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.
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.
And come back and let us know what you think after you try the products! I want to hear your feedback ALWAYS 🙂 🙂
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.
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
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?
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 Skin, could be a great resource for you).
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.
Insulin encourages the ovaries to produce more testosterone.
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.
Another sign of high testosterone levels in women is male pattern balding and hair growth.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Finally, the most common cause of high testosterone in women is 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:
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 Options, The 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!
Bacteria are incredibly important for the quality of your skin. (I have talked about this on the blog previously in this post: Topical Probiotics: Can applying bacteria to your face cure acne?)
Recent studies have shown that they are even more important than we ever thought.
It has also been rumored in the dermatological community since the 1950s or so that vitamin B12 causes acne.
Molecular pharmacologist Huiying Li decided to investigate both phenomena at once. Is there a relationship between vitamin B12 and skin bacteria?
Li and team examined the gene expression of bacteria on people’s skin, and then injected them with B12 and examined them again.
They found that vitamin B12 altlers the metabolic activity of the skin bacteria propionibacterium acnes.
These bacteria, propionibacterium acnes, naturally secrete vitamin B12. They create it on their own. Yet when the supply of B12 to the skin from the human host increases beyond natural levels–such as when injected with B12 or when taking a multivitamin–the bacteria stop producing their own B12.
When they stop producing their own B12, they begin producing porphyrin molecules.
Porphyrins cause inflammation, and therefore acne.
This effect was witnessed by Li and team when they injected people with clear skin with B12. Before the injection, their skin was clear and the genetic expression normal. After the injection, the genetic expression was altered and the skin was no longer clear.
In fact, the amount of genetic expression of the propionibacterium acnes of this B12-related gene decreasedd in these people who had previously had clear skin to levels of genetic expression Li and team saw in people who already had acne.
Basically, vitamin B12 injections made clear skin become acne prone skin.
A week after receiving the vitamin B12 injection, one of the 10 participants broke out in pimples. That person’s P. acnes gene-expression pattern also changed, the researchers found. Before the B12 injection, it was similar to those of the other healthy participants, but 14 days after the vitamin B12 shot, it looked much more like an acne patient’s pattern.
The researchers also did experiments on P. acnes growing in lab dishes.They found that when they added vitamin B12 to the bacteria, the microbes started producing compounds the porphyrins, which promote inflammation and acne.
-Do you suffer from acne? If you eat a nourishing, high-quality whole foods diet and do not take any supplements, you probably don’t have anything to worry about from vitamin B12.
In case you are curious, however, foods that are naturally high in vitamin B12 are liver, eggs, red meat, shellfish, crab, cheese, mackerel, low fat dairy products, tuna, turkey, poultry, and all seafood products.
Basically, B12 is found in high quality animal products. Liver is the highest dose of B12.
I always wondered why I broke out when I ate liver, even though it was supposed to be such a healthy food. This problem with B12 explains why. Knowing this reassures me about my health when I eat liver. The reason I was breaking out wasn’t because I was unhealthy, but was rather because of the genetic expression of the bacteria in my skin. I should keep eating liver (or taking desiccated liver supplements!) like I always have been, despite the occasional zit.
-If you take a multivitamin that contains B12, a B-complex with B12, or Brewer’s yeast, you may wish to lower your dose or to stop taking the supplement for 2 weeks, to see if you notice any changes in the quality of your skin.
-I highly recommended considering a high-quality topical probioitic which will increase the amount of “good” bacteria in your skin and reduce its level of inflammation. You can use a probiotic spray like I do. This is the one I personally use, by the company Probiotic Action, here.
-If you want to learn more about acne, check out my post on the topic: Everything You Need to Know about Acne in 3000 Words, the very popular Hormonal Acne: Where It’s Coming From and What to Do About it or The Ultimate Hormonal Acne Treatment Plan. You could also take a look at my page on acne, and see all my favorite acne links!
Most of all I recommend checking out my 100% risk free program, Clear Skin Unlocked: The Ultimate Guide to Acne Freedom and Flawless Skin. It is the most comprehensive acne and skincare program I have found to date.
What do you think? Might there be a relationship between B12 and acne in your experience?
Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndome (PCOS) is a fertility condition that affects between 10 and 15 percent of women in the Western world.
All of these women suffer from at least some of the symptoms of PCOS: irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain, difficulty with weight loss, low libido, facial hair growth, balding, and, perhaps most popular of all, acne.
PCOS and acne are inextricably linked. Why? Because PCOS is caused by an underlying hormone imbalance. The very same underlying hormone imbalance causes acne. It is possible to have PCOS without acne, and possible to have this kind of acne without PCOS. But quite frequently they occur together.
Here in this post I explain the hormone imbalance that causes PCOS, and the ways in which it also causes acne.
Also, and importantly: after figuring out how to overcome my own PCOS and acne, I wrote a manual on overcoming PCOS. It’s PCOS Unlocked: The Manual, and you can read all about it here.
Most medical professionals understand the hormone problem that underlies PCOS to be quite simple: elevated insulin levels cause the ovaries to produce excess testosterone, which throws a wrench in the menstrual cycle and causes irregularity, cysts on the ovaries, and infertility.
