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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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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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I was on the tube the other day and noticed a girl sitting a few seats away. She was peering intently at her skin in a small mirror picking at a spot on her face. She continued to peer and scratch at the spot, then moved onto another area. She was still engrossed in this activity as I left the train about 10 minutes later.

That used to be me…

As those who read my blog and visit my website will know, I used to suffer from awful acne.

I used to carry a small mirror with me at all times. I would take it out a sneak a look at my skin when I thought no-one was looking. I would have been far too embarrassed to do it in a packed train, but it would have been very much on my mind. If anyone even glanced at me I would be worrying about what my skin looked like, and what the person would have thought.

I used to look in the mirror first thing when I got up in the morning, just before I left the house, immediately when returned home, and countless times in between, just in case my skin had magically healed since the last time I checked. But, no matter what the big companies’ marketing departments say, healing your skin is not a magic quick-fix issue that can be brought about by using the latest wonder-cream.

Spending all of this time focusing on your face is destructive. It’s stressful (and stress always makes a skin complaint worse!), and it’s a constant reminder that you’ve got this acne (or whichever skin complaint you may have) on your face.

The best way to stop focusing on your skin is to simply stop thinking about it so much. I say ‘simply’, but it’s actually a lot harder than it sounds, so here are three steps to help make it a little easier…

Step 1 – Reset you thought patterns

Every time you have a disparaging or negative thought about your skin, or you find you’re thinking about it too much, tell your mind to think of something else.

Tell yourself to be patient, and that you are doing the best you can for your skin. Then change your thoughts to something else, preferably something that makes you feel happy.

I like to think of sitting out in the garden, surrounded by plants and flowers and sweet-smelling herbs, feeling the warm sun on my body.

Step 2 – Look in the mirror less

The little mirror I used to carry around with me had been a gift, and was just beautiful. I loved it. But carrying it with me where ever I went just wasn’t helping, so I gave it away.

If you have any hand-held mirrors, especially the magnifying kind, maybe you should give them away, too. Or at least hide them in the back of a dark cupboard where you can forget about them. If you are finding it really difficult not to check your skin, you could even cover all the mirrors in your house with scarves or binbags.

This may sound like an extreme step to take (and would possibly gain a raised eyebrow from any visiters you may have!), but believe me, it will make a difference. If you really can’t stop thinking about your skin, and can’t leave it alone, then not looking at it is the best thing you can do to clear your mind.

Step 3 – Get a breath of fresh air

As I said earlier, stress can make a skin complaint worse. Being out in nature is one of the best ways to de-stress and improve your well-being. So visit your local park, beach, nature reserve, or whatever is available to you, as often as you can. Even if you arrive in a gloomy mood, I bet you won’t leave feeling the same way!

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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In our next Ingredient Profile we’re looking at Peppermint.

Peppermint – latin name Mentha piperita – is actually a naturally occurring hybrid plant that is derived from the crossing of water mint and spearmint. Peppermint grows widely in many places in Europe, Japan, and North America. Apparently the best type is from Britain as it favours the damp conditions!

It is a perennial plant and can grow up to 40 inches in height. It has narrow, toothed leaves and a short spike of purple flowers. It reproduces chiefly by means of underground stems and rooting branches.

Like many herbs, peppermint was known to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. The Romans crowned themselves with peppermint at their feasts – possibly they were aware of its detoxifying properties! Peppermint was also used as an ingredient of wine.

Peppermint has a cooling nature which seems to relieve states of anger, hysteria, and nervous trembling. It is excellent for mental fatigue and depression.

Peppermint is commonly drunk as tea, and is believed to have many health benefits. Its action on the digestive system is well-known. It can have a relaxing and slightly anaesthetic effect on stomach muscles, apparently beneficial against food poisoning, and deals well with vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation, flatulence, colic, and nausea as well as travel sickness.

The cooling and pain-relieving action of peppermint seems to ease headaches, migraines and toothache. It is an excellent remedy for aching feet.

By removing toxic congestion, peppermint can be beneficial to skin conditions such as dermatitis. Due to capillary constriction, it is cooling in action and can relieve itching, inflammation and sunburn. It also softens the skin, helps to remove blackheads, and is effective on greasy skin and hair.

At Freyaluna, we use a blend of peppermint, spearmint and lime in our Mint Mojito skincare range. You can find these, and all of our products on our website.

