Balanced Bites Podcast | Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe

Podcast Episode #281: Skin Issues with Cassy Joy

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Topics Balanced Bites Podcast | Diane Sanfilippo & Liz Wolfe

1. News and updates from Liz & Cassy [2:02]
2. Shout out/something I’m digging: Jen Robbins’ Paleo Cooking in your Instant Pot [10:10]
3. Safer skincare [11:55]
4. Gut healing and skin issues [21:12]
5. Facial and chest acne [28:05]
6. Acne and thyroid [37:32]
7. Red bumps on thighs [38:22]
8. Age spots and liver spots [41:01]
9. Rosacea [45:11]

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You’re listening to the Balanced Bites podcast episode 281.

Liz Wolfe: Welcome to the Balanced Bites podcast. I’m Liz; a nutritional therapy practitioner, and author of the Wall Street Journal best-seller Eat the Yolks; The Purely Primal Skincare Guide; and the online program Baby Making and Beyond. I live on a farm in the mystical land of the Midwest, outside of Kansas City, and I am still drinking iced coffee; it is, I think when this episode airs it will be February. Diane is on a quick break this week, and while she’s away I’m super excited to welcome back our dear friend, Cassy Joy. Hi Cassy!

Cassy Joy: Hi Liz! That’s me! {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: I’m Cassy. I’m also a certified nutrition consultant, and the author of the book Fed and Fit. I’m also the creator of the Fed and Fit Project, an online 28-day food and fitness program. I live in San Antonio, Texas with my husband, and Great Pyrenees puppy. And I will happily put ranch dressing on absolutely anything that winds up on my plate. It’s my favorite. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} Love it. Alright, before we get started, let’s hear from one of our sponsors.

Liz Wolfe: Our podcast sponsorship today comes from Vital Choice, an online purveyor of the world’s best wild seafood delivered right to your door; because juggling a busy life shouldn’t mean you have to forgo healthy meals. At www.vitalchoice.com, you’ll find wild Alaskan salmon, halibut, tuna, sable fish, and cod, as well as prawns, crab, and scallops. You’ll also find grass-fed organic Wagyu beef, free range heritage chicken, fresh frozen organic berries, and dark organic chocolates. Make a vital choice by eating the highest quality food you can. Vital Choice; come home to real food. Use code BALANCEDBITES to save on your first order at www.vitalchoice.com.

1. News and updates from Liz & Cassy [2:02]

Liz Wolfe: Alright. Hey everybody. It’s me, Liz, as you heard, here with Cassy who is becoming a regular. If this is your first episode of the Balanced Bites podcast, go check out everything; anything and everything Cassy does or has done. We love having her on the show. As she said; she’s the author of Fed and Fit and she created the Fed and Fit Project. She’s also got the Fed and Fit podcast, you can find her at http://FedandFit.com. We love Cassy. So thank you for being with us again, my friend.

Cassy Joy: Oh my goodness; thank you for having me! This is so fun!

Liz Wolfe: Oh my gosh. I need to remember that. I need to remember that. {laughs} How much fun it is.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: We do have a really good time. I was talking to Cassy “off the air” about how it basically like, put the baby down for a nap, cross your fingers and hope it sticks and slide into Skype, and power up the podcast. So we are just working this in in between life and a million other things. And it should be fun.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, definitely highlight of my day, Liz, talking with you. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Aww, shucks. Shucks. So on that note, what are your updates for us, Cassy?

Cassy Joy: Oh man, my updates are pretty; this is, so it’s a new project that I have not announced anywhere yet. Except for here. So the Instant Pot, which I think ties in with something else we’re going to chat about today.

Liz Wolfe: Yes.

Cassy Joy: Is just taking off like a wildfire. It’s incredible. It’s this really cool tool. I purchased one this past December, and I love it. I’m learning how to use it. And what I want to do is to help support folks even more with their instant pot; because I get a lot of questions on recipes for it. I have, in my Fed and Fit book, there are 190 “squeaky clean” paleo recipes, and there’s a whole chapter on slow cooker meals. And what I’m going to do is put together a little mini eBook, send it out to newsletter subscribers, how they can make all those slow cooker meals with their Instant Pot. Which buttons to press when, and all that good stuff.

Liz Wolfe: So awesome!

Cassy Joy: Yeah! I mean, part of me wants to have the resource myself {laughs}. Whenever you have an idea like that is when you realize it might be good to share with others, so.

Liz Wolfe: Yes, absolutely.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, so it will be fun. Other than that; you know, it’s kind of the calm between a bunch of projects. I’m just getting back into the swing of real life; working out, and grocery shopping and all that stuff. So it’s been a lot of fun. What is going on in your neck of the woods, Liz? {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} Oh my I don’t even know. This is probably going to go up a few weeks from now, so this isn’t the most recent news in the world. But I was really, really fortunate to be able to have really intensive; two or three really intensive days of work on Baby Making and Beyond. I made a ton of progress; well, I wouldn’t say that I made a ton of progress. I would say that I used the time to the fullest. I would not say I made a ton of progress on the program itself. Poor Meg the midwife, my partner on this project. She’s had her stuff done and finished up ages ago and I’m still working on things. Because I just tend to get so detailed on things. Cassy, you actually hooked me up with a genetics expert.

Cassy Joy: Oh yeah!

