August 02, 2018
I get asked this question a lot and it’s a good one. The fact that I’m a naturopath and I created these products is not enough to call them naturopathic. So what exactly does naturopathic mean and what makes Clémence products different?
(Warning – this piece contains a bit of science jargon. Bear with me!)
Naturopathy is a practice of medicine that is based on the body’s inherent ability to heal itself. Naturopath’s support the body’s healing process by using natural medicines and practices, both traditionally used and scientifically validated. The four year bachelor’s degree I studied focused mainly on nutrition and herbal medicine, and so these have always been my key treatment methods.
When I approach the treatment of skin disorders, I use my knowledge of anatomy and physiology to first understand what is happening within the skin. Then I dig out the pathophysiology to look at all of the different variations of a particular disorder, and what the key features are. I apply my traditionally used knowledge to examine what has been used in the past to treat a disorder. I also look at current scientific studies to see if any of these methods have been disproven and what new treatment methods are showing success.
Then the fun begins – formulating! All product formulations involve a combination of nutrition and herbal medicine. For example, when I formulated the Repair Face Serum, I thought about the key nutrients the skin requires to repair itself (vitamins A, C, D and E, fatty acids). Then I looked at the herbs and plants that have shown the best results both traditionally and scientifically to encourage the skin to heal (rosehip, calendula, jojoba, rose otto). Each plant is chosen for its unique contribution. For instance, let’s look at calendula. The glorious golden flower has been used for centuries to repair damaged skin. Scientifically it’s also been well studied. Studies show that it can influence the inflammatory phase of repair, increasing the amount of fibroblasts and collagen in the area, which in turn reduces the time it takes for skin to heal.
What’s not put in the products is also very significant because as a naturopath it’s important to reduce any potential restrictions to healing. Chemicals, synthetic preservatives, nanoparticles and fragrances are just a few of the ‘nasties’ in many commercial skincare products. These guys not only make it hard for your skin to repair, but they can induce damage within the skin and also the health of your body as a whole. That’s why you’ll never find any ingredient in our products which could undermine our product’s key benefits or potentially harm your health.
So there you have it! Naturopathic formulations in a nutshell! It’s really about using my knowledge and experience to make every Clémence product as good as it can possibly be, to give your skin it’s best chance to be healthy.
July 19, 2018
Next week it will be 2 years since I launched Clémence Organics. 2 years! Where has that time gone? This past week I’ve been thinking, if I knew then what I know now, would I have done it? The answer, without a doubt, is yes! My passion for organic skincare, and everything that goes with it, has only increased. I am more obsessive about my work now than I ever was.
But skincare hasn’t always been a passion of mine. When I was in my last year of high school I was actually planning on studying law. I had read Nelson Mandela’s ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ and I wanted to make a difference in the world. It was only when I put my university plans on hold to spread my wings and explore, eventually landing work as a legal secretary in London, that I realised there was no way I was going to be a lawyer. The long hours and cutthroat nature of the firms I worked in, did not suit me. My grandfather (who was sooo keen on me studying law) was crushed when I told him the news (sorry Grandpa!)
So after several years in London and a heap of travel, I fell into a naturopathy degree. It felt easy and a natural progression of my interest in health and natural medicine. I loved it. It felt so good to help others with what seemed second nature to me. And natural skincare was always a part of that. Whilst I had dabbled in making products to soothe keloid scars I had suffered since childhood, more significant experience came when my father was diagnosed with throat cancer in my last year of university.
I remember visiting the oncologist to hear all about his intended treatment and to ensure I could prescribe complementary medicines alongside his conventional treatment. This was all fine. The only thing I wasn’t happy with was the barrier cream they gave him to ‘help’ his radiation burn. The petroleum based tube of cream went straight in the bin and instead I made him a natural cream based on calendula and vitamin E. Not far into his treatment, the oncology nurses were commenting on his radiation burn, and how much less it was compared to other patients. In fact he had very little redness at all which minimised his pain. I was so happy. I was also caught on the fact that sometimes it’s the little things you do for someone (like swap one cream for another) that can make a big difference. This was a bit of an ‘aha’ moment for me.
This lesson was further imprinted on me years later when I went into private practice and started making skincare formulations for clients. I treated everything from acne to psoriasis, and the feedback I got from patients inspired me to do more.
