Internal Supplements for Acne

Here are a few things to research for treating acne internally/holistically:

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Zinc can help the skin and body heal. It’s good to find a zinc with copper because over time, zinc can deplete copper. You can research this or ask a nutritionist/naturopath for clarification. Optizinc is a recommended brand of zinc for use in treating acne.

Pantothenic acid has helped many people get clearer skin. A little bit of research on that is recommended as well (and again, you can talk to a professional who is licensed to dispense nutritional information/prescriptions). Pantothenic acid can be found at your local health food store or online. A general B complex may be helpful as well as B vitamins are indicated for stress in general, and stress creates cortisol which can trigger acne break outs.

Fish oils are good for inflammatory acne (the kind with lots of redness, heat and blemishes). A good quality fish oil is recommended. These can be a little pricey, but you can experiment with different brands to see how they work for you.

Probiotics can also be helpful. Here is a link to a worthy article on probiotics and acne:

To find a good probiotic for acne, you can talk to a nutritional specialist or do your own research. I always hit the Amazon and look for the highest rated products and then read the reviews. You have to watch for fake reviews (like when there are 20 on the same day).

Other things to research pertaining to acne are milk thistle for liver support (and more to come…)

Skincare Tools

At Bloom, I often use devices in my services. They can help with extractions, boost collagen production and kill bacteria (among other things). Some of my favorites include:

High Frequency
High frequency is used for disinfecting the skin after extractions or waxing when used in skincare services. It can kill bacteria in the skin and reduce inflammation when you have blemishes. This one has some contraindications which include:
broken capillaries
spider veins
history of heart disease
prone to seizures from flashing lights

Follow manufacturers instruction, do not use products that contain alcohol and do not wear any metal jewelry during high frequency treatment.

Skin Spatula:
I have this one and this one. The first one (inexpensive) has worked quite well. The second one (more expensive ant not available at the time of this post) has a mister and is a bit stronger than the other one. The first one (this one) is perfectly fine for home use and is great to use a few times a week for gentle exfoliation. To exfoliate, you use the “blade” with the edge turned down to gently scrape the skin (make sure you keep the skin moist with a mask or a mist of water). You can penetrate products by turning the unit over and smoothing it over the skin (using a water based serum or mask). Read the manufacturers instructions to know exactly how to use your device since they vary from brand to brand.

My favorite mask to use with the skin spatula is the Image Ormedic Gel Mask. I have found this to be the best mask for loosening the debris in the pores before extraction and before using the skin spatula. The trick is to keep it moist. The best way to do this is by using a gentle mist of water from a spray bottle that emits a fine mist. Keep the mask on the affected area for at least 10 minutes.

More on the skincare tools (and photos) used at Bloom to come!!

Own Your Throne

Some people wont like it if you start taking care of yourself, because when you take care of yourself, you get stronger.

You start to know who you are a little more.

You start to value yourself, and this makes you a little harder to treat like shit.

It dethrones others opinions of you and crowns you king or queen of your own self worth.

So start, make baby steps in mattering to yourself.

And then grow those baby steps into bigger steps until finally you’ve tracked those footsteps all over your dang life.

There will be those who will cheer you on.

Those are your people.

And if those people ever stop rooting for you…

they’re not your people anymore.

And that’s OK.

Photo by Ashton Mullins on Unsplash

My Ugly, Awful, Terrible Looking Soap…

I recently embarked on cold process soap making…you know, the kind where you use lye.  I had always thought lye was scary and mysterious, not to mention dangerous.  But I’d been watching videos on soap making and it ended up looking pretty do-able, as long as you donned the proper safety garb and could follow instructions reasonably well.

So I found me a small batch recipe and grabbed the ingredients that I had bought a few months earlier. 

The recipe I used called for olive oil and shea butter…I can’t remember what else, but the olive oil’s color was a pretty strong green, even with the shea butter and whatever on earth else the recipe called for (maybe coconut oil?)

