I have suffered with acne on and off since I was 11. I am now 21 so that’s a whole 10 years of experiencing blemishes popping up here, there and everywhere. Since I was 14 I have been on every single acne preventing drug that there is including 4 different types of contraceptive pill. I even completed the course of roacutane when I was 15 which dried up all of my skin like a prune and that only worked until I was 18. Luckily I had 3 full teenage years of clear skin, but for the past 3 years I’ve tried and tested almost everything to clear my skin up once again. I was even using a Zinc acne solution until around September of last year. I have made it my mission over the last few months to heal my acne naturally. Even though my skin isn’t perfect, it is pretty blemish free and I am so excited to share my tips with you.
Our skin is our largest organ. It absorbs between 60-90% of everything that we apply to it, it is the first to show when there is an internal problem going on, and it takes a good hit of pollution from outdoors almost every single day. So having acne or spotty skin is much more complex than I originally though. And as it turns out; there are multiple reasons that our skin could be acting out. From diet to beauty product, gut health to hygiene; I have written within this post every single thing that I do to keep my acne at bay. I hope this can help you too.
Over the past year I have cut quite a few things out of my “diet.” It might sound extreme or unattainable for some people but I really think having clear skin is a huge incentive to not eat these types of foods. For me personally, I don’t feel restricted at all and being healthy is and has always been my desired lifestyle. I just love feeling healthy on the inside and it really shows through onto the outside.
- Dairy Free: I cut out dairy when I went vegan and didn’t even consider that this could have been a contributing factor towards my acne. Dairy products from cows, or any other animals, contain hormones from the animals. A cow’s milk contains the hormones meant for their baby cow and these hormones really mess with our human hormones. This leads to acne, hormonal problems, tender breasts, premature periods, and weight gain just to name a few.
- Gluten & Wheat Free: This is a more recent discovery for me. The gluten that is in many products these days is extremely complex. There are around 1000 different types of wheat and I just know that they don’t agree with me personally.
- Oil Free: Oil is highly processed liquid fat. As far as I am aware, this liquid fat leads to over production with sebum which is the oil that comes through the skin and leads to spots.
- Refined Sugar Free: Sugar has been known for its negative side effects for years and I know that for me personally; my skin looks dull and grey when I eat too much sugar so I stay away 95% of the time.
I will also note that I also don’t drink alcohol, fizzy drinks, or eat excessive amounts of sugar. If you are someone who does this regularly then that is likely to be a huge contributing factor to your acne too. I’m not saying you have to eradicate these things 100%; just try eliminating them for a period of time to see the difference, and then gradually reintroduce them.
If you’re now wondering what in the world you can eat, then I will explain that here:
Whole Foods Plant Based
I stopped eating processed foods and instead focused around whole plant foods which are obviously all vegan. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, oats, potatoes, rice, fresh herbs: all the colourful foods. Plant foods hold a whole host of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and other benefits. So this way of eating is extremely beneficial when working towards skins health. What we put into our bodies greatly impacts the condition of our skin.
Drinking Water: Filtered Water
Drink more water. An obvious point to note but so important. Also, buying a water filter and filtering my water made a huge difference to my skin. There are so many nasty chemicals and germs lingering in our water these days so I prefer to filter them out. Also, try adding some lemon for an extra flush of health. Adding fresh mint is also a great thing to do as it is anti-inflammatory.
Skin glowing foods & drinks: green tea, white tea, blueberries, wheat grass, tomatoes, sweet potato, oranges & grapefruit, avocado, fresh mint, turmeric, kale, chia & flax seeds.
From face mapping I noticed that my problem areas (middle of forehead and around my mouth) were linked to colon and stomach problems. Focusing on bringing my gut back to health is one of the main reasons my skin cleared up. I felt like my digestion was fine, which it was, but every time I would eat bread I’d notice my digestion no working as quickly. Closely linked to the tips mentioned above, here are a few things that helped heal my gut health:
- Digestion: A whole foods plant based lifestyle healed any of my digestive issues. As I just mentioned, each time I eat bread my stomach acts up so I know to not eat it everyday. If you’re not going to the toilet at least once a day then your stool is still sat inside you and the toxins are still being released into your body. This is a huge contributor to blemishes on the skin.
- High Fibre: What is very important is to focus on eating a high fibre and anti-oxidant rich diet. Fibre flushes out toxins an is in all plant foods. It makes you go to the toilet more often and helps prevent blemishes.
- Chew your Food Properly: A reason for troubled colon issues that kept popping up when I was doing my research is chewing food. So many of us, me included, don’t eat mindfully and therefore don’t chew properly. Digestion starts in the mouth so make sure you’re aware of your chewing.
- Stop Eating when you’re Full: It is so easy to over eat. But from what I have read, over eating can effect your gut health. So as important as it is to eat enough, make sure you stop at that point. You can always go back and eat the rest later when you’re feeling hungry again.
