work hard at improvement and rarely overlook the most minute of details. Despite playing it safe, some of the ailments associated with Virgo are ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, and weight fluctuations.

Helpful herbs: Licorice root, burdock, ginger, agrimony, and dandelion

Libra

September 23 – October 22
kidneys, adrenal glands, skin

Libra is a cardinal air sign who enjoys a harmonious life full of balance. While Libras may not always lean towards large events, they enjoy company over being alone. Libras are not typically combative and enjoy keeping the peace. They are keen minded individuals who enjoy a great deal of mental stimulation. Some of the woes associated with this sign are digestive trouble (diarrhea/constipation) and managing hydration.

Helpful herbs: Peppermint, chamomile, cascara sagrada, astragalus

Scorpio

October 23 – November 21
bladder, genitals, rectum

Scorpio is the fiery fixed water sign of the zodiac family. This sign is sometimes misunderstood because of this characteristic. Scorpios are naturals leaders who are both passionate and resourceful. They are beings who prefer to express themselves emotionally in various ways. The ailments associated with them are urinary tract infection, cystitis, and thrush.

Helpful herbs: Horsetail, uva ursa, clove, oregano, and juniper.

Sagittarius

November 22 – December 21
hips, thighs, sciatic nerves, and vision

The knowledge seeking Sagittarius is the last of the fire signs. Sagittarians love to travel and truly enjoy having a connection to the rest of the world. They are  adventurous spirits who possess a great sense of humor and curiosity. They thrive most when they feel a unyielding sense of freedom. Rheumaticism, sciatic troubles, and poor vision are issues that attempt to slow down the Sagittarius.

Helpful herbs: Arnica, calendula, Passion flower, bilberry, and willow bark

Capricorn

December 22 – January 19
bones, teeth, skin

The cardinal Capricorn is the last earth sign of the zodiac. They have an ability to thrive in both their personal and professional lives, due to their self- discipline. Self-control sets them apart from the other signs of the zodiac. They love spending time with family and loved ones. A few things they don’t like- anxiety, skin allergies, and bone trouble.

Helpful herbs: Red clover, nettle, evening primrose, winter’s bark, gotu kola

Aquarius

January 20 – February 18
lower legs, ankles, circulation

The name “Aquarius” does include “water” in its name, but is the last of the air signs. These deep thinkers enjoy helping others and have a “glass half full” way of viewing the world. They adapt well in social environments, and tend to be highly intellectual people. They are independent spirits who love those close to them. Weak joints and poor circulation can slow them down.

Helpful herbs: Flax, butcher’s broom, parsley, and horse chestnut.

Pisces

February 19 – March 20
nervous system, feet, thalamus

The last of all the zodiacs constellations is the Pisces. Pisces alternate between dreams and reality unlike the other signs. Yet, they tend to have a greater understanding life’s lessons due to learning from the experiences of others. They are the selfless of the zodiac, and love to help others. Mental health, their nervous system, and anxiety are associated with this sign.

Helpful herbs: Mulungu, skullcap, holy basil, lemon balm, chamomile

Have you explored herbs for your astrological sign? Share your experience in the comments!

 

About the Author: Shirell is on a journey to a healthier lifestyle, and has been incorporating wellness practices into her everyday life. Traveling and meditation are her favorite forms of self-care. Her goal is to inspire others to explore the world as often as they can.

The following post What Herbs are Best Aligned with your Astrological Sign? was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

We Heart: Numi Tea

No exaggeration here—there is not a single day that goes by at Annmarie Skin Care HQ that is not fueled by tea. As soon as 9 am rolls around, the electric kettles get flipped on and we start sippin'. One of our all time favorites is Numi Tea—not just for their high quality and ethical sourcing, but because they're local!

A fellow resident of the California's East Bay, Numi was founded in Oakland, California in 1999 by siblings Ahmed and Reem Rahim. Since then, Numi has been dedicated to producing unique, high quality teas and inspiring the well-being of mind, body and spirit.

So what makes Numi different from the countless other tea brands available?

Real Ingredients

Did you know, most teas on the market are blended or sprayed with “natural” or artificial flavorings or fragrances? This results in a manufactured perfume-y after-taste that masks the true flavor of tea.

For a pure, authentic taste, Numi blends premium, organic teas and herbs with only 100% real fruits, flowers and spices. They never use “natural” flavorings, perfumes or fragrances.

Full Leaf Quality

Numi uses full leaf quality (FOP grade & above) organic tea in all of their products. Their full leaf teas steep slowly and evenly, and deliver a smooth, rich flavor.

Grades of Tea and Why They Matter

After tea leaves are picked, they are sorted by size. The larger the leaf, the greater its surface area for steeping. The longer it takes to steep, the more complex and nuanced the infusion.

