Save Your Scalp From Breakouts

Nothing ruins a good hair day like discovering a blemish on your scalp. The abundant oil glands and hair follicles are at the root of acne in this area. Over time, a buildup of oil along with dirt and dead skin cells can clog the pores, leading to pimples. Styling products such as gel, hairspray and mousse compound the problem by leaving residue behind. 

If you regularly experience acne around your hairline and beyond, you know how frustrating it can be. These smart strategies can help you banish scalp breakouts.

Switch Up Your Routine

Start the process of clearing up your scalp with a new hair care routine. Any products you use, including shampoo and conditioner, should be oil-free. Look for labels like anti-acnegenic or non-comedogenic to find formulas that won't clog your pores. This also applies to cosmetics like foundation and powder, as well as moisturizers, lotions and other skincare products.

You can try medicated shampoos with ingredients that help with the causes of scalp breakouts, such as:

  • Benzoyl peroxide and tea tree oil, which fight bacteria that leads to acne
  • Ciclopirox and ketoconazole, which combat fungal causes of acne
  • Glycolic acid and salicylic acid, which remove dead skin cells that clog the pores
  • Jojoba oil, which alleviates inflammation associated with acne

Skip hair products when you plan to stay home and try to use fewer formulas in general. Using multiple cosmetic items increases the chances of irritating and inflaming your scalp.

Step Up Your Schedule

If you tend to go more than a day or two without washing your hair, consider shampooing more frequently to stay on top of breakouts. It's especially important to wash your hair after you work out to get rid of excess sweat, dirt and oil. 

When you shampoo, focus your efforts on your scalp to clear away clogging materials. You can also use a soft-bristled brush to gently exfoliate the area. After washing and conditioning your hair, be sure to rinse completely. Soap and product residue can cause breakouts along the hairline.

Keep It Clean

Contact with bacteria causes acne, so anything that touches your face, neck or head should be washed often. This includes pillowcases, bedding hats, headbands, visors and scarves. Clean phones and headsets frequently with antibacterial wipes.

Let the Scalp Breathe

If you spend several hours wearing a headscarf or hat each day, try to choose a looser garment to let air flow circulate to your scalp. When you're at home, leave your head bare if possible to prevent sweat and oil from becoming trapped.

Support Skin Health

Getting the right nutrients helps maintain the health of your skin, which means you'll experience fewer breakouts. Make sure you consume at least the recommended daily amount of vitamins A, D and E, either in your diet or with an over-the-counter supplement. Eating plenty of fresh fruits, whole grains and veggies supports overall wellness, which in turn keeps the scalp healthy.

Take Notes

Scalp breakouts sometimes result from allergic reactions. When you notice a blemish, write down your recent food and beverage intake. You may begin to see a pattern of acne that occurs when you eat certain ingredients, which will allow you to prevent the issue by avoiding these triggers. 

See a Dermatologist

Some cases of scalp acne require medical treatment. Your dermatologist may prescribe stronger acne medications, light therapy, antibiotics or steroids to resolve serious breakouts that don't respond to self-care at home.

Keep in mind that it can take up to six weeks to notice a difference in your scalp with these strategies. See your doctor if your acne continues with treatment or causes more severe symptoms, such as inflammation, infection and hair loss. 

My Top At-Home Beauty Devices

I firmly believe you don’t have to undergo expensive surgical procedures or visit the spa every week to have incredible skin. My skin used to look pretty wrinkly, dehydrated and dull, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. Through trial and error, I discovered which at-home beauty devices work well and which aren’t worth my time and money.

To help you avoid making the same mistakes I did, I decided to compile a list of my favorite at-home beauty devices. They actually work and can transform the appearance of your skin. You’re welcome.

Jade Facial Rollers

OK, I have to admit that I used to think jade facial rollers were just a scam. After all, what could rolling an elongated jade stone across your face possibly do for your skin? But after reading articles about all the benefits jade rolling can provide, I decided to at least give it a try before I dismissed it as a waste of money. I was pleasantly surprised by what I experienced.

