Wednesday, September 20, 2017

6 Benefits of Tongue Scraping (Plus How to Choose the Right Scraper for You)

We’re excited by all of the holistic practices that are being studied, tried, and routinely utilized in our society. While massage, acupuncture, meditation are all very common natural remedies that are increasing in popularity, we are interested in delving deeply into those ancient practices that are a little more obscure, like tongue scraping. Have you heard about it?

The History

Whether you’re a tongue scraping expert or this is the first time you’ve even thought of the concept, the idea has been around for a long, long time. Tongue scraping is actually part of an ancient Ayurvedic text called the Charaka Samhita, where it is considered one way to remove Ama, or toxic debris, from your mouth.

Although Eastern civilizations have historically placed significant value on tongue scraping, the Western civilization is slower to accept this as a beneficial addition to your health regimen. Between the 15th and 19th century, tongue cleaning, like many other less rudimentary hygiene habits, was reserved for the affluent. It wasn’t until the 20th century that tongue scraping became popularized and a commercial market rose for the sell of the scrapers.

Even more recently, the benefits are becoming more well-known, widespread and thus, the practice is generally growing in popularity.

The Benefits of Tongue Scraping

In Ayurveda, the oral cavity is considered to be one of the main passages between your body and the environment so maintaining proper oral hygiene helps create balance and an overall general wellness. Because the tongue is a conducive environment for bacteria to thrive, particularly the region towards the back of your mouth, it’s less than ideal for your tongue to serve as a five-star accommodation for bacteria.

Tongue scraping helps manage the balance between a healthy mouth and healthy you because of these benefits:

  1. Cleans toxins and bacteria from the tongue
  2. Helps remove coating on the tongue that leads to embarrassing halitosis (bad breath)
  3. Helps eliminate undigested food particles from the tongue
  4. Cleans the taste buds to enhance the sense of taste
  5. Promotes overall oral and digestive physical well-being
  6. Gently stimulates the internal organs

That’s a significant list of benefits for a minute of your morning time!

What Type of Tongue Scraper Should I Buy?

The purchase of a tongue scraper is largely going to come down to individual preference so there are a couple of things to consider. Though tongue scrapers have been made out of everything from whalebone to plastic, in the traditional Ayurvedic practice, they are made from copper, silver, gold, tin or brass. Stainless steel tends to be a popular metal choice because it contains less allergens, is easy to clean and very durable.

Picking a size that is right for your mouth will obviously improve comfort. They are most beneficial if they are the width of your tongue and not too narrow. Ideally you should be able to scrape the entire tongue in one motion. Additionally, like a keyboard or nice pen, you’re going to want to find one that is a comfortable fit for your hands. For example, you might prefer a handle that is grasped in one hand while someone else may favor the two-handled, two-handed type.

They tend to be pretty inexpensive so you can experiment until you find one that meets your needs.

How to Use It

You’ve scoured local stores and searched the Interwebs… Success! You found your perfect tongue scraper. Great job! Now what?

Begin working your tongue scraping into your daily AM routine. Might I suggest a morning time oral hygiene playlist to set the mood? It’s largely agreed that you should do your tongue scraping early in the morning on an empty stomach. However, there is some debate over order of operations; should you brush your teeth or scrape your tongue first? With no clear answer or consensus, the choice is yours!

Extend your tongue as far as it will go—really channel your inner Gene Simmons here—then place the scraper as far back on your tongue as is comfortable. Gently pull the tongue scraper across the entire surface of the tongue in one forward motion. Rinse the tongue scraper and repeat until you no longer remove unwanted coating (usually around 5-10 times). Be careful not to scrape your tongue overzealously as this can temporarily damage your taste buds! And then what good is that chocolate cake you’ve been saving?

We want to hear from you! Have you tried tongue scraping? Tell us in the comments below!

The following post 6 Benefits of Tongue Scraping (Plus How to Choose the Right Scraper for You) was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Annmarie Skin Care Team is Hiring a Full-Time Content Coordinator

 

We’re looking for someone who has experience in creative writing and content strategizing, and who has an interest in natural skin care, organics, the healthcare industry, herbs & remedies, etc. (Guy or gal, both are equally welcome!)

