Taking Clear Skin to the Next Level: Vibrantly Healthy Skin

My journey to clear skin included years of twists and turns before I finally got to the root cause and healed my skin for good. I learned through education and personal experimentation that problem skin — acne, eczema, rosacea, sensitivity — is a reflection of what’s happening inside our bodies, specifically what’s happening in our gut.

What we eat, how we handle stress, how much alcohol we drink, how much we sleep, our life experience with prescription drugs (especially antibiotics), all of these things affect not just the health of our internal landscape but also our skin. What’s happening inside our bodies is reflected on the outside, and when we have skin, that can become a disastrous feedback loop.

For me personally, it went like this: get zits –> pick them and make them worse –> be upset and stressed about my skin –> eat garbage food because I feel bad about myself –> try to dry out my skin with harsh topicals –> try to cover it up with cheap makeup –> get more zits –>repeat.

No one was there to tell me that my attempts at resolving pubescent acne with a barrage of antibiotics and creams that dried me out to the point of painful peeling wasn’t going to work. No one was there to tell me that the harsh cleansers and apricot scrubs I was using were just making my skin worse. I tried everything, and when I finally healed my gut, 20 years of acne disappeared completely — in just two weeks! 

clear skin vibrantly healthy skin

What’s Next After Clear Skin?

Today, almost 2 years after I discovered my “miracle” acne cure (not a miracle at all!), I’ve had the freedom to experiment with all manner of topical skin care. I say “freedom,” because when my skin was terrible, all the topical products I purchased were “acne” products. I didn’t dare choose something for normal skin, for fear that it would make my face greasy or exacerbate my already inflamed, bumpy cheeks. The last thing I needed was more clogged pores.

And while my skin has never returned to the “flesh-toned-brail-look” I was sporting for so long, it’s ranged in clarity, shine, and glow over the course of the last two years. As I said up top, personal experimentation has been a part of this journey from the beginning, and even though I’ve achieved my goals as far as ridding the acne for good, one problem is always replaced by another, right? 

Scars, Pockmarks, and Sun Damage, Oh My!

Most people have a little gap of happiness between puberty and aging, where they enjoy the blessing of young, clear, beautiful skin. But for people like me who get adult acne, that gap shrinks to nothing. Now, at age 33 (which is NOT old!), I’m contending with scarring and sun damage — and still, the occasional zit (SINGULAR!!! — major victory).

As a lifetime athlete, I’ve spent years outside playing softball, beach volleyball, running, hiking, and now climbing. As a kid I was absolutely terrible about wearing sunscreen, and as a young adult, I tanned regularly (mostly outside, but sometimes in the beds too — I actually thought it might help with the acne!). And as a result, I have some dark spots and acne scars that became much more noticeable once the acne was gone. I’ve used a number of natural products to try and fade the spots. And while some of them have helped a bit (especially the Botanic Organic products I’ve used), what’s made the biggest difference in evening out my skin tone, refining the surface of my face, and achieving that “natural glow” we hear about in the commercials wasn’t in my medicine cabinet at all.

It was in the kitchen!

Vibrantly Healthy Skin

They say that you should never put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t put in your mouth. My skin regimen right now really drives that point home. I found a way to take my clear skin to the next level, and now it’s even softer than it was before, my pores even smaller.

So what am I using? 

My morning routine includes a spoon and a jar.

Can you guess what’s in the jar?

clear skin vibrantly healthy skin

Click here to buy top quality raw honey (affiliate link)

Raw honey. 

That’s right, before I get in the shower in the morning, I scoop a dime-sized dollop of raw honey onto the pads of my fingers and massage it into my dry face. I focus on areas that might feel a little rougher, the areas that need extra exfoliating, and especially any active zit that might be lingering. This usually takes about a minute. Then I turn on the shower, and while washing up, I avoid getting my face wet. This allows the steam from the shower to really penetrate my skin and let all the goodness from the raw honey really sink in. At the end of the shower, I gently rinse.

I’d cleansed with raw honey in the past with great results, but this new “dry application + steam” has really taken it to the next level. 

When I get out of the shower, I do a quick spray with this toner and then this oil, both of which are great for healing damaged skin. (If you haven’t seen my reviews of Botanic Organic products, here’s the first one and here’s the second one. Both were written before I started this new routine.)

The Benefits of Cleansing with Raw Honey

Raw honey is not only antimicrobial (protecting the skin from harmful invaders), it’s also a natural, gentle exfoliator. The stickiness removes dead cells on its own, but if you can find a jar with some sugar crystals in it, it will feel somewhat like a traditional exfoliator as well — just be gentle! We’ve trained ourselves to think that we have to SCRUB OUR SKIN OFF to get results. We do not! Trust me, throw your apricot scrub in the garbage (or use it on your feet only).

Raw honey is also chock-full of vitamins and minerals (B-complex, A, C, D, E, and K, minerals and trace elements: magnesium, sulfur, phosphorus, iron, calcium, chlorine, potassium, iodine, sodium, copper, and manganese) that penetrate the skin with that lovely steam bath you give yourself in the shower. Magnesium specifically is calming to any irritated spots you might have. You won’t believe how wonderful and supple your skin feels after just one session of this routine. 