I prepped the lye/water solution first.  You have to wear eye protection, protect your body (long sleeves, specifically) and def def definitely (Rain Man movie reference) want to wear a mask to protect your lungs. Let me be the first to tell you: it won’t.  As soon as I added the lye to the water (never add water to lye because it’s riskier) and started to stir a bit, my breath caught in my throat.  Literally, my breathing came to a screeching halt and an alarm system went off in my brain that commanded all breathing be halted.  I had never so precisely encountered that aspect of the safety mechanism of the human body, but let me tell you- it’s a pretty efficient system.  The vapors emanating from the lye/water mixture were NOXIOUS. Ain’t no mask going to save you. 

You just figure out that you don’t get to breathe while you are mixing at first. 

You stir a little while you hold your breath, step away to inhale some sweet, fresh air and then move back in to stir a little more.  The fumes dissipate after a bit and all is well, but that lye/water mixture is now HOT.  And it has to cool it’s little chemical jets for just a while.

So to the oil blend.  I mentioned it was green…and for some reason that base color was no cause for concern for me.  I had this fragrance for my first batch of soap set aside for my first excursion into Soapland and it was called “pink sugar”.  I didn’t connect the fact the scent wasn’t going to be fitting for a soap that was planning on being green.  Frankly, I didn’t really connect anything at all, except for “lye water noxious”.  

So you heat the oil blend just a bit while you wait for the lye water to cool just a bit and when they are at about the right temperature (whatever that is, lol) you get your trusty stick blender out and you blend. 

So blend I did.  

Now it doesn’t take long for the soap to get to a point they call “trace”, which means that it leaves sort of tracks in the tip when you stir it around.  It’s kind of a pudding consistency.  That stage means it’s ready to add fragrance and color and then you can pour it into the mold.

Well I got me my pink sugar fragrance and stirred that in well. 

Then I figured the soap should actually BE pink, so I got my pink pigment powder and measured out a decent little spoonful into the soap and blended.

And uh oh.  The soap wasn’t turning pink.  It was kind of a sickly peach.  So I added more pigment.  This time, it was a slightly darker sickly peach.  Now, remembering there was a thing called the color wheel that might have been helpful earlier, I figured there was not much else I was going to be able to do to make the soap color any better, so I decided to pour it into the mold.  At this point, that sickly peach color looked a little flesh toned.  Pretty unattractive.  I decided to sprinkle it with glitter.  I had been looking for biodegradable glitter, but didn’t have any, so in desperation, I sprinkled some glitter that I had handy on top of the soap before it dried. 

And it was pretty (from the glitter) ugly (from the soap color).  

So with cold processed soap, you have to let it cure for about a month before it should be used, and let me tell you, things did not get any prettier.  The soap actually got uglier.  I mean real ugly.  It turned a little darker, like cheese does when you leave don’t put the plastic wrap back on it and it sits in the fridge getting ugly soap made by some novice soap maker (lol).  I could try to dress it up on a pretty platter or something to take pix which I will, but ain’t nothing gonna make this soap that pretty pink sugar soap I had in mind.  So basically, now it’s call to fame (not that it actually had a call to fame to begin with) is being possibly “The Ugliest Soap Ever Made”.

And that’s my story. You can come visit “The Ugliest Soap Ever Made” at your next appointment with me at Bloom.  😀

That one time I only used coconut oil on my skin…

There was a time when I tried to get super clean with my diet and skin and body products. This was the time when I only used coconut oil on my face for like…at least a couple of months straight.

It wasn’t good (for me). I wasn’t in a great place emotionally either, though. I was stressed and having some existential anxiety- and this could have definitely played a part in my skin’s condition. As a matter of fact, I just learned today that your gut microbiome is linked to your emotional state. Dr. Will Bulsiewicz stated on the Rich Roll podcast that often, you have to address emotional issues to restore gut health, and that trauma from abuse and other psychological stressors is a definite factor in the dysfunction of gut health (and thus the collective health of the body). The reason this pertains to the skin is that the skin and gut are also very closely connected. Many skin issues are directly linked to the health of the gut. So yeah, maybe coconut oil isn’t totally to blame. But here’s some more thoughts:

