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When I was mulling over topics to discuss in this week’s blog, I got to thinking about scars. I started pondering the different scars that I have had to deal with in my 37 years.

I developed my first keloid scar when I was 10, and acne and stretch marks in my teens, the latter of which made me prepped for pregnancy in my 30s. So given that I’ve been dealing with scars for 27 years, and over that period of time have tried a whole bunch of treatments, I thought I could share what has helped (and a few things that haven’t).

Acne scars
I don’t know about you but I was definitely a picker when it came to pimples in my teens. I had friends who resisted and would come to school with zits gleaming white and untouched. I’m sorry to say that I just couldn’t bear it. I squeezed to my heart’s content and to the detriment of my skin. I know better now but years of bad habits have left their mark. It was rosehip that I turned to to help repair my acne scars. Studies have shown that rosehip oil significantly promotes wound healing and effectively improves scars. So for the past 10 years now I have been applying what is now my Repair Face Serum (pictured). I have found that this combination of rosehip, calendula, jojoba and other organic oils, really help reduce my scarring and discourage further acne from occurring. I also use the 2 in 1 Face Scrub + Mask 2-3 times weekly to increase skin cell turnover.

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I’m often being asked what brands I love and use in my life (other than my own – obviously you need more than just great skincare products to get by). Given that spring is the perfect time to start switching out old for new and bad for good, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite natural and organic bathroom-cabinet brands, and why I love them so.

Sunscreen – We all need a good sunscreen, especially as the weather warms and we spend more time outdoors, and I have had a clear favourite for years. The Soleo Organics Sunscreen is my pick because it’s 100% natural and organic, and is not as thick and ‘zincy’ as some of the other natural ones.

Cosmetics – Whilst I don’t wear makeup every day, I have a few brands that I use consistently. My foundation is Inika, my compact powder is Gemma Vendetta and my eyeliner and eyebrow pencil are Ere Perez. LOVE all three of these brands for their natural and organic ingredients.

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Rosacea is a skin condition caused by excessive inflammation and vascular dysfunction. This means that the capillaries on the face become enlarged and cause frequent blushing and redness, particularly on the cheeks, nose and forehead.

It causes a feeling of burning or stinging, and is likened to having sun or wind burn ALL THE TIME. But there are things you can do (and not do) to reduce your symptoms and keep rosacea under control.

Don’t put chemicals on or next to your skin. As rosacea can be easily aggravated by chemicals and synthetic ingredients, it is particularly important to choose natural and organic skincare products. Also avoid the use of fragranced items including fragranced cosmetics, perfumes and laundry detergent.

Do apply skincare products rich in antioxidants and organic oils. Not only do the antioxidant-rich ingredients help protect your skin from UV damage but organic oils such as jojoba have been shown to provide natural SPF factor (jojoba sits at around SPF 4). Our Repair Face Serum is my pick here (see customer story below).

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Did you watch the most recent episodes of the War on Waste on the ABC? This series is opening our eyes to the issues we face surrounding our waste. I love it because it leaves me feeling educated and aware. At the same time I’m left drowning in guilt. Is it just me?

I start questioning some of my purchases (e.g. organic spinach which only comes wrapped in plastic) and I worry that what I’m going to great lengths to recycle is going to landfill anyway. I’m left asking, am I doing the right thing? If not, what could I be doing better?

The same goes with my business. In my opinion you can’t have an organic skincare brand and package it all in plastic. It’s like having a hamburger and washing it down with diet coke. It just doesn’t make sense.

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As you may know we’re currently running a giveaway with the stunning Byron-based organic cotton lingerie brand Eco Intimates (pictured). It got me thinking about the benefits of supporting small brands who work on a small scale and create their products ethically and consciously (a bit like ourselves).

In case you don’t know Eco Intimates is owned by a very talented woman called Madonna Bain who is based in Byron Bay. Each piece is hand crafted using GOTS certified organic cotton and remnant fabrics. And boy are they beautiful! Madonna says “My designs are carefully considered to deliver style, fit and comfort for every woman and create a garment with the quality to last and be worn many times.” Styles that Madonna is unable to produce in Australia she has made in Bali by seamstresses in their own homes, in their own time. Madonna says “This is not the cheapest way to produce, nor a way to produce large quantities. There are bigger factories there that can make clothing for much cheaper but that is not how I want to produce my emphasis is sustainability and quality.”

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As much as I would love everyone to just empty the contents of their beauty cabinet and start fresh, it’s not practical or affordable for many. So given that one of the most common questions I get asked is ‘where should I start when transitioning to organic skincare’, I wanted to lay out my recommendations.

When going natural, I think it’s good to know not only what to start buying but why. That way you can make informed decisions and know that you’re heading in the right direction.

Start with the lips

Our bodies absorb around 80% of what we put on it but this is increased if it’s on your lips. Why? Because you’re eating it! What’s not being absorbed is going into your digestive system and into your body. That’s why it’s super important to make sure your lip balm and lip colour are 100% natural and as organic as possible.

Note: For those with little people, baby products (moisturisers, oils, creams and balms) come in at a tied 1st place. This is because baby’s skin barrier is much more penetrative than adults, absorbing more than 80% into their system.

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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.

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There’s a reason why I only have a single line of products in the Clémence Organics range. It’s because I don’t believe in skin types. I know it’s a bold statement but hear me out.

The skin types you hear most often are normal, dry, oily, mature, combination, and sensitive. But who only has one skin type? And what is normal?

I know my skin varies according to the season, what I’m eating, the climate I’m in, my current stress levels, and what I’m using on my skin. For example, in summer I would say that my skin is oily. In winter it’s dry. It’s always sensitive and given that I’m getting close to 40 I would say it’s verging on mature. How do I label that?

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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.

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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.

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