If you apply, you must be a hard worker, have high energy, be caring, supportive and willing to be an ambassador for our company. We are looking for someone who has an interest in the issues around the topics of skin care — toxic ingredients, natural herbs, lack of regulations, why choose natural and organic, etc…

Additionally, we’re looking for someone who is proactive in this position, and is a self motivator to see things through. We are excited to bring someone on board who can be trained in the systems in place, but also has enthusiasm and creativity.

Job Requirements

  • Grow and manage our content strategy. We’re talking blog, email, social media, video, etc
  • Create unique content that you can repurpose on multiple channels (an article that you can make into a video script and tease on social media, for example).
    • Collect data on how our content is doing (analytics); use it as it comes to evolve our strategy.
  • Go over our existing content to make sure it jives with the new, comprehensive content strategy you develop.
    • Update existing blog posts for better reader engagement and experience, SEO, and calls to action.
  • Edit and provide feedback to ensure all content is on brand and consistent in terms of quality, style guide, and messaging.
  • Work with our marketing team to create an editorial calendar and strategy to engage our current audience and bring in new readers.
    • Make sure our content calendar supports marketing, product, and other parts of the company, when needed
  • Manage and edit work from a small team of writers.
    • Outreach to potential (non-paid) contributors/ find and manage affiliate relationships to get high-quality content for the blog.
    • Find new collaborations with cool, like-minded companies.
    • Build and manage relationships with affiliate contributors and part-time writers.
    • Assign and manage graphic design and video projects.

Other Requirements

  • Experience with WordPress is a must!
  • Deep knowledge and passion for the health/natural beauty industry.
  • Work with cross-functional teams including marketing, PR, and social media on an ongoing basis to provide support on content-related projects.
  • Exceptionally detail oriented.
  • Experience with content + video strategy and production (editing, shooting etc) is a plus.

How to Apply

  1. Please take a free typing test here, we’re looking for at least 60wpm
  2. If you pass, record a video of yourself telling us why you think you’re a good fit for this job—please also include your past experience or interest in skin care or the health industry.
  3. Upload the video to a video website like YouTube.com and copy the direct link.
  4.  Send an email to apply@annmariegianni.com with the following:
    1. Your resume
    2. 4-5 samples of your previous work (specific to health and beauty preferred)
    3. WPM score—a screenshot of your result is fine.
    4. The link to your video
Thanks! We look forward to meeting you!

The following post The Annmarie Skin Care Team is Hiring a Full-Time Content Coordinator was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Beautiful Voices: Jane Kuntz

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

 

Jane grew up in post World War 2 England. She had a special love for the surrounding Yorkshire moors. She and her friends rode ponies and had lots of horseback adventures there. In her late teens, she began doing Peace Corps every summer and developed a fascination for other cultures. She came to America in 1980, where she met and married her husband Rick. They have three living children—Carlos and Roque, adopted from Guatemala, and Hannah, born to them. Jane’s professional training includes degrees in education and theology. She is a certified Consulting Herbalist and Life Style Coach. She has worked in several mission fields and currently volunteers for Border Collie Rescue and Feral Cat Rescue. She now lives in Maine where she treasures the ocean and islands, lakes and rivers, and mountains which come down to the sea.

Who do you feel you are today?

I am a 71-year-old wife, mother, and grandmother. I have a hard time accepting my age because I am active and adventurous. My concept of a seventy-year old woman is a grandma in a rocking chair, knitting, with a contented kitty at her feet.  I have a young border collie and we romp through the woods together—rain, snow, or shine. I am an herbalist, I grow a lot of herbs and wildcraft others, I make remedies to help family and friends. I also teach herbal healing and do a few consultations.

Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

At age sixteen I became a Christian. From that day the word of God and my relationship with Jesus have been my biggest inspiration. I am also inspired daily by my patient, wise, and caring husband whose huge heart ministers to all he comes in contact with. I am inspired in a different way by our daughter. She is a courageous world traveling activist, working to help women and children in disadvantaged countries.

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

My biggest challenge was the death of our infant son Elisha. Losing Elisha, totally unexpectedly, was the worst experience I have ever gone through, I did not sail through it quickly or easily. It took me years, and even now, it is a big pain in my heart.

If money was no object what would you be doing?

If money were no object I would buy an old characterful cottage on one of the Maine islands and would spend a good portion of the summer there. I grew up in England with a seafaring heritage—my mother’s father and uncles were fishermen and manned the lifeboat, so I am always happiest close to the ocean. There is something extra romantic and magical about an island.

