7 Skin Care Tips for Healthy, Flawless Skin

By Paige Barker

The world wide web is buzzing with listicles and DIY instructions to fast-track your beauty routine toward flawless, glowing skin in no time. The problem is that there is no short cut for healthy skin, and if there was one simple solution that worked for everyone, we wouldn’t need to read a million articles to get to the bottom of it. In actuality, a lot of the tips circulating on the internet will cause much more harm than good and are the result of short-term product testing without researching long-term effects. Your skin is an organ, and science is your friend.

Here are the bare bones of healthy skincare:

1. pH is important

Your skin has a pH of around 4.5-5 on the scale from 1-14, where 1 is acidic, 14 is alkaline, and 7 is neutral. For crying out loud, DO NOT USE BAKING SODA ON YOUR SKIN, no matter what Buzzfeed tells you. Baking soda has a pH of 9, and will disrupt and damage the skin barrier, which is your body’s natural mechanism for retaining the healthy stuff in your skin and keeping unhealthy stuff out. Using baking soda or anything with a similar pH might clear up your skin at first, like the blogs claim, because it’s hurting your skin and depriving it of moisture. You know how a sunburn can clear up your breakout? It’s the same concept–your acne might disappear at first, but only because you’re stripping your skin and causing deeper damage. Things may look clearer at first, but the damage to your skin barrier turn your face into a bacteria breeding ground.
Similarly, DO NOT USE VINEGAR* OR LEMON JUICE ON YOUR SKIN. Vinegar and lemon juice are on the acidic end of the pH scale, and can give you CHEMICAL BURNS. Don’t do it.
If you’re interested in a product, Google the pH and whether it is safe for the skin.
Side note- Apple Cider Vinegar can be safely used in clay masks as a way to balance out the pH. Google it first, though.

2. Chemical exfoliators > physical exfoliators

It can feel really satisfying to slough off all of your dead skin with a sugar scrub or St. Ives Apricot Scrub, but it’s not as effective as it seems. Exfoliating scrubs with microbeads or any type of crystals, like sugar, can cause microscopic cuts all over the surface of your face, which will actually dry your skin out more and cause a huge increase in bacterial growth. There are more gentle and more effective physical exfoliators, but chemical exfoliators are where it’s at.
Chemical exfoliation works by breaking up the bonds between dead skin cells so they can be removed more gently and will lead to fresher, healthier skin. Stridex Maximum Strength Pads are a popular choice because they’re cheap and they work really well, but there are lots of options out there. If you start using a chemical exfoliator, be sure to do your research because some may make your skin more sunlight-sensitive and you’ll need to start using sunscreen every day, regardless of your skin tone.
And with any chemical exfoliator, make sure to moisturize after 20-30 minutes! Which brings me to my next point…

3. Moisturizer is good for you, no matter what your skin type is

Proper moisture is a huge factor to a healthy complexion. Even oily skin needs moisturizer, and is in some cases due to over-production of oil due to dehydration, believe it or not.
 

4. Introduce new products one at a time and PATCH TEST

If you’re really motivated to revamp your skincare routine and buy 37 different creams and gels, pump the brakes and start with just one. Branching out to new products may reveal a whole bunch of fun allergies and sensitivities you never knew you had, so it’s crucial to only make one routine switch-up at a time so that if you do have a bad reaction, you’ll know the source. The best way to keep bad new breakouts at bay is to patch test your new product first–use it on one section of your skin once a day for 1-2 weeks before trying it out on your whole face. Once you introduce something new and it passes the patch test, wait another 1-2 weeks before you start your next new product.

5. Record your progress–good or bad

It might sound obnoxious, but keeping a journal or log of all of your tested products can teach you a lot about your skin. If you get the same weird breakout from 3 different products, check their ingredients and see what they have in common. It could be that you’re too sensitive to fatty alcohols or certain oils, for example.
cosdna.com is a really useful resource for breaking down the ingredient list in a product and see what, if anything, might cause irritation.

6. You are a special snowflake–what works for others may not work for you

There are a couple basic skin types, but everyone’s skin is different. If you do your research and find something that sounds great for you and your skin isn’t reacting well, don’t force it. Try it out for a bit and see if things start to turn around, but if you don’t see any improvements, toss it. Your best friend might wash their face twice a day and get great results, but your skin might be too sensitive to cleanse more than once. Do your homework, but pay attention to your skin as you go to figure out what’s working and what’s still missing.

