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    Blog — natural skincare

    Acne and your diet

    Acne and your diet


    We all struggle with acne at some point in our lives, though there are several factors that affect acne there are also actions we can consciously take to minimize acne and quickly get rid of it. In this blog post, we speak on the question 'Is there a link between acne and your diet? We often hear the  As old adage; 'You are what you eat and according to research this is ever more visible when it comes to issues such as acne that affect our faces. Our main Achilles heel here is Acne! 

    Acne is a skin problem typically caused by inflammation and infection of the sebaceous glands of the skin that can cause several types of bumps to form on the surface of the skin. Sebaceous glands are stimulated by hormones (particularly androgens).  These bumps can form anywhere on the body but are most common on the:

    • Face
    • Neck
    • Back
    • Shoulder

    Acne is thought to develop through a combination of factors; these include the production of too much oil in the skin, clogged skin pores, bacteria in the skin, and inflammation. Hormonal changes — which occur during puberty, or with a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome — and the menstrual cycle can have a big impact on acne because they affect oil production in the skin.

    Research suggests that certain foods can promote inflammation throughout the body, and it’s possible this triggers acne outbreaks. In addition, diet can affect hormones that, in turn, could make acne worse. For example, milk and foods with a high sugar content can cause a rise in insulin levels, altering other hormones that can affect the skin. 

    Some medications can also cause acne breakouts (especially steroids and lithium). Then there are the products you use on your hair, makeup, and other products we put on our skin that can contribute to clogged pores. Some contributing factors to acne include genetic factors, pollution, smoking, and stress.

    There are three main types of acne:

    • A whitehead is a pore that gets clogged, closes then sticks out of the skin
    • These appear as hard, whitish bumps.
    • A blackhead is a pore that gets clogged but stays open. These appear as tiny dark spots on the skin’s surface.
    • A pimple is a pore whose walls open, allowing oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells to get under the skin. These appear as red bumps that sometimes have a pus-filled white top (the body’s reaction to the bacteria).

    We know, everyone has a favourite face cream, cleanser, serum or treatment to help fight acne that you swear by and we believe you. We do offer some awesome ones through our Marapa Skincare Line if we do say so ourselves.

    However, at Sugar Town Organics we teach a holistic approach to good health incorporating topical products carefully crafted for how they work with your skin to keep you healthy and beautiful. Older cells are constantly shed and replaced by younger ones and a steady supply of key nutrients is essential to support this rapid growth.

    Without the diet element also functioning there is only so much topical skincare can do especially if there are underlying, internal issues that need to be addressed.

    We encourage eating a balanced diet of nutritionally rich foods and you'll feed your skin the vital nutrients it needs to help it stay soft, supple and blemish-free.

    If you are experiencing skin breakouts and/or irritation, here are some helpful tips. As I always tell our customers with any regime give it a few months (be patient with both yourself and your skin, your issues did come about yesterday and so are unlikely to disappear tomorrow) and see how it changes over time.

    Eliminate potential problem foods:

    Gluten, dairy, sugar and coffee can all make acne worse. Experiment with eliminating them. It doesn't mean you'll never get to eat them again, it just means giving your body a break from them now and then. Moderation is key.

    Eat more fibre to fight acne

    Our bodies are constantly in a state of detox. The levels vary according to your diet and metabolism. The liver process excess hormones and prepares them for elimination. If you are not eliminating (bowel movement) at least once daily, those hormones which remain active can be reabsorbed and cause another acne breakout. Soluble fibres grab onto these hormones and other toxins and escort them out of your body (hello! exit stage left!) 

    Eat more fruits and vegetables

    Fruit and vegetables contain powerful antioxidants that help to protect the skin from the cellular damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals, smoking, pollution and sunlight can cause wrinkling and age spots. Eat a rainbow of colourful fruit and vegetables. If you don't like them fresh make a drink or dish with them. Though for maximum benefit fresh is better. Beta carotene, found in carrots, mango, sweet potato, watermelon, pumpkin, tomato and bell peppers. Lutein is found in kale, papaya, spinach and avocado, which are sources of potent antioxidants, important for normal skin cell development and healthy skin tone.

    Eat protein with every meal

    Refined and/or sugary foods cause a blood sugar spike that is bad news for your skin. Instead of reaching for a pastry or sweet beverage in the morning. Balance that meal with protein and fibre like an egg and some oatmeal or craft a smoothie and add some nuts!

    Selenium is a powerful antioxidant found in fish, eggs, wheatgerm, tomatoes and broccoli that works alongside other antioxidants such as vitamins E and C and is essential to support the immune system. A selenium-rich diet can help to protect against skin cancer, sun damage and age spots. As a bonus eating adequate protein can help nix sugar cravings altogether helping with our first tip overall.

