Real Talk about Social Media with Lori Ward

Social Media Realities for Skin Wellness Professionals

We’re incredibly proud of NAA members and Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner students and graduates, and the unique ways that they apply the Nutritional Aesthetics® philosophy in their personal and professional lives. It’s our goal to support them and share their wisdom by highlighting their stories with you in a periodic ‘Member on A Mission’ feature. Our latest featured member is Lori Ward, of LW Skincare. And we are so pleased to bring you this Member on A Mission feature in the form of a podcast episode!

On this episode of the Skin Wellness Pro Show, we were thrilled to speak with our special guest Lori Ward, an experienced aesthetician and holistic health practitioner. Lori's expertise lies in acne treatment, integrative health, epigenetic hair testing, detoxing, gut health, and hormonal balance. Lori is also a graduate of our Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® Training Program. Lori's engaging social media presence and dedication to helping clients achieve clear skin naturally make her a standout in the industry. Lori shared her personal journey with social media, particularly Instagram, and the impact it has had on her business and self-perception.

Watch Episode 2.05 of The Skin Wellness Pro Show, Real Talk about Social Media with Lori Ward below:

Listen to and download the episode here:

Read the summary here:

In this episode, we appreciated how real Lori was with us. She opened up about the challenges of maintaining an engaging social media presence, including the pressure to produce content and the psychological toll of equating follower counts with self-worth. Despite having a significant following, Lori discussed the plateau in her Instagram growth and the realization that numbers do not define her value or success.

We delved into the complexities of the social media algorithm, which often favors youth and beauty, making it difficult for more mature and experienced professionals to compete. Lori emphasized the importance of authenticity and focusing on providing valuable content rather than getting caught up in the numbers game.

Our co-host and Education Specialist, Tara Swagger, contributed to the conversation by highlighting the saturation of the beauty and wellness market on social media and the unrealistic standards it sets. She also pointed out the potential disconnect between a large following and actual business success, reminding listeners that a strong social media presence doesn't always translate to real-world profitability.

NAA President Rachael Pontillo emphasized the value of being oneself on social media. She mentioned how some people may feel pressured to create highly curated and aesthetically pleasing content, but authenticity is what truly connects with followers. She shared her experience of not worrying about having the perfect setup or lighting in her posts and instead focusing on sharing genuine and relatable content--and that paid advertising for small business owners is often not worth the expense.

The episode concluded with discussing how important it is to remember that social media is just one aspect of a business. Lori's candid sharing provided a refreshing perspective on navigating the ever-changing landscape of social media for skin wellness professionals.

We hope you find solace and encouragement in Lori's story, as it underscores the universal struggle with social media's demands and the importance of maintaining balance and authenticity in our digital lives.


[00:02:11] Acne and skin care.

[00:08:29] Social media evolution and challenges.

[00:12:45] Social media's love-hate relationship.

[00:17:18] Social media and maturity.

[00:20:28] The allure of social media.

[00:24:06] The impact of age on social media.

[00:29:52] Stepping back from social media.

[00:34:49] Social media struggles and work-life balance.

[00:38:32] The illusion of social media.

[00:43:50] The challenges of social media.

[00:47:43] Social media strategies.

[00:50:13] Simplifying content creation.

[00:56:27] Dealing with online criticism.

[00:59:10] Social media fasting.

[01:01:41] Curating social media content.

More about Lori Ward:

Lori Ward headshotLori is a Licensed Esthetician (8 years), Acne Specialist, Integrative Health Practitioner, Epigenetic Hair Testing Consultant, Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner®, and graduate of the Create Your Skincare Pro herbal skincare formulation course. She helps clients detox, address gut health, and balance hormones.
Lori has also been married for 30 years and is a mom of 4 with 6 grandbabies. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and lifting weights is her hobby, and her joy and passion are helping people clear their skin without Accutane, antibiotics, or birth control.
Connect with Lori on her website or Instagram.

What Conventional Acne Treatments Get Wrong--The Skin Wellness Pro Show episode 2.04

What Conventional Acne Treatments Get Wrong

Acne. It's one of the most common reasons people seek help from skin professionals across modalities, whether it's from a dermatologist, (a)esthetician, nutritionist, health coach, herbalist, acupuncturist, what have you. Like most skin conditions, acne doesn't have just one cause or one treatment that will work--it can be complicated. We always recommend people consult with a dermatologist or other licensed healthcare provider for advice on their own skin concerns--and we aren't here to tell people what choice to make when it comes to what type of acne treatments are right.

