A lot of people are familiar with the benefits of eating organic food over conventional food grown with pesticides, but have you given the same thought to what you are putting on your skin?

Your skin is your body’s largest organ; it protects you, cleanses you, helps you breatheand it covers every inch of you.The products you put on it make a huge impact on your overall health.Minimizing toxic exposure is important for every process in your body, all the way down to a cellular level.

In the United States, companies are allowed to use harmful ingredients and make their own judgments about safety. In fact, there are over 1,400 chemicals banned or restricted in personal care products by the European Union while the  U.S. only bans 30. What does this mean?  We have to do our own homework to avoid toxic chemicals in products. (Check out Beauty Counter’s Never list of what to avoid: The Never List)

Botox has become an everyday word for many concerned with aging and beauty. But what is it exactly? Many people would say that it is used as an effective way to combat wrinkles and other signs of aging that appear on faces.One can merely google “botox” to find out that it is also a neurotoxin (derived from the toxin of the same bacterium that causes food poisoning).It can also cause paralysis of unintended muscles. I want to make it clear that my point here is not to judge but to educate with information that some might be unaware of.

However…  I am much more interested in talking about natural options that can perhaps have the same positive effects!


Elise receiving Acupuncture from Talia of Dahms Acupuncture in Encinitas, CA



Option 1: Microneedling

also known as collagen induction therapy (using fine needles to create hundreds of tiny, invisible puncture wounds in the top layer of skin)

less than 24 hours down time (flushed face)just a few sessions of microneedling will noticeably reduce fine lines, crow’s feet, and deep wrinkles on the forehead

-just a few sessions of microneedling will noticeably reduce fine lines, crow’s feet, and possibly even deep wrinkles on the forehead

-the more expensive option (per session)

-can be done at home using a dermaroller (like the one from Amazon here, probably not as safe or effective, but much more cost efficientDermaroller

“The microinjuries you create stimulates the body’s natural wound healing processes, resulting in cell turnover and increased collagen and elastin production, therefore reversing as well as preventing signs of aging,” says board certified dermatologist Sejal Shah, MD. It works the same way lasers do, only you’re injuring the skin mechanically instead of using heat or lightand works better with less down time (according to  the journal Dermatologic Surgery in 2016).

I had wanted to do microneedling for a long time, but also wanted to go to a professional. So I waited for a deal to come up. This past year around Christmas, Alexis K in Solana Beach offered a discounted package of 3 sessions. Alexis is bright, smiley and had perfect skin; I trusted her immediately. She even let me do the 3 sessions without the numbing medicine. I know, I know…I’m crazy. 

I definitely noticed a difference, even in the overall quality and vibrance of my skin. But Alexis sums it up best: “I have been an esthetician for over 20 years and microneedling has been the most effective and results driven treatment I have ever offered my clients. And you can expect long lasting results!

Option 2: Cosmetic Acupuncture

tones atrophied and sagging muscles and reduces fine lines

results are gradual and take more time

where Botox just works on the face, Cosmetic acupuncture works with the entire body and the person’s well being

less expensive than microneedling (per session)

no down time (unless you have bruising from a needle, which from personal experience I can say is minor)

I was reading online about natural facial regimes and found Dr. Sarah Emily Sajdak, DAOM, L.Ac of Aquarius Acupuncture in NYC. She created a technique she calls Beauty AcupunctureTM . As a nutritional counselor for 8 years, I know that skin issues almost always come from gut issues. Everything I read and saw on her page was in alignment with how I wanted to go about creating better skin from within. She says, I actually discovered Beauty AcupunctureTM while treating patients for migraines. I realized many of the same points that I was using for treating for headaches also restored Qi energy, blood and lymph flow to the skin. Beauty AcupunctureTM reduces lines created by muscle tension, improves acne, dryness, puffiness, and under eye circles and bags, improves glow, and evens out overall skin tone.

She gave me a referral here in Encinitas, and I immediately made an appointment with Talia of Dahms Acupuncture. She is the real deal. After seeing her for 10 weeks straight, I can see a noticeable difference in my skin and also the way I feel overall.  I had felt dehydrated for over a year, no matter what I did…that has been corrected since my first session with her. She says, “Regardless of what brings someone in, over the years an internal imbalance has lead to their current state, whether it be sagging skin, dryness, wrinkles or fine lines. So we work from the inside out.

Option 3: Gua Sha

form of soft tissue manipulation that includes the use of a tool (usually made of jade) and an oil

increases blood flow and encourages lymph drainage to the face and neck

been used for centuries in China

can be used every day

the only cost is for the tool

I started doing this every day, followed by a jade roller (which aids in the absorption of the products used). Not only has it made a difference, it works to improve the lymphatic system and  I find the process luxurious and it only takes a few minutes. Dr. Sajdak often gives her patients facial Gua Sha as “homework” and this accelerates the healing process and maintain results between sessionsThe best demonstration I have seen showing the strokes and tricks of the Gua Sha method is a video by New York esthetician named Britta PlugGua Sha Tutorial

One can also book this as a treatment with an esthetician like Reyna Maldonado of Releaf now located at Four Moons in Leucadia. 

Using one or more of these techniques are sure to make a difference in your skin and your health in general! I have personally tried all three and recommend all of them. We can’t totally get away from toxins in today’s world, but we can minimize them as much as possible by making informed, healthier and safer decisions than we did yesterday.