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How to Get Rid of Maskne – 5 Tips for Clearer Skin

Woman spreading Brown and Coconut Healing Kale Mask on her hand

After months of wearing a face mask, many of us noticed a change in our skin: acne underneath the mask. Messages poured in asking for suggestions on getting rid of maskne and product recommendations.

This type of acne is acne mechanica which is the result of the friction of the mask against your face.

Here’s what we recommend:

Keep your mask clean. This is super important if you are going to be applying the same covering over your face everyday. Try keeping a few clean ones on hand so you can swap them out each day. Pay attention to the detergent you use, especially if your skin doesn’t do well with added fragrances.

Wash your face. I know. This seems really basic but if you get home after hours of wearing your mask it’s super important that you cleanse your face before bed to remove the sweat and impurities that may have built up. 

Apply another kind of mask. We’re talking about our Kale Mask which was specifically formulated for acneic skin. It can be used as a full face mask or as a spot treatment. 

Don’t touch your face. If you do notice a breakout, apply your treatments and go about your day. For some reason I picked up a habit where I can’t stop touching my chin and my skin was very clear that it didn’t like this new habit. If you’re trying to get rid of maskne or any type of acne, keep your hands off your face when you aren’t wearing a mask.

Be gentle. Yes, maskne is frustrating but continue to be gentle with your skin so you don’t irritate it further. Be careful not to excessively rub your face while cleansing or applying treatments. Take baby steps to heal your skin.

Most importantly, please mask up!

Body Blemishes: 6 Ways to Banish Back Acne

Speckled eramic bowl with Brown and Coconut Healing Kale Mask inside and adjacent tipped over jar of Healing Kale Mask for ceramic bowl

Back Acne–we’ve all had it. Bacne (back acne) creeps up when we least expect it and lasts much longer than necessary. Here are our 6 tips for keeping your back clear:

Shower When you Sweat
Sounds simple enough–if you’ve spent most of your day dripping with sweat, hop in the shower before bed. The combination of sweat, oil and bacteria produced by your body is only good for one thing: Bacne. If you’re a huge sufferer of bacne, try showering at least once a day, before bed, to wash away the sweat, oil, and bacteria.

Rinse Off Well
How we wash, condition and style our hair can have a big impact on bacne. Conditioners and stylers that drip from our hair to our back may clog our pores, resulting in breakouts. Try washing your face and body at the end of your shower and staying away from ingredients that may clog your pores.

Exfoliate Often
Just like our face, the rest of our body needs a bit of exfoliation to maintain its clear complexion. Exfoliating a few times a week removes dead skin cells while unclogging pores. Try our Exfoliating Soap Bags for a gentle exfoliation.

Wear Fresh, Clean Clothes
As tempting as it is to re-wear the shirt you wore just once, skip it. Chances are the inside of the shirt is now soiled with oil and bacteria, the last two things your back acne needs. After working out, remove any sweaty gym clothes as soon as possible to avoid trapping the sweat and oil in your pores.

Exposing your back to bacteria-ridden surfaces will surely bring on the bacne. When your back is exposed, avoid dirty gym equipment or yoga mats prior to disinfecting. Try sanitizing surfaces before use.

Treat it
Persistent bacne may require spot treatments. If you have sensitive skin, it may be best to avoid certain body washes and scrubs that may be irritating your skin. Try our Healing Kale Mask as a weekly bacial (back-facial) to clear up existing back acne and prevent future bumps. This mask also works great on the face.

7 Things You Should Know Before Switching to Face Oil

hand pumping face oil into the other hand

It’s likely that you’ve seen an influx of face oils being sold by skin care brands — I’ll admit that it has been interesting to see everyone’s reaction to this growing skin care trend. Some have embraced face oil with open arms, while others have been a bit skeptical. Whether you’re someone who’s reluctant to try face oil or are interested, but have yet to take the plunge, or even if you have given face oil a try and had a bad experience, read on for the 7 things you should know before switching to face oil.

I am writing this because we know that face oil as a moisturizer (or just putting oil on your face in general) is still so new to a lot of people in the United States, but hopefully, this clarifies a lot of misconceptions and confusion and makes the transition seamless. First, I’d love to delve into why face oil is a great moisturizer:

  • Oils are a natural substance and more easily recognized by our skin.
  • It’s going to work with your skin’s natural processes, rather than replace them, improving your skin for the better.
  • The right face oil or oil blend is pure and when stored properly, it doesn’t need preservatives. This is a win for your skin because you’re avoiding extra ingredients.