Though jade rolling didn’t give me miraculous results right away, after doing it for a few weeks I started to notice a difference in the appearance of my skin. It turns out that jade rolling helps to stimulate lymphatic drainage, reduce puffiness and promote blood circulation.

All of these benefits helped make my skin look firmer and less puffy. Plus, the cold roller feels amazing on your face first thing in the morning.  Since a jade roller is such an inexpensive beauty tool and provides such great benefits, it makes it onto my list of top at-home beauty devices.

Facial Steamers

If you’ve never used a facial steamer before, you’re in for a treat. These fairly simple beauty tools aren’t complicated to use. You just fill the steamer with purified or distilled water, turn it on, and put your face over it. Easy-peasy. Here’s what regular facial steaming sessions can do for your skin.

  • Promote blood circulation
  • Hydrate the skin
  • Open up your pores and soften blackheads so they’re easier to remove
  • Promotes production of elastin and collagen
  • Helps your body absorb skincare products more effectively
  • Relieves sinus congestion
  • Releases sebum that’s trapped in your skin’s pores
  • Soothes and relaxes the skin

There are different techniques you can try to get the most out of your facial steamer. Try putting a big fluffy towel over your head while you’re steaming to trap the steam around your face. For best results, keep your steaming sessions to between five and 10 minutes.

Microneedling Tools

Microneedling is incredible for stimulating the production of elastin and collagen. A microneedling tool (also called a derma roller) is a handheld tool with a roller that’s covered with tiny needles. Though that may sound scary, it’s not very uncomfortable (depending on the size of needles you use). For at-home use, you should stick to derma rollers with needles that are no larger than 0.5mm. This will help ensure you don’t injure yourself or increase your risk of infection.

To use a derma roller, carefully follow the instructions that come with your roller. With appropriate use, you can expect to see improvements in your skin. Some people report improvements in the following:

  • Acne scarring
  • Stretch marks
  • Wrinkles and fine lines
  • Thinning hair
  • Enlarged pores

If you feel like you could use improvements in these areas, consider investing in a derma roller. Just make sure you carefully sanitize your derma roller before and after each use. This will minimize the chances of infections.

There are so many great at-home beauty devices out there, but these are just a few of my favorites. I recommend them to anyone who is serious about improving the health and appearance of their skin at home.

Top 3 Reasons To Support Cruelty-Free Products

When looking at your favorite little furry friend, cat, dog, bunny, etc., can you ever imagine doing anything to harm them? Animal testing subjects familiar animals and breeds to unnecessary and inhumane torture for the sake of profits.

According to the organization Cruelty-Free International, over 115 million animals, including dogs and cats, are subject to tests and abuse in labs worldwide. The best way to protest such practices is to purchase cruelty-free products. There are at least three reasons to support cruelty-free brands.

1. Animal Testing Is Unnecessary

While many brands, including cosmetics producers, claim animal testing is necessary to prove human safety and efficacy, this is a lie. There are over 7,000 ingredients producers can choose from to formulate their products that are deemed safe. The extensive list is more than enough to create many products, but producers want to make more money.

The only reason manufacturers still favor animal testing is for financial gains. If a company can find a new chemical or compound, it can call itself innovative, regardless of the uniqueness of the discovery. Animals are often mistreated in the pursuit of chemicals and compounds that act similarly or identically to other proven and known compounds, meaning testing is abuse for profit.

Additionally, alternative testing practices, including in vitro and computer model testing, are equally effective compared to animal testing and are frequently more advantageous. Animal testing is unnecessary.

2. Animal Testing Is Cruel

Many people do not realize the extent of the cruelty animals experience during testing. The animals are often locked in inadequately sized cages. They are blinded, maimed, tortured, and killed. Their lives are nothing but suffering and fear.

