I've Tried Everything But I Can't Clear Up My Acne

You’ve gone to Dermatologists, tried various over the counter products that promise you clean skin, and have may even gone for facials but you still break out. Over 28 years I have heard this time and again. I have also heard “there are so many products, I don’t know what to choose” or “I used (fill in the blank) and my skin cleared up at first but then it got worse.


The reason why these products work at first but then stop is really quite simple. Most of these products are designed to dry out the skin. Harsh products strip your skin of oil and leave your skin feeling taut, dehydrated and flaky. This can cause a reaction known as reactive seborrhea, where the oil glands work overtime to compensate for the loss of natural oils but the upper layers of the skin have shrunk due to the dehydration.  This restricts oil flow through the pores leading to blockages and breakouts

Of course this is not the cause of your acne but a continuation of the problem, adding to your frustration.

There is no quick fix, so first and foremost, be prepared to make the commitment. Your skin is your largest organ, and as a Holistic Esthetician, I believe in a multi pronged approach to healthy skin . (This does not constitute a medical prescription or treatment.  Please consult your physician before taking any of the suggested herbs/ vitamins)

  1. First we look at your diet. Most Holistic and Functional Medical Doctors believe most illness and imbalances begin in our gut. Therefore it is best to start with an elimination diet to see if you have any food allergies or food sensitives. Dairy and Gluten seem to be the most common culprits but for others it can be sugar, soy, or even all grains. Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with a wheat or gluten sensitivity, intolerance, allergy, or Celiac Disease, the high amounts if glyphosphate used in wheat could also be a trigger. If you’ve eliminated all the above and still have issues, you could have an undiagnosed food sensitivity, allergy, or intolerance and may want to see a doctor for food sensitivity testing.

  2. Take a probiotic. Taking a good propbiotic (at least 30 billion CFU promotes a healthy digestive tract and a healthy immune system ,

  3. There are many herbs that can be helpful in gently assisting detoxification. However, I suggest you consult with either a Holistic Esthetician, Herbalist, or Functional Doctor before taking herbs as some have contraindications.

  4. Eliminate processed foods.

  5. Change to a healthy diet, which includes fresh fruit, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates.   Cut back on sugar, alcohol, fatty foods, process foods and caffeine.


Now that we have discussed what to do internally, let’s look at external skin care. Let’s first look at what not to use.

  1. Retinol, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid are all acne preparations which can be drying, irritate the skin, and eventually lead to inflammation..

  2. Products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate, artifical color, synthetic fragrance, Isopropyl myristate, sodium lauryl sulfate, laureth-4 and D & CD red dye.can clog the pores and irritate the skin which will have the same effect as the above.

  3. Ingredients like parabens are hormone distrupters.

  4. Certain essential oils should never be used on the skin even if diluted beacause they can cause irritation and in some cases, many of the citrus oils will cause burns if expose to the sun:. cinnamon, clove, (should never be used); lemon, grapefruit ,lime( unless it is distilled), and Bergamo( okay in a cleanser but not a leave on product)

How to treat the skin externally. I suggest you meet with an Esthetician to have your skin evaluated and to choose the best products for you. Even acne skin can differ from person to person. If your skin is inflamed, dehydrated, flaky you may need different products from someone who has an oily, acneic condition.

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  1. Use a cleanser that will not leave your skin feeling taunt. Look for ingredients such a activated charcoal, herbs such as burdock root, clays, essential oils of lavender, tea tree, manuka, German chamomile, distilled lime, cedarwood. You must cleanse your skin berfore going to bed to remove the days dirt and grime.

  2. If you use a toner make sure it is free of alcohol. Witch hazel is also too strong and will dry out your skin. A good choice orange blossom or lavender flower water or something formulated to tone the skin without drying it out.

  3. It is important to moisturizer, even if you have oily skin. Choosing the appropriat moisturizer is of utmost importance. You want to a) keep the skin hydrated and b) treat the acne. Moisturize twice a day.

  4. While exfoliation is an important part of your regime you should never over exfoliate. Once or twice a week is enough. If you use a scrub it should be a finely ground product that has the consistency of cornmeal. Another option is to use an enzyme based exrfoliant. Always gently massage, never rub hard or use a brush like applicator. Follow with moisturizer

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Caring for Your Skin At Home: Masks

I consider the mask the heart of the facial.  Whether it is a hydrating gel mask, a detoxifying oil absorbing clay mask, or an antioxidant rich aging with attitude mask these treatments are the crux to helping treat your skin.  The ingredients in most masks deliver high concentrations of active ingredients.  But just as I have discussed in other posts, it is of the utmost importance that you choose the right mask for your unique skin conditions and to use the mask you choose correctly.