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

I worked for a couple of years with troubled teens and asked a pastor how I could best influence their lives for good. His answer was, “Never have to put it into words! LIVE life, LIVE love, LIVE peace, LIVE joy, LIVE hope.”

Where and when do you feel most at peace?

I feel most at ease at home on an evening that my husband is home, and we can just relax, our dog and cats snuggled happily beside us. Oh dear, I am beginning to sound like that 70-year-old woman!

What does beauty mean to you?

Beauty to me must come from the inside. I am not impressed by the heavy make-up Hollywood brand of beauty. Yes a simple becoming hairstyle and a glowing complexion help, but without the beauty of character, it is just nice hair and skin, not real beauty!

What makes you feel beautiful?

I feel beautiful when I do little nurturing things to take care of my health and appearance—an herbal soak, a facial steam or pack, a skincare routine with lovely products.

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

As I look around I see women copying a look. I am not into fashion or movies so I don’t know who it is they are copying, but I see a lot of women with these painted on looks, and they are not themselves. I would like to encourage each woman, young or old, to believe in her own personal beauty, to seek for inner beauty, and nurture her outward beauty. Do not think for one moment that you need to cultivate an image of some famous person, each woman is precious and unique just as she is!

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: Jane Kuntz was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Friday, September 15, 2017

6 Herbs That Calm PMS (Bloating, Tiredness, Mood Swings)

This article is contributed by our dear friend, Magdelena with Herbs for Balance

For the 75% of women experiencing some symptom of Pre-Menstrual Syndrome and feel there is no relief in sight, get ready to find out how the world of herbal medicine can help.

PMS can kick start symptoms that often occur for up to two weeks before the onset of your menstrual flow. These include issues like breast tenderness, bloating, fluid retention, tiredness and headaches. Many women also complain that their hormonal fluctuations also cause emotional PMS symptoms including mood swings, irritability, anxiety and depression.

In one study at Cornell University, brain scans of women during peak PMS time showed much greater activity in the frontal lobes – the area that controls our emotions. However, once menstruation began that high-level of activity in the frontal lobe was no longer visible. TL;DR The changes that occur in PMS are not just in a woman’s imagination. They are a response to a complex set of reactions and chain reactions involving neurotransmitters and hormones that affect a woman’s energy, feelings, and responses to life.

Here’s Roughly How Your Hormones Should Track

1—Weeks 1 – 2 (after your period). In the first two weeks after you menstruate you should have higher estrogen levels. By mid-cycle, they have often increased 10-fold before falling steeply again.

2—Weeks 3 – 4 (after ovulation). In the second two weeks of your period cycle, as ovulation occurs and your body releases an egg, your levels of progesterone should be higher (this prepares your uterus for possible implantation).

Unfortunately, many women have high levels of estrogen throughout their menstrual cycle and insufficient progesterone production – leading to a progesterone deficit in the second half of their menstrual cycle. A condition, called estrogen dominance (ED) is a common cause of PMS symptoms in women.

Also, low progesterone levels can cause endorphin levels to nose-dive. Endorphins are the chemicals associated with a “runner’s high”because they elevate mood, so lower levels can also ramp up PMS-related feelings of depression or moody blues. For information on nutrients to help boost your progesterone, take a look at my post:

These herbs can used in easy to make salves, tinctures and infusions. Learn how to use herbs in your everyday routine in my FREE online workshop “How To Use Herbs To Rebalance Your Hormones

How Herbs Can Help

Though lifestyle factors including exercise and yoga can help balance hormones, many women need more help from Mother Nature’s remedies, to alleviate PMS.

The right herbs and spices can address both the symptoms of PMS and estrogen dominance. Try using these potent plant allies for common PMS hormonal issues:

Anxiety and Low Mood

Lavender. German research comparing the internal use of lavender to sedating benzodiazepine medication for anxiety, has found it provides equal benefit, minus the side effects of the meds, which may include tiredness, trembling, dry mouth, nausea, and addiction. Lavender can also help promote skin healing and better quality of sleep. To make fresh lavender tea, add lavender flower bulbs to a tea ball and infuse for 10 minutes or longer in hot water.

Clary Sage. The essential oil extracted from this flowering herb is often used in aromatherapy to help calm, relax and induce a sense of well being.

Research has shown that women who inhaled clary sage vapors from essential oil experienced calming effects, confirming that the clary sage quickly prompted a relaxation response.

