Skincare Routine + Franklin and Whitman Discount Code

First semester of clinical year: check. This rotation greeted me with some crazzzzzzy stress. And a constant influx of sugary treats in the break room that I would munch on throughout my very long night shifts because vegetables just really were not all that appetizing at 3:30AM (more about that here). And my skin most definitely saw the effects of that. So my goal this break is to get back to feeling like me. And with that comes a lot of good plants and foods, lots of hydration, some sweating, some sunshine, and a lot of reigniting some self awareness. Engaging all of my senses and getting lost in an action or project. And one of my favvvvvorite actions to take when I have the time: spoiling myself with a lonnngggg and fanciful skincare routine.

I want to first take you through my internal skincare game before I talk about why I use Frank and Whit.

Today (12/8/18) through Monday (12/9/19) only you can get 40% off when you use the code LEMONS at checkout for all Franklin and Whitman products.

This is one of my favorite posts because I get to talk about skincare. I very firmly believe what you put in your body comprises about 70% of your skincare results, 10% is genetics, 10% is stress, and 10% is skincare line. So I want to first talk about that, and then I want to talk about the skincare line part – highlighting some of my favorite  Franklin and Whitman(Please note these are not at all researched calculations. Just some numbers that seem to represent what I’ve found in the past decade or so of my own personal skincare journey).

Before starting PA school, I would wake up and drink water pretty immediately – either just a glass of water or warm water with lemon (preferably the latter). I will then have a cup of coffee mixed with 1 tsp ghee, 1 scoop collagen peptides, 1 tsp coconut oil or brain octane / MCT oil for those familiar with bulletproof, 1/4 tsp vanilla, and a few shakes of cinnamon. Upon finishing, I’ll do a quick 15 minute meditation, then exercise for 45 min to an hour.

My morning routine at my last rotation looked a little something like this: 

  • 5-5:30AM – wake up, sigh, get up drink water, throw coffee on, pour said coffee into a mug, roll out the door 
  • 6/6:30AM-????PM rotation 
  • ???PM-10PM: “study” or be so brain dead I watch the Great British Baking Show for a questionable amount of time
  • pre-PA school breakfast: huge smoothie: the general recipe: 1 cup frozen vegetables, 1/2 cup frozen fruit, homemade almond milk, 2 tbsp nut butter, 1 scoop plant based protein powder (vital proteins collagen, philosophie cacao magic / green dream, or natural citizens unflavored proteins are my favorites), 1/4 tsp root and bones reishi, 1/4 tsp cordyceps, 1 tbsp flaxseed
  • Now I feel like a huge a-hole to my roommates if I blast the Vitamin soundtrack that early in the morning. So I’ll make something like an egg bake or some breakfast muffins and store those in some Tupperware the night before so I can just grab and ~go, go, go
  • breakfast: egg bake + roasted veggies + fruit
  • lunch: huge salad – mache rosette organic girl greens are my favorite, mixed with spinach or kale (usually whatever one I didn’t use in my smoothie earlier), cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, carrots, avocado, broccoli sprouts + clean protein (organic chicken or turkey, wild fish, organic pasture raised eggs, canned salmon or tuna mixed with avocado, beans, legumes, peas) + homemade dressing (1 tbsp olive or avocado oil, 1/4 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp mustard, 1 tbsp lemon juice, salt, pepper) + sometimes a fruit on the side (1 cup berries, 1 orange, 1 apple) OR something made in the crockpot 
  • snacks: homemade balls / bites, jicama / other raw veg and guac, avocado toast (I’m ~cliche), olives, nuts, roasted sweet potato fries / japanese yam fries with primal kitchen foods honey mustard or avocado, homemade popcorn, dark chocolate, simple mills crackers with tree line cashew cheese, chia seed pudding with fruit / nut butter, siete tortilla chips with homemade salsa or guac, RX bar 
  • dinner: protein + roasted veg + good fat + dark chocolate square + tea

The research:

Take caution: 

  • There are some studies that link dairy consumption with acne occurrence ( 1 ). This could be due to the hormone content in dairy products, and sebum production may be influenced by androgens and hormonal mediators, such as sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) and insulin like growth factor-I (IGF-I), all of which may be influenced by dietary factors ( 4 ). 
  • It’s also wise to avoid foods high in sugar with high glycemic index, as those may promote the production of certain hormones (androgens) and therefore the development of acne ( 1 ). The investigators reported that foods with a high-glycemic index may contribute to acne by elevating serum insulin concentrations (which may stimulate sebocyte proliferation and sebum production), suppress SHBG concentrations, and raise androgen concentrations ( 4 ).
  • The omega-6 fatty acids are thought to induce more pro-inflammatory mediators and have been associated with the development of inflammatory acne ( 4 )
  • Eating all of these things combined resulted in the worst acne. Compared with participants with no or mild acne, participants with moderate to severe acne reported greater dietary GI, added sugar, total sugar, number of milk servings per day, saturated fat, and trans-fatty acids, and fewer servings of fish per day ( 5 ).
  • milk chocolate (type of chocolate matters!): Dark chocolate contains more antioxidants than milk chocolate, which would lead to conclusion that it may have much smaller comedogenic effects. However this issue still remains unclear ( 8 )

My “try hard to avoid when possible” foods: dairy (gives me weird farts / one time I broke out in hives after ice cream), refined sugars, refined carbohydrates, omega-6 vegetable oils (canola, soybean, sunflower, safflower).