Many people think  a mask means something clay based that drys and makes the skin feel tight.  This is never how a mask should be used and not all skin conditions benefit from a clay based masked.   And even if they do, it depends on the type of clay.  Each clay has a different property and purpose.  Below I will discuss the different types of masks, which skin conditions they are best for and how to use them properly.  If you are unsure what your skin type is or you are still uncertain how best to care for your skin, check with your Esthetician, or I invite you to sign up for an online consultation with me.

To start, always apply the mask on clean skin.  If you are using a gel or cream based mask it is best to first exfoliate so that the mask will be able to penetrate and give much better results.  Masking is not something that should be rushed, give the mask the time it needs to work, usually 15-20 minutes.  After you gently remove the mask apply your toner, serum and moisturizer or just moisturizer if you do not use the other two products.

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If your skin in dehydrated or dry it is best to use a gel or cream based mask.  Keep in mind that if you have never masked before or if your skin is extremely dehydrated or dry the mask may cause some tingling or stinging.  If this should happen after a few minutes remove with cool water and then apply your moisturizer.  The next day make sure you moisturize morning and night and drink lots of water.  Then on the day after try the mask again.  Eventually your skin should accept the mask.

As for clay based mask, as I mentioned above, each clay has properties that make it beneficial for different skin types.  However, which ever clay mask you choose it is important that you never allow the clay to dry fully.  After about 3-5 minutes you should either continually mist the mask with water or apply a damp wash cloth over your face.  While the mask is still damp it allows the minerals to penetrate, as it dries it draws out toxins but if it gets too dry it will cause dehydration and irritation.  After 15 minutes, gently remove the mask. Follow with the rest of your skin care products:  toner, serum, moisturizer.


French Green Clay is best for oily skin.  It absorbs oils and impurities.  It is also a mild exfoliator and stimulates blood flow.

Kaolin Clay is often white in color but can range in color depending on its combination with other elements.  It is the  mildest of all the clays and it adsorbs impurities without removing the skins natural oils, making it great for dry and sensitive skin types. .  It stimulates circulation to the skin while gently exfoliating and cleansing.

Rhassoul or Morrocan Red Clay is good for all skin types.  It is extremely absorbent and good for detoxifying the skin. It has been shown to improve skin's elasticity, clear clogged pores, stimulate circulation, reduces flakiness, remove dead skin cells and improves the texture and appearance of the skin. 

Fullers Earth Clay is used as a skin-lightening agent made up mostly of volcanic ash. This clay is a strong absorbent and is good for drawing excess oils from the skin and stimulating circulation to the skin.

There are other types of clay, far too many to discuss in this post.  In addition there are many ingredients to add to clay or to use separately such as colloidal oats to calm sensitive skin, charcoal powder to detoxify, honey, many herbs and extracts.  

It’s important to find a great mask your skin needs to replenish nutrients and lost hydration or to absorb excess oil and remove toxins.  Always read the ingredients and don’t be fooled by the big marketing hype or label claims.

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The Part Of Your Body You Are Neglecting

“I hate My Neck”, or “my neck is making me look old”. These are some of the comments I hear from clients quite frequently.

Your neck and your décolleté (upper chest area)  will show signs of aging before your face, in most cases, because the skin there has less  oil glands, less elastin and thinner skin tissue than our faces. Women often overlook the décolletage and neck when it comes to skin care, not realizing they should be treating it with just as much care as their face

sundamage and loss of elatin on decollete

sundamage and loss of elatin on decollete

So just how should you be taking care of this delicate area?  The first step, the same way you cleanse your face.  Using the same cleanser start at the décolleté and work your way up your neck and then to your face in a gentle upward motion.  After cleansing you should then follow with a serum/moisturizer that is rich in antioxidants such as Pomegranate Oil, Rosehips Seed Oil, Borage Oil, etc.  Antioxidants fight free radical damage which leads to the breakdown of collagen and elastin.  These oils also help the appearance of sun damage.  Speaking of sun damage, you must apply sunscreen to your décolleté, neck and face anytime you are leaving the house, even on cloudy days.

It is also important to exfoliate your neck and décolleté to remove the dead skin so that your serum and moisturizer can penetrate the skin and not just sit on top.  Since this area is delicate as discussed above, it is important not to use harsh chemicals or scrubs.  Enzymes such as papaya (papain) and pineapple (bromelain) are perfect or gently massage a product that contains jojoba beads.

It is never too late improve the appearance of your skin and prevent further damage.  Starting today, treat your décolleté and neck with the same care as your face. Use products with ingredients listed above and use sun protection. Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and is visible.  As I always stress, using the right products and taking preventative measures are crucial to good skincare regime that will keep you looking fabulous.

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How To Love Yourself

What are your Valentine’s Day memories? Sure I received flower and candy gifts over the years but I'm remembering those days when my Mom and I bought those little inexpensive Valentine's Day cards for my classmates. Did you do that? You made sure to get a card for everyone, even if you didn't know them, so no one would feel left out.

