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I am a licensed clinical psychologist and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) warrior, a student at the world’s leading accredited organic skincare formulation school Formula Botanica, as well as a mama of three girls (3-year-old sister, and 2-year-old twins). I have a passion for finding and celebrating high-performance green skincare, organic skincare formulation, and understanding ingredients and what we can expect from them. Like many deep passions, this one was born out of struggle.
There are lots of beauty blogs written by people with gorgeous skin who simply love pampering themselves. This is not one of them. I could almost be the poster child for challenging skin. Before my lupus was properly diagnosed and treated, I had a very acute flare that required hospitalization–and aged me about ten years in a matter of weeks. I looked old for my age and have had to work hard to try to reverse the damage. My skin has always been dry, and after lupus hit, I also starting experiencing severe adult-onset acne. I have, at times, had truly compromised and troubled skin. With an illness as serious as lupus, the issue of skin care might seem like a superficial concern, but there is plenty of research demonstrating that it impacts quality of life for those of us who deal with it, and this is true for people without lupus, too. Having troubled skin takes a real emotional toll—>which adds to stress—>which then exacerbates skin conditions. It can be a vicious cycle. Read more about the psychological impact of skin conditions and the consequences of stress here.
I had trouble finding answers to my skin-related questions and problems. This led me to try nearly anything I could get my hands on in a desperate effort to remedy my skin. With an illness as serious as lupus, the issue of skin care might seem like a superficial concern, but there is plenty of research demonstrating that it impacts quality of life for those of us who deal with it, and this is true for people without lupus, too.
What I was looking for and what I write about is skincare that delivers high-performance results. This has led me to try all SORTS of lines. I am drawn to professional, medical, and cosmeceutical products because of their potency, but I have also fallen in love with green beauty–and I’ve fallen even harder for the community of bright, values-driven people that inhabit this sphere.
If you are tired of false promises and want to know about products that have been put to the test (a really hard one) and delivered great results, you are in the right place.
I have always loved skincare and have been a sunscreen worshipper ever since I was old enough to apply it. My interest in taming inflammaging was sparked by seeing how rapidly and dramatically lupus—with its chronic inflammation–aged me, despite years of taking good care of my skin. I am living proof that inflammaging is not just an abstract theory. I have a passion for testing and writing about anti-aging skincare, particularly skincare with the potential to tackle what I have termed skinflammaging (a combination of the terms skinflammation and inflammaging). I am trying to move towards exclusively cruelty-free options, and I gravitate towards a mix of green and traditional beauty. Ultimately, I evaluate products based on their ingredients and formulations. I am impressed when I encounter proven actives balanced with anti-inflammatories, and I try to steer clear of products with irritants or potentially harmful ingredients.
I believe that those of us blessed with sensitive skin hold skincare formulations to a high bar and reveal their truths because our reactive skin is highly discerning. In the words of May Lindstrom, “My skin was a battleground from birth.” I can immediately feel when a product is formulated to work with skin rather than against it; my skin demands support rather than force. I share my experiences in the hopes of giving others some starting points, celebrating excellence when I find it, and beginning a conversation to benefit one another.
I am passionate about products that really work and beautify skin. I am loyal to a few formulators who have really impressed me, but in general, I take it one product at a time and am always looking for the next (potentially) great thing. I love learning from others, so don’t hesitate to mention your favorites!
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic and sometimes disabling autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body, frequently attacking the skin, kidneys, joints, and/or nervous system. For many, SLE can be an extremely difficult, even disabling condition, and as many as 1.5 million Americans have it. Please follow these respective links a full overview of the many, variable symptoms that may indicate lupus or that a lupus sufferer may experience during a flare. Lupus has been called “the disease of a thousand faces” for good reason. Skin involvement is just one of many lupus-related challenges, and yet the issue is not just superficial–it can have a big impact on quality of life and daily functioning. My own skin challenges (e.g., photosensitivity, sun-sensitive rash, accelerated photodamage/skin aging) are big parts of what inspired me to start this blog. For a quick overview of skin involvement in lupus, please see this page.
For an incredible array of lupus-related resources all gathered in one place, I invite you to check out the Lupus Foundation of America’s newly-launched National Resource Center on Lupus.
I have been fortunate to be granted PR samples from truly remarkable lines. This is a privilege I do not take for granted. As my way of giving back, I make a donation to the Lupus Research Alliance out of my own pocket each time I am granted a feature/review opportunity. You can see an overview of their funded research here.