Energizing Magnesium Lemonade Recipe

magnesium lemonade recipe

Are you getting enough magnesium in your diet?

Truth is, most American adults are not.

If you’re unfamiliar with Magnesium, it’s a mineral that is responsible for numerous functions in the body including energy production, maintaining bone health, transporting calcium and potassium to muscles and maintaining a normal heart rhythm, to name a few. We get most of our magnesium from food, but getting too much can have adverse effects as well.

Getting enough magnesium is important for many reasons including:

  • relieving stress
  • depression
  • headaches
  • irritability
  • insomnia
  • fatigue
  • constipation
  • leg cramps
  • improving memory function
  • skin condition

Unless you’re taking supplements, you may not be getting enough of this crucial nutrient in your diet. We’ve got a fun way for you to remedy that—magnesium lemonade! (Scroll to the bottom for the recipe)

The body stores magnesium mostly in the bones, and the rest in soft tissues. Less than one percent remains in the bloodstream, which is why it’s tough to test for adequate levels.

How Much Magnesium are We Supposed to be Getting?

Women should be getting between 310-320 mg per day, while men should be getting 400-420 mg per day.

Several studies have found, however, that a bit more may be best for reducing risk of disease—around the 350-450 mg/day levels.

That can be problematic, however. If you’ve ever taken magnesium supplements, you know that they can act like a laxative. That’s great for daily maintenance, but try to take more than that and you may be uncomfortable.

Why are we Low in Magnesium?

We don’t know exactly why many of us are low in magnesium, but we do have some ideas.

First, the typical American diet, rich in fat, sugar, and salt, is often deficient in magnesium. Processed foods contain significantly less (if any) than healthier, whole foods. A diet high in saturated fat actually reduces the amount of magnesium that the intestines can absorb, and carbonated and caffeinated beverages can reduce absorption as well.

Studies have also suggested that today’s food supply has a reduced magnesium content because of a deficiency of the mineral in the soil. A 2011 Scientific American article noted that because of soil depletion, crops grown decades ago were richer in vitamins and minerals than what most of us get today. A 2008 study on minerals in wheat grain found that though levels in the soil of zinc, iron, copper, and magnesium remained steady between 1845 and 1960, since then, they have decreased significantly. Researchers correlated the findings with the introduction of high-yield crops.

Drinking bottled water, like so many people do these days, also robs us of a good source of magnesium. (Many brands have little to no magnesium.) Even most tap water these days is devoid of the mineral. It used to be that we got a good amount of magnesium from water, but concerns over water purity and the rise in water filters reduced what we consume. Water treatment methods, in addition to getting rid of impurities, also deplete drinking water of minerals.

A number of lifestyle factors can also reduce the amount of magnesium that’s absorbed such as: excess alcohol intake, medications (including diuretics, antibiotics, estrogen, corticosteroids, proton pump inhibitors [like Nexium and Prilosec], and asthma medications), diseases (like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, type 2 diabetes, and celiac disease) and age—older adults absorb less magnesium in the gut, and also typically consume less magnesium in their diets.

Where do we Get Magnesium?

Most of our magnesium comes from food. It’s widely distributed in plant and animal foods, but the some of the best sources include the following:

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Soybeans
  • Sesame seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Black beans
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Fish (mackerel, Pollock, tuna)
  • Oatmeal
  • Peas
  • Bananas

Can You Tell if You’re Deficient in Magnesium?

Most of the time when we’re low on magnesium, we can’t really tell. If you do feel symptoms, however, they may include trouble sleeping, Irritability, anxiety, stress, headaches, fatigue, higher incidence of allergic reactions, muscle soreness, cravings for carbs, poor short-term memory, and/or constipation.

Considering all these factors, what’s the best way to get more magnesium?

First, start by eating more dark leafy greens and whole foods.

Next, consider using a supplement to help fill in the gaps. If you haven’t taken one before, start slowly to allow your digestive system to adapt.

Finally, to avoid any laxative effects, consider other ways to get more magnesium into your body. Some possibilities are soaking in an Epsom salts bath, making sure you’re getting enough vitamin D (it’s important for the absorption of magnesium), getting enough B vitamins—they also affect magnesium absorption, trying magnesium oil or magnesium spray—both topical applications of the mineral, and eating more raw veggies (cooking destroys some magnesium.)

And, try this: magnesium lemonade! Perfect for summer. (Recipe from Lauryn, our social media coordinator)

Magnesium Lemonade Recipe

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy! Tasty hot or cold.

How do you get enough magnesium into your diet? Share your thoughts.


PubMed – Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels.

Dumb Little Man – 50 Studies Suggest That Magnesium, Deficiency Is Killing Us

Medical News Today – Low Magnesium Linked To Heart Disease

Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University – Magnesium

Derma Mag – Studies Which Demonstrate The Role Magnesium Plays In Maintaining Health

American Family Physician – Therapeutic Uses of Magnesium

Scientific American – Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious?

PubMed – Evidence of decreasing mineral density in wheat grain over the last 160 years.

Energizing Magnesium Lemonade Recipe See more on: http://www.annmariegianni.com

Healthy Snack Ideas to Promote Youthful, Glowing Skin

anti-aging snacks

We use to think the only way to slow down the aging process on our skin was to apply products to it.

