7 Common Paleo Mistakes that Cause Acne

7 Common Paleo Mistakes that Cause Acne

One of the most common complaints I get on social media is “I went paleo and my acne got worse!!”

I hear you, sister. That happened to me, too.

The thing about acne is that it’s almost impossible to just follow some “diet” (such as paleo) and clear your skin. Your diet needs to be specific about supporting clear skin, and what you need for clear skin most specifically. If you adopt some general diet, you might end up worse than you started.

Paleo is certainly no exception to this rule. Here are the 7 most common reasons people make their acne worse with paleo:

1) Too high omega 6 intake

If you go paleo and all of the sudden start eating higher quantities of certain omega 6 containing foods, this may be why. Omega 6 fats are inflammatory and in high doses can cause real skin problems. Examples of foods high in omega 6 fatty acids are:

  • Nuts (except for macadamia nuts)
  • Chicken and other poultry fat
  • Chicken and other poultry skin
  • Fatty cuts of meat (cow, pork, etc) from animals raised on conventional feedlots

Importantly, the omega 6 content of animal fats is higher in animals that are grain fed, raised on feedlots, or fed agricultural scraps. If you “go paleo” then start eating lots of meat that isn’t healthfully sources, you may run into some trouble. The best way to make sure you get a good omega 6 omega 3 balance in your animal products is to buy as much grass-fed (and grass-finished) products as possible. I personally love Butcher Box’s products.

2) Shifting diet to fat (and especially saturated fat)

People who have been on low fat diets and have some acne may experience an acne problem when they make the jump to a fattier diet. This is because fats are the backbones of hormones. Since the male sex hormones testosterone and DHEA-S cause acne, it’s entirely possible that shifting up your body’s production of these hormones (and this is of course even worse if you have a hormone condition such as PCOS) will at least temporarily cause your acne to spike.

This is all the worse if you’re consuming a lot of saturated fat, since saturated fat has the greatest potential of all the fats to be inflammatory.

(You can also have skin problems if you go on a low fat version of paleo, but this is reasonably uncommon.)

3) High intake of insoluble fiber

If you used to eat lots of fiber-free foods, switching to paleo may be a bit of a shock to your system. Insoluble fiber in particular can be rough on the gut. Nuts and vegetable skins are the worst potential offenders in this regard. These problems are exacerbated if you do not have a robust gut flora population hanging around, ready to break down the fiber for you. Hopefully you’re integrating fermented foods (my faves here) into your paleo diet, and that will help you in the longer run. If you’re not, a probiotic supplement such as Prescript Assist may be in order.

4) Consuming foods you may have a sensitivity to or that may exacerbate acne

There are a number of foods acceptable  to “paleo” that may still irritate your gut and/or your immune system. Unfortunately it takes a lot of experimentation to figure out if any of these are problems for you. The most common ones are:

  • nightshade vegetables

These are a class of vegetables that can sometimes be inflammatory, especially for people with autoimmune conditions. Many paleo people know tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplant are on that list. Also on the list but less often discussed are tomatillos and goji berries. I personally get terrible acne from goji berries, and didn’t understand why until discovering this fact.

  • high B12 foods

High B12 foods and supplements can contribute to acne because of the metabolism of bacteria on the skin. When you eat hefty amounts of B12, they shut off their own production and instead make a pro-inflammatory compound. High B12 foods include eggs, liver, shellfish, tuna. I personally still get small breakouts from these foods if I eat too many of them too many days in a row.

  • chocolate

Studies have actually demonstrated that chocolate (though for uncertain reasons) can cause acne. And it’s not because of the dairy in most chocolate products, but the cocoa itself.

  • egg whites

Some people don’t tolerate egg whites well, which leads to inflammation in the gut.

  • imbalance of vitamins A, D, K

If you’re taking a cod liver oil supplement, a vitamin D supplement, or a K supplement, you may find that your balance of A, D, and K becomes skewed on paleo. This can be a problem. If you haven’t seen any improvement with these supplements to date, consider lowering your dose or discontinuing and waiting for two weeks to see if there is any improvement.

