what’s the story with Whole Foods?

last year, suki® ended its partnership with Whole Foods Market. people often don’t realize what goes into these corporate partnerships & why collaborating isn’t always the blessing it might seem for an independent company, especially those who stand by their strong ideals & values. in fact, after I broke off our partnership, Whole Foods began to claim that they kicked us out, which actually tells you a great deal about this giant, picking on a tiny company like ours. I mean, we could hardly impact their bottom line, yet they had no problem with potentially destroying a small business with their false accusations! talk about power corrupting…

so this week, to mark the one-year anniversary of this decision, which I’m still proud  hell to have made, I wanted to share the letter I sent to my independent retail partners (who are growing in numbers & as ethically strong as ever!).


dear friends:

know your beauty®, the philosophical foundation behind suki® , means accepting ourselves for who we really are, never punishing ourselves for being “less than perfect” or needing to live up to an outside definition of beauty, & acknowledging we must always take & own our power, including the power over our health & well-being.” I set my own rules for my company: we’re transparent, honest & committed to sourcing the most pure & efficacious ingredients—100% organic or fair trade when possible. we are truly independent & always have been in creating products that actually solve skin problems!

you are my independent partners & I know you share our values. you have stood by me since day one, when I started my company in my kitchen in the woods of New England. we agree that an environment of real choice & truly healthful solutions is key in this industry. we also know that as others have grown massively, their missions have altered. we have experienced too well the push of profit put ahead of ethics, as unique independent brands are homogenized to do businesses with the all-powerful corporate & publically traded brand, Whole Foods Market.

over the past 14 years, suki® skincare emerged as Whole Foods’ leading premium skincare brand & we are grateful to have reached many people through this partnership. however, we examined our business relationship & found that Whole Foods is no longer committed as they once were (when they were independent themselves) to providing ethical, effective & pure products to those who TRULY need them. sadly, it appears they have become aligned with centralized manipulative marketing practices.


(January 2015 strike at Whole Foods Market , Brooklyn, NY)

their tactics include pressuring small businesses like us to alter our messaging, requiring their subjective approval for every decision as if we were a subsidiary of Whole Foods Markets & trying to force us to overturn our ideals, values, & even our product formulations! & this, folks, is how you kill a small business & the ideals of a small business owner, unless you are as stubborn as, well, us :)

Whole Foods has compromised their original mission by allowing “acceptable” synthetic stabilizers, gums, preservatives & other synthetic ingredients like non-labeled GMOs that we would never deem appropriate into their stores. & thanks to other brands in Whole Body that make efficacy claims without doing scientific studies (which we have done!), we are told to get rid of any language that informs our consumers of how our products can help them.

shockingly, Whole Foods adopted the same oppressive tactics as Wal-mart with respect to labor negotiations, purchasing practices, restricting small business autonomy & dictating communications.


so we have made the easy choice to let go & focus on our partnerships with you, the TRUE pioneers of the industry. I want you to know that I deeply respect every one of you for your trailblazing commitment to providing truly natural & organic solutions for your customers.

we will continue our original mission of creating strong, safe solutions for skin problems & sensitivities, & helping people achieve their best skin by treating the underlying systemic causes of their problems. we will remain strong & self-sufficient, answering to our ethics, our hearts & our ideals. when I began all this in my kitchen, I swore I would NEVER compromise my ideals for profit—for anything. & I’m happy to say I never have.

so here’s to all of our growth & continued paving the way, hopefully, for future idealists.


—Suki Kramer


River Valley Market, one of my awesome independent retailers in Northampton, MA

permission to feast

Thanksgiving’s just around the corner & I’m going to say something shocking now. are you ready?

