If you struggle with acne and have tried everything from ointments to lotions with no success, I’ve got some answers for you. Acne was never something I experienced throughout high school or college. I’ve always had pretty clear skin and rarely any blemishes or pimples but recently I started to experience what they call cystic acne.
About midway through last year I noticed my skin starting to break out terribly on my chin. It became something that occurred regularly when I was getting hormonal around that time of the month so I didn’t think much of it. Fast forword to the beginning of this year and my face seemed to be breaking out 24/7.
Not only did it leave some harsh scars on my skin, but it also left me feeling self-conscious, annoyed and definitely confused.
I was eating pretty clean and so I really was questioning WHY this was happening to me. I was eating a lot of fruit, dark chocolate and was used to using natural sweeteners like raw honey and coconut sugar in my food, but I didn’t assume this was the cause. My birthday was in March and although I’m not one to typically binge on sugar, my friends had sent me a lot of sweet treats so I felt this was an okay occasion to satisfy my sweet tooth.
I pretty much over-indulged (to put it politely) on cupcakes, chocolate covered strawberries, vegan chocolate ice cream and a ton of other sweets that I don’t normally consume. About two weeks later I was in full break out mode and it did not go away for about a month (sucky, I know).
So there were a couple of learning lessons for me here.
For starters, this is not the first time that this happened, but it was the first time that I really connected sugar to being one of the main reasons my face was breaking out. I learned how much of an effect certain things had on my skin and that my skin could tell me a lot more about my health than I had realize.
Over the past couple of months I have been experimenting with new ways of clearing up my skin naturally and I can confidently say that I am officially a skin-clearing expert. Mind you, the acne I was experiencing was not normal acne- it was cystic acne. They felt like little cysts inside of my skin that would usually leave scars without me even touching them- so getting rid of them was not easy, and on top of that they really hurt.
I write this post to you today in hope that if you are experiencing skin issues, you can explore some of these areas of your life and see where you can make some simple changes to be on a path to healthy and radiant skin.
To begin, take a close look at your diet.
Is it filled with highly processed foods or a lot of fried foods? These could be your main culprits.
Processed foods tend to be very high in added sugars. These sugars can highly affect your hormones, which have a huge impact on your skin.
Fried foods can also be a cause for breakouts or oily skin. They have a high ratio of pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids compared to anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids. These fats promote inflammation in the body and can be another cause of acne. Choosing foods that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids can help decrease inflammation. Some of these include olive oil, avocados, salmon and walnuts. You can find out more on Omega-3 Fatty Acids here.
Your skin secretes about 40% of the toxins in your body so if your diet is filled with toxic chemicals and additives, then it is highly likely that these will show up on your skin.
Opt for a more whole foods diet and slowly start to add in more fruits and green leafy vegetables. Adding in healthy fats as mentioned above and opting for foods with less sugar will make a huge difference in your skin.
During this process be sure that you are drinking an adequate amount of water. Water helps flush your body of toxins quicker and will help hydrate your skin.
Eliminating or highly reducing caffeine and alcohol can also help your skin clear up faster. Keep in mind that it can sometimes get worse before it gets better as your body will most likely go through a detoxification stage (this is a good thing!). Don’t get discouraged; just keep taking the steps to cleanse your body and it will clear up over time.
“Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.” -Hippocrates
Now let’s talk lifestyle, shall we?
Most people don’t link things like stress or poor sleep to a reason for their skin breaking out (I sure didn’t).
Stress is a HUGE proponent of a healthy life and healthy skin. If you are stressed (like I was) your skin will most likely show it. Stress can cause havoc on your digestive system, causing you to not properly digest your food which can increase the inflammation in your gut which effects your whole body. Being stressed will also increase the stress hormones and stress responses in your body which can easily lead to a break out.
Taking time each day to relax and give yourself some well-deserved self-care can make all the difference. Whether you meditate, get a massage or just read a book for 30 minutes, I highly encourage you to adopt a routine that will support you in managing your stress levels- it not only will help your skin but it will help your whole life!
Last and most importantly, sleep like a baby. Making sure that your sleep routine is up to par is another area to look into. How many hours a night are you sleeping? If you aren’t sleeping well or sleeping enough, this can show up on your skin in the form of dark circles under your eyes as well as breakouts. Adopting a good sleep routine where you get at least 8 hours will allow you to feel more rested and will allow your bodies hormones to become more balanced.
So, to recap; here is a simple list of things you can do to help get rid of acne and breakouts for good. Try implementing one of these changes in at a time so that you don’t overwhelm yourself. Slow changes over time will give you the long-lasting results that you are seeking for a long and radiantly healthy life.
- Decrease high sugary processed foods and fried foods
- Add in more healthy fats and green leafy vegetables
- Drink more water and highly reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption
- Take time each day to relax and learn to manage stress levels
- Adopt a better sleep routine with at least 8 hours of shut eye
Incorporate these habits into your life and I can assure you that you will see an astounding difference in your skin as well as your overall health and well-being! Remember to have patience throughout the process and learn to love the journey to optimal health and well-being.
To your health & happiness, xo Rach