Fluid retention

Chasteberry. This powerful little brown berry can be a woman’s best friend if she suffers PMS. Research shows that after using it internally as a tea or a tincture for three consecutive menstrual cycles, 93% of women enjoyed a decrease in PMS symptoms, such as fluid retention and cravings.

The chasteberry also helped reduce hormonal symptoms such as depression and anxiety. Traditionally this herb is used through days 14-21 of your menstrual cycle, but many people find benefits using it all month long.

Dandelion Root and Leaves. This common weed found in the yard has been found to help with fluid retention. Research shows promise using dandelion internally as a diuretic with increased urination. Dandelion has the added benefit of supplying the body with minerals like potassium, that are often depleted when using prescription diuretics. Dandelion root is also used traditionally to stimulate and detoxify the liver which can help promote estrogen metabolism during PMS. Be mindful that dandelion root is high in polysaccharides, so it should be avoided if you are sensitive to FODMAPs (carbohydrates that can cause digestive problems).

Concentration

Lemon Balm. Though often used as a mild sedative, calming sleep aid, and anxiety combatant, lemon balm has other hidden talents. It is also a powerful memory booster and can improve concentration. Many practitioners believe this is due in part to the actions of the rosmarinic acid in the plant, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory responses.

Research from the University of Northumbria has shown that lemon balm can boost cognitive performance as well as your mood. Great news for women who find they suffer from brain fog or mood blahs due to PMS. In this FREE online workshop you will:

  • Learn about 20 healing herbs and spices to help support and heal your thyroid, adrenals, menopause, weight, hair loss, cellulite, PCOS, hot flashes (and more).
  • 5 simple and delicious herbal recipes to restore and rebalance your hormones
    • Ashwaganda Latte
    • Matcha Morning Kickstarter
    • Protein Balls
    • Women’s Health Infusion (Drink)
    • Anti-wrinkle Oil (a chemical free and affordable recipe)
  • How to avoid common chemicals found in everyday skincare, personal care and house cleaning products that disrupt your hormones
  • Discover which herbs are best for your individual needs

Click here to join the free workshop now

The following post 6 Herbs That Calm PMS (Bloating, Tiredness, Mood Swings) was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

How Meditation Can Help You Feel and Look Amazing

Guest Post By Emily Fletcher, Founder of Ziva Meditation

In the West we have a habit of putting band-aids on our problems. Didn’t get enough sleep last night? Grab an extra coffee on the way into the office. Had an intense day at work? Stop on the corner for a bottle of wine on the way home. Have a migraine? Take an extra strength Advil, hoping this one keeps the pain at bay.

In a perfect world we would be able to be like Sabrina from Bewitched, zapping our problems away with a quick wiggle of the nose. And while she looked adorable in her crop top and pony tail, I’m going to tell you the truth: lots of people are are sick and tired, and the solution isn’t coffee or wine.

The Problem is Stress.

We all know that stress is bad for us, but doctors are calling stress the “black plague” of our century. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that chronic stress is responsible for 80% of all doctors visits and can lead to a number of psychological and physical problems, from high blood pressure to depression.

The Solution? Meditation

Seems too simple to be true, but if stress can mess this many things up in our bodies and minds then it stands to reason that the most powerful stress relieving tool out there may be able to help. Here’s how it works. At Ziva Meditation I teach a powerful type of meditation that gets rid of old stresses we have been storing in our cellular memory by giving the body deep healing rest aka de-exciting the nervous system. When you de-excite something you create order. When you create order in your cells, the stress can start to come up and out. This frees up your brain to use more of its computing power for the task at hand. This is why meditators report performing and feeling so much better.

How Will that Help You Sleep?

Everything in the body has a domino effect. When you take the time to meditate you use that time to get rid of stress in the body. This allows you to use your sleep as a time for sleep. When your body is fully rested, and isn’t being flooded with acidic stress chemicals, it is able to function at the top of its game. Harvard recently reported on a study that involved 49 adults. At the conclusion of six meditation sessions they showed significant improvement in insomnia, fatigue and depression. This is no surprise to me, as I slept through the night for the first time in eighteen months after my very first meditation class!

And What About Sickness?