7. Everything you could ever need to know can be found on /r/SkincareAddiction.

I’ve had problematic skin for 10+ years, but I never made a breakthrough until I found this page and became obsessed with finding the right routine. It’s a lot to take in at first, but it’s worth the effort. There are articles and product recommendations galore, as well as a friendly and knowledgeable community ready to answer all of your gross questions without flinching.
I came to /r/SkincareAddiction as a 22 year-old with adult acne and very dry skin who could sometimes be convinced to exfoliate and moisturize before passing out with all my makeup on. I stumbled across it late one night and found myself still there two hours later, clicking every pimply picture and reading other people’s skincare sagas and was immediately excited to start on my own. I posted tons of embarrassing questions and eagerly bought oils, toners, moisturizers and cleansers until I finally figured out what works for me. At first I was drawn to all of the more natural products and the Oil Cleansing Method, which work amazingly well for some people, but only made me break out more. I slowly started to isolate my skin irritants, and figured out which oils and chemicals were too rich for my skin and which ones were too drying. After almost 2 years of trial and error (yes, 2 years) I finally found a routine that made my skin look and feel healthier and more under control. I think my skin is more picky than a lot of peoples’, so don’t let my long journey discourage you. Almost everything makes me break out–I’ve even gotten into arguments with Sephora reps who didn’t believe me when I told them what ingredients give me trouble–so if I found my healthy routine, you can too. I can’t say I don’t sometimes still pass out with all my makeup on, but I’ve come a long way.
Be patient and be thorough, and be loving to your skin! It might take awhile to get your skin where you want it, but you’ll thank yourself later.

5 day Juice Cleanse Review

I had the NERVE and audacity to sign myself up (and push myself) to do a 5 day juice cleanse.

If you’re in Atlanta, be sure to check out Twizted Sisters to get information and get on board for your custom detox to spring clean your body for the summer!

Now, in an effort to correct and undo, a year worth of eating terribly and not working out, i decided to do this custom cleanse to kick start getting back on the road to fit. If you remember or have been following me for a while then you know that I dropped like a million pounds last year and you can read about that journey here.

If you’ve also been following me you saw how I spent countless weekends turning up, going on dates, traveling and eating junk food any and whenever I want. But then it hit me around my 26th birthday. I absolutely am NOT taking the best care of my body so, it’s time to get moving and back on track!

I’m sure you guys are wondering what are you even to expect from a juice cleanse? So I’ll answer all the FAQ I got this week.

Are you ONLY drinking juice?

Yes, bih. It’s a detox– so no food! That means only the fresh pressed juice, and a gallon or more of water daily.

Aren’t you starving?

Only on day one. As with everything you are gonna struggle because you’re correcting all the bad habits.

Is the juice good?

Well the fabulous thing about the custom detox is, CONSULTATION! I had the pleasure of telling Courtney all the things I DON’T like, which is practically EVERYTHING, then she made a detox based on the results I wanted to get from the detox. For me, I wanted to trim a little weight and stop feeling so sluggish to actually get some workouts in. (Because for me, as soon as my head is in it– nothing can stop me)

So! Now that that’s out of the way, what can I say about the 5 day juice detox cleanse to help you know what to expect? IT’S LIT.

Day 1:

  
I struggled. Hard. The juice was delicious but I was STARVING. I wanted to eat any and everything and everyone in the office seemed to be eating everything I wanted to eat but couldn’t. I was snappy, angry, and my friends and coworkers said I was a bit more evil than usual. I finished the juice for the day around 5 p.m. so I went to bed early to offset the urge to eat.

Day 2:

  
I was really over it, but I was already a day in so quitting wasn’t an option. My body started flushing the toxins from my body and I started to feel really drained. I drank about 2 gallons of water because I felt so thirsty while flushing the toxins. It was a more humbling day because I came to the realization that food addiction is so very real the way that craving food and not eating it really toyed with my emotions.

Day 3:

  
IT WAS LIT. I literally felt like I was floating on clouds. My body felt light, airy and overall GOOD! Not to mention it was HUMP DAY, which meant I was half way through! My body must have really cleared out my system because I felt AMAZING!

Day 4:

 
I was anxious, less hungry, and starting to see less bloating in my stomach area, and my body overall felt really good. I started creating a plan and focusing on what I would be eating and meal prepping for success the following weeks.

Day 5:

  
I made it! The juice for the day was to boost and reset my metabolism. Wasn’t the most appetizing but I was so happy to have made it all 5 days!