But medications do have side effects, and many people can clear their skin using holistic and non-medical methods. We thought it was important to shine a light on those, since so many people--both professionals and laypeople--still aren't aware.

Watch episode 2.04: What Conventional Acne Treatments Get Wrong below:

Listen to and download the episode here:


In this episode of The Skin Wellness Pro Show: What Conventional Acne Treatments Get Wrong, we dove deep into the complexities of acne and the various ways it can be approached, both conventionally and holistically. As someone who has personally battled with acne for years, co-host, Rachael Pontillo, shared her acne journey and the psychological toll it took on her. We discussed the importance of not just treating acne superficially but understanding and addressing the root causes.

Our conversation also highlighted the limitations of conventional treatments like medications and aggressive skin treatments, which often ignore the underlying issues and can have long-term negative effects on the skin's health. We also touched on the importance of an integrative approach that includes diet, lifestyle, and mindset, alongside topical treatments.

Co-host, Tara Swagger, brought her wealth of experience to the table, emphasizing the need for personalized care in treating acne. She shared insights on the impact of modern life and environmental factors on skin health and the importance of educating clients on building resilience to inflammation.

We also discussed the role of the dermis and the dermal-epidermal junction in skin health, and how constant thinning of the epidermis through aggressive treatments can be detrimental in the long run.

Our goal with this episode was not to judge or dictate what treatments should be used but to shed light on the various paths to achieving clear skin.

We want to empower practitioners and clients with knowledge and tools to make informed decisions and implement changes that lead to lasting skin health.

Do you want to learn more about our integrative approach to skin health?

We invite you to explore our Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner Training Program HERE.

Remember to like, subscribe, and share this episode if you found it valuable, and stay tuned for more insightful conversations on the Skin Wellness Pro Show.


[00:00:38] Acne affects people of all ages.

[00:06:07] Adult acne and hormonal issues.

[00:11:17] Teenage acne treatment approaches.

[00:12:55] The complexity of treating acne.

[00:19:38] Implementation in skin health.

[00:24:01] Integrative skincare solutions.

[00:27:36] Integrative approach in dermatology.

[00:31:47] Integrative movement within dermatology.

[00:36:50] Medications and skincare solutions.

[00:40:24] Thin epidermis affects dermis.

[00:44:36] Inflammatory effects of treatments.

[00:47:17] Integrative approach in skin care.

Skin Wellness Pro Show: Hormone Detox Do's and Don'ts

Hormone Detox Do's and Don'ts

As skin wellness professionals, here at the Nutritional Aesthetic® Alliance, we understand that beauty and wellness aren't just skin-deep. True skin wellness a complex interplay of various factors, including diet, lifestyle, and exposure to external elements. In light of this, today's episode of the Skin Wellness Pro Show dives deeper into topics that are increasingly gaining attention in the wellness sphere: hormone detox and animal-based diets. We may have gone off on a couple of tangents (including one about the importance of cellular hydration for detox, which you can read more about here), but we hope you enjoy!

Watch Episode 2.03: Hormone Detox Do's and Don'ts here:

And listen to or download the audio here:

Hormonal detox: more than just a trend

Our main topic in this episode is hormonal detox, a concept that goes beyond the fad of buying detox programs and cleanses in a box. It involves understanding how to navigate our food sources and lifestyle choices to minimize exposure to external hormones and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. These chemicals lurk in unsuspecting places - the air we breathe, the food we eat, and even the materials we touch, like mattresses.

Hormonal detox isn't just about avoidance, though. It's also about supporting the body's natural detoxification processes through nourishment and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. When we consume foods, digestion occurs, and endotoxins can be released. Fermentation of sugars and proteins can also lead to the production of toxins. Therefore, making conscious choices about what we consume and how we live can drastically reduce our toxic load.

The connection between meat quality and health

In an era where we're constantly bombarded with information about what to eat and what not to eat, understanding the source of our food has never been more critical. If you eat animal foods, it's very important to do your homework and understand how the animals are raised and processed.

While we each have our own personal preferences regarding whether to eat meat or not, we agree that if animal foods are part of your diet, it's important to focus on high-quality meat options like organic or pasture-raised, grass-fed varieties. Conditions in which animals are raised and processed can impact meat quality and potentially affect one's health.

Want to learn how to integrate topics like this into your practice?

As skin wellness professionals, we must stay informed about these developments and understand their potential implications on our practice. Whether it's exploring the connection between meat quality and health or understanding the concept of hormonal detox, every piece of knowledge equips us better to guide our clients towards holistic wellness.

Check out our professionally accredited Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® Program HERE.

