Q&A: How To Deal with Cystic Acne, from the founder of Leahlani Skincare

By Sam Negrin

I'm excited to introduce you to the founder of one of the most beautiful natural skincare lines I've found to date, Leahlani Skincare's Leah Klasovsky. The growing collection of honey cleansers, mists, face masks, elixirs and oils are all handmade on the North Shore of Kauai Island. They're made with botanicals, clays, nectars and tropical fruits that infuse each bottle (or jar) of the line with a scent that immediately makes you feel like you're in a luxurious island spa.

Leahlani skincare
credit: LEAFtv

Before Leah went to Holistic Esthetician School, she had her own skin issues she had been battling for awhile. She developed cystic acne at age 25, and after seeing a slew of Eastern and Western doctors, understood that the underlying cause of this was a hormonal imbalance. Around the same time, Leah was diagnosed with endometriosis—after going through a lengthy healing process, she started to understand how her body reacted to certain ingredients, lifestyle choices, and stress. She started infusing her skincare regime with natural botanicals she sourced from the islands, and focused on creating the cleanest products possible. The result? Skin that was glowing and healing everyday, happy clients from her esthetician practice, and Leahlani Skincare.

"Having cystic acne was so extremely painful, both emotionally and physically, and the transformation did not happen overnight, it takes time. But once you set the intention to heal and are willing to put in the work, you are halfway there."

Q: What are the ingredients people should look out for in healing and preventing cystic acne?

A: Every single case of acne is different, and there is no simple answer. If your acne is cystic, there is something deeper going on beyond the surface, and I do not believe that the products you're using are the cause. I would advise anyone to take a look at the whole picture: diet, lifestyle, current skincare ritual. Incorporate 30-40 minutes of cardio into your daily life 4-5x/week. Start drinking more purified water and try to eliminate inflammatory foods from your diet. Check in with your sleep patterns and stress levels. A game changer for me was determining how often I needed to exfoliate my skin. I have to exfoliate 2-3x/week, and I absolutely adore honey in skincare formations to help keep my skin clear. Our Honey Love 3-in-1, Meli Glow Nectar Mask, and Mermaid Mask are all game changers for a clear and vibrant complexion.

Q: What are some products that you thought were helping, but actually worsened your skin issues?

A: Before becoming a Holistic Esthetician, I was using any and all of the "acne targeted" products that were aggravating and over-drying my skin, making my complexion far worse with every day that passed. I was avoiding all oil on my face because I thought that's what I was supposed to do. I was picking at my skin, which I regret more than ever because of all the scarring that was left behind. I was also ignoring subtle signals that my body was sending me, alerting me that I was unbalanced.

Q: How do you protect your skin from the sun, living in Hawaii?!

A: My go-to for sun protection is a large floppy hat, and limiting my sun exposure to only an hour/day (generally when I'm on my morning run). Most people are surprised to hear that I do not wear sunscreen, but I just cannot stand the way it feels on my skin. Only if I know I'm going to be at the beach, in direct sun for hours, will I borrow sunblock from my hubby.

Q: How has Hawaii influenced Leahlani Skincare?

A: I have lived on 3 of the Hawaiian Islands, and what truly influenced Leahlani are the experiences and lessons from each one. My neighbor would give me fresh awapuhi to wash my hair and I fell in love with making face masks and body scrubs out of the local tropical fruit, salts and oils. Kauai will always be my muse, she is so majestic, enchanting and inspiring; the first place I ever felt deeply in tune with myself. Everywhere you turn, you see every shade of green and blue. Oahu was so energetic and lively; I overcame a lot of obstacles living there and it was there that I was able to find my strength and my voice. Maui will always be special to me, it was where I went to heal, and was the birthplace of my journey into the realm of holistic esthetics, skincare and formation.

Q: Your biggest tips on achieving the coveted dewy, aloha glow?

A: Implementing a good cardio workout 3-5x/week helps burst circulation and give you a gorgeous glow. Stay hydrated drinking fresh water, cold pressed juices and add some superfoods into your smoothies. Use more face masks! Do not be afraid to use oils on your skin, our day and night elixirs will give your skin a gorgeous aloha glow! I keep my Mahina Evening Elixir on my bed stand so that I always remember to give myself a gentle face massage every night before I go to sleep. Also, a good facial mist, which helps on-the-go hydration.

Q: Mainstay products in your everyday skincare regime right now?

Q: If you could only bring TWO skincare items on a deserted island with you, what would they be?

A: Bless Beauty Balm and the Mahina Elixir. Combining these two at night is pure magic.

Q: Go-to breakfast recipe?

A: 1/2 papaya filled with greek yogurt and topped with local granola, coconut flakes and fresh apples or bananas. Maybe a little chocolate after!

"The intention behind me creating Leahlani Skincare is that I wanted to create a beautiful line of effective skincare that would transform a routine into a ritual. From the pure tropical fragrances, soft shades of colors from mother natures palette, silken textures and effervescent bubbles of botanical magic- dive in and ENJOY!"