Governments worldwide are beginning to recognize the mistreatment, torture, and abuse of testing, placing bans on the practice. Israel, New Zealand, Norway, India, and the EU have banned animal testing. Unfortunately, the U.S. still allows the practice.

In many laboratories, beagles are favored as test subjects because of the breed's docile nature. In 2013, 67,772 dogs and 24,221 cats were subjects of tests. As with any other laboratory animal, these domesticated species were deprived of the fundamental rights we allow our pets.

Choosing cruelty-free products is not an immediate resolution to animal testing, but it does send a message to brands that consumers are against the practice. With enough focus and pressure from consumers about cruelty-free options, businesses, politicians, and brands might take a closer look at animal testing and reassess it.

3. Cruelty-Free Is Environmentally Friendly

Many consumers want natural products, items with fewer additives and formulated compounds. Truly natural products can have less impact on the environment when produced or eventually discarded. Average cosmetic products can lead to toxic interactions with the environment when washed down the drain or discarded.

Additionally, the parabens and sulfates used in many products can be harmful to you in the long term. They can lead to increased signs of aging and other skin issues.

Cruelty-free products are better for you, the environment, and animals. The number of animals residing in labs and subjected to abuse and neglect is staggering. You can make a difference.

Do you use cruelty-free products? If not, will you start? Comment below.

Learning To De-Stress This Holiday Season, So You Can Enjoy It

It's the most wonderful time of the year, or so they say. The holidays bring a lot of cheer, but they can also result in tremendous stress. The constant hustle and bustle can get a bit exhausting if you're unprepared, and while it is only a few months out of every year, the time can not go fast enough for some.

However, holidays should be enjoyable, and there is no reason they can't be still, especially if you learn to de-stress and embrace some straightforward changes. While some look at the holiday season as the season of obligations, others view it as a time to share, love, and reflect. Learning to de-stress is about changing your mindset and realizing you still have control.

Embrace the Power of "No"

There is this idea that saying "no" around the holidays is unconscionable, that somehow declining a party invitation will find you disowned by your family and friends, forever alone for the holidays yet to come. The imaginings of a lonely future typically result in people saying yes to any and every invite, leaving little room for self-care and reflection.

You should go to gatherings that you want to, and you should feel free to participate in traditions you enjoy. However, you also need to make sure that you leave room in your schedule to celebrate yourself.

Embracing "no" allows you to set aside time for self-improvement and empowerment, to focus on your health and sanity. You are allowed to say "no" to an invitation even without an excuse. You can say "no" simply because you need a break or want one.

Accept and Ask for Help

One of the joys of the holidays is inviting people over to visit and celebrate the season. The problem arises when an individual takes on the sole responsibility of providing entertainment, food, music, etc.

While you invited people, there is nothing wrong with asking for a bit of help. For instance, instead of taking on the burden of feeding 20 or 30 of your closest friends and family, consider throwing a potluck. Potlucks encourage participation and can help build community. Plus, a potluck will save you a load of money.

Exercise and Meditate

The holidays are notorious for weight gain. People dive into celebrations, enjoying the sweets and possibly drinking a little too much. The problem with over celebrating is that people often forget to maintain their physical health, which can directly affect their mental health.

Physical activity encourages the production of endorphins, the feel-good hormones. Exercise also leads to more energy and a positive mood, which is crucial in the winter, especially with seasonal affective disorder.

Additionally, taking the time to meditate can positively influence mood and stress. Mindfulness is known to reduce the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. It can also provide necessary moments of quiet and reflection.

Learn To Laugh

It is easy to become overwhelmed and stressed out during the holidays, but it is necessary to find enjoyment. Try not to take the holidays too seriously and expect the failure or disruption of plans because life happens after all.

Just take everything with a grain of salt and take a few deep breaths. Remind yourself that stress will pass and that the true spirit of the holiday is celebration, family, and love.

The holiday season is a reminder to cherish all of the important things in life, but it is also a time to celebrate yourself and where you are on your journey. Embrace traditions, but remember to take time for yourself.