have like…a LOT of butter &…wait for it…even second helpings of everything, including dessert! treat yourself to whatever you’d ordinarily say “oh, I really shouldn’t…”. after all, what the heck are the holidays about if you’re not going to ENJOY the simple pleasures in life? it drives me crazy, reading endless articles about how to avoid all that delicious food—Thanksgiving is about appreciation & not self-denial. now, if you have some kind of allergy that will hurt you, be wary of that…but otherwise INDULGE away! give yourself permission to partake in all the classics. or maybe you have your own spin, like tofurkey or gluten-free rolls; it’s not the old days where being green or vegan meant a tasteless, chewy meal that no one enjoyed! there is truly an abundance of riches in the gluten-free & vegan world nowadays! let yourself fill a totally decadent plate & enjoy every bite. it’s not about glorifying consumerism, but celebrating the abundance of family/friends surrounding your table. & let’s face it, food is comfort, history, pleasure…it’s just pretty awesome too. :)


at my company, some of our team members made a poll of their Thanksgiving dinner must-haves: mashed potatoes were a popular choice & the favorite of customer service mavens Rachel & Melanie & production assistant Meghan. our accounting manager Tina put a twist on the potato theme by choosing sweet potato pie…& pies, of course, held their own in this little contest. Mike in shipping went with classic apple pie, while marketing assistant Whitney chose gluten-free pumpkin pie, heavy on the whipped cream. lab manager Mike can’t say no to a good breadcrumb stuffing, Dan had to go with the classic turkey, accounting assistant Rosalyn is crazy about gravy & my assistant Johanna just loves it all, as do I…since I really enjoy a meal that has multiple ‘tastes’ rather than one big entrée, Thanksgiving is awesome to me! :)

what nostalgic favorite or new culinary creation are you looking forward to this Thanksgiving?

with gratitude,


gratitude is a choice…

to say nothing makes my day like a letter from someone I’ve helped is an understatement. these are truly the things that get me through all the tough times & they’re the reason I began this journey–the reason my company exists. here is a testimonial I had to share from someone who had eczema (the condition I used to have that  inspired me to create my whole product line) & I helped them stop suffering from it, which is humbling to even write.

“I have had eczema for as long as I can remember,” writes J. “the older I became the worse my eczema got. my arms and hands were covered in red rashes and scabs. it was extremely painful. I was having a difficult time sleeping, and working. working made my eczema even worse, because I had my hands in chemicals every day. eventually, my hands and arms were bleeding daily. not itching was impossible.

J’s eczema before trying suki®


I tried every OTC lotion and cream I could find, and nothing touched it. I went to my doctor who gave me steroid cream. the steroid cream did give me some relief, but it did not get rid of my eczema. I continued to live with the pain.

one day a friend saw my eczema and suggested that I try the suki product line. after researching Suki’s products online, I was intrigued. the company’s philosophy and all natural approach seemed to be the answer I was looking for. I received several products and started a twice a day ritual. I began with the exfoliating foaming cleanser, followed by the concentrated clarifying toner and ending with ultra-protect body balm. the results were nothing less than amazing!

I immediately saw and felt a difference. after my first use I had significant relief from the itch. after 2-3 days the redness and swelling were noticeably diminished.  after the first couple of weeks my eczema was barely noticeable.  nothing I had ever tried before even came close to the results I received from Suki’s products. if you suffer from any skin problems, you owe it to yourself to try the Suki product line. it’s pure, natural and kick ass strong! Suki changed my life, I’ll never be without it!”

 J’s skin 3 months later


her note & pictures changed the whole direction of my day from dark to sunny. & I still think of her often, especially during stressful & difficult times when I need that extra support & reminder that the original mission of my business—helping people get healthy, beautiful skin—is fully intact. I think about how grateful I am that I get to feel this way forever, because the formulas are made & that part of my hard work is finished. I should feel this gratitude & positivity every day…but do I?

of course not! scientists say any negative thought releases destructive neurochemicals, & the more you engage in shaming or blaming dialogue, the more difficult it becomes to stop. vocalizations of negativity = more stress chemicals released, not only in your brain, but in the listener’s brain as well. &, get this, the brain barely responds to our positive words & thoughts. why? they’re not a threat to our survival, so the brain doesn’t invest as much attention in them. in fact, you need to be positive (even if it’s fake!) at least 3x as much to negate the impact of negative self-talk.

gratitude is basically awareness –of the good things we have or difficult situations we’ve conquered, of what we’ve achieved, of what we’ve learned, of whatever enriches us! as Thanksgiving approaches, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to put a positive spin on this hardcore stressful year…turns out I’ve got a ton to be grateful for. this eczema success story is just one of many things.

so thanks “J.” :) for reminding me…



wise women Wednesday: Maya Angelou


Maya Angelou (1928 –2014) was a woman unafraid to live as boldly as she wrote. throughout her life she worked as a fry cook, opera singer,  journalist, actress, director, civil rights leader, nightclub dancer & yes, a prostitute. of course, she was most famous for her plays, poetry & autobiographical writing.

although she was open about her past & the traumas she suffered, she never let herself be defined by them, or by the gender & racial labels that suffocated so many voices in her time. she won three Grammy awards for her spoken-word albums & her childhood autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings reveals the struggles of growing up black & female in the pre-Civil Rights era to new generations of high school students & other readers across the world.