5) Not eating enough

Many people unintentionally reduce their calorie intake when they go paleo. Some do so intentionally. In either case, not eating enough food can cause your body to stop produce the important acne-fighting hormones estrogen and progesterone, and instead produce the acne-causing stress hormone DHEA-S.

Importantly, intermittent fasting can also have this effect. I personally start to get bumps on my forehead after about six hours of fasting after I’ve gotten hunger pangs.

6) Working out too much or not refueling properly

Intense workouts can cause stress hormones to spike. Normally this is healthy, but if you do it a lot and undereat or are stressed out besides, you may be in for a bit of a deluge of stress hormones. Importantly, testosterone (an acne-causing hormone) levels rise during workouts. They fall back down to original levels if you refuel after your workout. But if you do not refuel, testosterone levels stay elevated.

Unfortunately, since I don’t know your personal history or context, I couldn’t say whether you work out  “too much.” (I do have a post on it: Do you exercise too much?) So far as refueling goes, shoot for 200-300 calories of carbs and protein combined. Beef sticks and dried fruit are a great way to do this if you’re on the run.

7) Too much protein

Paleo dieters tend to really go wild with protein. This can be a problem if you’re acne prone, since protein has been shown to participate in the stimulation of growth processes in the skin. Protein does matter; I don’t recommend cutting protein out of your diet or eat much below 50 grams a day.  I usually recommend 50-100 grams a day for women, depending on your activity level. If you’re really active  (or muscular or tall!)120 grams may work great, but it’s ideal for skin not to push too far beyond that.


So those, in sum, are the seven most common reasons people’s acne may worsen on paleo. Now, it’s entirely possible that your acne just stays the same, and you’re left wondering “but wasn’t paleo supposed to heal me?”

Paleo is a great starting template for managing many different conditions and symptoms. But  it is precisely that: a template. Once you dig into paleo, if you have conditions you want to overcome such as acne, it’s important to dig deep into acne-specific science and acne-specific nutrition. 

Coincidentally enough, I have written a comprehensive ebook about the science of causing acne and the ways to specifically tailor your diet and lifestyle choices to overcome it. It has just gone on sale (I haven’t even told facebook yet!) and is 50% off this week only! Plus, fully refundable if you don’t like it for any reason, so not much for you to lose at all! Feel free to check it out here: Clear Skin Unlocked: The Ultimate Guide to Acne Freedom and Flawless Skin. 

If you’d like to read a blog post about the program and how I wrote it, check it out, here.

Here it comes! Introducing Clear Skin Unlocked: The Ultimate Guide to Acne Freedom and Flawless Skin!!

Here it comes! Introducing Clear Skin Unlocked: The Ultimate Guide to Acne Freedom and Flawless Skin!!

Goodness, do I have some lovely news to share with y’all today.

I finally, after years of preparation and waiting, am ready to share with you what I think might be my best program to date:

Clear Skin Unlocked: The Ultimate Guide to Acne Freedom and Flawless Skin

And it will be on sale for the first three days for 50% off.

(How I feel.)

So what is Clear Skin Unlocked, and why I am so stoked?

Clear Skin Unlocked: The Ultimate Guide to Acne Freedom and Flawless Skin is an acne-revolutionizing program.

This is because, so far as I can tell, Clear Skin Unlocked is the most comprehensive acne program on the market. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve encountered a couple of great programs on acne (I can think of two, actually). But I don’t think a single one of them has covered all of the possible causes of acne. They either focus on gut health, or on antioxidant potential, or topical treatments, or some other thing. I don’t  think any of them have comprehensively covered all the things you need to do to remediate those causes and relax into acne freedom. Especially, notably, in the case of female hormone balance. I have never encountered a program that goes through the various types of female hormone issues that can cause acne, and what to do about it.

This is a problem.

Because here’s the thing: having acne sucks. And most people really struggle to overcome it. Sometimes you might end up frustrated for years on end. You try different lotions, different kinds of diets (low carb, paleo, etc), different kinds of pills. You comb through forums online and find all these solutions that work for other people… but never find one (or a few) that works for you

Sound familiar?

I know I at least was like this. I spent years crying over my acne, scrolling through google searches trying to find an answer.

Eventually I figured out that I was shooting in the dark. I was somewhat blindly following the advice I found in various places online (like paleohacks). I didn’t have a good understanding of how acne works, and it was literally destroying my skin. 