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As children, we are taught to love others, but we are rarely encouraged or taught to love ourselves. This has always puzzled me, since you cannot give  something that you don't have.

Recently, I read an article by Deepak Chopra with tips on how to love ourselves more. You can read it here https://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/love-yourself-unconditiona…

At RENEW BOTANICALS, we want you to love yourself too! ...In addition to the inner love you give yourselves as outlined in Deepak Chopra’s article, we feel taking care of yourself so you look and feel your best is also part of loving yourself.  We believe that our products can hep you do that in a very personal and positive way.  For an extra “love boost” for yourself may we suggest the following?


1.    Get enough sleep.

Renew Botanicals organic and vegan body lotions

Renew Botanicals organic and vegan body lotions

2.    Take a few extra minutes after you shower or bath to apply some body lotion, butter or oil.  If you can spare even a few minutes more, slowly massage the product into your skin.  Our body lotions would be perfect.

Aging With Attitude Facial Serum by Rene Botancals Organic Skin Care

Aging With Attitude Facial Serum by Rene Botancals Organic Skin Care

3.    Add one luxurious but effective skin care product to your regime like our Aging With Attitude Facial Serum.  Handcrafted in small batches with the finest organic ingredients to give you radiant skin at any age.

It is our hope that you will find just the right combination of products  to complement the quiet space you carve out to show yourself the love, appreciation and acceptance you deserve.

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Question: How do you celebrate yourself? Do you carve out quiet time to reach inside and find and show love to the best parts of yourself? I'd love to hear about it -- and if any of our products help you do that, do tell!

Thank you for reading, and leave a comment below.

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Looking Back at 2017

Now that the dust has settled from the hectic holiday season and we are one month into the New Year, I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the highlights from 2017 that we shared.

In April we made Renew Botanicals organic and vegan skin care line available in our online shop, right here at our website.  Up until that point it was only possible to get these handcrafted organic and vegan products at my skin care studio.  But with so many requests we added this to our Aging With Attitude Line that has been available in our online shop since 2016.


June 2017 marked 65 years that I have been on this planet.  I had so much fun sharing this day not only with friends and family but my extended Renew family.  There were gifts, specials and give-a-ways both at the studio and to those of you who shop with us online.

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Just a few short weeks later we moved the skin care studio.  It has been a positive move.  Those who have come here love it.  I know I do.


I love our clients and serving you. I hope you enjoyed this little look back at 2017 and have enjoyed being our customer as much as we have enjoyed serving you. We look forward to serving you even better in 2018.  A few things we are considering  for 2018 is to add some retail mask for you to purchase as well as make our products available to spas and more brick and mortar stores.

If there is something you would love to see us add please let us know in the comments below.

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Is It Really Bad to Sleep in Makeup?

With the holidays almost here many of us will be going to parties, gatherings, and other events.  We come home tired and just want to go to sleep, so we skip out on washing our face and removing the days makeup.  You probably know it is not a great idea but you think ah just this once. 

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And if it was just that one time it probably isn't that bad BUT it does have a cumulative effect.  Also, you have probably had a few alcoholic beverages and that is dehydrating which is very damaging to the skin, as I have discussed in many of my posts. Therefore, coupled with the dehydration, you have now skipped on moisturizer to add the much needed moisture. 


So just what happens to the skin as we sleep? Our skin goes through a renewing process so that we can wake up to rejuvenated, radiant skin after a good nights sleep. Each night you wear makeup to bed will clog your pores and may causes breakout which may attract bacteria.  In addition, it can also age the skin by causing free radical damage from not removing the the days pollution, dirt and grime.  Free radical damage causes the breakdown of collagen and elastin which results in fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin.  Your skin will also begin to appear dull.


And it isn't just about Foundation. So if you are thinking well, I don't wear Foundation, I just wear some eyeliner and mascara, that can be problematic for your eyes.  You are leaving yourself prone to an eye infection or at the very least irritation and inflammation.

We all want to look our best everyday but especially when we are going to parties and other events.  The best way to achieve that is to take good care of your skin.  Use the right cleanser, moisturizer, exfoliate once a week and DO NOT SLEEP IN YOUR MAKEUP....you will look radiant.   Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

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Why I Am Begging You Not to Use Baking Soda On Your Face

I know I am going to get a lot of flack for saying this but please please please stop using baking soda as an exfoliator.  I know blogger after blogger and many DIYers seem to think it is the best thing to do but it isn't.  This isn't just my opinion based on 26 years of experience but on scientific fact.  It is chemistry and biology.