Today, we know better. The skin is our body’s largest organ, and thrives off the nutrients in our blood, much as the heart and lungs do. Unfortunately, sometimes our busy lifestyles cause us to shortchange ourselves when it comes to healthy food, and that, in turn, robs the skin of the nutrients it needs to stay young and healthy.

Whatever your schedule may be, you can make choices today that will help your skin to delay the appearance of aging in the years to come. Make your snacks work for you. Rather than increase collagen damage with a sugary treat, or spike inflammation with fast food, try these quick-and-easy snacks that pack a powerful anti-aging punch.

A Handful of Fresh Berries

Berries are full of potent antioxidants that help fight off free radical damage. They’re also rich in vitamin C, which is known to boost collagen production, reducing your risk of sagging and bagging. Plus, they’re full of water—hydration in a bite!

Studies have shown vitamin-C rich foods help delay skin aging. In 2007, for instance, researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, combined with clinical examinations of the skin, and found that higher vitamin C intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of a wrinkled appearance and dryness. (They added that a lower intake of fats and carbs also helped.)

Sun Dried Tomatoes

We’re looking for the lycopene here, which has shown in studies to help improve the appearance of skin. A powerful antioxidant, lycopene has been associated with a number of health benefits, including promoting eye health and reducing asthma symptoms.

In 2008, researchers published a study showing that subjects who consumed lycopene-rich tomato paste had 33 percent more protection against sunburn, compared to the control group. The good news was that the participants weren’t gulping down tomato paste—the servings were similar to what you would eat if you were consuming standard tomato-based meals.

Other research has also indicated that lycopene can help reduce damage to DNA in the skin, which would help battle the signs of aging. Sun dried tomatoes are one of the best sources of lycopene, though any tomato-based source will contain this nutrient.

Avocado Dip

If you’re craving chips, pair them with an avocado dip to enjoy the skin benefits. Avocados are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, which are crucial to skin’s moisture and hydration. These fats help skin retain its glowing and plump appearance even as you age. They’re also a great source of antioxidants lutein, zeaxanthin, and vitamin E.

Even more exciting, however, was research that revealed that avocado is a “superfood” when it comes to battling harmful free radicals. A 2012 study, for instance, reported that avocado oil directly combated free radicals that were destructive and unstable. These free radicals come from exposure to pollution, cigarette smoke, and radiation, and are the enemies that assault our skin every day, tearing it down and leading to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

This study found that the antioxidants in avocado helped cells to survive a free radical assault, and an earlier study indicated that adding avocadoes to your salad could increase absorption of other antioxidants found in the vegetables, including beta-carotene. In 2013, researchers also noted that avocado could help protect the skin from UV damage.

Tuna Sandwich

Tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are a panacea for skin, particularly for those who have inflammatory conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea.

We have a lot of studies on these nutrients, and how they can benefit skin. Research has found that they help reduce the risk of UV damage by actually reducing the inflammatory reaction in skin to the sun, and by inhibiting the immune system’s tendency to create sunburn. But omega-3s do more than protect from UV rays—they have been found in a number of studies to be associated with more youthful skin.

A 2001 study, for instance, researchers examined the dietary habits and skin condition of over 400 participants. They found that higher intake of essential fatty acids was associated with less skin wrinkling. A later 2007 study found similar results, with a higher intake being associated with a lower incidence of dry skin and skin thinning.

A Handful of Grapes

Grapes are a super-easy snack to take along with you, and they’re listed here because they’re a great source of resveratrol, a powerful anti-aging antioxidant. (The nutrient is also found in wine and some other fruits, like ripe berries.)

Research has found that resveratrol can help inhibit tumor development, which means it may reduce risk of skin cancer. It’s a powerful free radical fighter, and works with vitamin E to help prevent lipids in the skin from becoming “oxidized” (damaged). When applied topically, resveratrol was found to help improve firmness and elasticity.

In a 2011 study, researchers noted that resveratrol was protective against UV radiation, oxidative stress in the skin, and skin damage, including skin cancer.

A Bite of Quality Chocolate

Could there be better news than that chocolate is anti-aging?

We even have some tests showing it to be particularly beneficial to skin. In 2015, for example, researchers reported that it could actually improve wrinkles and elasticity. Participants consumed either a placebo beverage or a cocoa beverage that contained 320 mg total cocoa flavanols. Scientists measured wrinkles, skin elasticity, and hydration at 12 and 24 weeks.

At the end of the study, those who consumed the real cocoa beverage showed improvements in elasticity—which is the “bounce back” element in skin—as well as fewer fine lines and wrinkles. Earlier studies also showed this yummy treat as having mild sun-protective properties, helping to reduce UV-induced damage. More specifically, participants were able to withstand double the amount of UVB rays before their skin started to redden.

Just be sure to choose your chocolate wisely—always look for dark varieties that have a high percentage (70 or more) of cocoa.

Yogurt, Kefir, or Kombucha

What are we looking for here? Probiotics, of course!