My evening routine includes a jar and a clean wash cloth.

It’s something different, but definitely something I’ve raved about on this blog. Any guesses on what’s in the jar? 

clear skin vibrantly healthy skin

Click here to buy the coconut oil I use (affiliate link)

Coconut oil.

Some of you might not be surprised at this, as coconut oil is a staple for all kinds of uses in the CWB household, but what you might not have heard me talk about before is Oil Cleansing. Oil Cleansing is more than just removing your eye make up with coconut oil (which works great, by the way). It’s actually capitalizing on the healing properties of the oil itself and allowing those elements to penetrate the skin.

In the case of coconut oil, those properties include antimicrobial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties (from lauric acid), in addition to deep moisturizing without leaving the skin oily. The type of oil you use will change based on your goals and your skin type, and for me, coconut oil has been perfect. I’ve also done the same method using this Botanic Organic product with great results.

Those who still contend with a bit of acne might try adding a bit of castor oil (a natural astringent) to a lighter carrier oil like olive oil at a 1 to 2 ratio (1 part castor oil, 2 parts carrier oil). Carrier oils include coconut oil, olive oil, sunflower oil — anything natural and organic. Some users find that just plain coconut oil is too drying — yes, oil can be drying! — but for me it’s perfect. I encourage you to experiment to find what works best for you.

Why Does Oil Cleansing Work?

Oil cleansing is just about as unintuitive as juggling knives. How would rubbing oil all over your face clean it? And why on earth would you add to the pile if you already have oily skin? Doesn’t the dermatologist recommend oil-free moisturizers and harsh cleansers and topicals to dry everything out?

Forget everything your dermatologist ever told you (well, let’s be safe and say forget everything any of my many dermatologists ever told me. I won’t presume to know anything about your doctor).

Drying out acne-prone skin doesn’t work. It further irritates already inflamed skin and strips the natural oils, prompting your oil glands to overcompensate with more oil, thus creating a vicious cycle. Using the right oil(s) for your skin type — which is where the experimentation comes in — can yield amazing results, because you’re promoting balance in the skin, not wringing it dry and creating more irritation and sensitivity. 

An important disclaimer: I can’t say this method helped me when I actually had bad acne, because I never tried oil cleansing back then. There are some seriously scathing reviews of this method on acne.org, none of which I’ve personally experienced — I just want to make you aware of the argument on the other side. My guess is that the majority of these folks have internal (gut) issues that have yet to be remedied, and a dramatic change on the outside without any dramatic changes on the inside yielded terrible results for them. I hate seeing people with nightmare skin stories. I feel for them, and I wish they would talk to a doctor that would ask the right questions instead of thinking you can heal your skin from the outside. 

How to Oil Cleanse

  • Massage a dime-size amount of oil into your face while soaking your clean wash cloth with hot (not scalding, but hot) water.
  • Wring out the wash cloth and place over your face for a short steam bath.
  • Leave the wash cloth on for about a minute or until the cloth cools and is no longer producing steam.
  • Repeat if you want to (I usually don’t), and then use the wash cloth to gently remove the oil from your face.
  • Use the wash cloth to remove any remaining eye make up
  • Gently pat dry, leaving a very thin layer of oil on overnight to keep the moisture in

My Results

After doing this routine consistently for a couple of months, I can now say that not only is my skin clear, it’s also polished with a nice, even tone and small pores. It’s not perfect, but considering all I’ve been through, I’m basically in heaven with these results. I took these pictures this morning right after washing my face:

clear skin vibrantly healthy skin

The dark spots on the left near that little mole are the remnants of something tiny that I picked and made huge. I try really hard not to pick — but no one’s perfect! I’m lucky now that there’s nothing left to pick most of the time.

Final Thoughts

Just like with our bodies, there’s a difference between the absence of disease and vibrant health in our skin — nourished skin that glows and radiates health is an indicator of a nourished, healthy body, inside and out. What we put in our bodies and on our skin will make all the difference. 

Click here to download your own Guide for Vibrantly Healthy Skin 

clear skin vibrantly healthy skin

FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. All opinions are my own.

Summer Travel Skin Care Made Easy with Botanic Organic

Traveling can really mess up a daily skin care routine, can’t it? At least my kind of travel does: sleeping in the back of our camper van in the woods with no running water or amenities. Missing out on warm running water can put a minor crimp in my regimen — have you ever tried to rinse off something oily or soapy with freezing cold water? It’s a pain. But I’m excited to share that I’ve found a great travel skin care solution in an awesome product from Botanic Organic. In fact, I’m going to share two fantastic Botanic Organic products today — together I’m calling them Botanic Organic’s Traveling Skin Care Solution

botanic organic coupon botanic organic giveaway travel skincare

Travel Skin Care: Summer Edition

Even if you aren’t the weekend warrior type like me, you might find that going through a whole skin care routine when you’re on the road can be a hassle. And you might also find that in the summertime, globbing greasy sunscreen all over your face is uncomfortable and annoying — especially when it’s hot or humid.