When I woke up Saturday morning my appetite was inexistent. After weighing myself I lost a total of 4.5 pounds! Eager and satisfied with my results I’m looking forward to continuing my lifestyle change, again!

How to Meditate to Cope with Anxiety

By Jay Ballew

I struggle with anxiety*.

*definition: characterized by feelings of worry, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities

It took me twenty-six years to fully understand what this means, and I’m still learning more and more each day. One of the habits that I’ve tried to create for myself to help with controlling my anxiety is meditation.

I didn’t really know much about meditation prior to beginning, but I certainly had some preconceived notions about what it meant. In my head, meditation was a path to some magical space with a clear head. This space would entirely calm and allow me to escape the unsettling feelings of anxiety that disrupt my life on a daily basis.

However, I was completely wrong about what meditation entails, but I thought that sharing what meditation means to me may help out someone else with similar problems or misconceptions. Meditation has become an important part of my life.

Here are some tips that will help you to reap the benefits of meditation.

1. Be consistent.

I try and meditate around the same time each morning. For me, it has become an activity that helps me get my day started. Meditation is as much about repetition and practice as any other hobby or activity that you want to master. The more that you meditate, the better equipped you are to extract value from it.This also allows you to see what are the most effective methods for you, and what you like and dislike.

2. Find a comfortable space.

This means being in a room that’s comfortable for me, and even being in a chair that I’m comfortable sitting in. We all have different places that make us feel comfortable, though.

3. Posture is key.

If you’re like me, then you tend to want to slouch down in chairs, but sitting up as straight as possible is very important.

Finally, don’t be deterred!

Meditation is hard! You are not going to master it overnight. Hell, I am certainly still a novice myself.

Go into every session hoping to get the most out of it that you possibly can. Some days your mind will wander more than others. All of this is perfectly fine. Understand that meditation is not a problem solver, but it can become an essential part of your own personal journey.

Top 5 podcasts to spice up your morning commute

If you haven’t subscribed & listened —  be sure to check out #AskLo Podcast on Soundcloud!

For me, podcasts are a lot more entertaining than listening to the same ol’ music each day. Like talk radio on the go, podcasts allow you the opportunity to gain insight and learn any and everything from a variety of hosts across the web! Not sure where to start?

Here are my favorite recommendations:

 Love + Radio

love and radio

Ok, this podcast has mostly hilarious content  outside of the deep, abstract storytelling. Stories are found everywhere and they do an AMAZING job of finding every day people to tell their stories of love, sex and scary and sometimes “inappropriate” life experiences. I love the show because they tell stories from a real perspective, the person going through it. Almost seeming like street interviews the podcast has captivated my attention from their raw interviews and crazzzzzy out of the ordinary topics.

The Read

The read

If you’re still late to this train I’m really sorry to hear that. Kid Fury and Crissle are GEMS. Giving you sass, pop culture and the signature READ– bitch if you aren’t into it, you’re seriously falling off! Get on it! They’re 3 years deep and between Fury’s always over it attitude, and Crissles “Bitch you won’t try it” attitude, these two are my favs!

The Friend Zone Podcast

the friendzone

Mental Hygiene for your brain! *Dustin Ross Voice* NO, seriously these three have the perfect energy. At first I was like wait how is this gonna work? But they are AMAZING together. Fran is my wellness guru, Assante is just me, lol, my spirit animal damnit, and Dustin is everyone’s funny ass best friend who “on a petty note” is gonna coach you through whatever you need. This trio is amazing with weekly relevant topics along with wellness tips that challenge you to further your life experience and viewpoints.

 Serial

serial logo

This show is LIT! Week by week they have IN-DEPTH story telling where they piece by piece break down a story! This season is about Sgt Bowe Bergdahl and it screams privilege to me (I don’t trust him I’ve seen Homeland Lol), however season one.. Adnan Syed, that caused them to revisit the case! Phew! Sarah is lit. Serial is lit. Get into it!

My Taught You: Myleik Teele Podcast

mytaughtyou

Every podcast has a takeaway. Myleik’s podcast covers any and EVERYTHING. Hardly ANYTHING is off limits. She’s a powerhouse when it comes to disseminating information, and I love it! Talking about love, business, career moves, entrepreneurship– you can send in personalized questions and get them answered as well!

3 Ways to Maximize your 2016 Experience

I could give you an introductory paragraph, but I really don’t want to be about that in 2016, so let’s just get into it!

Stop Complaining about your job.

Now this may come as a surprise to a few, BUT, do you know.. NO ONE is putting a got damn gun to your head and forcing you to go to these “shitty” jobs that you sit and bitch about that you hate so much? AND contrary to popular belief, you can quit that bitch WHENEVER you feel like it. See, a lot of people say they are working to pay bills, etc. and I GET THAT, I really do, but what is your exit strategy? What is your plan to get out? Because if you are working to sustain, you need to be actively saving and busting your ass to leap out of this position that you hate so much, so that you can be doing something that is more worthy of your time and energy. No one was put on this earth to just pay bills and die. Many take for granted that there are people starving and homeless just wishing for the opportunity or a shot at a better life. Stop complaining so much and really put into focus and prospective the blessings that you have in life.

Stop Being Late,  Arrive Early!

There’s just a REALLY good feeling about being places early. Ask ANYONE, and they will tell you when it comes to events and work I’m usually early or the first to arrive. Constantly showing up late, or being known as the one who is always late or just barely making it is not a sign that you’re “booked” or busy, it’s a sign of arrogance and disrespect. It shows your lack of respect for your own time and the time of others.

Here’s a clip from Oprah, where Dr. Phil talks about the Ego behind chronic tardiness.

Do Better this year, and really challenge yourself to be early. It’s a gratifying feeling, so Try it for 5 days straight and comment here, or on my Facebook, Twitter or IG and tell me how it went and how you feel about it!

 

Start Journaling

There was truly a method behind that irritating journaling assignment your creative writing teacher assigned you back in high school. It’s a form of meditation! Journaling not only allows you to release and help sort out your thoughts from throughout each day, but it helps you de-stress and work through situations. Have you ever seen people online airing out their dirty laundry? I am willing to bet any amount of money that they don’t journal, because if they did, they would know– Online ain’t the place to put it for others to comment about. Keep your journal for your private self (unless you want to blog and have it out for others to judge which defeats your growth process) but journaling isn’t reserved just for pen and paper. There is no right or wrong or structure when it comes to journaling. Put on some headphones, get out some paper, or your iPad, or phone or whatever and let it vent. Whether it be sentences, words, drawings, lines– just let yourself express– even if it’s just 10 minutes a day. Trust me. It goes a long way to clear out your head space. Try it for 5 days straight and comment here, or on my Facebook, Twitter, or IG and tell me how it went and how you feel about it!

What are you #reading in 2016? #ReadingListSweet16

Last year, I only read (cough, cough) thirty-one books. I know some of you are like WHAT?! that’s a ton, and some of you are like, THAT’S IT? But for me, I feel like I still didn’t read enough. This year I’m hoping to pace myself a bit better and indulge in a few self-help as well as journals, fiction, and non-fiction novels to really have a well rounded literary year! Here’s what I’m reading Q1 of 2016. Feel free to join me!

 

The Girl's Guide by Melissa Kirsch

I think the biggest thing in life I lacked was a practical compass in regards to all things financial and day to day advice. What better way to learn the things you haven’t been taught than to read about it?

write to the point salvator iacone

I think everyone can sharpen their professional skills in one way or another and I definitely am not above that line because my professional communication skills can definitely be sharper. Cheers to being better in 2016!

Me, Inc by Gene Simmons

I found this book through a recommendation through Myleik Teele’s book share, and the last book she recommended that I read had my eyes glued for 2 days straight! Being that it’s written by a visionary himself, I can’t see how any advice here can go wrong!

the shack

I’m going to revisit this one. I originally read this Sophomore year of college (thanks for reminding me Icaria with your recent reading of it) about just how much I loved this book. It’s a story of a man who meets God in person.

Leap by Tess Vigeland

When I first moved to Atlanta, this was exactly my life. A leap of faith with no plan B. I’ve been doing fairly well, and now I’m ready to really buckle down and hone in on my entrepreneurial spirit and crafts and get the most out of my experiences.

Minding Her Business Journal by Ivy Ejam

One thing I vowed to do better in 2016, is to just be better. A better me to myself and others. Hopefully journaling my way through the year will help!

What I Know For Sure by Oprah

You can seriously, never go wrong with Mama O.

the anti 9to5 guide

This is another recommendation from Myleik’s book share, the title alone is intriguing.

be you and live civil

Karen Civil is currently one of the most influential millennial women in the game right now and I think a lot can be learned from her!

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

She’s killing the prime-time television game, and she’s one of the most creative story tellers out right now. Bless me with your knowledge of care-free living, Shonda.!