You’ve probably heard these nutrients are good for the gut, and help ease digestion, but they are capable of much more. As they help to stabilize the microbiome in the gut (good-to-bad bacteria balance), it turns out they may help improve the skin’s condition, as well.

In 2008, for example, researchers discovered that patients with rosacea had a ten-fold greater incidence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth—caused by an imbalance of good-to-bad bacteria—than did healthy controls. Other studies have found that patients with mild acne who consumed more probiotics experienced improvements. Researchers think this is because probiotics help reduce inflammation throughout the body, and that by balancing the bacteria in the gut, they also help ease the effects of anxiety and stress on the skin.

Recent studies have even hinted at the ability of probiotics to slow down the appearance of aging. Animal research, for example, indicated that supplementing with probiotics significantly suppressed changes in water loss, skin hydration, and skin thickening in response to UVB radiation, and also reduced skin damage.

A Finnish study indicated that pregnant women with a strong family history of eczema who took probiotic supplements had a reduced risk of having children with eczema. Some preliminary research has also suggested that probiotics may be able to encourage the formation of collagen, though we need more evidence to be sure.

What anti-aging snacks do you enjoy? Share with us below.


The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition – Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged American women1,2,3,4

Nutra Ingredients – Study Supports Lycopene Protecting Skin From Within

Express Newpapers – Avocado Hailed As New Anit-Aging Superfood

PMC – Hass Avocado Composition and Potential Health Effects

PubMed – Skin wrinkling: can food make a difference?

Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University – Essential Fatty Acids and Skin Health

PubMed – Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged American women.

Dermatology Times – Resveratrol, the Longevity Molecule

PMC – The Grape Antioxidant Resveratrol for Skin Disorders: Promise, Prospects, and Challenges

The Journal of Nutiriton – Cocoa Flavanol Supplementation Influences Skin Conditions of Photo-Aged Women: A 24-Week Double-Blind, Randomized, Controlled Trial 1,2,3

Daily Mail – Sunproof Your Skin with Chocolate

Dermatology Times – Probiotics for healthy skin. A side of kefir with your kombucha?

Live Science – Probiotics Hold Promise for 4 Skin Conditions

Healthy Snack Ideas to Promote Youthful, Glowing Skin Read more on: http://annmariegianni.com

Facts You May Not Know About Bergamot Essential Oil

Bergamot Essential Oil

If you’ve ever enjoyed a cup of Earl Grey tea, you’ve enjoyed the lovely scent and flavor of bergamot. One of the most popular teas in the world, Earl Grey owes its unique fragrance to the oil, which is also used in perfumes and cosmetics.

Extracted from the rind of the bergamot orange (Citrus bergamia), bergamot has a reputation for being calming and soothing, and for helping to heal wounds and sores on the skin. Frequently used in aromatherapy and in massage therapy, it’s said to help reduce sensations of pain, decrease nervous tension, and even help you sleep.

It may be hard to believe that oil from what is essentially an orange could do that, but this is a unique fruit. Though called an orange, it’s not the same as the oranges we’re used to. It’s about the same size, but has a more yellowish color, and is shaped more like a pear. It’s named after a town in Lombardy, Italy—“Bergamum”—and comes from a small evergreen tree that blossoms in the winter.

7 Surprising Facts About Bergamot

The bergamot orange is related to the so-called “sweet lemon,” (Citrus limetta), but is not exactly the same, and has an even bitterer taste. The properties of this particular variety are very unique, however, with some active ingredients recently discovered that may hold particularly exciting health benefits.

1. No one knows for sure how it came to be added to tea.

There are a few stories as to how Earl Grey tea came about. All seem to share the idea that the original mixture was of black China tea with a tincture of citrus oil from the bergamot orange.

One says that the British Prime Minister Charles Grey introduced the tea to friends and Queen Victoria. Another goes that a Chinese mandarin presented the Earl with the tea to mask the taste of lime in the local water supply. Still another says that the tea was sent by a Chinese official to Charles Gray as a thank you gift for saving his son.

Researchers have doubts that there was any connection between the Earl and the tea. Instead, the more probable origin may have come from tea makers who used the oil to make their inferior teas seem more fancy, and thus charged a higher price. Yet another theory is that William Grey, a London tea merchant, was the true originator of the tea.

However it got its start, the tea is hugely popular today, and has spawned other varieties, such as Lady Grey tea, which includes lemon and Seville orange in addition to bergamot.

2. The name may come from a Turkish word.

Though the standard story is that bergamot was named after the Italian town, a French company who makes Bergamots of Nancy candies (which have been around for centuries) states that the word comes from the Turkish “beg-armade,” meaning “Lord’s pear.” Remember when we said the fruit was sort of pear shaped?

In fact, look up the word “bergamot” in the online dictionary and you’ll see there that it is a “variety of pear,” and that the word actually came from the Turkish beg-armudi, which meant “prince’s pear” or “prince of pears.”

3. It may help lower cholesterol.

In January 2015, the Wall Street Journal broke the exciting news that bergamot was found to lower cholesterol. The active ingredients were two newly discovered compounds: brutieridin and meltidin, antioxidants that have been studied for their statin-like effects.

In a 2013 study, for instance, researchers gave 77 patients with high cholesterol levels either a placebo, a statin drug, or bergamot extract (at 1,000 mg/daily) plus a statin drug.

