If you’re sick and tired of looking at red, inflamed spots in the mirror that practically hiss at you, as if to say “get over here and pop me”, you’re not alone.
Despite being inundated with skincare ads that feature celebrities who look like they’ve been sun-kissed by the Gods, so many women struggle with acne well into their late 20’s (as if the high school breakouts weren’t punishment enough).
But there’s a secret to having clear skin- and it doesn’t involve the latest spot treatment cream, face wash or over-the-counter prescription. I’ll tell you what it is in a minute, but first- let me tell you a little bit about my experience with raging, hormonal acne that I thought I’d never find a solution for.
My Own Experience With Life-Ruining, Raging Hormonal Acne
I was one of the lucky ones who had clear skin their entire life. Well, at least up until my twenties.
Sure, I had the occasional *singular* zit, maybe once a month, that disappeared the next day. I took clear skin for granted. I thought it was just a given since I’d managed to make it through the hormonal teenager phase without so much as a blackhead. (Okay, I’m sure I must’ve had a few, but you get my point. Nothing major to report.)
So when I woke up one not-so glorious morning (at the tender age of 21), to my skin breaking out in red, cystic bumps along my jawline, chin and a few spots on my cheeks.. I panicked. What in the hell was this? My teenage years coming back because they forgot to give me acne?
I went and picked up a heavy-duty concealer, assuming it would be gone in a few days and all would be peachy and clear again. But for the next 9 months, I wouldn’t see clear skin. Not even a glimmer of it. I actually wish I’d taken photos back then to show you. But the reality was, I hid under make up and avoided cameras.
To get rid of the bumps and redness, I tried every natural remedy under the sun. I used aloe vera, tea tree, changed my pillowcases every few days and used all kinds of clay facial masks to draw out toxins. I did yoga and went to the gym everyday to help promote detoxification and reduce stress, which can also be a culprit in promoting acne.
I gave up my beloved coffee for months. I cut out gluten, sugar and dairy. I visited apothecaries for topical treatments. I took snake and spider venom. I went in infrared saunas. I drank tinctures everyday made from pine and cedar that tasted worse than Buckley’s. I participated in “self love” ceremonies, and other spiritual rituals in hopes that if I addressed any suppressed emotion, the acne would finally subside (I believe every ailment has an underlying emotional cause). But, although I’m sure these remedies were creating positive change in my body on some level, I still had awful hormonal acne.
So I cried. A lot. I stayed home on weekends when I wanted to be out with my friends because I felt embarrassed. Instead, I spent hours in front of the mirror, picking at my skin, which only created a minor massacre on my face. (By the way, if I could give you one piece of crucial advice: don’t pick at breakouts! Step away from the mirror!)
I silently cursed the Universe when I woke up every morning with a fresh breakout. I felt like I’d be stuck with acne for the rest of my life and there was no way out of this special little hell.
If you have acne, you can probably relate. Acne can take such an emotional hit on your confidence and the overall quality of how you feel day to day. Sure, you can cover it up with make-up and put spot-treatment creams or face masks on at night, but I’m sure you agree that you feel your best when your skin is clear and glowing.
So, by telling you about my own struggle with acne.. I want you to know that after months of trial and error (and literally thousands of dollars), I DID find a solution that worked long-term. And I’m telling you this because I want to hopefully help save you time, pain and money.. because I know these tips will help improve your skin, too.
PS.. You may be thinking, “only 9 months of acne!? Oh, you poor thing- I’ve had acne my whole life!”
I get it. But I know I’d likely still be suffering from acne had I not resolved it using the tips I’m about to share with you. I believe it’s these tips, that, once I discovered them, helped clear up the hormonal acne for good.
The Secret to Clear Skin
The secret to clear skin is not a supplement, lotion, cream, toner, witch-doctor remedy, antibiotic or diet.
The secret to clear skin is understanding why you have acne in the first place, and how to address the root cause of the problem. If you don’t do this, you’ll be suffering with those dreaded spots for an unnecessary amount of time.
To get clear skin for good, it’s all about going to the source, bab-ay! And luckily, the source of acne in every woman stems from one common place.
Are you ready for it? Here it is…
The reason you’re breaking out all the time has to do with your digestive system, in particular- your liver. Therefore, in order to get clear skin, you must begin to make changes in your diet and lifestyle that support the health and overall functioning of your liver and digestion.
Your digestive system is made up of your small intestine, large intestine, colon and liver. It also includes your pancreas and gallbladder, but for the purpose of this blog post we’re just going to focus on your liver.
“But Brandi! I thought acne was a hormonal issue…”, you say.
Yes, my gorgeous friend – it certainly is! But guess who regulates your hormones? The liver!
Your liver is just like a water filter. Have you ever had one of those Brita water filters?
Their purpose is to filter out most of the harmful chemicals like chlorine, to leave you with pure, clean drinking water. The liver does the exact same thing with your body. It helps you detoxify from chemicals that enter your body from food (such as alcohol), antibiotics, pesticides and pollution in the air we breathe. It also detoxifies from natural metabolic waste products and hormones, in particular – the acne promoting hormone: estrogen.