What is your favorite holiday tradition? Comment below.

5 of My Best Tips to Avoid Self-Sabotage

Self-sabotage is one of those strange things we tend to do to ourselves when we’re trying to improve our lives. While it may seem impossible to understand why we sabotage ourselves, there are valid psychological and scientific reasons for this type of behavior. But that doesn’t mean we should just accept that tearing ourselves down is normal! If you’re ready to become your biggest fan instead of your biggest saboteur, take a look at my five best tips to avoid self-sabotage.

1. Visualize Positive Outcomes

One of the first things you want to do to stop the self-sabotage cycle is to visualize yourself beating your sugar cravings, building a long-lasting relationship with someone you love, and conquering any other goal you’ve made for yourself.

Too often, we make goals to improve ourselves, but in our minds, we’ve already failed from the start. We visualize how awful it will feel when we cave to our cravings or when we mess up a new relationship. But we need to remember that our thoughts are powerful. If we want to be successful at reaching our goals, we need to visualize ourselves winning at life. This isn’t pride or cockiness. It’s harnessing the power of positive thinking and self-love.

2. Beware the “Start Tomorrow” Trap

Did you know there’s an old song about “going on a diet tomorrow?” Who can’t relate to that sentiment, right? It’s normal to want to put off improving your life, even if it’s just for one day. If you’re like me, Monday seems to be the magic day for turning over a new leaf. But the truth is, putting off improvements until tomorrow, next week, or next month isn’t the best idea. It can squash your motivation and cause your target goals to always stay just out of reach.

So decide today that you’ll no longer wait until tomorrow. If you want to make a positive life change, do it today. Do it now. Taking action is the only way to turn your dreams and goals into tangible realities.

3. Figure Out What Steps You Need to Take

If you have a super vague goal, you’re less likely to reach it. For example, if your goal is something like “get healthy,” it’s too vague to chase. To be successful at improving your life, health and relationships, you need to make tangible goals and outline the steps necessary to reach them.

Think about what steps you need to take to become healthier. Do you need to change your diet? Eliminate certain foods? Add certain foods? Get a certain amount of activity every day? When you outline the steps you need to take to get where you want to be, your goal suddenly becomes attainable.

4. Take Note of Your Self-Sabotaging Patterns

If you want to stop sabotaging yourself, you need to pay close attention to your self-sabotaging patterns. How do you sabotage yourself? Do you procrastinate (this goes back to the “start tomorrow” trap?

Do you quit suddenly because you aren’t progressing as rapidly as you’d like? Do you intentionally binge eat or adopt other unhealthy habits to punish yourself for not sticking to your goals with preciseness? Once you take note of your self-sabotaging patterns, you can develop a plan for overcoming them.

5. Build Yourself Up

My final tip is to treat yourself as you would treat your best friend. We can be so mean to ourselves sometimes, and that will only lead to failure. Learn how to love and accept yourself how you are and praise your efforts every time you get closer to becoming a better version of yourself. Be kind to the person in the mirror and you’ll be surprised how rapidly your self-esteem and confidence improve.

What do you think about my tips for avoiding self-sabotage? I hope they work well for you and help you become the amazing person I know you can be!

Celebrity Skincare Products: Worth the Hype or Not

From Carmen Electra's GoGo Skincare to Pharrell's Humanrace, celebrities are now branching away from makeup and trying to convince you — the consumer — they know a thing or two about skincare. While some stars might understand the science behind healthy skin, there is a sneaking suspicion that most only want to pad their pocketbooks. 

There is nothing wrong with building your brand and starting a business; the problem comes when celebrities attempt to act like they are above the science — Gwyneth Paltrow, anyone? From Goop's nonsensical approach to wellness to Pharrell's claims of microtears, how much any celebrity knows about the formulations or properties of their brands or the efficacy of the products is questionable. 