Liz Wolfe: Fairly recently on Facebook that I’ve had some interactions with, talking about epigenetics, and we’ve talked a little bit about MTHFR. These things being intimately related to folate metabolism can really have a huge impact on pregnant women, and really for the most part what we need good folate status for is the first 28 days of pregnancy. Of course, we need it beyond that and before that it takes about 3 months of good folate intake to really get your body where it needs to be to provide for the developing baby as the neural tube closes. So of course the need for folate is well beyond the closure of the neural tube, but it’s very intimately tied to that. And that happens before most women even know they are pregnant. So it’s one of those things we really want to nail and not just take anything for granted and repeat any recommendations that have been given just because they’ve been given by intelligent people that I respect.

So, I’ve really dug into the information on folate, on methylated folate; and one of the things that I was really excited to find out is to have actually stumbled across some literature on the methylated folate content in foods. And this is kind of getting into way nerdy territory; but if you’re really clued in on a lot of the stuff that we talk about in the holistic wellness or alternative wellness; I don’t’ know what to call it, but in this community where we talk a lot about getting back to nature, eating real food; but we also bring in the really kind of cutting edge stuff that’s being talked about a little bit ahead of the scientific community. So there aren’t a whole lot of people that are synthesizing a lot of this information for the mainstream; and that’s where our community is really plugged in.

So one of the misconceptions I think that a lot of folks have is that the only way to get methylated folate is to either convert it in your body yourself, or to take a supplement of methylated folate; 5-MTHF or whatever you want to call it. And that’s entirely true. There is actually a pretty good pool of methyl folate available naturally from food. Now storage impacts the bioavailability of folate, folate can be degraded so that is one advantage of supplements, is that they are stabilized. But the fact is that for folks that really want to seek that out from food, even the people with, say genetic polymorphisms that impact the processing of folate, you can actually trust that about 80% of the folate in, I believe it was spinach, is already methylated. So fresh, leafy greens are key. Also; chicken liver. Ta-da!

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: Which we all love. Chicken liver is actually one of the highest foods for folate concentration, calorie for calorie. And it is also pretty darn high in methylated folate. I think the figures that I’ve found; and of course, this is going to depend on what the chicken ate, what the season is; which again, adds that wild card of variability in real food. But I think it can be up to around 30% methylated folate. Or something like that; now it might even be 70%; now I’m not remembering which it is. But basically in comparing beef liver with chicken liver, chicken liver is really high in available folate and beef liver is higher in vitamin A. So it was one of those just, nerd classics where I was like, “{gasp} This study looks at the methyl folate concentration in chicken liver! Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh!” {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: That was fun for me.

Cassy Joy: That is fascinating.

Liz Wolfe: Isn’t it though.

Cassy Joy: {laughs} It really is.

Liz Wolfe: I think that you probably do think it is.

Cassy Joy: I do; I really do. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Good, thank you. And just for the folks who are like; “Uh, don’t need to know all that. I just need you to tell me what to eat and what to do when my baby cries.” That’s what we’re going to do with the Baby Making and Beyond program, but everything that we say is going to be backed by an immense amount of detail. So that’s the goal. You don’t need to know that but if you want to know that, you certainly are {laughs} able to based on the work that I’ve done.

Cassy Joy: Fabulous. I can’t wait to dig in Liz.

Liz Wolfe: Alright! {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Hopefully if you guys decide to start a family at some point in the future, hopefully I get this done by the time said family is like 5, 10, 15 years old.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Hopefully I get to your future family before they hit high school. We’ll see.

Cassy Joy: {laughing} That sounds great.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

2. Shout out/something I’m digging: Jen Robbins’ Paleo Cooking in your Instant Pot [10:10]

Cassy Joy: Oh man that’s really funny. Well awesome. Are you digging anything else these days?

Liz Wolfe: You know, I actually am and it totally ties into your upcoming project. I’m really excited about Jen Robbins’ book; Paleo Cooking in your Instant Pot. I have been using it and really loving it. I did get an Instant Pot maybe 6 months ago, maybe more. And I love it, but I’ve only made like one or two things in it. Those things are incredibly convenient and I love it for it; but I hadn’t tried anything that was outside my comfort zone. And Jen’s cookbook came out. She’s the queen of the Instant Pot. She and Nom Nom Paleo and a couple of our friends of the show are really opening up this world to me, and I’m very grateful. So shout out to Jen Robbins of Predominantly Paleo for her Paleo Cooking in your Instant Pot book; and I’m really excited to see what you put out there too, Cassy.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, it will be really fun. I mean, Jen really pioneered. I got her book, and started working through it, and I was so thankful for it. And then the light bulb went off that I would like to adapt my recipes. But you know what she put in her book? I don’t know if you’ve tried this one yet. She took spaghetti squash and cooked it in her Instant Pot. And {laughs} my little kitchen shoulder angel did back flips when she saw that, because I feel like it’s such a labor to do spaghetti squash.

Liz Wolfe: Oh man. It is unless you do it in the microwave, which is just the lazy man’s way out, and I’m very, very happy to have another option between the microwave and 45 minutes in the oven. That is awesome.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, it’s really exciting. So go Jen!

Liz Wolfe: Go Jen! I think that qualifies for a shout out as well. So we’ll just wrap up our “What I’m digging” and our shout out into one fantastic thing.

Cassy Joy: Love it.

3. Safer skincare [11:55]

Liz Wolfe: Alrighty. So today’s topic, and I think it’s perfect for Cassy to be on the show with us today, is skin issues. We are going to tackle some questions from Instagram. We had over 70 questions submitted, so this might have to be something that we do continuously, continually; continuously? I don’t know. That we do repeatedly, how about that.