Personal hygiene, again, seems like an obvious point to add but it is really important. Germs linger on so many of our home items that we use on a day to day basis and some people don’t even realise it. So I felt that I needed to mention it quickly:
- Clean Make-up Brushes: Make-up brushes hold so much bacteria so they need to be washed as regularly as possible. At least once a week. If you are suffering with acne then maybe try washing them after every use. But be aware of what you are washing them with; is it a chemical rich face wash? I switched to Dr Bronner’s castille soap and it made a huge difference to how clean my brushes were after being washed as well as how much my skin broke out.
- Clean Pillow Cases: This is another place that germs linger. Change your pillow case as often as possible; maybe every other day. Also, we aware of what you are washing them in and does the detergent agree with your skin?
- Clean Towels: Just like pillow cases, towels are a germ haven. Bacteria is picked up on towels so easily so don’t dry your face with a towel; let it air dry or use tissue.
- Wash your Hair: Wash your hair when it gets dirty and don’t let it touch your face when it needs a wash. Also, if you sleep with dirty hair; tie it up and wash your pillow case the next day!
- Don’t Touch your Face: Hand touch everything and everything contains GERMS. Wash them as much as you can and never touch your face.
Beauty is a huge love of mine and it shouldn’t cost you your skin. Once I had found out all about the toxic chemicals are carcinogens that conventional beauty products, even beauty by designer brands, are made up of I just felt guilty applying them to my face. I knew that they were doing more harm than good to my skin. I also knew that I was absorbing more than 60% of it all and the skin doesn’t have a detoxifying process like the body does. It is not only the chemicals, but also the animal testing that lead me to make the switch to natural beauty products. And I am slowly transitioning my make-up too. So what, in relation to beauty, do I recommend:
- Make the switch to Natural Beauty & Make-up: Switching to natural beauty transformed my skin. Removing the chemicals, toxins, SLS, parabens, fragrance, and all other harmful ingredients was a huge changing factor for my skin.
- Don’t wear Make-up everyday: Make-up free days allow the skin to breath and it means the pores aren’t being clogged.
- Find a skincare routine that is simple: I have noticed that sticking to the same products for a period of time lets my skin get used to them so it isn’t being messed around by a host of products. If your skin is extremely sensitive, try sticking with the same brand for a while. I love Sukin.
- Moisturising: Sukin face mask and super greens moisturiser have really helped the condition of my skin. Moisturising in general keeps to skin hydrated so that it doesn’t dry out and start over producing oil.
- No Harsh Exfoliation: i instead use a muslin cloth and water as a gentle exfoliation. I don’t this every morning and evening.
- No steaming or washing the face in the shower: It is apparently a myth that our pores open and close so steaming your face is a huge no no. Also, don’t face the jets in the shower. The water coming out of the shower is too powerful for fragile skin so wash your face before or after the shower.
- Ditch any irritating products: Skin doesn’t detox. Unlike the body, the skin doesn’t have a liver to detox itself. If a product is causing a reaction to your skin then it straight away means you should not be using it. Your skin won’t get used to it.
- Dry Body Brushing: This improving circulation and allows the blood cells to grab hold of toxins and flush them out. I really think this helped contribute to better skin but I don’t have any set facts backing this up. Just try it out for yourself.
I also have found that stopping using my DIY bicarbonate of soda toothpaste helped heal my spots around my mouth. I wasn’t aware of this until after I stopped, but my skin is sensitive to baking soda.
- Fresh Air: Getting outside without make up. The fresh air will do wonders for your skin and walking will get the blood pumping and help the overall quality of your skin. Also, vitamin D from the sun is great for skin health but don’t over do it and burn.
- Getting Enough Sleep: Your body regenerates, digests, and heals itself at night so sleep is so important. If you don’t get enough sleep your over all stress levels will be high and happiness levels lower. So sleep sleep sleep.
- Exercise: This is one of the most important things for over all health; not just skin health. Get your body moving and the blood flowing.
- Relieving Stress: Find ways to remove stress from your life. A few things that I like to integrate into my days or weeks are: mediation, yoga, deep breathing, self love rituals, gratitude, reading, face masks, tea breaks, and being in nature.
- Positive Affirmations & Self Love: I noticed when I would have skin flare ups I would look in the mirror and feel disgusting. So I flipped this on its head. I decided to look in the mirror and tell myself I looked amazing. I told myself my skin looked beautiful. In term; I began to feel better and my skin started to clear. As unnecessary as this sounds, I would say this is one of the most important things to do. It increases your confidence, your self love, and lowers stress.
- Avoid Conventional Medication unless Necessary: I don’t take conventional medication. When I have a cold, which is rare, I won’t ever take cold medicine. I don’t take any form of contraceptive pill, implant, etc I use the natural method of FAM (fertility awareness method) and I suffer my period pains most of the time, but if they are unbearable I will take a paracetamol. (Obviously take medication if you have to I’m just explaining that I don’t need to and don’t)
I know this blog post is very long and include a lot of different steps. So this might feel over whelming. The main points that I would focus on include:
- Whole foods plant based diet majority of the time.
- Exercising outside.
- Switching to a natural moisturiser, cleanser, and foundation.
- Positive affirmations for self love.
- Drinking filtered water.
I hope these tips can help you.