I spent my adolescence plagued with acne. I expected it to disappear as I got older, but I didn't. I was using topical antibiotics well into my 20s and still had eruptions into my 30s.
It made me want to hide away. I kept my hair long in the hope it would distract from the redness on my face. I covered myself up with concealer. I hated people looking at me.
Yet now, a few years later, my skin is clear, healthy and glowing. My hair is short and I never wear makeup. My flawless face has given me the confidence to be who I really am – to go out there in the world and stride towards the things I've always wanted to.
And this transformation hasn't been about adding stuff or doing more. It's been about simplifying, and it has set me free.
Here are the five most important things that have transformed my face from red, spotty and inflamed to one that is clear, healthy and beautiful – naturally:
1. Take processed sugar out of your diet.
This is the one thing that's made the biggest difference to my face. I'd been a sugar addict most of my life (at 20 years old I weighed 240 pounds, but I went on to lose half my body weight) and it showed on my skin. Processed sugar is a toxin, and the skin is the largest organ in the body; it's unsurprising that if you have a big toxic load, your body will send those toxins out through your skin in the form of spots.
Give your tastebuds a break from intense sweetness by replacing white sugar with fruit and other natural sweeteners. You'll start to taste sweetness in fruits and vegetables like you never have before!
2. Go after what you love.
I used to work in the corporate world. It was well paid, but I felt dead driving into the office. I was frustrated. I knew I could be and do so much more, and I wasn't doing it! My body was full of frustration, and my face was covered in spots. When I decided to take the leap, quit, and pursue my passions, my frustration faded away and my skin got so much clearer.
3. Stop using products that contain chemicals.
Here I don't just mean on your face, I also mean in the shower, when you do washing, upon cleaning the kitchen. Read the labels of everything that comes into contact with your body and instead of the standard fare, choose a natural alternative: vinegar to clean, coconut oil on your body, face and hair, soap nuts for your laundry.
4. Wash your face with honey.
I started using unpasteurized honey to wash my face in 2011 and haven't looked back since. It's easy – dampen your face, put the honey in your palm, use your fingertips to gently rub it into your face, and then wash off with clean water. At the same time I started this, I also stopped using moisturizer. It took about a month for my skin to start making its own oils, and now I not only have a ridiculously light toiletries bag, but more money in my pocket!
5. Get outside.
And this isn't just for the vitamin D! Yes, being outside feeds your skin the light it's designed to soak up, but it also gives you fresh air, a break, nature, exercise and perspective. All things you need to stay balanced, which will in turn have an effect on your skin.
These five things are miracle workers. They've taken me from acne-ridden and self-conscious to flawless complexion and tons of confidence. I'm so proud of the skin I'm in!