So I dug deep. I started reading scientists I trusted. I built a solid understand of how skin and acne work. I studied the delicate interplay between nutrients, inflammation, and hormones. Then, I started applying what I learned.

And it worked. 

It took time, but I’ll be damned, it did finally work. Today I have soft and clear skin like I never would have dreamed of even in my wildest fantasies in my acne-despairing days.

The reason it worked is that my understanding was thorough. It was comprehensive. I finally knew so much about the skin that I could figure out exactly what my problems were, and how to fix them. I was no longer shooting at my acne in the dark: I was shooting with a finely-tuned, heat-seeking laser. 

The vast majority of acne programs fail to account for all the various causes and factors that contribute to acne, as well as the various techniques you can use to overcome it. This is why I kept falling through the cracks. Perhaps this is also why you keep falling through the cracks.

This is also precisely why I wrote Clear Skin Unlocked.

 I don’t want you to have to spend years crying in front of your computer screen like I did.  I also don’t want you to have to do as much work as I did. It took me years to learn everything I know about acne, and finally be able to fix my skin.

So I’ve taken those years of research and distilled the information. I’ve simplified it. I’ve turned it from a tangled web of complex science into a program you can actually navigate. I’ve compiled precisely what you need to know to get on the path to acne freedom as quickly as possible.

So what’s in Clear Skin Unlocked: The Ultimate Guide to Acne Freedom and Flawless Skin?

Clear Skin Unlocked begins with an overview of how the skin works. I dig into the science of it deeper than I have on the PfW blog. I then provide an overview of the main contributing factors to acne. I identify them as inflammation, nutrient status, and hormone balance. The hormone balance piece is really complex, so it receives a whopping 11,283 words of text.

I discuss various foods and supplements and how they interact with acne. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that I recommend eliminating grains, dairy, and much of the normal paleo stuff. But I also make more pointed recommendations and observations about the way foods affect the body. Vitamin B12 has an interesting affect on acne almost no one talks about; so do collagen, protein, saturated fat, carbs, chocolate, liver, goji berries, and many more things. The specifics of how any diet–including “healthy diets” such as paleo–interacts with acne is crucial for clearing your skin. You can’t just go paleo to heal your skin. (You need to go paleo in a more specific way–in a way that is aware of the nuanced affects even the healthiest foods can have on your skin.

I then include a section on topical care, which I’ve actually never discussed on the PfW blog at all. But it matters. Here I focus on methods and products that nourish the skin without irritating it or posing a threat to your sensitivities. I talk at length about my own personal routine. I also link to all of my favorite products and the ones I use personally – something I’ve never done on the blog or social media.

I close the program with something I call the Four Week Jumpstart to Acne Freedom. Here, I make a set of general guidelines to follow for four weeks to get you on the path to clear, possibly permanently clear, skin. Throughout the program I have shared a lot of information about various health conditions and factors that may contribute to your acne; in the Four Week Jumpstart, I tie it all together and share some new information about the best way to clean your slate and start fresh. I do not promise, but I find it entirely likely that after four weeks of following this advice you will make progress in terms of healing your skin, and permanently.

In my opinion, the best part of Clear Skin Unlocked is its comprehensive and unique scope. Some cool and little known things you may learn in Clear Skin Unlocked include:

  • Which varieties of birth control cause acne and which help it
  • How showers can be bad for your skin
  • Why the paleo recommendation to focus on fatty meats may be flawed
  • The risk eating organ meats can pose to your skin
  • Why certain types of moisturizer containers can cause acne
  • The role carbohydrates play in maintaining healthy skin
  • Why skin gets worse during menopause
  • The relationship between wrinkles and acne
  • Two effective ways to pop pimples
  • Why I never use facial cleanser

And more 🙂


When I wrote Clear Skin Unlocked, I set out to cover my bases. I have said on the Paleo Women Podcast that this may be my favorite e-program I have published yet to date. It is possible that this is true. My understanding of acne and how to overcome it is truly deep, and is truly unique in terms of its scope and breadth. I cover skin mechanics, 11 different hormone issue that may contribute to acne, the relevance of antioxidants (something egregiously overlooked in paleo approaches to food, in my opinion), the specifics of how inflammation affects the skin, and more. I often say that Clear Skin Unlocked is comprehensive, and I mean it.