Before you spend your hard-earned money on celebrity experiments, consider the ingredients, cost, and expertise of the person you purchase from. In most cases, celebrity lines are not worth the price you pay.

Perceived Value Versus Actual Value

Name recognition is the game. Celebrities want to capitalize on their star power while they can, and who can blame them. Unfortunately, in a rush to make money, many stars make significant mistakes in product design — consider Kylie Jenner's unwearable bathing suits.  

While skincare products do undergo some testing and regulation, it is not as much as prescription medications or treatments, meaning there is a loophole for making startling claims with no real evidence. For instance, there is a continuing trend of calling a product all-natural to encourage trust in a product. Unfortunately, even if a product is all-natural, which some are not, it doesn't mean you should use it on your skin. Sand or silica is natural, but it is a mistake to scrub it over your skin.  

When you go to purchase a product, look past the name, endorsements, and fancy marketing. Investigate the ingredients. Learn as much as you can about the science of skincare. 

By understanding the ingredients, you can better understand fair pricing. Most celebrity products are not worth the price tag. In many instances, they charge significantly over average prices for similar products, attempting to price them into the luxury market when they aren't luxury.

Dermatologist Versus Celebrity Opinion

When selecting skin care products, you want to avoid items with an overbearing smell because they often contain artificial colors and ingredients that can irritate the skin. Strong odors often point to chemical additives which can trigger certain skin conditions, like dermatitis, rashes, and other issues.  

A dermatologist is the only person you should trust when it comes to skincare recommendations. These professionals understand the science and medicine and understand when a product is not worth the packaging it's in.

Loyalty Versus Smart Purchasing Decisions

Many fans love and respect famous people. However, not all celebrities have the same appreciation towards their fans. Integrity and trust are hard things to come by in business, especially when it comes to many celebrity products. Unfortunately, without stricter regulations and an absence of blind loyalty, little can be done.  

The best thing anyone can do is educate themselves. Please do not take a celebrity's word for skincare products, especially when they lack the expertise to have a sound opinion. Talk to your dermatologist or doctor instead.

What do you think about celebrity skincare products? Are they worth the hype? Comment below.

5 Undeniable Benefits of Self-Care on Your Health

Self-care may be a trending term in recent years, but it is not a new concept. Nor is it an exclusive practice solely for the wealthy or people with an excessive amount of time on their hands. Self-care is simply the practice of taking care of yourself to preserve and improve both your physical health and emotional well-being. Though most forms of self-care are free, those that do cost money are likely to be affordable. Regardless of how much you do or do not pay, self-care activities can have a wealth of benefits. Below are just a few of them.

1. Self-Care Activities Can Improve Your Physical Health

Many self-care activities involve changing your diet for the better and incorporating exercise and mediation into your daily routine. These changes often translate to improved muscle tone, increased bone mass, better heart health, more energy and other measurable benefits. These benefits, in turn, trigger the body’s relaxation response, which can help to lower stress levels.

2. Self-Care Can Help Reduce Anxiety and Depression Levels

Common forms of self-care include taking warm baths, meditating, listening to music and going for walks. Each of these activities triggers the body’s natural relaxation response, which, in addition to reducing symptoms of stress, can also reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

3. Self-Care Can Boost Self-Esteem

When you treat yourself like you matter, you will begin to feel as if you do, too. Though it’s important to always know that you matter, if you ever feel yourself questioning your value or worth, take a few moments for yourself. Thinking positive thoughts while engaging in a relaxing activity may be just what you need to gain a new perspective that allows you to look upon yourself with more kindness. In fact, studies show that people who regularly engage in self-care activities have higher levels of self-esteem, are better able to achieve their self-improvement goals and can more easily overcome setbacks.

4. Self-Care Makes You a Better Friend and Loved One

Too many people believe that to be a great parent, child, spouse, significant other or what-have-you, they must bend over backward to do things for others. Sadly, these people often run themselves ragged to the point where they are unable to give their best to anyone.

