Your skin is your largestttttt organ. Whatever toxins the body cannot dispose of and eliminate through the colon, comes through the skin in the form of acne or as rashes.
When we are faced with acne, eczema, psoriasis and other skin ailments (pun intended) we are usually frustrated! We all want clear skin, it feels good, it looks good, it’s smooth and healthy and makes us feel confident, beautiful and glowing.
Where to start? Bare with me there is a lot of valuable information in this post! I am sure, like me, you have tried everything under the sun, googled what you could, tried all the recommendations, saw different doctors, tried this cream and that cleanse… I could go on. If this is you let’s figure this our together. Skin conditions like acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis are typically a symptom of something else going on in the body.
I personally have had clear skin my whole life and then BAM my body changed and all of a sudden acne on my face. It is said that the body changes about every 7 years with this your chemistry changes this means your hormones, allergies or sensitivities and the like. Your body also repairs itself on what you put in and on your body. So as the goodness glow motto goes you want to ensure your are putting goodness in and goodness on. When you hear the saying “you are what you eat” we aren’t kidding – your body has repaired and replenished itself on what you have been providing your body with and continues to do so. You need to hustle for your health as much as you do for your wealth.
Acne is caused by oil production, dead skin cells, clogged pores and bacteria. That’s not all, hormones, medications, diet and stress can can all make acne worse. Not to mention when you pop your acne! I know it is so tempting and one of my best friends is very good at reminding me not too because it indirectly causes more acne. Why! How? The pore is already inflamed because of the breakout in the skin underneath caused by the underlying issue and then you put pressure by squeezing and and cause inflammation to the surrounding pores. Every get acne around the same spot you were popping? RESIST THE TEMPTATION.
Acne affects the oil glands of the skin, this creates a substance called sebum. The pores of our skin connects to these glands through a follicle and oil pushes the dead skin cells to the surface of the skin and if it is clogged then a pimple pops up! (Another pun intended)
So let’s get back to the BASICS. When things get wild I always like to get back to the basics. I have done the following to see improvement with my acne as well as people I have helped with acne prone skin, eczema and psoriasis.
Culprits need to be removed..
The NUMBER ONE is SUGAR! Yes I know, its shocking and also a buzz kill. We are addicted to sugar!
CUT refined sugars (white sugar, white bread, white pasta)
Consuming a bunch of sugar on a regular basis can cause absolute chaos with your weight, energy, and overall health, but it can really effect your skin. Sugar leads to glycation, a process where excess glucose molecules cling to a protein or lipid molecule in the body. When this happens the body recognizes it as something foreign causing the immune system to attack which results in a flare up otherwise known as INFLAMMATION.
Anything you eat that is high in refined carbohydrates (sugars) will create a rapid rise in blood glucose. The body will adjust for this spike and the pancreas secretes the hormone insulin into your bloodstream. High blood sugar levels will create repeated surges in insulin causing your cells to become insulin-resistant and producing higher levels of insulin. If you struggle with acne, you want to avoid all foods that contribute to insulin resistance.
You’ll be happy to know that simply eliminating grains and sugary foods like, cereals, potatoes, white rice, pasta, processed junk foods, etc improves acne in most people. Hold the phone, on the topic of sugar even fruit! You should consume fruit in limited quantities or at least choose fruit low in sugar like berries, because fruit contains quite a bit of fructose. Fruit juices should also be avoided since the sugar is very concentrated in them. Fresh cold pressed green vegetable juices are great, as are most vegetables, because they are slow to break down into simple sugars and do not effect insulin the same way. Incorporate skin beautifying healthy fats like avocados, raw nuts or coconut oil.
Next… Dairy! (cheese, milk, yogurt)
Dairy comes from pregnant cows and when you consume dairy you are consuming hormones from the female and the male involved in the reproduction that creates the milk! It always contain natural hormones and in some cases there are even added hormones. More hormones contribute to more acne!
Dairy is also naturally a source of sugar – remember we just talked about this. Milk sugar and lactose raises blood sugar (insulin), is a highly sensitive food and one of the most inflammatory foods! All forms of sugar raise the glycemic index and inflammation which leads to various skin breakouts or conditions. MAMMA MIA!
Proteins that come from animals like whey and casein have been linked and proven to lead to digestive issues, skin problems and is also addictive! If you find it hard to give up cheese, this is why! Dairy is not a natural substance for the body so it is hard to digest. Let’s think about this.. what other animal consumes milk from another animal AND consuming is past childhood into adulthood? I do not see cows drinking milk from goats. Why are humans drinking milk from cows, goats and sheep? I am pretty darn sure that milk is meant for their babies.