We know that stress can overwhelm our bodies, but did you know that this can prevent immune function? When the body is stressed, it is basically preparing for a predatory attack, so there isn’t much energy left to run maintenance functions. By meditating twice a day every day like I teach in my online training zivaMIND (your affiliate link here), you decrease the stress in your body and therefore decrease your susceptibility to sickness.

Rudolph Tanzi, who holds positions both at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital, reports on this in a statement following a study of almost one hundred people. “The benefit we experience from meditation isn’t strictly psychological; there is a clear and quantifiable change in how our bodies function,” said. “Meditation is one of the ways to engage in restorative activities that may provide relief for our immune systems, easing the day-to-day stress of a body constantly trying to protect itself. The prediction is that this would then lead to healthier aging.”

And Yes, That Includes Chronic Illness.

Just last week I heard from a student who came to me in 2015 with a deep and painful history of chronic illness and migraines. She thanked me profusely not only because her migraines have disappeared, but because her body has been able to heal from chronic illness so gracefully with the help of meditation. While she still has moments of pain, her anxiety has calmed so drastically that she is able to more elegantly deal with the mental frustrations that chronic illness inevitably brings up, flooding herself with deep understanding and compassion instead of guilt and frustration.

Less Stress = Younger Looking Skin.

Meditation is not a joke. Not only does it have profound affects on your mental health, but also on physical appearance. There’s an entirely new, cutting-edge field called psychodermatology that focuses solely on the connection between human emotions and the health of our skin. When we get stressed out, the body produces acid to shut down digestion. That same acid seeps onto your skin, which accelerates aging and breaks down skin elasticity—there is a reason why your yoga teacher looks so much younger than her age!

I personally believe nature didn’t intend for us to feel sick, tired, and stressed. I believe that nature gave us a toolbox filled with everything we need. And meditation? It’s the key that unlocks so many of these internal pharmaceuticals. If you feel moved to join me on this journey I would love to teach you how from anywhere in the world with a comprehensive eight day online training called zivaMIND. You will graduate with less stress, more energy and a powerful daily meditation practice that you actually look forward to. What do you have to lose, besides stress?

Let us know how much you love zivaMIND in the comments!

The following post How Meditation Can Help You Feel and Look Amazing was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

What’s Causing Your Breakouts?

This article was contributed by our friend Dr. Brooke Kalanick

Is it your hormones, your diet or your products? It is all of the above.

Far from a teenage nuisance, acne affects nearly 50 million Americans of all ages. To deal with it, the conventional route offers antibiotics, high dose vitamin A (known as Retin A) or of course, the Pill. And your drugstore or department store makeup counter focuses mostly on topical applications. (Want my favorite topical treatments? Grab this free guide.)

The trouble with all of these is that none of them address the underlying cause leaving many women still breaking out –or breaking out again as soon as they stop the medications. Leaving others wary of side effects from prescriptions or dried out and irritated from topical treatments.

So what is the underlying cause? In most cases, it’s the perfect storm of dietary issues colliding with hormone trouble.

This is awesome news, because it means there is a lot you can do—but before we get to that, let’s address the long standing position that diet has nothing to do with it:

What is acne anyway?

First a little skin anatomy 101: each pore is part of a pilosebaceous unit in your skin. The pore is the opening of a hair follicle (the pilo part) and within it there is a little oil or sebum making gland (the sebaceous part).

There are two types of comedones (aka pimples): open and closed. Open comedones are what we call blackheads, they are pores plugged with dead skin cells from within the follicle and excess sebum which when oxidized with outside air becomes grey or black in color. Closed comedones are known as “whiteheads” and are closed to the outside air and are more inflamed as that white stuff is indeed pus, the aftermath of inflammation at war with bacteria. These are often more swollen and red.

What causes acne?

Let’s look first at the immediate situation going on in your pores and then we’ll discuss the background causes.

Here’s the four step process to getting a pimple:

The pore or follicle opening gets blocked. Usually with flattened, dead skin cells that don’t shed properly typically due to hormonal imbalances and dietary compounds like lectins).

There is excessive sebum (aka oil) production. This is due to excess testosterone, typically from insulin issues or poor hormone metabolism (i.e. gallbladder sluggishness, slow digestion or improper hormone metabolism in the liver).

Bacteria grow and infect the pore. With the pore now blocked and sealed up with dead skin and oil, this is a very happy little home for bacteria. That bacteria is Propionibacterium acnes which normally lives on skin’s surface without issue but once it outside air is kept out, we have an anaerobic (without oxygen) situation in the pore for that bacteria thrive.