Holiday promotions in your aesthetics or coaching practice

Holiday Promotions for Your Aesthetics or Coaching Practice

The holiday season is a busy time for aestheticians, health coaches, and all skin wellness professionals. It's a time when people are looking for ways to pamper themselves and care for their skin--and they also want to look their best! In episode 2.02 of the Skin Wellness Pro Show podcast, co-hosts Rachael Pontillo and Tara Swagger discuss holiday promotion ideas for professionals practicing with a Nutritional Aesthetics® approach.

Watch "Nutritional Aesthetics Holiday Inspiration" here:

Listen and download here:

Detailed episode synopsis:

In this episode, Rachael and Tara emphasizes the significance of providing clients with low--or no-cost options. This may seem counterintuitive, especially when trying to generate income in a business. However, they have observed that many clients, particularly during the holiday season, come in with various health-related issues such as poor eating habits, gut imbalances, and acne.

By providing resources and tools that don't require a large financial investment during this already busy and expensive time of year, practitioners can support their clients in improving their skin, health, and well-being. This can include simple suggestions like incorporating sound-frequency music in the treatment room to promote relaxation, or offering additional services like guided visualization exercises and relaxation time during a health coaching session.

Build integrity and trust with clients by exceeding their expectations.

Find ways to enhance the client experience without devaluing the service (or your time and labor), such as offering small extras. This can help create a positive reputation and generate word-of-mouth referrals.

In a world where discounts and deals are often expected this time of year, it can be a challenge to maintain value in the services provided. However, we encourage practitioners to focus on delivering quality care and finding creative ways to add value without compromising their profit margin, brand positioning, or energy. Ultimately, the goal is to help clients establish self-care practices and align their health goals, even if it means providing tools and resources that don't require the biggest financial investment.

Focus on preserving health during the holidays

During the holiday season, there is often an increase in gut imbalances and acne due to poor eating habits. People tend to indulge in unhealthy eating habits and overindulging in alcohol during the holiday season, which can contribute to gut imbalances and skin breakouts or flare-ups. We suggest that practitioners educate their clients about the impact of their diet on their skin and offer simple tips to support their skin health during this time, such as:

  • Focus on having a nutritious breakfast--avoiding skipping breakfast and relying on coffee
  • Don't rely on expensive supplements or fad cleanses to fix gut issues
  • Use tools and strategies that don't cost clients much money, as this can help them make sustainable changes to their eating habits

Use the holiday season to offer upgrades and promote new offerings

This is a great time of year to not only offer promotions, but also to test out different upgrades in services to enhance the client's experience, and promote new offerings. We highly recommend selecting enhancements that can improve the service without requiring significant additional effort. For example, if an aesthetician or massage therapist has upgraded their bed, they can inform clients about the upgrade and explain how it can benefit them.

This is a great time of year to introduce new modalities or techniques as sellable items in the new year, without necessarily extending the amount of time spent servicing the client. For example, if a practitioner has received cupping training, they can offer their service with an added cupping treatment.

You can also offer simple enhancements, such as providing a posh, herb-infused eye cover during facials, or playing sound-frequency music in the background during a health coaching session, to help clients relax and enhance their overall experience.

Don't devalue your services just for the sale of offering promotions or upgrades!

Instead of offering discounts on single services, which can detract from the value of your time and the perceived value of the service itself, we suggest instead bundling different services together, offering packages, or discounting products instead of discounting the actual service.

Don't feel like you need to offer discounts on your aesthetics or coaching services in order to compete with chain spas or other practitioners. Discounting and building a loyal customer base seeking more in-depth experiences are two different things.

Episode timestamps:

00:01:06 Holiday promotion ideas for skin wellness pros.

00:09:01 Start small for sustainable change.

00:12:08 Gentle approach to client success.

00:19:23 Pivot and value your time.

00:25:38 Don't compare, be yourself.

00:27:49 Stay focused on yourself.

00:33:16 Gift certificates with free products.

Leave a comment about aromatherapy in the spa!What do you offer in your aesthetics or coaching practice during the holidays to increase sales or attract new clients?

We'd love to hear about it--please share in the comments below!

Finding Balance: Personal and Professional Challenges in the Skincare Industry

"Finishing what you started is worth it" is possibly the main moral of the story in the season 2 premiere episode of our official podcast, The Skin Wellness Pro Show. In this episode, the conversation between NAA President, Rachael Pontillo and Education Specialist, Tara Swagger, revolves around the experiences of students who enrolled in the Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner Training Program, but faced obstacles that hindered their progress. Despite setbacks such as the shut-down, challenges with work-life balance, and distractions, these students expressed their desire to continue and complete the course.

