I didn’t break out much as a teenager, but as long as I can remember I always had periodic mild to moderate acne breakouts (often at the worst times!) as an adult. We are all taught that acne is something that happens to teenagers, but the truth is that many adults struggle with acne as well. For years I used face washes, lotions, and creams to try and combat these little bad boys that would pop up on my face, back and shoulders. Sometimes my skin would completely clear up but the result was short lived and acne would always invariably resurface days or even weeks later. This cycle went on for years and years, to the point where I was using acne face washes daily just to prevent the reoccurrence of breakouts, until I “accidentally” stumbled upon a solution…
I realized that as I slowly changed my diet and ate smarter my skin magically began to clear up. And as long as I stayed on this smart, clean diet the acne would never return. I tried experimenting to see what exactly it was that I eliminated from (and added to) my diet that resulted in my newly found clear, glowing skin.
To look at it scientifically, acne is the direct result of digestive issues, blood sugar problems and chronic inflammation in the body. Hormonal imbalances, dietary habits, and toxicity lead to inflamed pores resulting in the occurrence of these inflamed or infected sebaceous glands in the skin. These imbalances trigger hormonal reactions that lead to increased sebum production, blocked pores and an overgrowth of acne-causing bacteria. There is no question that the outside of our skin is a direct reflection of what is going on in the inside of our body. So, in order to clean up the outside, we must first clean up the inside….
The good news is that dietary changes can make a huge difference in our skin. With small changes in our diet it is very easy to clear up our skin, but the challenge is committing to a long-term dietary approach before throwing in the towel and buying over-the-counter face washes, creams and/or taking birth control pills and other prescription medicines.
So, if you’re really ready to clear up your acne and committed to trying some new changes to your eating habits and daily routine for the next two weeks, let’s get right to it. Here are 5 simple steps to completely clear up your acne. If you follow these dietary and lifestyle changes regularly you will see that your skin will remain radiant and possess a natural, youthful glow.
1. Start drinking warm water with the juice of ½ a lemon first thing in the morning.
Lemons are packed with nutrients, including vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. Vitamin C is like our immune systems jump starter. Lemons not only encourage healthy digestion by loosening toxins in your digestive tract, they also helps to relieve symptoms of indigestion.
The antioxidants in lemon juice decrease blemishes and wrinkles. They can be applied directly to scars and age spots to reduce their appearance, and because it detoxifies your blood, it will maintain your skin’s radiance.
2. Add fermented foods to your diet.
Fermented foods introduce helpful probiotics to our guts. There are tons of possible benefits to adding probiotics (whether by supplement or by fermented foods like vegetables) to our bodies, including protection from colon cancer, relief from lactose intolerance and rotavirus diarrhea, and prevention of reoccurrences of inflammatory bowel disease. The vitamins (like K2) in fermented foods like kefir become more plentiful or more concentrated (either by breaking down the food or by virtue of the bacteria outputting more nutrients), and more bioavailable. Also, the improved digestion that accompanies a healthier gut means more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals are absorbed.
Not everyone likes the flavor, but hopefully you can find something you do like. Try raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in salad dressing, or opt for sauerkraut and coconut yogurt. Getting that healthy bacteria into your gut will yield significant healing benefits for your skin.
3. Try an elimination diet for two weeks and notice how your skin changes
The most common culprits for acne are dairy, caffeine, refined sugar, gluten (for those who are sensitive), nuts and nut oils. For me the trigger was dairy and nuts. When I completely eliminated these form my diet within a couple of days I noticed significantly clearer, and smoother skin. Within a week all signs of acne had entirely disappeared and never returned unless I re-introduced dairy or nuts back into my diet.
Try this out for two weeks: Eat mostly organic plants, skip the dairy, eat a low-fat diet (eliminate nuts, significantly cut down on oil), cut out sugar and refined starches, drink plenty of pure water, and minimize processed foods. Sugar not only depletes minerals and vitamins from our system, but it also ages us, can cause disease, depression, hormone imbalance, weight gain and yes acne. Caffeine releases cortisol (stress hormone) into our system, which could be a leading cause of those breakouts. There is a definite correlation between consuming dairy products and experiencing chronic acne.
If your worried about not getting enough calcium, replace the calcium that you would normally get from dairy by eating other foods such as calcium-rich leafy greens (like kale, collards and mustard greens), broccoli, and sesame seeds.
4. Significantly increase your plant based fiber
Load up on raw leafy greens and other vegetables. These vegetables will provide a variety of antioxidants that dampen free-radical (or “oxidative”) damage and inflammation. The fiber in these raw veggies will also aid in keeping your digestive system in tip-top shape and keep your colon regular. Choose foods that are whole, natural and colorful so you are digesting lots of vitamins and minerals.
5. Incorporate a mild, natural cleansing routine.
After my skin cleared up I completely changed my skin care routine. I switched to all-natural cleansing products, and stopped using face cream entirely. The new diet keeps my skin soft and smooth without the use of any moisturizers. I use and LOVE Éminence Organic Skin Care products. Éminence is picky when it comes to the ingredients they include in their skin care line. They only use all natural ingredients, including fruits and vegetables in their products.
When you do make the switch, give your new routine a few weeks to settle in. Our bodies easily react to changes in our routine and sometimes it takes time for our bodies to adjust, but I promise that as you make these changes in your diet and skincare regimen you will see a significant change in your skin.
The bottom line: The key to gorgeous, glowing, blemish-free skin turns out to be a mix of science, common sense, overall good health habits, and a simple stick-to-it skincare regimen. It’s really quite simple!