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Let us start with some facts.  The skin's pH is between 4.5 and 5.5.  So just what is pH and what does it mean?   Without getting to bogged down in the chemical jargon, simply put scientists have devised a scale of acid and alkaline properties using 0-14.  1 being the most acidic, 14 being the most alkaline and 7 being neutral.  The skin has a protective coating (made up of sebum, sweat) that creates the acid mantle.  The acid mantle keeps the skin healthy by protecting it from bacteria and fungi.  Here is an example, in case you are still unsure what the acid mantle is:  Have you ever washed your face and experienced a tight, taunt dry feeling?  That is the acid mantle being disrupted.

Drastically altering the pH of the skin by using a highly alkaline product such as baking soda, which by the way, registers about 9 on the pH scale, will disrupt the skin's acid mantle affecting the skin's barrier (outer most layer).  This allows our skin to be vulnerable to environmental assaults.  And it has a cumulative effect.  The more/longer you continue using a highly alkaline product the more damage. You may not see it at first but over time you will. One example is breakouts.  Skin that is too alkaline is susceptible to acne because bacteria cannot survive in an acidic environment.

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On the other hand it is important to note that if products are too acidic, they too will disrupt the acid mantle.  You then risk inflammation leading to free radical damage which can cause rosacea, skin irritation, aging and more.

So, just what should you use to remove the dead skin.  I recommend either using a gentle enzyme mask made up of pineapple/papaya enzymes or a gentle scrub made of jojoba beads, almond meal or chick pea flour.  When using a scrub it is important that you never rub your face hard with the product.  Gently massage the beads and let them do the work.


Please make sure all your products are pH balanced.  If you are unsure you can pick up pH test strips at the drug store.

If you need skin care advice I am dedicated to helping you.  Please feel free to contact me 

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When Life Hands you Lemons

Life constantly brings changes and sometimes when least expected.  Recently due to circumstances that were beyond my control I had to move my skin care studio.  Not only did I have to move but I had two weeks to find new digs and that is no easy feat.

I would be lying if I didn't say I was worried.  A Massage Therapist associate of mine had downsized some time ago to a one room studio that she shared with an Acupuncturist and Esthetician.  Luckily, I remembered that the Esthetician recently left and I contacted her regarding the space....and the rest as they say is history.

I am back working with a fabulous massage therapist that I worked with  for many years. The space is lovely and very convenient for my clients.  So as you can see, life handed me some lemons but I made lemonade.  So what does this mean for my clients?  Well, except for different hours nothing will change.  Same facial services, same handcrafted organic skin care products. So if your are in Baltimore, come in for an appointment and share a glass of lemonade with me...seriously.



The definition of a milestone is a significant event in your life.  I certainly am experiencing that.  In a few days I turn 65.  Wow, that is mind boggling to me. But it has been a great and interesting 65 years and I look forward to more experiences on my journey.

While not technically considered milestones, I cannot help but reflect that this year marks 26 years practicing esthetics, 12 of those years as a solo Esthetician, 10 as an Aromatherapist and Herbalist, and 9 as a formulator of organic skin care products.

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Certainly I am more than just my career as an Esthetician.  I am a strong, passionate woman that is a wife, daughter, sister, a gardener, a foodie, avid reader, and so much more.

And since most milestones are celebrated, I will be celebrating mine with my husband, family and friends but I also want to celebrate and give something to my clients, many who have been with me a very long time.  So while I rarely discount my services or put my products on sale I decided this was the time.  Each of my regular clients coming in for a facial this month will receive a goody bag.  In addition they will be automatically entered into a drawing for a prize.  There will also be a drawing for anyone who purchases products in house.  A surprise discount on a facial to be announced and last but not least on June 3, there will be a BOGO Sale for all online purchases.

From 12:01 am until 11:59 pm June 3 purchase any Renew Botanicals Organic and Vegan moisturizer and you will get a free cleanser of your choice.  Simply choose your moisturizer and cleanser and use the code sixtyfive at checkout 

or choose the special BOGO for Aging With Attitude by purchasing the Aging With Attitude Facial Serum and Elixir and receive of free Oil Cleanser.  Use code birthday at checkout

I look forward to many more years or bringing you healthy radiant skin.  And I wish you all a happy journey and enjoy your milestones.

Renew Botanicals Organic and Vegan Skin Care Now Available

Born out of my love of aromatherapy and all things plant related, my passion for providing my clients with the best holistic skin care, and my deep respect for the planet, in 2009, I created my customized organic and vegan skin care line, ReNew Botanicals. Using my 25 years experience as a Master Esthetician, I formulated a unique blend of predominately organic, all-natural, vegan ingredients that allowed me to truly provide my clients with the absolute best in holistic skin care.  These products, loved by my clients are now available to purchase here

Because everyone of us has our own unique skin type just as we each are unique, the standard cookie cutter skin care products do not always work for us. That is why I formulated a wide variety of cleansers, toners and moisturizers to address your individual needs.  If you are not sure of your skin type or what products would be the best for you please contact me and I can help you decide.