To be completely transparent though, not all oils are created equal. Different oils are going to be better for different skin types. In fact, there are so many elements that go into what will make your face oil experience successful.

7 things you should know before switching to face oil:

  1. What you were using as a moisturizer before the switch to face oil will impact how your skin transitions.
  2. Your old and current skin care routine can also impact your success with face oil.
  3. Not all oils are created equal.
  4. Your lifestyle affects your skin health and will affect your success with face oil.
  5. Your environment has an effect on your skin too.
  6. Pay attention to genetics.
  7. Be patient.

What you were using as a moisturizer before the switch to face oil will impact how your skin transitions.

This one is super important and relates to what I previously mentioned about how face oil is going to work with your skin’s natural processes rather than replace them. To understand this further, we need to break down face lotion/creams. Lotions and creams, generally speaking, are made up of a blend of ingredients (water, lipid, and sometimes proteins) that are meant to mimic the skin’s natural moisturizing abilities. When applied regularly, this signals to your skin that it is hydrated enough and ultimately suppresses our skin’s ability to moisturize itself. As a result, you become dependent on your face cream or lotion. Not being able to produce its own moisture also weakens the skin’s defense mechanism which works to keep dirt and bacteria out and seal in nutrients and moisture. This leaves your skin sensitive and vulnerable to the outside world.

When we then stop using traditional moisturizers and switch to face oil, the skin doesn’t immediately “wake up” as it takes time for the skin to relearn how to hydrate and balance itself in harmony with the topical face oil. During that transition, one can experience dryness and flaking. This can leave an unsuspecting new face oil user confused and feeling like their new oil is bad and won’t work for them.

Your old and current skin care routine can also impact your success with face oil.

Any skin care you were using before you switched to face oil — and anything you continue to use after the switch plays a role in how your skin adjusts to the face oil. Ingredients like sulfates, DEA, MEA, TEA, DMDM hydantoin/urea, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol (PEG), isopropyl/ethyl alcohol can cause irritation, rashes, and chronic dry skin. To have a successful transition to face oil, you’ll want to make sure all of your other skin care products (i.e. face wash, masks, and other treatments) are only made of ingredients that are pure, gentle, and appropriate for your skin type. Continuing to use skin-damaging products or products not suited for your skin, while also using your new face oil is not going to have a good end result. Let’s say you have super dry skin and are trying a new face oil, but at the same time, you’re still using the same face wash you’ve used for years. The only problem is, that particular face wash contains chemicals that zap your skin’s moisture. No amount of face oil can fix that.

Not all oils are created equal.

There are so many types of oils that serve different purposes, so be sure to choose one that is meant for faces. You’ll want to avoid comedogenic (pore-clogging) oils and super heavy oils that are going to sit on your skin and leave you shiny all day. Opt for oils that are non-comedogenic, gentle, lightweight, and absorbs quickly into the skin. The right face oil or face oil blend is not going to clog your pores or contribute to your acne. If you have dry skin, it’s going to add protection and seal in moisture. If you have oily skin it’s going to help balance sebum production. The right face oil is going to work with your skin to support and balance its natural moisture barrier, without disrupting your skins inherent and essential functions.

Your lifestyle affects your skin health and will affect your success with face oil.

At the risk of sounding too philosophical, nothing in life is black and white. Healthy skin goes far beyond just what we put on it, but how we live our lives. What are we fueling our bodies with? People often shoot themselves in the foot by caring for their skin externally but aren’t caring for it internally.

To ensure a smoother transition to face oil, be sure you’re drinking enough water and are limiting excess sugar and alcohol. You’ll also want to avoid washing your face or showering with super hot water which can be drying to the skin.

Of course, there’s also the age-old recommendation make sure you’re getting enough sleep. It may sound played-out, but it’s true. I’m a huger stickler for getting adequate sleep. I aim for about 8-9 hours a night and try to never get less than 7. I look terrible and 100% cannot function on anything less than that. When we sleep, our skin gets to work repairing itself. Plus, a good night’s sleep is essential to proper circulation. When we aren’t getting enough rest, we aren’t allowing our skin the time it needs to rejuvenate. The blood flow to our skin also becomes compromised, which is why we often look pale or washed out when sleep deprived. Diminished circulation affects the flow of oxygen and nutrients to our skin and lowers our skin’s defenses. For this same reason, exercising is essential to skin health. A good workout session increases circulation (and nutrients) to the skin and causes sweating, which is how the skin rids itself of dirt and bacteria.

Your environment has an effect on your skin too.

