The “DIRT” on conventional cosmetics and how I healed my acne and hormones without medication:
I’ve never loved my skin. It’s both oily and dry and prone to breakouts. For years, I was able to (sorta) manage my acne using harsh products like benzoyl peroxide, but it left my skin dull and flaky and just blah. However, these products were the only thing I knew that helped keep my acne under control, so I just went with it.
Fast forward to three years ago, when I discovered I was infertile due to too much stress on my body. Too much exercise, not enough food and rest. While I was in the process of regaining my fertility, I learned that environmental stressors (like toxins from conventional cosmetics) can have a HUGE impact on hormonal health, along with many other processes in the body. I’d never really given a second thought to what was in my makeup, face-wash or shampoo, so I started doing some digging.
I learned that women in the United States put an average of 168 chemicals on their bodies each day.
This study done by the Environmental Working Group tested 20 teens’ blood and urine to see what chemicals were actually ending up in their bodies and they found 16 hormone-altering chemicals, including parabens and phthalates. Another report found that the level of parabens and phthalates in the body skyrocketed after just three days of using conventional beauty products.
Turns out there’s a lot of “dirt” out there when it comes to cosmetic ingredients. Here I was, trying to balance my hormones and get pregnant…and I was unknowingly smothering endocrine-disrupting products on my skin every day.
I knew I had to make a change, but I was terrified to stop using the products that had somewhat controlled my acne for the past 10 years. However, my hormones were a mess and I wanted a baby so I decided to give it a shot. I threw out my face wash full of benzoyl peroxide, my lotion with oxybenzone and my makeup products containing parabens. I was starting from SCRATCH.
I didn’t even know where to start, so I just went hippy-dippy and decided to wash my face with coconut oil like so many people swear by. That did not work for me. I broke out in cystic acne that wouldn’t go away for months.
I bought a “natural” mascara that left streaks of shadowy black under my eyes by the end of the day.
Tried an “organic” lotion that made my skin oily and shiny.
It was SO FRUSTRATING. Nothing was helping my acne, and I felt like I was in junior high again. I tried different “natural” products for months, but nothing worked.
As I dug into research, trying to find a solution for my skin issues without compromising my hormones, I learned a few things:
1. Not all “natural” products are safe. For example, mineral makeups are often contaminated with heavy metals because they are made with ingredients derived from the Earth.
2. Not all “synthetic” ingredients are bad. There are safer synthetic ingredients, which can be extremely effective. For example, salicylic acid is a safe but powerful synthetic ingredient that does wonders for fighting acne.
3. Healing acne and balancing hormones takes a holistic approach. It’s important to address multiple factors such as gut health, diet, stress, sleep, and topical treatment.
As I learned more about this, I realized I needed to change my approach. Here’s what I did:
• Improved my gut health. I’d struggled with digestive issues for years, but after some testing I learned that I had parasites and dysbiotic bacteria. I worked with a nutritional therapy practitioner to get rid of the parasites and balance my gut bacteria. I also ate lots of fermented food (hello sauerkraut) and took collagen peptides daily.
• Reduced stress and increased rest. I started sleeping more. I stopped doing Crossfit 5 times a week and focused on intuitive movement. I included more yoga, meditating and walking in nature.
• Ate LOTS of nutrient-dense foods. 2,000 calories a day MINIMUM. I focused on eating healthy fats like avocados and egg yolks, and carbs rich in nutrients like sweet potatoes, leafy greens and fruit.
• I stopped looking for “natural” skin care products. Instead, I focused on finding products with safer but effective ingredients. Here’s what my skin care routine looks like today:
A couple times a week, I do a Charcoal mask. (Mainly because it’s insanely satisfying to see the gunk being pulled from my pores when I do the mask haha.)
This regimen has transformed my skin. This is the first time in my life that I can say I actually love my skin. Sure, I still have my breakouts from time to time. But now I have the confidence to manage them in a safer way. My skin is softer, more radiant and healthier than it’s ever been, and I’m not compromising my (or my breastfeeding baby’s) health in the process!
So after the (countless) products and companies I researched and tested, why did I stick with Beautycounter?
I loved that this company works with scientists and industry leaders to create products that are safe and effective. They have a list of 1,500+ ingredients that they refuse to put in their products. That sure beats the FDA’s list of 30 (yes, only 30) off-limits ingredients. Their raw materials go through vigorous testing and then they test the final product as well to ensure they were not contaminated during manufacturing.
I love what the company stands for and represents, and I am confident that I can use their products safely.
• I tried to reduce other harsh toxins in my regimen. For example, I switched out my shampoo/conditioner, body wash and deodorant.
Some brands I LOVE:
Acure for shampoo/conditionerDr. Bronner’s for body wash/soap. (I use the Hemp-Almond bar soap for me and want to eat it every time I take a shower cause it smells so good 😉 and the Unscented Liquid Soap to wash my baby).
It was a process, and it took patience and time, but this is how I healed my acne and hormones without medication. If I can do it, you can too!
Do you have any questions about switching to safer products? Ask below and I may be able to help!