A perfect example are these two moisturizers.  The first Soothe Moisturizer  is for an sensitive skin that is dry, which is how most product lines formulate their sensitive skin care products.

However, what if you have oily sensitive skin,  or acne that feels irritated.? You still want to soothe and calm your skin but you don't want a heavily moisurizing product.  That is when the Herbal Soothing Moisturizer comes into play.  This moisturizer has many calming and soothing herbs but is very lightweight and penetrates the skin fast.

You can have healthy radiant skin by using the right skin care products for your skin.  Today can be the beginning of your journey to healthy radiant skin.  

The Does and Don'ts of Exfoliating

 Back in the 1990s it was thought the more exfoliation the better.  Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Retinol were popping up in every conceivable skin care product.  At that time it was thought, that causing inflammation by over exfoliating would stimulate the skin's natural healing responses. My views and many other professionals ideas on exfoliation have changed over the years.  I believe that exfoliation is a necessary component to good skin care. It removes dead cells, decongests the pores and allows important ingredients to penetrate the skin. However, too much or too aggressive exfoliation is counterproductive, unless undergoing a treatment to correct a skin condition. Before I go into the problems caused by over exfoliating let's look at the different forms of exfoliation used today.


Enzyme Peel – Predominately made from fruit enzymes. The most common, and what I use most often, are found in papaya (papain) and Pineapple (Bromelain) and Pumpkin. These enzymes dissolve the dead skin cells.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids – Simply put, these acids dissolve the “glue” that keeps the dead cells on the skin. These acids are derived from fruits, milk or sugar.  These are available in many over the counter products and are used for professional chemical peels. 

Retin A and Retinol - derived from Vitamin A acts very much like Alpha Hydroxy Acids

Mechanical Exfoliation – Dead skin cells are removed using friction with materials such as jojoba beads, bamboo powder, rice powder, ground nuts, etc. Only very fine powders or rounded material should be used because irregular granules may cause micro cuts and cause irritation or spread bacteria.

Clarisonic Brush - Clarisonic is a skin care tool sold at specialty beauty stores that uses a softbrush. Athough the company claims it is a makeup remover, to me, it is really another way to manually exfoliate the skin while removing dirt and makeup in the process.  My problem with Clarisonic is not with the machine itsef but with how often the instructions say to use it.  It would be bad enough if they recommended once a day, but they go so far as to say it is gentle to use twice a day.  As with any at home exfoliating product, once or twice a week is all that is needed.


Microdermabrasion -minimally abrasive instrument to "sand" your skin, removing the thicker, uneven outer layer.  My problem with microdermabraision is 1) it is very aggressive and it is not suited for all skin types 2) it is overused and 3) the training on this is minimal.  When I was trained at two different spas the training was less than one day and many of us never even had a chance to try it during the training.

So just what is wrong with too much or too aggressive exfoliation?  Well, it goes back to causing inflammation in the skin.  When the skin becomes inflamed it causes free radical damage, therefore, creating tissue destruction which ultimately leads to aging.   In addition this type of exfoliation removes the lipids (fats) barrier. This moisture barrier protects against invading microorganisms, chemical irritants, and allergens. If the integrity of the moisture barrier is compromised, the skin will become vulnerable to dryness, itching, redness, stinging, and other skin care concerns.

All the exfoliants I use, or recommend for home use, are made with the finest ingredients and will exfoliate the skin without causing any trauma.

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It is Not Just Your Face That Needs TLC during the Winter

Most articles and blogs tell us how to care for our skin during the winter but they focus primarily on the face.  But caring for the rest of our skin is just as important.  Many clients tell me their skin itches and is flaky. This is because the skin is dry, it is lacking oil.

But it doesn't have to be.  And it really doesn't take much time or effort to keep your skin feeling smooth and supple.

  • Try not taking very hot showers...I know, I know, it feels so good but that hot water strips oils from the skin faster than warm water. Long showers or baths actually dry out your skin.
  • Use a moisturizing shower gel or soap made with olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter or some other moisturizing ingredient.  No Palm Oil please....see my blog post on Say No to Palm Oil
  • Use a sugar or salt scrub.  It removes the dead skin, allowing your body lotion, butter or body oil penetrate your skin, which brings me to...
  • Apply a body lotion, body butter or body oil to damp skin.   Personally, I love body oils.  My skin leans to the drier side and I find the moisturizing with rich scented oils not only keeps my skin moisturized longer but hold the essential scents most of the day.

You may also want to add dry brushing to your routine.  Dry brushing helps to stimulate your lymphatic system which will eliminate toxins.  It also helps with exfoliation (though not as much as the scrubs).  Dry brushing also improves circulation to the skin, encouraging the elimination of metabolic waste.

