How I Healed My Acne Naturally

My Story

My health journey is closely tied to my skin. I struggled with acne all throughout high school and college and even beyond. My skin was always one of the biggest signs that something in my body wasn’t right. I went to so many doctors and dermatologists and spent years (and lots of money!) trying to mask the symptoms with hormonal birth control, antibiotics, every skin care product, and even a round of Accutane.

I deeply understand the deep struggle of being insecure about what you look like. I really hope my story can serve as a helpful resource for you!

I have also learned to truly embrace the fact that what you look like is the least interesting thing about you. And while I am here to help you get to the root cause of your skin issues and resolve them for good, if this is something you struggle with now, please remember that there is no shame or embarrassment when it comes to your skin.

While my skin is far from perfect and I still have some setbacks or flare ups, for the first time in a decade I feel like I have finally found what works and my skin has improved so much – and continues to improve every day. 

I mean…. I would call this pretty good progress 😂 

Determine the Root Cause

I tried every classic acne remedy in the book and finally figured out that antibiotics that killed my gut health and harsh topicals was not the answer to actually resolving the acne. The acne is a symptom of something deeper. In many cases there will be more than one root cause and you will have to

I highly recommend working with a functional practitioner that can review your entire health history and current symptoms and help you determine what might be the root cause and where you can focus your efforts. Today I am going to review some of the major players, like digestion, hormones, and stress.

Digestion & Gut Health

Digestive health is a huge focus for me when it comes to skin health. Especially since so many people these days struggle with digestive issues like bloating and constipation. You can be eating the most nutritious, high quality diet, but if your digestion is not functioning properly, you won’t be absorbing and utilizing those nutrients. You also need to be pooping every day to remove waste from your body.

So, if your digestive system is not working optimally, it can present as acne, and other skin issues.

What causes poor digestion? Many diet and lifestyle factors could be impairing your digestion, like:

  • Eating an ultra processed diet with a lot of refined carbohydrates and sugars
  • Food sensitivities
  • High stress lifestyle & poor sleep
  • Alcohol consumption

What can we do to support digestion & gut health for healthy skin?

  1. Identify any food sensitivities. The best way to do that is to try an elimination diet and remove specific foods for 3 weeks and reintroduce them one by one, carefully noting how your skin reacts. Some of the most common triggers are dairy, gluten, and eggs. It can also be helpful to keep a food diary to track any symptoms related to specific foods.
  2. Reduce sugar consumption. Yes, even the “healthy” organic sweet treats.
  3. Supplement with a probiotic or eat probiotic rich foods. Supporting your microbiome is important for skin health, so eat some sauerkraut or kimchi daily or try a quality probiotic.
  4. Support stomach acid. Some symptoms of low stomach acid include bloating, chronic fatigue, nausea after eating, burping or gas after meals, heartburn, undigested food in stool, diarrhea or constipation. We need stomach acid to break down food so we can absorb the nutrients. Here is an easy at home test to see if your stomach acid production is optimal. If you need to support stomach acid production, try these:
    1. Supplement with Zinc
    2. Drink 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar diluted in water before meals
    3. Take 5 deep breaths before your meal and avoid eating while distracted
    4. Eat fermented foods with your meals
    5. Avoid cold beverages during and 30 minutes before and after your meals. Drink warm beverages during meal time.
    6. Supplement with HCL
  5. Daily exercise. It doesn’t have to be intense movement every day, but make sure you are moving daily to support lymphatic movement and healthy bowel movements.
  6. Proper hydration. I recommend quality filtered water and electrolyte supplementation to ensure you are hydrating properly and supporting mineral balance.
  7. Drink bone broth and braised bone in meats for collagen & gelatin to support gut lining.
  8. Supplementing with a quality Omega-3 to reduce inflammation

Hormones

Hormones are an important player when it comes to acne, especially for acne that persists into adulthood. When it comes to hormones, a bioindividual approach is key, since it’s important to know what hormonal imbalance could be at the root of your acne. Aside from working with a practitioner, here are my top tips for supporting hormone health that can be applied to anyone.

  1. Support blood sugar balance. Dysregulated blood sugar will have a serious impact on hormones like cortisol and leads to inflammation which wreaks havoc on our hormones. Aim for 30g of quality protein at mealtimes, try walking for 10 minutes after eating, pair carbohydrates with healthy fats and proteins.
  2. Liver support. A healthy liver is key to hormone health since it helps to metabolize hormones to avoid estrogen dominance or other imbalances.
    1. Consume adequate protein (.8-1g / lb ideal body weight)
    2. Minimize caffeine and alcohol
    3. Remove plastics like water bottles and food containers
    4. Add cruciferous veggies to your diet (broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts).
    5. Remove beauty or home products that have toxic ingredients, like fragrance (makeup, cleaning products, candles).

Reduce Stress

Dysregulated cortisol is one of the most common causes of hormonal imbalance and acne. Reducing stress to manage cortisol levels will have many positive downstream effects, including improved skin health.

  1. Eat a savory breakfast within 60 minutes of waking
  2. Eat enough calories throughout the day
  3. Get a quality 8+ hours of sleep
    1. Get outside for 10-20 minutes of morning sunlight upon waking
    2. Block artificial blue light after sunset
    3. Maintain a consistent bedtime and wake time
  4. Start a consistent breathwork or meditation practice. I started meditating every morning with a quick 15 minute guided video on Youtube with my red light panel and it is such a game changer for mental and physical health.

Red Light Therapy

I just had to dedicate a whole section to red light therapy because it has SAVED my skin. After I quit hormonal birth control and my acne came back worse than ever, I finally invested in a red light panel and started using it every day for 15 minutes directly next to my face.

Not only did the red light help with reducing inflammation and redness that diminished my current breakouts, it also began to heal my many scars that I have from years of suffering with acne.

Red light therapy has been shown to reduce inflammation, reduce redness, and actually support the production of collagen which is really helpful for scarring and texture issues.

I still use my red light panel to this day to continue to mitigate any breakouts and help heal my scars and textured skin. Here’s the product I use because it’s on the more affordable end of red light therapy but still very effective: my red light panel.

Skincare

I chose to review the internal approach to healing acne first, since I believe that without those foundations, no skincare in the world will truly solve your problem.

On the other hand, if you are using products with acne-causing ingredients, you will not have success with the internal approach. Skincare is so personal, so I will share some resources on choosing the best option for your skin and share what works for me at the moment.

Step 1: Review your skincare, makeup, and other beauty products for pore clogging ingredients. Use this resource to easily check the ingredients in your products.

Step 2: Find a simple routine that will work for you. For some people, a very minimal routine with just quality tallow is amazing skincare. Unfortunately, that does not work for my skin type. I have spent years searching for non-toxic products that are actually acne-safe and effective, and this is what I have been using lately. The GENTLECLEAN, VITAMINSCRUB, CLEARITY, CELLRENEW, and HYDRAGLOW are my go-to for fighting breakouts, hydrating, and improving brightness.

Let me know if you want me to do a post on a full skincare routine!

You’re Headed to Clear Skin!

If you can’t tell, there are so many factors that can contribute to the health of our skin. This blog post does not encompass everything, so if you have any questions or want to know more about a certain element, leave them here and I will get back to you or write a part 2!

To get you started on your path to naturally clearing your skin, I created a free 30-day challenge so we can start practicing some of these healthy skin habits. Join the challenge here!

Keep me posted on your progress!

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