Cassy Joy: Sounds better. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Yeah, I think that’s a little bit better. So Cassy and I both; folks might know a little bit about my history with skincare. About 5 or more years ago, I don’t know how long now, I created the Purely Primal Skincare Guide. Back in the day it was called the Skintervention Guide, but we won’t get into the irritating legal situation that happened in relation to the word Skintervention. I had no idea that there wasn’t enough room for everybody to use that word. And so it became the Purely Primal Skincare Guide. But it’s the same content, the same values, and the basics of the guide is taking care of your nutrition; taking care of your digestive health, your gut health, and then taking care to use nontoxic products on the outside. Because our skin does absorb what we put on it.

Now, when I first wrote the guide, I was very, very into super natural skin care. Coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, just stripping it down to the bare basics as much as possible, and then as desired using things like tallow, different oils, the oil cleansing method, things like that. Over the course of the years, I started to realize that we live in the modern world; we have some very modern insults that are having their impact on our skin and on our bodies. And wouldn’t it be nice if we could find that happy medium between scientific yet still safe. Because for the most part, we can find highly effective yet potentially toxic or irritating skin care, and then on the other polar opposite is the super natural stuff; the crunchy stuff that not everybody relates to and not everybody necessarily wants to use.

So since I’ve put that guide, out, we’ve had a ton of new brands with amazing ideas and values come on the scene; and I’m sure Cassy and I will talk about some of our favorites today as we answer questions. But we have also found a brand called Beautycounter. Now, Cassy and I both have talked about this before. We are both Beautycounter consultants. We roped Diane in on the deal; we have a lot of friends that are. And my reasoning for becoming involved with Beautycounter as I did is that Beautycounter basically designed the line that I wanted to design, and never really had the wherewithal to do it. I’m not a business woman; I basically had an email list for people interested in my line whenever I got around to it. I got about 5,000 names on there, and just completely disappointed everybody.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: But it was wonderful to be able to find Beautycounter and say; this isn’t going to happen for me. Motherhood and life, it’s just too much. But guess what? I found a brand that basically did what I wanted to do. And they’re doing it incredibly well; better than I could ever hope to do that. And not only that; Beautycounter is also working to advance more health protective laws in Washington D.C. so that folks that can’t necessarily have access to or afford things like Beautycounter or more high performance safe skin care can hopefully one day go down to Walgreens and have their $0.99 shampoo be safer, as well. So that’s one of the reasons that Cassy and I are both interested in safer skin care and products that work, and one of the reasons that Cassy is perfect to come on this show and do this with us. Cassy.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Liz Wolfe: Do you have an origin story for your journey with skin care?

Cassy Joy: Oh, I do! I’d love to tell it.

Liz Wolfe: Ok.

Cassy Joy: So, it started with; I had, I came into paleo and a couple of years went by. I think everybody kind of has that ah-ha moment; where eventually that light bulb turns on in their head that maybe they want to start taking a look at the products that they’re putting on their skin. Because I had that moment where I had been a few years into this healthier lifestyle. This grain free lifestyle; it was really working for me, it didn’t feel like a diet anymore. I was just living, and I was doing great things for my body with fitness. And I thought; I’m doing all these wonderful things to take care of my body from the inside, it almost feels like a completely disconnect that I don’t apply that same sort of care, you know TLC and critical thinking, when it comes to the products that I’m putting on the outside.

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: So I did some research, and of course, stumbled across the Liz Wolfe’s guide, and she was the pointy tip of that safer skin care spear. And I submerged myself. I learned all about it. And girl; I was with you on the crunchy skin care. I, for a good solid year, I washed my hair with baking soda and I rinsed with apple cider vinegar, and I washed my face with coconut oil, and I moisturized with a combination of olive oil and some other things; jojoba. I don’t even know if I’ve ever said that right.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs} It’s “ho-hoba” but it feels so lame to say it like that. You want to just call it jojoba. Go ahead. Call it jojoba.

Cassy Joy: {laughing} Oh I’m so sorry, jojoba I’ve been doing it wrong for years! {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: But yeah, I jumped in. you know, aside from just the principle of wanting to clean up the things I was putting on the outside of my body, just to take care of myself overall. Right? The idea of; we can’t eliminate the toxic burden on our bodies altogether, because we live in a modern world. But what we can do is we can start to strategically take pieces of straw off the camel’s back. And that’s kind of what I was thinking I was doing with skin care and hair care. I was pulling some straws off the camel’s back, reducing my total load. The burden that my body has to bear. And I was really excited about it.

But that aside; aside from the principal; I also had some skin issues. And the issues were, my skin; I’ve always had very sensitive skin. In high school, I had acne vulgaris, which if anybody here is familiar with that it’s cystic acne times 10. It was; I still have really deep scarring from it. So for years, I had acne and then I went on Accutane when I was 16. And that was after 8-9 different kinds of antibiotics. We tried them all as a last ditch effort before Accutane. I tried all the creams. And again, knowing what I know now, we probably would have approached it differently, but that’s what we did. But the Accutane cleared up my acne, and what I’m left with now is extremely sensitive skin. And I may have always had that, but now I’ve got extremely sensitive skin. So I get a lot of redness, a lot of dryness. So I was also looking for a solution to that.