It is just as important to keep well hydrated internally.  During the winter we tend to drink more coffee and tea and forget about our water intake.  Keep drinking your water and eating lots of fruits and veggies.

Follow these tips and I promise that itchy, flakey skin will no longer be a problem.

The New Year and Health Resolutions

I would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year.  Among all the resolutions many of us make, losing weight and eating healthier usually top the list.  I am no exception, since I am not one to deprive myself of the food and drink I love during the holidays.

And while eating healthier is always preferable, a detox cleanse diet is not the best approach during the winter months.  As an Herbalist and Holistic Esthetician my goal is to be in balance within myself and with nature and I recommend this to my clients as well; a healthy body means healthy skin (remember our skin is our largest organ). For me, as the seasons change, the foods we eat, the herbs we use change too. If you live in a cold climate like I do, winter is a time for rest and nourishment.  This includes more sleep, meditation, and nutrient rich foods.  Juicing and eating cold foods like salads are counter intuitive to what our body needs.  Doesn't it make sense to eat the foods that are in abundance this time of year,?  Root vegetables for example. And doesn't it make sense to prepare foods by using methods such as braising, soups, stews, roasting? 

Whereas in the summer we naturally want lighter foods, cooling foods and who wants to turn the oven on for hours and braise a roast or veggies when it is 90 degrees outside?

Here are some tips for getting back to a healthier you this winter:

  • In addition to root vegetables, add other seasonal veggies such as winter squash and leafy green. 
  • If you eat meat make sure it is grass fed and add bone broth to your diet.
  • Limit sugar intake and when you do use a sweetener make it raw local honey or maple syrup
  • Use warming herbs and spices.  Sip some Chai
  • Take time out to rest, meditate.
  • Take a bath with relaxing herbal bath salts

We can still get on track by gently detoxing and eating healthy this winter and save the cleansing/ juicing for the Spring.  After all, both Dandelion and Nettles are the first spring herbs and probably the best detoxifying herbs. If we look to nature, she has the answers.

The Oil Cleansing Method

A few years ago the Oil Cleansing Method or OCM became very popular, primarily due to the DIY bloggers.  However, oil cleansing goes back thousands of years.  The ancient Greeks and Romans woud smear their wet bodies with a mixture of pumice and ashes, and then apply olive oil over that.  They would then use a curved metal scraper called a strigil to scrape off the mixture, which would take the dirt and grime that had accumulated on the skin along with it.  The reason oil is so effective in cleansing is like attracts like. But back to the DIY bloggers on this cleansing method...after awhile mixed reviews started popping out.  I believe this is because different oils work for different skin types.  As I stress in many of my posts, there is no size fits all in skin care.  Each of us is unique as is our skin.


When purchasing your oil cleanser first check to see which oils are used.  If Castor Oil is listed be aware that it can be very drying to the skin.  If your skin is already on the drier side or even combination this is going to dry you out even more.  Coconut oil can also be problematic for a skin that is experiencing breakouts and clogged pores, because like Mineral oil, it can further clog your pores.  So for a oily skin, with or without breakout, chose a cleanser made with light fast penetrating oils such as Hazelnut, Marula, Grape Seed, Meadowfoam Seed and Jojoba.  For drier skin Avocado, Pumpkin seed, Apricot Kernel, Moringa and Argan are some of the oils to look for.  Renew Botanical's AGING WITH ATTITUDE's Oil Cleanser is perfect for dry/mature skin.


When the correct oils are used for your skin type it can be a luxurious way to cleanse your skin.  The Oil Cleansing Method, however, is not for the person in a rush.  It does take a little more time: First dampen your skin.  Then pour a small amount into the palm of your hand.  Add a little water and start emulsifying the oil.  Gently massage into your skin.  Then take a wash cloth that you wet with very warm (not hot) water.  Place on face and allow to sit a minute.  Repeat.  Follow with moisturizer.

Have you tried this method yet?  I would love to hear your experience.

SKIN NOURISHMENT: Showcasing Winter Squash and Pomegranate Seeds

The saying goes "we are what we eat"; and we are.  This is so true when it comes to our skin.  Since the skin is our largest organ it stands to reason what we eat will affect our skin.  We now know that an array of colorful vegetables and fruits are good for usMany are rich in antioxidants which help fight free radical damage (I will get into this in an upcoming blog post).  So with fall upon us, bringing an array of beautiful vegetablesI thought sharing a recipe for one of my favorite side dishes would be fun.

I found this recipe on Epicurious.com a few years ago and changed it up a bit to fit my likes. I replaced the Dandelion greens, which are a spring green, with the arugula; swapped out the delicata squash for the acorn and lastly switched the pine nuts for pumpkin seeds.  The change of the pumpkin seeds for pine nuts was done because I have found finding pine nuts that are not exported from China very difficult and costly.  The pine nuts from China seem to leave a metallic taste in my mouth.  Also pumpkin seeds seem to fit with the fall and are very rich in vitamin, antioxidants and protein.