My “always grabbing, gotta have, want, need” foods:

  • Rather than a high glycemic diet, reach for one that’s low glycemic (whole foods, whole grains, legumes, eggs, fish, etc). In one study, in fact, the total lesion count in one group after 12 weeks had decreased more in the low-glycemic-load group. The people in this group also had greater reduction in weight and a greater improvement in insulin sensitivity, which could have affected acne. It could in fact be high insulin induced by a high glycemic diet that is beyond the production of acne. The low glycemic diet in this study is recommended 25% of energy from protein, 45% from low-GI carbohydrates, and 30% energy from fats ( 2 ).  low-glycemic-index foods increased SHBG and reduced androgen levels; this is important since higher SHBG levels were associated with lower acne severity. Participants on the low-glycemic-load diet experienced greater reductions in total lesion counts and inflammatory lesions compared to those on the control diet ( 4 ).
  • Certain vitamins and minerals are also crucial to include. Vitamin A deficiency, for example, can lead to dry skin, and both Vitamin A and Vitamin D ( 4 ). Zinc levels are also lower in acne patients than controls, and oral and topical combination zinc may be of therapeutic value. Because zinc reduces absorption of copper, copper supplementation may be recommended in patients on chronic zinc therapy to prevent copper deficiency ( 8 ). Furthermore, low levels of blood selenium have been documented in acne patients ( 7 ).
    • vitamin A: sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, winter squashes, lettuce, dried apricots, cantaloupe, bell peppers, fish, liver, and tropical fruits. 
    • vitamin D: salmon, mackerel, mushrooms, herring, sardines, catfish, tuna, cod liver oil, eggs, sunshine
    • zinc: lamb, pumpkin seeds, grass-fed beef, chickpeas, cocoa powder, cashews, mushrooms, spinach, chicken
    • copper: oysters, raw kale, shiitake mushrooms, sesame seeds, cashew nuts, chickpeas, prunes, avocados, 
    • selenium: brazil nuts, oysters, tuna, sunflower seeds, pork, beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, mushrooms, whole grains 
    • green tea: The epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) polyphenol from green tea has also been suggested to be helpful in acne due to its well documented anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity ( 7 )
  • good sources of protein: The emergence of acne to varying degrees in Eskimo groups appeared to coincide with the increase in the annual per capita consumption of refined sugar and flour, while the per capita consumption of protein derived from animal sources showed an inverse relationship ( 6 ).
    • fish and seafood: One study in over 1000 teenagers from North Carolina found that each of the primary signs of acne – comedones, papules, pustules, acne cysts and oily skin – were significantly lower in in those consuming the greatest amounts of fish and seafood ( 7 ). 
  • omega-3 fatty acids:  omega-3 fatty acids might positively influence acne originate from older epidemiological studies which show that communities that maintain a traditional diet high in omega-3 fatty acids have low rates of acne ( 7 )
  • a good probiotic: In one study, probiotics were a therapeutic option for acne vulgaris by providing a synergistic antiinflammatory effect while also reducing potential adverse events secondary to chronic antibiotic use ( 9 )
  • both ingested and topical turmeric was also effective for acne:  ten studies noted statistically significant improvement in skin disease severity in the turmeric/curcumin treatment groups compared with control groups ( 10 )

Things I consume a lot of: wild fish, vegetables, sources of omega-3s (anchovies, bluefish, herring, mackerel, salmon (wild has more omega-3s than farmed), sardines, sturgeon, lake trout, tuna, flaxseed, organic / pasture raised eggs), water with lemon, tea, kombucha, bone broth, and fermented foods.

The majority of my diet is good sources of protein (lentils, peas, beans, organic and free range turkey or chicken, grass fed organic eggs), good sources of fats (nuts, flax, avocado, nut butters, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil), spices (turmeric, rosemary, garlic powder, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, oregano, basil, paprika, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg), fermented foods (kraut, kimchia, pickled anything) and TONS OF PLANTS (broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, cabbage, arugula, zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, peppers, onions, sweet potatoes, japanese yams, cucumbers, jicama, squash, tomatoes, ANYTHING. I am very non discriminatory when it comes to vegetables).