Results showed that when bergamot was combined with the statin drug, it enhanced the drug’s ability to reduce cholesterol, and enabled researchers to cut by half the dosage of the drug. Beyond that, however, bergamot also helped boost “good” HDL cholesterol, reduced fatty deposits in the liver, and lowered blood sugar.

On top of all that, it also reduced the side effects of statin drugs. These drugs are known, for instance, to reduce levels of CoQ10, a crucial antioxidant in the generation of cellular energy, and super important to things like heart health and even skin health. Bergamot lowered cholesterol without affecting CoQ10, and also protected blood vessels from free radical damage.

We need additional, large scale studies before recommending bergamot to lower cholesterol, but the findings were intriguing, and suggest that the oil has even more health benefits than we may have believed.

4. Could help you avoid infections.

Bergamot, like many essential oils, has antibacterial properties. A 2009 study reported that it was effective against Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis, both types of bacteria that can be resistant to antibiotic treatment and that are often responsible for urinary tract infections.

An earlier 2007 study found similar results, with bergamot being effective against a number of different bacteria types, including Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli. And in a 2006 study, researchers concluded that bergamot was the most effective of all the oils tested as far as its antibacterial properties were concerned. This time, researchers were looking to see if it could combat typical foodborne pathogens like Listeria monocytogenes and Campylobacter jejuni, and they found that it came through with shining colors.

They concluded that bergamot “could be used as a way of combating the growth of common causes of food poisoning.”

5. It can help you zap anxiety.

Feeling anxious? Worried? Stressed? Bergamot may be your solution.

Sure, there are many oils that can help you relax. But bergamot may be particularly good at it. In a 2011 study, for example, researchers compared it to diazepam, a typical anti-anxiety drug. They found that both bergamot essential oil and diazepam helped reduce anxiety and even reduced levels of corticosterone, the anxiety hormone.

Oh, and by the way, in the study the subjects inhaled the oil, so the effect was from the aroma.

A 2011 study found similar results. Researchers used a bergamot aromatherapy spray in 54 elementary school teachers, and then evaluated their blood pressure and other measurements of stress and anxiety. They found that after receiving the aromatherapy, participants had significant decreases in blood pressure and heart rate, suggesting that bergamot may be perfect for warding off workplace stress.

6. May help to reduce the appearance of scars.

Bergamot is known to help encourage healing and skin regeneration, and it’s often recommended as a good remedy for scars. While helping skin to renew itself, it also helps to regulate the distribution of melanin, the skin’s natural pigment, reducing the look of dark spots and splotching.

In a 2003 study, for example, researchers studied the oil on skin, and found that it increased the activity of superoxide dismutase—a powerful antioxidant—while also boosting the content of collagen and decreasing oxidative damage, all of which can help stimulate skin healing and restoration. It also promoted the growth of hair!

7. It can get rid of lice.

If you have kids, you may have gone through a lice outbreak. Head lice can be a real nuisance in schools, and though it hasn’t been shown to spread disease, it can be a bear to get rid of.

Would you believe that bergamot may be helpful? Along with other oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, anise, tea tree, and lavender, it can help repel not only lice, but also other irritating pests like ticks and mosquitoes. Mix the essential oils in with the shampoo for natural lice treatments.

Do you have other uses for bergamot? Please share with us. 


Tea Forte – The Mysterious History of Earl Grey Tea

SFGATE – Bergamot’s Beauty Is More Than Skin Deep

Dictionary – Bergamot

The Wall Street Journal – Researchers in Italy Found Bergamot Lowered Cholesterol

International Journal of Cardiology – Bergamot polyphenolic fraction enhances rosuvastatin-induced effect on LDL-cholesterol, LOX-1 expression and protein kinase B phosphorylation in patients with hyperlipidemia

PubMed – Hypolipemic and hypoglycaemic activity of bergamot polyphenols: from animal models to human studies.


PubMed – Antimicrobial activity of flavonoids extracted from bergamot (Citrus bergamia Risso) peel, a byproduct of the essential oil industry.

PubMed – The effect of lemon, orange and bergamot essential oils and their components on the survival of Campylobacter jejuni, Escherichia coli O157, Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus in vitro and in food systems.

PubMed – Acute effects of bergamot oil on anxiety-related behaviour and corticosterone level in rats.

PubMed – Aromatherapy Benefits Autonomic Nervous System Regulation for Elementary School Faculty in Taiwan

PubMed – [Effects of the extract from bergamot and boxthorn on the delay of skin aging and hair growth in mice].

Facts You May Not Know About Bergamot Essential Oil was originally published on http://annmariegianni.com/

6 Tips for Avoiding Post Working Acne Breakouts

does working out cause acne

Let’s face it. We exercise not just to benefit our health, but to improve our appearance, right?

Exercise helps us keep our weight under control, and also gets the blood pumping, which gives us that healthy flush. Dermatologists know that stimulating circulation keeps skin looking vibrant, while reducing stress and its damaging effects on the skin.

How discouraging, then, to dedicate time to working out, only to break out afterwards.

Does working out cause acne, or is there something else going on here?