Maya Angelou’s life was fearlessly far from “normal” & without a doubt amazing!





resveratrol: the grapes of youth

grape_vinesred wine as a health food? well, that’s not a hard sell. we’ve been told that for years!

but in the past few years, more & more people are starting to take resveratrol supplements, wine’s key health-promoting & anti-aging compound, in highly refined pill form. I’ve been formulating with this useful cosmeceutical in my skincare products for years & now I have to explain to everyone why I was using it all along! ahead of the curve…not such a great thing, man 😉

studies have shown that resveratrol has antibacterial properties, protects cells from cancer-causing mutations & helps repair the cells of the GI tract. resveratrol has been proven to absorb topically through the skin—which, as you probably recall, is our largest organ & directly absorbs all sorts of potentially beneficial or harmful compounds.

resveratrol is also a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells against the free radicals that create pigmentation spots & wrinkles over time.

but here’s the thing—sourcing always matters. when grapes are sprayed with pesticides, they get lazy & don’t produce as much resveratrol. since resveratrol is not standardized like most supplements, & the marketing of supplements is as confusing & controversial as it is in the skincare industry, it’s difficult to know exactly how much you’re getting from a grape-derived resveratrol product.


this leads us to the little-known fact that most resveratrol supplements in the United States are not made from grapes, but from Japanese Knotweed. according to Dr. Keri Marshall, Medical Director of Gaia Herbs, “not only is Japanese Knotweed more abundant from a sourcing perspective, but it is naturally concentrated to about 2-3% of the total root while a source like red wine (grape skin) is naturally concentrated to only about 0.3%.”


customers are understandably upset by what they see as false or misleading claims about sourcing…& if they notice it, the concentration of their supplements, leading many to distrust the whole natural industry. & they have a right to be pissed off!

in the 2013 case of Holt v. Reserve Life Organics, LLC., plaintiff Kathleen Holt claims the company tricked consumers into paying too much for supplements that contained very little of the promised resveratrol & used mostly nonorganic Japanese knotweed instead of organic French grapes, as claimed.

Japanese knotweed is actually a resveratrol-rich & sustainable ingredient. but claiming your resveratrol comes from grapes when it doesn’t? not cool. here at suki®, we believe in transparency: our resveratrol is sourced from two kinds of non-sprayed grapes plus non-GMO, non-irradiated Japanese knotweed.


thanks to our unique SSS actives technology, we use our resveratrol & other active ingredients in highly potent concentrations. how? because we deliver them in liposomes that penetrate safely & deeply into the derma, where these ingredients can actually create change without the VSA (Volatile Synthetic Active) irritation & inflammation caused by many synthetic actives. customers have seen the healthy-aging benefits of my resveratrol-containing products, & so can you if you check out the full line of products at sukiskincare.com.

there’s a whole world of difference between a “natural” product made to feel nice & a sophisticated scientific formula made to solve skin problems. no conventional “symptom-based” therapy will truly solve a long-term systemic problem, as those of us who have struggled with such issues know all too well L my products take the whole body into consideration, starting with the source of allergies, immune system deficiencies & systemic imbalances that cause skin problems such as acne, rosacea, eczema & more.


resveratrol is an ingredient that helps systemically solve skin problems. & for “internal use” there’s absolutely no harm in beefing up that antioxidant base with a moderate glass or two of resveratrol-rich (organic & sulfate-free!) red wine.

so cheers to your good health (& that includes a positive attitude & some well-deserved relaxation)!



Dancer’s Dateline feature: how dance impacts the entrepreneurial mind

Suki Kramer, Skincare Entrepreneur by Day… Professional Ballroom Dancer by Night

(re-reprinted from Dancer’s Dateline, October 2015)

My only dream when I was little was to be a dancer. Back then I had every younger dance student’s mentality, “dance is solely a young person’s game.” Then, I was also dumb enough to believe only ballet was “real dance.” How wrong I was on both counts(!) and how surprising for me now, as a 48-year old woman, finding myself not only in better shape but more confident than ever before! I also had no idea back then that my path would require this journey of almost 30 years, many odd jobs and eventually, finding my sense of purpose building my company, suki skincare.