3 tablespoons pomegranate juice

1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoons butter, divided

 1 medium acorn squash, halved, seeded, cut intowedge

1 pound arugula greens, thick stems trimmed, leaves cut into 2-inch lengths (about 12 cups)

3/4 cups pomegranate seeds

1/4 pumpkin seeds, toasted


  1. Whisk pomegranate juice and vinegars in bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper. Rewhisk before using.
  2. Melt 1 teaspoons butter in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 of squash wedges. Cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer squash wedges to rimmed baking sheet. Repeat 2 more times with remaining butter and squash wedges. Sprinkle squash with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 6 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
  3. Preheat oven to 450°F. Transfer squash to oven; bake 20 minutes.
  4. Mix greens, pomegranate seeds, and pine nuts in large bowl. Toss with half of dressing. Divide among plates; top with squash. Drizzle with dressing.

If you are not Vegan adding some goat cheese or feta makes a nice accompaniment. 


This week, after two years in the making, I am so excited to announce that I have launched my new line, Aging With Attitude.  Not only is this line a labor of love but is a reflection of my beliefs regarding aging.

Aging With Attitude by Renew Botanicals

Aging With Attitude by Renew Botanicals

I really dislike the term" anti-aging".  Our society looks down on aging but in many societies it is considered a privilege and the elders are revered.   I think we all should consider it a privilege and a gift, after all what is the alternative?  So I embrace it.    Julia Louis-Dreyfus said to New Beauty Magazine (and I agree) “I hate that word, [anti-aging]! It should be something positive, like pro-aging.”  That is why I named my line Aging With Attitude.  I don't want to spend my life acting like a victim of aging.  Freaking out over every line, spot, or gray hair.  BUT I still want to look fabulous. 

And you can and should look fabulous.  Accepting the fact that you are getting older does not mean you should neglect yourself.  Your skin is your largest organ.  So it stands to reason that we need to respect and care for it as we do the rest of our body.  As every article, and our doctors tell us, we should eat a healthy diet, get exercise, and keep our minds active as well.  Beauty starts from the inside, both in health and in our minds.

As we get older our skin and body go through many changes.  I want to help you embrace those changes by helping you look and feel your best. Using the correct products for your skin will keep your skin looking radiant. The correct ingredients for your maturing skin will keep it looking smooth and subtle.  Aging With Attitude will give you glowing beautiful skin for the woman you are now.  No false claims about erasing winkles; just the truth.  By taking good care of your skin you can be stunning at any age .  The key is to start now. 

Aging With Attitude available at www.renewbotanicals.com

Aging With Attitude available at www.renewbotanicals.com






Caring for Your Skin at Home: Pt. 3 Moisturizing

As its most basic function, moisturizing your skin prevents moisture loss or dehydration.  if you neglect to use moisturizer, even the most oily skin will become dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to irritation, inflammation, itchiness and sensitivity as well as fine lines.

As I mentioned in the previous posts on caring for your skin at home; choosing the right products for your skin type is crucial to having healthy, radiant skin.  This is just as important, if not more, for your moisturizer, as this is a leave on product.  And while sealing in the moisture and creating a protective temporary barrier from environmental factors, is its most important function, moisturizers can also help bring balance and improve the appearance of your skin depending on the ingredients used.  The wrong ingredients for your skin type, even the incorrect essential oil blends for your type of skin, can make an oily skin more oilier or create a combination skin problem where your cheeks are dry but the rest of your skin is oily.  Therefore, as with any home care regime, it is always best to have your Esthetician make the recommendations for you.

Caring For Your Skin at Home: Pt 2 Using a Toner

First let us put aside the misconception that you need a toner to shrink your pores or to remove cleanser residue.  You cannot shrink a pore.  You can clean out a pore which will bring it back to it's original size but you cannot shrink the pore.  As for removing cleanser residue, that was true years ago when many cleansers were not water soluble.  Today, if you rinse properly you should have removed all traces of your cleanser. The only exception to this is if you are using the Oil Cleansing Method.  

So why do you need a toner?  Let me start off by saying there is no one toner for everyone.  Just like using the right cleanser and moisturizer for your skin type, the same is true for toners.  A toner is the second step to give your skin what it needs to become healthy and balanced.

Most toners will provide extra hydration which is important no matter what your skin type is.  In addition, many provide anti-inflammatory protection which is important in a variety of skin types such as acne, rosacea, and even aging skin. Some are more astringent which helps to balance an oily skin.  However, you must be careful when choosing the correct toner, especially for oily skin.  You never want to dry out your skin with a toner even if you have very oily skin.Stay away from any toner that contain SD alcohol, ethanol and isopropyl alcohol or acetone.  Of course, there should be no artificial colors, fragrance or other synthetic ingredients. 