Science Says It’s Not the Sweat

It was back in 1975 that researchers first described a type of acne that seemed to develop from mechanical forces in the skin found to be common in football players. They reported that acne developed in areas where the helmet or uniform padding rubbed on the body. The idea is that heat, pressure, friction, rubbing the skin, and sweat—when combined—can all result in breakouts.

The idea spawned a rumor that’s potentially damaging to health—that exercise causes acne. Over time, the perception in people’s minds was that exercise produced sweat, which worsened acne.

Is it true? A small 2005 study attempted to find out. They split 23 men into three groups:

  • Group one did no exercise at all.
  • Group two exercised, breaking out in a sweat, in a 100% cotton T-shirt, and showered four hours after exercising.
  • Group three exercised, breaking out in a sweat, in a 100% cotton T-shirt, and showered within one hour of exercising.

The groups that exercised did so five days a week for two weeks. After each period, investigators examined any acne that developed. They found that though the men developed acne, it did not have anything to do with exercise, time of sweating during exercise, or the time interval between exercising and taking a shower. Those who exercised developed no more acne than those who didn’t.

The researchers concluded that exercise had no bearing on acne breakouts.

So if you were hoping to avoid exercise with the excuse that it causes acne, you’re out of luck!

In fact, would you be surprised to learn that sweat can actually be good for your skin?

When Sweat Can Be a Good Thing

Here’s something to blow your mind—science has discovered that sweat is anti-bacterial.

In 2001, for example, researchers reported that human sweat contains an antimicrobial protein. Called “dermcidin,” it acts against a wide range of microorganisms, and can actually help reduce the risk of infection. In tests, it proved to be effective against the bacteria Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, and Staphylococcus aureus. It also had an anti-fungal property, effective against Candida albicans.

A later 2013 study found similar results. Scientists reported that dermcidin was highly effective against tuberculosis germs and other dangerous bugs. And in a 2005 study, researchers reported that patients with atopic dermatitis had reduced levels of dermcidin in their sweat.

Acne is caused by bacteria gathering in our pores, but sweat naturally fights bacteria, so we can’t blame the sweat.

Still, there’s no doubt some people suffer from acne after exercising. What could be causing it?

What Increases Risk of Acne with Exercise?

There are other factors at work. As the researchers originally found in the 1970s, it’s not the sweat that’s the problem, but what else it comes into contact with. In the case of the football players, the helmets and padding were the culprits.

Clothing that is tight or restrictive may cause similar issues. These types of clothes can irritate skin, and spread bacteria into pores. Anything that rubs is also a bad idea. Looser clothing may solve the problem.

Certain materials can also be irritating. Polyester and other man-made fabrics, for instance, can trap oils and bacteria next to skin, increasing the risk for breakouts. Look for fabrics that wick moisture away and help it to evaporate, or choose cotton and other natural materials.

How do you feel in your clothes? Anything that is itchy or irritating can aggravate skin. Choose comfortable items that feel good.

Tips to Help You Reduce Your Risk of a Post-workout Breakout

  • Workout without makeup. Cleanse skin before hand, apply a non-clogging moisturizer, and go bare to be sure makeup ingredients don’t clog your pores.
  • Keep your hands away from your face. Your hands touch exercise equipment, which likely has bacteria on it. Try to keep your hands away from your skin until you clean up after your workout.
  • Cleanse after your workout. Though the study above noted that it didn’t matter when participants washed off sweat, cleansing after a workout is a good idea in case you collected any bacteria on your skin. Exercise equipment, your hands, and cloths used to sop up sweat can all be sources of bacteria.
  • Exfoliate more often. Dead skin cells are one of the primary factors in causing acne. They build up on the surface of skin and trap bacteria and sebum inside pores. If you’re sweating and washing regularly, you may have more than you think. Step up your exfoliation and see if that helps. Dry skin brushing can be helpful for body acne.
  • Exercise in a cooler environment. Increased body temperature can cause flushing, which may increase risk of acne and also lead to rosacea and psoriasis flare-ups. Try walking or jogging in the cool hours of the morning or evening, or swimming.
  • Choose your moisturizer wisely. Common moisturizing products may contain fragrances, preservatives, and other ingredients that can aggravate and irritate skin, increasing risk of acne. Choose natural ingredients that work with your skin, and then apply before your workout, and again after you’ve cleaned up after your workout.

Exercise is Good for Skin!

We hope that you don’t let post-workout breakouts discourage you from exercising. It’s not only critical for your long-term health, but it improves the health of your skin! Here are just a few of the benefits:

  • Increases circulation.
  • Dilates pores, allowing sweat to expel trapped dirt and oil.
  • Reduces inflammation (and less inflammation means less acne.)
  • Regulates hormones so they’re less likely to cause acne.
  • Prevents free-radical damage.

In fact, recent studies have revealed that exercise actually helps reverse the skin’s aging process. In 2014, researchers from Ontario found that participants who performed at least three hours of moderate or vigorous exercise every week had skin closer in composition to 20- and 30-year-olds than others of their age, even if they were past the age of 65.