    Eat fermented foods and beverages

    Sarsaparilla Drink

    You can eat the healthiest foods in the world, but if you are not absorbing those nutrients you will see no benefits. If you are in the Caribbean add fermented foods and beverages (such as sarsaparilla, noni tonic, ginger beer and mauby). A digestive enzyme can be beneficial too!  Remember a healthy gut = healthy skin!

    Eat plenty Zinc

    Pumpkin Seeds

    Zinc is an essential mineral that your body does not make on its own that aids growth, DNA synthesis, immune function and is involved in the normal functioning of the sebaceous glands in the skin (these sebaceous glands produce oil in the skin). They help to repair skin damage and keep skin soft and supple. Zinc-rich foods include fish, whole grains, poultry, nuts like cashew and seeds like pumpkin seeds.

    Drink your tea!

    Herbal teas offer a wide range of benefits. No one knows that better than grandma! If you have a cold, headache, need help winding down at night, just had a baby, need help lactating, you name it a good ole' cup is just the thing. Did you also know that spearmint tea works wonders against hormonal acne along your jaw? 

    For your immune system adaptogens like basil, roselle and guava and mango leaf. For digestive support licorice, ginger, burdock root. Try our Island Bush Tea Blend for immune support! Which you choose enjoy at least a cup daily and you will see your skin change.

    Microbiome Friendly Skincare ... What does it mean?

    Microbiome Friendly Skincare ... What does it mean?

    In this blog article, we decided to tackle a topic that is gaining some traction in the realm of skincare.  If you are a fan of our Marapa Skincare and Yaphene Body Care lines you would notice such terminology as "Microbiome Friendly" or Microbiome Skincare". The term "Prebiotics" would also show up in our ingredients list.

    You may have come across these terms before and are asking ... what do these words actually mean? 

    How do they benefit my skin, if at all? 

    The skin microbiome is an important part of your skin’s barrier and its health. 

    Before we get to the heart of this topic let's first drop explanations for the terms we will be using.

    The microbiome is also known as skin flora or the microbiota. - As the largest organ of the human body our skin is home to trillions of microorganisms, like bacteria, fungi, and viruses that together compose the skin microbiota. They serve as a hostile physical barrier to prevent the invasion of harmful bacteria, germs, and other pathogens. "Similar to those in our gut, skin microorganisms have essential roles in the protection against invading pathogens, the education of our immune system, and the breakdown of natural products. As quoted by

    Probiotics are live bacteria that support the healthy bacteria in your body. They are the “good” strains of bacteria that directly add to the population of healthy microbes. 

    Prebiotics are much like probiotics with a slight difference. They are non-digestible compounds that feed and support healthy bacteria. They stimulate the growth and improve the balance of that healthy bacteria while keeping bad bacteria in check.  Prebiotic is food for our microbiome; fibers that are all about enriching, stabilizing, and reinforcing the micro-ecosystem of the skin.

    Microbiome and our Skin

    Skin Microbiome In the last eight years or so, microbiome skincare has been gaining traction in the beauty industry. Current and future trends show that this will continue. In a recent article by AllureSheila Farhang, a board-certified dermatologist in Oro Valley, Arizona, goes as far as calling the microbiome — and the "bugs" that support it — "the future of dermatology and skincare."

    Our skins microbiome is a part of the physical layer that helps to protect us from the outside world. Think of it as a shield or sorts - a complex eco-systems that interact with our environment. Recently I was researching microbiome friendly certification and came across this explanation; "If you look at the human body, each of us is like a planet in its own, which is home to trillions of "inhabitants". If you were to look at the human body through a microscope, you would discover deserts, river valleys, dangerous swamps, acid lakes, and humid jungles. The ecosystems on this planet, our bodies, are overwhelmingly diverse - as are their inhabitants. Among these inhabitants, microbes are the undefeated masters in their ability to adapt to a wide variety of habitats." I found this to be an apt description! 

    The make up of your skin microbiome

    The microbiome works with other parts of your body:

    • To fight infection
    • Help your immune system work
    • Heal wounds
    • Control inflammation. 

    Interestingly, each of us has our own unique microbiome and it varies in different parts of our bodies. It can also be different for various skin types, such as normal or dry skin. The microbiome works with other parts of your body to fight infection, help your immune system work, heal wounds, and control inflammation.

    Believed to establish at birth, whether you are born by vaginal birth or c-section affects development. Throughout the first year of life, our microbiome is colonized and becomes stable by age 3. Physiological properties determine different ecosystems in our bodies.

