This week, I had two friends experience breast cancer scares. Both of them found a lump in their breasts. And while Emerge Empowerment is about business, at its core, it is about empowerment. And do I want to remind everyone that what we put ONto our bodies is just as important as what we put INto our bodies. Hearing just a bit about each of their stories touched my heart and I felt compelled to write today’s blog.
By now, most of you know that I have had cystic acne since I was in my early twenties. If you haven’t yet watched my first-ever YouTube video where I talk about my skin issues, you can check it out by clicking HERE. And if any of you have ever had skin issues of any kind, you KNOW the physical pain and emotional embarrassment that comes with them. Your confidence suffers, you want to hide, and you surely are NOT feeling empowered.
Since the onset of my acne, I tried so many different possible solutions, both topical and oral. If there was a cream I could slather on, I slathered. A masque, slap it on me. Toothpaste on my pimple to dry it up, why not?? That one left a scar…I don’t recommend it. Oh, the systems and washes I tried. From Proactive (twice) to the plethora of options from Hollywood’s beautiful women, I ordered it and used it. Even though they didn’t all promise to crush my acne, I hoped they might help. Nothing did.
Off to the dermatologist I went for more salves and lotions…AND, pharmaceuticals. I’ve been on probably most of the antibiotic options (tetracycline, minocin, etc.), birth control, Accutane (twice), some stinky Sulphur pill, and anything they recommended. So many drugs into my body for so many years.
Nothing helped…at least nothing long term.
Most recently, for the past 6-7 years, I was on spironolactone. It was the only thing I found that worked well and long term. My skin was…finally…normal. I even received compliments and was stunned every time. Still, it was a drug. And the more I learn about my body and what I put into it, the more I decided it was time to be DONE with drugs just to have normal skin. I knew the medicine was impacting my body in other ways…why else would I need to get bloodwork done every so often? Yikes!!
While sitting in a doctor’s office one morning perusing a magazine, I happened across an article where the author’s story very closely mirrored my own. She went completely off of dairy and high glycemic foods. I had stopped most dairy long ago because it upsets my stomach and it isn’t all that good for you. So, cutting out the cheese I ate occasionally wasn’t a big deal. I try to eat pretty healthy so didn’t eat many high glycemic foods; again, not difficult to cut them out entirely. So, off I went to try my new “diet.”
I weaned off of my medicine as I made the dietary changes. After about three months…my skin was still clear!!!!
At about month four…pop, pop-pop, pop-pop-pop…back came the pepperoni-face. My heart sank. The pimples were painful, I felt ugly, and I didn’t want to be seen.
At the age of 46, I thought, this HAS to be hormonal. Come on, I have wrinkles already! Can I just deal with one OR the other?! J And so my journey led me to a holistic gynecologist.
As I’ve gotten older, I have started researching more about the holistic world and learning so much about the toxins and chemicals that are not only in the foods we eat, but also in our health and beauty products. So, it was important to me to find a holistic approach to dealing with my acne. Our plan is to address my digestive issues and my doctor believes I may see an improvement in my skin with a reduction of the acne. And onward I go with my journey. I’m taking a probiotic and a holistic supplement called Berberine to help heal my “gut,” as the doctor’s like to refer to it. Every now and again, I’ll share with you my updates…good or bad.
Alongside of my skin journey, I continue to explore and research more about what we put ONTO our bodies being just as important as what we put INTO our bodies.
Have you ever read the label on some of your health and beauty products? I know, who has time for that? I never used to be a label-reader…until now. Let me help you out, there are tons of ingredients listed that you can’t even pronounce that are basically harsh chemicals and other toxins. Scary, huh? There is breast cancer in my family so I have a heightened awareness of parabens in the products I use. Click on the link below to see some research I did on my own that you may find useful.
After looking at the ingredients in some of the products I used regularly and learning about their hazardous impact on my body, I was, quite frankly, terrified. Now, don’t freak out and start throwing away all your products to run out and buy new ones…you’ll go broke! But, DO educate yourself.
Run some of your products through the Think Dirty app. This app is amazingly informative! And they are partnered with the Breast Cancer Fund so I don’t feel like I’m being duped by any particular brand that might be paying them to advertise. In the app, you can scan a bar code to see that item or enter a brand name and it will show you products by that brand. It will also give a rating: 0-3 is green meaning pretty clean, 4-7 is yellow meaning it’s in the middle of clean and dirty, and 8-10 is red meaning…dirrrrrrrTY!!! When you find a product you use and see that it’s yellow or red, you can click on “Our Picks” and they provide options in the green category for you to consider. The “Dirty Meter” will show you a scale of three measurements: 1) carcinogenicity, 2) developmental & reproductive toxicity, and 3) allergies & immunotoxicities. Clicking on “Ingredients,” will show you what ingredients are impacting the Dirty Meter scale. Some very interesting information can be learned on these tabs.
I have chosen to go organic with my health and beauty products. It’s a choice I made because I want to live healthier and not have toxic chemicals absorb into my skin causing who knows what health problems. I haven’t jumped on the crazy-train and you don’t have to either. As products you currently use run out, simply see if there’s something else you can replace it with that’s less harmful and non-toxic.
It has taken some time to find products I like that work well for me, but I have. One line I love is Juice Beauty.
It has the USDA Organic seal and that makes me feel like I’m using some pretty safe products. While the certification to be considered “organic” in the United States isn’t as stringent or restrictive as it is in other parts of the world, I still feel good that they have gone through this important process.
I will admit that I don’t care for all of the products in Juice Beauty’s line. As you now know, I have difficult skin and some of the products simply don’t agree with my skin type. But, I do love the products that I’ve found that work well for me. And, while I can’t guarantee they’ll work for you, I can guarantee they’re at least worth a try.
It is important to note that I am not affiliated with Think Dirty or Juice Beauty and I do not get paid by them. I’m simply sharing my experience in hopes that it might help you.
When we educate ourselves, we are empowered. And when we are empowered, we make better decisions for our health and our lives. Do some research for yourself and use the information you find helpful. Small changes can make big differences in our lives.
Read your labels, get educated, and make empowered decisions about the products you use.
Comment below and let me know what natural or organic products or brands you use and love. I’m always looking for great products to try!