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Skincare Recipe of the Month is a monthly feature where we share one of our favourite skincare recipes that you can make at home, usually using ingredients you will already have in your kitchen cupboards.

As I’ve been talking about acne a lot recently, I thought June’s skincare recipe would be along those lines aswell. So this month we’ve got a recipe for Marigold, Lavender and Geranium Acne Gel.

Bright orange pot marigold (calendula officianalis) flowers contain salicylic acid which is used in many over-the-counter acne treatments. They also contain anti-inflammatory and antiseptic substances, which make calendula a popular ingredient for many skin conditions.

Used over a period of weeks, this gel can significantly alleviate the appearance of acne, and reduce discomfort.

This is a great recipe for June because all the flowers used are popular in many gardens and should be in flower now.

Ingredients

10 geranium flowers, with leaves and stems

8 calendula flowerheads

20 lavender flowerheads

200ml water

1 sachet vegetable gelatine

2 tsp aloe vera gel

5 tsp vodka

20 drops tea tree essential oil

Method

  1. Roughly chop the flowers, leaves and stems and place them all in a large glass bowl.
  2. bring the water to the boil and pour it over the flowers to make an infusion. leave to infuse for 10 minutes, or until the water has taken on the colour of the flowers.
  3. Place the infusion and plant material into a blender and blend. strain the mixture through a piece of muslin into a clean bowl.
  4. in another bowl, dissolve the gelatine in 2 tbsp of cold water. Gradually add the flower infusion, stirring to separate any lumps. Add the vodka and tea tree oil and aloe vera, stirring until a gel is formed.
  5. Using a funnel, pour the gel into a clean, sterilised pot.

To Use

  • Apply to affected areas twice a day, or as frequently as needed.
  • Store in the fridge for up to six weeks.

Variations

  • If you have dry skin, you may wish to leave out the vodka as alcohol can be drying.

Take the next step towards naturally beautiful, healthy skin by clicking here to sign-up to the Freyaluna tribe.

I’ll send you weekly inspiration, recipes, ideas, and straight-talking skincare advice to get you on track for your most beautiful skin ever, the natural way!

As a bonus, you’ll also get a FREE copy of my “5 Secrets to Naturally Beautiful Skin” ebook. Join the tribe here!

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Whether you have a severe case, or just get one big spot every now and then, acne can be just as traumatic and embarrassing.

What is acne?

I have trawled the internet far and wide, and have found many definitions of what acne is, but the simplest, and the one that makes most sense to me is this…

Acne is simply your body’s way of getting rid of physical or emotional toxins through your skin.

So really, acne is a good thing in a way, because your body is expelling toxins that you really don’t want inside your body!

Of course, we would all like these toxins to be removed in healthier ways, even better if there are fewer toxins to begin with!

How can I get rid of my acne?

Most people believe that acne is due to uncleanliness or not washing enough.

It’s not.

People also tend to think that to cure acne, you simply need to find the ‘right’ skincare product or routine.

While skincare does play a part, there are many things you need to consider.

Here is a quick rundown of what helps…

  • Stop picking! Picking and squeezing your spots only makes it worse – you are spreading the bacteria around your face, and you will be left with scares that will last a lot longer than the spot itself.
  • Skincare – use gentle products that are non-comedogenic (meaning they won’t block your pores). Don’t use harsh products that will scrub away the natural balance of your skin and strip away all the oil. Your skin does need some oil to function properly!
  • Diet – try to cut out any foods you are allergic or intolerant to. Try to cut down on ‘bad’ foods such as refined sugar, processed food, fried foods, fizzy drinks, bad fats… I think you get the picture!
  • Diet – try to include lots of ‘good’ foods in your diet, like fresh fruit and vegetables, good fats (omegas 3,6,9), anti-oxidants, water.
  • Reduce stress – stress can muck up your whole system! It can weaken your immune system, mess up your digestive system, and really screw-up your hormones and emotions.

This has been a super-quick look at acne.

I’ll be going into it in more depth over the coming months. Make sure you stay up to date by clicking here to sign-up to the Freyaluna tribe.

I’ll send you weekly inspiration, recipes, ideas, and straight-talking skincare advice to get you on track for your most beautiful skin ever, the natural way!

As a bonus, you’ll also get a FREE copy of my “5 Secrets to Naturally Beautiful Skin” ebook. Join the tribe here!