In a follow-up study on participants 65 and older, researchers found that those who worked out twice a week by jogging or cycling for 30 minutes for three months had skin similar to 20- to 40-year-olds. Researchers commented that the results were remarkable, and that the skin “looked like that of a much younger person, and all that they had done differently was exercise.”

Don’t rob yourself of this anti-aging secret because of acne. Try our tips above and keep moving!

Have you struggled with breakouts after exercise? Please share your story.


Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology – Debunking the Exercise and Acne Myth: A Single-blinded Randomized Study on the Effect of Exercise-induced Occlusion on Truncal Acne

Pediatric Dermatology – A Single-blinded, Randomized Pilot Study to Evaluate the Effect of Exercise-Induced Sweat on Truncal Acne

Science Daily – Acne May Prevent People From Participating In Sport And Exercise, Says Research

Scientific American – Scientists Find an Antimicrobial Protein in Human Sweat

The Journal of Immunology – Deficiency of Dermcidin-Derived Antimicrobial Peptides in Sweat of Patients with Atopic Dermatitis Correlates with an Impaired Innate Defense of Human Skin In Vivo1

The following post 6 Tips for Avoiding Post Working Acne Breakouts is courtesy of www.annmariegianni.com

4 Tips for Eating Dairy Without Ruining Your Skin

Does Dairy Cause Acne

Remember that sense you had that what you ate yesterday contributed to the breakout you had this morning?

Used to be that science would pooh-pooh that sense, but now we have research showing that you could be exactly right.

In fact, even the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) now warns that diet can negatively affect skin.

If that’s the case, are there certain foods we should avoid?

We don’t have all the answers so far, but we do know one thing—a high glycemic diet, including simple carbohydrates and dairy products—can increase your risk of acne breakouts and other skin problems.

Why would that be?

Studies Show Link Between High-Glycemic Foods, Dairy, and Acne

A few studies have revealed some interesting things about how the diet can affect our skin.

It’s not so hard to imagine. The skin is the body’s largest organ, and feeds off what we eat just like all other organs. Not so long ago we learned that fatty, greasy food can not only pad our waistlines, but slow our thinking and even increase inflammation in the body, potentially worsening asthma symptoms.

But for the longest time the scientific community didn’t think that diet affected skin—certainly not by causing acne or dryness or other issues. But they’re starting to discover they were wrong.

The strongest evidence we have so far concerns high-glycemic foods and dairy products. Let’s start by looking at high-glycemic foods. These are the ones that break down quickly in the body, spiking blood sugar levels. We’re talking simple carbohydrates like white bread and pasta; sugary cakes, cookies, and sweeteners like corn syrup; white potatoes and corn; non-whole-grain cereals; and processed snacks like potato chips, rice cakes, and pretzels.

Scientists have connected a high-glycemic diet to a higher risk of acne. On the other hand, a low-glycemic diet, consisting of most vegetables, whole grains, most fruits, bran cereals and oatmeal, nuts, olives, lean meats, and eggs, has been linked with a lower risk for breakouts. A 2007 study, for instance, reported that after 12 weeks on a low-glycemic diet, participants experienced reduced breakouts as well as an improvement in insulin sensitivity.

It wasn’t long before studies started lumping dairy into the mix. In 2013, researchers from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reported increasing evidence of a connection between high-glycemic diets and dairy products and acne. This time, they looked at information from studies between 1960 and 2012 on diet and acne, and concluded the following:

A high glycemic load diet and frequent dairy consumption were the leading factors in establishing a link between diet and acne.
Though they couldn’t determine that diet caused acne, they could show that it influenced or aggravated it, making it worse.

“The medical community should not dismiss the possibility of diet therapy as an adjunct treatment for acne,” the researchers wrote.

Does Dairy Cause Acne?

The connection between a high glycemic load diet and acne is fairly easy to understand. Foods that spike blood sugar can also increase inflammation in the body, and throw hormones out of balance. Both of these things are factors in causing acne breakouts.

But why would dairy make acne worse?

Scientists aren’t sure yet, but they did find something interesting in 2012: both a high glycemic load diet and milk aggravated a nutrient sensor called “mTORC1 (mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1).”

This nutrient activates certain functions in the body, including inflammation and sebum (skin oil) production. Dairy foods and high-glycemic index foods can cause this nutrient to become “overactive.”

Overactive mTORC1 has been linked with an increase in risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, and now, acne.

“Acne should be regarded as an mTORC1-driven disease of civilization,” the researchers wrote, “like obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer induced by Western diet.”

The AAD cites several other studies, too, showing a connection between dairy and acne. In 2006, for example, researchers reported that after studying over 6,000 girls between the age of 9 and 15 over three years, they found a link between the prevalence of acne and the intake of milk.

A later 2008 study found similar results, but only with skim milk, not whole milk or low-fat milk. The AAD concluded that more research needs to be done, but that so far, the strongest risk is skim milk, with researchers suspecting that hormones and growth factors in milk potentially playing a role.

Is It About the Hormones in Milk?

Other researchers are suspicious of the way most of our milk is produced these days—and how that may be affecting our skin.

In other words, it may not be the dairy, but the stuff in the dairy that’s causing the issue.