Watch the episode here:

Download and listen to the episode here:

The episode highlights the importance of perseverance and resilience in achieving personal and professional goals. It acknowledges that life can throw unexpected curveballs that disrupt our plans, but it emphasizes the significance of not giving up. The students who decided to re-engage with the course after a prolonged absence exemplify the determination to finish what they started and honor their commitment to their education and professional development--even if it takes longer than anticipated.

The conversation also touches on the impact of the shut-down on individuals' mindsets and the necessity of adapting to unforeseen circumstances. It forced many people, including those in the aesthetics industry, to reassess their priorities and make necessary adjustments. Rachael and Tara acknowledge the stress and difficulties associated with such situations but emphasize the importance of taking a step back, re-envisioning, and finding a way forward.

Work-life balance isn't always balanced.

Ultimately, this episode conveys that finishing what you started is worth it, regardless of the obstacles encountered along the way. Persevere, even when life gets challenging, and recognize that setbacks do not define your ability to achieve your goals.

The stories of students who returned to the Nutritional Aesthetics Alliance after a hiatus serve as reminders that the satisfaction of completing a goal outweighs the challenges faced along the way. We encourage you to embrace the mindset of persisting despite setbacks and to recognize the worthiness of your efforts in pursuing your dreams.

Would you like to learn more about our Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® Training Program?

Learn more and get started here!


[00:01:09] New school year begins.

[00:04:11] Persistence and Overcoming Adversity.

[00:08:11] Shifting priorities amidst challenges.

[00:14:24] Feeling like a failure.

[00:19:41] Interesting topic.

[00:24:39] Self-care and its importance.

[00:26:10] Prioritizing self-care and wellness.

[00:30:12] The value of facial massage.

[00:33:36] I'm a lady who lunches.

[00:37:48] Cooking adventures with children.


Reflections, Revelations, and Revitalizing the Future of Nutritional Aesthetics®

In our latest episode of The Skin Wellness Pro Show, we took the time to reflect on the incredible journey we've had so far. Can you believe we've already completed 10 episodes? It's been an amazing experience, and we want to express our gratitude for your continued support and engagement. During the episode, Tara and Rachael discuss their plans for the upcoming second season of the podcast, and what they're excited about this fall. They also shared some personal insights from their very busy summers, and shared perspectives on what a truly integrative practice can look like.

Watch Episode 1.10, Reflections, Revelations, and Revitalizing the Future of Nutritional Aesthetics® below:

Download and listen to the episode here:

What is an integrative practice?

As discussed in the podcast, integrative practice refers to the combination of medical and holistic approaches in the beauty industry. By incorporating both practices, we believe practitioners can enhance their value and provide better client results. Now is the perfect time to adopt an integrative approach, as people increasingly seek deeper perspectives on improving their skin and health.

Regardless of one's job in the beauty or wellness industries, integrating holistic practices can benefit both the practitioner and the client. By offering consultations and providing clients with options to improve their overall well-being, practitioners can increase their value in the eyes of their clients.

One of the main advantages of teaching your clients an integrative approach to healthy skin, is that it focuses on providing information and guidance to clients, suggesting simple changes or swaps that can have a significant impact on their health and well-being. These small changes can lead to big transformations in people's lives, making them more likely to become long-term clients.

By focusing on foundational changes such as nutrition, lifestyle, and mindset, practitioners can build a stronger foundation for their clients' skin cells. This, in turn, leads to better results from products, treatments, and procedures offered at salons or spas. What that means is that the results will last longer and come faster, ultimately leading to happier clients who will return more frequently.

Furthermore, we cannot ignore the crucial role of integrative practice in addressing underlying health issues. For example, if a client is experiencing hair loss or thinning, practitioners can suggest that they see a doctor for hormone panels. This holistic approach allows practitioners to assist clients in finding the root cause of their issues rather than simply treating the symptoms with topicals or conditioners. By addressing these deeper imbalances, practitioners can provide more effective solutions and help clients achieve long-lasting results.

Beauty is not just about external appearances.

Our skin, hair, and nails are all influenced by the overall health of our bodies. Integrative practice recognizes this connection and promotes practices that improve overall well-being. By adopting lifestyle practices that support health, clients can experience external improvements and feel better overall.

In conclusion, Nutritional Aesthetics® promotes integrating medical and holistic practices in the beauty industry. It encourages practitioners to consider the whole person and offer various options and pathways to beauty and wellness. By adopting a holistic approach, practitioners can better support their clients in achieving their desired outcomes and feeling their best. There is also a growing interest among medical professionals in incorporating holistic practices into their work.