This does indeed happen to be the case for many women with PCOS. Testosterone is their biggest problem. In my PCOS manual, I call this “type I PCOS”.
Yet there are other types of PCOS.
Low female sex hormone levels are another cause of PCOS.
Why? Because–even though most medical professionals don’t understand this–PCOS is not just about high testosterone, but is rather about a fundamental imbalance between testosterone and the female sex hormones.
When estrogen and progesterone levels fall, they get out of fundamental balance with testosterone, which also throws a wrench in the menstrual cycle.
Estrogen and progesterone levels fall for any number of reasons, though by far the most popular reasons have to do with stress and with starvation.
The thing about the female body is that it is highly sensitive to any conditions that may impair it’s ability to healthfully bear children. If you imagine life millions of years ago back on the savannah, it would be quite common for natural disasters or tribal conflict to create stressful times that could hinder a healthy pregnancy. It would also be quite common to come into a period of famine, in which case pregnant women would not be able to get enough food to sustain their pregnancies.
In periods of stress and starvation, pregnant women die more easily.
In order to prevent this from happening, the female body shuts down hormone production when it detects the slightest bit of stress or starvation. Shutting down hormone production prevents the body from becoming pregnant, which would have saved an ancestral woman’s life in the long run.
Our bodies do the same thing.
If we count calories, resrict food intake, limit carbohydrates or fat too much, yo-yo diet, or excercise excessively, our sex hormone levels fall, and our estrogen and progesterone levels become too low both for a healthy menstrual cycle and for clear skin.
You can read more about the female body and psychological stress in this post: psychological stress and hypothalamaic amenorrhea, and more about the female body and starvation-type stress in this post: metabolic distress and hypothalamic amenorrhea.
There is yet one more popular hormone problem that causes PCOS. It’s what happens when DHEA-S levels rise.
Elevated levels of DHEA-S contribute to PCOS because DHEA-S is also an androgen, or male sex hormone.
DHEA-S and testosterone act very similarly in the female body. The primary difference is that testosterone is produced by the ovaries, and DHEA-S is produced by the adrenal glands.
DHEA-S levels rise in response to stress. Whenever you feel stressed out, your body has a choice to make: it can continue to direct it’s hormonal resources toward sex hormone production, or it can divert those resources toward stress hormone production.
This process is often called “pregnenolone steal.” The reason we call it a “steal” is that hormonal resources are literally stolen by the adrenal glands and used for sex hormone production.
Thus you end up with lower hormone levels (like estrogen, progesterone, and the pituitary signalling hormones LH and FSH), as well as elevated DHEA-S levels, which can cause testosterone-like symptoms in the body: PCOS, infertility, facial hair growth, and acne.
So in sum, there are several hormonal factors that may be at play in PCOS:
Testosterone levels may be too high largely due to insulinemia
Estrogen and/or progesterone levels may be too low due to psychological and physical stress
DHEA-S levels may be too high due to psychological stress
So in a very brief, very simplified nutshell: PCOS is caused by and large by an imbalance between male sex hormones and female sex hormones. If testosterone or DHEA-S is elevated, PCOS may result. If estrogen or progesterone is low, PCOS may result. Any of these things can happen at the same time, and often do.
(For more on the details of how all this happens, check out the PCOS manual here.)
This hormone imbalance is also one of the primary causes of acne.
There are three separate layers to the skin, and pores traverse these layers. In order to adequately protect your body and keep toxins on the outside, the outer layer of the skin has to be hydrated and strong.
Pores deliver oil to the out layers from the bottom up. In healthy skin, oil comes up through the pores and oozes onto the surface, lubricating the skin and making it look soft and glowy. Think of it like a well, or a hot spring, or an oil rig.
In acne-prone skin, debris from the surface clogs pores, bacteria clog pores, and oil coming up from the bottom clogs pores. Then all this oil oxidizes and bacteria go on a feeding frenzy – which makes the pores become infected and inflamed.
The problem for women with PCOS is that male sex hormones increase oil production.
Estrogen performs an opposite function, and helps sooth the skin.
When estrogen levels are low, and when oil production increases from elevated testosterone or DHEA-S, acne is often the result.
The kind of acne that usually accompanies PCOS is around the chin, the mouth, and the jaw. It can spread to other areas of the face and the body, particularly the shoulders, buttocks, and back of the thighs, because these are the areas where the skin has the most testosterone receptors. If you have acne in these places there is quite a decent chance that your hormones are at least a bit out of balance, PCOS or no.
For more on hormones and acne, check out this post: cystic acne and hormones: everything you need to know.
So what do you do about your acne and PCOS?
For one, tackling PCOS should be a priority.
You can also read some other posts I have on PCOS:
You may also wish to consider tackling your acne from more than one angle. PCOS and underlying hormone problems are in all likelihood a significant factor in your acne, yet there are probably other factors at play. To that end you may wish to check out the posts:
And, most of all, I highly recommend the remarkable acne program by my favorite thinker on the topic of acne, Seppo Puusa. I have learned so much of what I know about acne from Seppo. You can read all about his work, his program, and what he has to offer HERE.
And that’s it! Please let me know your thoughts, your problems, your experiences in the comments! I and everyone else in our community would be honored to learn through your life and wisdom 🙂