Coconut oil is composed of the fatty acids, caprylic acid C -8:0 (8%), capric acid, C-10:0,(7%), lauric acid C-12:0, (49%), myristic acid C-14:0(8%), palmitic acid C-16:0 (8%), stearic acid C-18:0 (2%), oleic acid C-18:1 (6%) and 2% of C-18:2 linoleic acid. It’s anti-fugal and antimicrobial and the antimicrobial properties are from the high lauric acid content (about 49%) which is said to be effective as a treatment for acne. The lauric acid works to kill the bacteria that can cause breakouts and has been proven to stop bacterial growth over 15 times better than benzoyl peroxide (per The Journal of Investigative Dermatology). Another study found that lauric acid was highly effective at blocking the growth of bacteria ( This sounds as though it could indeed be helpful for combating acne that has a bacterial component, which a lot of acne conditions do have. On the other hand, sometimes acne is caused initially by congestion in the pore (due to poor exfoliation and hydration) and the bacteria is a secondary issue. So, the lauric acid content of coconut oil could be helpful, but…

The problem is: coconut oil is also comedogenic- rating a 4 on the comedogenicity scale. A 4 wouldn’t be so bad if the scale went to 10, but it only goes to 5 so, that means it’s pretty dang pore clogging. It’s kind of a crapshoot as to whether or not it will help with acne because the drawbacks (comedogenicity of #4) could cancel out the benefits (all that anti-bacterial/antifungal goodness). The only way to know for sure is to give it a try for yourself. But…

There is also the issue when using single oils on the skin- of using an oil that doesn’t have a properly balanced fatty acid for the skin. That’s one reason why jojoba oil is a favorite of so many oil users; it’s a safe bet. Since it’s so close to the oils the skin naturally produces, you can assume that it will be well tolerated by the skin. On the comedogenicity scale (at least one of them) it rates between 0-2 for clogging pores, which is not too bad (and definitely not a 4).

Different oils have different ratios of essential fatty acids and the ratios need to be taken into consideration because oils with a higher linoleic acid to oleic acid ratio have better barrier repair potential, whereas oils with higher amounts of oleic acid, while often beneficial for dryer skin types, may be detrimental to skin-barrier function overall. Coconut oil may not be the best choice by itself simple because it only has 2% of the skin barrier loving linoleic acid, which could be why my skin didn’t seem very healthy when I used only coconut oil (temporary emotional issues aside).

Confusing though, right? And that’s why sometimes it’s good to give different skincare products a try based on a) what skin types a product is recommended for and b) a really good, educated guess based on the ingredients (and the information you can learn about ingredients) that it might be a good fit for your skin. Experimentation is a good thing as long as you know when to quit (like if you aren’t experiencing positive results).

So that’s it…that’s as deep as this dive is going, because any topic under the sun is bound to end up VAST. And for this topic, we don’t need vast, we just need a little info (because fixed oils/carrier oils/edible oils) are pretty safe. We just need enough information to decide whether or not we want to go on a little coconut oil excursion and also a little insight into how coconut oil maybe isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Photo credit: Tijana DrndarskiTijana Drndarski@izgubljenausvemiruFollow@izgubljenausvemiru

The Best Eye Cream Options for Puffiness and Dark Circles

Dark circles and puffiness can be genetic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do something about it.

If you’ve got dark circles and/or puffiness it’s a good idea to make sure you’re getting enough water and not eating too much sodium. Puffy eyes can indicate kidney trouble, which may or may not show up on blood tests. There are two significant indicators of kidney issues that aren’t commonly known. One is back pain (mid back, not necessarily lower back) often on one side of the body. The other is bubbles when you pee. I know that sounds fun and festive, but it’s actually a warning sign that your kidneys need attention. Kidneys are like silent little warriors that don’t let you know they are failing until they actually fail. You can modify your diet a bit to see if cutting out or reducing certain foods and beverages in your diet improves symptoms you may be experiencing.

As a matter of fact, I just watched a video by and was stunned to hear that too much spinach can cause serious kidney problems, as can too much vitamin C in the form of supplements…not to mention the mushroom “Chaga”. The video talks about instant tea which can be a problem (and I’ve had trouble with some instant coffees as well). Definitely a good video to check out for just about anyone, check it out below:

So now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can talk about eye creams.