    The Skin Microbiome and its Purpose

    The microbiome helps to protect your skin. It is part of your skin’s natural barrier, helps to maintain it, and is mainly made up of bacteria. People tend to think of bacteria as something undesirable, however, there are bacteria that are helpful. It is therefore important for these types of bacteria to be dominant in your skin to maintain good skin health.   

    The various ecosystems of our skin are determined by UV light, pH, temperature, moisture, sebum content, and surface texture. As a result, the skin is divided into oily, dry, and moist areas. Depending on the different ecosystems, different microbial populations thrive in them. Some microorganisms thrive in moist areas, like your elbow creases or feet. As you age further change can occur.

    The microbiome helps the pH balance of your skin, produces skin lipids and nutrients, helps to maintain hydration, and protects your skin from inflammation. 

    Do you know that a weakened skin barrier or a disturbed balance in your skin microbiome can lead to skin disease or even systemic diseases in the whole body? Whoa right!?!  Technology has brought us quite a long way. As a result, today there are some known factors that affect the microbiome of the skin.

    Some of these factors include:

    1. Puberty and its resulting release of hormones
    2. An unbalanced diet are some factors.
    3. Spending too much time indoors
    4. The prevalence of antibiotics 
    5. Our increased use of sanitizing mechanisms such as hand sanitizers, and constantly washing our hands.
    6. Smoking
    7. Changes in the environment can also cause fluctuations in our skin microbiome. 

    Acne, rosacea, eczema, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, sensitive skin are just a few examples. These factors are also true for your scalp.

    Why Microbiome Products

    Cashmere Hand and Body Lotion with prebioticsMaintaining a balanced microbiome that supports your skin barrier is a key part of having healthy skin. Thus it is important to choose skincare products that help to sustain this balance rather than interfering with it. At Sugar Town Organics you will hear us say often we prefer to work with your skin than against it and our formulas and products reflect this stance.

    Microbiome skincare is formulated to include prebiotic, probiotic, and most recently postbiotic ingredients.  Postbiotics are the results of probiotics consuming prebiotics. They work with the skin microbiome both feeding and bringing in good bacteria to ensure skin health. This also means using skincare products that are gentle to your skin and help it to maintain its PH balance. Marapa's Hibiscus Mist Toner, Chlorophyll Cleanser and Beautiful Skin Toner are three such products that we offer.

    Choosing skincare products that contain ingredients that help to nurture the skin and the microbiome is essential to a glowing complexion.

    There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that using probiotics in topical form may help prevent and treat skin conditions. These conditions include eczema, acne, dry skin, and UV-induced skin damage. Certain probiotics have been shown to boost the skin’s production of ceramides, or lipids. Lipids are fats that trap moisture in the skin and keep acne-causing bacteria levels in check. This is especially important for people with eczema who tend to have lower levels of ceramides, so replacing it can be very important. 

    Other skin conditions and ingredients can impair the skin's barrier function. These include rosacea and atopic dermatitis, acne medications like retinoids, and benzoyl peroxide.

    What can you do

    So what can you do beyond using gentle and balancing skincare to support skin microbiome and healthy skin in general:

    1. Don’t over-sanitize - You can upset the balance of your microbiome when you clean your skin too much. With the advent of covid19, one of the non-pharmaceutical measures tells us to use hand sanitizers quite often. While this may help to curb the spread of covid19, it leaves us with the issue of disrupting our skin microbiome leading to skin. 
    2. Moisturize - This gives your skin barrier a boost. It's especially helpful for certain skin conditions, like eczema or psoriasis. Just make sure you stay away from harsh ingredients. A good option is our Cashmere Body Lotion. It is gentle enough for use on skin conditions as those mentioned above and contains prebiotics.
    3. Eat a balanced diet - we learn early in life that you are what you eat. Some research suggests that microbes in your gut also affect your skin. We are aware that our diets contribute to several health issues.
    4. Exercise -  Who doesn't like a good bout of sweating? Not you? Exercise can affect your gut microbiome creating an overall health benefit from promoting healthy glowing skin to helping the body fight off certain diseases.
    5. Get out in nature - being outdoors can improve your health and well-being

    There’s evidence that green spaces can help our microbiome and boost our mental and physical health. Gardening is a great activity that can keep you outdoors being active and connecting to the earth around you.

    Whether we are speaking about our skin or our gut, we believe a healthy balanced microbiome equals healthy, balanced skin and body which leads to a healthy life. 

    Lockdown Skincare in the Tropics

    Lockdown Skincare in the Tropics

    Lockdown skincare in the tropics

    How are we handling our skincare needs you ask? We are in week two of our second cycle of lockdowns as a result of Covid19 and its far-reaching effects on our societies. My family is taking the time to get our garden up and ready for this growing cycle after letting the land rest while we allow nutrition depositors to flourish. Working in the garden has gotten me thinking about how we are coping with skincare during the lockdown.

