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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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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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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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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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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 Bare Skin Mist…

This is a lightweight fragrance that contains no alcohol, so it can be sprayed and spritzed all over your bare skin. You can even use it on your face and hair to refresh yourself throughout the day. It contains orange flower water, whose scent is from the bitter orange tree. This scent is also called neroli and is popular in many commercial products because it is believed to reduce stress.

Ingredients

1/4 cup (60ml) orange flower water

1/2 cup (125ml) distilled water

1/2 tsp light sesame oil

1-2 drops essential oil

Method

1. Stir together all of the ingredients until thoroughly mixed.

2. Pour into a clean spray bottle.

3. Label and date.

To Use

Shake bottle well before use. Lightly spray the body mist all over your bare skin.

Suggested Scents

This is a very refreshing recipe, just perfect for these spring days as the weather is getting warmer. I would suggest that you keep this in mind when choosing an essential oil to use in this recipe.

A few recommendations are; peppermint, lemon, geranium, or bergamot. However, scent is a very personal choice so use your own judgement.

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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