The climate you live in, whether it’s cold and dry, hot and humid, or even hot and dry, is going to have an impact on your skin. I visited Las Vegas a few years ago and let’s just say my skin was not happy. The transition from Boston to the dry heat of Nevada took its toll and left my skin dry and flakey. Know your external environment and adjust where you can. If you know you live somewhere dry, don’ be shy with your face oil. Lather up to seal in moisture and be sure you’re drinking a ton of water to protect yourself. If you know you live somewhere humid, you may not need to apply a face oil as often. Perhaps only once per day as opposed to morning and night would be sufficient for you.

Your environment indoors matters too. Does your home have forced air for heat or air conditioning? Both can be really drying to the environment and your skin and are something to take into consideration when deciding how to best care for your skin.

Pay attention to genetics.

Everyone is different, has different skin types, conditions, and needs. A face oil that works for one person, may or may not be the best thing for someone else. You have to choose what works best for you and your needs. Some oils are great for people prone to acne, others good for those who are prone to dry skin. There are also oils that work well for anyone looking to combat signs of aging, and so on. If you have oily skin, for example, choose a lightweight, fast-absorbing oil and considering using a small amount, and/or applying it only once per day instead of two. Listen to your skin and what it needs and be sure to choose the right oil for you.

Be patient.

Your skin is not going to change overnight and I’d be wary of anything that promised as much. Give it time. Your skin can take several weeks, even up to several months to heal, depending on both the condition of your skin before switching to face oil and the various other factors discussed above. If you experience dryness and flaking, think about other steps you can take to help your skin.

A few other last minute tips I’d like to leave you with:

  • Try exfoliating 1-2 times per week to aid cellular turnover.
  • Apply face oil to a clean, damp (not dry) face to seal in moisture.
  • Be sure to patch test to ensure your skin agrees with the oil and there are no allergies
  • Customize your routine. Apply oily once per day, twice, or as-needed. Use a lot of oil, a little oil, or somewhere in between depending on what your skin likes.

– Letisha

How to Exfoliate — Everything You Need to Know

Cary+Day Hibiscus Cleansing Grains

Should I be exfoliating? How often should I exfoliate? What should I exfoliate with? Is exfoliating okay for my sensitive skin?

These are all fantastic questions that we get asked regularly. Quite often, in fact, people will dive into a new product or in this case, a new exfoliant, before having all of the answers. It’s important, however, to know how to exfoliate before you touch that precious face of yours!

Let’s first start with what exfoliating IS. Exfoliation is essentially the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. It is super beneficial for cell turnover (the process in which your skin produces new skin cells and sheds the old), keeping your complexion bright and healthy.

Not exfoliating can leave your skin dull-looking, dry, and rough to the touch, as well as lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Plus, as we age, cell-regeneration slows down, all the more reason to give your skin the boost it needs by exfoliating. Removing dead skin cells will also allow for your moisturizer and any treatments applied to your skin to properly penetrate.

How Often Should You Exfoliate?

The quick answer is…it depends. The frequency with which you exfoliate should really be determined by your skin type. In fact, you should approach your entire skin care routine with this same mentality. Your skin is entirely unique and should be treated as such! What works for someone else, may not work for you and vice versa. One rule of thumb though is to exfoliate no more than 3 times per week. Your skin needs time to heal and regenerate and it cannot do that if you’re continually removing its layers. You run the risk of irritating your skin, causing redness, inflammation, and even acne. If you have sensitive skin, we suggest sticking with exfoliating no more than once per week.

If you’re new to exfoliating, start with once per week. You can always build up to 2 or even 3 times per week if you’re finding that your skin is doing well with it and can handle the increased exfoliation.

Exfoliation 101

There are two main types of exfoliation, chemical and mechanical.

Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical exfoliation is the process of using chemicals, such as acids (e.g. alpha hydroxy acid, beta hydroxy acid, glycolic acid) or enzymes (e.g. fruit enzymes), to exfoliate. This is a great choice for anyone whose skin does not fair well with scrubbing. Chemical exfoliation can also sometimes work well for those with oily skin and/or acne. Chemical exfoliants work by loosening the bonds that hold dead skin cells together. There are various types of acids and enzymes that all function differently, so it’s important to do your homework before trying something new to ensure you’re choosing the right product for your skin type and needs. Chemical exfoliants can also leave your skin sensitive to the sun so be careful and wear sunscreen!

Enzyme-based exfoliants can be finicky and must be kept under strict conditions and maintain their pH to ensure they remain stable. When stored under the wrong conditions (such as in direct sunlight or a super warm room) they can be rendered useless.