Whole Leaf Grades are primarily used for loose leaf tea. They range from Orange Pekoe to Flowery Orange Pekoe to Super Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe. Numi uses Flowery Orange Pekoe (FOP) and above for their tea bags.

Fannings are the small pieces of tea that have fallen to the bottom in the sifting process, and are left over after higher grades of teas are gathered and sold. Fannings with extremely small particles are sometimes called “dust.” Fannings and dust are considered the lowest grades of tea. These are predominantly used in lower quality tea bags. Due to their small surface area, these tea bags can only be steeped for a short time before tannin (a natural compound in tea) is released. This results in a bitter taste. This grade of tea is often masked with milk, sugar, or flavorings.

Other full leaf tea bags use a see-through, mesh material made from GMO corn, or petroleum-based plastic. Numi uses a natural, compostable paper filter tea bag.

Why Organic Tea?

Organic Certification is especially important when it comes to tea. The first time tea comes into contact with water is when it steeps in our cups. Organic cultivation protects the environment, the farmers, and you.

100% of Numi’s teas and ingredients are certified organic. Numi only sources organic tea, spices and herbs; they are committed to sourcing only the highest quality organic, non-gmo teas from farms they have known and partnered with directly for years.

Additionally, they require laboratory testing for all of their teas and each purchase they make from their partners is accompanied by a Certificate of Analysis verifying that the teas and herbs meet their quality requirements. Their suppliers are also subject to random and annual inspections to verify organic and fair trade/fair labor practices.

Organic Tea Farming

Organic tea farming began in 1987. Beyond delivering the highest quality product, organic agriculture ensures a healthy and sustainable environment because organic farming does not use chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or insecticides. This practice preserves our earth’s resources by minimizing pollutants, as well as protects the health of the workers who would otherwise be exposed.

Try it yourself!

Don't just take our word for it. We want to share Numi Tea with you! We're including Numi's Holistic Tea Sampler pack with every Annmarie Skin Care purchase while supplies last.

Plus, we’re offering 15% off your first purchase over at Numi’s online shop. Just use code WEHEARTNUMI at checkout.

Have you tried Numi Tea? What are your favorite tea blends? Let us know in the comments!

The following post We Heart: Numi Tea was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Beautiful Voices: Kristina Cole

Beautiful Voices is our ongoing blog series that highlights inspiring, empowering women. Our most recent Beautiful Voice is Kristina Cole. See what she says when Annmarie asks her some questions about her own personal beauty.

Kristina Cole is a Functional Medicine Health Coach, CHHC, AADP living in Northern California. She is passionate about helping people find true wellness. In Kristina's spare time she likes to get outdoors and spend time adventuring with family. You can check her out on her website, www.kristinacole.com.

Who do you feel you are today? What event has defined your life?

I feel like I’m a mom on a mission. After having my kids I found myself reflecting on what I wanted my future to look like and the example I wanted to be. I’ve been transitioning for a corporate career to more of an entrepreneur helping others resolve health issues through Functional Medicine health coaching.

What was your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?

Throughout my 30’s I felt like I was searching, but I really wasn’t sure what I was searching for. It was my own discomfort with the ‘standard’ answers and researching alternative options that I uncovered not only solutions, but a passion.

What is an issue you are passionate about?

Digging into root causes of chronic health concerns and helping others make lifestyle changes that dramatically improve their well being. It’s not until you lose your health that you truly value how important it is.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?

Trust your instincts. No one knows you, or children as well as you do. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t settle, keep searching until you find the solution.

Where and when do you feel most at peace?

Being in nature, breathing in fresh air from the trees or from the ocean elevate my mood and make me happy. One of my favorite activities is taking the boat out on the lake with my family and taking in the gorgeous scenery and watching my children bask in the serenity.

What does beauty mean to you?

A well intentioned heart. Accepting of others without compromising your own beliefs.

What makes you feel beautiful?

Laughter and joy, feeling strong and healthy.

What's your favorite beauty secret or tip?

Using clean products. Your skin absorbs so much, giving it clean products that nurture your skin is my top tip.

What makes you feel most alive? Most dead?

I feel the most alive when I am in the moment. So often we get caught up in our heads and don’t focus on the here and now. The most dead is usually when I’m sitting in my windowless corporate office.

How does Annmarie's mission fit into your lifestyle?

I love the clean products! I have been making my own using essential oils for a few years, so I loved finding Annmarie’s! The sun protection is awesome and I love, love, love the face oils. I share these products with friends, family and clients all the time. It’s just so important.

What are your words of wisdom to other beauties out there?

Believe in yourself, follow your dreams, embrace mother nature.

isn’t she beautiful?

MUCH LOVE,
ANNMARIE SKIN CARE

(If you’re interested in being featured as one of our Beautiful Voices, please email us at newyou@annmariegianni.com.)

The following post Beautiful Voices: Kristina Cole was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.