My journey to health like so many others, has been a long and windy road and is a constantly evolving path. What started out as a transition to a paleo/real food lifestyle four years ago (from being a vegetarian for 10+ years – read more about that here), gradually shifted into so much more than that. Along the way I learned about the profound link between what I put in my body and how I look and feel (while it sounds obvious now, the calorie-counting mindset of the past didn’t really understand that ingredients matter more than calories). For years I suffered from eczema outbreaks, an autoimmune condition that causes skin inflammation and unpleasant side effects such as itching and patches of dry skin. Realizing the link between food and skin health, I pinpointed several triggers (sugar, gluten, soy, and poor quality dairy, to name a few) that can spark an eczema reaction and learned how to avoid those in order to look and feel my best.
While I’d love to say that food solved everything, the reality is — it has played a huge role in improving my quality of life but has not solved everything. In July 2015 I suffered my worst eczema outbreak of my adult life, which left my entire body covered in itchy, rough patches of skin for NINE MONTHS! It was absolutely awful. I was embarrassed to wear anything but long sleeves or pants and frustrated that my healthy, real food lifestyle was not curing it — not to mention so miserable from the constant itchy, painful patches of inflamed skin. I didn’t know where to turn and ended up visiting a number of doctors, tried out several different medications (including prednisone) and FINALLY visited an allergist who pointed me in the right direction by taking a closer look at my skincare products.
What I did not realize was the “organic” skincare products I was using were a huge contributor to the problem. I honestly didn’t take the time to educate myself on the ingredients used in the products, and simply fell prey to the marketing tactics of the “natural” products industry, buying up anything that had a label with words like “organic” or “all natural.” Now, to be clear — I don’t want to knock the entire industry because I am sure there are some genuinely amazing products out there, but as someone who has pretty darn sensitive skin, I thought I could reliably buy and use these products without having to do any further research. It seems silly, especially since my approach to food and nutrition is heavily research-driven — to think that I’d let marketers and product designers make all of my decisions for me in terms of what I decide to use on my body’s largest organ. Yeah, looking back now I realize just how ridiculous that all sounds!
So in February 2016 I opted to clean out all of my beauty products and replace everything with basically just coconut oil. I used a few dermatologist-grade lotions and products for a while to help fast track my skin healing, but basically I was too freaked out to use ANYTHING on my skin other than coconut oil for fear of sparking another eczema flare up. So for the past five months, that’s exactly what I did. While I don’t mind using alternative products and even being called “crunchy” when it comes to my food choices, I really didn’t like feeling so limited with my beauty products and skincare routine. And frankly, coconut oil is amazing but it just wasn’t doing it for me.
Through research and connecting with other bloggers in the industry, I came upon Beautycounter, a safe skincare company. As a skeptic after my horrible experiences with skincare products the past few years, I was very reluctant to put anything new on my body, but I figured it was worth a shot. I tried out the charcoal mask, charcoal bar, and Face Collection and instantly fell in love with all of it. Finally, after years of avoiding anything that resembled a conventional beauty product, I can pamper myself again, and I’m so excited to share these amazing products with my community! Over the next weeks and months I’ll share more details about the products and what I do/don’t like, but for now I just wanted to share a bit more about my personal story with you all.
Aside from my personal experience with the products, what I love most about the company is its mission to educate and empower people to make safer choices when it comes to skincare. The reality is that laws regarding skincare products have not been updated since the 1930s, and many ingredients used in conventional beauty and skincare products are actually banned in other countries! Beautycounter promises to use only safe ingredients in its products, and offers those of us who want more “conventional” results an alternative to things like coconut oil. You can learn more about Beautycounter and check out all of their products here. (Note that I’m a consultant with the company and make a small percentage off of any orders placed through my affiliate link.)
When it comes to health, we want to take a look at the whole picture here at Whole Health Hacks which is why we’re opening up this conversation about skincare and beauty products. Looking and feeling our best is about SO much more than just food and fitness, and having the right information can empower each of us to make the best decisions for ourselves everyday. If you have any questions or want to learn more about skin health or Beautycounter, feel free to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Instagram (@candicedeforest).
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