Mechanical Exfoliation

Mechanical exfoliation is the process of loosening or removing dead skin cells from the surface of the skin through some form of friction/abrasion. You can do this with tools or ingredients in skin care. Some tools may include a brush or specialty exfoliating pad. Common exfoliating ingredients include sugar, oats, and rice, however, there are many more out there.

Mechanical exfoliation is a quick and simple way to remove the outermost layer of dead skin cells, however, not all mechanical exfoliants are created equal. Avoid any exfoliants that are overly sharp or harsh which can cause micro-tears in the skin and lead to irritation. You should also be sure to avoid applying too much pressure or scrubbing too harshly, light pressure is enough. If you have acne or active breakouts, steer clear of mechanical exfoliants until you’ve healed, or avoid the areas of your skin with active breakouts. Scrubbing over acne can cause the breakouts to burst and spread bacteria across the skin, leading to further breakouts.

How to Know if a Product will Work Well on your Skin

Make sure you do your research before you try a new exfoliant to ensure it suits your skin type and you aren’t allergic to its ingredients. If all checks out and you purchase a new product to try, you should still patch-test before fully using the product to ensure you don’t have an adverse reaction to it. These steps will give you a pretty good idea as to whether or not a product is going to be safe for you before you apply it all over your face. Again, make sure you start slow when trying a new exfoliant to avoid shocking and irritating your skin.

What Do You Do if You’ve Over-exfoliated

Over-exfoliating your skin may cause redness, inflammation, dryness or oiliness. If you think you’ve over-exfoliated with your chemical or mechanical exfoliant (or both), give your skin a break. Apply a really good moisturizer to protect your damaged skin. Wait a week or two, then reassess how your skin looks and feels. Be sure to ease back into your exfoliation routine and be gentle with your skin! Less is more.

Check out how Carolynne Cantila of Cary Day Yoga exfoliates with Brown & Coconut using our Hibiscus Cleansing Grains.

Photograph Courtesy of Michael Benjamin Blank. Instagram: @michaelblankphotography

How the Humidity Cleared my Cystic Acne

You know those summer days where the weather is hot, sticky, and feels like a wet blanket? Yeah. My face loves it. My skin has always been fickle, which has been both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, I can easily tell when my skin loves something, on the other hand, I can REALLY tell when my skin hates it (yeah, I’m talking to you, almond butter…).

During a recent trip to Florida, my pores got the ultimate spa day: constant warm, humid temperatures.

My happy train skirted to a FULL stop, (more like derailed) the day after I returned home to Boston.

I wasn’t surprised to see one or two breakouts the next day, but the real shock came when my face was a  complete cystic war zone mid-week! Could it have been the food? No. I react very quickly to food I shouldn’t have eaten. Maybe I forgot to take some vitamins? Nope. If I forgot, I took them as soon as I remembered. Maybe I was just less stressed on my trip? Nah. I’m usually as cool as a cucumber!

The realization didn’t come until I noticed that my otherwise healthy nails were splitting and on the verge of breaking. This didn’t make much sense either since I hadn’t even bothered to do my nails during my trip and they were as strong as ever (even after being exposed to chlorinated pools all week!).

I started researching humid weather x acne and lo and behold:

Other people in the Google world noticed this correlation, too! Of course, there’s plenty of people who’s skin despises the hot, humid temps, but I am not one of them!

Dry air affects that fabulous moisture-rich barrier our skin has in place. When my skin is dry, it becomes very irritated.

Ready to try anything to mimic that glorious Florida weather, I purchased a warm-mist humidifier. I woke up the next morning to a nice, cozy and warm bedroom. The eager beaver that I am, I ran to the nearest mirror and noticed my skin looked much calmer than the night before.

Humidity-1, Acne-0.

For the last week, I have been consistently running the humidifier each night, with the door cracked for fresh air. I have had zero painful, cystic acne breakouts! My nails are back to their strong, talon-like strength and I am no longer waking up with a dry throat.

Despite my skin’s love for all things humid, I still make sure to keep my face clean and moisturized. At night I use our Balancing Cleanser to gently wash away any dirt or impurities. While my skin was still damp I apply two pumps of our Hydrating Face Oil to lock in moisture. These two are my product staples.

Am I sold? Yes! I will continue to use the humidifier as long as we have our AC blasting cool dry air. I may not need it as much in the fall, but once the heat kicks on the Winter, I’ll have my trusty humidifier ready.

So come on Summer, bring on the 85% humidity days. I’m ready!

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