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You may think that knowing your skin type is a really basic step to planning your skincare routine, and you’d be right; ‘diagnosing’ your skin type is a fundamental step towards good skincare. But, this is the one beauty mistake that around 80% of us are making.

Just as we want to believe we’re a size smaller than we actually are, a lot of us like to think we have a certain skin type. It may be the ‘stigmas’ seemingly associated with each skin type – the teenage angst of “oily”, the guilt of “sun-damaged”, the neurotic connotations of “sensitive” – that put women off accepting their true skin type.

If you are one of these women (and I hold my hand up! I was in this position not too long ago), then you’re only cheating yourself out of great skin.

Your skin type changes with age, and not only that, the needs of your skin change depending on the weather, season, etc. Recent research has found that most women in their mid-thirties think they have the same skin type as when they were in their teens, and that on third of us have never changed our skincare. The research also found that many of us – up to 70% – have bought a product and used it only once before discarding it because it was wrong for our skin type.

Even if you do have money to burn, where’s the sense in that?

So what happens when you buy the wrong product for your skin type? Well it’s problematic; it means the products you buy aren’t working properly. They can also cause damage to the skin – making it redder, wrinklier (is that a word? Well it is now!), spottier.

For example; when used on oily skin, a thick heavy cream designed for dry skin, can create a oxygen-less environment, which means pores can get blocked and spots develop. Many women in their forties experience late-onset acne, and it could simply be due to to much heavy product.

At the other end of the spectrum, if you think you have oily skin and it isn’t, the products will strip the skin of natural oils and take out too much moisture, thus increasing dehydration and exagerating fine lines.

Another common problem is women in their twenties and thirties using anti-aging products designed for women in their fifties – this can cause over-sensitised, red, patchy or acne-prone skin.

If you have combitation skin, there is no reason why you can’t use different products in different palces. If you have an oily T-zone, use a lighter product there, and then a more hydrating cream on your cheeks.

So, what skin are you in?

  • To see if you have OILY skin, you should clease your face, leaving it free from moisturiser overnight. On waking, run your finger down your nose. If it slips easily and feels greasy, it’s oily.
  • Sensitive skin can be easily irritated. Typical reactions are itching, burning, chafing and stinging.To be truly SENSITIVE, your cheeks will be constantly hot to the touch.
  • Pinch your cheeks. If vertical lines show up, you have DEHYDRATED skin.
  • DRY skin is characterised by dry and flaking patches, tight closed pores and prone to broken capillaries/red patches.
  • COMBINATION skin is just what it says. Generally those with combination skin will find they experience an oily T-zone (forehead, nose and chin area) and dry cheeks.

Four things your skin needs to know…

  1. Those with highly pigmented skin should avoid using anything too abrasive, like scrubs, as this could cause an inflammatory response and thus more pigmentation.
  2. Don’t buy the same cream over and over. Lifestyle changes, medication, and weather all affect your skin and the products it needs. Reassess your skin regularly.
  3. Stop being so heavy-handed. We’re all in such a rush, we apply far too much product to our faces. Be sparing and just put the cream where it’s needed.
  4. Take time to cleanse properly; it’s the most important part of your routine. Cleansing properly with the right product means any skincare you follow with will penetrate better.

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Skincare Recipe of the Month is a new monthly feature we wanted to add to our blog, and it’s just that; each month we’re going to 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 a peel-off face mask…

I bet you thought you wouldn’t be able to make one of these fancy face masks at home. Well you can!

Ingredients

50ml fruit juice

50ml herbal infusion

1 packet unflavoured gelatin

Method

1. Pour the liquid ingredients into a heat-proof container.

2. Add the gelatin to the mixture, stir well until completely dissolved.

3. Gently heat the mixture in a double boiler for one minute, stirring constantly.

4. Remove from the heat, allow to cool, then refrigerate for 30 minutes.

To Use

Spread a thin layer over your face, avoiding the delicate eye area, and allow it to dry. Lie back and relax for 8 – 10 minutes, you can add some slices of cucumber or potato over your eyes for added benefit if you like. Peel the mask away from your skin, rinse with cool water, then pat dry.

Suggested Blends

Sensitive and fair skin – apple juice with rose petal infusion

Dry skin – honeydew or cantaloupe melon juice with lemon balm infusion

Normal skin – raspberry juice with raspberry leaf infusion

Oily skin – watermelon juice with rosemary infusion

Break-out-prone skin – tomato juice with garlic infusion.

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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