Finally, inflammation occurs in the blocked pore and surrounding skin tissue. Locally, the hormones of the immune system (called cytokines) start an inflammatory reaction under your skin’s surface. Now you’ve got the red, swollen, possibly warm to the touch, perhaps even painful pimples, pustules and cysts. Note: pressure and squeezing of these type of blemishes will leak this inflammatory mess into the surrounding tissue spreading the infection and inflammation, so no hands baby! (More on better blemish care here, if you didn’t grab it above.)

How Diet Affects These 4 Steps

Insulin & Her Friends Increase Your Inflammation

Insulin is a hormone secreted to shuttle glucose into a cell. It’s released during stress or when we eat—more so when you eat carbohydrates (whole grains, legumes, cereals, breads, pastries, candy, sweets, sugar in all its forms, chips, tortillas, potato, sweet potato, fruit, etc.). It is released when you eat protein also, but as part of a healthier hormone mix for most (although some women with PCOS or insulin resistance do get an exaggerated insulin response from protein as well) and through a series of events, insulin is triggered when we eat fat as well—particularly when it’s combined with carbohydrates. (More on this here.)

Too much insulin will increase inflammation as well as increase testosterone (created from your progesterone in the ovaries) leading to more oil production and thus more breakouts. Insulin also lowers something called sex hormone binding globulin, which normally binds up thus inactivating much of our testosterone. Now we’ve got more active, free testosterone around too muck up the works in our pores.

This problem is worse in women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) as they tend to also have metabolic issues creating more of an even more potent form of testosterone: DHT (di-hydro testosterone). Acne is a common issue with PCOS and can even be thought of as insulin resistance or diabetes of the skin.

Special Note for Women With PCOS & Acne: Ladies, we have it the roughest. Not only do we have the issues above but we have exaggerated responses to testosterone and other androgens like DHEA, DHT (a potent metabolite of testosterone) and androstenedione at the level of the pore. Our sebaceous glands are hypersensitive to testosterone so we can get oilier easier. But also we have more inflammation than your average girl.

Women with PCOS have a low level smoldering inflammation as a rule which can be turned easily on high by eating the wrong foods, stress, not managing our blood sugar, etc. As if this isn’t enough hell in our younger years, as we age we become more insulin resistant, more stress sensitive, more progesterone deficient, develop more inflammation and worsened testosterone metabolism. Couple that with PCOS creating more oxidative stress in general we can age quicker if we don’t’ have this inflammation and hormonal witches brew managed. Then it’s breakouts and wrinkles. Seriously is there anything worse? That is unfairness at its peak.

9.9 times out of ten if you have acne or especially PCOS and acne you will be prescribed the birth control pill. For most women this does normalize the acne by upping sex hormone binding globulin, lowering testosterone and upping your estrogen. But what happens when we come off the pill? Our hormonal issues are still there or worse and our metabolic issues are almost always worse. Never mind the rash of nutrient deficiencies creating by the pill not the least of which include zinc (key for healthy skin) and CoQ10 your big gun anti-oxidant key for skin health, aging and cellular health/energy production.

I 100% get the knee jerk reaction to take anything that will clear up your skin—I’ve done it myself. It’s a temporary fix at best and what’s the better option in my opinion is educating you about how you can heal your hormones and skin from the inside out.

Do you have PCOS? Check out my Empowered PCOS Program launching Sept 13! Details here. We will cover acne, root causes of PCOS, what you can do to heal your hormones, normalize your cycle, lose weight and improve fertility.

Back to Testosterone, Insulin and Your Skin

And insulin doesn’t stop with testosterone issues. Other insulin associated hormones get in the acne mix here too like IGF1(insulin like growth factor 1) which is a potent stimulator of cell growth throughout the body. High levels of insulin will cause higher levels of free IGF1 (remember it’s free hormones that are active). This free IGF1 may stimulate overproduction of the keratinocytes, causing them to overgrow and block your pores.

Then there’s ILGFBP3 (insulin like growth factor binding protein 3) which is a key regulator in programmed cell death, or apoptosis (the normal ending of a cell’s life cycle when it’s time to be replaced). High levels of insulin will lower circulating IGFBP3 delaying apoptosis of keratinocytes that line the follicle, leading to more flaky cells to clog up your pores.