Overall, the Nutritional Aesthetics® approach emphasizes the importance of being open-minded, inclusive, and supportive of individuals navigating the societal expectations and pressures of aging.

Would you like to learn how to bring our integrative approach to healthy skin to your clients?

You can start your journey today by enrolling in our professionally accredited Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® Training Program. Click HERE to learn more and enroll. 

woman with healthy skin

Are Amino Acids the Secret to Youthful Skin?

Imagine a bustling construction site where diligent workers are busily assembling the framework for a magnificent skyscraper. Now, envision that each worker is an amino acid, tirelessly operating as the "building blocks" of proteins in our bodies. These dynamic components don't just clock in and clock out - they're involved in a multitude of metabolic processes, meticulously crafting cell structures and functions. Their pièce de résistance? The radiant, resilient skin they help to create. Such is the power and significance of amino acids in our pursuit of optimal skin health.

When we think about proteins associated with youthful, clear, vibrant skin, we often first think of keratin, or corneocytes--the "dead" flattened keratinocytes that are ready to slough off, or the dermal proteins associated with youth, collagen, and elastin. What if we told you that if you want all THOSE proteins to function their best, you need to start with the more basic building blocks of protein? It's true--for optimal proliferation and function of these proteins, the focus needs to be on amino acids more than those end-proteins themselves. Let's break that down!


Woman using amino acid oil on healthy skin

The role of amino acids in skin health

Amino acids all directly nourish the human body, nails, hair, and skin. These organic compounds offer numerous benefits for skin health, including:

1. Collagen production: Amino acids like glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline are critical for collagen production. Collagen, a protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin, relies heavily on these amino acids. As we age, our collagen production slows down, leading to wrinkles and sagging skin. We can support our body's natural collagen synthesis by ensuring a sufficient intake of these specific amino acids.

2. Maintaining a healthy pH balance: Amino acids help maintain the skin's pH balance, which is crucial for a healthy skin barrier. This balance helps the skin stay hydrated and defends against external irritants and pathogens.

3. Combating the effects of aging: Some amino acids function as antioxidants, fighting off free radicals that can cause oxidative stress and premature aging in the skin. For example, methionine, an essential amino acid, has antioxidant properties that help protect the skin from damage.

4. Promoting healthy skin and nail growth: Amino acids are vital for producing keratin, a protein that promotes healthy skin and nail growth. Our bodies cannot produce enough keratin without adequate amino acids, leading to dry, brittle nails and dull skin.


foods rich in amino acids

Sources of amino acids

The human body requires 20 different amino acids, divided into two categories: non-essential and essential.

Non-Essential Amino Acids: These are synthesized by our bodies and, therefore, do not need to be obtained from our diet. They include alanine, asparagine, aspartic acid, and glutamic acid, among others.

Essential Amino Acids: These cannot be produced by our bodies and must be obtained through our diet or supplements. They include histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.

Incorporating a variety of foods rich in both essential and non-essential amino acids is key for optimal skin health. These include lean meats, dairy products, eggs, soy, quinoa, and beans.


foods rich in collagen

In the grand scheme of skin health, it's easy to get dazzled by the spotlight shining on popular proteins like keratin, collagen, and elastin.

We admire their roles in maintaining youthful, vibrant skin and often focus our efforts on boosting these specific proteins. But what if the secret to truly radiant skin lies not in these well-known stars, but in the diligent, behind-the-scenes crew? Yes, we're talking about amino acids - the unsung heroes of protein synthesis.

Just as a magnificent skyscraper rests on the strength of its foundation, the efficacy of our skin's proteins relies on the robustness of these basic building blocks. By shifting our focus to amino acids, we're investing in the core of our skin's health. It's a game-changing perspective that could redefine your skincare strategy.

So, let's lift the curtain and give these tireless workers the recognition they deserve. Remember, a well-nourished construction site thrives - and so does your skin. Here's to celebrating the power of amino acids and unlocking the potential for truly optimal skin health!

Do you want to learn more about what micronutrients are needed for healthy, youthful skin?

We teach this extensively in our professionally accredited Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® Training Program! Learn more and enroll here.