But here’s the problem: 

You still want your skin to be clean, healthy, and protected from the elements, even when you’re on the road — perhaps especially when you’re on the road — when stress, sleeping in a different bed, and other external challenges could cause a breakout.

So what are my choices here? Should I just deal with a greasy face to make sure it stays protected from the sun, possibly risking a few clogged pores in the process? Should I plan on bringing my whole bathroom cabinet of facial care with me on the road and hope that I feel like doing my standard nightly routine when I’m exhausted at the end of a day of travel? Certainly these aren’t my only choices. 

The solution: Botanic Organic’s Traveling Skin Care Solution

Today’s product review is going to address both of these quandaries with two products from Botanic Organic, a beautiful little homespun company based right here in the San Francisco Bay. This is my second review of BO products (you can check out my first review here), and just like in the last post, I’ll be giving away the dynamic duo I’m touting at the end of this review. I’ll also be sharing a 20% off coupon with all of you, so don’t leave without that coupon code!

Traveling Cleanser Solution: Chamomile and Lavender Facial Cleansing Spraybotanic organic travel skincare

I decided to try this product after learning that the lemon oil in my favorite Botanic Organic cleanser could be leaving me vulnerable to hyperpigmentation on my already sun-damaged face. Apparently lemon oil is phototoxic, which means that I shouldn’t use it on my skin before a weekend out in the sun (which is basically every weekend this time of year). I didn’t stop using the oil cleanser (most everything I read said that if you don’t leave the product on your face, you aren’t at risk), but I wanted something I could use on sunny days without worrying about it.

I didn’t realize that the two products were so dramatically different until I tried the Chamomile and Lavender Spray for myself. When I used the spray, at first I felt like I was just using a toner, and I wasn’t sure that I was actually cleaning anything. Then I decided to wipe down my sprayed face with a clean cloth and I saw just how much of a day’s worth of climbing outside came off. The spray and all its healing ingredients left me feeling refreshed and clean. On big days outside, I usually do two or three passes of the spray with a wash cloth or cotton pads for good measure, and it works great.

The ingredient profile is chalk-full of healing, calming, cooling properties — great for sensitive skin, acne-prone skin, or even sunburnt skin. In addition to the two oils named in the product, this cleansing spray also features calendula and aloe vera; both great for the indications I just listed.

Traveling Sunblock Solution: Raspberry and Green Tea Daily Defense Moisturizerbotanic organic travel skincare

I’ve resisted wearing a daily sunblock for years, rationalizing that my mineral makeup was enough to protect my skin. While mineral makeup does provide a physical barrier to the sun, it doesn’t stay on all day, and it’s certainly not reliable enough to count on when temperatures rise. Plus I don’t wear make up when I’m out adventuring, so my quest has been to find facial sun protection that doesn’t drip into my eyes when I’m sweating on the side of a rock somewhere.

My resistance to a daily facial sunscreen has always been rooted in the grease factor and the gross factor. Basically every single one I’ve ever tried has either been too greasy or laden with all manner of gross chemicals that I didn’t want to put on my face (or both). When I told Nancy (founder of Botanic Organics) my issue, she insisted that I try the Raspberry and Green Tea Daily Defense Moisturizer and gave me a couple of sample bottles.

I love it.

I can wear it under my make up or I can skip the make up completely without having too much of a shine from it, which I’ve literally never experienced with another facial sunscreen. Nancy made sure to mention that while this product isn’t officially/legally called “sunscreen,”  it contains 11% zinc oxide which gives about an equivalent of 15 SPF protection. Plus there are additional oils in the product that provide a measure of sun protection, including shea butter, raspberry seed, buriti fruit and hemp seed oils.

There are also a few ingredients in there that repair UV damage, which I need after years of outdoor softball, sunbathing, hiking, swimming, and now climbing. Admittedly, this is not a cheap product at $34 a bottle, but it’s worth it to have the perfect sunscreen after years of avoiding it entirely. And a little bit goes a long way, so a bottle should last at least a few months.

Mad Giveaway Time!

Not only am I giving away two sets of this awesome duo for traveling greatness, I’m also offering a coupon to every single human who reads this post! The coupon will expire Oct 1st, so if yo don’t win this raffle, I suggest you take advantage of this 20% discount while you can. (Must be a US Resident to win.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As if That Weren’t Enough?!

CWB has partnered with Botanic Organic to get those of you who won’t be lucky enough to win these free gifts a 20% off coupon for all your purchases at Botanic Organic through the end of September! (And even if you win, you can use it too!) If you want to see my review for two other fantastic products in this line of natural and organic skin care before you purchase, knock yourself out. Just don’t forget to use the code below before October 1st!

That’s a long time to stock up on these awesome products, so get started today to find out what you fancy so you’ll have time to get more!

Go! Now! Go!

botanic organic coupon, travel skincare

FTC DISCLOSURE: I do not have a partnership agreement with Botanic Organic, but I was given free samples of these products to try. I will not be compensated for purchases made using this coupon. All opinions are my own.

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