Most toners can be used either as a mist or you can apply to a cotton pad and wipe your skin.  I love to include hydrosols also known as flower waters in my formulations.  They are distilled from plants, are pH balanced and smell lovely.  Like essential oils, each has different properties that can improve the appearance of your skin.  There is a hydrosol for every skin type.  Do you use a toner?


Caring For Your Skin At Home, Pt 1: Cleansing

When taking a shower, do you use a cleanser on your body?  Would you just stand under the faucet?  You probably answered no, yet it amazes me how many people will not cleanse their face, especially at the end of the day.  Cleansing your skin is an important step in keeping your skin healthy and radiant.  Just as important, however, is choosing the right cleanser.

If you choose a cleanser that is not appropriate for your skin type you may cause problems.  No matter what type of skin you have, you never want to use a cleanser that will make your skin feel dry and taunt.  Although it may be tempting to get that squeaky clean feel, that cleanser will strip your skin of the good oils — making your skin react by producing even more oil!  Always choose a cleanser that is pH balanced.  If your skin is sensitive choose a cleanser free of fragrance, even essential oils.  If it is dry, choose a milk or cream cleanser.  For those with oily skin and acne choose a gel cleanser but as mentioned above, make sure it does not leave your skin feeling tight and taunt.  Another cleansing method that has become very popular over the last few years is the oil cleansing method.  I love this type of cleansing but it is important that you are using the correct oils for your skin type, just as with any other cleanser.  I will be discussing the Oil Cleansing Method in an upcoming blog.  However, the best way to choose the perfect cleanser for your skin type is by an Esthetician's recommendation.  In the last number of years many companies have added alpha hydroxy acids or beads to their cleansers.  I strongly urge you not to use these types of cleansers.  While exfoliation is an important step in a good skin care regime, over exfoliation will cause inflammation, dry skin and possible irritation. And please never, ever use bar soap on your face, especially mass produced, even if it says non drying or moisturizing.

The most important time to cleanse your face is in the evening.  Even if you do not wear makeup your face is continually covered with bacteria, pollutants, and dirt. Many of us are so tired by the time we get ready for bed that we decide to skip cleansing our face.  Here's a little tip I tell my clients:  If you are not going out for the evening, as soon as you get home from work cleanse your face and apply your moisturizer.  This way it's done no matter how tired you are later.  Oh, and please remember, you must apply moisturizer after you cleanse....more about that in Part 3.

So, now you are on your way to beautiful, healthy radiant skin.  Coming next:  Toners

Don't Fear Facial Oils

Most of us, especially people with oilier skin will do anything to avoid using oil as part of their skin care routine.   Unfortunately, oils have gotten a bad rap.  Oils, or what we usually refer to as lipids when discussing skin, create a barrier protecting your skin against the elements.  Damage to this barrier occurs daily, so maintaining an effective barrier requires a continuous application of products containing lipids. . For example when oils are applied on the skin it prevents dehydration not only at the surface but at the deeper levels of the skin.  In addition, lipids increase the water resistance of the skin which is quite important as it obstructs water-soluble pollutants from penetrating into the skin.  Moisture loss may result in dry, scaly or even cracked skin, bacteria-related acne, eczema, rosacea-type inflammation, atopic dermatitis and/or skin congestion, among other problems. Lipids also help to soften the skin, to smooth it and to provide elasticity.The crucial aspect should always be the support of the natural skin regeneration. 

There are many different oils on the market.  And though all oils will create this important barrier, not all oils are necessarily beneficial to the skin such as mineral oil, which is a petroleum based oil.  I also recommend using unrefined, organic cold pressed oils when available.  Aside from the oils being free of pesticide residue, they will retain more of the important properties.  Different oils have different benefits and are appropriate for different skin types.  Therefore when I am mixing a serum for oily skin I would not use the same carrier oil that I would use on dry skin. This is a mistake commonly made, especially from the DIY blogger.  One person may get fantastic results from using Almond Oil and write that it helped their skin, however, it may not be the best oil for your skin. 

Here are a few of my favorite oils and the skin type they are best suited for.  Keep in mind that a synergy of two of three oils work better than one single oil, in my opinion.  In addition some oils such as Argan, Rose Hip Seed, Pomegranate, etc. can be very expensive so using 100% will break the bank.

Dry Skin:  Avocado, Pumpkin Seed, Apricot Kernel, Hemp Seed

Oily SkinAcne:  Grape Seed, Hazelnut, Marula

Combination Skin:  Jojoba, Almond, Apricot Kernel

Great additons:  Argan, Rosehip Seed, Pomegranate, Moringa


 So put those fears aside, try a serum or body oil you will be so happy you did.  Watch for the launch of my anti-aging serum, which will be available to purchase on my website, this winter.