In 2009, for example, researchers delved deeply into the diet/acne connection, and reported that the majority of milk and dairy products consumed in the United States comes from pregnant cows. Thus, the milk exposes us to hormones like insulin like growth factor-I (IGF-I)—which, by the way, has been found to be present more often in people with acne.

Cows in large dairy farms are also typically treated with growth hormones to increase milk production.

Then there’s the question of skim milk and the fact that some studies found it to be worse than whole milk. Did you know that skim milk actually has a higher glycemic index than whole milk? That means that it has a bigger impact on blood sugar, as it breaks down more quickly without the fat to slow it down, which could partially explain it’s effect on skin.

In a 2008 study, researchers looked at the effect of diet on acne in nearly 4,300 participants, and found a connection between skim milk and more breakouts. “This finding suggests that skim milk contains hormonal constituents, or factors that influence endogenous hormones,” the researchers said, “in sufficient quantities to have biological effects in consumers.” They added that milk with added hormones also caused the skin to secrete more oil, which of course led to more acne.

The Harvard Gazette reported on Ganmaa Davaasambuu, a physician in Mongolia and working scientist for Harvard School of Public Health. She stated that dairy provides much of the estrogen that Americans are exposed to today.

“Among the routes of human exposure to estrogens,” she said, “we are mostly concerned about cow’s milk, which contains considerable amounts of female sex hormones.” She added that dairy accounts for 60-80 percent of the estrogens we consume.

As mentioned above, the milk we use today comes from cows that are most often pregnant. The later she is in the pregnancy, the more hormones in the milk. Davaasambuu’s studies showed that modern milk in Japan contained 10 times more progesterone than raw milk from Mongolia. Cows in that country aren’t typically milked while pregnant.

“The milk we drink today is quite unlike the milk our ancestors were drinking,” she said.

Do We Have to Give Up Dairy Entirely?

We already know that eating a low glycemic index diet is good for us overall. Avoiding those simple carbs not only benefits our skin, but can tame inflammation and reduce our risk for a number of serious diseases.

But dairy is not so clear-cut. Yogurt, for example, can be really good for us. So do we have to give it all up?

If you’re someone who suffers from severe cystic acne, or acne that greatly affects your self-esteem and confidence, then taking all dairy products (including cheese) off your list is probably a good place to start. After a few weeks, when your skin starts to clear up, you can experiment with adding back in a few items here and there.

For the rest of us, the best approach may be simply to cut back, and choose wisely. We know that genetics play a role in how well we process and tolerate dairy. One person may have no trouble with it, while another breaks out just thinking about a glass of milk.

We also now know that much of the milk available to us contains hormones that may not be good for us.

One thing we can all do is choose our dairy products more carefully. Here are some guidelines:

  • Organic products lack the artificial growth hormones and potential antibiotics that may be present in conventional products.
  • Two percent or whole milk may be a better choice, since they are lower on the glycemic scale.
  • Raw milk from a local farm you trust (that’s strict about hygiene and the health of their cows) may be the healthiest way to go. Look for grass-fed cows.
  • Alternative milks, such as goat’s milk, from small farms may be even better yet. There is some evidence that goat’s milk may be more compatible with human nutritional needs, and may be easier to digest.

Have you noticed a connection between your diet and acne, and with dairy in particular? Please share your thoughts with our readers.


The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition – A Low-Glycemic-Load Diet Improves Symptoms in Acne Vulgaris Patients: a Randomized Controlled Trial

Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – Acne: The Role of Medical Nutrition Therapy

Acta Dermato-Venereologica – Diet in Acne: Further Evidence for the Role of Nutrient Signalling in Acne Pathogenesis

American Academy of Dermatology – Growing Evidence Suggests Possible Link Between Diet and Acne


Dermato Endocrinology – The Relationship of Diet and Acne

Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology – Milk Consumption and Acne in Teenaged Boys

Seattle Organic Restaurants – Milk. Raw Whole Milk vs. Homogenized or Pasteurized Whole-fat, Low-fat or Skimmed Milk. And, Does Milk Cause Infertility?

Harvard University Gazette – Hormones in Milk Can Be Dangerous

The blog post 4 Tips for Eating Dairy Without Ruining Your Skin See more on: Annmarie Skin Care

Check Out Our New Organic Resources Page

For those of you who know and love our blog, you’re well aware that education is a huge part of what our company does.

We aim not just to provide you with the purest and most effective skin care out there, but also to encourage you to live your healthiest life possible.

After all, your skin is a reflection of what’s going on inside — your eating habits, how much sleep you’re getting, even your emotional well-being. Those things show up on your skin.

And because our company got its start from two passionate health bloggers, it makes sense for us to continue to educate about food, supplements, essential oils, and other health topics we feel passionately about.

Which brings us to what we’re talking about today, which is our spiffy new organic skincare resources page, where you can find links to some of our best articles and guides.

Find What You Need

Over the years, there have been some articles that stand out. And when we see that an article really resonates with our readers and provides them with information that is super relevant, we don’t want it to get lost in the ethers.

So we made this page so that you can find the best of Annmarie — our best remedies for dark circles, our best tricks for preventing wrinkles (including face yoga exercises!), even our best DIY recipes so you can become a skin care maven yourself.

