Between the pandemic and the summer months, it may be the right time for us to get pampered with skin and body hair maintenance. Elegant, sleek and chic, Sugar Me Love is a skin care salon and naturopathic clinic centrally located in Tucson’s Copenhagen Plaza.
Dr. Alexandra Porter was born in Kingman, Arizona. After living in Seattle for 16 years and feeling a bit soggy, she is thrilled to be back in her home state, and excited to share her naturopathic medicine practice with Tucson. She has both a personal and professional commitment to helping her community to reach their most robust selves.
She co-founded Sugar Me Love as a result of her own struggle with skin and health issues for most of her life. Porter had to find her own path to healing, so she knows the work it takes to be radiant from the inside out. That is where her compassion, ability and empathy to support others on their paths was born.
Professionally, Porter has a naturopathic medicine degree from Bastyr University and an undergraduate degree in nutrition from the University of Arizona. She spent 14 years in private medical practice and has accumulated various methods for healing, which has now become a blend of both Eastern and Western medicines. She practices positive touch medicine, specializing in Bowen therapy as well as Ayurvedic medicine.
Porter’s patients are each prescribed a unique treatment plan that fits their lifestyle specifically. Porter opines that, “To have truly radiant skin, it takes the journey going inward for optimal digestion, lymphatic, circulatory and adrenal health.”
She espouses the philosophy that sugaring and naturopathic medicine are a lifestyle, not an indulgence. “It’s choosing self-care. If your commitment to your ‘best self’ matches our commitment to help you achieve your best self, you are with the right person,” she advises.
In Conversation with Dr. Alexandra Porter
What does a typical naturopathic appointment entail?
You co-founded Sugar Me Love. Tell us more about that collaboration.
The conception of Sugar Me Love was made possible through a partnership with Dr. Alie Buckmire, owner and director of Om Yoga Tucson. My strength, yoga practice and discipline were developed at Om Yoga and as part of this evolution, I was inspired by Dr. Buckmire to start living consciously, with greater purpose, and together we created Sugar Me Love.
Evaluation includes: review of past two years of lab work, ordering of new labs as indicated and review of current health concerns, diet and lifestyle.
Treatment includes: lifestyle and diet recommendations in habit stacking fashion, prescription of herbs and supplements and when appropriate, pharmaceuticals.How would you characterize your approach to medicine?
My approach is different. It’s the three of us: you, me and the higher self. The third element of spirit provides the synergy of putting our heads together, and we’re an investigative team. It is essential to me that patients feel like they’re not just a number. My ability to be creative to heal is never-ending. I care about you, and want to help you, whatever health issues exist.
I’ve had mentors from India and worked at an Ayurvedic clinic. I have found Bowen therapy to be one of my most effective tools in helping my patients get back their lives lost to disease and dysfunction.
What is Bowen therapy?
If you’re feeling stressed, suffer from pain or other ailments, Bowen therapy could be the answer for a fresh start and a first step toward feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and out of pain. Developed in Australia, Bowen therapy is a gentle, hands-on treatment at the heart of naturopathic medicine in that it reduces the “fight or flight” (sympathetic) nervous system, while stimulating the “rest and digest” (parasympathetic) nervous system.
The therapy is performed over clothing and consists of a series of gentle pressure movements over various tendons, ligaments, fascia, nerve and lymphatic bundles. These moves bring in circulation and stimulate lymphatic movement, while simultaneously releasing dysfunctional nervous system patterns, allowing the system to heal.
Everyone can benefit from Bowen therapy, including highly trained athletes, pregnant women, infants and the elderly. A Bowen therapy session is an hour of deep relaxation, and immediately leaves the patient feeling rested. Long-term effects are improved sleep, mood and organ health, as well as decreased pain and inflammation. This gentle, yet powerful therapy helps every system in the body, musculoskeletal, circulatory, lymphatic, nervous and internal organs.
Is sugaring less painful than regular waxing?
It is absolutely less painful. Chemicals in wax cause it to stick to healthy skin layers, while sugaring sticks only to the dead skin cells, resulting in being less painful and having glowing and rejuvenated skin. It is also less painful because the hair is removed in the direction of hair growth, unlike waxing.
The only ingredients are Vitamin C, lemon juice, sugar and water, cooked like candy. It resembles a ball of honey used for the whole body. It is 100 percent non-toxic, biodegradable and reduces the inflammatory response to waxing (fewer red bumps, less pain).What facials do you offer and what are their benefits?
Our facial treatments are a deeply relaxing experience that you will find are the perfect way to de-stress and give your skin some much needed attention and care. Each of our facial treatments are performed exclusively with Beautycounter products and covers the skin of the face, neck and décolletage.
Treatment includes a deep cleanse, toning, exfoliation, extractions, calming massage, a treatment mask, as well as a skin analysis and mini consultation. Since no two faces are alike, treatment steps and products used are customized by your aesthetician to target what your skin needs and leave you glowing.Why do you use Beautycounter products?
We are the only studio in Tucson that uses Beautycounter products for facials. These products are highly effective and beneficial for all skin types and conditions. They also go above and beyond when it comes to ingredient safety, banning 1,800 toxic ingredients from their formulations.
Unlike environmental pollution and many other things we can’t help but be exposed to, our choice of skincare products is something we can control. Here at Sugar Me Love, we believe what you put on your skin should be safe enough to eat.
Since our skin directly absorbs into our bloodstream close to 80 percent of the chemicals we put on it, we like to be on the safe side and avoid as many potential toxins as possible. In fact, there are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market today (many of which have no safety data). This is particularly true of those used in the skin care and beauty industry.What was your last indulgence?
Brownies. I love brownies, but when I make them, I use almond and coconut flour, ground up sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, cocoa and zucchini in addition to some sugar.What about supplements like Omega-3 fish oils?
I use supplements sparingly. I’m more like an old school family doctor, focusing on a connection with my patients. For fish oils, I use two companies who only sell to doctors. The supplements are sourced in environmentally friendly ways and are tested to be free of contamination as well as processed in a fashion to not make the oil go rancid (heat, pressure and exposure to light).
There is inexpensive testing available ($13) in measuring Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids in the body. These fats are the pillar to understanding if you’re in a pro-inflammatory state. Adequate omega-3 levels give us the ability to be resilient with our stress responses, whether mind or body.What do you like to do in your spare time?
I go to yoga or core strengthening every day at 6:15 a.m. as a component of Ayurvedic medicine. Deepak Chopra put Ayurvedic medicine on the map, but it’s a medical system from India that has been used for thousands of years.What book is on your nightstand right now?
Relentless Solution Focus: Train Your Mind to Conquer Stress, Pressure and Underperformance by Jason Selk and Ellen Reid. It’s about reworking from a problem base to a solution base.Do you have a favorite quote or motto you can share?
Every day is a conversation with ourselves. Our bodies are talking to us, and we must listen.Sugar Me Love is located at 3640 E. Ft. Lowell Rd., in Tucson. Connect at 520-230-1907, [email protected] or SugarMeLoveTucson.com. See ad, page 20.
Suzie Agrillo is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings Magazine. She focuses on writing about the arts, inspirational people and the human connection, and she enjoys reading all things true crime. Connect at [email protected].