For me, being comprehensive in my approach to acne was the thing that saved me. I spent years being frustrated by cures that worked for other people but wouldn’t work for me. I was only saved once I understood all of the possible factors that were causing my acne, and how to manage them. My skin healing today feels permanent and enlivening, and liberating.

I’m not trying to sell you on Clear Skin Unlocked, necessarily, but I am in some sense only because I believe in it so deeply. And of course – as with all of my other programs – if you do not like it for whatever reason I will be more than happy to refund you. I simply want to be here for you and share with you the healing joys that I finally found.

Clear Skin Unlocked: The Ultimate Guide to Acne Freedom and Flawless Skin is NOW AVAILABLE. It is a FULL 50% off from today through Friday the 22. Get it while it’s hot! And don’t forget – as ever – it is 100% risk free; I will happily refund you for whatever reason.

So you actually have nothing to lose.

Check it out further by clicking here or the image below:

 

From skeptic to fanatic: how Red Light unexpectedly saved my skin

From skeptic to fanatic: how Red Light unexpectedly saved my skin

If you’ve been around this community for some time, you’ve probably noticed that I have a somewhat silly obsession with the quality of my skin. I want to be youthful, radiant, dewey–and to do so forever. I know it’s ridiculous, and my self esteem doesn’t depend on it. But I would enjoy the look. For better or for worse, I would like to look as springy and vibrant as I feel.

 

About two months ago I stumbled onto this skin- and muscle- healing concept called red light therapy. Now, I’m really, really, REALLY skeptical about new age sounding therapies. “Red light therapy?!” I snorted violently. I may as well wear a crystal around my neck and call it a day. I almost dismissed the idea out of hand.

 

But, there were all these success stories staring me in the face, so I decided to do some research.

 

As it turns out, red light therapy is legit science. It was first discovered on a NASA spacecraft out in orbit, when light in the red  wavelength area of the spectrum stimulated plants to grow faster. (It has also since been shown to target  and kill cancer cells.) Dermatologists thought this idea was fascinating, and wondered if these kinds of regenerative growth processes could work in the skin, too.

 

And they do. Somewhat miraculously, even. Within years of the discovery of red light in space, salons providing red light therapy popped up around the western world. Some women spend hundreds of dollars a month to go to salons with red light beds. It is also now possible to purchase a device and use it in the comfort of your own home. Unfortunately, these devices range from the scammy to the ineffective to the monstrously expensive.

 

I was therefore incredibly fortunate to stumble upon a company called Joovv. Joovv is a red light therapy company created by the wife and husband team of Melissa and Justin Strahan. Melissa first tried red light therapy at a salon, back when it was first emerging onto markets. She saw somewhat miraculous results on the quality of her skin and her stretch marks, and she fell in love with it. But going to the salon was expensive and inconvenient.

 

Justin, Melissa’s husband, is an engineer. He undertook the task of designing the most efficient and effective red light for Melissa that he could. Now with patents pending, the Joovv company services an enormous number of people with extraordinary customer service and care. If you go to their website, here: Joovv, you’ll see that they have more than 50 five star reviews, and are supported by people like the paleo fitness star Ben Greenfield and the Harvard doctor who specializes in photobiomodulation Michael Hamblin.
 

 

Joovv, amazingly, has a 60 day money back guarantee. So I figured I had nothing to lose. I ordered a light. They shipped it to the UK and it arrived in two days. After about three weeks of using the light for 5 minutes every day, I began to understand what everyone was raving about.

 

Do you know that particular dewey, radiant, sort of soft and sparkly kind of skin that magazine models always seem to have? And you think, wondering – that must be photoshopped. And it certainly is. But then every once in a while you make an acquaintance who has skin like that in real life, and you wonder, oh my, how does she manage that?!

 

Well. I always wondered that. I always thought, man, that would be the dream. And, I also always really hoped that I wouldn’t age like the other woman in my family did. That is, very early, and very wrinkly. I didn’t need smooth skin to be happy, not by any means, but I thought it would be nice.