Skin Rash Clients: When (and How) to Refer with Rachael Pontillo, Tara Swagger, and Jennifer Fugo

Skin Rash Clients: When (and How) to Refer with Jennifer Fugo

What do you do when you get a client who comes to you with an itchy, painful, and even embarrassing chronic skin rash--like eczema, psoriasis, or even a severe case of rosacea, and asks what you should do? The client has already been to a dermatologist and regular doctor, and has not had good results from the medications prescribed. As an aesthetician, health coach, or Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner®, you want to help. You know you have some topicals that can help cool and soothe angry, rashed skin. But you also know that the client's skin condition probably has a root cause that hasn't been discovered yet; and while you can help with a lot of foundational healthy skin lifestyle recommendations, you know that functional testing is probably what's needed to really see what's going on. Who do you refer that client to? How do you know it's the right referral?

In this episode of The Skin Wellness Pro Show, we had the pleasure of hosting NAA Advisory Board member, Jennifer Fugo, a clinical nutritionist and the host of the wildly popular "The Healthy Skin Show" podcast. Jennifer shared her expertise on empowering adults who have been failed by conventional medicine to beat chronic skin and gut challenges.

Watch Episode 1.09, "Skin Rash Clients: When (and How) to Refer with Jennifer Fugo" here:

Listen to (or download) the episode here:

Here are three key takeaways from this episode:

1️⃣ The importance of a holistic approach: Jennifer emphasized the need for a holistic approach when addressing chronic skin and gut challenges. She highlighted that medications may provide temporary relief, but they don't always address the root cause of the issue. By taking a holistic approach that considers nutrition, lifestyle, and other factors, practitioners can better support their clients in achieving long-term skin wellness.

2️⃣ The power of collaboration: We discussed the value of collaboration and building a toolbox of resources for clients. Jennifer emphasized that she is not the right fit for everyone, and that's okay. By having a network of trusted colleagues and resources, practitioners can refer clients to other experts who may better fit their specific needs. This collaborative approach ensures clients receive the best care and support on their skin wellness journey.

3️⃣ Empowering clients through education: Jennifer highlighted the importance of empowering clients through education. Instead of undermining what clients may have been told in the past, practitioners can provide them with resources, articles, and interviews to expand their knowledge and encourage them to explore different approaches. By allowing clients to digest information and make informed decisions, practitioners can empower them to take an active role in their skin wellness.

About Jennifer Fugo:

Clinical Nutritionist and skin rash expert, Jennifer FugoJennifer Fugo, MS, LDN, CNS is a clinical nutritionist empowering adults who’ve been failed by conventional medicine to beat chronic skin and unending gut challenges. She has experience working with conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, dandruff + hives — with clientele ranging from regular folks to celebrities + professional athletes.

Jennifer also founded her own line of skincare + supplements available at specifically for people struggling with these chronic skin issues. 

She holds a Master’s degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport and is a Licensed Dietitian-Nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist. Her work has been featured on Dr. Oz, Reuters, Yahoo!, CNN, and many podcasts and summits. Jennifer is a faculty member of the LearnSkin platform, an Amazon best-selling author, and the host of the Healthy Skin Show.

Connect with Jennifer:

Healthy Skin Show Podcast: 

Quell Shop: 








Leave a comment about aromatherapy in the spa!We'd love to hear from you!

Have you ever experienced a scenario like this--where you've had a client, struggling with a stubborn skin issue, who didn't get the support he or she needed from their doctor? A client who you wanted to help, but you also wanted to be mindful of your scope of practice? How did you handle it? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Woman holding hands over stomach

The Intricate Connection Between Digestive Health and Skin Conditions

The ancient adage "beauty comes from within" holds more truth than one might realize. The state of our internal health, particularly our digestive health, significantly impacts our skin's appearance and condition. Poor gut health can set off a domino effect leading to a plethora of skin issues and inflammation. Let's delve into the fascinating science behind this intricate connection.


Woman doing yoga on the beach

What goes in must come out...regularly.

Our body operates like a well-oiled machine with various systems working harmoniously to maintain optimal health. The excretory system, which includes the skin, kidneys, and intestines, plays a pivotal role in eliminating toxins from the body.

The skin's role in detoxification is critical for overall health and well-being. By eliminating waste products and toxins, the skin helps prevent these harmful substances from building up in the body. This function is particularly crucial when the liver or kidneys, the body's primary detox organs, are overloaded or not functioning optimally. Regular sweating, either through exercise or sauna use, can help support the skin's detoxification process.

Before toxins can be eliminated through the skin, they must first be processed by the liver and kidneys. These organs break down toxins into less harmful substances that can be safely excreted. Once broken down, these waste products are released into the bloodstream and eventually make their way to the sweat (sudoriferous) and oil (sebaceous) glands, where they can be eliminated through the skin.