There are different eye creams that target different issues with the skin under the eyes. Some have retinols and acids that can actually be harmful if overused or if it’s not a good, gentle formulation. I think these should be used intermittently so they don’t create any issues with sensitization. You can build up a tolerance to active ingredients, so in the end you just have to listen to what your skin is telling you.

One of my favorite ingredients in an eye cream is peptides. There are different peptides that target different issues in the skin and they tend to be more gentle than acids or retinols. Here’s a quick breakdown of some of the peptides to look for in your eye cream and what they do (info from Skin Script).

  • EyelissTM is a combination of Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Dipeptide-2, and Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone. It helps prevent and reduce puffiness under the eyes.
  • HaloxylTM is a combination of Chrysin, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, and Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide 3. It reinforces firmness and tones up the eye area. It also facilitates the elimination of blood pigments responsible for dark circle coloration and inflammation.
  • Argireline® (Acetyl Hexapeptide-8) is a powerful anti-wrinkle hexapeptide to relax facial tension, leading to the reduction of facial lines and wrinkles.

Other great ingredients to look for in your eye cream are caffeine (which can shrink capillaries to reduce darkness) and niacinamide (helpful for circulation and brightening) and vitamin c (which is also good for brightening).

There are also some ingredients that immediately reduce puffiness. They do this by creating a film on the skin that tightens as it dries (much like a mud mask). The ingredient responsible for this activity is Sodium Silicate. The problem with the kind of cream is that you have to be very careful with the application because it dries a lot like a clay- it looks a little dry with obvious lines of demarcation. You can see exactly where the product ends if you don’t feather-blend it out. You also have to apply it thinly and be careful to not let other products come in contact with it (like moisturizers) or it will lose it’s desired effect. Here’s a link to one I’ve tried:

One thing I DO like about the Sodium Silicate based products is that they can actually be used as a morning under eye mask to try to reduce puffiness. I use it like this and then rinse off before I apply makeup. The mask like, tightening effect can help to squeeze out a little lymph under the eye to reduce swelling. It can cause a little redness, which will fade, but might make you want to avoid the ingredient altogether.

There are other options to try for puffiness, but they require a little more effort; things like cucumber slices, tea bags and even potato slices. None of these are very conducive to a morning routine, but I will definitely try those and report back.

One other thing that I LOVE for puffy eyes is the Clarisonic Cleansing Brush with the massage attachments. found here: It will stimulate the flow of lymph in the face and help facilitate its removal (which is basically the body’s “sewage”) from the body, but it also increases the circulation in the skin so the nutrients you eat can work their magic. When working with moving lymph, you want gentle pressure and strokes that move gently downward and towards the lymph vessels in the face and neck. After doing gentle downward strokes, you can work on more uplifting strokes to create a lift in the muscles of the skin.

And then there’s a basic lymphatic drainage massage shown here that can help with puffiness. There are many methods, but they should all follow the same principles of drainage from the lower areas to the upper areas, progressively clearing the path for lymph that is blocked in the body. I would watch several videos to get a good perspective of the hows and whys of lymphatic massage.

Why Skincare (and Chandler Bing) Still Matters Right Now

It’s kind of hard to feel like something like skincare matters in the kind of time we are in. It’s chaotic, depressing, and scary. But since skincare is self-care and self-care is really important right now, it’s a good thing to think about.
Also Chandler.  Chandler is always a good thing to think about. (#favorite friend)  I mean look at him, don’t you just feel better seeing him?  I do.
But really, do any of us have a lot of discretionary income for expensive products right now? Maybe. Maybe not. The good thing is that there are options. You can spend a lot or you can spend a little, but what matters is that you do something.
But why is it important to do something? Well, for the most part, because we need to feel normal. We need to feel cared for (even if we are our own carer). And we need to make sure that we don’t let our stress snowball and keep us from doing basic maintenance because basic maintenance is KEY to NORMALCY.
Keeping up with cleansing, moisturizing, and protecting our skin helps us look good, and when we look good, we feel good- and when we feel good, we feel strong (or at least strongER).
So keep up the good work on that self-care. If you need help, give me a holler. I’ve got lots of great ideas for affordable skincare and self-care. In the meantime, stay well!!

Why You May Not See Results From Your New Skincare Regimen

Photo by Nika Akin from Pexels

So you just got a new skincare line to try.  Maybe just one product, but whatever. 