I know this sounds a bit silly, and whilst I’m not changing the world anywhere near the scale of Nelson Mandela, I get to make little differences in people’s lives and I love it. Whether it’s a child with painful eczema or a woman with facial rosacea, sometimes all it takes is swapping one cream for another to make a life-changing difference. I do what I do because I want to make a difference in the world. Not only do I want to make people’s lives a little bit easier, but I want to make them healthier. That’s what Clémence Organics is all about.
So as challenging as the past 2 years have been (honestly I’ve wanted to throw in the towel at least once), I’ve loved the ride and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve got so much planned for the next few years, making Clémence Organics much more than a skincare brand, and I can’t wait to share it with you.
July 02, 2018
Acne is the most common skin disease with around 80% of the population experiencing it at some point in their life. It can range from mild (the odd pimple) to severe (multiple sites, severe redness and pitting). Because it often presents in puberty, it can cause embarrassment and leave not only physical scars, but mental ones too.
When I developed acne as a teenager I picked, squeezed and basically went to town on any zit that dared present itself (seriously regretted now because of the scarring I caused). I tried Clearasil and any other acne treatments my Mum would supply me with. I was so embarrassed by my acne. If only I knew then what I know now!
So what causes acne?
It’s a complex beast. There is generally not one cause but many factors which play a role in its development including diet, stress, genetics, hormones and barrier dysfunction.
What can I do about it?
Because of its complexity and its tendency to vary from person to person, there is no one size fits all treatment approach. Having said that, the following recommendations have been helpful to many of my naturopathic clients and can reduce acne occurrence:
Cleansing is key. You want to keep your skin clean and remove excess oil, without stripping it and upsetting the natural sebum balance. That’s why it’s important to steer clear of foaming cleansers and opt for light cream cleansers instead. I also recommend cleansing only once daily where possible. Choose the time of day when your skin is at its dirtiest, most commonly the evening, to use our Refining Cleanser. When you’re not cleansing, you can simply splash your face with cool or warm water or use a moistened face cloth.
Exfoliation should take the place of cleansing 2-3 times weekly to increase skin cell turnover and reduce scarring. Use a gentle exfoliant (steering away from the micro-bead varieties) such as our 2 in 1 Face Exfoliant + Mask and don’t over-scrub.
It’s also important to keep pH levels in check and reduce any inflammation with a gentle toner. After cleansing or exfoliating, spritz with a mild astringent to balance pH levels and soothe any redness. Our Tone + Hydrate Spritz comes highly recommended!
Last but not least you need a moisturising product that is non-comedogenic (won’t block pores) and contains all the right vitamins to help repair scar tissue. Our Repair Face Serum is the perfect combination of moisture + repair.
Reduce your dairy intake. Several studies, including a recent meta-analysis, have shown that high dairy intake is associated with a higher incidence of acne (particularly milk and ice cream). Yoghurt and cheese shows no significant association.
Increase anti-inflammatory foods, such as those that feature in the Mediterranean diet. This diet is high in antioxidants and has a low glycaemic index. It’s also rich in whole grains, low in refined sugar, and contains those all-important, skin-loving omega 3s (e.g. avocado, olive oils, fatty fish).
Probiotics should also be added to your diet (e.g. kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchee, supplements). Good gut flora can help improve the absorption of key nutrients necessary for healthy skin, including zinc and vitamins A, C, D and E. It also benefits the immune system and is anti-inflammatory.
Stress can aggravate acne because it affects hormone levels, particularly the key stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol has an inflammatory effect on skin and can contribute to flare-ups. To reduce stress, use daily stress management practices e.g. yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises. Exercise can also help regulate cortisol levels.
Get some sleep! When you sleep your body goes into repair mode, increasing collagen and elastin production to repair damaged skin. Cortisol levels also decrease significantly as you slumber.
Spend 10-15 minutes in the sun each day. UV light has been shown to reduce acne by killing bacteria known to aggravate acne. It also stimulates production of the all-important vitamin D, necessary to reduce acne occurrence.
I have put together a Naturopathic Skin Protocol on Acne which goes into further detail on my recommendations above. You can also hit the ‘Shop by Skin Condition‘ link for Acne to view recommended skincare products.
As always, I’m here to help so please feel free to reach out if you have any queries.
I hope you find it helpful.