BSBC_ 7679

The kind of hyper-focused discipline it takes to create a business is exactly the kind it takes to dance competitively! Dance is a daily exercise working through and despite pain (no whining!), fear, frustration, and with goals that feel so far away but we keep trying with everything we’ve got, and little by little, we get a step farther each year. We persevere because of the passion we have for dance, not knowingeverything, ever. We, as the phrase goes, “just do it!” And, if there’s any preparation for a life as an entrepreneur/business owner, it’s a childhood taking dance lessons.

When I could finally take a bit of a breather from building my business, about 10-15 years in, I found the time and felt that pull and really wanted to explore ballroom…probably because I grew up listening to Glen Miller and watching Gene Kelly! As I now, 6 ½ years later, know my styles (International Ballroom and American Smooth) are as painful, technical, difficult, wonderful, empowering and incredibly beautiful as any other.

As I look back to myself a young insecure girl, I know I could never have experienced any of what dance had to offer then, because I was so debilitated with self-doubt. That’s not to say I haven’t been deeply afraid recently and continue to work through tons of insecurity, perfectionism and fear! But my dance teacher, Gunnar Sverisson, has filled me with his positivity daily and never allows me even a grunt of negativity. This has led to so many amazing changes for me on and off the floor.


(painting by Leonid Atremov)

As I look back to myself a young insecure girl, I know I could never have experienced any of what dance had to offer then, because I was so debilitated with self-doubt. That’s not to say I haven’t been deeply afraid recently and continue to work through tons of insecurity, perfectionism and fear! But my dance teacher, Gunnar Sverisson, has filled me with his positivity daily and never allows me even a grunt of negativity. This has led to so many amazing changes for me on and off the floor.


Being brave, trusting and proactive or competitive in dance expands into so many things: being fully engaged in the process of learning, which involves letting down our egos and facing our fears, opening our minds to new things, putting ourselves out there, even if it means we will potentially fall on our butts right in front of the audience or a judge. All of this courage reminds me of how I started my business when I had nothing and knew nothing about how to run a business, about design, marketing, I could go on and on! I had to learn it all (not to mention chemistry!), with no money to start a business, just my brains, determination and tenacity as my tools and exactly what I needed to motivate me to do what has been probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Without all the experiences I’ve had – the struggles, mistakes, the realizations, hardships, facing all sorts of people and the mistakes I’ve made – I’d have never grown into who I am today. And ironically, I’d never be able to be the dancer I am finally capable of becoming. Even recently, I had another growth spurt and finally turned into a real boss after almost 20 years! Dance plays a huge role in pushing me toward being a confident leader. While being an entrepreneur at first had a great deal to do with me facing some of the greater challenges of my dance journey, they’ll always go hand in hand.


With the intense stress that comes with years of being a business owner, dance provides me the mental and emotional outlet and flat out fun nothing else does. When I’m at practice, I am happy and present. It is my respite – invaluable just in terms of stress relief alone! The lessons of dance and entrepreneurship go hand in hand and they naturally flow into all areas of my life. I am a different woman than I was 6 years or even 1 year ago…and I directly hold my experiences on that dance floor responsible for the confidence and strength I now enjoy.

And, I am so lucky I get to experience all this in my prime at 48! Right?



no land? friends move away? want a sense of purpose? start a community garden (instead of yet another book club!)

I drive by my “city” garden every day on my way to & from work. years ago, I would take daily walks or bike rides by & watch people working, each in their little patch of land but all connected. I’ve always wondered, how do these community gardens get started?


turns out, the first community gardens started in Detroit in the 1890s to provide land, work & better nutrition to unemployed citizens & their families during a difficult economic time. in my community of Northampton, MA (check it out!), a group of people got together & divided up an overgrown kitchen garden on the grounds of an abandoned psychiatric hospital. talk about repurposed land!

communitygarden.org estimates there are more than 18,000 community gardens in the U.S. and Canada! In Northampton, any resident can claim their own 20 x 20 plot of land with access to water, tools & plenty of homemade organic fertilizer for just $22 a year. gardeners are encouraged to plant a mix of flowers & vegetables for maximum biodiversity, encouraging a variety of birds, bugs & of course that environmental superhero, the honeybee.


