This is Jess, co-owner and events coordinator for SweatNET Nashville and Denver! I have shared with you all before about my new passion for non-toxic/clean (whichever term you prefer) skincare. The ingredients that I put on my skin have become just as important to me as the ingredients in the food that I ingest. It’s a recent discovery of mine that stems from a few different events in my life.
First of all, there have been two different seasons where I have had debilitating acne. In early high school, right around puberty, I had cystic acne all over my face to the point where I was on Acutane. This drug is truly a miracle, but also has some pretty severe side effects. I had mood swings, dry skin and lips, and sore muscles…but I had clear skin! Then about 4 years later in college, I got the same cystic acne, but this time it was concentrated along my jaw line and chin, almost like a beard of bumps. I wouldn’t go to parties and wore hats to class. I was a college athlete and dreaded those early morning practices where I had a pony tail and no way to hide what was going on with my skin. I got on another prescription drug and used some pretty intense topical treatments in order to clear it up this time. Fast forward to another 4 years (which would put us at about a year ago) and I was still using harsh treatments and antibiotics for fear that my skin would break out again.
Here’s where I’ll get really vulnerable. My grandfather ended up passing away from cancer. Papa was the healthiest man I knew. He was Italian and never ate processed food, he only drank wine on Christmas, and has never smoked a day in his life. His first tumor was in his lungs, then later it spread throughout his body and into his bones. I was so confused on how one of the strongest people I knew, who took such incredible care of himself, could die from such a disease. I started to listen to podcasts about our environment, about what we put on our skin and the different chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis. One podcast stood out to me, specifically, about skincare. It featured Indie Lee who has her own line of non toxic beauty. Here is a snippet from her story that inspired me:
I had been having some headaches, my peripheral vision was starting to be affected on my left side, I was in menopause at 36, and I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in July. What the heck was going on with me?
On November 4, 2008, I had an MRI. The results came back and I found myself diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. After speaking with numerous specialists, I was told I could have as little as six months to live.
When I went to my doctor and asked how this was even possible, he pointed out it could be environmental. “What? I eat organic and grow produce in my own greenhouse for God’s sake!” I replied. That’s when he asked me my life changing question: “What do you put on your skin?”
The truth was I had no idea what I was putting on my skin – but it was the aha moment – my awakening. I had found my purpose; I knew if I survived this surgery (which the odds were against), my legacy would be to create change and empower others to live their healthiest life.(https://www.indielee.com/empower/how-it-all-began)
The more research I did, the more I learned that cosmetics made with the right ingredients were not only just as potent and effective as the prescriptions I was using, but they are also beautiful and fun to have on my counter and in my shower – something that I was missing with all of the stark white tubes scattered across my bathroom. I started to follow Lee’s advice, and every time I ran out of a product, I shopped for a cleaner alternative. Today, I’d say that 90% of my routine is totally clean (still on the search for mascara and eye liner!!) And not only has my skin never been brighter, but I am more motivated to make sure that everything I ingest is nourishing me as well. When you clean up one part of your life, you don’t want to waste that investment by not doing your best in other areas as well.
All of this to say, I am no expert in the arena. I do my research and listen to people far more educated than me! I share my favorite productson any outlet I can. There are plenty of amazing products with safe ingredients that are very affordable. Sometimes I’ll use other resources and then search on Amazon for a product that matches ingredient-wise but could be more budget friendly. The best resources I have found for restricted ingredients and product recommendations are
These are always the first place I start when it’s time to replace! As always, you can reach out to me with any questions @jessclarke_ and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org