I’ll be the first to admit that I do not have perfect skin. I wish I could title this post “How I healed my acne,” but the truth is, I still break out sometimes. I haven’t found all the answers yet, but in the last few years I have made some significant changes to my diet and skincare routine and my skin has drastically improved.
My struggle with acne began when I was in college and has continued into my adult life. It has caused me a lot of pain, tears, money, and contributed to my insecurities, anxiety, and extreme lack of confidence and self worth.
I am already a shy person, but the embarrassment of walking around with pimples all over my face made me become even more introverted and socially awkward. It’s hard to be fully present, happy, confident, and strong when you have to hide behind layers of makeup and hear a constant voice in the back of your mind saying “you’re not pretty, smart, or good enough”. This might sound silly to you, but it’s what I went through everyday before my skin started to heal.
As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, my goal is to teach others about the importance of healthy food, listening to their body, and practicing self care. However, I had a serious case of “imposter syndrome” and wondered why anyone would think of me as a credible source when I hadn’t healed my own body. Yes, I studied nutrition for 2+ years and have the knowledge to coach others to make positive changes in their life, but I lack the confidence to put myself out there in the world as a professional nutritionist because of my insecurities with my skin.
Before I found holistic nutrition and skincare to address my acne, I tried everything across the spectrum from Proactiv, to antibiotics, birth control pills, harsh cleansers, benzoyl peroxide, homeopathic remedies, the oil cleansing method, and drugstore products that promised to deliver. Some of those things worked for a short time, but they mostly left me feeling frustrated and didn’t address the root cause of what was going on in my body.
There are several underlying causes and dietary principles to address when trying to heal acne. Your skin is a reflection of your inner health, so if you have foundational imbalances, inflammation, stress, poor digestion, or food allergies, that will all show up on your face.
These are the steps I took to heal my skin:
- I changed my diet: Beauty starts on the inside, and good nutrition is the first step to healthy skin. After being a vegetarian for 25 years, I started eating meat. This is a topic for a whole other post, but in a nutshell my diet consisted almost entirely of carbohydrates. This led to blood sugar imbalance and protein and fatty acid deficiency (both are critical for healthy skin). When I incorporated more fat into my diet, my skin texture started to improve. I also eliminated dairy, gluten, and processed food (with occasional exceptions) and transitioned to a paleo approach to my diet.
- Improve digestion: Digestion is incredibly important when it comes to skin and overall health. If we’re not breaking down and assimilating our food properly, we don’t absorb those nutrients and deficiency results. Poor digestion causes inflammation, which leads to all kinds of health issues. When the digestive system struggles to eliminate toxins effectively, your body has to find another way to expel them. And since skin is a major organ of detoxification, it’s no surprise that acne shows up when something is off internally.
- Balance blood sugar: For years I was riding that blood sugar roller coaster pretty consistently. Increased insulin and cortisol spikes put the body in a continued state of stress. This leads to inflammation, hormone imbalance, and poor sleep, all of which compromis skin health.
- Exercise more: Exercising increases lymph flow and circulation, improves digestion and detoxification, stimulates your metabolism, and delivers oxygen and nutrients to your organs, including your skin.
- Make the switch to safe skincare products: I said goodbye to all those toxic drugstore lotions and potions that caused more harm than good. Now I am committed to using safer products that really perform. Since I discovered Beautycounter I haven’t look back.
My favorite safer products:
- Beautycounter Charcoal Bar: This detoxifying cleanser was a game-changer for me. It has a cult following for good reason! The Charcoal Cleansing Bar doesn’t contain harsh sulfates that can be overly drying and irritating. It has increased absorption properties to draw out impurities from the skin, and a nourishing blend of essential oils that help restore hydration and refine skin’s texture for a smoother, brighter complexion. I use this morning and night.
- Beautycounter Purifying Charcoal Mask: This awesome treatment is rich in minerals, clay, and charcoal to draw out impurities, gently exfoliate, and soothe skin. I went through a detox phase with this mask where my skin got worse before it got better. But then it improved a lot. I use this 2-3 times/week.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV is antibacterial, balances the natural pH of the skin, and exfoliates. It can also lighten dark spots and improve acne and acne scars. I make my own face toner using ACV, calendula hydrosol, rose witch hazel, and frankincense essential oil (recipe coming soon).
- Beautycounter Rejuvenating Eye Cream: I have had dark circles under my eyes for as long as I can remember. This soothing eye cream is made with skin-conditioning wild algae and caffeine to reduce puffiness and diminish the appearance of lines and dark circles. I use this morning and night.
- Beautycounter Tint Skin Foundation: This lightweight formula goes on seamlessly to cover my acne scars and even out my skin tone. Hyaluronic Acid, a natural moisture magnet, promotes smoother-looking skin and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. My shade is sand.
I choose Beautycounter because of their commitment to getting safer products in the hands of everyone. They consistently advocate for policy change to regulate ingredients used in the beauty industry. They also educate people on what ingredients are harmful and where to find better alternatives. Plus, they make wonderful products that perform without using harsh, toxic chemicals. Learn more about Beautycounter and shop products here.
Like I said earlier, my skin isn’t perfect and it’s always a work in progress. I still rarely leave the house without makeup on. Now that I have found a diet and products that work, my skin is improving and so is my confidence. I hope this helps you change the way you think and feel about your own skin.