 

And I can say now with 100% honesty I actually have this kind of skin. I didn’t think it would ever happen, but here I am, it really did. There’s a particular smoothness and glow about my face that never existed before. So much so that light reflects off of it (lol). And my pores, I think, are smaller. The chronic redness I carried on my cheeks for as long as I can remember is gone. Last week I ran into an old acquaintance and they said ‘wow, you look really refreshed. like you’re really well slept, and golden.’ These were all real words that they used, and I promise you I was not well slept. The fine lines that have recently appeared as crows feet, I am a bit amazed to share, have also softened. On my right eyes they have disappeared. they’re still hanging out on the left eye, but I’m all right with that. I’m only about five weeks into the therapy, and already super happy with the overall results (I intend to keep you posted about it, and if my experience turns south, I will definitely let you know). I have zero desire to cash in on the money back guarantee. In fact, I’ve considered paying Joovv more money simply to say thanks.

 

Here is the science behind what’s transforming my skin:

 

1) Red light therapy stimulates the production of collagen. Collagen is responsible for firmness and elasticity, which is what causes the reduction of pore size, as well as fine lines and wrinkles. I’ve read that this can take a bit longer than the other effects to show, so I will keep you posted on any progress in this regard.

 

2) Red light therapy  increases circulation and the formation of new capillaries in the skin. This delivers more oxygen and other nutrients to your skin, which helps it rejuvenate itself. this may have something to do with my transition from a somewhat irritated red to healthy gold/pink glow I’ve got going on.

 

3) Red light therapy increases lymph system activity, which reduces swelling and puffiness.

 

4) Red light therapy causes the release of cellular ATP in the skin–which is the form of energy cells need to stimulate growth and repair.

 

All in all, I’ve been super happy with these results. I am not trying to sell you anything. But I do think this information is fascinating and important. Whenever I notice science doing something cool for my body, I feel compelled to share. If you’re into this sort of thing, science may be able to do a cool thing for your body, too. Red light therapy is known to reduce stretch marks (I have yet to shine the light on my inner thighs, but will let you know when I do), reduce certain kinds of acne, heal sunspots and other discolorations, even out skin tone, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and create a more healthy glow. This is because it actually does heal the skin, in a way that is deep and real.

 

If, again, you happen to be into this sort of thing, I couldn’t recommend Joovv more highly. They make a full face machine which is great; most red lights you’ll find online are tiny spot healers that can only do a couple inches of skin at a time. Joovv’s customer service is outstanding, and their dedication to crafting machines that make the perfect wavelength and intensity of light (very important for its effectiveness) is unparalleled. Most of all I love their money back guarantee. They could lose a ton of money this way, by shipping people their fragile lights all over the world with the possibility of having them all returned. But I am willing to bet this turns out great for the company. If other people have a similar experience to me–even starting out as a raging skeptic–they’re not going to want to return their lights, either.

 

Here are some photos of my skin. It’s hard to be accurate because cameras tend to be really forgiving anyway, so there’s less contrast between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ than in real life. Interestingly, today instead of being grateful for the camera’s typically glossing-over features, I am regretful that it hides the dynamic shine to my skin.

 

Here is a ‘before’:

 

 

 

Here is after 3 weeks:

 

 

 

Here is after 5 weeks:

 

 

 

 

Again, it’s really hard to show the contrast. What I’m seeing most of right now is a reduction in redness, a smoothness I’ve never experienced before, and this kind of healthy, glowy quality I’ve always wanted. Plus a little bit of progress with the fine lines.

 

Here I am with the cool light:

 

 

 

 So, that’s a wrap! Just wanted to fill you in on a cool experiment I’m up to. Do let me know your thoughts if you’ve got em!