Woman scratching her skin

External symptoms of internal inflammation

When your gut is unhappy, your skin often shows it. Symptoms of inflammation and immune response set off by poor gut function can manifest topically in several ways. Here are just a few:

Cystic Acne: This severe form of acne occurs when bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells become trapped deep within your hair follicles. While hormones and genetics play a role in its development, emerging research indicates that gut health may also contribute. An unhealthy gut can lead to an overgrowth of harmful bacteria and yeast, stimulating inflammation and potentially worsening cystic acne.

Rosacea: Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes redness and visible blood vessels, primarily in your face. It can also produce small, red, pus-filled bumps. Recent research suggests a connection between rosacea and gut health. For instance, many individuals with rosacea have been found to have an overgrowth of the gut bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which could stimulate an inflammatory response.

Eczema: Also known as dermatitis, eczema is a condition that makes your skin red, rashy, and itchy. It's common in children but can occur at any age. Eczema may be linked to an overactive immune system responding to an irritant--intrinsically or extrinsically. As the gut plays a significant role in immune function, an imbalanced gut microbiome could potentially exacerbate this skin condition.

Hives: Hives (also known as urticaria) are a rash of red bumps that develop on the skin in response to an allergic reaction. Various substances or situations, such as exposure to certain foods or stress, can trigger them. Since the gut plays a crucial role in regulating immune responses, including allergies, an unhealthy gut might make individuals more susceptible to conditions like hives.

These conditions are usually not isolated issues but signs that your bodily systems aren't functioning optimally.


Woman with healthy gut microbiome

Significance of a healthy microbiome

Our gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, collectively known as the microbiome. This complex ecosystem is essential to proper digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune function.

However, factors such as a diet high in processed foods, exposure to environmental toxins, heavy antibiotic use, and undiagnosed food sensitivities can disrupt this delicate balance. An imbalanced gut microbiome can damage the intestines, allowing toxins to leak into the bloodstream, a condition known as 'leaky gut.' This can trigger systemic inflammation, reflecting on your skin's health.


Healthy food ingredients

Practical advice for digestive health and radiant skin

  1. Eat a nutritious diet: A diet rich in fiber, lean proteins, healthy fats, and fermented foods can promote a healthy gut microbiome. Include fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, probiotic-rich yogurt, and kefir in your diet. Eat organic and local if possible.
  2. Hydrate: Drink plenty of water, and eat hydrating foods like watermelon, cucumber, and homemade soups and broths to help flush out toxins from your body and keep your skin hydrated.
  3. Limit Processed Foods: Highly processed foods (these are the foods you find when you eat out, get take-out, eat foods that come in boxes in the center aisles of the grocery store, find in vending machines, etc.) often contain additives that can disrupt the gut microbiome. Opt for fresh, whole foods whenever possible.
  4. Manage Stress: Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your gut health. Practice stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises.
  5. Regular Exercise: Regular physical activity can enhance your digestive health and boost your overall wellbeing, leading to healthier skin.

woman with beautiful skin

Good digestive health is a non-negotiable for beautiful skin

In the quest for radiant skin, you must look beyond the surface. By prioritizing your digestive health and maintaining a balanced gut microbiome, you can pave the way to improved skin health and enhanced overall wellbeing. Remember, beautiful skin begins with a happy gut!


Woman learning about digestion on laptop by a window

Do you want to learn how to help your clients improve their digestive health, so they can get faster skin results?

We dedicate several Pillars of curriculum to topics such as gut health and digestion, the microbiome, and proper nutrition in our professionally accredited Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner® (CNAP) Training Program. When you become a Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner®, you will be able to explain these topics to your clients in a way that's easy for them to understand and implement into their busy lifestyles. Once that happens, they will become your biggest fan, because they won't believe how quickly their skin improves!

Click HERE to learn more about our CNAP Training Program, and start earning your certification today.

Estrogen Dominance and Its Impact on Skin

Estrogen dominance, a hormonal imbalance that occurs when the body has too much estrogen relative to progesterone, is an increasingly common issue women face today. This imbalance can lead to various physical and emotional symptoms that impact a woman's quality of life. But have you ever wondered how estrogen dominance affects your skin? In this blog post, we'll explore the connection between estrogen dominance and skin health. We'll also explain the potential causes and give practical tips on reducing its effects and achieving a radiant complexion.

What is estrogen?

Estrogen is a group of steroid hormones primarily responsible for developing and regulating the female reproductive system and secondary sexual characteristics. It plays a crucial role in women's health, including menstrual cycle regulation, breast development, and bone health. Although estrogen is predominantly found in females, it is also present in males in smaller amounts, where it helps regulate libido, sperm production, and bone health.