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I know I’m normally a Friday blogger, but just had to put this out there for any of you who may be suffering with me!

This may be a bit of an over-share, but it’s just come around to my ‘time of the month’. Any ladies out there (and men if they’ve been unfortunate to be on the receiving end of it) may well know my pain (quite literally), when I tell you my PMT is awful, unbelievable, terrible, dreadful, beastly, or any other adjective you’d like to add!

I get cramps like you wouldn’t believe, feel nauseous, just generally don’t want to get out of bed, and to top it all off, I also tend to get PMT acne.

As you probably already know, it’s those darn hormones that cause all the trouble!

Hormones regulate every function in your body.

When your hormones are in balance you feel great! You have bags of energy, sleep like a baby, your sex drive is strong, you’re thinking straight, you look wonderful, your immune and digestive systems function well, and your weight is stable!

Hormone imbalance, then, has the ability to mess up every function in your body, including causing acne.

So here they are…

4 steps to treating PMT acne;

  • Reduce stress – high stress levels will elevate PMT. Reducing stress will, of course, not only help to ease PMT, but will also help improve your skin, body and life in general.
  • Eat better – I don’t mean to go on a diet, just eat better/healthier – include plenty of wholefoods, fresh fruit and vegetables, protein and good fats in your diet. Reduce the amount of refined sugar you consume. Even just small changes can make a difference. Avoid caffeine, especially around your period, as it can increase stress levels.
  • Consider supplements – even a great diet can be lacking in essential nutrients, such as good fats (e.g. fish oils, evening primrose oil, flaxseed oil), which can help with reducing PMT and PMT acne. Visit a naturopath or health food shop for advice.
  • Exercise regularly – I know that when you’ve got that ‘don’t even want to get out of bed’ feeling, exercise is probably the last thing you want to do, but it really does help. I just walked to the shops and back (around 20 – 30 minutes) and feel a lot better for it. Walking, swimming, and yoga all help to reduce PMT by reducing stress. But be careful, sometime intensive workouts can increase PMT and PMT acne.

So there you have it… My super-quick guide to treating PMT and PMT acne.

Oh, and as an added bonus, I feel it is my duty to give you this little tip… If you, like me, suffer from period cramps, try staying clear of cold drinks. I know it can be difficult when the weather is so warm, but the cold can exacerbate cramps. Try drinking warm drinks. I especially recommend herbal teas.

I’d love to hear what you think, so please drop a comment below.

If you think others would like this, you can share it via twitter or Facebook by using the ‘share’ button below.

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Let’s get a torch and magnifying glass and take a good look at what’s lurking in the corners of your toiletries cupboard…

Today we’re taking a closer look at some of the ingredients manufacturers put in the “skincare” products you use every day.

First up, lets take a look at some of the well-known ingredients…

Mineral oils (found on ingredients lists as parafinnum liquidum, petrolatum) – these form a layer on top of the skin that doesn’t allow the skin breathe. They are skin irritants, allergens, and potential carcinogens (substances that cause cancer).

Mineral oils are found in face and body lotions, baby oils, lipstick.

Detergents (sodium lauryl sulphate, cocamidopropyl betaine, ammonium lauryl sulphate, cocamide DEA, cocamide MEA) – cause skin irritation. They can promote the formation of cancer-causing substances known as ‘nitrosamines’ in products during storage.

To look at Sodium lauryl sulphate in particular, it was originally created for industrial use. When rinsed from the skin, the product will have cleaned the area, but will also have taken moisture from the top layers of the skin. In addition to this, when SLS gets into rivers and ponds, it can affect ducks and other water foul by ‘cleaning’ the natural oils from there feathers. This causes the feathers to lose their waterproofing, which can cause the birds to sink and drown.

Detergents are found in shampoo, body wash, shower gel, bubble bath, liquid soaps.

Fragrances (parfum) -parfum is a mixture of dozens of synthetic chemicals that are linked to asthma, skin irritation, nausea, mood changes, depression, lethargy, irritability and memory lapses.

These fragrances are found in most fragranced products.

Preservatives (parabens {methylparaben, ethyl paraben, butylparaben, propylparaben, etc.}, formaldehyde quaternium, methylisothiazolinone) – cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. Can be neurotoxic. Some, like parabens, are suspected hormone disrupters; they mimic the oestrogen hormone, and have been detected in breast cancer tissue, and in a 2004 UK study, they were found in 18 out of 20 breast tumours.