 

 

PSA! If you click on one of the links above or this one, you might wonder if it’s an affiliate link. That is, does Stefani earn any money from talking about Joovv? Well, yes. I might if people purchase red lights after reading this post. A very small amount. But I signed up to be an affiliate for Joovv only after testing it for five weeks; I was fully ready to send my red light back and say ‘no thank you.’ As with all the other affiliate links on this site that I vet with my own experience, I use them only to keep the PfW team afloat while I labor away in the basements of the Oxford University library system. Of course, by using a link like this, you personally never have to pay more; the company simply shares some of their profits with me, as a way of saying thanks for sharing the good word. As ever, I am never, ever dishonest with you, and never share a product or talk about one at great depth unless it means a lot to me. No pressure at any time ever for it to mean a lot to you, too. <3
The Best Paleo Makeup for Dry Skin

The Best Paleo Makeup for Dry Skin

Recently, I was offered the chance to try a new skincare and makeup line featuring all-natural, clean ingredients and nothing more.

I get offered these things from time to time and enjoy trying them because I’m always looking for something that can appeal to myself and the women I write for and that won’t make conditions like hormonal acne or dry skin worse.  As I get older I’m also looking at products that can help prevent signs of aging.

I know many of my readers want the same.

I’ve tried lots of products and some of them are really great!  But I hadn’t yet found a whole line that I really felt met all my needs.

Until now!

Annemarie makeup and skincare use organic, truly natural ingredients to make gorgeous mineral makeup, facial oils, moisturizers, and cleansers.

What I love about this skincare and makeup line is the versatility.  Dry skin products are often so oily that skin looks shiny long after application or they don’t quite have the moisture you’re looking for.

With natural makeup, coverage is also an issue.

The coverage of the mineral foundations from Annemarie can be changed based on how much of the powder and oil you use.  Not only that, but a fine dusting of powder and you are shine free, no extra product needed.

The makeup lasted me all day and I’m a face toucher for sure! I was really impressed with how long it lasted and I felt like it beat other natural makeups I’ve tried that tend to wear off or melt down on a hot day.  The ability to customize the thickness and oil content was a huge plus here too.

The anti-aging oils are packed with nutrients for skin and moisturize and protect at once.  They also smell AMAZING.

Like lavender and happiness.  Seriously.

Everything is formulated with health in mind, so those with hormonal acne have nothing to fear.

Remember, with hormonal acne, oil on the skin is not the problem.  The problem is primarily internal and has much more to do with what you are eating than what you are putting on your skin.

Skin dryness is a similar issue, so make sure that in conjunction with great skincare/makeup products like these you are also using enough Omega 3 oils (find them here) and eating a diet that eliminates dairy/gluten and focuses on gut and liver recovery. 

For those of you with sensitive skin, I tried these myself and have what I’d consider sensitive skin and they felt just fine.

The cleansing wash did a good job removing makeup and making me feel fresh, and the toner was a nice touch as well.

All in all, I was genuinely impressed with these products. I think you will be too.

Annmarie Skin Care has put together a trial package where you can try any of 3 special sample kits that include some of their best-selling products. You can choose a sample kit based on your skin type — normal, oily, or dry.

These kits are $10 each AND when you order one (or more) you’ll receive a $10.00 off coupon that you can use for a future purchase. Annmarie Skin Care is also offering FREE SHIPPING for these kits – anywhere in the world.

Also, when you get a sample kit today, you’ll get their newly updated Toxic Free Home Guide. This is an in-depth, beautifully laid out guide that exposes the worst and most common chemicals you can find throughout your house — in cleaning products, toiletries, even your couch — and shows you safe alternatives to use.

Their comprehensive, easy-to-read Toxic Free Home Guide is full of tips for creating a beautifully natural home, with lots of product recommendations and DIY recipes for everything from deodorant to drain cleaning solution.

If you order a sample kit today, you’ll get this guide — free — which is a $24.95 value.

Finally, as an extra added bonus, if you’re one of the first 100 orders, Annmarie Skin Care will send a travel-size Neroli Toning Mist — a $7.95 value — to you for free. If you’re one of the first to buy, this bonus gift will not show up on your online receipt but will be included in your order.

So for $10, you can try this award-winning skin care line AND get your own digital copy of Annmarie Skin Care’s newly updated Toxic Free Home Guide. You’ll also receive their travel-size Neroli Toning Mist as a gift if you’re one of the first 100 to place an order.

Get Your Sample Kit and Bonuses Here

And come back and let us know what you think after you try the products!  I want to hear your feedback ALWAYS 🙂 🙂

Why I love using bentonite clay on my face

Why I love using bentonite clay on my face

Most regular readers of my blog know by now that I have the skin sensitivity of a poor kitten’s underbelly.