I think it’s an awesome idea to have shared land available to people who might not have the space at home, or who want to socialize while they commune with the earth. dozens of studies (like the ones in this communitygardens.com overview) have shown that community gardens have individual & city-wide benefits: they reduce crime, encourage self-reliance, beautify neighborhoods, provide low-cost food for families, improve psychological health for everyone from busy office workers to kids with ADHD & offer opportunities for exercise in our ever “widening” 😉 culture.

Girl(3-5) with mud hands

I think gardening is especially great for kids—these days, so many grow up never knowing the taste of a non-GMO carrot or a tomato straight from the garden, & their idea of vegetables is a heap of mushy squares on a cafeteria tray. but truly fresh produce is so much more!


check out this HowStuffWorks tutorial for practical tips on how to get a community garden started in your own hometown, or the American Community Gardening Association for an in-depth 2-day workshop.

what a rewarding way to beautify your city or town & connect with like-minded neighbors you never knew you had. :) so start or join one today & share your pics, videos & inspiring  stories!



Monica Lewinsky on cyber-bullying & shame

here’s a fabulous TED talk @ cyber bullying & our ever-growing culture of disassociation, cowardice & schadenfreude. Monica Lewinsky’s story will make you think… & maybe make you feel connected to something real!

bullies have existed forever…I mean, wherever the humans are, you’ll find idiocy & insecurity. & where there are insecure humans, there is going to be bullying. but, try explaining that to a broken child, scared to face another day of school.

these days, victims of bullying have it even harder than we did (hard to believe, huh?). we now have unprecedented numbers of cowardly, angry, manipulative people sitting safely behind their computer screens with one goal: to harm, attack, “take down” & humiliate the objects of their obsession. we have websites that allow multiple unscreened posts from people whose sole, sick agenda is to attack without credibility & with no chance for the victims to defend themselves.


so if you think bullying is only child’s play, think again…it’s a totally non-at-all-brave new age called cyber-bullying, a phenomenon specific to progress. as Ms. Lewinsky says, all this progress has made personal life “public without consent, public without context.” our culture has devolved to be totally disconnected &anonymous…cyber-bullies can gutlessly shame their victims without any personal consequences. how many of us have typed out something we’d never say face to face & regretted it later? so far, thankfully, only the most psychologically disturbed of these “trolls” actually post or encourage cyber-ranting that clearly borders on the sociopathic.

however, reality tv & celebrity scandal pop culture has certainly paved the way for people to displace their self-hatred instead of working on their issues through self-examination or therapy. we have website owners who allow their own “rules” to be broken & allow victims to be clearly abused. I believe people online should be forced to live & die by the same standards we must follow in our daily face-to-face lives. right now, the web is the wild west. there is no face, no name, no accountability, no proof, no truth…& who cares! anyone can say anything!


back we come to Ms. Lewinsky (the young, fresh faced intern…but who remembers her that way?), who understandably retreated  from the public eye after the 1998 scandal that rocked the White House & beyond.

but did any of us think  or care about what really became of her?

in her brave TED talk, Ms. Lewinsky reveals what it was like to be at the center of the first major scandal to take place in the internet age. compelling & very much worth a view!



the American Cancer Society’s “Look Good, Feel Better…” oh the irony…

(this post was originally featured  on Breast Cancer Action’s blog…check it out for more info about the shocking pinkwashing that happens every October!)

It’s fair to say I’ve taken the long route to becoming a skincare biz owner—because unlike most, I am a formulator and a manufacturer, not just a CEO. Thanks to two decades of experience, I know every ingredient and potentially hidden ingredient a vendor might be trying to slide by me.

I started my company out of a deep personal need to solve my own skin problems and health issues that had kept me sick, weak and covered in what looked a little like leprosy (seriously) for most of my childhood. Being bullied added another layer of hurt to how I already felt about my body, making me want to bury myself as far under my clothes as possible.