If you want to give the best version of yourself to the people near and dear to you, you need to take care of your own needs, too. Imagine if, for every five things you did for someone else, you did something for yourself in return. Though the ratio may seem off, such a system may result in you treating yourself kindly several times a day, which can open your eyes to just how much you do for others and how little you do for yourself. Little rewards — whether in the form of an extra cup of coffee or a five-minute reading session — can also help you look forward to lending a helping hand, rather than viewing it as just another thing you have to do. All of this equates to more positive energy to lend to friends and family.

5. Self-Care Can Help Preserve Your Mental Health

Each of the aforementioned benefits works together to produce a single priceless outcome: preserved mental health. With so much to stress and worry about these days, your mental health is an invaluable asset that you want to protect at all costs. Fortunately, when you engage in self-care, the price is minimal to non-existent.

If you have yet to prioritize self-care, now is the time to change that. By taking just a few minutes of your day to show yourself some love and appreciation, you can experience a world of benefits.

5 Ways To Quickly Reduce the Appearance of Cellulite

Cellulite is as natural as gray hairs, crow’s feet and underarm “batwings.” And, like these three undeniable indicators of age, cellulite is less than welcome. If you are among the 85% of women who seem to develop just a bit more cellulite with each passing birthday, and if you’re tired of feeling a sense of dread every time you check out your bum, stomach or thighs in the mirror, rest assured in the knowledge that cellulite does not have to be forever. With a few easy tricks, you can reduce the appearance of cellulite and go out into the world with confidence once again.

1.    Drink Your Daily 8 Cups

Dehydration can cause even the most taut areas of your body to appear wrinkled and saggy, so it makes sense that, when dehydrated, areas of cellulite appear more pronounced. By starting each day with just half a liter of water and consuming up to three liters per day, you can drastically reduce the appearance of dimpled skin. Rumor has it that if you add two to three lemons to your first glass of water, or by swallowing a teaspoon of apple cider first thing in the morning, you can kickstart the benefits.

2.    Massage the Cellulite Away

Cellulite is often the result of fluid buildup in the lymph nodes in the areas around the dimpled skin. By massaging on and around the areas of cellulite, you can encourage lymphatic draining and, in the process, reduce the appearance of cellulite. Massage can also help stretch the skin and make it appear firmer.

3.    Maintain a Healthy Diet

Despite popular belief, weight and cellulite are not directly related. However, low metabolism and cellulite are. By eating a healthy diet that is rich in leafy greens, whole grains, fibrous foods and other nutritious substances — and by avoiding salt, sugary beverages and processed foods — you can speed up your metabolism and reduce the severity of dimpled skin.

As a bonus, a healthy diet can help you reduce your body fat and achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Though, as already stated, there is not a direct correlation between weight and cellulite, increased muscle tone can diminish the bumpy appearance of fat cells and make your skin look firm and smooth.

4.    Use a Homemade Coffee Scrub

Coffee contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. As such, research suggests that, when applied topically, it can help reduce low-grade inflammation and improve blood flow, two outcomes that can help diminish the appearance of cellulite. If you’re a coffee drinker, set aside your used grounds each morning in a jar or a plastic bag. The next time you shower, use a loofa, washcloth or old toothbrush, and massage the coffee grounds into the problem areas. Let them soak in and really get to work while you wash your face, lather your hair, etc. Then, rinse off as normal.

Another homemade scrub that has promise as a quick cellulite treatment is the coffee, raw honey and cucumber juice mixture. Mix these three ingredients until you form a thick paste, then apply to the problem areas a few minutes before you hop in the shower.

5.    Use Self-Tanner

Though not a permanent fix, tanning lotion can help hide fine lines, wrinkles and cellulite. If you’re only concerned about cellulite when you wear certain outfits, use self-tanners to blur its appearance for the day.

Cellulite is completely natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s always welcome. Whether you want to hide it for a day or get rid of it completely, give the above five tricks a try.