I cannot tolerate moisturizers, cleansers, or toners, even those billed as “natural” or “organic.”

When I try, my skin becomes red and inflamed, almost instantly. Every time I put on a new lotion or cleanser it’s the same.

On a very rare occasion I might try a brand “for sensitive skin” such as Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula (fragrance-free, which is the moisturizer I currently use), but it is quite rare for me to find something that suits my skin.

To that end, I stick to a simple warm washcloth and water, and an occasional spray of topical probiotics.

And because topical probiotics have worked so well for me in the past, I have promoted the company Probiotic Action’s products regularly on this site for a long time. I think they’re great.

I have also had the incredible fortune to become somewhat of a friend to the director of Probiotic Action.

This summer, the director sent me an email and told me he had developed a new cleanser, one made out of bentonite clay.

I responded, laughing. I remember the one time I got a 15-passenger van stuck in a field of bentonite clay out in Wyoming. I said, “you’ve got to be kidding me!”

He said, no, he certainly wasn’t. Bentonite clay, he explained to me, has a simultaneous exfoliating and moisturizing effect on the skin, leaving it smooth, clean, and not inflamed or overly-dry once washed.

Bentonite — and I do remember this from my days studying earth science (And getting stuck in the mud in Wyoming!) — has a special ability to bind to complex molecules, such as dirt and toxins.

I agreed to test it.

I have now been using the bentonite clay cleanser on my skin for weeks and I can honestly say it’s the only cleanser I have ever used that hasn’t made my skin worse. It feels soft and gentle and still very clean to the touch after I wash my face. I still do use my Palmer’s moisturizer, but I need less.

The cleanser:

A close up of MY FACE after using the cleanser:

Probiotic Action developed this cleanser in the pursuit of an all natural soap, one that is powerfully cleaning but free of typical additions to purportedly natural cleansers such as sodium laureth sulfate and benzyl alcohol. This is a fully natural product with no synthetic elements – and it passes all the natural standards of the holy grails of US mainstream cleanliness, such as Whole Foods.

So I wanted to share with you, as we head into the dry winter months, my favorite cleanser. I couldn’t recommend bentonite (as a cleanser or a mask) highly enough. Nor could I recommend Probiotic Action, which is an earnest and passionate company that makes high quality products at the lowest prices possible.

PLUS, Probiotic Action has so kindly created a discount code JUST FOR US! 

It’s a 15% OFF coupon. Use the code VPDVXYHZMR81 at check out!

So do check out the bentonite clay cleanser if you have super sensitive skin like me! I would love to hear what you think of it and if it works as well for you as it does for me. 🙂

Here is the probiotic action site: http://probioticaction.com

Here is the link to purchase the clay cleanser: https://probioticaction.com/buy-now/#!/Bentonite-Clay-Cleanser-4-fl-oz/p/73168511/category=0

Please do let me know what you think! <3

clay-for-pin

5 Signs You Suffer from High Testosterone and 5 Reasons Why

5 Signs You Suffer from High Testosterone and 5 Reasons Why

High testosterone levels in women is one of the most common hormone disorders. Literally tens of millions of women suffer from it in the United States alone. So how do you know if you have high testosterone?

1. Acne

Testosterone is elevated around ovulation cycles if you are menstruating which can lead to hormonal acne breakouts commonly around your jaw or chin. If you have PCOS you may be suffering from breakouts like these most of the time. (If you suffer from acne, my brand new program, 50% off this week, Clear Skin Unlocked: The Ultimate Guide to Acne Freedom and Flawless Skincould be a great resource for you).

2. Irregular Menstrual Cycles

Having irregular menstrual cycles creates a hormonal balance allowing testosterone to become dominant or recessive. Another reason you may be having irregular menstrual cycles could be stemming from PCOS.

3. Blood Sugar Swings

Insulin encourages the ovaries to produce more testosterone.

4. Low Libido

Your testosterone levels can be high but if your other primary sex hormones are not balanced, then high testosterone will not result in higher libido.

5. Male Pattern Balding and Hair Growth

Another sign of high testosterone levels in women is male pattern balding and hair growth.

 

So what causes testosterone levels in women to be elevated?


1. Insulin Resistance and Diabetes

If you have type I or II diabetes or know that you are insulin resistant, high testosterone is probably a problem for you.

Approximately 25% of the testosterone in female bodies comes from the ovaries. This is natural. However, insulin in the bloodstream stimulates the ovaries to produce more testosterone. This can seriously increase the ovaries’ output of testosterone.Depending on the severity of the dysregulation, insulin can lead to a significant increase in testosterone in the bloodstream. This is as much as 2 or 3 times over the optimal and healthy testosterone levels.

This is very often the case in polycystic ovarian syndrome.

2. Thyroid Disorders

Sex hormone levels and thyroid hormone levels are intimately related in many ways.

One important way is through Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG). When thyroid function slows — as in hypothyroidism — SHBG levels fall. SHBG binds excess hormones to it in the blood. It is incredibly important for maintaining healthy hormone balance. When hormones like testosterone threaten to increase and there is bountiful SHBG then it can bind the testosterone and minimize its threat. Without SHBG, excessive hormones can become a real problem.

In healthy women, 80% of testosterone is bound by SHBG in the blood. With decreased SHBG however, significantly more testosterone runs free and causes testosterone-related issues.

3. Stress

Stress can have a wide variety of negative impacts on the female body. Many of these have the potential to elevate testosterone levels.For example, stress can cause hypothyroidism and the concomitant decreases in SHBG.Stress can also decrease levels of estrogen and progesterone in the blood. Estrogen and progesterone perform a counter-balancing function to testosterone. Without them, testosterone levels in women can rise to unhealthy levels.

Stress also causes a rise in DHEA-S, which is a male sex hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It is not testosterone – but it is one of testosterone’s closest cousins. It acts in a chemically similar way and will often cause the same hormone disruptions. Read more about this process here, and about how stress negatively impacts hormone production here.

sleep and stress effect testosterone, high testosterone levels in women

4. Fasting After Workouts

If you work out frequently and do not eat afterwards, your testosterone levels – specifically as a woman, can rise. After intense exercise, several hormone levels are elevated including Cortisol – the “stress hormone” – and testosterone.

Cortisol levels fall naturally after a workout. But testosterone levels do not. They remain very high and decrease much more slowly if you do not eat afterward. If you do this on a regular or even daily basis this can cause a chronic problem.

high testosterone levels in women increase from fasting

5. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Finally, the most common cause of high testosterone in women is PCOS.


Read about the in’s and out’s of PCOS


Now, it is not altogether clear what causes what: does high testosterone cause PCOS, or does PCOS cause high testosterone levels in women? There is no certain answer. But what is certain is that the two are inextricably linked for many women. It may very well be the case that they both cause each other: high testosterone causes PCOS and PCOS causes high testosterone.

PCOS stands for Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome and is the condition of having multiple cysts on one’s ovaries. There are three criteria used in diagnosing PCOS. In order to be diagnosed you must meet two of the three criteria:

  • irregular or absent menstrual cycles
  • elevated testosterone or other male sex hormone levels
  • cysts on the ovaries as demonstrated by an ultrasound

PCOS affects as many as 15% of in America today, and is actually the leading cause of infertility, by a long shot.

So if you suffer from symptoms of high testosterone, from any of the above conditions such as hypothyroidism, stress, or insulin resistance / diabetes, you may want to investigate PCOS as a potential underlying cause or secondary effect of your condition.

PCOS may be a complex condition but this does not mean that it is insurmountable. I myself overcame my own PCOS (despite receiving terrible medical advice). So many of the women I have worked with on the issue have, too.

To read more of my work on PCOS and find out how it’s unique from what other people have done, check out any of these posts: What is PCOS? PCOS Treatment OptionsThe PCOS Diet, or my program on overcoming PCOS, PCOS Unlocked: The Manual.

To read more about acne and it’s relationship to testosterone and other hormones, check out my most popular posts on acne, or my program, Clear Skin Unlocked: The Ultimate Guide to Acne Freedom and Flawless Skin.

So that’s it for common causes of high testosterone levels in women. Do you have other ones in your own experience? Questions, concerns? I’d love to hear about it – please let me know!