    As you may know or are learning, caring for our skin is one of the easiest ways to ensure long-term skin health and radiance. Most of us have taken major hits and as such are tackling the blues in our own ways. Your skin is handling this right along with you and so your skincare routine shouldn't take it lightly.

    Some of us have a work-from-home schedule, lack the motivation, think that since we are not going anywhere we don't need to do much. As a result, end up taking your skincare for granted at this time. We are here to tell you that right now is the right time to give extra attention to your skin and even upgrade your beauty routine.

    Why? Extra screen time and extended work hours could be the major reason for fatigued and dull skin, little, or no skincare routine may even cause the skin to take a turn for the worse.

    So we are here to encourage you in indulging in a basic cleanse, tone, moisturize (CTM) routine to aid your skincare goals. Feeling a little adventurous? You can add new steps to the basics!  It's time to make a skincare guide for yourself during this lockdown/quarantining period and get that supple skin, healthy, glowing skin!

    Let's help you get ultra-familiar with what’s in your beauty routine. We have created a list of beauty tips and best picks from our product range available right here on St. Kitts Nevis, which will help in repairing your skin and bringing it back to life.

    Applying hand lotion as a skincare treat


    1. Give your hands some love

    Ah yes! Your hands, they need love too! Take some time to give some conscious care to your hands. As we go about our day using hand sanitizers and/or constantly washing our hands, our hands need some attention too. This lockdown period is the best time to give much-needed pampering to them. Opt for a good hand cream with hydrating properties such as our Cashmere Hand n Body Lotion. Diligent washing and the use of sanitizers can turn our hands dry and flaky, so a good hand cream will keep them moisturized throughout.

    2. Scrub Your Scalp

    Yes, your scalp is also a part of your skin and it too needs and deserves some love! We all know deep conditioning is a go-to hair care routine, but trust us, some exfoliation is also needed. Just like our skin, our hair needs some exfoliation too.  Scalp scrubs remove dead skin, which indeed helps the moisture to be better absorbed instead

    3. Set Your Skincare Routine 

    A skincare routine is very essential for the health and maintenance of the skin particularly after we pass a certain age. These lockdown and quarantine periods have given us more time at hand to put some conscious care into our skincare routine.

    • Cleansing is the key: Choose a cleanser that caters to your skin type. Cleansing on a daily basis is very important, whether you prefer a liquid cleanser or a herbal soap bar. Though we might be at home, the extra and often elongated screen time can turn our skin dull. A great botanical cleanser can be found here!
    •  Scrubs: Scrubbing your skin once or every other week will help you get that flawless and smooth skin. Scrubbing helps in getting rid of the dead skin cells and rejuvenates the skin, giving a soothing and relaxing feel. Visit here for a great scrub to add to your routine.
    • Toner: Toners help to balance skins pH while prepping it to receive your skincare products to follow! Toners can also be used to cleanse the skin by removing any dirt that washing may have missed.  Toners give the skin a boost of hydration which helps keeps the skin supple and plump. Whether it is a face mist or toner or even a water-based serum, apply those to your skin as per your skin type.
       See our favorites here!
    • Moisturizer: Using a moisturizer that suits your skin is important to help prevent further breakouts. When your skin is dry and irritated, it actually causes breakouts and acne. Moisturizers can reduce your chances of any skin problems arising, help balance your skin's complexion and prevent acne breakouts. Check out this anti-aging beauty here!
    • Foot Care: Include some foot care in your daily routine. From foot scrubs, foot soaks, and good ole' moisturizing your feet, taking some extra time to care for your feet will keep them smooth and soft. Pick the correct products and include them in your daily routine. Yaphene offers a decadent treat of a lotion scrub for the feet! Click here for a natural moisturizer for your feet!


    Clay Masks for use in skincare

    4. Face Masks

    Face masks are a great and super-easy way to up your skincare routine! The best part you don't even need to necessarily purchase one. Right in your kitchen, you have the ingredients that can make some very effective masks to give your skin a treat. Masks help in locking moisture and hydration in the skin. They give a soothing and cooling sensation to the skin. Our favorite is this one.

    To browse more of our beauty products, click here.

    About us:

    At Marapa Skin Care we are dedicated to redefining beauty standards in the Caribbean, offering products that are not only good for us but good for our planet. Our natural and organic skincare products combine essential vitamins, botanicals, and minerals that heal and restore our skin—without harming our earth. We adore our micro-batch products where we get to focus on ultimate potency, absolute freshness, and complete purity! 

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    Disclaimer:  Ana our formulator and blogger writes about her experiences, thoughts, findings that we think you'll like. We do not have any affiliate partnerships at this moment though as a treat for reading our blog we may offer discount links from time to time.