What’s more, these IGFs can further interact with one another – especially when there is a high concentration of transglutaminase around – creating more inflammation. Transglutaminase is an enzyme in your intestines that digests wheat. The more wheat we’re eating the more transglutaminase will be made throughout your body – including in your skin.

With too many starchy and sugary carbs causing this whole insulin mess, you can see why gluten based carbs (bread, pasta, pastries, cookies, muffins, bagels, etc.) are double trouble for your skin because of transglutaminase. Not to mention that gluten contains something called amylopectin in our modern wheat it causes a really big insulin release making it what I call a supercarb.

NOTE: while the above mechanism is founded there is a lot of variability in individuals’ responses to wheat. If you tolerate wheat fine, have glowing clear skin, then this isn’t a biggie for you and feel free to eat as you wish as I’m not here to say gluten is the devil ☺ But if you’re struggling with breakouts, it’s worth a try to eliminate it and see if your skin improves.

On a personal note, wheat gives me the worst, deep, red painful breakouts whereas dairy gives me more superficial but greater in number breakouts. Basically mac and cheese is my skin’s worst nightmare ☺ or maybe it’s the ice-cream. They are in a tie at this point. I have PCOS and my skin is a good barometer of my hormonal health. The Empowered PCOS Program will explain why we suffer with acne more than other women.

Dietary Fat, Dairy, and Grain

Omega 6 Fatty Acids: One inflammatory cytokine (remember cytokines are the hormones of your immune system) involved in acne is IL1 (interleukin 1). Acne sufferers have elevated levels of the alpha form of IL1 and some studies show this inflammatory hormone causes increased skin scale formation (thus more scaley-nastys to block your pores). And when bacteria in our pores cause an immune reaction, even more IL1 is secreted (by little white blood cells called monocytes) which can disrupt the normal sloughing off of skin and yeah, more breakouts.

IL1 can be elevated from too many omega 6 fatty acids in our diet. These fats come primarily from grains, seeds, nuts, and vegetables oils (i.e. sunflower, grapeseed, etc.) so it’s important to balance your intake of the more anti-inflammatory omega 3s from things like fish or taking fish oil supplements as well as consider decreasing your Omega 6 intake when you have acne.

Lectins are common in plant foods (grains and legumes especially). When it comes to acne, they interfere with the dissolving and sloughing off of sticky corneocytes. This process requires enzymes called glycosidases (which dissolves the carbohydrate part of the cell) and proteases (which dissolve the protein part) – and it’s crucial that the glycosidases act before the proteases for the corneocyte to degrade properly and not block the pore. Lectins mess up the order of this process. And to make matters worse, lectins also stimulate IL1 alpha so we get more inflammation and more pore blockage.

And there’s even one more way lectins make you breakout: wheat germ agglutinin is a particular lectin that impairs zinc metabolism. Zinc works in several ways for skin health. With this wheat issue we’re talking at the level of your cell’s nucleus. Long story short, wheat germ agglutinin blocks important aspects of zinc’s metabolism which triggers a whole lot of inflammation.

This leads us to the next acne culprit in your diet: dairy. Milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products are very highly concentrated sources of calcium, which impairs zinc metabolism. And perhaps worse, dairy can have a very exaggerated insulin response (despite being considered “low glycemic” the insulin release it triggers is very similar to white bread). Dairy is also ripe with hormones, making it a triple threat to an acne free face.

Get Back To Basics

The popularity of a Paleo or Ancestral diet for weight loss and autoimmunity is at its peak – and for the most part, its reputation is rightly deserved. It is also a great template for clearing up acne.

The Paleo Diet isn’t magic, but it does get out all of the problem foods I just mentioned making it a great diet for clear skin. So give something like Whole30 a try to clear up your acne or at least consider drastically reducing some of the skin’s biggest offenders: sugar, wheat and dairy for 30-60 days.

This will be enough for some women to have a clear complexion – for others further support of the underlying insulin resistance, low estrogen or progesterone, poor testosterone metabolism, sluggish digestion or liver detoxification of hormones, poor nutrient status (i.e. low zinc is incredibly common) or issues like leaky gut, low digestive enzymes or disruption of your gut flora (i.e. need for probiotics) may need to be addressed beyond diet.