Click Here to See Our Organic Resources Page

Check Out Our New Organic Resources Page was originally published to http://annmariegianni.com

These 2 Ingredients Might Be in Your Soap (And Only One of Them is Safe)

Sodium Lauryl Glucoside Carboxylate

The world of skin care can be confusing, can’t it?

We try to be careful about what we put on our skin. We purchase products from reputable companies. We read ingredient labels, and avoid anything that sounds too chemical or harsh.

But there are exceptions to the rules. Sometimes our first instincts are wrong. Take the following two ingredients, for example:

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Sodium lauryl glucoside carboxylate

They look similar, right? And they both look, well, chemical. Which means bad, right?

Not necessarily. In fact, one of these ingredients is a sheep in wolf’s clothing, and a very good-for-your-skin sheep at that.

Do you know which one?

What is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate?

This is a common ingredient in cleansing products. You’re likely to see it in standard brands of facial cleansers, body washes, shampoos, and other similar items. Called “SLS” for short, it’s a surfactant made by treating lauryl alcohol (from coconut or palm kernel oil) with sulfur trioxade gas, oleum (fuming sulfuric acid), or chlorosulfuric acid to produce hydrogen lauryl sulfate, which is then neutralized with sodium hydroxide or sodium carbonate to produce SLS.

This product is an effective cleanser but is too harsh and irritating for skin. It’s highly corrosive, which means it can remove oil and grease—but do you want that effect on your skin? Despite its irritating nature, it’s used in the cosmetic industry as well as in laundry products, engine degreasers, carpet cleaners, car wash soaps, and in other industrial cleaning applications.

Studies have verified that this ingredient can be damaging. In the International Journal of Toxicology, researchers noted that it had a “degenerative effect on the cell membranes because of its protein denaturing properties,” and that it could cause skin irritation and corrosion. Researchers later wrote, “The longer these ingredients stay in contact with the skin, the greater the likelihood of irritation, which may or may not be evident to the user.”

They add in their discussion of the study that the ingredient was found to cause “severe epidermal changes” where it was applied, and that it could also damage the hair follicle (when used in hair-care products).

Even worse—a solution containing a 1-5 percent sodium lauryl sulfate caused acne! The researchers wrote:

“These two problems—possible hair loss and comedone [pimple] formation—along with proven irritancy, should be considered in the formulation of cosmetic products.”

Their conclusion was that as long as SLS is included at less than one percent and is rinsed off immediately, it appears to be safe. That’s not good enough for most of our customers, especially considering that we use cleansing products a couple times a day, every day, for most of our lives. This is an ingredient that with repeated use can cause hair and skin damage.

So the first ingredient is definitely a no-no. But what about the second?

  • Sodium lauryl glucoside carboxylate

What is Sodium Lauryl Glucoside Carboxylate?

This ingredient has to be similar to SLS, right? Potentially just as damaging?

Nope. And this is where skin care can get confusing.

It’s a similar name, and it’s also a cleaning ingredient, but it’s much nicer to skin. To begin with, it lacks the “sulfate” part of the name, which identifies an ingredient as a salt of sulfuric acid. We don’t have any acid going on in this ingredient. So goodbye harsh irritant!

Lauryl glucoside belongs to a class of ingredients called “glucosides” which are made by bonding the base group with sugar (instead of sulfuric acid).

Salicylic acid, for example (found in anti-acne skin care products), comes from salicin, which is a glucoside—a combination of salicyl alcohol and glucose (and found naturally in willow bark).

To make sodium lauryl glucoside carboxylate, lauryl alcohol—an essential fatty acid derived from coconut—is combined with glucose to produce lauryl glucoside, a mild, gentle cleanser that doesn’t dry skin or strip it of it’s natural oil.

Ideal for use in facial cleansers and hair care products, it’s listed on the Safe Cosmetics Database and the GoodGuide database as being extremely safe. In addition, it’s approved for use in certified organic cosmetics by both the Organic Food Federation and EcoCert.

The nice thing about this ingredient is that even though it’s non-irritating and gentle, it has an excellent performance profile in cleansing products, getting skin clean without damaging it. Sodium lauryl glucoside carboxylate is a “sodium carboxymethyl ether” of lauryl glucoside, which simply means that it is a derivative of lauryl glucoside that’s a more economical form of the ingredient.

Did We Clear It Up?

We hope that this explanation clears up the difference for our readers! When you see the word “glucoside” in any ingredient, remember that it comes from glucose (sugar), and that is a much better source than sulfuric acid!

As we move towards using INCI names on our products, we feel it’s important to inform you about that these long ingredient names mean. Often we’re told ‘if you can’t pronounce the ingredient, you probably shouldn’t use it,’ but this is of course an oversimplification.

Click here to read more about why we’re switching to INCI ingredient names.

Happy shopping!


The International Journal of Toxicology – 7 Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate

The Center for Investigative Reporting – SLS

Cosmetics & Toiletries Science Applied – Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropyl Sulfonate for Sulfate-free Formulations

Surfactant Science Series – Sugar-Based Surfactants

These 2 Ingredients Might Be in Your Soap (And Only One of Them is Safe) was first published to http://annmariegianni.com/