Confident in your skin: Acne
As a teen, I always struggled with breakouts. I tried all types of acne medications, including birth control, and nothing seemed to cut it. I would scrub my face almost raw each night, wishing I could just scrub away the blemishes. I was told that I would eventually “outgrow” it.
It wasn’t until I did some major diet repair that I seemed to have the handle on my acne. It was so empowering to know that I could control my acne — instead of it controlling me! Some hormonal flare ups lingered but once I supported my body, specifically my liver, even that has subsided. Woah! It’s crazy to think that after YEARS of struggling, washing my face like it had some deathly disease, and being prescribed all types of medications that the one thing that actually worked was the answer right in front of my mouth, erhm, face.
Acne, like any other symptom the body provides us, has deeper roots and is often misunderstood. It’s often looked as a hygiene issues – but that’s not exactly the case. Actually, the less harsh the products I used, the better my complexion has become! Instead, we need to shift our focus internally, and do some cleansing from the inside out! Some of the root causes of acne include poor diet coupled with nutritional deficiencies, sluggish digestion, impaired detoxification, hormone imbalance, and blood sugar imbalance. So let’s tackle some practical ways to banish the breakouts forever!
Clean up your diet.
First things first of course. Ensuring you are eating a clean diet is the first step to clearer skin. if you’re eating a nutrient-dense diet, it will be a big burden lifted. Processed foods can be damaging and can be inflammatory to the body. The closer the food was to the dirt, the better off you are. Cutting out inflammatory foods like sugar and vegetable oils can be a drastic help (some people find that gluten, dairy, and nightshades may be also be inflammatory for them). Give the body the fuel it needs by eating plenty of colorful vegetables, meats raised free of antibiotics and hormones, and most importantly, don’t skimp on the quality fats (organic cold-pressed coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, grassfed butter). These fats will help us make healthy hormones and manage blood sugar, but more on that in a moment.
And before we move on, let’s talk about water. Water is the most common nutrient deficiency in our country. Water helps flush toxins, maintain proper blood volume, and delivers those beautiful nutrients to our cells. Make sure you are consuming half of your body weight in ounces of water (max at 100 ounces). If you are drinking any diuretic beverages (coffee, sodas, juices, certain teas), make sure you are drinking 1.5 ounces per every one ounce of that beverage. To translate, let’s says you drinking a 10 ounce cup of coffee every day, you need to then increase your goal water intake by 15 ounces. If you’re having difficulties reaching your goal water intake, you may need to consider decreasing your diuretic beverages to boost your hydration.
Banish breakouts with clean eating
#1) Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water daily!
#2) Aim for 6-9 servings of vegetables per day. If that’s too much to start with, try to at least double the amount you’re currently eating.
3#) Avoid processed foods, especially those with soy, sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other artificial preservatives and coloring.
focus on gut health.
Any skin condition is 99.9% of the time a manifestation of something deeper and more internal going on. When you think skin health, think gut health. They’re so interconnected it’s frightening. Meaning eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, and acne are our bodies cries for internal help.
The gut is a barrier that protects us from the outside world. Several times a day we introduce this barrier to the outside world — in the form of what we eat and drink. With 70% of our immune system residing in our digestive tract, the state of our gut can influence the signals that are produced throughout the body.
How does this work? Poor digestion, an imbalance of good & bad bacteria, yeast, or viruses can increase gut permeability. This causes enlarging of the microscopic gaps between the gut cells. As a consequence, improperly digested food particles and microbial toxins are able to sneak their way through these gaps. The immune system then detects these as invaders, overreacts, and causes inflammation. Keep in mind, acne in an inflammatory skin condition.
Additionally, if we are not moving our bowels efficiently, toxins and waste products accumulate as we experience constipation. This delayed transit time permits too much to be re-absorbed in the large intestine with the most notable being estrogen. Increase of estrogen can easily tip our delicate balance of hormones out of balance. One of our first priorities should be to ensure we are digesting our food properly and moving our bowels at least once a day.
Banish breakouts with gut health!
#1) Eat in a relaxed state, be fully engaged in the meal, and chew your foods properly to ensure that the body shifts into a state of digestion.
#2) Use your stools as a report card. That means you have to look! Color, consistency, smell, undigested food particles can all tell us a lot about our digestion. Take note.
3#) Use a Squatty Potty to help with elimination.
Balance Blood Sugar.
When ever I say “blood sugar imbalance”, I often get a lot of push back. Unless we have the diagnosis of diabetes, many of us go on with life thinking we do not have blood sugar issues. The problem with that is that it’s not true! One-third of Americans are walking around with insulin resistance, according the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. The fact is, if you have fatigue around 10 am and/or 3 pm, waking up in the middle of the night (around 2-3 am), irritable/shaky/jittery before meals or have experienced “hanger”, then you most likely have some degree of blood sugar imbalance.
Over production of insulin can actually lead to an overproduction of androgens, which is a group of hormones including testosterone, DHEA, and androstenedione. While it’s normal for the female body to make some of these hormones, in excess it can set the stage for acne. Consider this, when the body is hyper-focused on blood sugar regulation (which is a top priority of survival), the body will actually prioritize blood sugar regulation over other process, including detoxification. Which brings me to my next point…
Banish breakouts with blood sugar regulation!
#1) Avoid refined sugars and artificial sweeteners.
#2) Join a RESTART® class!
3#) Manage stress! It’s impossible to address blood sugar regulation without addressing stress levels.
Love on your liver.
Our liver works hard for us. The liver performs over 500 functions in the body. One job is to detoxify and purify. Stress comes in the form of processed food, refined sugar and grains, emotional states, and pollution from chemicals in body care products, cleaning products, and medications. These stressors often compound, overwhelming the liver. When congestion occurs, the immune system is compromised, the delicate hormone balance is weakened, the digestive system doesn’t work as well, and metabolism will slow down. Skin issues such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea are some of the ways our body tries to rid of these toxins. Think about it, if we aren’t processing these toxins and aren’t eliminating them properly (back to step #2), then our body has to remove these impurities somehow… and how’s it going to do that? That’s right… through the skin.
Banish breakouts with liver care!
#1) Detox your skin care. Use skin products free from harmful chemicals that can destroy good bacteria on the skin. Use a site such as Skin Deep to help you choose healthier options. (PS, I do not recommend using coconut oil on your skin because it’s comedogenic, which means it can clog pores and aggravate acne)
#2) Incorporate beets in to your diet. Beets contain a substance called betaine that encourages the liver cells to get rid of toxins. Additionally, betiane protects the liver and supports healthy bile flow.
3#) Eat liver for a healthy liver. Beef liver is a great source of vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron which all provide the body the tools it needs to eliminate toxins.
Our skin gives us clues in to how we are doing internally. I won’t sit here and tell you that I never struggle with a breakout here and there, because I’m human. But I can tell you that I am more aware of how my diet may have swayed or when I need extra liver support by how my skin reacts during hormonal fluctuations.
If you are struggling with any skin conditions and are ready to move past them, I’d love to chat. I offer a free 30-minute consults for us to discuss your health concerns and for us both to determine if this is the right direction for you!
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