My primary motivator in starting my company was to share the cure I’d developed with others and help them find long-term freedom from skin issues of all kinds—to “Look Great and Feel Amazing”, you might say! So when I checked out “Look Good, Feel Better”, which purports to dole out compassion and support to breast cancer survivors—an issue close to my heart—I saw immediately that this site was entirely the American Cancer Society and the Personal Care Products Council pushing sponsored products on a vulnerable and unaware population.


“Look Good, Feel Better” is an organization with more than 14,000 volunteers that offers groups for people struggling with cancer and a website filled with beauty tips. Their mission statement says, “improving the self-esteem and quality of life of people undergoing treatment for cancer”. However, the free kits they offer to survivors include tons of parabens, formaldehyde releasers and Teflon, just to name a few ingredients that have themselves been linked to cancer! These additives also irritate skin that’s already incredibly sensitive from treatment, placing people in jeopardy for an ongoing skin crisis.

I’m not one to mince words guys, and I am one to try like heck to get people to take their health into their own hands. I myself have been at the mercy of modern medicine and all-knowing physicians who are dictated to by insurance company, doctors who are no longer the medical detectives they used to be. Say, for example, you have an autoimmune disease—this is life-altering, but a “normal” doc will only do the one test the insurance company typically allows (this is true of many diseases). If you don’t test positive, your M.D. will not disclose that there are actually other tests that can give you the full picture. Only a naturopathic doctor or other alternative practitioner will actually work to get to the heart of what’s going on with your body.

Once you understand this, a whole world of “wow, I need to take my health into my own hands because no one else will” opens up. And think about it: never before have we had so much information at our fingertips. But who do we trust? We must become our own detectives in a world where anyone can create a slick website filled with medical advice, and our doctor’s knowledge might be outdated or a product of Big Pharma propaganda.


Twenty years ago, I started formulating my products in my own kitchen and investigating the skincare and cosmetic industry. I was truly shocked at how despicable its practices are, so I made it my mission to share the “ugly truths” I had uncovered. Along the way, I found the group Breast Cancer Action—still a small grassroots organization not talked about on E! or in Vogue, etc. Why? Money, of course! I’ve spoken to editor upon editor, year after year, trying to get this organization in the press—but no can do. It’s all Susan G and the rest who are doing nada to truly educate us and teach us to help ourselves like BCAction.org.


BCAction is so unique in their campaigns, like “Think Before You Pink”, which exposes all the devious ways that big corporations are making money from breast cancer. Where would these companies be without their “pinkwashed” products, of which they might give 1% of profits to a real charity?  Basically, all that pink is about making money from our empathy, not about actually curing breast cancer. It upsets me greatly, because I give 100% (or more) of proceeds for a whole month each year to BCAction and I’m proud to do it. Their advocacy makes such a difference in people’s lives. For example, in 2008 they got Yoplait to stop using rGBH treated dairy in their yogurt. And while they still aren’t perfect, it’s a step.


We all know that breast cancer is a devastating disease, and even the money donated by “pinkwashed” organizations hopefully gets to a useful place. But when most of this money goes into the founder’s pockets, it speaks to a larger problem—no oversight, no one preventing powerful corporations from using known carcinogens, irritants and synthetics. BCAction and I strongly oppose this, of course, and they take a stand publicly with who can become a pink ribbon sponsor.

Even with so many organizations doing their own campaigns, we are no closer to a cure than ever.  How can that be? Because breast cancer is largely about environmental influencers, and perhaps the biggest of these are the toxins we absorb through our skin. For companies to keep using toxins and synthetics we know cause systemic imbalances and disease—it should be criminal!

I’ve personally received hundreds of letters of thanks from survivors and those in treatment who say mainstream products seriously irritate their skin, which is already so sensitive from drugs and treatment. “Look Good, Feel Better” could truly help people if they used organic and natural products, and they are surely aware of the research on toxic skincare additives—but their first priority is clearly their corporate sponsors and not what’s truly best for breast cancer survivors.


What if companies became committed, not to capitalizing on natural through marketing, but to providing REAL natural products in formulas that actually work and cause no side effects? The science is there. The problem, as usual, is the cost. Companies could still make a profit, just not as massive a profit.

What if every CEO, like me, refused to allow a single synthetic, nanoparticle, GMO or other questionable ingredient in their products? What if they instead made education and health empowerment their priority instead of slapping a pink ribbon on the problem? Perhaps that, in itself, would lower breast cancer rates in future generations.