Also, while we are on the topic of dairy please note that EGGS ARE NOT DAIRY. This seems to be a common misconception, so eggs are cool.
Gluten (wheat, barley, rye)
What is it? Anything with wheat, rye or barley. Gluten causes a leaky gut and creates a havoc of systemic inflammation. We all create a substance called zonulin in the intestine in response to gluten. Glutinous proteins (from wheat, barley, and rye) are prolamines which can make your gut leaky where the partially digested proteins get into your bloodstream and sensitizes your immune system, promotes inflammation therefore contributing to worsening acne. Once gluten sensitizes your gut and makes it permeable then all these culprits get into your bloodstream consistently challenging the immune system to attack and flare. Result? Goes through the skin!
Corn, vegetable, canola/rapeseed and soy oils are generally genetically modified. Genetically modified oils cause free radicals in the body meaning that the body does not recognize it and attacks casusing hormonal inflammation to spring up.
.. By now we know that anything that causes inflammation is going to cause a breakout on the skin..
Food is a major cause of your acne, like it or not what you eat every day determines whether you get acne. Eat foods full of goodness and notice clear glowing skin and eat the wrong foods and you will not experience clear skin. There is no miracle cream or pill that will put an end to your skin conditions like change in diet.
DRINK MORE WATER. Make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day.
- Start the morning off with lemon water
- Get a new water bottle
- Download a water drinking app to send you reminders (I use one called Waterlogged)
- Infuse your water if you like flavour with fruits, veggies and herbs like berries, lemons, cucumber, mint, basil
- Exercise – move your body and break a sweat! When you sweat it out you are more likely to replenish because you get thirsty. Plus moving them body allows more flow and detoxification to clear sh*t out and you feel like a strong unstoppable bad ass. Hit the gym, go to a class or try hot yoga!
When your skin isn’t hydrated it becomes dry and if you suffer from acne, dermatitis or eczema dry skin can make it worse! Your skin has many important functions and one of those is elimination, which it can’t do properly if your skin isn’t hydrated. Your skin reflects your overall health and staying hydrated will improve your circulation, digestion, toxin removal, promotes a radiant glow and facilitates cell growth and regeneration. Aim to drink about a glass of fresh, pure water every hour to stay hydrated throughout the day instead of leaving it until you feel really thirsty. You should drink when you are thirsty, that’s listening to your body but you should also be mindful of hydrating on a regular. Drink enough water so that your urine is a pale yellow color. If your urine is bright yellow, that is a sign of dehydration!
GUT HEALTH. Focus on healing any gut health issues to help reduce inflammation.
When there is inflammation under the skin or in the body it reacts through our skin. Gut issues are a major factor in systemic inflammation.
When you clean up your diet as described above, your gut health will naturally improve. You can further support your gut and promote healing by consuming fermented foods as well because they are high in probiotics. Things like kombucha and sauerkraut encourage the growth of beneficial microorganisms that are ideal for optimal gut health and great skin! Antibiotics can decrease your beneficial, protective gut bacteria so if you can, avoid those!
In the best interest of your gut, there are some things you should also avoid…
Drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen relieve pain and inflammation by blocking an enzyme called cyclo-oxygenase. But this enzyme performs important functions, such as protecting the stomach from effects of its own acid, which directly has an impact on the strength of the immune system functions. Alcohol has a negatively effects most systems in your body. It can irritate the stomach, the intestines and suppress the hormones that protect against inflammation that contributes to leaky gut syndrome.
The digestive system is home to two kinds of bacteria, the good (probiotics) and the bad. You can google it, there are more bacteria in your gut than there are cells in your body and they are absolutely essential to your health. If the bad guys take over,it can cause small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) where the bad bacteria is harmful by messing with digestion and producing toxins. The gut wall keeps these things out of your body, nutrients can enter the body but keeps toxins and other harmful stuff out, SIBO can change this. The harmful bacteria will cause cracks in the gut aka leaky gut! This will then cause increased chronic inflammation, can cause food allergies, gas and nutrient deficiencies because of incomplete digestion. The immune system treats incompletely digested food particles as invaders and attacks them. This can ‘teach’ the immune system to always attack specific foods and thus lead to food allergies.