And don’t underestimate the power of beauty sleep! Lack of sleep is stressful and stress is inflammatory – so the old adage is true and you need your beauty rest. All other stress has a role as well, so when you feel your skin looks haggard, inflamed or you breakout during high stress, it’s not in your head.

So rest up, manage stress, take a pass at the Paleo diet and if you need help, by all means reach out and let’s see what the bigger issues may be: drbrooke@betterbydrbrooke.com

What You Put On Your Skin Matters

There is no shortage of products out there promising to clear up your blemishes but can be too harsh or drying and many are best tossed in the trash. When you’re deciding what to put on your acne prone skin here’s what you need to know:

Natural is a great idea. While converting your entire skin care regimen to 100% paraben, phthalate free etc. can be a big undertaking it’s wise to start moving in that direction. Because much of the underlying cause of acne, especially in PCOS, is hormonal things that mimic estrogen like parabens are only going to add to your misery.

Don’t over dry. Be careful with acne treatments and use only on congested breakout prone areas.

Don’t be scared of oil. Non-oil moisturizes are so popular among acne sufferers but for so many can make the sebaceous glands rebound and produce more oil. A natural oil like the Annmarie Skin Care Herbal Facial Oil for Normal/Combination skin—which smells so good I’d probably use it even if it didn’t work—or their Herbal Facial Oil for Oily Skin are great options.

With topical oils you can use sparingly (which saves you product to boot!) but they do wonders to help balance out oil production.

Exfoliation is key. Remember your normal sloughing off of old skin cells is compromised. If your skin is broken out it’s important to use something gentle as to not damage the skin further. The Kaolin Micro Exfoliant is a great gentle option. You can also mix a bit of sugar with water and a few drops of your facial oil to make a great DIY exfoliant.

The following post What’s Causing Your Breakouts? was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

3 Myths About the Color Black (And How It Ages You!)

This article was contributed by our friends at Dressing Your Truth

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First, let’s be clear: there’s nothing wrong with aging.

I’m a 59-year-old woman and I love every single one of my years.

But in my work helping women to love themselves and their appearance, I’ve seen many women age themselves prematurely. I’ve found that turning back the clock doesn’t require expensive or invasive solutions.

Most of the time, women age themselves prematurely with their hairstyle or clothing.

Here’s the most surprising thing that can age you: wearing the color black!

Doesn’t every woman need to own a little black dress? As the creator of Dressing Your Truth, I’ve seen thousands of women who prove the answer is NO. Let’s debunk some myths:

Myth 1: The Color Black Looks Good on Everyone.

Truth: Only one Type of woman looks stunning in black.

The fashion industry shows us one kind of beauty: porcelain skin with sculpted features and a naturally still and symmetrical expression. Black is a bold, still color. So a woman with naturally bold and still beauty will look great in it.

But there are actually 4 Different Types of Beauty!

Just as some women have naturally bold beauty, others are naturally cute, some are elegant, and others have a more dynamic quality of beauty.

The color black will make these other Types of women look childish, overpowered, or older than they are. When they ditch black and wear the colors best for them, they get amazing results.

Myth 2: The Color Black is

Slimming

Truth: The color black is saturated. It doesn’t hide anything.

Black is a bold color. It shows up and stands out.

When you’re wearing black, you may feel hidden, but overall, you are not.

I’ve helped a lot of women who haven’t felt completely comfortable in their own body at its current size and shape. I created the program Dressing Your Truth to help women stop worrying about hiding their body’s flaws and create a style that draws attention to their face.

Myth 3: The Color Black Goes with Everything

Truth: The color black makes the strongest statement.

Even thought black is a common color, it is not a neutral.

Colors that hold their own up against true black are other saturated colors or stark white. When you wear black with colors like pastels or grey, the black garment makes the strongest statement on your body, preventing a harmonized, balanced look.

The biggest question is: Does the color black go with you?

Many women who wear the color black don’t realize how it washes them out, ages them, or brings out dark circles under their eyes.

So Black May Not be Your Best Color. Now What?

As I said, there are 4 Unique Types of Beauty. You express one of them.

Discovering your Type is the first empowering step to creating a style that brings out your true beauty. I offer a free Energy Profiling course to help you discover your Type easily.

Watch the free videos and discover your Type.

You are uniquely beautiful, whatever your age. You don’t need to age yourself prematurely by wearing the color that everyone else wears!

The following post 3 Myths About the Color Black (And How It Ages You!) was first published on Annmarie Skin Care.