While a really, really crunchy skin care regimen helped, it didn’t heal it completely. So when I did stumble across Beautycounter; I’m sure, also compliments of Liz {laughing}. Again, the arrow in safer skin care. I gave it a try, but to be honest I was really skeptical. Because I think we’ve all been there where we spend money on products and we’re not sure if they’re going to work. So I was skeptical, I tried a sample pack, and in about 2 weeks I noticed a difference in my skin. It felt moisturized for the first time in years, and some of the redness went away. And I really believed; I worked with the products for months, got to know the company, started to really believe in their mission. I understood how they made products, what they were putting into it, and it was something I could really stand by. So that’s when I eventually decided to join as a consultant, with the idea that I could then help educate others and bring this solution to the forefront for folks who might be looking for it. And of course, there are other brands that I love, which we can chat about. But that’s my unabridged skin care story.

Liz Wolfe: I love it. So this is not a Beautycounter podcast.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: But it certainly is; I think it’s relevant because folks sometimes want the natural stuff, sometimes they want a solution that’s a little bit more high tech. so we at the very least have the knowledge and ability to make recommendations for folks that are across the spectrum. And with that said, we can get started.

Liz Wolfe: The Balanced Bites podcast is sponsored in part by the Nutritional Therapy Association. The NTA trains and certifies nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants (including me; I’m an NTP), emphasizing bio-individuality and the range of dietary strategies that support wellness. The NTA emphasizes local, whole, properly prepared nutrient dense foods as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s ability to heal. Nutritional therapy practitioners and consultants learn a wide range of tools and techniques to assess and correct nutritional imbalances. To learn lots more about the nutritional therapy program, go to http://www.NutritionalTherapy.com. There are workshop venues in the US, Canada, and Australia, so chances are you’ll be able to find a venue that works for you.

4. Gut healing and skin issues [21:12]

Liz Wolfe: Alright, this first question is from Emily Elizabeth on Instagram. This is about gut healing and skin issues. “During the gut healing process/toxin releasing process, is it normal for skin issues to come up? I’ve been noticing random dry patches of skin on different parts of my skin; something I’ve never had previously. What would be some healthy ways to address these?”

Well, it depends. So one of my least favorite things to hear is this idea of the detox effect when it comes to your skin; in particular when it comes to switching skin care and you feel like your skin is supposed to purge and get better, and that to me is just totally illegitimate. If we have any questions about that later we can talk about it. But it is true that when you’re healing your body from the inside, things can get kind of just stopped up at different points in the process.

So, for example. If you start with; say you start changing your food, and your gut bacteria begin to change. And then all of a sudden, you’re able to deal with certain insults more efficiently; send toxins or hormones or bad estrogen to your liver, and the liver is not ready for it. And at that point, I guess the least scientific way I could put this is things kind of start backing up in the drain, and yeah. Technically, you can see some things happening to your skin. It just depends from person to person. I find, for folks who are dealing with hormonal issues, sometimes hormonal acne will crop up. I don’t know what this person is dealing with, gut healing wise. If it’s Candida, or it’s an endotoxin overload, or it’s just gut bacteria imbalance, what it might be. So I hesitate to say yeah, it makes sense that random dry patches are cropping up because you’re releasing toxins. I don’t know that I can necessarily make that leap without more information. However, it’s certainly possible. It’s also possible that it’s just the weather or you’ve changed some things and you’re not paying attention to hydration, or something like that. So there could be different things going on here.

Healthy ways to address that? At some point, you can either say; alright, do I need to slow down on this process? Is my body a little bit overwhelmed and overburdened, and I need to take a step back and go a little bit slower? I very much advocate the slow change when it comes to having many, many, many different pieces that need to get in line at the same time. So maybe you back off. If you’re taking some kind of herbal; I don’t know, antibiotic, then maybe that’s going a little too fast for you. That type of thing.

Let’s see; what else did I want to say here, what would be some healthy ways to address that? I think some really good ways to address it, actually Cassy you talk about in your book with the pillars, so maybe once I turn this over to you, you can talk about those a little bit and let folks know what you’ve got in your book for them along those lines. I would also say you could certainly moisturize these dry patches with some kind of barrier cream. There are different types of moisturizers. There are true moisturizers that are meant to soak in; there are occlusives, there are barriers, there are different ways that you can protect these areas to keep them from getting worse. And one of my favorites is actually lanolin. That’s probably the most basic that you can get to use on random dry patches. I have also really, really liked Beautycounter’s cleansing balm, which is also, unlike lanolin, very multipurpose. So if you’ve already got lanolin lying around, I particularly recommend anhydrous lanolin, which you can get off Amazon. It’s basically lanolin with all the liquids removed, so it’s very solid and it’ll get a little bit melty when you touch it, but that provides a really good barrier, and it can also be very emollient. It can really soften those areas up.

If you want to spend your money on something that’s a little more multi-purpose, you could look at the Beautycounter cleansing balm, which could be used as a moisturizer, as a cleanser, or for things like this. So that’s my answer. Cassy; what is your input?

Cassy Joy: I think those are great answers. I’m sitting over here; I feel like I have a virtual bowl of popcorn, I’m just eating and listening to you {laughs}.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Gobbling it up. No I think that’s a really, really great take. I actually used to use lanolin on some of my dry spots, and to your point, it really did help as a barrier, especially during dryer months, so that was really great.

You know, as far as the pillars go; so in the Fed and Fit book, in order to pre-seed this 28-day food and fitness overhaul; which is not meant to be another diet. It’s just really meant to be a how-to leading folks to develop their plan. Because everyone is so different, and your perfect lifestyle is going to look different from everybody else. So in order to get to that point of overall awareness, there was a lot of knowledge that I wanted to cover. Some groundwork that we wanted to lay before we jumped into it. And that was organized into the four pillars.

And the two that I think would apply here are rest and hydration. And we kind of break it down, talk about the science of rest and the science of staying hydrated in the book; but I think some of the best things you can do, if you do feel like you’re transitioning, and you're changing things in your diet, and you're experimenting with maybe a probiotic or with your diet or whatever it is. Whatever changes are going on; I tend to lean on old faithfuls that some of the best things you can do to best prepare your body to deal with the changes and to deal with the environment are to make sure that you’re getting plenty of rest and plenty of water. Just to kind of keep it very high level; that’s what I would recommend there.

And then to Liz’s point; I think those are really great products. I’ve used both of them and can really speak to their effectiveness.

Liz Wolfe: And if you want something a little bit in between; like super natural yet some nice bonuses in there that you can use across your body; Primally Pure has some really, really great products.

Cassy Joy: They’re fabulous.

Liz Wolfe: Yes.

Cassy Joy: Her beauty balm, which just came out, is meant to be a moisturizer for the face specifically, and it is just luscious. And it’s tallow based; but like Liz said, it’s got some bonuses in there. And then she also, of course, has the body butter, which you can apply all over, which is also lovely.

5. Facial and chest acne [28:05]

Liz Wolfe: Love it, love it. Alright. This one is about facial and chest acne. Heather says, “I’ve been eating paleo for 2 years now. Healed my gut, got off my allergy medications, back to daily exercise, and went off my hormonal birth control after 24 years. 6 months later, I’m still struggling with facial and chest acne; along my jawline and chin mostly. I use Beautycounter makeup, charcoal cleansing bar, and neem oil to heal breakouts. Is there something else I should be doing, or do I need more time for my body to adjust? Thank you so very much for all of the amazing work you’re doing to help us live healthier lives.”

Thank you for submitting your question, Heather. Ok, so you’ve healed your guts, got off your allergy medications, back to daily exercise. Let’s see what else is in here; went off hormonal birth control after 24 years. That is an incredibly long time. And quite frankly, we really don’t know, surprise, surprise; there have not been any adequately designed or controlled studies evaluating the long-term effects of different types of birth control. Now, to a degree it would be really hard to design the perfect study because it’s kind of like; unless you’re looking at twins that were raised in a vacuum with absolutely everything the same; it’s hard to really get some satisfying end points in my opinion, when you’re looking at people who have different lives, different hormonal balance to start out with, and all of that stuff. So it’s tough to know.

But we can assume that 24 years of birth control can do some pretty difficult things to the system. And for some people, your body basically just gives up generating the proper balance of hormones all by itself. When you’ve been inputting those yourself for so long; I mean, I’m sure this is scientifically inaccurate in many ways, but I think back when estrogen therapy was the thing. And I think Susanne Summers was really big on it, and it turns out women were basically dropping dead because of it. Wow, I’m opening a whole can of worms there.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: But it’s one of those things where you’re constantly feeding your body exogenous hormones; we really can’t predict what’s going to happen and what that’s going to do to the body long-term. So absolutely, it’s very possible, especially since you’re dealing with acne on the face and chest, you’re probably sensitive there. You might also have some androgenized hair follicles that are causing those issues or causing you to have breakouts in those areas. It might just be an issue of long-term issues balancing or creating the proper hormone balance to resolve these things. Sometimes these things are local, it seems like, and sometimes they’re systemic. So sometimes it’s hard to tell.

Absent hormone tests, it’s kind of hard to really make a prediction on where this is going to go. The other think about hormone testing is it’s really tough to test tissue hormones. I don’t even know if there is a commercially available test to test tissue hormones; that’s not really my field of expertise so I'm not entirely sure. Generally they’re testing your blood. There’s a Dutch urine test that I think tests hormones; it’s supposed to be pretty accurate but I don’t know a whole lot about that yet, either. So if you wanted to do some more digging and look at, say, hormone levels at different points in your cycle; red blood cell magnesium; what else might you check? Golly, I’m just not sure. If you wanted to gather some data points, you certainly could.

What I would probably do is do what Cassy did with the last questioner. Back out, and really see what big picture things you can align; hydration certainly being one of them, nutrient dense foods being another. Possibly adding in some superfoods or maybe some magnesium supplementation, maybe some topical magnesium. Let me think what else I might like for this person.

Now, I don’t know if I want to throw this out there or not, because then people start doing things that they’re not entirely prepared or informed enough to do. There is; you could try a topical progesterone product. Natural, bioidentical, progesterone dissolved in vitamin E just on one acne lesion. So if you have one inflamed lesion along your jawline, you could try applying just a little bit of topical progesterone and see what happens to that spot. If the spot goes away relatively quickly, it’s a pretty good indication that you’re dealing with a localized hormonal issue. But it’s kind of hard to say. So probably you need more time for your body to adjust, because you’ve been on hormonal birth control for 24 years. You probably also need to support your liver to ensure it’s able to export, say, the bad estrogen metabolites, and then probably look into hormonal balance.

And I can’t believe I forgot to say this; another way to do that is to track your menstrual cycle. Take your temperature every morning to see where it’s at; when you ovulate, and to see where your temperature goes after that. That’s a good way to kind of know what’s going on. The other thing is thyroid. Oh gosh; see, now I’m really getting into it.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: So the other thing is thyroid. A lot of times, folks who go on paleo will have compromised digestion, so they’ll start eating all these whole foods that they don’t have the digestive capacity to handle, and sometimes they will also start eating, say so much protein. So much chicken breast, and so much broccoli. And a lot of things get better, but some things also tend to get worse over time. For example, thyroid function. So when you don’t have a ton of available energy, all of a sudden because your body can’t deal with extracting the energy from the new whole foods that you’re eating, your thyroid can suffer. Particularly if you go paleo and you really restrict the carbohydrates. So that’s really something to watch out for.

The thyroid is obviously a hormonal gland, and you really have to tie that into the balance of your female hormones; progesterone and estrogen. So that could be involved as well. I really am pro carbohydrate for women, very much so, and I actually am becoming more pro-fruit, necessarily, than pro-starch. So there are a lot of things you can play with here, a lot of possibilities. But supporting your whole body, keeping an eye on the digestibility of your food; whether you're getting enough carbs, and tweaking from there. I rambled; Cassy do you have anything to add? {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Here, here! {laughs} I just sat here and nodded my head. No, I’m with you. Especially on the note about carbohydrates. That’s the only note I had to add and you covered it, was those veggie based carbs. And those would be, of course, potatoes, sweet potatoes; all the full gamut of potatoes are the ones that I like. {laughs} All of them. The winter, what are they called? Squash. The winter squash.

Liz Wolfe: {laughing}

Cassy Joy: You know, butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, all of those. Beets, I would say, plantains, all of those. In case you’re just thinking; I can’t eat another piece of butternut squash; there’s a really great variety of healthy starches out there. And I too am pro-rich carb diet, especially for us ladies.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah, absolutely.

Cassy Joy: I think you got it. You nailed it.

Liz Wolfe: Very good. I guess maybe one of the other things I would throw in there product wise, besides this obscure progesterone and vitamin E that I just basically people are going to be Googling; what the hell? I don’t know that I want to give more information than that. I’m just worried that I’m not well informed enough on it, and I don’t want folks to just do it because I told them to. So there you go.

But product-wise, I do love the charcoal bar. But I looove the charcoal mask. Love it so much. One of my favorites, and that might be worth trying. Of course, with everything, spot test. But one of the huge strengths of the charcoal mask is it contains salicylic acid, which basically gets into your pores and scrubs them out. It’s a beta hydroxy acid, one of the only ones we use in skin care. And it has the function of actually getting in there, penetrating, and getting stuff cleaned out, which is why it’s great for blackheads. It can be really good for acne, as well. Also has lactic acid, which is an exfoliant. It can really kind of give you that polished look, but it also is, I believe it’s a humectant, which basically helps your skin hold onto water; and then of course the charcoal. It’s lovely, it’s got some ginger to soothe, so that might be worth trying the next time you feel like ordering from Beautycounter.

And I think possibly; Cassy, I don’t know what we’re going to do yet, but why don’t we just tell folks to go to http://realfoodliz.com/gift whenever this podcast comes out, and we’ll do some kind of Beautycounter promotion, some kind of incentive between the two of us for folks to check out if they want to try any of these products.

Cassy Joy: Love it!

Liz Wolfe: Cool. Cool. Can you remind me {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: When the podcast comes out, to create that page. Thank you.

Cassy Joy: I wrote it down. It’s on my big sticky board.

Liz Wolfe: Oh, good. Thank goodness for sticky boards.

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

6. Acne and thyroid [37:32]

Liz Wolfe: Alright; we don’t have a whole lot of time left. Do you have another, maybe 10 minutes for us, Cassy?

Cassy Joy: Yeah, definitely.

Liz Wolfe: Ok, awesome. This next one is from Love, Peace, Freckles. “I’ve heard Liz mention this very briefly, but would love to expand. Acne breakouts on the lower cheeks and chin; underneath the jawline and on neck. Could this be thyroid issue? Was on birth control for 10 years, started to help with acne. Stopped birth control a few years ago, went all natural and the acne came back. I had a miscarriage in late September.” Oh, I’m so sorry about that. “And trying to conceive again. I was previously diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, and my ND has me on a hormone tincture. So could this style of acne be thyroid related, and what can I do about it? Thanks, love you ladies.”

Well, actually, everything that I said to the last question completely applies here. I don’t know that I have anything else to say about that. I think we really tackled it.

Cassy Joy: Yep; I agree.

7. Red bumps on thighs [38:22]

Liz Wolfe: Very, very good. Alright, next up from Julie. “I don’t know if this has been addressed in a previous podcast but I’d love to figure out why I have red bumps on my legs, particularly on my thighs. I know it’s not razor bumps, even though that’s what it looks like, since I don’t shave that area often. I’m in the fitness industry, and wear yoga pants every day; sometimes for the majority of the day. Could that have something to do with it? Or could it be diet related? I eat paleo most of the time; a lot of eggs, meat, potatoes, and vegetables. Thank you!”

I think you had some insight on this for us, Cassy.

Cassy Joy: Yeah, you want me to throw it in.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah.

Cassy Joy: So, I really do think that you nailed it, Julie, with the yoga pants. What I would guess is it sounds kind of like folliculitis; which is when we have inflamed hair follicles. Just wearing; think about it this way. Right now, I’m wearing these compression pants that I love so much, but if I {laughs} I hope this isn’t too much information. But if do shave my legs, I know that I cannot wear these pants on day 2 or whatever after I shave my legs, because the hair growing back, it’s too tight.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: And it will cause folliculitis.

Liz Wolfe: Ooh, what we do for compression pants.

Cassy Joy: Too much? {laughing} They’re the best, though, they really are the best pants. So, it just really sounds like that’s probably what’s going on. You may try some looser clothing. Maybe try a pair of joggers if you can. You know, swap them in every other day or something like that; or if you can, wear shorts when it starts to warm up a little bit and see if that helps. And then also the eggs, and the meat, and potatoes, and vegetables; all that is great. I mean, it’s possible that there’s something in your diet that you’re eating a lot of that’s irritating you. But if it’s really specifically showing up on your thighs, that’s what I’m inclined to think it is.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah. I was pondering this, and when you said that, “Yeah, I think it’s the yoga pants.” I was like; of course it’s the yoga pants! We need to get this gal some Aladdin pants, and she can just wear some hammer pants or Aladdin pants or something like that to really let those hair follicles breath.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

Liz Wolfe: But I definitely think you nailed it. And if not; if it doesn’t improve, always some dry brushing can be good. And sometimes if you can shave without cutting those spots, shaving can actually be really good for exfoliating. And if that doesn’t work, then write us back again and we’ll dig deeper.

8. Age spots and liver spots [41:01]

Liz Wolfe: Alright, this next one from Stephanie; love this topic. “Age spots and liver spots. Can they be reversed through diet, and can future ones be prevented? Is there anything that can be done to eliminate those that already exist?”

I love this question. I was not adequately prepared for it {laughs} because I skimmed over this when I was doing the podcast prep work, and I apologize for that, but I think I can, at the very least, give you some stuff to Google.

So I think one of the things folks get confused about is whether they’re actually talking about age/liver spots or hyperpigmentation. So say for example, melasma; that’s melanin. That’s the actual substance in the skin that is causing the skin to darken in these different spots. Overexposure to the sun can cause these melanin related spots. But age spots and liver spots are actually I believe a substance called lipofuscin. Of course I’m not saying it correctly; but L-I-P-O-F-U-S-C-I-N. And that has a lot more to do, I believe, with possibly iron overload and definitely oxidation of polyunsaturated fats. And potentially a low level of vitamin E. So it just depends on which think you're talking about. And I would definitely Google lipofuscin, age spots, vitamin E, PUFA, that type of thing to get a little bit more insight.

I personally do think that liver spots can be improved really only through diet. You can’t actually improve liver spots with peels or some people like to say try a vitamin C product, it will help your skin exfoliate. That’s not going to deal with the problem. That can help with sun damage; darkness from sun damage and that type of thing, but it’s not going to help with liver spots. So you can’t really do much topically, with the exception of maybe you could break open a little vitamin E capsule and rub it on the spots. I don’t know how penetrative that is, but who knows it might be worth a try.

And I believe over time, as folks, I’m going to use the word detoxify. As you detoxify, the long chain, the polyunsaturated fatty acids that a lot of us were just bombarded with from the time we were young in our diet; canola oil, from even fish oil supplementation, that type of thing. As you detoxify the overload of those fatty acids from your cells, and I encourage folks to get as many sources of food based vitamin E as they can as they’re doing that, because it can really help. But as you, I guess detoxify that, and strengthen your cells, I think you could, at the very least, prevent new ones from forming. That’s my insight. Anything from Cassy? {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughs} No, wonderful answers. I learned more there, too. {laughing}

Liz Wolfe: I’m making a lot of leaps. I mean, I’m a lot more careless with what I say now than I used to be. I used to be very, very careful, and now I’m like, “Well, this sounds about right. Google that.”

Cassy Joy: As far as; I did kind of have some hyperpigmentation and now I’m wondering if I’m using the right word.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah, yeah.

Cassy Joy: Ok. At the corner of my eyes. And I joke that it’s just the Garcia in me coming out, because my grandmother had them. And I actually found some relief, a little bit of relief, with the toner pads that Beautycounter makes.

Liz Wolfe: Very good, so that’s a good option for sure. They have very mild fruit acids in them that can help your skin exfoliate. So that was probably more like sun damage and hyperpigmentation not caused by oxidation or lipofuscin, which is what we see in liver spots and such.

Cassy Joy: Got it. 10-4. Cool, good info.

9. Rosacea [45:11]

Liz Wolfe: Good info. Alright, one last question. This is about rosacea. “Can you talk about rosacea; especially the redness and bumps? It runs in my family, and at 29 I’ve noticed it starting to appear. I find that paleo helps keep it at bay for the most part, but can you get into it more? My mom has it very bad, and takes medicine/creams for it, but I’d love to give her more information on how diet can help or hurt it. Thanks!”

I have some ideas here, but Cassy do you have anything? I’ve kind of been jumping in on these.

Cassy Joy: I have an idea.

Liz Wolfe: Go!

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Ok, so this is near and dear to my heart as well. Rosacea totally runs in my family, and I have; I’m sure a lot of folks listening to this show are professionals; probably professional services when it comes to nutrition and things like that. And you know that when your family needs advice, but you can’t give it unless they ask of it, kind of thing?

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: I went through that with my family, but now skin care has come up. And my sweet dad; he’s given me permission to talk about it, because he was so excited about the relief. But my dad had really bad rosacea on his temples. And he’s had it for months and months and months. And it’s worse with stress, and it’s worse at certain times of the year, and during the winter, it’s just more aggravated. I finally asked him, and he of course went to the doctor, and they got him on some creams, which helped, but it didn’t heal it. I eventually just gave him some new shampoo. And I’m not saying this is going to cure everybody’s rosacea, but it helped here. I was suspicious; he was using this natural shampoo, he felt good about it. And he said; well it’s all natural stuff, and I went and read the back of the label, and it had sodium lauryl sulfate in it. Which, from I understand, can be really irritating.

Liz Wolfe: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: Especially to folks who are prone to skin conditions like rosacea. So I kind of brought it up to him, and asked if he’d be willing to make a switch. And he used the new shampoo; and of course, Beautycounter makes this shampoo, and I use it as well. And his rosacea. I asked him; I said, because we’re scientific as well, right? {laughs} Scientific process; did you change any other variables? {laughs} Has anything else changed? And he’s like, you know me, I’m a one-shot kind of guy, very simple.

Liz Wolfe: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: {laughs} But yeah, it went away after a few days to a week of use. So that was miraculous. And I really believe it was the SLS; the sodium lauryl sulfate and the sodium laureth; that’s such a mouthful.

Liz Wolfe: Yeah, I know.

Cassy Joy: Sulfate. I don’t remember which one of the two it had in there, but from what I understand, both of those can be aggravating. So I would say look into your skincare products, and read the back of the label, and if you see anything tht looks like an SLS type of friend or sibling or something like that to that kind of compound, maybe think about replacing it with something that doesn’t have it in there.

Liz Wolfe: Such a good idea. I love that. And I also love how you called out that folks who are predisposed to skin sensitivity will have even more of a difficult time dealing with insults; so the SLS that you found in your dad’s shampoo. And that’s so true. And even more so calling out the stress, and calling out the season; all of those things, stress obviously exacerbates anything that we’re dealing with. Winter, when there’s less moisture in the air, can mess with our skin’s barrier function. And if you’re already prone to it, then that could just really send things in the direction that you really don’t want them to go.

And I think one of the things that folks with rosacea are prone to is localized metabolic issues. What that would mean is that it’s not necessarily systemic, although a lot of times, that occurs with gut health issues that might need to be taken care of, or food issues, or stressful jobs, or whatever that might be. But you can also do some things topically like change your products, and also use a couple of active ingredients that might help to deal with that localized redness and irritation, and to hopefully do a bit of a, I don’t know, reboot locally for the metabolic function of your skin cells.

So the two things I really like, and I would try these in this order, not at the same time. The two things I like that you can add after you’ve switched out all of your skincare to safer, is I would add some green tea extract. This is one that I’ve sung the praises of in a private Facebook group that I did with another Beautycounter consultant on our team. The green tea extract with EGCG. You can get that from skinactives.com. I don’t recommend, sadly, any of their premade products just because they use parabens, which is one of the ingredients we want to avoid. But you can get these active ingredients; and some of them you can use without having to blend them or create an actual product with them.

So most people buy these actives to create their own products, but you can basically use this green tea extract without having to worry about mixing it. So you just dust a little bit into your palm, combine with your toner or whatever, or some water, dissolve it in here, and put it on the irritated area. I’ve had some really good testimonials about this; and in fact, it was actually a friend of mine who basically discovered this as effective for her rosacea when this next one that I’m going to tell you about was not as effective for her, so it just kind of depends. You have to play with it. So the green tea extract with EGCG from skinactives.com. Don’t premix it, because then you would start to need to add preservatives and whatnot. So just every time you use it, just tap out a little bit into your palm. If you tend towards oily skin, just keep an eye on it, because green tea is also known to help dry up people prone to oily skin.

The other product that you could try, and you would use it in almost the exact same way, is called niacinamide. You can also get that from skinactives.com. It is not for people with a family history of Parkinson’s. You need to make very sure this is a product you’re comfortable using. But it is very powerful locally in enhancing the metabolic function of the skin. So niacinamide is a good one. You can also find products with niacinamide in them, but if you just want to; like Cassy said, change one variable, and just add the niacinamide, then that would be the way to go. Alright?

Cassy Joy: Cool. I took notes. {laughs}

Liz Wolfe: Alright. I’m so glad. I’m so glad I had a couple of decent insight for some of these questions. Because I was a little concerned. I was a little concerned at my post baby nap state if I was going to be able to handle this. But I think we did good.

Alright friends, we will skip the parenthood tip for today, in part because I got nothing. It is not one of those days where I feel like I am on top of the parenthood game. So we’ll just skip straight to the close. Let me thank you again, Cassy for being with us today, taking the time to do it. We love having you on, and we hope you’ll continue to come back.

Cassy Joy: Oh my gosh; you just say the word and I’ll be here.

Liz Wolfe: Yay! Well I’ve got your number, I’ve got your Voxer, I’ve got your Facebook; so you just try to escape me.

Cassy Joy: I can’t hide.

Liz Wolfe: You cannot hide. We appreciate it. So folks I also want to say; remind you again when this episode airs. I’m not exactly sure when that will be, I’m guessing it’s going to be February 2017; go to http://realfoodliz.com/gift and we’ll see if we can do some kind of incentive for folks that buy from Beautycounter if Cassy and I can figure something out for you folks. So check that page, we’ll hopefully have something for you by the time this episode airs. And, also if you have any questions about becoming a consultant, if this type of thing is your wheelhouse, we’re also happy to answer questions about that as well. So just head over to that page, and we’ll have the details there.

Alright folks, that’s it for this week then. You can find me, Liz, at http://realfoodliz.com/ and you can find Cassy at http://FedandFit.com. Join our email lists for free goodies and updates that you don’t find anywhere else on our website or on the podcast. While you’re on the internet, please leave us an iTunes review. See you next week.

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