You scoured the internet, looking at reviews. You searched high and low for the perfect solution to your aging skin.  You asked your friends (while avoiding the ones who are selling skincare).  You avoided those with biases and agendas.

And you found “The One”.

So maybe you dig skincare.  Maybe you’ve always been a fan.  Maybe you’ve tried your share of the newest skincare or the latest trends in your travels along Skincare Ave.

And maybe none of the products are measuring up anymore.  What?  Has everything come to suck?

Probably not.  What’s probably happening is that you have already taken such good care of your skin that it’s already benefited from all the goodness you’ve slathered on it.

The good news (and the bad news) is you’ve topped out.  

That’s good because you’ve been taking care of yourself, but bad because you’ve hit the skincare ceiling.  But that’s OK.  That means that you’ve been doing your job in looking after yourself.  KUDOS to YOU.

But you are still left with products that are no longer working magic.  What can you do now?

Well, you probably have to do something else.  Maybe something a little more aggressive.  Maybe something like in-office treatments at a med-spa.  And that’s OK.  There are some pretty amazing treatments out there that are based on sound scientific principles pertaining to skin rejuvenation.  I personally pick microneedling (for now), but there are many, many options to explore.

In the meantime: keep using the magic creams.  They are preparing your skin for other treatments you may opt for.  Just remember to disclose everything you are currently using on your skin to your skincare professional should you choose to do something more advanced.

Should you peel your face during quarantine?

Hey, I know it’s a great vacation from the public and it seems like a really great idea.  Maybe you’ve got a resource for some chemicals from a friend or an internet site and you’re thinking this might just what you need.  It does sound like a good plan, but I’m here to tell you:

It’s probably not.

Now I know a lot of professional skincare providers are using this downtime to catch up on some good exfoliation and stimulation for their skin.  Since they have the training to do peels and some experience with the chemicals, it’s probably ok for them because they are familiar with how the chemicals work and react with their skin.   And if they’ve been doing peels fairly regularly, their skin has likely already become much more resilient.  The fact that they are probably already using good skincare and getting good nutrition that will help their skin manage the stress makes this whole idea less risky from the start.

But for the rest of us?

First of all, a peel compromises the immunity of the skin, temporarily- which ends up compromising the immunity of the body because everything is connected.  The outcome of a peel is never (ever) guaranteed because there is no way to know how your body will respond. That’s why it’s always a good idea to peel progressively, starting with gentle peels and adjusting the strength of the solution as you gain more experience with the chemicals.

And how deep is would that peel even be?

You may not know until a few days to a week after you apply it.  The reason is there are many other factors involved in deciding whether or not you are a candidate for a chemical peel to begin with.  There are contraindications that you need to be aware of before you even consider doing a peel.  Things like:

  • Have you used products with retinol recently?
  • Have you used Accutane in the last year?
  • Have you recently waxed your lip, brows, etc…
  • Have you used a chemical depilatory?
  • Have you had laser resurfacing or any other skin resurfacing or rejuvenating treatments recently?
  • Are you using any topical prescriptions or internal prescriptions that could create problems?
  • Will you be able to stay out of the sun, away from all sources of heat (including the heat generated by your own body when you exercise)?
  • And. More.

The reason we go to professionals is because they know the questions to ask, and which peel solutions will be the best to achieve the outcome you are looking for.  It’s not that you can’t dig up all of this information on your own, but if it’s not something you do regularly, it’s hard to remember all the details about what you are working with.  For instance, glycolic acid peels can be inconsistent in their penetration and outcomes and generally need to be neutralized while salicylic acid peels can be toxic when applied over too large an area of the body (depending in part on the strength of the solution) and are reactivated by water, which means that if you try to rinse the solution off, you are actually reactivating it.  This can actually be really scary if you don’t know why the peel burns more when you are trying to calm it down.

I have always told my clients that peels can be good, but that depends a lot on pre-care and post-care.  Let’s say you get a peel, leave the office and get in a car accident or lose your job or encounter any other traumatic and/or stressful incident that you can think of…you. will. not. heal. well.  When you create inflammation (which you do initially when you do a peel) and that inflammation isn’t addressed and resolved swiftly, it ends up aging the skin.  So when you leave the office, you can only assume that things life will be kind and your healing will go according to plan.