Preservatives are found in most, if not all (except natural products, of course!), cosmetics and toiletries.

Now let’s delve a little deeper, into the less well-known ingredients…

Bacteriocides (triclosan, benzalkonium chloride, chlorohexidrine) – kill bacteria, but can also react with water to form chloroform gas. If inhaled in large quantities this can cause depression, liver problems and cancer. Can cause skin irritation.

Bacteriocides are found in anti-bacterial face wash, toothpaste and mouth wash.

Aluminium (aluminium chlorohydrate, aluminium zirconium) -is a neurotoxin linked to Alzheimer’s disease. May also contribute to heart and lung disease and fertility problems.

Aluminium is found in deodorants and make-up products.

Phthalates (dibutyl phthalate {DBP}, diethylhexyl phthalate {DEHP}) – these are hormone-disrupting plasticisers that ‘fix’ a product to the skin. Can cause damage to the liver, lungs and kidneys. May affect fertility and foetal development.

Phthalates are found in hairspray, nail varnish, and perfumed products.

A report from scientists at the institute of Child Health at University College London found that using body scrubs and strong soaps on the skin could be behind a recent rise in eczema, asthma, hay fever and rhinitis, because they strip natural oils from the skin.

I’m sure you’ll agree that its all very alarming! But don’t think you can avoid the chemical onslaught simply by washing them away.

Typically, women use around twelve beauty products and toiletries in a day… cleanser, toner, moisturiser, soap/shower gel/exfoliating scrub, body lotion, foundation, mascara, eye shadow, lip stick, blusher, etc, etc… This can expose you to up to 175 different chemicals. It has been estimated that women can absorb around 2kg of chemicals through their skin each year!

Watching what you put on your skin is absolutely as important as watching what you eat! I found a study once that proved that eating lipstick would be better for you than putting it on your lips. That way, at least you have the digestive enzymes to help absorb it.

Maybe it’s time for you to clean up your act and turn over a new leaf. Ditch those potentially harmful products in favour of Mother Nature’s gorgeousness!

Take the next step towards naturally beautiful, healthy skin by clicking here to sign-up to the Freyaluna tribe.

I’ll send you weekly inspiration, recipes, ideas, and straight-talking skincare advice to get you on track for your most beautiful skin ever, the natural way!

As a bonus, you’ll also get a FREE copy of my “5 Secrets to Naturally Beautiful Skin” ebook. Join the tribe here!

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We’ve all heard things throughout our life that we then stick to because we believe they’re true. In our Beauty Myths Busted series we’re going to look at some of these myths in depth to see if they are really true.

Beauty Myth

Taking long hot baths is bad for your skin.

Beauty Fact

Well, yes and no. There are really two parts to this myth…

Firstly, the “hot” part. This is true. If you have the water too hot (like when you get in it physically hurts!), it can damage your skin. The hot water removes too much oil from your skin which means your skin is left dry. I know it sounds strange that too much water can dry out your skin, but it is true. Very hot water is also terrible for the hair, and can cause serious damage.

Secondly, the “long” part. There is advice ‘out there’ that you should only stay in the bath for about 10 minutes. That’s not a bath! That’s just a little dip. To me, a bath is a chance to wind-down and relax. Who can relax in ten minutes? You’ve just got in and it’s time to get out again! I love those baths where you completely lose yourself in distant thoughts, and have absolutely no idea what time it is when you finally emerge from the bathroom.

I find baths so much more relaxing that showers. After a nice bath I tend to sleep better too.

To make your bath a little more healing, and to stop your skin from drying out, you can add a bath oil or bath melt. These contain natural oils and butters and so will moisturise your skin as you bathe. They also contain wonderful essential oils to add a healing aspect.

So, to sum up, my advice is to have a bath with comfortably warm water, for maybe not longer than half and hour or so. I would strongly recommend using a bath melt or oil to prevent moisture and natural oils being stripped from the skin.

Now, lie back, relax and enjoy!

I’d love to hear what you think, so leave me a comment below, and share it on Facebook or Twitter (below) if you think others would benefit!

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Skincare Recipe of the Month is a monthly feature where we share one of our favourite skincare recipes that you can make at home, usually using ingredients you will already have in your kitchen cupboards.

This month we’ve got a recipe for Lavender Bath Bomb.

I’m sure you all know the wonderful and varied effects of lavender by now!

But here’s a little round-up anyway…

Lavender has long been known as giving effective relief from insomnia. The pain-relieving qualities of lavender deal effectively with muscular spasm, and can be useful for sprains, strains and sharp rheumatic pains. Lavender is valuable for most skin types and conditions, since it promotes the growth of new cells and exerts a balancing action on sebum (the skins natural oil). It has a pronounced healing effect on burns and sunburn, and can be helpful in cases of acne, eczema and psoriasis.

For this recipe you will need some sort of mould. There are many purpose-made moulds available for making bath bombs. However, you could use many items you already have in your home, such as cookie cutters, ice cube trays, yoghurt pots, etc.

Ingredients

40g bicarbonate of soda

20g citric acid

5 – 6 lavender flower heads

10 drops lavender essential oil

water or rosewater (in a spray bottle is best)

Method

  1. To dry the lavender flowers, heat the oven to around 180 C. When it has reached the temperature, turn it off. Place the flower heads in the oven and leave for around two hours. Alternatively, you can leave them somewhere warm (like an airing cupboard) overnight. When the lavender has dried, remove the flowers from the stems.
  2. Ensure the bowl and your hands are completely dry, or the mixture will start to fizz.
  3. In a glass or ceramic bowl, mix the bicarbonate of soda and citric acid together. Add the essential oils and mix thoroughly with a metal spoon. Now add 1tsp of the lavender flowers and stir to distribute them evenly through the mixture.
  4. Now we add the water. This is where the spray bottle comes in very handy! Spray the mixture with a little water and mix well. Keep adding water, little by little, until you have a mixture that holds together well. (see below for testing the consistency)
  5. Put the mixture in your mould(s). Depending on the size of the mould, you may make more than one bath bomb. If you are using a cookie cutter, place the cutter on a piece of baking paper. Press the mixture firmly into your mould using the back of a spoon.
  6. The water now needs to evaporate away from your bath bomb. Leave them to set for at least an hour, or preferably overnight.

To test for the right consistency, press a small amount of the mixture onto a teaspoon, if it crumbles easily it needs a little more water added. If the mixture is fizzing and frothing all over the place you’ve added too much water!

To Use

  • Store in an air-tight container to keep out moisture.
  • Add the bath bomb to a bath of warm water
  • Lie back, relax, and enjoy!

Variations

Why stop at lavender?!

This basic recipe can be adapted to include any scent you like.

You could try;

  • sage and marjoram for relief from aching muscles
  • calendula petals with orange essential oil for a healing and reviving bath bomb
  • peppermint and rosemary for a bit of get-up-and-go

The possibilities are endless!

I’d love to hear how you get on with this recipe! Do let me know by leaving a comment below.

If you think others would like this, please share via twitter or facebook, also below.

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Recently, Nigella Lawson was spotted on Australia’s Bondi Beach sporting rather more than your average beach-goer. Yes, that’s right, she was wearing a so-called “burkini”, the modesty-saving outfit designed for Muslim women.

Quite frankly, I am amazed by the fuss this simple family day at the beach has caused!

Naturally fair-skinned, like many of us Brits, Ms Lawson is quite right to be taking care of her skin when out in the sun. Judging by the continuing rise in skin cancer cases in the UK, perhaps more of us should be following her example. I’ve written about the risks of sun damage to your skin in previous posts, so won’t go into it again here. Just to say that you really need to be careful (I know you know that already, I just thought I’d say it again for good measure!).

I too have fair skin, and so understand the fears of skin damage due to over-exposure to the sun. I try to stay covered as much as possible, as well as plastering on the factor 30!

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I’d go so far as wearing a burkini to the beach, but then, I don’t have the luxury of holidaying in the sort of hot countries that would warrant it.

There are those who say that she wore the burkini in order to draw attention to herself.

Erm… hang on a minute…

Where once a woman had to wear as little as possible (with bikinis now consisting of practically non-existent, barely-there scraps of fabric) to gain attention, now the same can be said of covering up completely?

It would seem we have come full circle!

But let’s think about it a different way…

If Nigella Lawson had worn the de rigueur itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny bikini, we all know what would have happened; images of the curvaceously lovely Ms Lawson would have appeared in certain glossy magazines (you know who you are!) high-lighting each and every wobbly bit and ‘imperfection’.

So, if anything can be gained from this whole blown-out-of-proportion incident, it is the proof that women just cannot win!

To put it simply; we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

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