Since I was a teenager, my skin has been oily and acne-prone. The birth control pill took care of that and gave me moderately clear and healthy-looking skin. When I was in my mid-twenties I quit the BCP and my skin erupted in severe cystic acne for over 3 years that left scarring, both physically and emotionally.
I was so embarrassed by the appearance of my skin that I wear thick make-up which probably made it worse. I wouldn’t go out in public unless absolutely necessary and even then, I would wait until it was dark and no one could see me. It was an unhappy existence, this was an added factor in my depression. I didn’t love myself and therefore couldn’t let others love me in return. Slowly, as my hormones returned to normal so did my skin. Unfortunately, the damage was done and my skin was left scarred and inflamed. PMS would bring along hormonal acne (this occurs on the chin and near the jawline) and it took some time trying to find the best skin care products that worked.
Clear skin is not only what you put on your skin, but what you put in your body. If I am dehydrated or have too much sugar, it shows on my skin. If I don’t get enough sleep, eat too much sugar, don’t work out…you can tell by my skin. There’s a reason for this! Our skin is our largest organ and regenerates approximately every 28 days. It has a big job from protecting us from harmful UV rays and free radicals, to assist in detoxifying our bodies and of course, protecting our organs and insides. If you are like me, having clear, glowing skin may not come naturally.
Here are my 9 steps to clear skin:
- HYDRATE – Drinking water aids in digestion, circulation, absorption and excretion. It will help rid the body of toxins and also helps increase energy and decrease fatigue. A great way to start the day is by having a glass of water with the juice of half a lemon squeezed into it. This helps to increase metabolism, helps digestion and contributes to efficient elimination. Lemon water acts as a blood purifier and Vitamin C helps to rejuvenate the skin.
- MEDITATE – Meditation and mindfulness for acne? You bet! Acne can be exacerbated by stress. Practicing mindfulness, deep breathing and cultivating self-compassion may help you relax, improve self-esteem and have positive thoughts. This is a really nice article highlighting the benefits of mindfulness and healing.
- OIL – It is generally thought that people with oily skin should steer clear of products that contain oil. This however is an antiquated way of thinking. The oil (sebum) your skin produces is different from plant-based oils which can in fact be highly beneficial for oily skin. A high-quality oil for the face will hydrate and replenish skin with the essential fatty acids and moisture it needs. I love The Serum by Graydon’s Clinical Luxury By Nature line. I mix in a few drops of Frankincense oil to help help acne scars and I have noticed a tremendous improvement in the texture of my skin and scars and less noticeable pores.
- PROBIOTICS – It is my belief that a healthy body begins with a healthy gut. Our gut flora can be impacted by many factors such as poor diet, stress, mood disorders, lack of sleep, medication, hormonal imbalance, poor digestion, food sensitivities and more. Taking probiotics promote a balanced gastrointestinal tract and increases the beneficial bacteria in the body that fights the acne-causing bacteria.
- FACIAL TREATMENTS – While skin health is best corrected from inside the body, it is important to take care of the outer body too. Taking a bit of “me-time” and getting a facial (preferably one with natural products) helps to deep clean pores, hydrate the skin and treat blemishes without scarring.
- CUT THE SUGAR – Processed, refined foods and those high in sugar increase blood glucose levels. The body tries to lower the rising level by producing more insulin and testosterone. These hormones cause our oil producing glands to increase oil production that blocking pores causing acne. Eating a low-glycemic diet (think fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds) will help to keep blood sugar in check and reduce inflammation.
- SLEEP – Our bodies are in a state of repair during our sleep. When we lack sleep/have poor quality sleep, we interfere with this repair process. This can cause inflammation, an overload of toxins, additional stress and increased insulin resistance, all of which contribute to acne. We need high quality sleep to help produce collagen, increase our immune function and lower stress. This will in turn, decrease acne. Make sure you change your pillow case often as well. Oil and dirt from your face and hair can accumulate contributing to breakouts.
- FATS – We are a society that is terrified of fats. We have lead to believe that eating fat will make us fat. Not true! The brain and body need fat to function. The right kinds of fat, so potato chips and chicken wings just won’t do. Essential fatty acids, found in foods such as chia, hemp seeds, flax and walnuts help to dissolve the fatty deposits that block pores and cause acne. EFA’s also work to repair the skin damaged by acne.
- SWEAT – Exercising a few times a week helps reduce stress, balance hormones, boosts immune function and increases circulation – all of these factors are necessary for gorgeous skin. Remember to shower after exercising to remove oil, dirt and perspiration that can contribute to breakouts.
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Do you have any tips or tricks to keep your skin gorgeous and clear?