Then they’d actually be helping people “Look Good and Feel F*ing Fantastic”, and it would be amazing!

Know Your Beauty,

Suki Kramer

(getting to) know your beauty

everywhere my TiVo or my mouse goes, I see the promise that my wrinkles will go away. that would be nice, right? but I know for a fact that once I get a wrinkle, it’s here to stay (unless of course, I decide to go under the knife or the needle).

but I’ve been in this business for more than a decade! I just came from a skincare expo where I thought most people would be fairly educated, but in fact, many used synthetic brands full of toxic chemicals that have been proven to cause cancer (& while we’re at it, they don’t get rid of wrinkles either!).

whatever your skin type, my core philosophy has always been & always will be to forget what the beauty magazines & so-called “experts” say. the very best way to figure out what’s best for your skin is to learn to “read” your skin & trust your intuition.

gettingto knowbeauty1

so here are 3 simple tips to help you & your skin get better acquainted on the path to skindependence:

  • there are five basic skin types: normal, dry, oily, combination & we will ALL go through the five basic skin types from time to time (based on environment, hormones, age, seasons, climate, time of the month – you get the picture), so it’s best to check in with your skin on a weekly basis or more. observe the texture, tone & level of sensitivity to figure out what your needs are in this moment.gettingtoknowbeauty3
  • there are three different complexion types: fair (needs the least amount of sun for maximum vitamin D, about 10 minutes a day), medium (tans & rarely burns, needs 15 daily minutes of sun), dark (doesn’t burn, requires 20 minutes of sun for adequate vitamin D).

dark skin tone

  • everyone has their own unique skin concerns: redness, uneven skin tone, blemishes or acne, lines, sun damage, large pores, under-eye puffiness, dark circles & more. these “high maintenance” features of your skin (which also change over time) will determine what products are best for you right now. you may find that a product that worked great before is no longer serving you well, or a formerly too-rich moisturizer is now exactly what your skin craves.


remember, your lifestyle plays a big role in your skin’s needs. are you going through hormonal changes like pregnancy or menopause? have you started a new diet or exercise routine? how much time do you want to spend on your skin care regimen?

if you’re feeling puzzled by recent changes in your complexion, you can even try keeping a “skin diary” to see if patterns emerge. knowing your skin (just like knowing your ingredients & ‘thyself’) is the best way to understand what products will work for you & when.

what’s one thing you’ve learned about your skin by living in it?



a practical on when to see the derm-doc

it always saddens me how many of our clients say they don’t know how their skin feels or what skin type they have. but you do know! in fact, nobody knows your own skin better than you & man that’s deep. but I digress. did you know that more than half of all diagnosed melanomas are first identified by, well, us? score one for Dr. Google.


however, there are cases where a DIY-approach could be not only a dead end, but a danger. here are a few key ways to keep an eye out for signs you might need more than some soothing body balm or an exfoliating foaming scrub.

self-exams: use a combo of handheld & full-length mirrors (or make it fun & use your partner) to check every inch of your skin, taking note of any rashes, irritations, & new or changing moles. there’s even an acronym that’s as easy as “ABCDE” to help you figure out if a mole is suspicious:


  1. asymmetry: a normal mole is symmetrical, meaning both halves match in size, shape & color.
  2. border: a smooth border is normal. is the border jagged, irregular or blurred?
  3. color: a normal mole is evenly colored. does the color vary?
  4. diameter: is the mole larger than 6mm, the size of a pencil eraser?
  5. evolving: pay attention to any changes in the mole’s appearance, or feelings of itchiness & pain.



















risk factors: some people also have factors that increase their likelihood of developing malignant melanomas. for these folks, it makes sense to perform self-exams AND see a doc for regular check-ups:

  1. 50-plus moles
  2. a history of x-ray treatments for illnesses or acne
  3. personal or family history of skin cancer & non-malignant melanomas
  4. a history of sunburns early in life, or a history of indoor tanning
  5. taking immunosuppressive medications


remember, it pays to trust your intuition if you notice something on your skin that triggers one of those quiet, nagging doubts (you know the kind). at the very least, you get a chance to relax with some waiting room gossip mags (who’s the latest celeb to have gotten far too much plastic surgery? 😉 if your concerns were right, you may have caught a little mole before it turns into a big problem! yes, you DO have the time…