The gut is also weakened by too much stress, lack of sleep, low stomach acid and too much junk foods. Opt for..
Bone broth (if a carnivore): Its beneficial collagen makes it great for healing the skin and gut.
Fermented vegetables and drinks: Sauerkraut, kimchee and kombucha are great ways to provide your microbiome with beneficial probiotics.
Swedish bitters: This herbal tonic is effective in balancing low stomach acid production.
Eat clean with healthy fats in moderation and lots of fiber.
Eating whole foods helps your skin stay hydrated, nourished and glowing. These foods have nutrients that are good for the whole body, reduce inflammation and improve digestion. The skin loves foods like leafy greens, raw nuts and seeds, beans, and legumes. We talked about avoiding dairy where you can choose unsweetened almond, coconut, hemp, or oat milk but please note to choose one that’s non GMO and has no carrageenans.
Be cautious and aware of products you use on your skin and body.
You never want to use products (face wash, toner, body wash, etc) with alcohols in them. Alcohols or fragrance are drying and sensitizing. They disrubt the skins function because they break down the surface layers of your skin and the natural elements of the skin get broken down. These elements are important for the skins optimal function. Alcohol based products aggravate and weaken the skin. Look for ingredients listing such as SD alcohol, denatured alcohol, or isopropyl alcohol. If one has oily or acne prone skin the products with these ingredients may quite intriguing to help dry it out but while you dry out the skin you are also in turn damaging the skin! Long term effects of this on the skin will include dryness, erosion of the surface of skin and strain on how skin replenishes, renews, and rejuvenates itself because it has been immensely weakened and speeds up aging.
Let’s get something straight though! There are also “good” types of alcohols and I am not talking about vodka… they are known as fatty alcohols, that are non-irritating and can be beneficial for skin. Ingredient listings will include cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl alcohol. All of these are good ingredients for dry skin, and safe to use in small amounts for any skin type.
My Skin Care Routine
- Face wash (with a drop of tea tree oil)
PLUS in the morning after my face routine a big glass of water with 1 freshly squeezed lemon, vitamin D drops and 2 turmeric capsules (I use the brand: Turmeric Force).
- Make up – I use only green make up brands without nasty ingredients. My currently favourite daily brand is Physician’s Formula. Some other clean brands include Pacifica, Arbonne, Fit Glow Beauty, 100% PURE, Eminence organics, Sukin natural skincare.
- Turmeric is anti inflammatory and has antimicrobial properties. Since acne is a cause of inflammation, it can help reduce inflammation! Turmeric powder helps by removing excess oil, destroying the bacteria and is an antioxidant!
- Whether it’s sunshine or vitamin D supplements I always ensure to have it! This important nutrient maintains healthy immune response and helps the body fight infection, in your skin or anywhere.
- Tea tree oil benefits acne by helping to “dry it out”, like those nasty alcohols but be careful to not overuse it. Too much tea tree oil can dry out your skin, triggering your body to overproduce its own oils, worsening acne (similar concept to alcohols that are problematic in your skin care products). Tea tree oil contains antibacterial properties, specifically terpenes, which destroys bacteria while offering soothing qualities. Always make sure to get 100% tea tree oil! You also won’t want essential oils directly on the skin, diluted like in your face wash is best since it’s potentency can strip the skin of it’s goodness.
Dr. Axe has a tea tree oil recipe for acne you might want to try!
- 12 drops of 100% pure tea tree essential oil
- 2 tablespoons of 100% pure aloe vera gel
- ½ teaspoon unrefined coconut oil
- Place all ingredients into a small bowl.
- Mix until well blended.
- Apply to skin at bedtime.
- Rinse with warm water in the morning.
Acne skin contains clogged pores and stress is another way to cause a inflammatory response where the walls of these pores break. When we experience stress, our adrenal gland goes into overdrive and produces more hormones, including cortisol. Cortisol and the other stress hormones travel through your blood stream signaling your blood vessels to dilate and your blood pressure to rise. These changes cause the fight or flight response in the body.
Manage your stress by;
- Exercise! Increase in heart rate allows more oxygen to flow to your brain, resulting in a reduced stress response.
- Make time to meditate and clear the mind of thoughts and emotions.
- Deep breathing exercises allow you to focus on the breath rather than the problem you are focusing on that is causing you stress!
- Get a 6-8 hour sleep at night. (Do not underestimate good sleep!)
Well, that’s a wrap! Try out these skin care hacks and watch it glow!