A professional will tell you to prep the skin for several weeks before you have a peel professionally done.  They will also recommend that you have a good, healthy, balanced diet and possibly look into supplementation that might help your skin heal well.  There’s a certain amount of preparation necessary to create a healthy canvas for a peel to be a good idea to begin with.  Average skincare products are not going to cut it.  You need quality, active ingredients in your skincare on an ongoing basis.  You need a healthy nutritional intake on an ongoing basis.  And for sure, FOR SURE, you need to have been using (and continue to use) a good quality sunscreen (you guessed it) on an ongoing basis.

So here’s the thing: none of us knows what tomorrow holds.  None of us ever do.  Even in the best of times, doing a peel (and I’m talking about the more aggressive peels here) does have it’s risks.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense to add one more job for your body to do if stress looms large right around the corner.  Even if we don’t feel outwardly stressed, there may be some underlying stress that’s manifesting in ways we aren’t quite aware of, so it’s best to keep all anxiety-inducing activities low.

So for most of us, a chemical peel is not going to be the best idea right now.

But…now is DEFINITELY the time to practice regular self-care.  Now might even be the time to start some new skincare or home treatments that give you results over time instead of trying to “get er done” all at once.  And going gradual is gentler to your psyche, more manageable and much more easily controlled.   (I can help you create a solid plan with some great products if you are so inclined.)

So while trying to do a full-on chemical peel at home may not make sense right now, what does make sense is RADICAL SELF-CARE.  This includes:

Drinking plenty of water (and green tea is said to help with immunity:

Getting enough rest.  ( and

Getting a little sunshine, if possible.

Eat as “right” as you can.  The grocery stores appear to have fresh produce and it can even be delivered right now which is a definite bonus.  Avoid sugar and too much caffeine because they are bad for the immune system.  Research ways to boost your immune system.  (Here’s a good place to start:

Think Good Thoughts.  Say good things, both to yourself and others.

Meditate or pray.  Sing good things.

Move your body.  YouTube has a gazillion videos to help you get this done.  Friggen Prancercise if you need to (we kinda did that today lol).

Get and/or keep things clean.

Avoid most other humans as much as possible (for now).

Watch funny things,.  Listen to funny things.  Say funny things.  Do funny things (again: Prancercise, lol).

So is peeling appealing right now?  Totally your call (as is the whole social distancing thing).  Just good to know a few things before you consider it.

Thanks for reading!!





Eyebrow Lamination Update

So my eyebrows are regaining their will to live and right now, we’ve entered into a bit of a disheveled look.  I am digging it! 

Maybe it’s because I’m a rebel at heart and I’m rooting for them brows to be who they really want to be.  Which is normal or average or whatever.  You GO, brows.

So while I’m happy for the new growth that is militant in the way that it wants to grow (like I said: normal), I’m still happy that a full 75% of my eyebrow strands (do we call them hairs?  Fur?  I dunno…) are still either completely obedient or completely confused.  And sometimes some of them still look a little crimpy, but I’m ok with that because that disheveled look is a tiny bit reminiscent of that bushy 80’s brow.

And since I’m a rebel, I’m not fully embracing the modern brow (bold and well defined).  I’m just kicking back with the completely inconsequential look of what I got going on (because nobody.really.cares. about my brows, and I’m totes OK with that).

But this shit is still fun.  Experimentation is fun (when it’s not likely to get you killed).  SO that’s what I do, and will continue to do.  But back to the brows.  What do I really think?

I like it. 

And I’ll be looking for a system I like and want to offer to my clients, so they can experiment, too.  Because IMHO, life is about creating, trying new things and having a blast with all of it.

So what’s next for the brows? 

Stay tuned.  Will they fall off next time I Laminate?  Will I get properly trained instead of engaging in experimentation (yes, even though it isn’t rocket science)?  Or will I even opt to go deeper with the brows and decide to learn permanent makeup?  Who knows!?  But I will certainly keep any interested parties informed.

Till then, stay You (but have some fun, dammit).



Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash