A Close Look at Vitamin Injections

Shannon Smyth

Vitamin Injections: Dr. Jeffrey Klein Explains.

Women learn at an early age (teens and pre-teens) that healthy skin is of the utmost importance, particularly when it comes to the upper body and face area—it’s an idea or notion that’s instilled within women probably from the time of birth. Have you ever noticed how soft a baby’s skin is? TV commercials and magazines are inundated with images of women with healthy, glowing skin, and that beautiful, aesthetically pleasing look that every woman strives to obtain. Some women that fall short of that radiant look, as seen on television, simply use a lot of makeup to achieve that every woman strives to obtain. Women who are naturally blessed with that glowing look don’t use makeup at all, however, they still look for alternate solutions in an effort to compete with other women who are blessed with perfect skin, much like the ones in the TV commercials—it makes you wonder what these people to make their skin look so good. Dermatologists will always tell you that you need to take care of your skin every day, which is everyone’s goal. Obviously it’s a good idea to take care of your skin, after all it’s the only skin you have, and whether you’re a woman or a man, you want to appear healthy and young (just like everyone else.) The sun and its ultraviolet rays can be one of your skin’s worst enemies, and we’re all exposed to it on a daily basis. Of course, your skin is also affected by other elements, such as your job, lifestyle, stress level, and many other factors. If you are the outdoorsy type, for example, you probably need to protect your skin even more than others do. For the most part, women tend to use a lot of cosmetics, makeup, and powders that need to be washed off every day. To some extent, a daily regimen will help maintain the health and youthfulness of your skin. It also prevents skin conditions, ranging from like acne to skin cancer. At the end of the day, you can keep you skin looking youthful and healthy with a daily regimen of scrubbing, cleansing, applying makeup and moisturizer, and then repeating the process all over again. You can maintain the youthful, healthy, elasticity of your skin by following a strict regimen that involves a lot of maintenance. However, in this day and age, everyone wants immediate results, especially in the areas of health and wellness. With major advancements in medicine and technology, people can actually obtain the quick results they want. More recently, scientists and cosmetic surgeons have come up with a more immediate and permanent solution. It’s called vitamin injection. As you can imagine, intravenous vitamin injections are popular among celebrities. Dr. Oz describes them as “cutting edge,” and several advocates say that vitamin injections can benefit serious conditions like cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Fibromyalgia, depression, and a host of other diseases. They’re also touted as helpful for preventing illness as well. A search for vitamin injections brings up a lot of hits and dozens of advertisements as well. Since the concept is so new, it’s difficult to say whether or not injectable vitamins are a cure-all for all of these diseases, however, it may still provide you with healthier skin. One of the more popular forms of vitamin injections is referred to as VitaGlo. VitaGlo is fairly new to the market, and the reviews vary greatly, depending on who writes them. Perhaps the biggest problem that exists today is that providers of vitamin therapies claim that their product can help fight life-threatening illnesses like cancer, which is simply not true. There is no question that vitamin injections are popular. Despite all the hype and all the endorsements, there is still no credible evidence to prove that routine vitamin infusions are necessary or even offer meaningful health benefits (like healthier skin). Just keep in mind that vitamin injections (or injections of any kind) should be done through your doctor or physician. Dr. Jeffrey Klein Explains Vitamin Injections #beautyAbout the expert contributor: Dr. Jeffrey Klein is a dermatologic surgeon based in San Juan Capistrano, CA. Dr. Klein is listed a Diplomat for the American Board of Dermatology, the American Board of Internal Medicine, and the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle tooShannon on G+

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Green Tea Benefits for Health and Skin

Gail Lewis
Read about the benefits of green tea for #health and #skincare You've all heard that green tea is good for your overall health...perhaps you never bothered to ask why, but it seems to be common knowledge that we should all be drinking it to some extent.  So with a brand new year upon us what could be better than incorporating green tea in your diet for a healthier, more beautiful and less stressed you! Green tea contains the highest amount of antioxidants of any tea.  The tea polyphenol catechins provides anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects, it helps to eliminate free radicals in the body and also reduces inflammation. Green tea is also helpful in maintaining a healthy weight as studies have show that it can help to boost the metabolism, it has also been show to promote cardio health, reduce stress, prevent cavities (thanks to the anti-bacterial effects of the catechins, minerals and fluoride) and treat skin conditions such as Psoriasis. Green tea is also a beauty enthusiast's dream!  It helps to reduce puffy eyes: just soak a cotton pad with green tea and let it sit on your lids for at least ten minutes.  It can help to soothe a sunburn due to its anti-inflammatory properties: either soak a sponge in green tea and apply it to your sunburned skin or pour green tea in a spray bottle and mist skin. It can add shine to dull hair: after letting green tea steep and cool, apply to just washed hair and let it sit for at least ten minutes then shampoo and condition.  Green tea also reduces fatigue in your legs and feet: just soak your feet in warm or cool green tea to relax your muscles and fight any unpleasant foot odors. (A Girl's Gotta Spa! Energizing Citrus Salt Scrub contains green tea!) If you don't particularly care for the taste of green tea by itself, I highly suggest using green tea as an alternative to juices in your smoothies, I have a super easy smoothie recipe that involves kale, berries and green tea and it's pretty tasty so you really have do not have an excuse to not incorporate this wonder tea in your diet! Benefits of green tea for skin and hair. #greentea #skincare #haircare Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!

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Healthy Stuffed Eggplant Recipe with Cracked Freekeh

Courtney Smith BSN
Next up on the Faccia Bella Recipe Series for beautiful skin and a healthy heart is my HEALTHY stuffed eggplant recipe. Growing up, my mom would bake up her mouth watering stuffed eggplant that my taste buds would give a standing ovation, but suffice it to say that my waistline did not. I decided to take this tasty lunch or dinner recipe and revise it to meet healthy standards, while maintaining the taste! When you're messing with a favorite family recipe it makes one a little nervous, well it made me a little nervous anyway, but I am super excited to report that it did NOT disappoint and I will likely pass this version down to my kiddos (BTW, my seven and ten year old indulged with me and gave it a thumbs up!)

Healthy Stuffed Eggplant #recipe with Cracked Freekeh

Healthy Stuffed Eggplant with Cracked Freekeh (Gluten Free, Casein Free options included)

Ingredients (4 servings) 2 tablespoon of Cento Extra Virgin Olive Oil ½ pound of Butterball Ground Turkey (it’s gluten free) Salt to taste (don’t over do this as Eggplant is a natural source of sodium) 3 Garlic cloves minced 1 red pepper medium diced 3 scallions finely chopped 5 Basil leaves finely chopped 1 tablespoons of fresh Oregano finely chopped 2 tablespoons of Parmesan (replace with Daiya ¼ cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, which is gluten, casein, and soy free) ½ cup of dry Organic Cracked Freekeh Natures Earthly Choice (Brown rice for Gluten free option)

Healthy Stuffed Eggplant with Organic Cracked Freekeh. Gluten and casein free options included. #Recipe #healthyliving

Cooking Instructions Start boiling 1 ¼ cup of water for the Cracked Freekeh Half the eggplant, slice up and across the inner portion creating cubes, then scoop out, BUT be sure to leave enough meat inside the plant to hold the stuffing and its shape. Add ½ cup Cracked Freekeh to boiling water, cover with lid, lower heat, and simmer for about 7-10-minutes (if you use brown rice for gluten free option follow boxed directions for type chosen, but I recommend using instant for quickness.) Mix the eggplant cubes, red bell peppers, 2 cloves of garlic, basil, oregano, salt to taste, and scallions, then sauté with olive oil for about 3-5 minutes, remove from pan, but leave a remnant of oil and juice. In this same pan add the ground turkey to the oil/juice remnant, cooking until lightly browned (NO PINK.) Next add the cooked veggies, Freekeh, and cheese, mix well and sauté’ for about 1 minute. Fill each half of eggplant with the stuffing, oil the pan, and bake it for 30 minutes at 375 F. Sprinkle with freshly chopped basil and enjoy! Nutritional Scoop Based on 1 serving Dish w/ Cracked Freekeh contains 357.5 calories, 31 g of protein, 16.5 g of fat (12.5g of mono and polyunsaturated, 4 saturated, 0 transfat), 6 g of fiber Dish w/brown rice contains 302.5 calories, 25 g of protein, same fat as above, and 3 g of fiber Casein free option cheese value (22.5 calories, 0.25g protein, 1.5 g fat) It is a good to very good source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium, Magnesium, Manganese, Riboflavin, Niacin, Zinc, Phosphorous, Iron, Calcium, and Selenium, Anti-oxidants, Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. More Awesome: The ingredients include anti-inflammatory qualities, which have endless benefits, Collagen boosting effects, which improves the look of the skin, and healthy brain and behavioral function. According to whfoods.com, “Research on eggplant has focused on an anthocyanin phytonutrient found in eggplant skin called nasunin. Nasunin is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been shown to protect cell membranes from damage.” Also, they state that the antioxidant found in eggplant, known as chlorogenic acid, benefits include antimutagenic (anti-cancer), antimicrobial, anti-LDL (bad cholesterol), lowering cholesterol, and antiviral activities. (Note: There is cholesterol in the ground turkey, roughly 80mg, which is approx. 26% of the daily value, so within the allotted range allowed. Using ground turkey vs. 80% lean ground beef saves approx. 81 calories and has ½ the amount of saturated fat!) For more heart and skin healthy recipes check out our Shrimp Scampi with Farro or Quinona. Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! for more beauty reviews! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle tooCourtney on G+.

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4 Travel Beauty Skin Care Tips

Shannon Smyth
4 Skin Care Tips When Traveling #skincare #travelbeauty Whether your next vacation be relaxing on the beach, touring cities in Europe, or just going to your families, you should never forget about your skin. High-end skin care brands rarely put out economy size products, but many of them downsize into fabulous travel sets and starter kits. Not only do these A-list products travel well, but they create an opportunity to sample luxury lines at a lower cost. “Maintaining your skin regime while on vacation is essential to keeping your skin beautiful. Be sure to toss your products into your carry-on, just in case your luggage ever gets lost,” says Dr. David E. Bank, Founder and Director of the Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery. Dr. Bank’s 4 tips for flawless skin while traveling: · Cleanse your face daily. You need to wash off the cellular debris that can collect while sitting in a stuffy airplane or even riding in the car. A new environment means new toxins and sometimes our skin will absorb these, so be sure to wash them off. · Use a toner that helps balance the PH levels in your skin. This prepares the skin for your moisturizer and helps the moisturizer work more efficiently. · Moisturize! Lower humidity levels will dry your skin making those fine lines and wrinkles appear more prominent than they really are. · Use products containing Antioxidants. This is the main line of defense against free radicals. Choose a light gel or serum formulation so you aren’t clogging your pores. What are some of your favorite products that you use when traveling to keep your skin properly hydrated? Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! for more beauty reviews! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle tooShannon on G+

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Five Beauty Secrets for On-The-Go Globetrotters

Shannon Smyth
Travel Beauty Tips Traveling has so many benefits: it’s educational, it allows you to experience things you wouldn't in your home country and it gives you the opportunity to meet people from around the globe. Perhaps best of all, it offers you a different perspective on life and how it’s lived. However, being on the road, or in the air for that matter, can also take its toll on your mind and body. Waking up at the crack of dawn to catch a flight, driving a few hundred miles, or being forced to spend a night in an airport can leave you feeling tired and in desperate search of some under-eye concealer. Luckily, there are a number of little tricks and tips to keep yourself looking young while you travel. Here are some suggestions for your next trip: Use the right products For those of you who don’t naturally leap out of the bed at 6am, do not despair. There are heaps of revolutionary skin care products out there to make you look like a true ‘morning person’. Anti-wrinkle eye cream, moisturizer with SPF and under-eye concealers are designed to make your skin look immune to the effects of time. Use eye cream to freshen up the skin around your eyes, and if you can, get reflective under-eye concealer to make you look more awake. Moisturizer with SPF is essential for the rest of the face, as increased time in the sun (one of the best parts of traveling) can speed up the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging. It’s important to protect yourself from those harsh UV rays. Go back to basics Taking off your makeup and washing your face every night might be part of your routine at home, but when you’re on the road, these pre-bedtime beauty rituals are often the first to go. Fight that desire to rest your head without clearing your face first. Going to bed with makeup on will only make you look and feel worse in the morning. If you can’t fit your makeup remover or face wash in your travel bag, use a dab of moisturizer to remove your eye makeup and rinse your face with mineral water. Get creative When you’re on the road, you often don’t have access to all the skincare products you’d like. That’s when it’s time to get creative. Grab a lemon at the next grocery store or fruit market you see and use the juice to freshen up your face. Applying two tablespoons of lemon juice to your face for just ten minutes has been shown to actually help promote new cell growth. This is a great activity when you’re back at the hotel for the night and you’re ready to relax. Plus, it will make your skin smell citrusy fresh! Treat your hair right Your hair is another area that can have a rough time of it when you’re traveling. Extra virgin olive oil mixed with your conditioner is just the ticket to help revitalize those tired locks. Leave the mixture in for a good five or ten minutes before you rinse and you’ll be surprised at the difference you’ll see. Get out there The final secret: you’re already doing it! Traveling alone has been shown to help people of all ages look and feel younger - so you’re already on the right track. With all the unexpected adventures you encounter when you travel, it’s no wonder avid travelers report to feeling young at heart, regardless of their age. So keep feeling young on the inside, and it’s bound to show! Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! for more beauty reviews! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle tooShannon on G+ *Disclosure: Olay Arabia provided some exclusive insights to make this post possible. All opinions and content are my own.

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5 Best Foods to Eat this Holiday Season for Glowing Skin

Shannon Smyth1 comment
The holiday season is fast approaching and menu ideas are being finalized. You don’t want to have to sacrifice great skin for great food. Glowing skin and delish foods can be mutually exclusive. Dr. David E. Bank, director and founder of The Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery, reveals the five best foods you can eat this holiday season that not only are delicious, but are great for your skin. From diminishing wrinkles to helping dry skin, Dr. Bank sheds light on surprising foods that will keep your skin glowing and healthy through the holiday season. 5 Best Holiday Foods for Glowing Skin



This green veggie is the at top of the list when it comes to beauty foods. Kale is full of antioxidants that are a great way of reducing wrinkles because they slow down the ageing process. Kale also contains Vitamin A, which is essential for the health of your skin. It has been proven to be helpful in averting a host of skin diseases as well. Kale is a very good cleanser for your skin because it detoxifies your body leaving you with healthy, glowing skin outside.


The vibrant orange color of this squash indicates that it’s loaded with beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant. This gets converted to Vitamin A which helps prevent wrinkles and keep your skin youthful and moisturized. This is the perfect food if you are experiencing dry skin because of the cold weather. Pumpkin is also loaded with Vitamin C, another antioxidant that protects collagen and boosts our immune systems.


In just one sweet potato you will find more than 200% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for having amazing skin, because it promotes the growth of new skin cells and increases the rate at which this happens, which leaves you with vibrant skin. Also, from a sweet potato, you’ll get three grams of fiber which keeps your digestive tract healthy and functioning properly during the season of eating. A healthy and functioning digestive track can help keep your breakouts to a minimum.


Carrots are not only good for your eyes but that are also amazing for smooth skin. Our skin is up against a lot of environmental factors every day like sun radiation and toxins, which combined with stress, leads to weakened defense against damaging free radicals that attack our skin. Carotenoids, found in carrots, are your protection from these everyday pollutants and will prevent wrinkles.


Olive oil contains four major antioxidants which allow it to work as a cleanser and moisturizer. Among these antioxidants are Vitamin A and Vitamin E, Vitamin E accounts for anti- aging benefits because it helps restore skin elasticity. Try: A Girl's Gotta Spa! olive oil body lotion Olive oil penetrates into the skin without clogging pores. Another benefit of this cooking aid is that it is useful as an exfoliator when mixed with sea salt and rubbed into the body. The mild abrasive qualities of the sea salt, combined with the deep, penetrating action of the oil, will remove dead skin cells and leave the skin looking renewed and glowing. So, you now have our permission to indulge (for the sake of your skin!) Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! for more beauty reviews! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram.

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Miracle Skin Transformer Lip Rewind Review

Courtney Smith BSN
Miracle Transformer Lip Rewind #review I LOVE brands that stand for something beautiful, the type of beauty that envelopes the essence of love, joy, and hope. The kind that gives and quietly supports the unspoken interdependence we each need at some level in our lives. When I look to review a brand I not only want to know how the product will work for the caregiver and busy woman, I want to know what the brand stands for, and if they will multiply the blessing of success to pass it on to others. In other words, what are they doing with what they have to produce positive community impact? Sarah McNamara's Miracle Skin Transformer beauty line stands for all the above. She states, "Making other people's lives better simply makes sense. Women want powerful, multi-purpose products, designed to transform their skin and simplify their beauty routine." With over 15 years of experience in the business, I guess Sarah heard us loud and clear. She spent over a year doing extensive research with lead chemists to help produce such a product line, furthermore the Miracle Transformer products rendered from this research are produced using all- natural, ethically-obtained ingredients. Oh and wait, just when you think Sarah can't knock it up a notch, in support of Children's Action Network's efforts to find loving families for waiting foster children, $5 from the sale of every Lip Rewind in the shade LOVE will be donated to the charity. If any of you have followed me enough to know at least a portion of our families story you might know how near and dear this is to my heart, as my husband and I adopted 3 of our 7 children. I knew from our foster care workers, and previously having worked in the mental health system, that there are TONS of kids in need of a home in this country. According to The Children’s Action Network there are 107,000 foster children in the United States in need of a loving family. Way to go Sarah for supporting such a beautiful and much needed charity! Indeed these children need loving homes and indeed a loving home makes all the difference in creating a better world for them and all of us. Before Lip Rewind The scoop on Miracle Skin Transformer Lip Rewind is simple, but it has several unique aspects that I feel set it apart from your average gloss. First, one of the things I noticed is that it did not produce that burning feeling I have experienced in other products with lip plumping-type properties. Second, I was impressed with the long period needed between re-application; I’d have to estimate about an hour or two…pretty awesome for a gloss. Three, it's multi-faceted in its duties, which as you know saves us time and money. Besides giving you supple gorgeous looking lips, it has awesome anti-aging and protective qualities, such as the ability to repair daily damage, boost volume and moisture content, protect from UVA/UVB sun damage, and it improves the definition of the lip contour and shape. What's not great about enhancing our pout with a gloss filled with youthful peptides, all-natural, ethically-obtained ingredients, and supporting an awesome cause? Miracle Transformer Lip Rewind Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! for more beauty reviews! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle tooCourtney on G+. *Disclosure

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Our Favorite Lip Scrubs

Shannon Smyth1 comment
You go to apply your favorite lipstick, only to have your dry, peeling lips magnified by like 100. Your sexy pout is no longer so sexy. Been there, done that. Nothing adds more life and vitality to your lips than giving them the rub down with a good sugar scrub. We have our favorites, do you see yours among them?

Beau Bain Mint Mojito Lip Scrub

Beau Bain's lip scrubs rank high for me. My favorite is their Mint Mojito. I love it so much that I literally licked it off my lips post-scrub. While sugar, of course, does the scrubbing, shea butter, avocado oil and Vitamin E do the softening. Their scrub comes paired with a lip balm, which is great to apply before bed, or to wear when you simply want to keep your lips moisturized. LUSH Bubble Gum Lip Scrub Walking into a LUSH store is like driving without navigation...you are bound to get lost for HOURS. This deliciously scented lip scrub is another one that can be licked off without fear of ingesting anything nasty. Sugar and jojoba oil will take your lips to the next level of hydration.

Bliss Fabulips

Not so much into the whole "mint" lip scene? Bliss has Fabulips, which is a vanilla and orange flavor. The dirty work is done with almond and walnut shells, while jojoba seed and olive oils, shea and cocoa butters and vitamins A, C and E nourish. Red Velvet The Lip Scrub by Sara Happ Our lip scrub recommendations wouldn't be complete without The Lip Scrub from Sara Happ. She has so many decadent scents to choose from, like Red Velvet, Brown Sugar and Creme Brulee that it may be difficult not to hoard them all. (We promise we won't confront you about your "problem".) Sugar, jojoba and grape seed oils will get your pout pretty once again. Which lip scrub do you swear by? Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle tooShannon on G+ *Disclosure

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Pur Minerals CC Cream Review

AmandaOnAir1 comment

Pur Minerals CC Cream #Review #Makeup #CC

I've been wanting to get on board with the BB and CC Cream trend, but I have to admit that I've been having a hard time buying into the hype. When BB creams first came on the market, everyone was buzzing about them. I've tried a few and while they've been fine, they kind of felt like glorified tinted moisturizers that I saw no real benefit from. With most BB creams, I needed to wear foundation on top of them to achieve full coverage. I just didn't see the point in straying from my beloved moisturizers. Then came CC Creams, which was kind of confusing because many of us wondered, what’s the difference? Before I tell you about my new obsession with a product that really has made it's own little spot in the makeup world, here's the rundown: BB stands for blemish balm. It was meant to be an all-in-one product to cover you with moisturizer, primer, SPF, foundation, and serum. For me, most felt like tinted moisturizers. BB’s provided me with little to no coverage. The CC in CC creams stands for color and/or complexion correcting. A CC is pretty much a BB, but with better skin care benefits and coverage. CC's have a matte texture, so they work well as a base and look great standing alone. I was super confused when BB's started being shown up by CC's, but after trying a handful of different products, Pur Minerals CC wins the BB-CC Challenge as far as I’m concerned. Pur Minerals CC Cream lives up to everything I was hoping for and felt like we were being promised in a cream! Its light weight mousse-like formula gives great coverage, takes care of minor imperfections, is SPF 40, and has skin care benefits! I have pretty fair skin and unlike a tinted moisturizer, Pur Mineral's CC Cream Light blended really well with my skin tone and gave some great coverage … almost full coverage. So much so really, I wore it on TV with no other face makeup. That's the real test when it comes to complexion correction and coverage. I felt confident enough with my complexion that I didn't even bother with foundation for a TV appearance! It's that good! It comes in 4 different shades, light, medium, tan, and dark. I’m very fair, light was perfect for me. For many women, I know the wear time of a product is super important. I’m not one who brings makeup to work and does any reapplying besides lips once I leave the house. It’s just not something I ever think about or feel necessary. The days I wore Pur Minerals CC Cream on its own for the day, I did notice needing a little refresher by the end of the work day. On the flip side, the days that I used a little powder to set it, I was good to go all day long and didn't need any touch ups. A little bit of powder to set is the best way to achieve a full day face without touch ups! The only thing I’m less than in love with is the packaging. While I love how clean and neat the packaging is, for me the tube pump isn't ideal. At the same time, when you love what’s inside, you don’t mind working for it a little. If you've been curious about CC Creams and whether or not this is a product to get on board with, I'd suggest trying Pur Minerals CC Cream before any others. Having tried so many that are out there, I can safely say no other CC Cream actually lived up to the C's (coverage, complexion correcting) like this one. Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! for more beauty reviews! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too! *Disclosure

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Love Your Skin Love Yourself Q and A with Rachael Pontillo

Shannon Smyth
Love your skin, love yourself author Rachael Pontillo My friend, fellow blogger, and holistic skincare expert, Rachael Pontillo has a book coming out on September 3rd: Love Your Skin, Love Yourself: Achieve Beauty, Health, and Vitality from the Inside Out and Outside In. It'll be available on both Amazon and Kindle. Considering that her skin is absolutely flawless and nothing short of amazing, I needed to find out all I could about what she is dishing in her new book. Women with skin issues often feel like they have to hide or that there is something wrong with them. Whether the condition starts as early as adolescence, or develops later on during a pregnancy or for other reasons, it affects much more than just the skin. Sometimes issues that accompany a skin condition are physical such as weight gain, digestive issues, systemic infection, chronic inflammation, etc. Other times, however, the issues are emotional and even spiritual. This was the case for author and coach, Rachael Pontillo. After living the majority of her life with acne, she cleared up her skin for good (and simultaneously lost 80 lbs) once she cleaned up her diet and upgraded her lifestyle. Though she looked and felt better on the outside and was healthier on the inside, she still had issues having to do with self-image and self-love. These are issues common to many women, especially those who have experienced a visible skin condition, and many feel misunderstood, alone and insecure because of it. By incorporating simple practices into her daily routine, Rachael was able to feel beautiful, confident, and empowered—that’s what she wants her readers to experience after reading this book. By reading Love Your Skin, Love Yourself, women with skin concerns and self image issues will discover how to heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Love Your Skin Love Yourself Book Q&A Shannon: What is holistic skincare? Rachael: I define “holistic skincare” a little differently than some other practitioners who use the term. Many aestheticians and spas consider themselves "holistic" if they use all-natural, organic products and provide non-invasive and wellness oriented services. While this is a piece of the puzzle, it isn’t the complete picture. Other practitioners like health coaches and nutritionists define holistic skincare simply as "beauty from the inside out." Again, this is an important piece of the puzzle, but after my years of education, personal life experience, and professional experience as a health coach, aesthetician, and health and wellness writer, I’ve come to realize that both are necessary to ensure the best results. So my definition of holistic skincare is “caring for the skin from the inside out with proper nutrition and lifestyle choices and from the outside in with safe and healthy products, proper hygiene, and the right skincare regimen. ShannonWhy did you decide to focus this book and your career on holistic skincare? Rachael: I've lived more than half my life feeling ugly and insecure because of acne. I tried everything from prescription medications to over-the-counter medications, chemical peels and microdermabrasion, drugstore products, department store products, mail order products, and professional strength products. Some things worked, and many didn't…and those that worked usually had side effects and only worked until I ran out of the product. I knew I was missing something. When I changed my diet and saw the quick and dramatic improvement in my skin, I knew I was onto something. However, based on my knowledge of the body as a whole and the skin as its barrier, I knew that the skin needs hydration and nourishment on the outside too. Plus, there are so many harmful chemicals and toxins in products and in our environment that the skin takes quite a beating. My own experience changed my life and I've had clients with similar life-changing experiences, and I knew that this message needed to be brought to a larger scale with this book and in my other work. Shannon: Is holistic skincare as effective as expensive and high-tech spa and cosmetic treatments? Rachael: Holistic skincare and conventional/medical skincare are completely different modalities—it’s like comparing apples to oranges, and the efficacy in this case is subjective. Some people consider quick and dramatic results to be effective, even if those results fade quickly and require numerous ongoing treatments to maintain and come with risks and potential side effects. Others consider long-lasting, sustainable results that can be achieved at home over time to be more effective. The efficacy of holistic skincare varies per person, since each person’s condition, current diet and lifestyle, and physical and emotional constitutions are so different. Some people do achieve quick and dramatic results like I did, and these results continue to last and my skin continues to improve years later. Others see a more gradual improvement over time, but also experience improvements in other areas of their health and lives—all of which become part of a permanent lifestyle. That being said, holistic skincare is not a quick fix for everyone…but the results are long lasting for everyone. Because of that and the fact that it doesn't come with a laundry list of risks and side effects, I’d say it’s more effective than conventional aesthetic and cosmetic treatments and procedures. Shannon: How is this book different from all the other skincare books out there? Rachael: There are many great books covering the nutritional aspect of skincare, with certain diets and detox regimens that really do focus on the "inside out" piece. There are also many wonderful books covering the importance of natural skincare products, with recipes for handmade products as well as information about the effects of the chemicals in conventional products. And of course there is a myriad of self-help books that talk about transformation, lifestyle, self-esteem, finding one’s true self, and more recently, the concept of self-love. However I haven’t seen many that encompass all aspects—nutrition, lifestyle, topical skincare, and self-love—and really tell the whole story. Without all of these components, my own healing would not have been possible or sustainable. I've also noticed that many holistic skincare and diet books out there tell people what to do and why to do it, but not necessarily HOW to do it—meaning how to incorporate these new changes into their existing lifestyles without feeling completely overwhelmed. Many also insinuate that these changes are easy for everyone, and I think that this message is part of the reason why so many people have a hard time keeping up with diets or lifestyle changes. In Love Your Skin, Love Yourself I tell it like it is—some of the changes I made were easy for me but some did not come naturally at all; and there were times that I almost quit completely. I discuss how I came through those challenges and also share tips for how readers can get started and what to do if things seem overwhelming or challenging. Life is not always sunshine and rainbows and most journeys of true healing and transformation have areas of shadow…but the shadow passes and then the sun returns. That being said, we can’t ignore the shadow. Too many books don’t talk about the parts of the process that are hard for people—I wanted to present my own journey as well as the changes I recommend honestly and authentically, and for me that means telling the whole story—the triumphs but also the challenges and how I dealt with them in that moment. Shannon: Was this book hard to write? Rachael: Yes and no. A large amount of this book came to me in spurts from my muse late at night. I’m a very creative person, and I've learned that when the muse wants to work I step out of the way and let her have at it. However a lot of these late night musings didn't transition well from one thought to another. I decided to get some help and work with a book coach as well as a very talented editor to help me organize my thoughts. Though I've been writing for nearly half my life, writing blog posts and magazine articles is very different from writing a book since they are more condensed and one doesn't necessarily have to flow into another. The thought of writing an entire book on one topic was very scary to me. This book is also much more personal than my more fact-oriented articles and even most of my blog posts. Piecing together the manuscript and going through the editing process was very emotional for me, since I didn't realize when I initially wrote some of it how raw my own thoughts and experiences still were for me. That’s the part of the process I was expecting the least—feeling vulnerable. Writing has always come naturally to me, as has expressing myself in other ways, so the actual writing part was not hard—it was the feeling of vulnerability that was more difficult. The process of going through the editing, design, formatting, proofreading, and getting the book published was challenging at times but was an incredible experience at the same time. I am so blessed to have consulted with my incredible topic matter experts: Dr. Ben Johnson from Osmosis Skincare, Dr. Georgia Tetlow from Philadelphia Integrative Medicine, Sharonah Rapseik, PhD from Spa Holistica, and Christine Arylo, bestselling author and Queen of Self-Love. My editor, Daniella Thoren, designer Michelle Fitz of Hat Trick Strategies, and publisher Sennin Group also really helped the process run smoothly and helped me create something that looks more amazing than I ever could have imagined. Overall it’s been one of the most rewarding journeys of my life and I look forward to doing it again! About Rachael: Rachael Pontillo is a holistic health and image coach with more than 15 years in the beauty and healthcare industries. Following her own challenges with acne and weight, she has helped many women overcome skin conditions and self image issues in her private coaching practice. She is also a published author whose work has been featured in the top aesthetics trade journal, Dermascope Magazine, the international magazine Complete Wellbeing, as well as on several blogs and websites such as Spa Week Daily, Holistic Vanity, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, and WholesomeOne, in addition to her own popular blog, Holistically Haute. She is a recipient of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition’s prestigious Health Leadership Award, is a featured skincare expert for NeoCell Health, and spoke on a national stage before the Association of Holistic Skincare Practitioners Conference where she educated aestheticians about the benefits of offering nutritional counseling services to their clients. Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram and G+. 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