In short, your liver plays a key role in keeping your hormones regulated by filtering out excess hormones, in addition to other toxins that your body is trying to get rid of. One clue to having excess estrogen in our systems are those hard, painful cystic acne bumps. Often these bumps can surface a few months after going off the birth control pill, which is high in estrogen. (That was what happened to me!)
But while it is a very common cause of acne in women, estrogen isn’t the only blasted culprit. Any toxic buildup with your liver can contribute to breakouts, because when your liver is overburdened, it’s possible for toxins to be reabsorbed into your bloodstream. Your liver handles detoxification like a boss, but even he can get burned out sometimes!
How to Have Consistently Clear Skin
Now that you have a brief understanding of why the health of your digestive system is so important to getting clear skin, here are my best tips to help promote the health of your liver and glow from the inside out.
- Drink the Nectar of the Gods.
The nectar of the Gods is water, my friend.I don’t care how many times you’ve heard it- water is the cheapest, easiest way to efficiently clear up your skin.
Water is the fluid that allows acne causing toxins to move through your system. It helps you poop. (And yes, toxins and estrogen are eliminated through poop too! And you’d much rather have the estrogen go there, than through your skin- am I right?).
So do your bod a big favour and drink that pristine, godly nectar. (Filtered water preferred to avoid the estrogen and other toxins that can be found in tap water.)
- Poop Everyday.
Since we briefly touched on poop already, why not elaborate some more!
Elimination is a critical part of the detoxification process to remove acne causing toxins from the body. So when we’re constipated or not really having “good quality” BM’s (think: big brown bananas!), the toxins that enter our body aren’t being eliminated as quickly.
To help promote regular digestion and elimination, make sure you’re getting lots of fibre from plant based foods. You can do this by adding a side salad full of dark leafy greens to your lunch every day, making a green smoothie or chia seed pudding and incorporating small amounts of whole grains such as brown rice, or quinoa (which is actually more of a seed).
Bottom line: excellent poop = clearer skin.
- Eat Beauty Nutrients for Clear Skin.
Your entire body depends on proper nutrition for good health, and good health is reflected in flawless looking skin.I mean, who doesn’t want skin that died and came back as Halle Berry?
You can give your skin the ultimate make over simply by adding more nutrition to your diet. The best nutrients for your digestive system and skin are antioxidant vitamins (especially A, C and E), the minerals zinc and selenium and omega 3 essential fatty acids from chia seeds, oily, wild fish and avocado (just to name a few).
Fibre, as you now know, also plays a key role in having clear skin.Incorporate these foods into your diet daily. Avocados can turn any green smoothie recipe into a decadent, creamy, skin-loving bevy, while antioxidant vitamins and minerals are found in plant-based foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Smoothies, homemade soups and salads are the easiest way to get more of these foods in your diet.
*An important note: since all beauty-promoting nutrients help support the functioning of the liver, you may notice a few extra breakouts initially as “detox” symptoms. This is temporary. Don’t be discouraged- stick with it and you will see the results, I promise.
Clear skin loves good gut bacteria.
Eating fermented foods (such as kefir and sauerkraut) can help increase the amount of good bacteria in your system, as well as taking a high quality probiotic supplement (I recommend drinking probiotics in liquid form, such as Bio-K for optimal digestion and absorption).
We all have a balance of good and bad bacteria in our gut. But the problem today is that our bad bacteria tends to outweigh the good due to diets high in refined sugar (which feeds bad bacteria), processed foods, high amounts of alcohol, antibiotics and stress. These things all have the ability to allow bad bacteria to take over your gut.
When bad bacteria start their own evil little colony in your gut, they promote constipation, toxic overload and yes, acne, acne and more acne!
- Proper Food Combining For Instantly Better Digestion
To help your body best absorb the vitamins, minerals and other liver-supportive nutrients from the foods you eat, you may find food combining helpful. If you haven’t heard of food combining before, its a simple way of eating that combines particular foods together in one meal that digest best together.
Some foods, when combined, don’t digest well together. For example, fruit likes to digest very quickly- much quicker than proteins, fats and starches. Therefore, fruit is best eaten alone on an empty stomach.
When fruits are mixed with fats or proteins (for example, a chicken and avocado salad with strawberries), the fruit will try to digest quickly while the avocado and chicken are digesting very slowly. This can create an “intestinal traffic jam”, so to speak which = bloating.
If it sounds like I’m speaking in tongue right now, I’ll explain it all to you in very simple lingo in my free e-book, From Bloated to Blissful: The 5 Day Anti-Bloating Solution.
It comes with my signature meal plan, which includes plenty of delicious, digestive-supporting, acne-busting recipes, a grocery list and even a meal-prep schedule to make eating healthy as easy as it gets. If you want to get in on this action, click the link above or the book cover below to download.
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Wishing you the clearest of skin,