There are three main types of estrogen: estradiol, estriol, and estrone. Estradiol is the most potent and prevalent form of estrogen in women of reproductive age, while estriol is mainly produced during pregnancy, and estrone is the primary form of estrogen in postmenopausal women. Estrogen is primarily produced in the ovaries but is also synthesized in smaller amounts by the adrenal glands, fat tissue, and the placenta during pregnancy.

How does estrogen dominance affect the skin?

estrogen dominance leads to hyperpigmentation

Estrogen is crucial in maintaining healthy skin by promoting collagen production, hydration, and elasticity. However, when estrogen levels are too high compared to progesterone, it can lead to several skin-related issues:

  1. Acne: Estrogen dominance can trigger an overproduction of oil in the skin, leading to clogged pores, inflammation, and acne breakouts.
  2. Premature aging: Excess estrogen can accelerate the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers, resulting in fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin.
  3. Hyperpigmentation: Hormonal fluctuations caused by estrogen dominance can lead to an overproduction of melanin, causing dark spots and uneven skin tone.
  4. Dryness and sensitivity: An imbalance of hormones can disrupt the skin's natural barrier function, making it more prone to dryness, irritation, and inflammation.

For more information, check out NAA Advisory Board member, Jennifer Fugo's Healthy Skin Show podcast episode about how estrogen dominance affects the skin.

What causes estrogen dominance?

It can be caused by a variety of factors, including anovulatory cycles, peri-menopause, PCOS, stress, inflammation, and other hormonal imbalances.

Other factors, including unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices, can also contribute to estrogen dominance--the good news is that many of these can be changed. Eating an unbalanced diet that is high in processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fats can lead to elevated estrogen levels. Additionally, consuming high amounts of alcohol and caffeine can also contribute to estrogen dominance.

Certain lifestyle choices can also increase the risk of estrogen dominance. For example, not getting enough sleep or exercise can disrupt hormone balance in the body and cause an excess of estrogen. Stress is another factor that can increase estrogen levels in the body due to its effect on cortisol production.

Making healthy lifestyle choices is essential to reduce your risk of developing estrogen dominance. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and managing stress are all important steps you can take to maintain a healthy hormone balance in your body.

How to address estrogen dominance holistically

Estrogen dominance can lead to a variety of internal health symptoms as well, including bloating, rapid weight gain, breast tenderness, mood swings, and heavy menstrual bleeding. Fortunately, there are several ways to address estrogen dominance holistically.

cruciferous vegetables help lower estrogen levels naturally

The first step is to avoid environmental estrogens (or xenoestrogens) as much as possible. These chemicals mimic the effects of estrogen in the body and can contribute to an imbalance. Examples include certain plastics, pesticides, synthetic fragrances, and certain preservatives in skincare and personal care products.

In addition, certain supplements may help reduce estrogen levels in the body. Diindolylmethane (DIM), sulforaphane, and calcium-D-glucarate are all popular options for those looking to address estrogen dominance naturally. Herbal treatments such as milk thistle, dandelion root, and burdock may help heal from estrogen dominance naturally. Make sure you consult with a qualified healthcare or nutrition professional for dosing advice before starting herbs or dietary supplements.

Having an active lifestyle and exercising regularly can also be beneficial for reducing body fat percentage and helping balance hormones naturally. Eating more fiber is another great way to support your liver’s breakdown of estrogen. Nuts and seeds make great snacks that provide both fiber and healthy fats. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and brussels sprouts have been shown to help naturally reduce elevated estrogen levels in studies.

Overall, it’s important to take a holistic approach when addressing estrogen dominance by avoiding environmental estrogens, eating a balanced diet with plenty of fiber-rich foods, exercising regularly, and considering natural supplements or herbal treatments if needed.

Estrogen dominance can significantly impact your skin's health and appearance, but there are steps you can take to mitigate its effects.

happy women with fresh vegetables

By eating organic food whenever possible, limiting animal product consumption, exercising regularly, and supplementing with herbs and micronutrients, you can help balance your hormones and improve your skin and overall health. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional before making any major changes to your diet or lifestyle. By taking proactive measures to address estrogen dominance, you'll be well on your way to achieving healthy, glowing skin.

Do you want to learn more about hormones and skin health, so you can better support your clients?

Check out our professionally accredited Certified Nutritional Aesthetics Practitioner Training Program. Click HERE to learn more, download our syllabus, or begin your path toward certification today!