Jeannette Bessinger is a trained herbalist, clean food coach and the founder of Almost Edible Skincare. We sat down with her to chat about an au naturel approach to beauty that bids farewell to conventional alternatives.
Almost Edible Skincare is a new endeavor for you, but you began your business as the Clean Food Coach. Where did the inspiration for such health-centered work come from?
Like a lot of people in my field, I got interested in [health] because I got sick. In my 20s, I contracted sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disease that causes granulomas, or non-cancerous tumors, to grow on any organ of the body. The best [the doc.ors] could do was offer me symptom support like steroids. Ultimately that led me to clean food as a primary foundation for good health. I eventually got into remission without the help of drugs.
What are the detriments of using chemical-based products for an ex.tended period of time? How will a natural approach help?
I see clean food as a natural "inside out" approach to good health. Clean skin is an "outside in" approach to the same thing. We tend to over-shower, over-soap and over-scent ourselves with the entrenched belief that getting "squeaky.clean" is a health and beauty ideal. It turns out the opposite is true: a little dirt is good for you. The surface of healthy skin is rich in natural oils for a reason. The acid mantle, a combination of sweat and sebum, forms a protective oil layer, a lipid barrier that keeps bad bacteria out and good bacteria in. When the acid mantle is intact, it al.lows the skin to heal and balance itself. When the acid mantle is compromised with exfoliating scrubs and stripping conventional cleansers, these problems will often worsen until it is repaired.
What are some common reactions that users can expect once they start oil cleansing?
It takes a little bit of time for most people's skin and hair to transition from conventional, chemical-based products to natural cleansers. Your skin and hair need to detox harsh products and rebalance themselves, so problems can get slightly worse before they get better. I completely healed my own rosacea and haven't had another flare-up since I started oil cleansing.
The name of your skincare line is quite literal. How did you experiment with products in your kitchen to nail down combinations that work?
I'm actually a trained herbalist. I've been making my family's skincare products with items from our garden and our kitchen for over 20 years. Each time a new diaper rash or bout of poison ivy or acne came up, I'd experiment with different formulations until I found something that worked better than store alternatives.
What are some other products in the Almost Edible Skincare line people may not be familiar with?
One of our most popular products after our Tender Cleanse and Warm Cleanse face oils is the Green Gold Firming Gel (G2). This nourishing firm.ing gel is made from 100% pure and natural ingredients and nothing extra. Our Gentle Body Brush and Gentlest Raw Silk Gloves remove dead cells on the skin's surface and help activate waste removal. Gently dry brushing your skin stimulates the lymphatic system and helps move toxins out. It also increases blood circulation and helps to soften hard fat deposits below the surface, thus reducing the appearance of cellulite.
In addition to utilizing Almost Edible Skincare products, how can people be better to their bodies?
My top tip for helping everyone move toward a healthier, more natural life.style is to get into a routine that's more aligned with the rhythms of nature and the sun cycle to help align your organ clocks and endocrine systems. Also, the plants that thrive in a given environment have a natural synchronicity with the animals that eat them, so eat more local veggies! Walking, eating, even occasionally sleeping outside, with your feet on the earth is also one of the fastest ways to re-align an out of balance system. It's like a short cut.
Almost Edible Skincare