DIY Skincare at Rodale Institute

Sabrina Mastronardo
Communications Coordinator, Rodale Institute

Browsing the skincare isle in any pharmacy, grocery store, or makeup counter, it becomes obvious that we fight many different battles with our skin. Serums, washes, and medications promise to cure acne, heal rosacea, and prevent aging wrinkles.


Calendula can be incorporated into any skincare regime because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-aging benefits.

Discontented with these stubborn skin conditions, many seek help from Rachael Pontillo, listened aesthetician and author of Love Your Skin, Love Yourself and But instead of directing her clients to the latest brands, technologies, or prescription pills, Pontillo counsels them to look to the garden. With natural herbs and foods, Pontillo says, the healthiest and best-looking skin can be achieved.

At Rodale Institute’s Healthy Herbal Traditions II workshop on August 29, Pontillo will share her top DIY herbal skincare products through a series of tutorials. During the three-hour course, participants will make a bottle of calendula-infused oil and a small jar of calendula salve to take home. Pontillo’s guide will teach attendees about their unique skin and how to adjust products for changes in season, age, and condition.

“I want to encourage people to find peace with their skin,” Pontillo says, hoping to change the mindset that skin should be attacked with lasers, peels, and harsh exfoliants. Rather, Pontillo works from a natural topical, nutritional, and emotional standpoint to transform her clients’ skin health.

The workshop will focus on incorporating calendula, a plant known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-aging benefits, with a skincare regime. Using calendula grown, harvested, and dried from Rodale Institute’s own Boiron Medicinal Garden demonstrates that natural skincare products can be easily grown in the backyard. Pontillo similarly encourages her clients to grow their own herbs when possible.

“It’s so simple to do, especially with container and small-space gardening. And it’s fun,” Pontillo says. She will also include a lesson during the workshop on how to know which herbs are best to plant for skin and how to use them properly.

According to Pontillo, skin is an outer representation of inner health.

“What you put into your body, you get on the outside,” she says, alluding to the importance of nutrition. The “Trifecta,” Pontillo’s name for the sugar, dairy, and gluten-heavy foods in our diet, can trigger acne, rosacea, psoriases, and even other medical problems associated with inflammation in the body. Portillo suggests finding the right balance of these foods that work with your body, which could keep conditions at bay, and always advises clients to eat vegetables for positive skin effects. The workshop will include time for conversation about this crucial step towards skin health.

The Healthy Herbal Traditions II workshop will be held August 29, 2015 from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm. For more information on the Healthy Herbal Traditions II workshop or to register, please visit

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