If you are thinking of one way to improve your complexion, try to limit the sugar and refined carbs, and increase the plants. This is my first, first recommendation. Removing dairy also had a huge impact on my skin, though some people are fine with dairy. Also drinking lots of water / other liquids like tea and kombucha throughout the day. I probably have around 2-3 large water bottles per day and 2-3 cups of tea per night.

things I don’t do: label my food tendencies (I am neither vegan, nor vegetarian, nor paleo, nor keto, nor blah blah blah you get it). I don’t track calories or macros. If I had to describe myself, I would say I am anti-inflammatory, gut-centric, and plant-based with room for things like grass fed and organic meats if I feel like I want it. Honestly, room for anything if I feel like I want it. For me, crazy things happen in the mind when you feel like you’re restricted to a certain food styles. Please pay particular attention to the phrase “for me.” The very cool thing about nutrition is that different diets work for different people because everyone’s specific biochemistry is different. That’s an awesome metaphor for the diversity of humans, and something deserving of immense respect. I was vegan for a bit in college and after a few months, generally didn’t feel well. Then was vegetarian, and now incorporate some meat into my diet. It is kind of a sliding scale that will likely change again.

Supplements I take: collagen (in my coffee and smoothies – I like Root and Bones brand), a probiotic, a multi complex B (integrative therapeutics), and omega-3 fatty acid (nordic naturals).

When reading posts like this that include research, both here and on other platforms, please note that nutrition research is INCREDIBLY hard to perform due to the insane amount of variability. This is just a glimmer of what I stumbled upon, and there is so so so much more out there. I say this because I want you all to be curious readers, and know that what I’m giving you is never definitive or permanent. Everyone is different and everyone will find things that work for them or don’t work for them! I’m just here to share a little info in the best way I feel I can. So yes, take it all with a grain of ~pink Himalayan sea salt~.

Back to the good stuff: franklin and whitmanThe masks genuinely make my skin radiate. I once brought some of my product to a friend’s house, where she, her dad, another friend, and a friend’s boyfriend all tried it. I really wanted a non-biased and gender nonspecific opinion of the masks, steams, scrubs, and serums. Upon completion, all parties were thrilled, and I looked over to find both men spontaneously touching their faces, commenting on the soft and supple texture. I also offered some to my sister’s boyfriend, who requested another mask a few months later. I firmly believe in this product, and everyone who has come into contact with it mimics this sentiment.

You can get 40% off when you use the code LEMONS at checkout.

The routine:

every day:

face wash (oil based and a pro at removing make up), serum / moisturizer (frank and whit walnut hill face serum (goes on super smooth and leaves me with a super shine), and peppermint lip balm EVERY DAY (smells like peppermint and has kind of taken the place of chewing mint gum).

a few times a week:

I personally don’t feel like I need a scrub every day because my skin is on the drier side, especially during winter. But the line was developed to be gentle enough to be used daily (direct quote from the president of the company). I love the midtown village face scrub on weekend mornings. For those of you who feel a cup of coffee in the morning just isn’t enough, this is for you. Ingredients include: caster sugar, fair trade coffee, and vanilla. It’s like a face latte. facialatte? Doesn’t work as a word, but does work as a scrub.

once a week:

Once or twice a week, I’ll go through the whole process. It is recommended to first cleanse away make up and impurities, scrub, steam, then follow by a mask and serum. I’ve included a few of my favorite products below. They also have a new mask bowl kit to hold all of said products.

face (in this order):

  1. cleansing oil: chestnut hill (camellia oil, calendula oil, green tea seed oil)
  2. scrub: filter square (brown sugar, vanilla beans, tea tree oil)
  3. steam: washington square (rose petals, lavender, calendula)
  4. mask: queen village (colloidal oatmeal, activated charcoal, aloe vera) and northern liberties (pink clay, organic hibiscus, rice powder)
  5. face serum: walnut hill (argan oil, rosehip seed, pomegranate)

the daily face care kit includes toner, oil, and cleanser.

body / hair:

  1. body scrub: east passyunk (brown sugar, vanilla, grapefruit)
  2. hair:
    1. sea salt mist: mermaid status x100 
    2. dry shampoo: I use the dark colored one
    3. hair serum: mount airy (vanilla, lavender, bergamot)
  3. body serum: old city (lavender, orange, sandalwood)

Plus, check out their holiday guide guide!!

Choosing this list was extremely difficult. I love all of the steams, masks, serums, soaks, and scrubs like children, and don’t like to play favorites!! You really can’t go wrong.

PS the shirt I’m wearing can be found here.


***disclaimer: I make commission off of sales from Franklin and Whitman. I am so, so, so humbled and grateful at the ability to do this, as student loans are a real bitch. I have been using these products for years, and I firmly believe in them. And I sincerely hope you all know me well enough that I would never sell you something I don’t truly believe in.


( 1 ) Danby, F.W. (2010). Nutrition and acne, Clinics in Dermatology, 28(6), 598-604. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2010.03.017

( 2 ) Smith, R.N., Mann, N.J., Braue, A., Makelainen, H., & Varigos, G.A. (2007). A low-glycemic-load diet improves symptoms in acne vulgaris patients: A randomized controlled trial. The American Journal of Clnical Nutrition, 86(1), 107-115. 

( 4 ) Pappas, A. (2009). The relationship of diet and acne. Dermato-Endocrinology, 5, 262-267. doi: 10.4161/derm.1.5.10192

( 5 ) Burris, J., Rietkerk, W., & Woolf, K. (2014). Relationships of self-reported dietary factors and perceived acne severity in a cohort of new york young adults. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 114(3), 384-392. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2013.11.010

( 6 ) Smith, R. & Mann, N. (2007). Acne in adolescence: A role for nutrition? Nutriton & Dietetics, 64(4), S147-S149. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-0080.2007.00211.x

( 7 ) Rubin, M.G., Kim, K., & Logan, A.C. (2008). Acne vulgaris, mental health and omega-3 fatty acids: a report of cases. Lipids in Health and Disease, 7(36), doi: 10.1186/1476-511X-7-36

( 8 ) Kucharska, A., Szmurlo, A., & Sinska, B. (2016). Significance of diet in treated and untreated acne vulgaris. Advances in Dermatology and Allergology, 33(2), 81-86. doi: 10.5114/ada.2016.59146

( 9 ) Jung, G.W., Tse, J.E., Guiha, I., & Rao, J. (2013). Prospective, randomized, open-label trial comparing the safety, efficacy, and tolerability of an acne treatment regimen with and without a probiotic supplement and monocycline in subjects with mild to moderate acne. Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, 17(2), 114-122.

( 10 ) Vaughn, A.R., Branum, A., & Sivamani, R.K. (2016). Effects of turmeric (Curcuma longa) on skin health: A systematic review of the clinical evidence. Physiotherapy Research, 30(8), 1243-1264. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5640

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9 Responses

  1. I’m curious about the ghee! You say you eat mostly dairy free, so is the ghee okay with your stomach and skin? I have much better digestion without any dairy, and my skin is especially healthier without it, but I’ve been toying with the idea of trying to incorporate some ghee to vary my fats from coconut a little bit. Do people with dairy intolerances, not necessarily allergies, tend to do okay with ghee?

    1. Hi Shyla! Mine is a dairy sensitivity, not an allergy, and so I haven’t had any issues with it! The milk solids are removed when making ghee, and so it is technically considered casein free. It is clarified butter. I can only speak for myself, but I have not faced any issues with ghee. Your best bet would be to try a very small amount and see how it goes for you! xo

  2. Loved this blog post! Just want to say thank you for giving me more inspiration. I have pretty bad eczema since I was a child. All doctors/dermatologists ever want to give me is steroids well I’m 29 now and these meds have stopped working which led me to look at my diet. I guess my body said enough! It’s time for a change. So I’m listening, I don’t eat red meat I noticed after I do the next day I wake And my face is super swollen then comes the flare. My skin gets worse with dairy and sugar and a major trigger is stress. I saw or read your post on instagram and saw you take ashawanda and I started taking it and I feel so much more calm! Thank you really. You have no idea how much you have helped me just by sharing your life on social media. ❤

    1. Ashwagandha is such a life saver for me! I genuinely did feel such a difference when I started taking it. And that is so unfortunate about your doctors/dermatologists. So amazing to hear you’re listening to the signals your body is giving you. And thank you thank you thank you for your incredibly kind words. It means so much to me and really makes it all worth it. So happy to have helped, even in the smallest of ways! xo

  3. Hi Katie. Do you strictly eat organic foods? I have done a lot of research on the subject because I am very conscience about what I put in my body. I have not really found a decisive answer when it comes to organic vs non organic foods and If organic is really worth it. I know I am reducing substances such as antibiotics and pesticides by choosing organic but it adds up quick. There are some weeks when I have to choose non organic fruits, veggies ect… Just wanted your opinion on the topic. Thank You!

    1. My general rule of thumb is to eat local when I can and then organic. I absolutely buy organic for the dirty dozen (, and if the budget allows for that month, all organic. The clean fifteen, or produce with a thick and pretty impenetrable skin, I don’t stress about as much ( If organic just isn’t in the cards for you, I’d recommend washing to the best of your ability. Here’s an article with a few good homemade solutions: Hope this helps!! xo

  4. Hi. Thank you for this super informative blog post! I love the science backing all of this and have trying to figure out my hormonal acne for months now. I am going to try the frank + whit products and new supplements and less sugar!!!!!!!!

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